“Experience Hong Kong on a Budget: The Best Youth Hostels to Stay In”

There’s no doubting the fact that Hong Kong is a difficult city for the budget traveller. Most hotels offer very high room rates and room sizes are much smaller than you would normally receive in other cites.

Yet Hong Kong has so much variety. the city is home to several youth hostels situated across the island. The hostels I stayed in were all a part of the YHA organization, and you can have a sense of security knowing that they will have to meet basic standards of accommodation.

You might not imagine there being many rural youth hostels in Hong Kong. or hostels in general. but the city is home to many youth hostels. the most famous is in SHAM SHUI PO. The site is a former social housing block that was renovated to make the current building that houses the youth hostel. Part of the building has been given over to a museum which documents the history of the city when the street housing caught fire. it was the Mei Ho House that was built to house some of the residents who had lost their homes in the fire that left 30,000 people homeless.

the other prominent hostel is located on the city’s Lantau island. most of it is is rural, and you will see the Buddha Statue at the bottom. Although the hostel is basic, there are advantages to staying in this location. For a start, there are several barbecue points dotted in the outside area, which are ideal for warm and dry weather. the bedrooms are basic, but when you are staying here you find that this is all you need.

perhaps another ideal rural hostel is located close to Kennedy Town, the furthest point in Hong Kong Island. The Jockey Club in Mount Davis is reached up a steep climb along a mountain path. Once you reach the top you are afforded incredible three-sixty views of the city. Although there was heavy rain the weekend I stayed at Mount Davis, I appreciated being in the sturdy accommodation that was clearly designed for all weathers, and may even have been designed to withstand bombing.

The final hostel I want to point out to you is the Bradbury Jockey Club. the hostel is at Tai Po close to Plover Cove Reservoir. With the interior painted in bright yellow, it s a very colourful place. With it’s nearby outdoor sports area, it’s like Friday the thirteenth , but without all the killing.
it’s worth noting that the country hotels in Hong Kong often include kitchens where you can prepare food on the hotplates. there are not many places to buy food, so If you are staying here it would be ideal if you come with some supplies.

Booking the youth Hostels.
All hostels mentioned in this article can be booked through booking platforms such as Booking.com , but if you use the Youth hostel Association website you can choose which dorms to stay in, you have the convenience of contacting the hostel directly when you book. it’s also possible to book at a discounted rate by selecting the members’ discount.

Unlocking the Wonders of Taipei: A Comprehensive Guide for Travellers

Taipei, a city that may not resonate as much with visitors as Shanghai, Tokyo or Seoul, should not be ignored when it comes to Asia. Curiously, the city has gone under the radar, yet when it comes to food and historic culture the capital of Taiwan punches above it’s weight.

This bustling metropolis offers a plethora of experiences that cater to every traveler’s interest. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the must-visit attractions, top-notch dining spots, and essential tips for an unforgettable trip to Taipei.

Exploring Taipei 101: Asia’s Tallest Skyscraper

A trip to Taipei isn’t complete without a visit to the iconic Taipei 101. Soaring 508 meters into the sky, this architectural marvel provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Don’t forget to explore the luxury shopping mall inside and take a stroll through the adjacent Elephant Mountain for stunning photos.

designed to look like the lucky number eight in Chinese, TAIPEI 101 is the tallest skyscraper in Asia.

Immerse Yourself in History at National Palace Museum

Delve into Taiwan’s rich history at the National Palace Museum, home to an extensive collection of Chinese imperial artefacts. Discover ancient ceramics, jade carvings, and exquisite paintings that date back thousands of years.

Taipei’s Culinary Delights: Night Markets Galore

Taipei’s night markets are a culinary adventure waiting to be explored. From the bustling Shilin Night Market to the local favorite Raohe Street Night Market, you’ll find an array of mouthwatering street food options. Don’t miss out on the famous stinky tofu and beef noodle soup! The market was shown in S03, E1 of Fresh off The Boat.

Tranquility in the Heart of Chaos: Longshan Temple

Escape the urban hustle and bustle at Longshan Temple, a spiritual oasis nestled in the heart of Taipei. Admire the intricate architecture, participate in traditional ceremonies, and soak in the serene atmosphere.

Day Trip to Jiufen: A Spirited Journey through Time

For a taste of old-world Taiwan, embark on a day trip to Jiufen. This charming hillside village, famous for its narrow alleyways and tea houses, inspired the animated film Spirited Away. Don’t forget to sample traditional tea and enjoy the stunning coastal views.

Navigating Taipei: Essential Tips for Travelers

  1. Transportation: Taipei boasts an efficient MRT system, making it easy to get around. Consider purchasing an EasyCard for seamless travel on public transportation.
  2. Language: While Mandarin is the official language, English is widely understood, especially in tourist areas.
  3. Weather: Taipei experiences a subtropical climate. Visit between October and April for cooler, more comfortable weather.
  4. Currency: The New Taiwan Dollar (TWD) is the local currency. ATMs are widely available for cash withdrawal.
  5. Safety: Taipei is known for its safety. However, exercise standard precautions, such as safeguarding belongings in crowded areas.
  6. Population: 2.646 million


Taipei, with its unique blend of tradition and modernity, promises an unforgettable travel experience. Whether you’re captivated by towering skyscrapers or enticed by delectable street food, Taipei has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and embark on an adventure in this captivating city!

A Rough First Month In Guangzhou

If you are just arriving in Hong Kong and need to transit to Guangzhou there are some things you should try to avoid. Number one would be to make sure that you have some rest at the airport. Maybe a couple of hours in the airport bar, especially after your 12-hour flight. 

If you are heading for China, may I suggest you take a train? You really don’t want to have to drag yourself and your luggage to the 3hours + bus, with a one hour wait at the border in Shenzhen. If this is the first time in China, you really must try to book a hotel where the staff can speak English. 

Unfortunately, I was guilty of all of these. Although in my defence, I hadn’t booked the bus or the hotel. These were arranged by my employer, and I had little say in the matter. 

When you sign up with a teach abroad programme, your head gets full of wild ideas of trekking the Himalayas, the great wall of China, exotic romance. But the first couple of days were spent doing mundane tasks that amazed me only in that they were done with the most mind-numbing bureaucracy imaginable.

That terrible bus journey, all the way from Hong Kong to the inner city of Guangzhou , made me realise how much concrete I was going to see. Not only that but the place looked like Korea did before it became cool. 

After eventually finding the hotel (tip: for gods sake choose somewhere central)I then had to think about eating. What’s that smell? When you can breathe something other than pollution, you’ll see that food is all around you. You choose between eating in one of the cheap canteen style places, or somewhere more upmarket, like a shopping mall restaurant. the first meal I had was some kind of beef offal noodles and it was totally delicious.

I thought I had come to the wrong place…

After the first night in Guangzhou, I was soon to discover just how total and all encompassing tool the Chinese system was. It seems that all long-term visitors are required to submit to detailed medical checks. This could not be done at a small private clinic, but a vast public building. The main task was to process us as quick as possible. This meant that the blood tests were carried out in the open, not behind closed doors. It’s more efficient, though less private way of carrying out procedures. In less than two hours, I was given kidney, lung, heart and urinary tests. This was done with the maximum of efficiency and the minimum of bedside manner or privacy. Yet they msut have taken care of 250 +arrivals that morning alone. I was forced to admit the sheer task of it was something to admire. 

Back at the hotel, I was starting to appreciate the extra touches that were available. A pool would have been a boon on the stuffy afternoons. In Guangzhou, the heat stays on the ground , and never moves from morning to night .

I was subjected to a battery of tests on my first day.

But the hotel offered a gym, and a laundry room And every afternoon, staff laid out fresh cakes and fruit in the restaurant area. There were still surprises when it came to breakfast. Sometimes , there would be croissants, other times not. Egg came hard boiled or fried. And there were only a couple of cereal options. 

It was fun to open up the large steaming serving dishes and think of what to have. There was a choice of rice porridge, and several condiments that seemed to make the bland dish jump alive with flavour. 

I followed my cue from the mostly Chinese diners.  Every so often I would spot a non-Chinese face, this was extremely rare however. They were mostly as bemused by the situation as I was . the situation was not like t standard international hotel that could have been anywhere. Instead, this was strictly a Chinese hotel that made few allowances for non-locals.

Another shock was seeing that the bedrooms on one side of the building did not come with an outward facing window. The only opening window opened to the landing, the only air flow then came from opening the door, and the air-condioning. If you’re a light sleeper, you’ll find it difficult to sleep if the bed is near the AC unit. 

My first impression of China was extremely negative. Partly this was my fault. If you go to a country knowing nothing beyond some loose ideas from what you’ve heard or seen, you are going to be surprised. In my case, I believed that reading too much would possibly cause me to have ideas that China was worse than it really was,. 

In any case, you don’t really know how it’s going to feel until you live in a country. And however much you can read, when you get there the place you come to is often not the one that you pictured.

On my third night, I took a walk to the Pearl River Bridge. Across the street next to the underground metro is a giant shopping mall. It was full of teenagers, dressed in their best clothes and seeming to be moving around, excitedly taking photos, milling in and out of shops but never buying anything. It was a common sight wherever I went in the next few weeks. A few scrappy street vendors selling things on skewers, but inside, teens waited in front of restuaurants for a seat inside. The old Chinese style was giving way to shiny comsumerism. 

There were coffee shops, American fast food restaurants alongside more traditional Chinese tearooms and roast duck restaurants.

I walked past stalls selling durian and piles of CROCS. Inside the old restaurants sat mostly older men, their chaests bared,  smoking and eating from steaming cauldrons. Most of these restaunts only had signs in Chinese. But I could tell from the shiny pictures what I was going to be given. At one beef noodle restaurant, I paid less than two pounds for a glossy bowl of beef soup, vegetables and rice. 

I went in to a gleaming Starbucks occupying a prime location next to the Pearl River. Coffee was marketed as a luxury product, with prices to match. One medium freshly brewed coffee was nearly double the price of my noodles. None of the well-heeled locals seemed to mind. 

The Canton Tower, a recent addition to the city (finished in 2008) was brightly lit and stood out from the boxy grey towers.  Right next to it is another major Guangzhou landmark. The National Theatre, designed by Zaha Hadid, was one of several new buildings by so-called star-chitects. the sloping steel concrete design looks like the body of a giant whale. Inside, the walls represent the pebbles smoothed by the Pearl River, all very poetic.

China may be currently facing a mass retirement with the largest group of pensioners in history, but with the easing of the one child rule, there are babies, children, and teens everywhere. And whilst the young are squeezing themselves into packed subway trains, their elders live a slower life, pushing babies in strollers between dancing Tai Chi in the park. 

At night I read more about China’s history. In 1979, Deng Xiaopeng singed reforms allowing limited free trade in China. Wham played the first rock concert EVER in 1985 a few years before THE LAST EMPEROR was filmed in the Forbidden City. A period of modernisation led to the democratic uprising that was brutally crushed. But nothing could stop the rapid industrialisation. A country that hadn’t changed for centuries hosted the Olympics and had the highest steel production in the world, rising to 1 billion tonnes in 2015. 

I suddenly had to reformulate everything I thought I knew and develop a new understanding, and it was going to take much longer than a few weeks.

Hotel or Airbnb? Why it’s not such an easy decision to make.

You’d think there would be no contest because Airbnbs are nearly always cheaper than a hotel in any category. But it’s not so simple as one being cheaper than others. We know from experience that using a hotel can be more amenable than staying in an airbnb.


Hotels are often in more convenient locations that can be accessed easily. Whereas airbnbs can be in all kinds of far-off places and certainly won’t be listed on any tourist map… you can be led astray when booking an airbnb due to misleading titles and location information, but hotels will always show their actual address, meaning it’s much easier to choose somewhere in a central location.

Price vs Added Extras

Whilst airbnbs are mostly cheaper than most hotels in a 4 or 5 star range, you’re getting certain amenities when you stay in a hotel that airbnbs can’t provide. Are you looking for a gym, pool or rooftop bar where you can meet other travellers? You’re better off staying in a hotel or a hostel , where these are likely to be available. Are brand new sheets, air-conditioning a priority? Hotels are likely to work better for you.

On the other hand, staying in an Airbnb could work out if you are looking to build relationship with the host and learn about the area. Then again, there is nothing like being able to consult the concierge of a hotel who will know the local area and so can give you all the information to get around the area.

Finding the ‘right’ airbnb

The hard part is finding the appropriate Airbnb for you and the best located property. Most major cities have accepted Airbnb for short term lets, meaning that anyone with a property can list it as a ‘holiday home’. It doesn’t even need to be a property that they own and may just be a property that they sublet. This is clearly not necessarily a good thing. Take major cities like London or Paris, which have the highest number of airbnbs. Travelers looking to save some money might end up somewhere with no proper facilities, transport links or any hospitality to speak of.

Blame the Airbnb review system, which makes it difficult for users to write anything less than glowing reviews. We don’t know why guests can be more honest when it comes to reviewing a hotel. But something about visiting someone’s house, perhaps meeting the owners means that most if not all guests feel obliged to leave glowing reviews for what was just an ordinary stay in an average home with nothing to recopmmend it. A case in point is a stay in Ibiza. Whilst some reviews clearly indicate that the host is not a nice woman, the honest reviews are overwhelmed by the sycophantic reviews which somehow suggest that the host is the nicest woman ever, even whilst she can’t be because she has a list of things you can’t do that is as long as the property description. 

The negative effect that Airbnb has on local communities

Staying in airbnbs has shown me that not everyone has what it takes to be a good host. But what may be an even stronger reason not to use airbnbs is the effect they have on communities. If landlords think they can earn more renting out their rooms to overseas visitors ,rather than locals, they will do so. It then makes it harder for hotels – which have a beneficial relationship to communites – to, a, find guests, but also to pay the taxes and staff’s wages. This may ultimately be why it’s better to stay in hotels than airbnbs, especially in poorer countries which rely on foreign visitors to stay in hotels.

Unimpressed with Hilton Bankside London

http://<a href=”https://tp.media/click?shmarker=415286&promo_id=4491&source_type=banner&type=click&campaign_id=155&trs=214028″ target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://c155.travelpayouts.com/content?promo_id=4491&shmarker=415286&type=init&trs=214028″ width=”160″ height=”600″ alt=”Hilton Points”> </a>

Located near the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s globe, Bankside is one of the Hilton’s most well-reviewed hotels in London. With a google average score of 4.6, it rates highly for customer satisfaction and service and general experience.

I booked at stay in February, using the ‘points and cash option’. A typical points redemption for a standard room is between 60-90,000 honours points. That puts it at the higher end of the brand’s portfolio, but it’s not the most expensive hotel per night.

The stay

I arrived at the hotel a little earlier than 2pm. There were several people at the reception at separate desks.

There was no one greeting at the door which was a little strange. In nearly all of the five star London hotels there is at least one if not two door staff.

The receptionist found my booking and asked for a card to enter into the system. I find this one of the more irritating aspects of staying in Hilton hotels.

The check-in

I asked if they had any twin beds available and I was told that they were very busy and couldn’t offer one. I was given room number 236. I looked around for someone to help me carry my luggage to the room, and I then gave my room key to one of the staff in the lobby. I was taken aback when he thought I was checking out of the hotel. If had been paying attention he would have noticed that I was checking in just two minutes earlier.

I’m not sure if it’s their policy but not assisiting customers with luggage is very unwelcoming.

I was shown the lifts and found the room.

I needed to swipe the key to access the floor number. It’s bizarre that Hilton need to do this. You would think they would easily be able to distinguish genuine guests from intruders.

The Room

The room was a standard room, with some design features I quite liked. But there was a separate floor area that wasn’t particularly comfortable. The bath room had a walk in shower, but no bath. There were the standard fixed toiletries on the wall, with no disposable toiletries that you might have been given before the no-plastic rule.

The hotel had a hidden closet that is part of the streamlined design of the hotel, but it would have been nice if the closet was easier to access. There was an ironing board, iron, and hairdryer in a box on the desk. Stangely, there were no dressing gowns in the room . a real disappointment. I rang housekeeping to ask them where I could find a robe and they couldn’t tell me. I found this quite upsetting.

The room had a kettle with some teabags, instant coffee and two packs of biscuits. I was really hoping that they would have some espresso pods, but it wasn’t to be…. This would distinguish hotel from lower cost brands such as DoubleTree and Garden Inns.

The Bar

The hotel has an open and airy bar/restaurant in the ground floor. Coming in, it was not clear to us where we could sit. It didn’t feel like it was a bar or a restaurant and more like they were trying to fit both into the same space.

I started to film the empty area on my phone but was quickly approached by the member of staff on duty who wanted to know what I was doing. It was quite upsetting to be spoken to like this. I explained that I wanted to record the bar for a video, he seemed satisfied by this explantion.

The bar menu had a usual drinks menu, and we didn’t want any of the food. I made a point of ordering the Valentine’s cocktail which was strong and well-mixed, but a little pricey at 12 pounds, My partner ordered the sparkling rose. The bar is running a promotion with Chapel Down, but unfortunately, they had already run out of it, the manager was unable to explain when they would have any bottles delivered.

The bed

I felt that the bed was certainly a higher quality than that of other Hilton brands. I got a reasonable night’s sleep. In the morning, I went down to the restaurant for breakfast. At 9.20, I had probably chosen the busiest time of all for breakfast.


Staff led me to my table and explained some of the choices available.

The food was artistically displayed. I took my phone out and was ready to record the display. Sadly, I wasn’t able to film very much as two members of staff hurried over to ask me to stop filming right away. I was quite annoyed at this point. One of the reasons that I stay in hotels is to record the experience for myself and other guests. If I can’t do this , I will be less willing to use Hilton Hotels.


It was £20 for the full breakfast. That’s a lot. But do note you can order bespoke items from the kitchen, such as home-made waffles, and omelettes. I tried both, and the omelette was really superb. I certainly didn’t need to order any more eggs after that. The other selections of food were very much in line with what you would expect to see. Maybe they could add something uniquely British, such as a Chelsea bun or an eccles cake?

Pool and Gym

After making a video in the room. I went back down to tuse the fitness area. There is a gym and a swimming pool. The gymn was empty, so I was able to get a good workout done.

Then it was into the pool, this was quiet too. Hilton have designed a very impressive pool that is the highlight of the hotel. It’s lit in such away that the area feels bigger than it is. It’s just a pool, there is no sauna. It wasn’t a problem for me as I wanted to swim and that’s what I did.

Checking out

I left my key with reception and I was on my way. To be honest, the staff could have treated me with more gratitude, I expect after the phone filming incident they were happy to see me leave. In fact, felt that the staff could have been more proactive and helpful during my stay.


I’m not in love with this hotel. It’s small, the design isn’t very impressive. If you are a first time visitor, it will be a good first place to stay but bear in mind you will be miles from decent shops. There are many hotels nearby that may offer better value, so look around.

A confession : Why I prefer Swimsuits over Bikinis

Now I like a bikini as much as any man. But whislt a lot of women wear them, most women simply don’t have the body for them. So here’s why I think swimsuits are more suitable for women.

1. A swimsuit has more coverage than a twopiece bikini set. The stomach area is not especially attractive and the swimsuit does a great job concealing it. 

2. A swimsuit is more stable and will be less likely to fall off, reveal breasts or other body parts.

3. Swimsuits are more archicterual and come with more support, although bikinis have differences, none are very different.

4. Swimsuits are available in custom designs, and shapes. For someone not sure, there is even the option of a monokini. Usually it’s a swimsuit with a part cut out and therefore more revealing than a standard swimsuit but still a one-piece. 

5. Women look better in a swimsuit. Larger women shouldn’t wear a bikini, whislt younger women often do, it’s tricky to find a bikini that looks good. Swimsuits are therefore the safest option for anyone who doesn’t have a perfectly toned body, or isn’t 8 years old.

Legs Miss-behave in Bulgaria

VISITORS to Bulgaria will notice that alongside the Cyrillic alphabet, mashed carrot, and powerful rackia, the country is noted for its traditional yet glamorous women.

Although we will see women in Western Europe still sometimes wearing feminine dress, it’s more of a fashion statement as opposed to regular uniform, because the rules on dress have loosened considerably.

Typically, Bulgarian women dress in a noticeably more feminine way. That means typically longer hair, modest dress, and make-up. And it’s far more common that women in Bulgaria wear tights or stockings underneath their trousers and skirts, in all weathers. As in many countries, the ordained dress code for professional women has included strict guidelines for what women should wear to the office.

As in Japan, Spain,  Eastern Europe, Bulgarian women still dress in a more formal and professional way.

I wondered if there were other reasons why Bulgarian women are more likely to cover their legs. Was it the weather? I couldn’t discount it, although it was not particularly cold when I was there.

Was it because there are factories in the city where nylons and stockings are manufactured, making them more affordable than in other cities? That may be a more likely reason.

To try to understand the phenomenon more closely, I visited a small, kiosk in the city centre selling all manner of ladies hosiery. At around 6:30, the store was attended by an old, somewhat matronly lady of about 55. I was aware that my visit was greeted by some surprise, but I wasn’t put off from browsing through the various items on display.

There were dark, tan, and flesh coloured tights in various denier. In the end, I purchased the pair (*pictured below). Not knowing the word for stockings, I couldn’t exchange my purchase for what I really wanted. But it was a nice experience all the same. I imagined how it must feel to wear fabric that clung so sensuously close to the skin. To be aware of it and to be have to adjust it now and again, as women often did.

At the end of my trip, I was still not to sure if women really wore stockings more commonly, or it was just the ones I encountered that did. But it was true of various women I encountered. The expensively dressed glamazons entereing a state function in the government building definitely were wearing stockings or tights (an expert would be able to tell either way). And the last Bulgarian women to really impress me, could well have been wearing stockings under her official airport uniform – if only she hadn’t been behind a desk.

And so, I came away from my trip with a greater appreciation for the women I had met, if only for a very short period of time.

Flying Business Class: Is it worth it?

Is flying Business Class worth it?

The main Reasons for flying business class

Greater seat room.

You can spread out more. And there is more space next to you due to one seat kept empty, in most economy cabins there are three seats in each row, with a narrow gap for the aisle. Sit on the aisle and you have people knocking your shoulder as they walk past. There is a gap between the seats Business, meaning you won’t be given the least popular middle seat.

With economy, you also tend to be closer to the engine, and this makes for a noisier flight. All seats in business are nearer the front, but you will still hear some of the engine noise.

Faster check-in

You have your own queue for checking in and boarding. When I flew economy from London, I was able to self-check in. That was not the case when I came back by business. The second time, I had luggage to check in. Business class gives you 2 bags you can check in, whereas in economy, you pay for all your checked luggage. Something I really appreciate is being able to board with just a small bag, and I don’t want to have to worry about any liquids being thrown away. I was very pleased when I watched the ground staff member carefully wrap a tag on my luggage marked ‘priority’ and the bag was well looked after with no damages on the other end, something which won’t always be the case when travelling economy.

A separate queue for boarding.

Economy passengers must wait longer because they can’t board first. However, I joined a separate queue for business travellers so I could enjoy more time in the airport café instead of wasting time queuing. I could also have used my business ticket for entry to the lounge, but I couldn’t see the need for it as I knew I was going to be eating and drinking on the plane.

A nicer experience generally

There is more of a sense of being looked-after when in first or business. The flight out had only two crew members in the main cabin. It was obvious that there were more staff out in front. My business flight confirmed this as true. There were four cabin crew in business. I never had to look around to see where the FAs were, and I never felt ignored.

Food and beverage options

I’m used to being given only a bag of crisps and water as a ‘snack’ when I travel economy with British airways. If you want more , you’l need to order online, paying for the privilege so that you can have something extra to eat. Yet in business, I was offered a full meal, bread roll, then coffee. All of this was clearly airplane food, but it was nice to have. It’s true that airlines make sure that economy must be basic so that customers are made to feel more special if they fly business. Unfortunately, the reality is also if you are a business traveller you will have more food than you need. Often this food would be more appreciated by those who are never offered it and sit there going hungry.

Free drinks

The choice of drinks is great when flying  on a higher status ticket. I was given champagne, tomato juice, and then wine with meal. I could have had more, but that would have been greedy, I even asked for ginger ale, and that was given to me. And some customers were able to order Baileys.  These would need to be paid for in ecomony, so you can factor in the cost of free drinks when you fly Business Class.

Mixing with interesting passengers

In some ways, the business class section of a flight can be like a member’s club. Not that I fly business all too regularly, but this is the impression I have. The passengers I flew with on Saturday were all likely to have been frequent flyers with the British Airways Club Europe membership privilege programme.

When I fly economy, I always worry that I’ll be sat next to someone who either wants to talk too much, or doesn’t want to talk at all. Or just a very boring person that isn’t interesting to interact with. It’s possible that you could meet a better class of passenger flying business. But The downside of business is you might not feel confident starting a conversation with someone who may have a higher status than you.

On my way out, I was talking to a flyer who was only flying out to come back again, all so that he could maintain his status with British Airways Club Europe.

In fact, the reason why Sofia is a popular destination is it’s one of the only airports to allow passengers to arrive at the airport and depart without going through security. No wonder then that there were so many travellers flying business on the Saturday I flew. They had probably gone out on the 7:40 London flight, and come back on the next available flight at 1:50.

More mileage points.

BA have recently changed their points allocation, instead of points being issued per mile flown, you’ll receive points for the number of pounds spent on your ticket.

I’m not expecting many points for my £49 economy ticket, but my return business class seat was 25,000 aveos plus €128 euros. I probably spent too many aveos for the flight, but still, I’ll receive at least 6000 points back in my account for a single outward journey. When you book a flight, the price really depends on so many factors, for example the time, day of the week and the demand for the destination. If you search around, you can fly one way in Business for £300, short haul.

Ultimately, is it worth it?

The price can be very high for benefits you won’t necessarily need. On the other hand, it’s a very pleasant experience that you won’t find in many other places. Because BA cabin crew really enjoy their job, they take pleasure in serving their customers. You can really feel it. I don’t know of any other area of the service industry that is so consistent when it comes to hospitality. BA like to treat their Club Europe travellers members well, because they don’t want to lose them. It may be unfair, but economy passengers don’t receive such glowing service because they aren’t so valuable to the airline.

I’ll continue to fly business when I can, but I’ll be using economy more.

The price difference does not always make sense. With an early morning flight, it’s more common to want to sleep than enjoy meal service on board. If eating is important to you and you don’t want to fly business, you can always bring your own food on the airport it’s the afternoon and evening flights where the service and the food offerings really come into their own. It would be nice to see the standards of economy rise, but I don’t see that as very likely, so that instead of getting the very least in service and food and beverage, you receive something closer to what is given in business class.

Is Taiwan your next Destin-Asian?

IS THIS your next DESTIN-Asian?

Taiwan has long gone under the radar as an Asian travel venue. It seems that travellers skip if for Japan, or Korea, or even China. Yet why Taiwan has fewer visitors than these countries isn’t so clear . As well as beaches and mountains, the country has a warm climate all-year round. 

It has one of the highest standards of living in all of asia, being one of the economic powers of the post war eras.The country offers free access to internet and western democratic freedoms. 

On top of this, the people are noticeably more kind, likely to help and polite, something that really comes across when you spend any time with them

The country might be a bit expensive for a backpacker, but still, it’s similar in price to Japan and more affordable than Singapore.

Here are some places you can visit on your first trip to Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.

Shilin Night Market

Shown recently in the hit comedy, Fresh off the Boat, this is a great place if you want to eat food at night. Just make sure to tell the difference between the good fakes and the bad fakes, or you might end up like Eddie.

Taiwan National University

Founded in 1928, this prestigious research university has 7 campuses & a botanical garden.


Although it’s not as famous as beaches in Thailand or Bali, Kenting has many beautiful places for swimming, sunbathing and cycling.

Photo: Alexis JetSets
Photo: dj.Kaihan


THE LAST place I have to recommend is MOONSTAR 360. An incinerator is the last place you would expect to find a revolving restaurant! Perched 120 meters up, the restaurant is a great lookout at the city of Taipei. In case you are concerned about the air quality, to make the air quality safe for the restaurant, the incinerator was fitted with special anti pollution devices.

The restaurant uses the power from the incinerator, a great way to recycle all of the city’s waste.

There is a viewing platform 4 meters below the restaurant that offers panoramic view of the estuary of the Tamshui river and its bird reservation, as well as the distant mountain ranges. You can also see Yangming Shan, Kuan-yin Shan and the whole of the Taipei Basin.

Photo credit: https://www.google.com/maps/contrib/114219345168727014283/photos/@25.0551306,121.510127,17z/data=!4m3!8m2!3m1!1e1

Can I still live in England?

Some thing happened since the last few years and I don’t think it’s totally related to COVID , but it doesn’t help. I don’t really enjoy living in England. That’s not a new feeling for me but I’ve started to feel progressively stronger anti-UK now.

Although it’s a bit of an exaggeration, I don’t always feel safe here. Something about the language and the people create strong feeling of unease that often leads to paranoia. When I was driving, I didn’t notice so much, but now I’m taking public transport, I see weirdos everywhere, and it’s very uncomfortable to have to face it directly.

Something I’ve tried to shy away from is exclusive male company, which was easy when I was growing up, but is harder now. I’ve become estranged from many of the women I went to school with, not by choice, but because that is what happens as you grow older. But England has always seemed a horribly aggressive place where violence is simmering just below the surface.

England Football fans are notorious for violence at European tournaments

it’s not just men, but women that I’m scared of, the differences between men and women have gradually eroded to leave a mass of people with little to distinguish themselves from each other.

Take a good look at this lady, she’ll soon be a thing of the past.

As a child, I saw that women wore skirts, and men wore trousers. Yet now is rarer to see women wearing skirts, or stockings, or anything that might make them appear feminine. That is no longer the goal, it’s clear. Instead, coarseness, ugliness and violence is the order of the day.

Take look a the video, and you’ll see that I’m not exaggerating.

Have you visited my Youtube channel?

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