My Top 5… Reasons for Travelling in the Christmas Season

I like to travel in the run-up to Christmas, around November / December. Here’s why…

1. Christmas Decorations

By this time all the Christmas decorations are up, so you get to see some beautiful trees and decorations all around the world Continue reading

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My Top 5… Worst Travel Experiences

So these are my “Top Worst” travel experiences… otherwise known as my worst. We have been very lucky with travel overall (touch wood) and we have been healthy and safe for the most part, with only 2 near-miss car accidents , a rather scary red laser being trained on us, and 1 nearly missed flight to our names. But we have had our moments. Here are my Top 5:

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My Top 5… Best Travel Experiences

Needless to say, I love travel, so it is difficult to pull together my best 5 experiences ever. Here is my best try:

Five:  Driving the open Road on a Road Trip

We have had various awesome road trips (around New Zealand,  France,  Florida,  Utah, Tennessee,  Santorini and Yellowstone) and I love the open road. I love the independence you feel when you’re in a car. We don’t have a car at home, so maybe this is why I love it so much. It feels convenient, safe, and personal, like our little bubble. Driving a road trip has to be one of my top 5 travel experiences ever! Continue reading

A Humbling Dumpling Experience: Food in Shanghai

We tried many different foods in Shanghai, but my standout food was dumplings! Either steamed or fried, we were big fans of the humble dumpling.

In a short space of time we became dumpling connoisseurs. We tried steamed dumplings from posh restaurants containing vegetable, prawn and pork respectively, including our fave steamed pork dumplings at Din Tai Fung (just like in Singapore, Macau and Taipei). We also discovered a local joint called Yang’s Dumpling which had a queue out the door and delicious and  inexpensive fried dumplings (above). Continue reading

144 hours in Shanghai

What can I say about Shanghai? The pictures in the guidebook showed an exciting fast-moving city with bright lights and an impressive cityscape. And it did not disappoint.

Shanghai felt fairly western so was not difficult to navigate. Signs were in English, and there was an abundance of western high street chains. This centred around Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road) which is full of neon lights and large shops and shopping malls. You can find the likes of H&M, Forever 21 and the Apple shop here as well as Chinese brands, souvenirs, jewellery, electronics etc. Continue reading

How to Travel to Shanghai Without a Visa from Taiwan

While planning our trip to Shanghai, we read about the TWOV (Transit Without Visa), meaning you can transit through Shanghai without the need for a Visa. There are some restrictions, but if you read and follow the rules you can get yourself a big fat trip to China without the hassle (and cost) of a Visa!

I should say that this does not constitute immigration advice – this is just my understanding of the information online, and my experiences. If you are going, you should also research it yourself!

Essentially, if you are from certain countries, you can take advantage of the 24, 72, or 144 hour Transit without Visa rules which apply to certain cities in China. You also need to be coming from a third country, transiting through China, and travelling on to another third country. There are other rules about where you can go when you enter Shanghai, and when the time starts running to measure the 144 hours. Continue reading

Eating “Poo” out of a Urinal while sitting on a Toilet?! – Food in Taipei

Probably the funniest and most bizarre culinary experience we have had was at the Modern Toilet Restaurant in Taipei. This is, um – UNIQUE – to say the least! A whole restaurant themed around Toilets. The seats were toilets, the plates were like urinals, and all the interior design was themed around toilets.

The meals – all themed around excrement, naturally, included dishes such as Turd Sub Sandwich, and Poop Meatballs. These were advertised outside with a sign saying “Welcome to try our crap!”. Continue reading

Exploring Thermal Valley and Tea Plantations near Taipei

Enthralled as we were with Taipei, we also wanted to escape the city for the cooler air of the countryside, and see some of the rest of Taiwan.  We chose two easy day trips from the capital; Beitou Thermal Valley to see some geothermal action, and the Maokong Tea Plantations in the hills.

Beitou Thermal Valley

Beitou is just north of Taipei and is known for its thermal activity – namely hot springs! Upon arrival I was slightly taken aback to read all about where the local earthquake shelter is – but as Taiwan sits near the egde of two tectonic plates, earthquakes are possible so it pays to be prepared! Continue reading

Travelling 101 in Taipei 101

Having explored the ancient sights of Taipei it was time to see the new heart of the city. Taipei 101 is one of the most iconic buildings in Asia. At over half a kilometre tall (a staggering 509.2 metres to be exact), it was the tallest building in the world until 2010 when the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (at 829.8 metres) took the title.

Taipei 101 is 101 floors high, and can be seen from most places in the city. If you want to visit, check the boards in the 5th floor lobby as this will tell you how the visibility is and which sections of the observation deck are open. Continue reading

Hidden Delights of Taipei

Taipei was a massive surprise. My BF wanted to go here as it was off the beaten path, and sometimes it is fun to explore the path less travelled. I am immensely glad we did, as it was a real gem, and has actually become my favourite place that I have been to in Asia!

Taipei blends the intrepid nature of Asia (night markets, great food, beautiful temples) with elements that are sometimes missing (road discipline eg lines marked on the street, no spitting, friendly locals who don’t hassle you at all). It also has a good mix of old and new; temples and small alleys filled with shops and markets, and then trendy neon shops and cafes, and the towering Taipei 101. All in all, it was a dream, and my favourite destination on this trip. Continue reading