All posts tagged: Backpacker

What To Do in Bangkok

Let me start by saying I wasn’t immediately sold on Bangkok, and I’m still a little unsure – it’s busy, hot and sprawling and did I mention relentlessly hot? Seriously, it’s the only place I’ve visited that somehow manages to get hotter at night. Anyway, I gave it a fair crack and here’s what I suggest you do with 2 or 3 days in BKK. Don’t stay any longer or you’ll go cray. STAY AT NAPPARK If you’re backpacking in Thailand you’ll probably start off in BKK and you’ll most probably wanna stay around the backpacking mecca that is Koh San Road, however it is very mental there. So stay just round the corner at Nappark Hostel which is a luxe alternative to really scuzzy traveller digs. It has great bathroom and shower facilities, which you’ll need and is under £10 a night. Nappark Hostel, 5 Tani, Talat Yot, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10110 JJ GREEN VINTAGE NIGHT MARKET This was far and away my favourite thing in BKK, a huge, sprawling night market much like Streetfeast …

The Dreaded Delhi Belly and How it Nearly Broke Me…

Call it hubris, cockiness or just plain stupidity but I *honestly* thought I would avoid Delhi belly while travelling. I’ve never been ill because of food, I’m the person who eats with a group who all get food poisoning and remain unscathed, my stomach is legendarily strong.   That’s not to say I wasn’t careful, I didn’t eat meat for a month while in India, avoided tap water and religiously sanitised my hands – seriously, what more can you do? And I thought I was safe, I lasted one month feeling fantastic, so on the second to last night (in an expensive western restaurant, it’s never the street food) I indulged in some chicken. On the afternoon before my flight to Bangkok I began to feel *really* sick, I was sweating, nauseous and confused and just had to go to bed. Then the vomiting started. Now, before that, the last time I vomited was 2 years ago after the Hotbox London launch party where I drank 435 free cocktails and ate a whole cow, and …

En Route To… Thailand

I am currently at New Delhi Airport, ready to fly to Bangkok. I’m super excited to get to some beaches, meet my old housemate Sinead (who will be flying from the UK to Bangkok in a few days) and go to the Full Moon Party! India was amazing, read all my India travel posts here and I’ll see you in Thailand.

Art Class in Udaipur, India

Udaipur in Rajasthan is such a lovely, peaceful town – set around a dazzling lake (featuring a swanky 5* hotel that I was sadly not staying at) – this creative place is famed for its miniature artists. You can find intricate paintings adorning pretty much every surface and wall plus you can buy yourself a piece of art or two to take home. Being a little bit of an artist myself *toots own horn* I decided to take in an art class with one of Udaipur’s many miniature art schools. I painted a camel because one nearly killed me in the Indian desert and I thought it might work as a kind of ‘face your fears’ therapy. It didn’t. While I wasn’t cured of my camel aversion I did come to appreciate the immense skill of the miniature artists, their brushes are soooo fine and they grind their own paints out of all natural colours – needless to say, my camel didn’t turn out quite like the instructors, but I had a great time painting …

Cooking and Eating at The Sikh Temple

There are many religions practiced in India, it’s a very spiritual place, Hinduism is probably the most common faith, but there are Muslim, Christian and Sikh people too. In Delhi I was lucky enough to attend a Sikh temple, and what an experience! I absolutely loved it. On entering the temple you must cover your head, I donned a lovely orange bandana (ever stylish even in India), remove your shoes and wash your hands and feet – then you enter into the temple to the sound of rhythmic drumming, chanting and singing – it’s quite a meditative experience just silently sitting cross-legged in thought, listening to the prayers beings called. After a quick prayer (I’m an atheist but it doesn’t hurt to put out some positive vibes into the universe) we went to the temple’s kitchen. Sikh temples (depending on the size) can feed hundreds or even thousands of people for free each day. Sikhs volunteer their time to cook chapattis, dahl and vegetable curries for anyone who wished to eat. Sikhs also see all …

Pushkar – India’s Hippie Oasis

In the mountains of Rajasthan there lies a small but very holy town by the name of Pushkar. In Hindi ‘push’ means ‘flower’ and ‘kar’ means ‘hand’. The town is home to India’s most holy lake where each year thousands of hindus make a pilgrimage to the sacred waters. Legend has it that the lake was formed by the tears of Lord Shiva who was distraught after the death of his wife Sati. When Sati died Shiva cried so long and so hard that his tears created two holy lakes (in Pushkar and Ketasha – which means ‘raining eyes in Sanskrit). While visiting Pushkar it is possible to take part in a ceremony at one of the 52 ghats surrounding the lake. I obviously took part in such a ceremony at sunset (when in India…) where a holy man leads you in a series of chants and offerings, sugar, rice, pigments and flowers symbolising health, love, prosperity, for good karma. The experience was awesome, especially in such a picturesque setting – I honestly found myself …

5 Items You Must Take in Your Carry On

Not the only five of course (hello Passport and money) but important nonetheless… A Diary You might use your phone, laptop or tablet you child of the 21st century you, but you tell me when the last time a good old-fashioned diary suddenly stopped working? Technology isn’t infallible, dead batteries, weak signals and general ‘WTF?!!!’ bugs can prevent you accessing important info. So get a mini diary to write down all your important dates and information. You’ll thank me. Your Smart Phone Like a mini computer your iPhone (other brands are available) can let you surf the web, but you can also use it as a camera, video camera, voice recorder, alarm clock… the list goes on. Download some useful apps and this piece of kit is indispensable. I cancelled my phone contract but use Skype and Whatsapp to talk to friends. My favourite apps >>> A Good Book Take a Kindle of course – the Kindle for books is what the iPod is for music – the best thing ever. But technology can fail, …

Hotel Bhairon Vilas, Bikaner

I love a good hotel – I stay, I lay, I unpack and I snap. This one’s a bloody great one too so read on… The hotel Bhairon Vilas looks, to the untrained eye, like a palace, elegant yet totally homely, the ancient residence is crafted from the red sandstone native to the town of Bikaner in the north of India. It’s literally the most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed in… period. The owner Harsh is one cool character, an Indian man in his early forties, he rocks (with aplomb I might add) a handlebar mustache., salt and pepper ponytail, a serious amount of silver bling and an old English tweed smoking jacket. He looks like a cross between a pirate and a Bollywood heartthrob. I met Harsh holding court in his bar, which looks like a 19th century Opium den – the dark walls lined with all manner of curiosities (many of them family heirlooms) – and he told me that the hotel is his ancestral family home, built by his great grandfather. …

colourful indian houses delhi

48 Hours in Hauz Khas, New Delhi

My mate Akash told me that I had to visit Hauz Khas Village when I came to India, so I did and here’s what I found… GETTING THERE Get the Metro (yellow line) to Hauz Khas metro station, this cost me just 18p each way. Then get a tuk tuk as the walk is a little long, and not a particularly scenic one. Don’t pay more than 50IR to get to Hauz Khas village. If you must walk, just follow the road round to the left and I reckon it’d take 30 – 40 minutes. EATING The street food is plentiful and varied here, each district seems to have different dishes (so try them all). The prices are very cheap but go to the busiest stalls, they’re busy for a reason. And watch how much the locals pay so you don’t get given the tourist (higher) price. If you fancy something familiar there’s peri peri chicken, burger joints, pizzerias and crepe shops in Hauz Khaz, there is a definite European influence here, plus it’s one …