Experiences

Often it’s not so much where you go as what you do when you get there …

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15 things you MUST do in Saigon

Author and travel writer Jimmy Thomson  has been to Vietnam more times than he can recall without checking his passports. Here is his guide to the best experiences in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) – many of which your regular tour guides won’t even know about. GO TOPLESS Take a city tour in an open-topped […]

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Experiences Luxury

CARGO CULT: Cruising Pacific islands by working freighter

Nothing adds to the pleasure of a holiday quite like watching other people working, discovers  Jimmy Thomson, especially when it’s in the most remote islands in the Pacific There’s a first time for everything, especially on the maiden voyage of a new ship.  For me, it was the first time I had been on a cargo […]

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Experiences

Venice Virgin: A film festival first-timer

Back in September 1999 (was it really that long ago?) My partner Sue and I covered the Venice Film Festival. It was her second time there, and my first. As a Venice Virgin I found it exhausting and exhilarating in equal parts, as I hope this piece I wrote for the brilliant Urban Cinefile website conveys. […]

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Experiences

Cuba keeps the wheels turning

March 2016 Cuba is on the move. Its government Cuba and the USA are talking about allowing direct flights from American soil, although, while the USA is gung-ho, the Cubans are more reticent. And the first US-based cruise ships in more than 50 years have already docked, while swish air-conditioned buses whisk droves of mostly […]

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Experiences

Cuba gets ready to rock as Obama and the Stones roll in

[huge_it_slider id=”2″] “Compromiso,” says Johan Machin Morales, owner of one of Cuba’s most popular casa particulares, “that is all we really need.” Johan is referring to Cubans’ hopes for the outcomes from the visit of American President Barack Obama this weekend. As the operator of a casa in the tourist mecca of Trinidad, Johan knows […]

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Experiences

Perfumed path from movie madness

Between the Cannes film festival, the motor racing Grand Prix in Monaco and billionaire weddings in Antibes you can sample more glamour along France’s Cote D’Azure than you can shake a champagne flute at.  It’s not just the famous film festival – there are half a dozen major festivals in Cannes every year, including two […]

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Experiences

Travel Notes from Laos

Visiting Laos is a bit like going to Vietnam 20 years ago before that country’s “Open Door” policy showed that Communist countries can extract Capitalist dollars just by offering a few decadent luxuries to overseas travellers. Laos still relatively less developed, in terms of tourism. But the scenery between Vientiane and Luang Prabang is stunning […]

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Experiences Favourite places

Glasgow’s hidden gems

It’s 3.30 on a fairly typical Glasgow Spring afternoon, and I am standing in horizontal freezing rain in the midst of a fake Neolithic stone circle. Behind me, a 20-storey apartment block – which is actually older than the stone circle – is being nibbled into non-existence by a giant drill. “Look,” says Dr Kenneth […]

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Experiences

Scenes of the crimes

By Jimmy Thomson The elegant woman along the counter had seen better days and worse nights, judging by her sad eyes and “step away” glances. Another lost soul at the Gumbo Pot. “Tourist?” Her question was delivered with a smile but arrived like a threat. I tried to look amused, rather than busted. “It’s just, […]

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Experiences Vietnam

Stop the bus: Confessions of a tour guide

“Stop the bus!” The only time you usually get to say that on an organised tour is at a time of disaster: Someone’s been left behind, last night’s dinner turns out to have been as suspicious as it was delicious, or you’re on the wrong bus completely. Unless, of course, you are running the tour. […]

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