Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

The Morocco Diaries, Part 10 of 10: Essaouira

The Santorini of North Africa? The seaside town of Essaouira is the antithesis to everything I had yet experienced in Morocco.

The Santorini of North Africa? The seaside town of Essaouira is the antithesis to everything I had yet experienced in Morocco.

THE MOROCCO DIARIES, 
PART 10 of 10 - ESSAOUIRA

My tour of Morocco was approaching its zenith. After a week on the road that took me in a circle from the coast across the High Atlas Mountains, the final city to be discovered (before ending where I started, in Casablanca); I was ready for a laidback day and night in the coastal city of Essaouira. Although only a couple of hours’ drive from Marrakech, the atmopshere of Essaouira is a world apart: the seaside town is uncrowded and calm - here, the only crowds are of seagulls. Then there are the city’s colours. Everything is blue here; from the vibrant cobalt doors and window shutters to the turquoise taxis that linger around the gateway to the Medina. The Medina itself, an 18th century Unesco Word Heritage site, is a fine example of European military architecture in North Africa. With its strong European influences, a constant refreshing salty breeze, and next to no crowds; Essaouira was a serene scene that was unexpected but very welcome.

MUCH MOROCCO
November 09, 2018

The Morocco Diaries, Part 10 of 10: Essaouira

The Santorini of North Africa? The seaside town of Essaouira is the antithesis to everything I had yet experienced...

The Morocco Diaries, Part 9 of 10: How Argan Oil is Made - From Tree-Climbing Goats to Women's Cooperatives

How Argan Oil is Made - From Tree-Climbing Goats to Women's Cooperatives in Morocco

Grease me up, buttercup!


THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 9 of 10:
THE ARGAN OIL ROUTE FROM 
MARRAKECH TO ESSAOUIRA


Argan oil. Blessed liquid gold. The darling of the beauty industry - nourishing, lightweight, and versatile. Ladies in the know use it on their skin, their cuticles, in their hair. Myself, I’ve stopped washing my waist-length hair with conditioner, instead using argan oil on the mid-to-ends to keep my tresses happy. I knew that the best argan oil comes from and is native to Morocco, but I had only the vaguest idea of how it is harvested and produced. So it was rather a treat to visit a women’s cooperative and see the traditional methods used to produce this precious ingredient, buy my beloved argan oil (and other) products straight from the source, as well as witness for myself the legendary tree-climbing goats of Morocco


MUCH MOROCCO
November 05, 2018

The Morocco Diaries, Part 9 of 10: How Argan Oil is Made - From Tree-Climbing Goats to Women's Cooperatives

Grease me up, buttercup! THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 9 of 10: THE ARGAN OIL ROUTE FROM  MARRAKECH TO ESSAOUIR...

The Morocco Diaries, Part 8 of 10: 4½ Things to Do with 24 Hours in Marrakech

My 4½ Things to Do with 24 Hours in Marrakech, Morocco

Things to Do with
 24 Hours in Marrakech

THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 8 of 10: MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

At last, I had arrived in Marrakech. The iconic city that I had mistaken to be the capital of Morocco. A colourful, cacophonic, chaotic cauldron of sights, sounds, scents; and of course, souks. Rabat may be regal, Casablanca may be cosmopolitan; but Marrakech is the city that endures in the imagination of those yet to visit Morocco  mine included. Alas, I had only a day to soak up the best of what this famous city had to offer. Although I daresay my attempt proved to be fruitful - from shopping in the souk to languishing in one of the most luxurious hotels in Marrakech. Should you, too, find yourself in Marrakech for the first time with just a day to spare, this guide is for you. These are my 4½ Things to Do with 24 Hours in Marrakech.


MUCH MOROCCO
November 02, 2018

The Morocco Diaries, Part 8 of 10: 4½ Things to Do with 24 Hours in Marrakech

4½ Things to Do with   24 Hours in Marrakech THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 8 of 10: MARRAKECH, MOROCCO At last,...

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech

The Morocco Diaries, Part 7 of 10: Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech by Posh, Broke, & Bored

The Morocco Diaries, Part 6 of 10: Conquering the High Atlas Mountains

The Morocco Diaries, Part 6 of 10: Ksar Ait Benhaddou, The High Atlas Mountains, and Ourzazate by Posh, Broke, & Bored



Of Hollywood studios, Game of Thrones, and the highest point in Morocco...

THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 6 of 10: THE HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS

So far, it felt like an inordinate portion of my Morocco trip had been dominated by the High Atlas Mountains. This would be the final leg of my journey through the mountains. Take a good look before we say goodbye to them...

MUCH MOROCCO

October 22, 2018

The Morocco Diaries, Part 6 of 10: Conquering the High Atlas Mountains

Of Hollywood studios, Game of Thrones,  and the highest point in Morocco... THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 6 ...

The Morocco Diaries, Part 5 of 10: Todra Gorge & Boumalne Dades

The Morocco Diaries, Part 5 of 10: How Todra Gorge completely changed the way I see Morocco, and how I got married off to a Berber family in Boumalne Dades by Posh, Broke, & Bored


How Todra Gorge completely changed the way I see Morocco, and how I got married off to a Berber family...


THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 5 of 10: 
TODRA GORGE & BOUMALNE DADES 


Before I had embarked on my virgin trip to Morocco my perception of the country was that of a barren land. But after being unexpectedly rained on in the Sahara Desert the night before, I now knew to not judge a book by its dusty cover. A visit to Todra Gorge - the Grand Canyon of the Sahara - would challenge everything I thought I knew about this beguilling country.


MUCH MOROCCO

October 19, 2018

The Morocco Diaries, Part 5 of 10: Todra Gorge & Boumalne Dades

How Todra Gorge completely changed the way I see Morocco, and how I got married off to a Berber family... ...

The Morocco Diaries, Part 4 of 10: Erfoud

Erfoud, Morocco: When a sunset   camel ride on the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert doesn't go as planned... by Posh, Broke, & Bored




THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 4 of 10: ERFOUD


Of sunsets and storms on the sand dunes of the Sahara...

It’s the journey, not the destination, that matters. At least, that’s what I console myself when my plans don’t go my way. I had come to the edge of the Sahara desert to ride, for the first time, on camels as the sun set on the sand dunes. A fairly reasonable request given the desert’s proclivity for blazing sunsets or at least  dryness. However - as I would find out after a long and ardous journey - the bizzare and the unexpected have a tendency to follow me around the world...



October 15, 2018

The Morocco Diaries, Part 4 of 10: Erfoud

THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 4 of 10: ERFOUD Of sunsets and storms on the sand dunes of the Sahara... It’s the journey,...

The Morocco Diaries, Part 3 of 10: Fez

The Morocco Diaries, Part 3 of 10: Fez by Posh, Broke, & Bored




THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 3 of 10: FEZ

What a way to reach a climax. I had begun my tour of Morocco’s four Imperial Cities with Rabat (current and deceptively modern but for its UNESCO Heritage landmark), followed by Meknes (at a glance, modest and even shabby but home to one of the world’s greatest doors). The next destination would be Fez; arguably the most exciting of the country’s former capitals (although Marrakech would beg to differ; it being Fez’s biggest competition). What is indisputable is that Fez is the oldest of the Imperial Cities, first established as capital in the ninth century under Sultan Idriss II, a great-great grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Fez’s status as capital has since come and gone with different dynasties, but its fixture in the imagination has remained, for its famous medina - the largest in the world - and its souks, the likes of which are nothing like anything else in the country...




October 12, 2018

The Morocco Diaries, Part 3 of 10: Fez

THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 3 of 10: FEZ What a way to reach a climax . I had begun my tour of Morocco’s four Imperial...

The Morocco Diaries, Part 2 of 10: Rabat and Meknes

The Morocco Diaries, Part 2 of 10: The Imperial Cities of Rabat and Meknes by Posh, Broke, & Bored


THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 2 of 10: RABAT & MEKNES


How many Imperial Cities does a country need? Many nations have a historical capital, usually the seat of the royal family, whether reigning or depose, and modern capital (Kyoto and Tokyo, St Petersburg and Moscow; to name two). But for Morocco, one former capital won’t do: instead, the country has had three previous capitals in addition to the current one, Rabat. By the end of my trip I would have visited all 4 of Morocco’s Imperial Cities - Rabat, Meknes, Fez, and Marrakech. In this story, Part 2 of my 10-Part Moroccan Diaries, I glide through 2 of Morocco’s Four Imperial Cities: Meknes and the capital (for now - you never know if Morocco will change her mind again), Rabat.



October 09, 2018

The Morocco Diaries, Part 2 of 10: Rabat and Meknes

THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 2 of 10: RABAT & MEKNES How many Imperial Cities does a country need?  Many nations have ...

The Morocco Diaries, Part 1 of 10: Casablanca

The Morocco Diaries, Part 1 of 10: Casablanca by Posh, Broke, & Bored





THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 1 of 10: CASABLANCA

It was an adventure long in the making. I have always dreamt of Africa, but until my recent trip to Morocco I had never stepped foot in any of the continent’s 54 countries. Several years ago, I was taking a summer in the south of Spain with a group of friends. On a whim, the group wanted to go to Morocco that very same day. Our spontaneity was dashed when we realised that I needed to apply for a visa, which would’ve taken weeks. Fast forward to 27 December 2017 and the Kingdom of Morocco agreed that all Malaysians could visit visa-free. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present. So a trip to Morocco was booked for the following September: a tour spanning several towns and cities with sights and experiences so diverse that I felt like I got a decent overview of what this country had to offer. From the tree-climbing goats of Agadir to the urban cacophony of Marrakech, my Moroccan experience was everything I had dreamt of and more. 

I’m so very excited to share with you my journey with my Moroccan Diaries, a 10-part series of travel stories spanning 13 cities and towns. The first and the last of the destinations was the port city of Casablanca. Although often overlooked for its more atmospheric (read: Insta-worthy) siblings such as Chefchaouen and Marrakech, Casablanca is the best representation of the modern nation. The former pirate lair-turned economic capital of the country, Casablanca  Morocco’s largest city, has its sights set firmly across the Atlantic and onto the future. Here’s looking at you, kid.


October 05, 2018

The Morocco Diaries, Part 1 of 10: Casablanca

THE MOROCCO DIARIES, PART 1 of 10 : CASABLANCA It was an adventure long in the making. I have always dreamt o...

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam: A Day Trip in the Capital of "The Most Boring Country In Southeast Asia"

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam: A Day Trip in the Capital of "The Most Boring Country In Southeast Asia"




STRANDED IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, THE CAPITAL 
OF BRUNEI AKA “THE MOST BORING COUNTRY 
IN SOUTH EAST ASIA” (MAYBE EVEN THE WORLD)


“Why...” my step-grandfather frowned quizzically, “...would you want to go to Brunei?” Coming from an expert on Borneo (Malaysian, Indonesian, and Bruneian - here’s a photo of him as a schoolboy giving The Duke of Edinburgh the lowdown on Bornean industry), this was not encouraging. “Well,” I explained, “My mission for this year is to visit all the countries of South East Asia that I haven’t yet, and I thought Brunei would be the easiest since it’s only an hour flight from here.” We were in Kota Kinabalu, one of the two East Malaysian states that comprises North Borneo. “Besides,” I continued, “I know there’s not that much to see, so I’ll just be making a day trip to Bandar Seri Begawan...”  My Uncle Robert snickered, “That’s one day too many.”  I ignored him: “...I’ll have more than enough time to see the capital’s highlights and be back in time for dinner.” Or so I thought. You know the saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions?” Well, despite my best of intentions to debunk Brunei’s reputation as The Most Boring Country in South East Asia; despite my research, preparation, and aptitude at speaking the language, I would find myself trapped in purgatory thanks to a series of unfortunate events. So much so that I was traumatised by my day trip to Bandar Seri Begawan and hadn’t touched these photos in 5 months. Well, it’s time to crack open Pandora’s Box. I shall tell you my story, or rather, cautionary tale. So many questions to be asked! Is Brunei really a dry country? Does B.S.B - the abbreviation for Bandar Seri Begawan - actually stand for Boring, So Boring...? Is this what it sounds like when doves cry? Read on...





September 24, 2018

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam: A Day Trip in the Capital of "The Most Boring Country In Southeast Asia"

STRANDED IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN , THE CAPITAL  OF BRUNEI AKA “THE MOST BORING COUNTRY  IN SOUTH EAST ASIA” (MAYBE EVEN T...

Busan, South Korea: What to See in Winter

Beyond the sea: What to See in Winter in Busan, South Korea by Posh, Broke, & Bored




THERE’S MORE TO BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA, THAN ITS 
BEACHES, AS I FOUND OUT ON A COLD WINTER’S DAY...


Busan has been lauded as South Korea’s answer to Barcelona: a coastal town with a wide beach and more urban edge than its glossy inland cousin. Beyond its seaside charms, South Korea’s second largest city would have you know that you are in ‘Dynamic Busan, City of Tomorrow’. They’re not wrong. Some parts of Busan, especially downtown, rival the modernity in Seoul, if not outstrip it’s braggadociousness (braggadocity?). I’m talking about you, We’ve The Zenith - I’m not sure what this so-called zenith is, unless it’s a reference to being the tallest residential building in the world. Busan wants to talk about its vision for the future, while visitors think of its coastal charms (seven, count ‘em, seven beach districts). Both are very worthy reasons to visit. But of my brief sojourn in Busan, two things stood out the most to me; one of which was a pristine relic of its past, the other a exemplary case of urban regeneration done right. There is more to Busan than its beaches, as you’ll see (sea?)...



September 20, 2018

Busan, South Korea: What to See in Winter

THERE’S MORE TO BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA , THAN ITS  BEACHES,  AS I FOUND OUT ON A COLD WINTER’S DAY... Busan  has been ...

Seoul, South Korea: The 3 Places to See a Traditional Side of Seoul

South Korea: The 3 Places to See a Traditional Side of Seoul by Posh, Broke, & Bored



THE 3 PLACES IN SEOUL TO SEE THE 
TRADITIONAL SIDE OF SOUTH KOREA


A field of LED roses beside the Zaha Hadid-designed plaza in Dongdaemun. Shopping for skincare infused with snail secretion, starfish, seahorse (or whatever animal ingredient is in vogue) in Myeongdong. That earworm that both satirised and introduced to the wider world the flashy, luxury district of Gangnam. Whatever you know about Seoul, the capital of South Korea; it’s likely to be trend-led, modern, and futuristic. In fact, the highlight of my visit to Seoul in 2014 was the Dior Cafe, housed in a building that resembled an oversized tooth. But there are parts of the city that still clings on to the classics, where you can get a feel for the old soul of Seoul. I visited three such places in my previous visit, last winter. Here are my 3 Places in Seoul to See the Traditional Side of South Korea.




September 17, 2018

Seoul, South Korea: The 3 Places to See a Traditional Side of Seoul

THE 3 PLACES IN SEOUL TO SEE THE  TRADITIONAL SIDE OF SOUTH KOREA A field of LED roses beside the Zaha Hadid-designed pl...

Okinawa, Japan: The Hawaii of Japan

Okinawa: 48 Hours in The Hawaii of Japan by Posh, Broke, & Bored
September 13, 2018

Okinawa, Japan: The Hawaii of Japan

Tokyo, Japan: 24 Hours in Tokyo

Go Tokyo! 24 Hours in Tokyo, Japan by Posh, Broke, & Bored



TOKYO, JAPAN: 24 HOURS IN THE 
WORLD’S LARGEST MEGACITY


Go, go, go! It’s no wonder that the official Tokyo city guide is called Go Tokyo. This megacity of 38 million people has a reputation of being fast, forward, and futuristic. From robot restaurants to capsule hotels (let’s not even mention Tokyo Drift), the capital of Japan is a frenetic city of skyscrapers, electric lights, and concentrated craziness. Tokyo is like the most extra of Blade Runner and Ghost In The Shell combined, with maid cafes (where doe-eyed waitresses in French maid costumes fawn over customers: “Welcome home, master!”). The future is here, and it looks like this. Having just come from Kyoto, the former imperial city and the spiritual and traditional heart of the country, Tokyo was a rapid change of pace that threw me for a loop. Even more so because I had only a full day to reacquaint myself with a city that is too fast for my tired, bootie-clad feet to keep up with. This is not a city guide, but rather my photo diary of the electricity of this insane city as well as the contrasts of its pockets of tranquility. Here are the sights I saw in my 24 Hours in Tokyo, Japan.



September 10, 2018

Tokyo, Japan: 24 Hours in Tokyo

TOKYO, JAPAN: 24 HOURS IN THE  WORLD’S LARGEST MEGACITY Go, go, go ! It’s no wonder that the official Tokyo ci...

Kyoto, Japan: The Top 10 Things to See & Do


The Top 10 Things to See & Do in Kyoto, Japan by Posh, Broke, & Bored






TEN OUT OF TEN: THE TOP 10 THINGS 
TO SEE & DO IN KYOTO, JAPAN


I can think of few cities more evocative than Kyoto. It is, in fact, my favourite city in Japan. The Japanese way of life, philosophies, and customs speak to me of ritual, mystery, and spirituality. No other city in Japan is as steeped in these as the city of Emperors. Kyoto is old Japan in modern times - where the traditional arts and crafts are kept alive by generations of artisans, and where the last remaining geisha in Japan live and work in historic districts that remain practically unchanged for centuries. More than just the cultural capital of the country, Kyoto is also the spiritual heart of Japan - this is a city of temples and shrines, of torii gates and incense, of gods and spirits. 


Kyoto is the city to immerse yourself in the intricacies of Japanese culture - be it elaborate tea ceremonies, joyous hanami (cherry blossom viewing parties), or making offerings to fox statues at Shinto shrines. If you’re thinking of visiting Japan for the first time, I highly recommend you begin with Kyoto that you may understand the unique Japanese way of life. Either way, if Kyoto is new to you, I daresay I have you covered with my list of the Top 10 Things to See & Do in Kyoto, Japan.

September 06, 2018

Kyoto, Japan: The Top 10 Things to See & Do

TEN OUT OF TEN: THE TOP 10 THINGS  TO SEE & DO IN KYOTO, JAPAN I can think of few cities more evoca...

Kyoto, Japan: Four Seasons Kyoto

My review of my luxurious and refined stay at Four Seasons Kyoto, the best new luxury hotel in Japan - Posh, Broke, & Bored

September 03, 2018

Kyoto, Japan: Four Seasons Kyoto

Porto, Portugal: A Lazy Day in Porto

A Lazy Day in Porto, Portugal

A Lazy Day in Porto, Portugal


Much Ado About Doing Nothing:
A BLISSFUL LAZY DAY IN PORTO, PORTUGAL



Porto was the perfect antidote to my short but frenetic tour of Portugal. I had shown my mother (who was visiting Portugal for the first time) Lisbon in 24 hours, trekked across the hills of Sintra in search of castles in the sky, and made a day trip to Fatima to witness the largest gathering of Catholic pilgrims in the country. A highlights reel of 3 cities in as many days; travelling by train, coach, trams had made for a hectic pace, and it came as a relief to spend a lazy day in Porto before flying back to London.

That’s not to say that Porto had little to offer. Quite the contrary. From the moment the train emerged from the pitch-black tunnel to reveal a bird’s eye view of Rio Douro and her graceful arched bridges; Porto wowed me with the faded opulence of her medieval walls covered in hand-painted azulejo, the rustic charm of her hole-in-the-wall taverns, the prettiness of her pastel houses carved into hills that stopped short of the promenade, and the joie de vivre that one gets from sipping Port Wine by the riverbank from dusk till dawn. Porto, in short, was like a pop-up book of life’s greatest pleasures, laid out for the languid perusal at the tip of this lazy reader’s fingers. This is my photo diary from Porto I hope that it captures the sultry, sun-drenched, soirée I enjoyed during my last day in Portugal.



August 30, 2018

Porto, Portugal: A Lazy Day in Porto

Much Ado About Doing Nothing: A BLISSFUL LAZY DAY IN PORTO, PORTUGAL Porto   was the perfect antidote to my short but ...

New Taipei City, Taiwan: Driving along Taiwan's North Coast to Yehliu Geopark, Houtong Cat Village, Jiufen, & more

New Taipei City: Driving along Taiwan's North Coast to Yehliu Geopark, Houtong Cat Village, Jiufen, and more by Posh, Broke, & Bored


NEW TAIPEI CITY:  DRIVING ALONG TAIWAN’S NORTH COAST IN A SINGLE DAY

From cat villages to the town that inspired a Hayao Miyazaki film...

Rugged and beautiful. Dramatic but tranquil. Distinctly Chinese in appearance yet with a vague Japanese influence. From surfers’ paradise on fine sandy beaches to towns built into the sides of precipitously steep mountains, the terrain and landscape of Taiwan’s North Coast is a chocolate box of different flavours, with every sight more vastly contrasting to the last. I knew that New Taipei City (formerly Taipei County) was the most populous city in Taiwan, even more so than the capital it completely surrounds; but I didn’t expect the topmost section of this municipality to hold so many breathtaking sights in such a straight line. I spent a day driving through the incredibly scenic North Coast along the blue highway, whose geographic diversity is comparable to the Great Ocean Road and a world apart from most other Asian major cities. My experience is by no means exhaustive, but rather to demonstrate how achievable it is to visit 4 of the Taiwan’s North Coast most popular destinations from Taipei in a single day. Consider this an introduction to New Taipei City.



August 26, 2018

New Taipei City, Taiwan: Driving along Taiwan's North Coast to Yehliu Geopark, Houtong Cat Village, Jiufen, & more

NEW TAIPEI CITY:  DRIVING ALONG  TAIWAN’S NORTH COAST IN A SINGLE DAY From cat villages to the town that inspired a Hay...

Taipei, Taiwan: 8 Things To Do in Taipei

Taiwan: 8 Things To Do in Taipei by Posh, Broke, & Bored










EAT, SEE, & DO: 8 THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI, TAIWAN 


The last time we met in my Taiwan travel stories, I was showing you highlights of the world’s greatest collection of Chinese art at the National Palace Museum and the art-themed tasting menu at Silks Palace. I’ve also told you the story about how my family are connected to the founding of the country and how Taiwan, also known as Republic of China (not to be confused with their Communist cousins, the People’s Republic of China) came to be. Picking up where we left off, in today’s travel story I’d like to share with you the eight things you must see, eat, and do when in Taipei. Whether you have a personal history with Taiwan or looking to visit this young, curious country; whether you have just days to spare or have the luxury of a long trip, I daresay my recommendations encapsulate the essence of the best sights and experiences Taipei has to offer. 

August 23, 2018

Taipei, Taiwan: 8 Things To Do in Taipei

EAT, SEE, & DO: 8 THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI, TAIWAN   The last time we met in my Taiwan travel stories , I was...