For as long as I can remember I have always been interested in Asia, I love the people, the culture and especially the food, going to Hong Kong to see the Chinese New Year celebrations has been a dream of mine for over 2 decades! I think it all started when I was young with our weekly take away night, I would always hope it was Chinese. As a child you are told that you eat sweet things at the end of your meal for desert, so imagine my amazement when I tried Chinese food for the first time, stir fried chicken coated in a sweet and sticky sauce hmmm!! I’m fascinated to see how in their cooking a lot of ingredients, techniques and equipment are just so alien to us. When I left school I knew I wanted to go into catering and become a chef, and over the next 20 years I feel very lucky because my job has enabled me to travel half way around the world and work in all types of restaurants in America, France, Spain and England.
This year I achieved a decades old dream of mine to visit Asia on a kind of "Food Pilgrimage", my plan was to spend 2 months backpacking around trying the food, seeing the sights, making new friends and of course getting the T-shirt! Starting my journey with 10 days in Hong Kong then moving on and spending additional time in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xian, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok and finally Phuket for some much needed relaxation on the beaches.
Last summer i worked my socks off and the hard work has paid off, i totally paid for my trip both transport and accommodation. I Also hit my saving target for my spending money, and finally in Feb of this year i set off on what turned out to be the trip of my lifetime!!
The trip was soo good that i have already started organizing a trip to Asia again next year, this time i would like to visit Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Thailand again to do my Padi diving course, Cambodia, Vietnam and finally go back to Japan as i was so impressed by Tokyo last time that i cant wait to go back!!
February 18th 2013
The Night Train If you have never done an over night train in China before then i defo recImmend it, they can be old an dated trains but they are cheap, Mostly clean (always clean bed linen) and by all accounts comfy and safe!! i have used them 4 times now and the journey from Guangzhou to Shanghai was my first, the only down side is most the stations in China are horrid, large, dirty, stupidly busy and nothings in English. I took the easy option and used a Chinese travel agents to get my tickets for me, tickets only go on sale 18 days before your journey and you cant book online so you have to go into a station and buy the tickets in person with your passport, if you don't speak Chinese then ... read more
February 15th 2013
Guangzhou in a day! After spending 10 days in Hong Kong for the Chinese new year my first taste of China was Guangzhou, and what a shock to the system it was. I arrived by train slightly late as i had missed my first train, after i passed through customs and into Guangzhou station your greeted by what is a heaving mass of people. no one there spoke English, most the signage was in Chinese and nobody seemed very helpful, luckily i had been planning my trip for over 2 years and knew which subway line i needed and what stop to get off, the ticket machines have an English option but with everyone pushing and shoving it took longer then i wanted. I left the station by the correct exit into a slightly shady neighborhood ... read more
February 3rd 2013
OK first i wanna say sorry for not doing this blog while on my travels, but certain forces of nature prevented me from doing so, luckily i kept a detailed diary of my adventures so i could write this now I'm home. Barcelona to Hong Kong via Moscow! Well my first day of travels did not go well, my flight from Barcelona to Moscow was delayed by over an hour and when we finally landed we were even more late due to a blizzard which prevented us from landing for some 2 hours. This means i missed my connecting flight to Hong Kong, the airline (who shall not be named) kept me in the airport for over 5 hours before finally deciding to move us to a hotel as my new flight was not for another ... read more
January 2nd 2013
Planning: I have been a chef for over 20 years now and I have always had a soft spot for Asia, don’t ask me why maybe I used to be Chinese in a past life, but basically I just love their food!! It is because of this fascination that 2 years ago I decided to plan a trip to Asia; it started as a week’s holiday in Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year and has evolved into a 2 month back-packing trip covering 3 countries, 8 cities and totalling 20,000 miles!! During these last 2 years I have researched all aspects of my trip, where I wanna go, what I wanna see, when to go, places to stay. The details of my trip have changed so much that my original plans ... read more
October 23rd 2012
Today is officially 99 days till I jump on a plane and head to Asia, I know it’s a bit early to start my blog but I’m just so excited!! For over 2 years now I have been planning this trip using the internet, guide books and the travel channel to get information and inspiration, it all started with the simple idea of going to Asia to see the celebrations for the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival! The more I researched my trip the more i started to add other things I wanted to see and do like the Terracotta Army, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and so my plans for a one week holiday evolved into a 2 month trip back packing around Asia! I worked really hard this year in ... read more