All posts tagged: Travel

Bored of the usual European City Breaks? Try these 5 instead!

So you’ve done London, Paris and Rome; Barcelona, Amsterdam and Dublin too. You’re looking for a cool European city break and wondering where to go next? Here are my top picks for some less obvious European city breaks, including some of my favourite cities in Europe and one city I can’t wait to get to! Marseille, France One for. . .seafood lovers, maritime buffs and urban cool seekers. Marseille has an urban, gritty cool that will appeal to lovers of port cities. I’m a big fan of its multicultural vibe and maritime history. Try down by the Marina for some classic south of France cool and amazing seafood, then venture further into the city for some culture, history and atmosphere. Marseilles had a long held reputation for being more than a little unseemly but being European City of Culture in 2013 inspired a big clean up and a huge architectural makeover; there’s no need to be more cautious here than you would in any other European city. There’s some great museums to visit, innovative new architecture …

My Favourite Things About Rwanda

Perfect for tech buffs, digital nomads, wildlife lovers, caffeine fiends and outdoors-y types!   For me, Rwanda is perfect for every visitor to Africa, whether first-timers or seasoned travelers. My 2012 trip to the Central African country rates extremely high on my ‘Top Holidays’ list and from what I hear, things have only gotten better since! Here’s why you should visit this beautiful, innovative country! It’s Safe Rwanda is one of the safest and most economically prosperous countries in East and Central Africa. Forget about its history, the streets of Kigali are much, much safer than Nairobi or Kampala. I don’t want to get into the political reasons why (lets just say President Kagame runs a tight ship) or the implications of this, but for visitors, there’s no doubting Rwanda is ridiculously safe. Kigali is an efficient, well serviced city with a good road network. Even the motos (motorbike taxis) are incredibly regulated, registered with the proper authorities and always carrying helmets for passengers. It has a Vibrant Capital The capital Kigali is a beautiful …

Flashpacker Weekend Edition: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KLis one of my all time favourite cities. I love absolutely everything about the place- the vibe, the food, the people, the architecture, the markets! The city is big enough to feel buzzy but compact enough to get around easily. Public transport is excellent too and taxis are cheap- if you know how to haggle. It’s a popular stop off route for Europe/Middle East-Asia flights or vice versa so why not book a long layover? Just 36 hours is enough to experience the very best of KL! I had a quick trip en route to Bali but I managed to fit in a lot! Here’s my top tips: Travelling Solo? Stay Here Back Home is everything a hostel should be these days. Cool, welcoming, functional and stylish. It’s a bit hipster with industrial chic styling but it’s got a great location, helpful staff and an excellent cafe, Lokl Coffee Co. attached. The free breakfast is a bit miserable but I loved having the pancakes from Lokl in the beautiful courtyard!   Must See? Thean Hou …

Visiting Vietnam: Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh?

For a lot of people hoping to visit Vietnam, an epic end to end  journey encompassing the whole country is the dream. But sometimes money, time  and simple geography are not on our side. Ideally, you should try to fit both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) into any Vietnam trip but if that’s impossible and you really must choose one, which do you go for? For me, it has to be Hanoi! Here are the reasons why.  The Atmosphere Hanoi is the perfect introduction to Vietnam. It’s busy and hectic, with an old city full of tree lined narrow streets, Chinese temples, Catholic cathedrals and cool shops. There’s tonnes of cafes, great street food and the chilled out Hoan Kiem lake for when you need a break. I adore how the city is equal parts crazy and calm. At night, there’s lights and noise and buzz and scooters and people walking everywhere. By day . . . well actually it’s pretty much the same until suddenly you turn a corner and there’s a …

Foodie Flashpacker Top 5: Southeast Asia

If you’re heading to Southeast Asia, the food is likely to be a major highlight of your trip! In 2015, I visited Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand; the year before I went to Sri Lanka. So although I’m hardly an expert, I picked up a few things along the way! So if you’re a foodie flashpacker, here are my top 5 must do! Bangkok Food Tour I did the Best Eats Midnight Tuk Tuk Tour with Bangkok Food Tours and I highly recommend it! Our guide was friendly and extremely knowlegdable about Bangkok, its food and its history; the food we had was even better than I had expected. There was a real variety shown and choosing to get around by Tuk Tuk rather than on foot meant we could scoot around the city and experience the best all over. We made at least four restaurants stops, a late night temple visit, a market stroll and a rooftop beer overlooking the river. My favourite dish? Probably Khao Moo Daeng, a rich, sticky barbecued pork dish. …

February: This month I’m . .

Being a boring git. I’m off booze and working from home. I couldn’t be more anti -social if I tried! Working out. A lot. Again, for reasons above. 4-5 sessions a week, lots of BBG, some yoga and the odd outdoor run when there’s a break in the rain. Right now, that’s not even once a week. My skipping rope has been getting a lot of use.   Rocking these. The good thing about being a boring git? It saves you money. Which you can then blow on trainers like these. 95 euro from Lifestyle Sports. Dreaming of Portugal. Specifically Bura Surfhouse in Lagos. To cope with the crap weather, I’m holiday planning for May. Lisbon has been high on my to-see list for a while so I decided I just had to go this year! While looking for somewhere beachy with yoga to combine a Lisbon city break with, I came across the very cool looking Bura Surhouse, a beachhouse/hostel/surfcamp with rooftop yoga and wine tastings. Sold. Planning my next pair of CVDs Custom Vintage …

#RetreatLife: Yoga in Bali & Cambodia

I took up yoga a year ago, looking for a slightly gentler form of exercise to do on my ‘rest’ days. Some people get hooked on yoga; I didn’t get hooked exactly, more pissed off that I wasn’t very good at it. I wanted to improve so I developed a bit of a yoga habit quite quickly! Yoga is a great form of exercise for when you’re travelling; it’s easy to do solo with no equipment and there are also classes everywhere. Last year, I did yoga classes in 6 different countries! I also went on two yoga retreats; one in Bali in April and one in Cambodia in November. They were both quite different experiences. A yoga retreat is a great idea for a short break in its own right or as a break when you’re travelling long term. But each yoga retreat is different and you need to find one that suits you and what you’re looking for. This is my take on the two I experienced. Blooming Lotus Yoga, Ubud Bali I absolutely …

High Tea @ Giraffe Manor, Nairobi Kenya

One of my favourite ever travel memories is having high tea at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi with one of my best friends Catherine. And it happened by complete fluke. I’m usually an excellent travel planner. But when I went to Nairobi in July 2014, I was visiting my university friend Roisin who lives there. I skipped my usual meticulous travel planning, knowing that as a Nai resident, Roisin would tell me what to skip and what not to miss. And she did. On a day out in Karen, a legendary expat enclave suburb, to visit a giraffe sanctuary and the Out of Africa musuem, Roisin spotted the beautiful Giraffe Manor. ‘Ye should really try to do high tea there,’ she confided. ‘Everyone raves about it,’ We strolled over to the house (well, the front gate actually) but high tea must be booked in advance so we returned a few days later. So what’s the deal? $50 gets you afternoon tea at the Manor which entails a selection of sandwiches, cakes and pastries, tea or coffee and …

Flashpacker Weekend Edition: Brussels, Belgium

Brussels can get a bad rap from tourists; frequently labeled as ugly and often overlooked in favour of prettier Bruges or cooler Antwerp. But on a recent three day trip, I found the Belgian city full of cobbled streets, cute houses and beautiful squares. Sure there’s some unattractive administrative buildings mixed in there too but considered overall, Brussels is jam packed with great restaurants, bars and cafes and has enough shopping and sights for a great weekend away. Top tip: Still not convinced Brussels is your best bit? If you have three days you can easily combine a visit to the city with a day trip to Ghent or Bruges- or even both. If you want to avoid the tourist throngs, opt for Ghent. It’s just as nice as Bruges but more low key. Back in Brussels, head out early in the morning and walk the pretty cobbled streets. Visit the Royal Palace and wander down towards the Palais de Justice, enjoying the beautiful architecture you encounter along the way. Then,  go to the European …

14 weeks, 5 countries, 2 continents: My Flashpacking adventure

Flash-What? Flashpacking! It’s backpacking but fancier. A new travel term coined for millenials who mix high and low end experiences to create a more authentic way of travelling. The Numbers 14 weeks, 5 countries, 2 continents, 13 flights, 11 buses, 8 ferries, 7 cities, 3 beach towns, 2 islands, 1 yoga retreat The Route Dublin- Abu Dhabi – Hanoi – Halong Bay – Sapa – Hoi An – An Bang – Ho Chi Minh –  Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville – Siem Reap –  Bangkok – Krabi – Railey – Koh Lanta – Ao Nang – Phi Phi – Bangkok – Brisbane – Shannon The Highlights Brisbane, Australia I went to Australia solely to see my brother Rory, his beautiful girlfriend Rachael and meet their almost 2 year old son, my nephew Lachie. It’s not that I didn’t want to explore the country but budget/time wise, it wasn’t realistic so this was a ten day, Christmas/family visit to finish off my trip. After almost 13 straight weeks of solo travelling and all the planning, organising and …