Latest Posts

Black jails and paranoia in the heart of Beijing

“We are about to arrive in our nation’s great capital,” the voice on the train’s intercom said. It was Qing Ming Festival proper, as it would be for the following two days, and if we thought people would stay home to spend quality time with their families during this brief but precious holiday, how wrong we were to dismiss the appetite for sightseeing and patriotism of the Chinese tour group..

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Ten of the Best: Vietnamese Street Food

There are two types of people in this world: those who see street food as a one way ticket to toilet town, and those - let’s say, more adventurous souls - who see it as the guiding principle of their entire travel experience. Indeed, there are even those who would go so far as to ...

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Crossing the road in Vietnam

As I noted in my previous post Saigon: Motorbike Capital of the World, crossing the road in Vietnam at first seems impossible. How to step willingly into an incessant wave of oncoming traffic and not succumb to the flood, is something that not only seems to ...

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Ben Thanh Market, Saigon, front entrance and clock tower against blue sky with traffic in the foreground.

What to do in Saigon

If you’ve only got one day in Saigon in which to savour the city and don’t want to find yourself collapsed in a ball of over-sightseed stress by the end of the day, you’re going to have to make some fairly tough decisions about what to do and where to go in order to get the most out of your 24 hours.

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Hong Kong

Food

Ten of the Best

Hong Kong Outdoors

One day it’ll just be the buildings and plants

It may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with Hong Kong's less glamorous side, but the city isn't all shiny new skyscrapers and bustling humanity. In this city of constant renewal, where land is money and money is everything, not everything conforms to the development free-for-all that seems to be the status quo.

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Where to run in Hong Kong

Where to run in Hong Kong? It's a question that plagued my first few months in the city. When all around it seems that traffic, crowds and concrete have conspired to thwart your desire to run far and run free, Hong Kong can appear as far from a runner's paradise as you can get. In fact, it can seem the very opposite ...

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shing-mun-redoubt-gin-drinkers-line-hong-kong

Shing Mun Redoubt: Shing Mun Country Park

You'll not likely find it any of the guide books, but high above Tsuen Wan in Shing Mun Country Park, the remains of Hong Kong's first line of defence against the Japanese invasion during World War II, lie overgrown and unappreciated amongst the undergrowth. Constructed as part of the 13 miles of fortifications known as ...

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China

Thailand

Books

The Party by Richard McGregor

When Rupert Murdoch attended a dinner in Beijing in the late 1990s, he remarked that in all his visits to China, he had yet to meet a Communist. A strange remark indeed considering he was dining in by far the largest Communist state in the world ...

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Behind The Wall by Colin Thubron

1986. Mao Zedong was ten years dead, the Tiananmen Square 'incident' was still three years away, and China was optimistic about the future. Only a few years before, the country had been all but inaccessible to foreigners. Still struggling with the trauma of the Cultural Revolution ...

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Tiananmen Moon by Philip J Cunningham

With the 25th anniversary of the events of May and June 1989 just past, , and all the talk that went with it, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at an account of those momentous few weeks from the vantage point of someone who was actually there.

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