Place Reviews (Thursday)

Category Archives for Place Reviews (Thursday).

I’ve been to 80 countries- Here’s My Top Ten

Having been to so many amazing, wonderful places, whittling down my list to my top ten has taken quite a bit of work and thought. Out of all my 80  countries I have been to, there are just five I would never go back to again. I am  sometimes reluctant to share my favourites, because it can lead to a war of words on why I chose one place and not another! My criteria are based around culture, food, ease of travel, safety and peace, great nature and people. So with that caveat, here are…

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One Million

One Million people have now officially caught the virus (almost one quarter in the USA). Sadly, 51,354 have died. All condolences to families. 37,000 people are currently in a critical condition. The good news is that 210,000 have officially recovered globally. About one in four cases are in the USA. China is officially no longer in the top three nations in terms of case numbers. Thinking of all those bravely working to combat this virus. Be nice to each other. Stay Home. Stay isolated. Stay Safe Virus Information WHO information on the virus CDC: People…

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Alice Springs Surrounds- a Central Australia Journey

Entering the Centre of Australia is like entering a whole new world. The landscapes are alien, the animal unusual, the flies relentless, the stars stunning and the visitors surprisingly few. When people think of the centre of Australia, they often only think of Uluru, regarded as the spiritual heart of the continent. I have had the privilege of visiting “The Rock” five times in my life. It is a is mind blowingly wonderful place. The town of Alice Springs, 500 kilometers from Uluru, is home to a number of impressive sights which I am exploring…

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Hiking at the top of Thailand

Few people make it to Doi Phu Kha National Park in the Northern province of Nan, Thailand, one of the country’s most isolated regions.  The whole province gets as many foreign tourists in a year as Phuket gets in a week! The Verdict: My Overall Rating: 83% -High Score My Ranking: My favourite place in Thailand Why it should be visited: Views, birds, hiking, peace and quiet, waterfalls, caves Negatives: Transport options limited Would I return?: Yes. For a slower pace in a quieter place, it was a wonderful place to be. Location and Orientation The park…

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Riding the Quaint Beautiful Jiji railway in Taiwan

There is something magical for me, about train rides whether slow steam hauled locals  or super high speed expresses that criss cross parts of Asia and Europe. Today’s seven train ride on three separate railway lines managed to combine slow and fast trains, scenery and amazing food into a beautiful day trip on the Jiji Railway. Verdict: My Overall Rating: 81% Why it should be visited: Nice scenery, a glimpse of “real” Taiwan, friendly people, easy to find great foos Negatives: Lack of coordination of train and bus timetables Would I return?: Yes Location and Orientation…

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Stupendous Shanghai

I  rank every city I visit across a variety of factors including aesthetics, culture and transport. Shanghai is the 200th city of over 100,000 people I have traveled to so I am pretty confident in my ratings! Verdict: My Overall Rating: 86% My Ranking out of my top 200 Cities: 22nd place Global Ranking: Mercer – Quality of Living Survey 101st out of 230 and EIU – Best Cities Ranking 33rd out of  70  Financial Time – Asia-Pacific Cities of  8 out of 163 Why it should be visited: Architecture, Cafes, Food, Shops and to understand the future of China…

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Traversing Tokyo’s Two Tallest Towers

I was just six when I first wanted to ride a bullet train and climb the Tokyo Tower. Now, four decades later, I have done both. The Bullet trains still rank amongst the fastest on the world but the Tokyo Tower is no longer the city’s tallest structure. That distinction now belongs to the Tokyo Sky tree.  I was able to scale both last month (and ride a bullet train -review next Tuesday!) Tokyo Tower -opened 1957- 332.9 metres (1,092 feet) Designed as a telecommunications tower with two observation levels at 150 metres (490 ft) and 249.6 metres (819 ft).…

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Why Japan is in my Top Five countries! 

I have just had a week in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto (with a dinner in Kobe and a lunch in Osaka!). Japan was the 69th country to get to! Sadly it has taken me so many decades to finally get there! Why is Japan so amazing? Seven reasons why Japan has made it to my Top Five countries: 1. Easy to get around I was blown away by the phenomenal transport infrastructure. What impressed me was the brilliant signage which meant navigating the trams (streetcars) in Hiroshima, the Shinkansen and the Tokyo metro so easy. You…

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My Favourite Hikes in the World

I love hiking and have now explored rural paths in a dozen countries now. I was trying today to come up with my Top Ten hikes in the world. I got to 14 in my Top Ten! It made me realise how much more of the world, I have yet to hike! My Top Four: The Milford Sound Track in New Zealand, a 53.5 km walk which starts at the head of Lake Te Anau and finishes at Sandfly Point in Milford Sound. The track may only be walked in one direction and takes four…

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How Big is that Island? The World’s Top 25 islands mapped.

I love gazing at maps. This map of the world’s 25 largest island nations and territories hooked me in. Seeing the actual sizes to scale makes you realise how big some island groupings are. Take Indonesia, for example. It is eight times bigger than New Zealand! The difference in size between the UK, home to 65 million and NZ, home to 4.5million, is not that much different. That tiny smudge on the north of most maps is Greenland, and yet it is about one-third the size of Australia! I have been to 12 of the top 25.…

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