Rebuilding the new Beirut

Sometimes you get a good feeling about a place even before you step foot on its soil. This was the case for Beirut when I first caught a glimpse of the city. The airport is close to the city centre, and if the flights are arriving from the north the flightpath goes over the old […]

Notes on Astana – the futuristic capital of Kazakhstan

When I was looking for a flight from Bangkok to London I kept seeing deals with Air Astana with a stopover in Almaty and Astana. With the flight being as much as a direct flight it seemed like a good opportunity to visit a new country. Astana is the capital of Kazakhstan, and I happened […]

Diamond Island – The fake Paris of Phnom Penh

I have a soft spot for Phnom Penh as it was the first city I visited in Southeast Asia. The combination of that good memory and it being a little rough around the edges has kept me coming back whenever I can. Every time I come back it’s a little less dustier and a little […]

The regeneration of Kuala Lumpur Old City

The first time I visited Kuala Lumpur was when I was overlanding my way down the Malay Peninsula in 2006. Like most backpackers I ended up in a cheap guesthouse in the Chinatown area of KL. I was amazed that there were so many heritage buildings that had not been restored. There are sections of […]

The changing face of Saigon – 2017 edition

With around 8.5 million people in Saigon the city will soon join the ranks of the world’s megacities. I wrote about the changing face of Saigon in 2015 which summarised the changes to the city. Much has happened over the last two years so here is an update on the changes – good and bad […]

Cholon Wanders – Visiting Saigon’s historic Chinatown district

For visitors to Saigon the most popular sites are in a compact area around District 1 and 3. If you have time though I recommend making a visit to Cholon, which is the old Chinatown area, most of which lies in District 5. Cholon used to be a city in itself until it was merged […]

The changing face of Saigon

[Old and new Saigon: Bitexco Financial Tower and a French colonial-era building.] I’ve been basing myself in Saigon off-and-on for the past two years, and my first visit here was in 2005. In this time I’ve been watching the city transform as it catches up from decades of underinvestment. It’s an interesting time to be […]

In Pictures: Beautiful buildings of Detroit

Detroit?! You’re going to Detroit?! Why? This was the most common reaction I heard when detailing my US travel plans to Americans. Occasionally I would meet someone more curious who thought it was a good idea, but they were few and far between. They wanted to go for the same reason I did: ruin porn […]

Ridiculously skinny buildings of Vietnam

[A tall and skinny building in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.] Spend any amount of time in Vietnam and you will soon notice that there are skinny buildings everywhere. Some are so slender that they barely look like they could fit a double bed across. Don’t ask me how they would get a double bed […]

In Pictures: Downtown Los Angeles

I have been to Los Angeles a number of times yet I had never been to the downtown area. When I first came to LA, in 1996, the Downtown area was still off the map for tourists. It was the America that you heard on the news, with crime riddled streets and Americas largest skid […]