Thank you to my guest writer, Glasgow local Caroline McCaw, for her insight into some of the best things to do in Glasgow’s buzzing Southside area. Now that I’m based in Seoul, I don’t have much time to explore or write about my bonnie homeland, so it’s great to have someone to do it for me! Thanks again for such a great article!
Visitors to Glasgow are often drawn to the West End of the city. Home to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the University of Glasgow, the West End is a top spot for tourists. Take a trip to Byres Road and you’ll find a hedonistic paradise of boutique shops, trendy bars and quaint cafes – it’s no wonder people are drawn here!
But over the last few years, the Southside has fast become one of the most intriguing parts of the city. There is a buzz in the Southside and a community spirit unlike anywhere else in Glasgow. The area is home to people of all walks of life and this eclectic mix of cultures has created a vibrant (and sometimes quirky!) community.
Things to do in Glasgow’s Southside
The Bungo Bar & Kitchen
Before you embark on your Southside adventure, fill up on a hearty breakfast at The Bungo! Located in the area of Strathbungo, voted one of the best places to live in the UK, The Bungo is a local favourite. Their breakfast and brunch menu is available until 4:30 pm so treat yourself to a long lie before popping in for a tasty breakfast. There are veggie options available, its doggy-friendly and you can even have a cocktail with your breakfast – what more could you ask for!
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) from the city centre and get off at Queen’s Park on Pollokshaws Road. Breakfast ranges from £4-£8.50. (www.thebungo.co.uk)
The Govanhill Baths are close to the heart of every Govanhill-ian. The building was originally a public bathhouse in the early 1900’s and later became a popular swimming spot for the residents of Govanhill. When the council tried to close the building in 2001, locals occupied the building for almost five months in protest and there was a picket line outside the building for a year after it closed.
A few years ago, it reopened as a community hub offering free health and wellbeing workshops, yoga classes and even film screenings. The building itself is beautiful and it’s a true testament to the community who fought to protect it!
Take a First Bus (4,5,6,7) from the city centre and get off at Victoria Road. Admission is free but some classes/events have a small fee. (www.govanhillbaths.com)
At the very heart of the Southside is Queens Park, loved by locals and tourists alike. You could easily spend a few hours here feeding ducks in the pond, walking through the poet’s garden. Don’t miss The Glasshouse which houses a café, botanical garden, pond with koi fish and – if you’re feeling brave – a hot house with snakes, spiders and reptiles. Take a wander to the flagpole at the very top of the park and you’ll enjoy one of the best views of the city.
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) from the city centre and get off at Queen’s Park on Pollokshaws Road. Admission to the park and The Glasshouse is free. (http://www.friendsofqueensparkglasgow.org.uk)
For a laidback lunch, check out Coffescene in Battlefield. This café has a relaxed vibe and a great menu. They do a lunch deal – any sandwich/toastie/panini, a packet of crisps/piece of fruit and a coffee for £6! Try and grab yourself a spot on one of the comfy leather sofas, enjoy the free wi-fi and relax to the sounds of Marvin Gaye and The Drifters.
Take a First Bus (4,5) from the city centre and get off after the New Victoria Hospital. You’ll find it on the corner opposite the Battlefield Rest restaurant. Coffeescene is open til 9:00pm during the week, 8:00pm on Saturdays and 6:00pm on a Sunday.
Tramway is a real hidden gem and well worth a visit! It might not look like much from the outside but this aircraft hangar like building houses a trendy café and various exhibition and performance spaces. Check ahead and plan your visit – there’s always exhibitions, stand-up comedy and performing arts on. If you get the chance, I definitely recommend trying to catch Ballet Black! Don’t forget to visit The Hidden Gardens out back too.
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) from the city centre and get off at the McDonalds on Pollokshaws Road. Admission to Tramway and The Hidden Gardens is free but special events may incur a fee and advance booking is recommended. (www.tramway.org; www.thehiddengardens.org.uk)
The Rum Shack Bar & Canteen
If you’re looking for a fun night out, get yourself down to The Rum Shack on Pollokshaws Road. This Caribbean bar and canteen has a great selection of traditional Caribbean food (I’d recommend the jerk chicken with jasmine rice or the goat curry!) and an impressive drinks menu. They have live music and DJs from 9pm at the weekend, and if you fancy a dance then you can head downstairs to The Dancehall which opens at 11 pm at the weekend.
The Dancehall is a pretty laidback club, entry is only £3, the dress code is pretty casual and it’s a mixed crowd of 20- and 30- somethings just out for a good time. Join in the fun with a glass of the house ‘rum punch’, don’t be fooled by its refreshing and fruity taste – this cocktail is serious stuff! A hearty breakfast at Bungo the following morning may be required!
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) and get off just after The Rum Shack on Pollokshaws Road. Meals range from about £8 – £12 but check the Facebook page for weekly deals and student discounts. (www.rumshackglasgow.com)
The Allison Arms
The Allison Arms is the pub everyone wishes was their ‘local’. Drinks are well priced, the music is good, the bar staff always have a smile and the atmosphere is warm and friendly. If you’re looking for a taste of Glaswegian hospitality then look no further than The Allison Arms! Most nights, it’s packed with locals but new faces are always welcome and you’re sure to make friends here.
It closes at 12 pm but it’s just across the road from The Dancehall so you can always head over there for a dance afterwards. End your night with chips n’ cheese from the takeaway beside The Allison Arms and you can consider yourself a true Southsider!
Take a First Bus (3,38,57) and get off just after The Rum Shack on Pollokshaws Road. The Allison Arms . Meals range from about £8 – £12 but check the Facebook page for weekly deals and student discounts. (www.rumshackglasgow.com)
The Scotland Street School was designed for the Glasgow School Board by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the early 1900s. The school is now a museum showing how education has changed in Scotland over the last 100 years. The building is beautiful and fans of Charles Rennie Mackintosh will not be disappointed by its striking design. The museum itself is great fun and really interactive – once inside you can wander freely around the school, sit in reconstructed classrooms, play with chalkboards or old school toys and even dress up like a pupil!
Take the subway to Shields Road, the school is just a minutes walk down Scotland Street. Admission is free and the school is open Tues to Sun. (https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/ venues/scotland-street-school-museum)
Some Great Reward and the Oxfam Music & Book Store
There are a growing number of independent stores and boutiques opening in the Southside. Victoria Road is a great place for a browse around the shops. Vinyl fans should check out Some Great Reward.
This little vinyl store and café is a great stop for coffee and cake and a browse through their impressive record collection. The records are at the back of the café and there’s even a record player and headphones on hand so you can have a listen before you make your final purchase. They sell high quality and brand new records so you won’t find a second-hand bargain here but you will find a few rarities that are worth every penny!
If you’re looking for second-hand vinyl then the Oxfam Music and Books store further up Victoria Road is a great place to pick up records from the 80s and 90s at a great price. Rare finds don’t stay on the shelves long so be sure to check out the new releases section and snap some records up quick.
Take a First Bus (4,5,6) from the city centre and get off at Victoria Road just before Queen’s Park. (www.somegreatreward.scot)
I hope that this guide has inspired you to visit this lesser known part of Glasgow on your next trip to the city! Glasgow has so much to see and should be on the UK tourist map just as much as London or Edinburgh.
Are you going to add this cosmopolitan city to your Scotland Itinerary?
Whenever we think about romantic getaways, we mainly consider Europe. Of course, Europe is full of old cities that offer perfect sightseeing, great shopping and a romantic atmosphere. It’s strange, though, that whenever we are in search for the most romantic places, we rarely think about India. So, let’s take a look at 10 of the many romantic getaways in India that are worth your attention. This article is based on the opinion of happy couples who met here.
Udaipur is probably the best place if you want to get to know the romantic side of India from the romantic side. The city is full of palaces that are overlooking placid lakes. You won’t escape the beauty of the lakes if you stay in one of the Udaipur’s hotels, as they have occupied the lakefront. But you shouldn’t limit yourself to lakes. Just take a walk through the maze-like backstreets to enjoy the true heart of Udaipur. There you can observe the ancient buildings and visit historic bazaars.
Kanyakumari is one of the most romantic places in India with sunsets that look like they came straight out of a movie. The place is entirely surrounded by water, and in the evening you can watch the sunset while the moon rises. Kanyakumari is the place where the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean meet.
If you think cruising the waters on a traditional houseboat is romantic, then Kumarakon is definitely for you. . You can enjoy staying on a houseboat, especially in the evening, when the sounds of water will put you straight to sleep after a full Keralan dinner.
Manali, Himachel Pradesh
If you love mountains, then Manali is one of the most romantic places in India to visit. The town is situated high in the Himalayan mountains, making it perfect for skiing and hiking. You can also enjoy the mountain air and enjoy picturesque views of the snowed mountains through the window of your cosy cottage.
Coorg is known as the Scotland of India, and its picturesque forests can help you understand where this nickname came from. Here you can explore sleepy coffee plantations and observe the vast bird life of one of the most romantic places in India.
Darjeeling, West Bengal
If you’re a tea lover, then Darjeeling is the place for you. But don’t be fooled into thinking that charms of this Himalaya foothills’ place is limited to tea. You can feel the allure of the place as soon as the mist-covered mountains on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
This white sand desert, stretching between India and Pakistan is covered with water during the monsoon season. But, when the water is gone it turns into a giant salt flat. Yep, it’s picturesque, but it’s not the sole reason to visit Rann of Kutch. If you visit this place between November and March, you can join the festival of joy; Rann Utsav,
Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu
Even if you don’t like places that are overcrowded with tourists, Mamallapuram is still worth a visit. It would be a shame to come all the way to India not to see the seventh century UNESCO heritage temples and sanctuaries of Mamallapuram.
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
There is a reason why Srinagar has been dubbed as the Vince of the East. It still remains one of the most beautiful places in the country, as well as one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in India. For the ultimate in romance, stay on a houseboat on your honeymoon on the Nagin Lake or take a romantic trip into the water at night to gaze at the stars.
The Taj Mahal
If you go to India, you must visit the Taj Mahal. The building is one of the biggest and boldest romantic symbols in the history of mankind. It was build as the house of the body of the late Muntaz Mahal – the favourite wife of Shah Jahan, the Emperor of Mughal. Using precious materials and stones from around the world, the Taj Mahal took almost quarter of the century and more than 20,000 workers to be built. The palace is magnificent and spectacular, and definitely one of the most romantic places in India.
Nothing in this world can quite beat the feeling of having your bags packed and making your way to the airport to start your adventure abroad. Whether you’re jetting off on a solo trip around the world or just a weekend away with your best friends, getting the chance to experience new cultures and ways of life are truly amazing. There is a lot that travelling can teach us about ourselves and others which can’t be learned in a book or classroom, you simply have to get out there and experience it for yourself.
People always talk about how great travel is – and for good reason, it can change your life forever. From opening your mind to improving your confidence and so much more, travelling the world will influence aspects of your life you may never have expected it to – and also change you. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the ways travelling can improve your life.
Break out of your comfort zone
It sounds so cliche but it’s true: Traveling takes you right out of your comfort zone. If you’re used to the daily grind and find yourself sticking to the same old routine, travelling will snap you right out of that immediately. When you’re in a hostel on the other side of the world, you won’t be able to find your daily comforts anymore and it makes you quick to adapt. Getting into the habit of pushing yourself out of your comfortable bubble and do new things will not only improve your travel experience, but it will also follow you home when you return and you’ll find yourself becoming a more outgoing and adaptable person.
Meet the love of your life
Whether you’re studying abroad in some of Europe’s most exciting cities or spending an extended amount of time travelling around one country, getting into the local dating scene can be a great way to meet new people and make new friends. From the romantic streets of Rome to the energetic city of Glasgow, services like Badoo make it easier to meet new people nearby who you can grab a drink with and learn more about the locals. Plus, dating in another country can be a million times better than dating back home, as having a local take you to the hidden spots the tourists don’t know about makes you feel like a local too. Who knows, taking the chance to start dating abroad could very well lead to you meeting the love of your life!
Roll with the punches
It’s easy for the rose-tinted specs of social media to make it seem like travelling is a breeze which is stress-free and wonderful all of the time, but that’s simply not true. Travelling comes with the inevitable challenges of missed flights, language barriers, getting lost, losing luggage and so on. These things are annoying, but by learning to roll with punches and keep calm, you can always find a way to get past these barriers and come through the other side a better person. Whether it’s Spanish, Japanese or Russian, one of the most frequent challenges when travelling is trying to get over the language barrier. Living in the technical age helps a lot as we have the tools to navigate these issues with a lot more ease, with apps such as iTranslate making it easier to communicate and online maps helping us find our way. These kinds of problem solving skills will be tested frequently while you travel, and by the time you return home, you’ll be a pro at getting through difficult situations with ease which is invaluable in any job or personal relationship.
Open your mind
Travelling is a fantastic way to get a big slap of reality hit you in the face which shows you that your way of life back home simply isn’t the way other people’s lives are or should be. No two countries are alike; you’ll find that two seemingly similar cities even in the same country can have entirely different ways of life. Each place you visit will show you another way of life that will broaden your mind to new lifestyles and make you challenge your own countries customs. Despite the huge range of different beliefs and cultures across the globe, one thing that will stand out is in fact how much we as human beings have in common, and that will help further your understanding and compassion for others for the rest of your life.
Improve your confidence
Going travelling is a surefire way to help build up your confidence. If you find that you are struggling with your self-confidence back home, your time abroad will quickly help to improve it. Proving to yourself that you can adapt to such a lifestyle change and successfully navigate the challenges that come with travel will boost your self-esteem to no end and show you that you are capable of anything. Of course, there are things you can do to help you build your confidence when it comes to communicating with locals, with apps such as Duolingo which can help you get to grips with some phrases to help you out when you arrive. The combination of leaving your comfort zone and testing your problem-solving skills will have your confidence soaring with each interaction you have, and before you know it you’ll be a changed person.
Memories to last a lifetime
It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling with a big group or making it as a solo traveller, your adventures abroad will provide you with memories to last a lifetime. By the time you board your flight back home, you’ll have accumulated a wealth of stories from your travels that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Some sound advice when travelling is to collect photographs, not souvenirs, and make sure you have somewhere safe to store them like Dropbox for your digital snaps or a safe case for physical photographs as they can’t be replaced as easily as a snow globe or keychain can.
Learn more about yourself
There’s a reason why so many young people go on a year abroad when they leave high school or choose to study abroad, not only is it a lot of fun to jet off to exotic and exciting locations but it helps you get to know yourself a lot better. You don’t have to be fresh out of school to embark on your life changing journey, you’re never to old to change your life. I know, it sounds cliche and a lot like Eat, Pray, Love, but it’s true. When you throw yourself into an experience unlike anything you’ve done before, you learn that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought you were. Traveling also consists of a lot of time spent on flights and buses which is the perfect time to be alone with your thoughts and figure out what you want to do with your life. By the time you return home from your travels, you’ll have a lot more clarity with what you want to do with your life than you did before you left and it could lead to the making of you.
Get in shape
Not only is travelling great for your mind and soul, but it’s great for your body. When you’re living life on the road, you don’t have time to sit around and be lazy. When you’re not running to catch a flight, you’re walking across the city to see the sights or swimming in beautiful blue waters. One of the best ways to see a city is by bike so cycling can easily become a hobby, and most cities have a bike share scheme such as Mobike so you don’t need to pay much to hire one. You’ll also find that eating homemade local cuisine is often much healthier than the convenience food you may be used to at home and it will often be much cheaper too.
The whole point of travelling is to gain new experiences and have fun, and the experiences you have on your journey can change your whole life for the better. You can grow so much as a person and to the point where you feel like an entirely new person by the time you return home. But, it is what you make of it. None of this great stuff can happen to you if you don’t go out there and make the most of it.
If you spend your entire trip in a comfortable resort and spend the whole time at the hotel, you miss out on experiencing the real side of the country and you’ll return as the exact same person with a suntan. So, go out there and make the most of your life, and by throwing yourself into your travel experiences with everything you’ve got, you’ll see you have the power to change your life change completely.
Tulum was my first port of call in Mexico and it was an amazing introduction the country I’d soon spend more than 2 months travelling through. My friends had been before and had raved about how cute this little Caribbean beach town is, with its rooftop mojito bars and carefree vibes. There are honestly so many things to do in Tulum, and I think that’s why I ended up loving it so much. Keep reading for my top picks!
8 Fun and Amazing Things to do in Tulum
Visiting Tulum Ruins
You’re probably going to visit a fair few ruins on your trip to Mexico but none will be as picturesque as the Tulum Ruins. With their prime location overlooking the Caribbean Sea, a visit to this archaeological site is one of the top things to do in Tulum, as well as Mexico as a whole.
The ruins are open between 8 am and 5 pm with most tours arriving in the middle of the day so it’s best to go early in the morning to skip the crowds. For the best chances of having photos with no one else in them, you can also take an early morning tour to Tulum ruins before it opens.
How to Get to Tulum Ruins
It’s easy to visit the Tulum ruins independently from both Tulum beach and the town. Either go by bike or hop in one of the many collectivos that run between Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
Swimming with Turtles at Akumal Beach
Akumal Beach is one of the best places in the world to go snorkelling with sea turtles, so it should definitely be at the top of your list of things to do in Tulum. I didn’t expect to see many turtles at all when I went but literally could hardly get away from them. Make sure you don’t miss your chance to get up close and personal with them, too.
When you get to Akumal Beach, you can hire your own snorkel, but they do come at a premium price. If your accommodation has them, I recommended bringing them with you. You should, however, hire a life jacket when you get there. Even if you’re a strong swimmer, there’s recently been a ban on people snorkelling without life jackets which is a good thing as it helps to protect the reef.
To be honest, I don’t see much point in doing a tour to Akumal Beach since it’s so easy to do independently and you can swim around at your own pace.
Getting to Akumal Beach
Like most day trips to take from Tulum, Akumal Beach can be easily reached from Tulum via one of the collectivos that run between Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
One of the main attractions of the Yucatan Peninsula is the number of cenotes that there are to visit, making this one of the most quintessential things to do in Tulum. If you’re a bit like me and love the beach, but hate the absolute hassle that sand brings with it, this is the perfect way to take a dip and cool down from the strong Mexican sun. The most famous cenote is the Grand Cenote but there are loads of other small ones, too. Just take a look at Google Maps and see which cenotes you can find- there are loads!
Getting to Cenotes from Tulum
Depending on where you want to go, you’ll never be far from a cenote! Either jump on one of the many collectivos that run between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, or hire a bicycle or motorbike for a more adventurous experience!
Chilling at Caleta Tanka
Caleta Tanka was recommended to me by my good pal Eva who’d just visited Tulum and I’m glad she recommended it. (Check out her guide on things to do in Tulum here!) Caleta Tanka is a hotel which you can pay access to, then enjoy some food and drink, swim in the cenotes and go to the beach. I’ll be honest, the hotel itself isn’t that gorgeous but the views that go with it are.
And, the ceviche isn’t half bad either!
How to Get to Caleta Tanka
Take a collectivo towards Playa del Carmen and ask them to drop you off along the way. Since this is on the way back from Akumal, I’d suggest visiting both places on the same day.
Take a Day Trip to Coba Ruins from Tulum
For a more authentic Mayan ruin experience than the Tulum ruins, head to the Coba Ruins. These archaeological ruins are slightly off the beaten path, so attract fewer tourists than the likes of Chichen Itza and Tulum. A lot of the ruins are still to be excavated so the experience is much wilder, in its junglelike setting. Want to skip the queues? Get your tickets here prior to your visit.
How to Get to Coba Ruins
Buses leave from the ADO Tulum terminal, cost 50 MXN (£2/$3) and the journey takes an hour.
Visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO world heritage site filled with biodiversity just outside of Tulum. It’s home to dolphins, crocodiles, turtles, rays and manatees, among other flora and fauna, and is the largest protected area in Mexico’s Caribbean peninsula. One of the ultimate things to do in Tulum for nature lovers!
How to Vist the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Although it is possible to visit the Reserve independently, it’s best to go as part of a group for more chance of seeing wildlife. This tour leaves from Tulum and includes snorkelling, wildlife spotting and lunch, with a hotel drop off.
Beach Hop by Bike
Bicycle is the main mode of transport for tourists in Tulum and most accommodations offer bike rental for a small daily fee. Start from Tulum ruins and ride down the coast line and jump onto whichever beach looks most appealing. There are public stretches of beach, as well as private sections. For the private sections, you’ll need to either pay a cover charge or commit to spending a set amount of money on food or drinks to use a lounger. I would always choose the latter and get my fill on ceviche and micheladas because that’s what beach holidays in Mexico are all about!
Sunset Drinks in the Jungle at Mateo’s Mexican Grill
Since the beaches in Tulum are East facing, it can feel like it’s impossible to see a sunset. However, there is one place that’s ideal- Mateo’s Mexicam Grill. The platform bar is high enough to see over the jungle that runs alongside Tulum, meaning you can watch a completely unique beach sunset. And, best of all, they have 2 for 1 cocktails at sunset time- margaritas all round!
Tulum Travel Tips
If you want to spend a lot of time at the beach, I recommend finding beachside accommodation so you don’t need to continously pay a cover charge. These hotels are more expensive but you can use hotels combinedto find a great deal.
Collectivos are a great way to see all the things to do in Tulum. They run from the main highway in Tulum town and can take you anywhere between Tulum and Playa del Carmen for a small price.
The dry season rus from December to April, with the bulk of tourists visiting over the Christmas holidays and Easter holidays. I visited in June which was shoulder season- all of the restaurants were still open, the weather was still dry, and there were less tourists than usual, making it an ideal time to visit.
A lot of the restaurants in Tulum are aimed at American and European tourists meaning inflated prices and, more often than not, watered down Mexican food. Check out Tulum town for more authentic and budget friendly Mexican food!
Tulum is the place to be for all things yoga and spiritual. Why not take a few yoga classes while you’re there or stay at a yoga resort?
To get to Tulum, fly into Cancun. There are so many cheap flights from all over Europe and North America. I use Kiwifor the best rates. Don’t miss my guide on how to find the cheapest flights on the web!
Anyone who has ever visited Singapore, the wealthy city-state off the coast of Malaysia, will be aware that the whole island is a foodie paradise, inhabited by food fanatics. The local culinary scene, and in particular the street food scene, is a cornerstone of Singaporean culture, and getting together to argue about where to find the best hokkien mee or poke bowl is a well-known national past time. Singapore’s street food scene is a melting pot of some of Asia and the South Pacific’s greatest hits, where the influences of Mainland China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and beyond blend together to form one of the richest and most diverse food scenes on earth.
There’s undoubtedly no shortage of great street food here in SG, but the real challenge is being able to find the best of the best. Ask any local and they’ll be sure to tell you that a particular char siu stall they’ve been frequenting for 30 years is the best one in town, while their colleague might be just as quick to tell you that the real place to get the best street food is somewhere else entirely. Here are some tips on weeding out the best street food in Singapore.
Know Your Neighbourhood
Knowing your neighbourhood in this city of over 5 million is crucial when you’re on the hunt for the best street food. Singapore is a highly multicultural city, and to scope out the greatest hits of the smorgasbord of national dishes on this island, you need to know where to look. In the mood for killer Chinese food? Head to the bustling Chinatown district where you’ll find hawkers from across the Mainland selling mouth-watering street food from every province. Similarly, head to the Muslim Quarter centred around Arab Street if you want to find the best spiced kebabs and flatbreads. Once you have the lowdown on the dozens of enclaves which make up Singapore, you’ll know exactly where to go for the best street food.
Singapore is an electric place with hidden gems and secrets hidden around every corner, so don’t be afraid to push the boat out a little bit. You can find food for every taste and craving if you look hard enough, whether you feel like ordering in some South Pacific vegan delights from delivery services like Deliveroo or stepping out in search of the most niche cuisine you can imagine, you’ll be able to find it here. The food scene is meticulously well-documented by locals and travellers alike, so do your research online to see what’s on offer on this jam-packed island.
Speak to the Locals
While the potential pitfalls of getting foodie tips off the passionate locals have already been alluded to, you can rest assured that whatever street food tip you can get from a resident will likely be better than anything you’ve ever eaten back home. Singaporeans feel an immense national pride for their food, and you’ll have no trouble finding locals who are eager to show you the best time possible and ensure you leave Singapore with happy memories and a very full belly.
If you have any hot tips on Singapore street food, let me know all about them in the comments.
If you’re looking for some inspiration on the best cities for digital nomads, you’ve come to the right place. As a location independent worker, the world might be your oyster but, one thing I’ve learned in this past year is that not all destinations are made equally.
After months of travelling through Central America with shawdy internet and a very small DN community, I had a fair idea of what necessities I personally needed as a digital nomad. When I made my way to Asia, I soon realised why so many digital nomads decide to live there. Living costs are cheap, the WiFi is strong and life is just safe and easy. A lot of people ask me where they should start their digital nomad journey so, to save you going through the same trial and error as me, these are my picks of the best cities for digital nomads in Asia!
Chiang Mai, Thailand
No list of best cities for digital nomads in Asia would be complete without mentioning Chiang Mai. And of course, it’s going to be first on my list since it’s where I spent the last 5 months of my life.
Chiang Mai is an amazing city for digital nomads! There are literally work friendly coffee shops on every single street corner, free workshops taking place every single day and an inspiring community of entrepreneurs to hang out with, too. Plus, the city is one of the cheapest places in the world to live in. I was paying £125 a month for my large studio flat, Meals cost about £1 so I barely needed to cook and getting around was easy, too.
If you’re looking to get an online business off the ground, I can’t imagine anywhere being better than Chiang Mai to do it. If not for the community, then at least for the fact that you can live a very comfortable life for less than £600 per month!
I visited Taipei last year and loved the city! Not only did it have the perfect blend of Chinese food and Japanese good manners, but it has its own quirky character which made it really stick out for me. I loved wandering around the night markets, going to the art parks and feeling like a local in such a liveable city.
For digital nomads who’d like to experience an East Asian country rather than a country in South East Asia, Taipei is a great choice. The living cost is generally much cheaper than Japan or South Korea and there’s no Great Firewall to worry about like there is in China. Although the digital nomad scene is still developing and most co-working spaces are aimed towards domestic start-ups, this is still a destination to watch out for! It’s actually on my list for if I ever get tired of Seoul!
Manilla, The Philippines
Manilla isn’t often mentioned as one of the best cities for digital nomads, or even for travellers. Most people who’ve holidayed in The Philippines have skipped the megacity to relax in the islands. But, if you’re looking for a modern city with fast internet and a low cost of living, Manilla is just as good an option as Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City- especially considering English is widely spoken and Filippino people are some of the friendliest in the world!
Logistically, Manilla is an easy place to get to, too. Since there are so many cheap Dubai to Manila flights, it’s an easy destination to reach from anywhere in the world. And of course, you can easily fly to amazing islands like El Nidoduring your weekends off!
I’ve now visited Malaysia 3 times… but I’ve never left Kuala Lumpur. (I’m sure that I’ll sort that out in due time, though.) Penang is at the top of my wishlist! This little island is awash with street art, culture and amazing food: sign me up! It’s becoming more and more popular with digital nomads thanks to the low cost of living and prevalence of English everywhere. This was one of the prime migratory spots during Chiang Mai’s burning season and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about it.
After Chiang Mai, Ubud is generally considered to be one of the best cities for digital nomads in Asia. With its gorgeous rice fields, pool villas, healthy restaurants and conscious entrepreneurial community, lots of digital nomads are deciding to call Ubud home.
Although living costs are slightly higher than Chiang Mai, there’s more access to nature and beaches are just a short drive away, making it a lot more attractive to some people. Plus, thanks to Hubud, the king of co-working spaces, you can still enjoy the same supportive community that people love Thailand’s cultural hub for!
Hopefully this article has inspired you to grab your laptop and go! There are so many amazing places for digital nomads in Asia but these are just the 5 that I’ve had on my wishlist. If you’ve been somewhere that you think deserves a shout-out, leave me a comment and let me know all about it!
Hey everyone, Happy May! I hope you all had an eventful April, a great Easter and managed to see some Spring blooms. As most of you know, I’m writing this update from Seoul! I moved back to Korea late last month after 1 year of being out the country and, oh my god, it’s so nice to be back! Do you have a country that feels like your second home? That’s Korea for me.. and although I didn’t always love living here, it’s a pretty special place that I have all kinds of nostalgia for.
I’ve been back for almost 2 weeks now…. say, what!? And I’ve been up to a fair bit- but I’ll tell you all about that in due time. For now, here my chat from April.
Where I’ve Been
I spent my final month in Chiang Mai doing the exact same things that I spent every other month doing: saying I’d go places and then barely dragging myself out of Nimman coffee shops. By the time it was my big leaving day, I didn’t want to leave at all. A tiny part of me wanted to sleep right through my 5 am alarm clock and save Korea for another time but I dragged myself up and go out to the airport. It seemed like my 5 months in Chiang Mai went by so quickly and I knew there would be a lot I’d miss about the easy breezy city.
My friends. The low cost of living. The lady who made chicken fried rice on my street. My awesome yoga studio. KHAO SOI.
My experience with leaving places always sems to be the same. A month before I go, I can’t get wait to get away, then, painfully, a few days before, the place digs its claws in and I don’t want to go.
And this was unsurprising really since April was such a fun month.
Thai’s celebrate Songkran, Thai New Year, in April and it’s something I recommend you experience at least once in your life! In Chiang Mai, the festival lasts for 5 days, making it the biggest celebration in the country. I spent one of the days getting right in aboot it with my Hello Kitty water gun- which couldn’t really compete with the jetpack water pistols and buckets everyone else had! The rest of the time, I got involuntarily “in aboot it” since, you can’t really escape Songkran, even if you want to!
I didn’t realise that my auld street in Santitham was actually going to be a bit of an epicentre for all the action. There was a guy sitting outside my apartment with a massive bucket of water and a bottle of whisky all weekend having a rare time to himself. I literally had to change my clothes every single time I left the house and time my trips out accordingly.
I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life- in Scotland, we think we love New Year but I think the Thais are outdoing us. It was literally 5 days of constant celebrations, Sangsom and soggy pants.
And then a few weeks later, it was time to leave! I was gutted. I made a fab Irish pal in Chiang Mai who I was gutted to say bye too. I’ve made a lot of friends in my past 4 years of being an expat but can count the amazing friends on one, maybe, two hands. So, it’s always a bit of a sting when I need to let good pals go. I’d love to sit here and say, I’ll make similar friends again soon but I know that’s probably not true. It is what it is.
But, I’m still glad to say that as soon as I touched down in Seoul, all my jitters about leaving Chiang Mai stopped! Which leads me to my next destination…
I’m now a Seoulite- can you believe it? I actually only visited Seoul a handful of times when I lived in Korea so it’s crazy to be living here. Seoul is actually my favourite place in the whole country (maybe my favourite city in the world after Glasgow?) so I kind of pinch myself whenever I catch a glimpse of Namsan Tower or hear the jingle music playing on the subway.
It’s a wee bit sad how starstruck I’ve been by everything.
I’ve been settling back into life here pretty easily and, tbh, can’t imagine being anywhere else right now. There’s honestly so much to do that its kind of overwhelming. Art parks. Mural villages. Themed coffee shops. Quirky shopping districts. And, of course, all the touristy stuff that I’ve never got around to seeing on my previous dashing visits.
Seoul seems to be the perfect place for me. I have super fast WiFi, a million places to work from, I’m surrounded by a language that I’m loving learning, there are great blogging opportunities, good swatch and all my favourite food is here, too.
I was going to make a cheesy joke about Seoul being my soulmate but I’ll spare you the cringiness.
Since coming here, I’ve met up with Marie from Be Marie Korea, hosted an online entrepreneurship to a group of 6 amazing ladies and I’ll F I N A L LY be meeting up with Samantha from There She Goes Again. Sam and I both started our blogs at roughly the same times and have been pretty close internet pals ever since- she’s one of those people who it’s kind of weird to think I’ve never actually met before.
What teatime looks like with creatives around the table!
So buzzing for us to finally meet IRL!
And I also had the perfect day out in Gapyeong last week- after living in eternal summer for a year, I managed to experience Spring and Autumn, my two favourite seasons, both at the same time at The Garden of Morning Calm.
Hoping to be reporting back with even more cute day trip tales next month!
Any Other News?
I’ve got nae chat actually. Aside from my big move, it’s been back to normality for a bit! I’m sure I’ll have drama soon or a major life derailment soon, though- don’t worry.
Most Popular IG Pic
Awww, it seems like everyone else loves multicoloured Mexico just as much as I do!
This month is going to be all about discovering all the places in Seoul I’ve still not been to, publishing more blog content and doing more work. I’m basically just going to be living like a Seoul kid and giving you all the chat on Instagram and Facebook!
Last year, I visited more countries than I’d ever visited throughout the rest of my life. After spending a bit of time in Asia, I hit up South Africa, visited some European countries and went on a big trip to Central America. There’s one country in particular that stick out among everything else, though: Mexico. I loved Mexico so much and I think it’s partly to do with the amazing places we visited during our trip. To help you love Mexico just as much as I did, I’ve put together the perfect month long Mexico itinerary.
The great thing about travelling in Mexico (aside from, ya know, the tacos) is that there are so many different places to explore. You could easily spend months in Mexico and not scratch the surface. But, equally, you could spend 2 weeks there, get to know one specific area and have a really fulfilling trip.
I’ve put together this 4 week Mexico Itinerary for backpackers who want to see more of the country than just Cancun and Playa del Carmen- it’ll take you from colonial city to Pacific Coast beaches and mountain towns, so that you can enjoy everything that Mexico has to offer!
This isn’t the exact route that I followed, but my own Mexico itinerary hit up all the same spots. I’ll make notes of how mine was different at the end of the post! You should also note that this Meixco itinerary reflects my own personal travel style which is not to spend more than 3 days in each place. Fast travellers could do it quicker but, with an itinerary like this that covers a lot of ground, it’s important to take some time to chill out, too. Don’t burn yourself out!
Guadalajara: 4 Days
Guadalajara is Mexico’s 2nd biggest city but it gets nowhere near as much love as it deserves! I actually spent a month here living the digital nomad life and loved everything that it had to offer. I find that most travellers in Mexico are resistant to leaving the Caribbean coast and, if they do, they rarely venture further North than Mexico City.
Because of this, Guadalajara doesn’t get too many guests, which is a true shame!
Guadalajara is part of the State of Jalisco which is the birthplace of so many quintessential Mexican things- sombreros, tequila, mariachi music and Mexican rodeos.
If you’re a bit of a culture vulture, you’ll love this city. Make sure that it’s on your Mexico itinerary.
I recommend spending 3 days in Guadalajara as a base for taking trip to nearby places.
Spend one day enjoying the sights of the old city, visiting cathedrals and tasting amazing Mexican food (for absolute pesos) at Mercado Libertad. At night, head to the buzzing Americana neighbourhood where you can check out some of the city’s coolest bars and restaurants, and see for yourself how much Guadalajara’s residents love to party.
Ajijic (Pronounced A-Hee-Heec)
Ajijic is a colourful bohemian lakeside town not far from Guadalajara. It’s filled with cute restaurants, independent shops, and the buildings are all painted with pastel toned facades. I loved it here! It comes to life on a Sunday with cocktail and snack vendors lining the cobbled streets.
Tequila is famous for, ya know, being the birthplace of tequila, so it’s a must visit! You can either go independently or through a tour. We decided to pinch our pesos and visit the town of Tequila independently and visit the Jose Cuervo factory. While this was great, I’d actually recommend doing a tour because you’ll get to go to the more boutique distilleries out in the countryside and see the fields of blue agave plants.
Tlaquepaque (Pronounced Tla-Kay-Pa-Kay)
After visiting Tequila, you’ll probably have a bit of a sore head. Stay local and take the day to explore Tlaquepaque: Guadlajara’s adjoining colonial style town. This is a great place to try some Mexican street food, snap some pics of traditional architecture and, ya know, have a curer! We actually found a great bar in Tlaquepaque called Cerveceria Chapultepec where everything is only 18 pesos- beers, cocktails, small plates of food. Everything!
We spent quite a bit of time here, then went to the main pavilion area at night to sip on more tequila and be surrounded by mariachi madness. If you’re on the market to be serenaded by men in sombreros, you won’t be disappointed here!
Guadalajara’s home to a huge international airport, meaning it’s generally cheap and reasonable to fly into: particularly if you’re flying in from North America. From Europe, I found it to be much cheaper to fly into Cancun and then take a domestic flight to GDL. Shop around and don’t miss my tips on how to find the cheapest flights on the web!
Hey hey, everyone! It’s officially April and Spring’s starting to show its face all over the Northern Hemisphere! The past month has been a bit…. mental. But, in hindsight, it usually is for me- I don’t know why, but I always have busy and crazy Marches. (And, I have to squeeze my birthday in, too!) Did you know that I turned 28 a couple of weeks ago? Yup, I’m one step closer to 30 and no where near having a settled life.
And speaking of being settled, do you remember last month when I wrote about how I’m feeling completely at home here? Well, things kind of hit the fan and everything’s up in the air again. I’ve been hinting towards this on my social media for the past week so, I’m going to stop babbling and give you all the goss!
Where I’ve Been
Bangkok & Koh Chang
I started the month with a trip down to the Thai capital and Koh Chang to get away from the horrendous pollution in Chiang Mai. Kinda weird to get to Bangkok and be relieved to have fresh air: and, yes, the pollution in Chiang Mai has been that bad! I’ve actually been pretty sick because of it- there have even been a few days that I’ve checked and the AQI’s been worse than Beijing and New Delhi.
No thank you.
Bangkok was a bit of a flying trip but, once again, I really loved my time there. I’m such a city girl, so I always feel at home in places where I can just absorb that pace of life. I checked out a coworking space, went to some cool restaurants and explored new neighbourhoods. We decided to stay in Sukhumvit for this trip to see a different part of the city and I’d definitely stay there again in the future.
After Bangkok, we made our way to Koh Chang where we decided to stay for about 5 days. Koh Chang was gorgeous – the weather was lovely, the beaches were super chilled, the water felt like a bath and the nature was stunning. I wish I had a bit less work to do so I could have enjoyed it more! Maybe another time!
My Big News
I’ve Moved into a New Apartment
This is kind of cryptic news that’s being used to disguise another update. An update, I don’t really want to make to the world because it’s kind of personal. But, anyway, I just want you all to know that I’ve moved to an apartment where I’m living by myself. And, the next flight that I’m going to take, I’ll be taking by myself.
You can take from that what you will.
The apartment’s fine. I sadly don’t have a kitchen anymore and now eat chicken fried rice every single day! Pretty much undoing all the good that I did during Whole 30.. oops. Maybe I’ll try being raw vegan next month?
I’m Leaving Thailand
So, next month marks my last in Thailand. I’m really not feeling at home here at the moment- maybe it’s because so many people have left or maybe it’s because of the big change in my life. I don’t know why but I have a huge urge to leave. So, last month, I booked my ticket and I’ll be leaving towards the end of April!
Where am I Off to?
It’s probably no surprise to anyone that I’m returning to an old home that I’ve been feeling homesick and nostalgic towards for quite some time. (Remember these heartfelt words?!) Yup, that’s right, I’m going back to Korea!
I’ve always wanted to live in Seoul (cause I’m such a city gal, ya know!) and I’m in a pretty good place just now that I can make it work. I’m going to spend a few months there working on my own projects and testing out non-ESL life in Korea!
(Time to commence operation #FindGongYoo)
If I like it, I would love to make Seoul my base but, if not, I’ll be returning to Scotland and living my life as a Glasgow gal/Easyjet weekend traveller!
My New Business!
I’m so excited to finally announce the launch of my new business: Scribbler Media!
Scribbler Media is a content creation agency for passionate independent business owners who need some help creating content plans that show off just how amazing their brands are. For the past year and a half, I’ve been creating web content and social media strategies for clients in a variety of different niches. I love this job and feel like it’s something I was made to do.
But, I want to move from being a freelancer to an entrepreneur. And I want to be more in control of who I’m working with.
I’m on the lookout for clients who’re doing things that I think are amazing- but who need a little bit of help finding their voice and elevating their presence online.
I’m still in the very soft launch phase of my business but, if you, or someone you know, is a business owners who could use some help with social media, web content creation, copywriting or SEO, I’d love to chat. You can use my online booking system for a free consultation here!
It’ll be my last month in Thailand so, naturally, I want to eat all the Kao Soi that I can. I’m also hoping to put together a post on my favourite digital nomad friendly coffee shops in Chiang Mai, and the best Instagram hotspots, too, so I’ll be having a few photo days before I leave!
After that, I’ll be off to Seoul! I really need to improve my Korean, so I’ve got a few language partners who I talk to regularly, and I’ve been doing a lot of self-study, too. Would you be interested in a post about how I’m studying Korean? I’d actually love to share this with my readers based in Korea as I’m sure it’ll be useful for you!
Anyways, until next month, stay safe and keep gypsying!
When I was researching the best digital nomad destinations in Central America, I realised that the pickings were gonna be slim. There didn’t seem to be any bonafide digital nomad hotspot anywhere between Playa del Carmen and Medellin but there was one place that stood out to me: Lake Atitlan… Every blogger’s Lake Atitlan travel guide sung its praises and it seemed like it had everything.
A springlike temperature
Some cool water to dip into
Volcanoes to climb
And, naturally, being in Guatemala, amazing coffee, too!
I was so in awe of all the amazing things to do in Lake Atitlan that I thought it’d be impossible not to love it.
But, did it love up to my high expectations?
We ended up spending a full month living in Lake Atitlan as digital nomads and, although I didn’t think it was a great base, I thought it was an amazing travel destination. If you’re going to be visiting Guatemala, make sure that Lake Atitlan is on your itinerary and give yourself enough time to really enjoy it!
Here’s everything you need to know about being a digital nomad on Lake Atitlan.
Where to Stay on Lake Atitlan
If there’s one thing to know about Lake Atitlan, it’s that it’s a pretty huge place! When I was researching Lake Atitlan travel guides online, I had no idea just how big it would be, how distinct each village would be or how long it’d take to travel from place to place. It’s also quite difficult to travel between the different villages at night since the public boat service (more about that later) ends around 6pm.
Because of this, it’s pretty important then that you choose a village that fits your vibe!
Sound overwhelming? I’ll be honest, it is a bit.. but, to make things easier for you, I’ve put together this handy guide to the villages of Lake Atitlan!
If you’re crossing into Guatemala from Mexico, you’re probably going to start your journey in Lake Atitlan at Panajachel. This is the main city around lake and it’s where you’ll find supermarkets, a wide range of restaurants and some local veg markets. The main street, Calle Santander is predominantly aimed at tourists but still has some decent places to eat. This definitely isn’t the prettiest part of the lake and I personally wouldn’t stay here. But, if you’re looking to live the digital nomad life on Lake Atitlan for a while, you’l definitely come here at least once a week to pick up all the essentials…. like beans, avocados and wine haha!
Santa Cruz La Laguna
The view from our Air BnB
Santa Cruz La Laguna is where we decided to stay and it’s a village with two parts. At the bottom, you’ll find the lakeside hostels and hotels – aka the only part that the tourists see. After climbing to the top, though, (and, trust me, it’s a climb) you’ll get to the heart of the village which is a traditional Mayan town with one of the best views of Lake Atitlan.
We got a great deal on an Air BnB which was halfway between gringo-ville and the local part of town. Our Air BnB had an amazing view and we loved being surrounded by nature…. for a few days. But, since Santa Cruz doesn’t really have restaurants, shops or… pretty much anything, I wouldn’t really recommend it to other digital nomads. We spent a lot of time travelling to Panajachel and San Pedro to get the basic things we needed.
Club Ven Aca
Not far from Santa Cruz, you’ll find Jaibalito. The two towns are pretty similar: they both have a more local vibe, are great for relaxing and have gorgeous views of the lake. I found Jaibalito to be a lot more liveable, though since there were a few places to eat, drink and pick up groceries. Don’t get me wrong, there weren’t loads of places but, it still makes a bit of difference to have something! I also found that the community was a lot more mixed here than in Santa Cruz since locals and expats live side by side . This is probably why most of the lake’s long term expats decide to live around Jaibalito.
If you need a bit of crystal healing, past life regression or a big fat helping of kombucha, San Marcos is the place to go. This is the spiritual part of the lake that’s home to more dreadlocks than you can shake an incense stick at. But, despite all that, I actually quite liked it! The town was cute, there were great places to eat and, of course, where hippies go, good yoga follows.
San Pedro is the gringo capital of the lake. As soon as you step off the boat at the docks, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another country. There are bars, Israeli restaurants, health food shops, English speaking tuk-tuk drivers…. It’s a bit of a culture shock if you’ve been surrounded by Spanish for a while.
Because of this, a lot of people have a bit of hate for San Pedro… but I don’t think it’s a bad place for digital nomads. Actually, this is probably where I’d stay if I was going to return to the lake for a long period of time.
You see, since San Pedro is the backpackers hub, you’ll find a lot of the things that digital nomads need. There are some coffee shops where you can chill with your laptop and get work done, there are supermarkets to, ya know, buy things, restaurants, health food shops and yoga studios, too.
Plus, it’s not all gringo-focussed. Much like on Santa Cruz, just a 5-minute walk up the hill, you’ll find a more traditional Mayan part of town.
Santiago is the biggest city on the lake but most tourists just pass through on day trips. This is a very local part of the lake but it has a lot of important churches and markets that draw people in. We never made it this way because it was just a little bit too far to go by lancha and we weren’t blessed with great weather while we were there.
Where Would I Stay on Lake Atitlan
Every town on Lake Atitlan offers something completely different. There’s honestly no one place that’s the best and there’s really a village for every taste and type of trip.
If I was going to Lake Atitlan solely for to relax, I’d probably spend a week based between Santa Cruz and San Marcos.
But, if I was going as a digital nomad I wouldn’t choose either of those places.
I’d most likely choose San Pedro, just because it has everything that I like to have around me while trying to function as an online worker. Does that mean it’s my favourite place? Not at all. But, it’d be the best place for me in that situation. If I really wanted to get away from everything and focus on work, or stay longer than a month, I’d probably choose Jaibalito since it’s chilled out but still has some conveniences.
Things to do on Lake Atitlan
Being such a huge lake, there are no shortage of things to do on Lake Atitlan. These were some of my favourite activities..
SUP on Lake Atitlan is by far the funnest way to explore the lake! Since the water is so calm, it’s great for beginners, too! It was my first time SUPing and I only actually fell in a handful of times- each dip was a welcome cool off!