Alongside academia I maintain an exciting career in journalism, starting out as a music and culture writer before moving into travel and leisure - with an expertise in Thailand, Malta & The Balkans.
Japan's ultimate lesson in gratitude
Despite enduring 150 years of oppression, the Indigenous Ainu people still retain a strong sense of appreciation for the world – and travellers can now experience this in person.
Each satisfying crunch of compacted powder underfoot was a small victory as I stepped between linden trees, trying to keep my balance, wearing snowshoes for the first time in my life. I used to hate snow with a passion, but on this occasion I couldn't stop beaming, thankful for every step of the woodland that hugs ...
How to Find a Tattoo-Friendly Onsen in Japan
Not all Japanese onsen are tattoo-friendly, but luckily, some are.
Sinking into steaming water is one of life’s great joys, and there’s nowhere better to soak any aches and worldly concerns away than a Japanese onsen. Loved by tourists almost as much as the locals, for whom visiting the bathhouse is a way of life, onsen are found up and down the island nation, as the volcanic and mountainous terrain provides hot springs by the thousands, which pump mineral-laden water into these extremely zen...
Is this Japan’s most sustainable city? Getting your green on in Sapporo
Almost unbelievably, soup curry tastes as good as it smells. It’s something I didn’t think possible as the enticing waft of masala stewed vegetables hit my nostrils – my mouth watering before I’d even picked up a spoon.
Coined soul food by the handful of Sapporo restaurants who’ve been serving these bowls since the 1970s, soup curry is fresh as food comes and as spicy as you request. “These vegetables are all from Hokkaido?” I ask my waiter in Soup Curry Treasure, who smiles kindly. “Yes, all...
How to plan a cheaper visit to Japan in cherry blossom season
Japan is a dream destination for many travellers. Neon-flooded cities, diverse food scenes and sights of natural wonder all add to its appeal. The third largest tourist destination in Asia, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation, is also the world’s third largest economy.
After its Government lifted all Covid-related entry restrictions in October, tourism helped Japan return to growth in the final quarter of 2022.
It may not be a cheap holiday prospect, but Japan can be visited on a b...
Italy vs Croatia: which dreamy Mediterranean country has the edge?
If you’re planning a Mediterranean getaway, you’re spoiled for choice. Not that such a choice is ever an easy one.
And if you’re picking between a trip to timeless Italy or dazzling Croatia, the decision is all but excruciating. Which is why we’ve asked two of our most informed and ardent correspondents to lay out the case for why their pick holds the edge.
Lonely Plan-it: how to plan a Croatian island-hopping adventure
In Lonely Plan-it, we take you step by step through how we planned some of the most complicated travel adventures, so you can recreate them yourself with ease. Here, writer Lucie Grace shares how to put together the perfect Croatian island-hopping trip.
When I moved to Croatia, I was aware of length of the country and its sprawling coastline. But the number of islands and islets here? That came as a surprise.
“More than 1200” is definitely not the answer I would have guessed. So after arrivin...
Why you should skip Dubvronik and head to sensational Šibenik instead
In 2022, Croatia, a nation of just four million people, welcomed 18.9 million visitors. So it’s fair to say that tourism in this European nation is once again thriving.
And for good reason. It’s a downright stunning country, full of natural wonders and fascinating history. And this isn’t a recent trend: people have been heading for holi...
The Fabulous Second Life of a Forgotten Princess Revealed
CHIANG MAI, Thailand—The funeral of Chao Duang Duen Na Chiang Mai, the last princess of the now dissolved Lanna Kingdom of Northern Thailand, was just as grandiose as the extraordinary life she led.
“It’s a funeral?” one onlooking traveler asks, “why are they wearing white?” Lanna don’t wear black and Saturday was the last day of a week-long, Lanna last rites ceremony. The Abbot had blessed the coffin, now nestled in a small mobile “castle” ready to be led in procession by alms bearers, an el...
Chiang Mai city guide: Where to stay, eat drink and shop in Thailand’s northern creative hub
Chiang Mai, lovingly known as Thailand’s “second city”, is a place where contemporary culture meets ancient tradition; a low-rise, wide spanning metropolis full of medieval architecture, hip live music venues and a deeply Buddhist population.
Founded in 1296, the city sits between mountains, jungle, river and rice fields, so is in close proximity to nature on all sides – with views of the mountains framing most west facing streets. The medieval moat and walls mark out the perfectly squared ol...
Exploring Thailand’s underrated wellness capital Bangkok
Lucie Grace explores health and wellness in Bangkok.
Thailand's gargantuan capital is one of the region's most fast-paced and hectic. But glance beneath the surface and you'll find one of the most varied wellness scenes in southeast Asia. There is no denying Bangkok’s lively reputation; like so many capitals it attracts people from across the country, and indeed the world, who work hard and play hard. But to pigeonhole the metropolis solely as the home of the beer-fuelled chaos of Khao San Ro...
The Bangkok-to-Singapore train voyage that will make you fall in love with overland travel
On the rumbling, slow train from Gemas, southern Malaysia, I’m seated between a family of seven Tamil-Malaysian women, tiffin boxes clanging as they offer me some lunch. After snapping the obligatory selfies, we have a chat about marriage - they’re on their way to a family wedding in Johor Bahru, a big city and land gateway to Singapore. The train lurches, stopping and starting.
It’s the last stretch of track in Malaysia without a high speed service and the gentle pace gives me cinematic view...
Will Legal Weed Make a Thailand Hotspot the Next Amsterdam?
Aside from a few canals and the seasonal influx of backpackers, there was previously little in the way of similarities between the capital of the Netherlands and Thailand’s second city Chiang Mai. But that all changed this summer, when cannabis use was decriminalized and the “capital of the north” turned into a smokers’ paradise overnight. On first glance, Chiang Mai looks like it could be the new Amsterdam.
“It’ll be the Amsterdam for East Asia,” muses Sunny of weed cafe Three Bees. Sunny, as...
Croatia’s Best Kept Secret? Its Decaying Communist Ruins
hen we think of Croatia, angular concrete is not the first thing that springs to mind. Instead it’s images of yachts and jetset types at bijou boutique hotels on pebble beaches –and maybe even a bit of Game of Thrones nerdery at walled medieval cities thrown in. But while driving a stretch of the 1,800 km coastline, or further off the beaten track in rural suburbs, you’ll likely run into a masterpiece of 20th century architecture–they’re dotted all over the country.
From seaside hotels and sa...
Rijeka city guide: Where to stay, eat, drink and shop in Croatia’s historic port
Croatia’s third-largest city after the capital Zagreb and coastal favourite Split, underrated Rijeka is generally overlooked by tourists, who tend to pass through en route to the islands. But among Croatians, this historic spot is well known and loved as the cultural capital of the country.
A phoenix from the ashes, the city’s Hapsburg grandeur and industrial prominence had long since faded by the 1970s and 1980s, when punk and new-wave musicians began using its abandoned warehouses for gigs ...
The Guide: Tirana, Albania
It might be famous for moody communist-era architecture, but Tirana has an upbeat liveliness and friendliness unusual for a capital city. Albania is a poster child for religious tolerance and getting on with the neighbours and Tirana is a microcosm of this: the city was first built by the Muslim Ottoman Turks and is the home to some stunning mosques, which means in some parts of town you can hear the call to prayer in one ear and the gentle beat of electronica from the bars in the other.