Kyoto – Gion

Gion District Dates: 28 Mar I took the Shinkansen from Tokyo mid morning to ensure I had as much time in Kyoto as I could due to only having two nights booked here as I was on limited time using my JR Pass. After arriving in the early afternoon I made the Gion District my first stop, my Airbnb was minutes walk away from the area so it was a convenient place to start my exploration of Kyoto without having to travel any more than I already had done. The Gion District is basically the old town of Kyoto, full …

Tokyo

Tokyo Dates: 23-28 Mar My first taste of Japan was naturally Tokyo. I landed late in the evening and was really struggling to find my airbnb. I ended up having to ask a local who didn’t speak a word of English, and he walked me 10 minutes in the opposite direction to where he was going right up to the door. This was a sign of things to come in Japan and is one of the reasons I love the country so much – the people there are incredibly friendly. I didn’t get chance to shoot much due to rainy …

Pai – Conserve Natural Forests – Ethical Viewing of Elephants Thailand

Ethical Viewing of Elephants Thailand – Conserve Natural Forests Dates: 13 Mar Alongside doing a cooking course another must-do thing for me in Thailand was to go and see elephants. The ethical viewing of elephants is fairly difficult to do in Thailand. A lot of riding camps still exist, and lots of “sanctuaries” still treat their elephants badly, beating them to do as they’re told for tourists. You should never ride an elephant, their spine is not the same as one in an animal like a horse and with them being wild animals they are beaten and tortured into submission …

Pai – BeBe Spice Wok n Roll, Best Thai Cooking Course in Pai

Best Thai Cooking Course in Pai Dates: 12 Mar I love cooking and I also love Thai food, so one of my must-do things in Thailand was a Thai Cooking Course. I looked at some in Chiang Mai and in Pai and found that BeBe Spice was the Best Thai Cooking Course in Pai, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a long day, starting at 8.30am and finishing at around 10.30pm – so you learn lots and get chance to ask Thom (the woman who runs the class) any questions you have throughout, there’s certainly no rush. Thom was great, it’s …

Pai – Lod Cave

Lod Cave Dates: 11 Mar The only cave I have ever been to is Tiger Cave, during my road trip around Koh Lanta, and I didn’t go into the cave much at all there because we didn’t get the guide. I’d heard lots about Lod Cave and none of it bad, so when I planned my trip here I made sure to plan to get a proper guide to show me through (though I did find out when there that you have to go in with a guide anyway). I’ll never forget the first proper cave I went into, it …

Pai – Baan Santichon Chinese Village & Yun Lai Viewpoint

Baan Santichon Chinese Village Dates: 10 Mar 10-15 minutes drive outside of Pai is Baan Santichon Village, a traditional Yunnan chinese village which was settled in the mid-20th century by a mix of Thai hill tribes, Chinese and Yunnan tribes. It’s an interesting part of Pai and totally different to the rest of the area with the buildings looking much more traditional than the rest of Pai. It was very quiet when I went, but it was at the start of low season in Pai so that’s not surprising. I prefer that in a place like this though as it …

Pai – Sai Ngam Secret Hot Spring

Sai Ngam Secret Hot Spring Dates: 8 Mar There are a couple of options in Pai where hot springs are concerned, but for me there is only one to consider – the hot spring known as the secret hot spring. It’s much cheaper than the resort hot springs and from what I’ve heard it’s also much nicer (I didn’t go to the resort hot springs so cannot say from first hand experience) They can be a bit tricky to find directions to, but they’re actually really easy to find. Take the 1095 road out of Pai, cross two big concrete …

Pai Land Split, Pam Bok Waterfall & Bamboo Bridge

Pai Land Split, Pam Bok Waterfall & Bamboo Bridge Dates: 7 Mar After a couple of days relaxing in Pai I rented a scooter to explore the area. I started with Pai Land Split, Pam Bok Waterfall & the Bamboo Bridge – all of which are on the same road so it’s a quick and easy day out with a variety of places. I started with The land Split, a farm that overnight somehow cut in half because the earth split, strange right? The owner of the farm didn’t despair though, instead he turned it into a tourist attraction where …

Chiang Mai Temples (1)

Chiang Mai Temples Dates: 27 Feb – 1 Mar Chiang Mai is a wonderful place. It boasts over 300 temples so there are endless days of walking around photographing them, I spent 3 days just walking around exploring them and there were still a few of the major temples that I missed out – most notably Wat Doi Suthep, the big temple on the top of a hill outside of Chiang Mai centre. And I only missed this out because of transport! I honestly can’t remember which temple is which due to taking photos of so many of them, but …

Phuket – Phi Phi & Shark Point Dive

Phi Phi & Shark Point Dive Dates: 24 Feb While in Phuket I did a dive around Phi Phi islands, including Koh Doc Mai, Koh Bida Noc & Shark Point. I did the dive through Dive Asia at Kata Beach who were good, I would recommend them. I don’t yet have an underwater camera but I did shoot the islands from the boat. Luckily it was a pretty quiet dive site so there weren’t many pesky boats sneaking in the photos. During the dive I didn’t see anything too exciting other than a big school of barracuda, a sting ray …

Phuket – Phuket Night Market & Town

Phuket Night Market & Town Dates: 13-22 Feb I arrived in Phuket from Koh Lanta and had quite a few days in Phuket Town, it’s very quiet and not much going on but it’s a nice enough place to stay if you have the time to burn. Most of the activity is on the weekends at the night market near Wat Nakaram, and on Thalang Road on Sundays. I walked up to Khao Toh-Sae viewpoint one of the days which was ok, nice enough view but not much of an angle to look around, I wouldn’t walk it again – …

Phuket – Rawai

Rawai Dates: 20 Feb I took the local bus down to Rawai and had a walk around the lake & viewpoints there, beautiful sights of the beaches and smaller islands off the south of Phuket. Windmill viewpoint was a great place to sit and read a book for an hour. The local buses here are 30-40 baht so if you’re ever in Phuket town do not take a taxi until you check if a bus runs there first! In comparison taxis can cost a few hundred from Phuket Town to the beaches. The busses all run from the road that …

Koh Lanta Road Trip

Koh Lanta Road Trip Dates: 7 Feb After finishing up in Malaysia I travelled up to the border over to Thailand, going through Padang Besar & Hat Yai, all the way to Koh Lanta. I learnt to dive here and was ill for a few days so while I was here for a while I only did one day of taking photos, when we hired a car and went for a road trip around the Koh Lanta islands. During the road trip we visited Tiger Cave, the Sea Gypsy Village, Old Town, and the end of Koh Lanta Noi where …

Penang – Kek Lok Si Temple

Dates: 24 & 28 Jan I went to Kek Lok Si temple twice on the week of Chinese New Year. Once on the 24th because we saw an advert saying it was open, it wasn’t. I did see a lot of the temple and the lights from the outside that night, and I also snook in to the Buddha statue with my travel friend for a couple of minutes before we got kicked out, so I managed to get a shot of it at night & while it was quiet before the business of Chinese New Year fully kicked in. …

Penang – Chinese New Year’s Eve

Dates: 27 Jan Gong Xi Fa Cai, 恭禧發財 Mandarin for “wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year” (pretty much, anyway). This is a very common greeting around CNY and is similar in effect to “Happy New Year” to English speakers. For the first time, in 2017 I was actually somewhere that celebrated Chinese New Year properly – Penang, Malaysia. I spent it at a guesthouse (there is another story to this place, click here and read the recent 1* reviews to see) near Love Lane in Georgetown. On Chinese New Year’s Eve we spent the evening in the …

Penang – Taman Negara Pulau Pinang & Botanical Gardens

Dates: 26 & 31 Jan Both of these places are worth a visit if in Penang for two very different reasons. The National Park is a great place for jungle trekking, and is a different experience to the other jungle (Taman Negara Kuala Tahan) I visited during my time in Malaysia. It’s much hillier and has a few beaches to visit while here that work as great pit-stops to have a bite to eat (that you have brought of course, and that you take away) and relax after trekking up and down steps/roots in the intense jungle heat. Lots of …

Penang – Georgetown Street Art

Dates: 23 Jan – 2 Feb 2017 Following on from my previous post about Georgetown. Anyone spending time in Georgetown should dedicate a day going around the street art, it’s incredible. Most hotels will be able to advise on a route or even better have a map for you with the best spots marked out. Alternatively, my favourite map app maps.me has most of them marked on it if you search ‘street art’ while in Georgetown.

Penang – Georgetown

Dates: 23 Jan – 2 Feb 2017 Georgetown is one of my favourite spots in Malaysia. The place has so much character, loads of old beautiful buildings (which if you’ve seen my personal work you’ll realise I love old windows & doors). The street art here is also amazing, and of a better standard to Ipoh. My friend I was travelling at the time, Lucas, had lived in Georgetown for 6 weeks over Christmas so knew the area very well and gave me a personal guided bike ride tour of the area showing me the best spots for street art …

Langkawi – Sky Bridge & Islands

Dates: 21-22 Jan 2017 Two must-do things in Langkawi if you ask me. The Cable Car & Sky Bridge can be costly, it totalled around 100RM (£18) for everything in the day but it’s definitely the best thing to do on the island and has amazing views. Included in the ticket price is the 3d museum, which I’ve found are pretty common in Asia. Definitely worth a visit, because while it’s nothing extraordinary, it’s something totally different to anything I’ve seen in the UK. The Island hopping is a half day out but at only 30RM (£5.50) it’s the cheapest …

Langkawi

Dates: 17-23 Jan Langkawi is a great place. Lots to see there, a few nice excursion options, it’s duty free so cheap alcohol for Malaysia, and perfect weather most of the time. While in Langkawi I had a couple of beach days, went to the cable car & sky walk and did an island hopping tour – all of which are recommended.

Ipoh – Surrounding Area

Dates: 15-16 Jan 2017 During my time in Ipoh I went out to Gunung Lang National Park & to Ulu Chepor/the jungle area. Gunung Lang is pretty nice, albeit a bit small. We rented out some bikes and cycled around it several times before we set off back. We didn’t find Ulu Chepor waterfall like we planned, however we did bump into the owners of a resort in the jungle (The Lereng) who kindly took us on a 4×4 tour of their patch of jungle and showed us their plans for the area (which were huge, including a zip line …

Ipoh Town

Dates: 13-17 Jan 2017 I was in Ipoh for a few days as a stop over between Pangkor and Langkawi. The Old Town is beautiful and has lots of nice street art that is worth visiting for. If food is more your thing then Ipoh has amazing curries, and is pretty well known for it’s beansprouts too. I had chicken & rice with beansprouts several times during my stay it was that good.

Cameron Highlands

Dates: 4-7 Jan 2017 After Taman Negara I set off to Cameron Highlands via Jerantut, Benta & Raub. In Cameron Highlands I visited the Big Red Strawberry Plantation, BOH Tea Plantation and Cameron Valley Tea Plantation.

Jerantut & Taman Negara Kuala Tahan

Dates: 2-4 Jan 2017. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the 30th December and decided to start shooting once I left for Taman Negara National Park. On the way there we stopped at Jerantut for a couple of hours where we had a walk around the market. Taman Negara is a place I would fully recommend to anyone travelling Malaysia, it’s the world’s oldest deciduous rainforest and has a few great spots to see. I did the canopy walk, then up to Bukit Teresek where the views were amazing, and then for a swim in the river.