Chinese Internet

Survival Guide: Chinese Internet

I have lived and worked and attempted to use the internet in China for close to eight months now. It is a fascinating country, rich in everything that makes a country worth visiting: culture, history, architecture and art, with amazingly diverse topography, geography, fauna and flora. Nevertheless, China can be a maddeningly frustrating place for ‘westerners’…




Angkor Wat

Angkor: 1000 Years of History in a Day

With almost two million people visiting annually, Cambodia’s Angkor Archaeological Park is deservedly one of the most popular tourist sites in the world. The plethora of stone temples and monuments situated in modern day Siem Reap province are all that is left of an ancient mega city that reached its zenith between the eleventh and…




Sam, tuk-tuk man, Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh: Sam, Tuk-Tuk Man

Sam the Tuk-Tuk man is my latest example for why travellers should mingle more with the locals of the countries they visit. Sam himself told me that foreigners often treat him with suspicion when he proffers the hand of friendship, perhaps assuming he is trying to sell them something or rip them off. In my…




Yellow river scenic park

Yellow River Scenic Park, Zhengzhou

Chinese to English translations can sound over-flowery and often downright weird. Halls of Mental Cultivation, Palaces of Heavenly Purity, even a Humble Administrator Garden, but the name of Zhengzhou’s chief attraction is almost amusingly succinct. Yellow River Scenic Area is, as you might expect, close to the Yellow River and from its high up vantage…




nanjie fun east is red square

Nanjie Cun: The Last Communist Utopia?

Nanjie Cun has often been described as China’s last Maoist village. Given China’s current approach to economics, which ironically began under Chairman Deng Xiaoping in the mid eighties just as Nanjie Cun became a collective, it could be argued that it is also the last remnant of Communist China. Although the Communist Party of China…




IMG_2079

Amazed by Zhengzhou, China

I’ve been around a little bit but travelling into the city of China’s Zhengzhou was different to anything i have ever experienced before. The weather was great when I touched down, sun shining, albeit dimly through a haze of dust and pollution. A film of fine dust covers everything inside and out. Construction The scale…




Budget shopping

How to Shop Cheap and Healthy

Just because long term travel requires careful budgeting, that doesn’t mean backpackers have to live on instant noodles. Someone should have told that to my younger self. Eleven years ago when I first left home to travel Australia, I pretty much lived on Mi Goreng noodles, bread and the occasional egg. I’m still partial to…




Dine out for free new zealand

How to Dine for Free in New Zealand

Budget travellers have to make sacrifices to fulfil their dream of world travel. When saving for your trip you’ll have to forgo that daily coffee, eating out, the latest phone and so on. Once you finally have enough to begin your trip it is necessary to budget carefully on the road too. Eating and drinking…




View from Bob's Peak, Queenstown

How to do Queenstown on a Budget

Situated south of the south island in New Zealand, Queenstown is a small town of around 15,000 people. Huddled at the foot of Ben Lomond, surrounded by mountains and Lake Waikato, it’s not hard to see why it is so popular with tourists and backpackers. Queenstown’s population swells to more than twice its usual occupancy…




Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch: Then and Now

Four years ago I travelled to Christchurch with Noel, a fast walking, fast talking Irishman from Cavan, and Ian, a lanky, slow-ambling Californian. I had met them working on the Thornton overpass in Wellington. We had been working there for months, high up and exposed to the elements, demolishing and removing rusty old crash barriers…