1. Lan Ha Bay Cruise, April 2018. As beautiful as Cat Ba Island is, for most visitors the main reason to come out here is for a boat cruise through the region’s spectacular Lan Ha & Halong bays. Choose your tour operator VERY CAREFULLY, as the scene is riddled with tricksters and scammers. Some have shoddy boats not fit for purpose, others blatantly lie to you about the itinerary, either rushing you through key points of interest or even skipping the highlights completely. After much research I opted for a cruise with the highly rated Green Trail, who have an office on the main drag in Cat Ba Town.
1. Cat Ba National Park, April 2018. Having walked the town harbour, hung out on pretty Cat Co Cove 3 Beach, taken in the awesome views from The Cannon Fort and explored the eerie corridors of The Hospital Cave, it was time for me to tackle Cat Ba Island’s island’s main draw, the gorgeous World Heritage-stamped mountain trails of Cat Ba National Park.
1. The Hospital Cave, April 2018. Whether you’re staying on Cat Ba Island or just nipping in and out on a whistle stop boat tour, do try and make time for this curious Vietnam War site, set deep in the countryside about three kilometers from the entrance gates to Cat Ba National Park.
1. Wat Pho, April 2015. Bangkok’s oldest and largest temple is an absolute must-see, chiefly due to its world famous forty-six meter reclining Buddha. Built in 1832 during the reign of King Rama III, the statue shows the passing of the Buddha into final Nirvana following death.
1. The Grand Palace, April 2015. No visit to the Thai capital would be complete without a trip to The Grand Palace, Bangkok’s most famous landmark. Built in 1782 and home to a succession of Thai kings for almost 150 years, this stunning palace complex has come to symbolize the very heart of the Thai kingdom. This shot takes in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, known locally as Wat Phra Kaew. Located in a corner of the outer court, the temple houses a greatly revered emerald Buddha dating back to the 14th century. Interior photos are not permitted.
1. Khao San Road, June 2015. I very nearly didn’t bother with Khao San Road, Bangkok’s most famous street. In fact, the more I read and heard, from delirious recommendations to stark warnings, I just couldn’t figure out why so many people would fly halfway across the world to get really pissed and hang out with lots of other westerners. Couldn’t they just do that back at home? Even after I’d drawn up my extensive Bangkok to-do list, Khao San Road found itself rooted firmly to the bottom of the league table.
1. Bangkok Snake Farm, April 2015. Bangkok’s fascinating Snake Farm is one of the city’s most underrated attractions! Tucked away in the gated Red Cross Institute compound at the intersection of Rama IV and Henry Dunant Roads, it’s also a tricky place to find! So get maps going on your phone and be prepared to wander into a couple of hospitals before you find it!