James Gibson


James Gibson

Sixth Form Teacher based in the North-East of England. Perennial traveler and lover of places far from these shores.

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Bai Tu Long Bay July 29th 2012

The title of the blog may seem a little toungue in cheek however after travelling north through Vietnam every person I met who had been to Halong Bay commented on the level of pollution and dirt and not a lot else really. Im not saying it is the cleanest environment on the earth it is however the largest tourist attraction in Vietnam and when you consider that the majority of junk boats carry between fifteen and thirty passengers the level of pollution per capita increases somewhat. So a little pollution is to be expected, I understand that due to it being a natural attraction the average tourist expects unspoilt landscapes and views, the reality is that this is very uncommon to find. When i arrived in Hanoi i hadn't as yet booked a trip to Halong ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué July 24th 2012

Hue is the kind of place that allows you the opportunity to embed yourself into the cultural history of Vietnam, by this I don't mean the war with the Americans (although this is also possible throughout the DMZ) I mean the history of the country through its dynasty and all that comes with this. I took the opportunity to do my first full flung touristy tour in Hue not because I'm a sucker for a sales pitch but because it seemed the best way to visit the Royal Tombs (or some of them at least) Pagoda and Citadel in one day. The price was really reasonable ($12) which included the bus tour throughout the day, lunch and a river cruise. The entrance fees to the sights were not included and this came to another $12 or ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An July 18th 2012

Hoi An is a brilliant place, not because of its nightlife, not because it is quintessentially Vietnamese (it's architecture reminds me personally of 17th century Portugal) but because it is small, quaint and very much rooted in its past as well as having an eye on the future. We're talking here about a town on 75,000 people not the 7 million or so in Saigon so as you can imagine it is easy to navigate and ensure you see all it has to offer. As a UNESCO world heritage site it is free to wander around but if you pay 90,000 dong (about 3 pounds at the minute) you get entry into any five of the tourist attractions you want to, therefore I would argue the touristy stuff can be dealt with inside of one day, ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap July 16th 2012

Siem Reap and Angkor were everything that I personally needed, after having had a bit of a mixed time in Phnom Penh I knew I needed to do two things in Siem Reap, firstly have a great time and secondly meet some new people. Both of these things happened in great measure. Siem Reap itself isn't really a huge tourist destination, the vast majority of people visit only to see the temples of Angkor, I think this helps Siem Reap because you don't really have a great deal of expectation upon arrival. The reality is that it has a huge amount going for it, not just the cheap beers and party atmosphere but also from a cultural perspective. the people are exceptionally friendly and honest, meeting some of the younger generation in the nightclub really brought ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh July 14th 2012

To follow on from my last blog this trip is going to be the single best move i've made in a long time, i had the oppotunity to not come due to circumstances at home. i could have taken that option without issue however i like to think of myself as an individual, i am not deined by the fact that i was married therefore the only option i wanted to take was to continue as planned and travel. The last time i wrote i had just arrived in Bangkok, since that point i took a flight to Phnom Penh the capital of Cambodia, the flight was memorable as it was through a thunder storm, i've never really felt like a yo-yo before but i guess there is a first time for everything, it was kind ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok July 10th 2012

So the trip has begun and all has started in a pretty good light. Mainly due to getting a nice upgrade to business class on the flight from London to Mumbai, my original flight was to Delhi but i took the opportunity to switch to the Mumbai flight for an upgrade as my flight was full. For reference the business class on Jet Airways was really very good, a lie flat bed, dinner was authentic indian cuisine which was also really good and wait for it.....you were given a sleep suit!! Out of the 9 hours i slept for around 6.5 so thought that i had perhaps gone some way to beating the jetlag, alas it was not to be as it is now 5.40am and I'm very much awake having gone to bed at 1am. ... read more

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