BALLIEBALLERSON | LONDON NIGHT OUT


Is there a better way to celebrate hitting the big 2-5 than by grabbing a bunch of your adult friends to join you in a ball pit? The answer is no. A giant playground combined with cocktails is always a good idea. 
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LIVING LIKE A LOCAL IN VIETNAM | PHUONG JA HOMESTAY


My first night in Vietnam began in the rural district of Châu Thành, where I stayed with locals at the Phuong Ja Homestay. I couldn't have asked for a better welcome into Vietnam - the luscious, green landscapes surrounded us; a river flowed gently closeby, where families could be found floating down in their boats and friendly smiles greeted us from every direction. We got a chance to explore the village, meet and interact with some of the locals and get a glimpse into their way of living. 

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G ADVENTURES: MY EXPERIENCE TRAVELLING WITH A TOUR


Blogging about all of my amazing South East Asia adventures has me reminiscing about my first solo backpacking adventure with G Adventures. I definitely talk about it way too much but it was such a life changing experience and one of the best times of my life, so I'm going to talk about it a little bit more...As you may or may not know, when I say solo, I mean, I went by myself and joined onto a group tour. Even if it was with a group, it was still very daunting heading across the globe by myself meeting a group of strangers that I would then spend a whole month with. 
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5 THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONG


After discovering some super cheap tickets to Hong Kong, my mum and I found ourselves heading there last minute. Just us two. Something we'd never done before. Without being sure what to expect from Hong Kong I was excited to explore beyond the towering high rise building and discover an intriguing city laden with history, fun and amazing food! 


Visit Tai-O on Lantau Island

I fell in love with Tai-O; this humble fishing town gives you a glimpse into the tight community who places themselves on stilted housing over the calm waters of Lantau Island. Also home to a natural infinity pool nestled between the rocks over looking luscious foliage - what better place to enjoy a refreshing swim than in this wonderful lake? 

How to get here by MTR: Tung Chung Station

 See the Giant Buddha & Take the Glass Floor Cable Car

Climb the 268 steps to visit the mesmerising Tian Tan Buddha, also known as Giant Buddha - the wonderfully peaceful structure placed between green hills and mystical mountains reiterates the symbolic meaning of the harmonious connection between humans and nature. Opt to make your day even more special by taking the glass floor cable car to witness the mountains move beneath your feet. Also located on Lantau Island so squeeze in before/after Tai-O.

How to get here by MTR: Tung Chung Station


Shop your heart out in Mong Kok

An incredible hub for shopping, whether you're looking for clothing, bags, flowers and fish, this vibrant marketplace will have it. Marvel at the quirky energy of Kowloon, whether it's ladies dressed as maids or random men with their belly hanging out (and making creepily strong eye contact with you), grab a bubble tea and enjoy! There are also loads of authentic options for dining, with restaurants filled with locals on every corner, you won't be let down by the delicious options - just be warned there might be a chicken foot or two lurking in your soups...

How to get here by MTR: Kowloon Station


Visit the Vegas of the East in Macau

So technically not in Hong Kong, but this neighbouring city of Macau is just an hour (approx) ferry ride away. This colonial city oozes Portugese influence, almost making you feel like you're in Europe! It's known for the mix of temples and shrines, ruins brimming with history and most famously, the gambling with more revenue being produced here than Las Vegas!

How to get to Macau from Hong Kong: Head to the Shueng Wan MTR station, where you'll find the Hong Kong - Macau Ferry Terminal on Hong Kong Island. Price: 132 to 172 HKD (single trip, economy class).

Take the Tram to Victoria Peak

Use your Octopus card (your MTR pass) to take the tram up or get yourself a return ticket roughly 90 HKD so you can experience the panoramic views of this buzzing city. Not only is it an incredible viewpoint but look no further for the best rooftop bar/restaurant/shopping plaza combination. Grab yourself some dim sum or a cocktail and soak up the views. 

How to get there: Central Station 


Where to Stay in Hong Kong?
It's going to be a toss up on whether to stay on Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. Whilst I stayed in the vibrant area of Wan Chai on HK Island, close to the harbour and buzzing with restaurants, department stores and bars, if you're a backpacker and searching for hostel vibes, I recommend Kowloon. However, with the MTR (underground train) system being so efficient, it'll be easy to navigate around wherever you stay. Try hostels such as:

Hong Kong turned out to be so unexpectedly amazing, from the sights and whir of the city to the food - wow the food! Say goodbye to your sweet & sour chicken because the dishes here are beyond your local takeout.
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FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOI AN


Vietnam is a place bursting with culture, beauty and wonderful food and it won't take you long to fall in love, especially with Hoi An. After hopping on the overnight train the day before, we had an early arrival, so naturally, head out in search of breakfast. I knew I was going to enjoy it here as soon as I saw the menu. A banana fritter-like dish served with honey - for breakfast?! The crunchy fritter was warm, with gooey banana running through and the drizzle of honey sweetened it up. Delicious!


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5 THINGS TO DO IN HOI AN


Hoi An is a wonderfully, peaceful town doused in culture and beauty. Colourful lanterns stream across the streets, bright flowers flourish over buildings and intricate patterns are laced across buildings. Among the quaint streets, discover Chinese temples, a Japanese bridge and French Colonial buildings; the blend of cultures allowing for the charming, historic town to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's a haven for bespoke clothing and the perfect retreat for those wanting to unwind.


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AFTERNOON TEA AT THE BAGLIONI HOTEL


Being British, you'd be surprised at how little afternoon teas I've been to. This is the only one. But I know it's going to be hard to beat. I was lucky enough to be treated to a gorgeous afternoon tea at The Baglioni Hotel in Mayfair. This 5* establishment invited us with open arms - the decor luxurious and decadent. 
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UBUD HOTELS | PONDOK NAYA

Anyone who revels in the chaos of endless mopeds, the smells of fragrant food drifting from street vendors, temples laden with intricate architecture and sticky heat settling on your skin, you'll adore Indonesia. Bali, in particular. Home to the tranquil town of Ubud, where rice paddies and luscious forests engulf a serene haven, set far from the madness of Kuta.

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THE STRUGGLES OF EATING IN TOKYO

Food, Glorious Food

The people, the culture, the sights but most importantly, the food. All these factors that help to mould your feelings about a destination and push you to decide whether you did or didn't like that place. For me, food is a key factor and does tend to influence my feelings on a place. Japan was definitely interesting in terms of food. Putting aside the fact that I am a fussy eater, when in Tokyo, I tried to open my mind to all the quirky things I was about to experience. Reading blogs and guide books glorifying the Japanese delicacies and wonderfully unique creations, a mild excitement got me wondering if I'd become a sushi fanatic upon my return.

I can confirm, I most certainly did not. The language barrier had a small part to play and although the Japanese were more than welcoming and amused by our games of charades at every meal time, I couldn't help but feel hugely ignorant to the fact I had turned up to Japan thinking most people would have a basic understanding of English. Brit fail #1.

However, I concluded that raw fish, seaweed and pickled veggies are not my friend. Regardless, there were a few dishes that left a lovely Japan shaped stamp on my heart.

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TRAVEL TALES OF AN INTROVERT

I think I consider myself an introvert. I don't have tonnes of friends nor do I go out socialising very often and I'm probably far too comfortable in my own company. I've always been the quiet one, seemingly shy and will often pick a night in over a night out. It came as a shock to myself as much as it did my friends and family by finally biting the bullet and booking a two month trip to South East Asia. Alone. As much as I wanted to go with one of my friends, sisters or boyfriend, there were too many elements getting in the way and I just thought to myself that I have to do this now otherwise I'll never do it, in the hopes that someone might one day be able to come with me.

A week before I'm due to leave, I've overpacked my backpack and I'm so overwhelmed by a terrifying mix of emotions ranging from utter excitement to gut wrenching anxiety in an instant. Will I make friends? Is two months too long? Will I get sick of being with people everyday? I can honestly say these worries evaporated as soon as I stepped off the plane.
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