A Day in Hauz Khas Village

A Day in Hauz Khas Village, Delhi

The Indian capital is a massive city that’s impossible to see in a single visit—or even in several. If you’re short on time while visiting Delhi and don’t know how to balance competing desires to sightsee, eat well shop in the city’s best shops, then head straight to Hauz Khas Village in South Delhi. This small urban enclave has it all, and will keep you occupied for hours. Sightseeing Hauz Khas Village is centred around the Hauz Khas, or ‘royal tank’, a large pond dating back to the 13th century. Above the pond are an impressive collection of ruins of a seminary, mosque and tombs. Delhi is a city full of atmospheric old ruins from the Mughal period and earlier, hinting at the city’s many centuries of history and layered civilisations. The ruins at Hauz Khas are some of the best in the city, and are free to enter. It’s a peaceful place, even when filled with smooching students hiding between the pillars. Information boards dotted around are as informative and detailed as any museum’s. There is also the pretty Deer Park adjacent to the pond, where you can stroll through the dense woods. If you’ve just passing through Delhi, sightseeing in Hauz Khas Village will give you a great introduction to the city’s atmosphere and appeal. Shopping Hauz Khas Village has developed rapidly over the past few years from a quiet suburb into one of the city’s trendiest shopping hubs. This means that a lot of shops (as well…

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Review: The Lodhi Spa, Delhi

Review: The Lodhi Spa, Delhi

Delhi—whether you’re a first time visitor or come here often—can be exhausting. It’s massive. For much of the year it can be very hot (and the rest of the time it’s very cold). And getting around, even with the excellent metro system, can take a while. The perfect antidote to the big-city stress is an afternoon spent at The Lodhi Spa. I have been to Delhi many times, but in 2016 I visited during the monsoon for the first time. I’d spent two and a half months in the parched high-altitude desert of Ladakh, so Delhi’s thick dampness was actually welcome, despite the heat. Delhi’s lush gardens and tree-lined avenues really sparkle at this time of year. What I love most about the metropolis, and what keeps pulling me back, are the pockets of peace that can be found amid the chaos: in the shade of a fifteenth-century ruin, or walking down a flower-fringed pathway in an unknown urban park. But during this rainy-season visit I had to resign myself to the fact that I couldn’t spend all day walking around the spacious avenues and outdoor shopping areas, like I usually would, unless I wanted to get really wet. A perfect time to retreat to The Lodhi. The hammam is open for hotel guests and spa patrons to use before or after their spa treatments. It’s even hotter and steamier than the monsoon streets outside. After plenty of cooling down with air conditioning and ice-cream at lunch, I retreated to…

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Everest Panorama Trek

Luxury Travel in the Everest Region

I’m not generally what could be called a ‘luxury traveller’. This isn’t out of preference, but rather budget! However, through my line of work I’ve been fortunate to have some wonderful luxury experiences, not least was in the Everest Region of Nepal. Flying over Everest Base Camp in a helicopter was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. It was also wonderful to stay in luxury trekking lodges, which are definitely more comfortable than the average budget digs! I highly recommend luxury travel in the Everest Region if your budget allows. A good compromise would even be to skip the helicopter travel and just stay in the beautiful lodges. You have so much more energy left for trekking when you’re warm, well-fed and showered with hot water! I recently published an article on Kimkim about exactly this: ‘Luxury Trekking in the Everest Region: 9-Day Itinerary’. Read an extract below, or read the full article here. “If you’re short on time and looking for a luxury experience, here’s a unique way to see the Everest Region and all the main highlights. You’ll spend your nights in the comfort of Himalayan resorts (often with panoramic views) and your days either trekking and flying through the Everest region by helicopter. Highlights Experience the best of the Everest Region in a short amount of time Get up close and personal with Mt. Everest by helicopter Spend each one of your nights at a beautiful lodge, away from the main crowds Explore the…

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Eclectic High Tea in Penang

Eclectic High Tea in Penang at the Macalister Mansion

The island city of Penang, Malaysia does several things to perfection: hawker food, icy cold air conditioning, charmingly dilapidated Chinese shop-fronts and renovated mansions that once belonged to rich and powerful local tycoons. The Macalister Mansion is the latter, and combines the grandeur and elegance of Penang’s Chinese and British colonial heritage with quirky modern design, all in a luxury setting. Set in a spacious plot a little outside the boundaries of George Town’s UNESCO World Heritage designated area, the Macalister Mansion comprises the Living Room, the Dining Room, the Cellar and the Den–all serving different types of food and beverage at different times of day–as well as Eight Rooms, eight luxury and individually designed guest rooms. There is also a sparkling pool surrounded by fragrant frangipani trees, exclusively for guest use. After several days of sampling the cheap-and-very-cheerful street-side and food-court cuisine of George Town, I enjoyed a change of pace (and palate) with high tea at the Macalister Mansion. The Living Room is bright and white, elegantly decorated with hanging pot plants and the wrought iron window grilles and English tile floors that are so characteristic of Penang. I was presented with a tea list so long that the waiter clearly perceived the confusion on my face and recommended something to me, whisking the menu away afterwards. I still don’t know what I ordered, but I was brought a pot of sweetish fragrant tea that resembled a mild jasmine tea. The life of a travel writer… notebook and pen…

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A Reason to Visit Mindanao: Camiguin Island

A Reason to Visit Mindanao: Camiguin Island

Just off the coast of northern Mindanao in the Philippines is the perfect volcanic island of Camiguin. The hour-long ferry ride from the mainland doesn’t actually reflect the adventure and relative remoteness of this Philippine island, however. Mindanao is firmly off the well-trodden Southeast Asian beach destination circuit. This is not without reason. As Ralph Jennings reported in Forbes Magazine in October 2016: At least four Muslim rebel groups operate on the island and once in a while they set off a bomb or kidnap foreign tourists. The vigilante group Abu Sayyaf, for example, beheaded a Canadian hostage in April. Nasty stuff. Several countries (including the UK, Canada, Australia and the US) issue travel advisories against travel to Mindanao. This island is the second largest island in the Philippine archipelago, and the biggest in the south, and as Jennings goes on to note: Most of the 104,000-square-kilometer island is safe from rebel bombings and kidnappings. Rebels usually operate in the west and on outlying islands such as Basilan and Jolo, where the Moro group of Muslims has run its own affairs for some 800 years and just wants other forces to let them. Practically all tourists who come to Mindanao—around 90%–are Filipinos. So, as a foreign tourist, if you want a beach destination that offers the best of both worlds—enough tourism infrastructure but without the over-the-top commercialisation and crowds of other parts of Southeast Asia—then parts of Mindanao are perfect. Such as Camiguin Island. Camiguin is a microcosm of the…

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