Club Oasis at the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu: Spa Review

I love a good massage, but I’m currently pregnant and that makes the usual therapies uncomfortable or impossible. Yes, ‘pregnancy massage’ is a thing that exists, but I haven’t found a good one in Kathmandu. So, last weekend when staying at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Boudhanath, I opted for a couple of other treatments instead: a pedicure and a facial. I’ve been to a few spas in Kathmandu, and think they can be divided into two categories: luxury spas, and those that offer good, affordable, reliable treatments but are a little rough around the edges with the decor. Club Oasis is definitely, definitely in the luxury category. The ambience is calm with candlelight and the sound of running water, the facilities and accessories are spotless, and the staff knowledgeable and attentive. I started with a pedicure. I mentioned that I’m pregnant? Well, I can no longer reach my feet, so there’d been a bit of neglect down there (not something I’m proud to admit, considering I once boasted a 75-nail-polish strong collection). The 45-minute treatment started with removing the remnants of my old polish, a foot soak, and then exfoliation and massage, before trimming and painting my nails. The selection of polish colours was good, and I chose a sparkly pink-gold. While I enjoyed the treatment, I always feel a little put out receiving a spa treatment that I could have done myself at home. My feet felt (and looked) better afterwards, but there was no real heel scrubbing,…

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The World's Best Long-Distance Trekking Trails

The World’s Best Long-Distance Trekking Trails

From Nepal to the USA to Portugal and South Africa and Jordan… if you’re up for a really big challenge, I’ve written an introductory guide to some of the world’s best long-distance trekking trails. Some of these require months of preparation and months to walk. Others can be divided into smaller, more manageable sections of a week or even a day. This was really fun to write because I got to do a whole lot of research on places that I’d love to go. I’ve trekked sections of the Great Himalaya Trails in Nepal, and the Te Araroa Trek in New Zealand, but the rest have swiftly been added to my must-do list. Here are the treks I cover in this article: The Via Dinarica, Western Balkans The Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal Rota Vincentina, Portugal Jordan Trail, Jordan Iceland North to South Traverse, Iceland Transcaucasian Trail, Caucasus Mountains Triple Crown of Hiking, USA (Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail) Te Araroa, New Zealand Drakensberg Grand Traverse, South Africa and Lesotho Shikoku Pilgrim’s Trail, Japan Read the full article on Kimkim.

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India Insider Guides on World Nomads

India Insider Guides on World Nomads

A frequent comment I hear from people who haven’t travelled much in Asia (or anywhere) is that they’re just not ready to tackle India yet. Honestly, travelling in India isn’t much different from travelling in any other big country. If you’re interested, do your homework and have realistic expectations about what you can see and do, ‘being ready’ shouldn’t enter the equation. I recently wrote a few India travel guides for the World Nomads India Insider’s Guide, and I’m in great company. Numerous other travel writers and bloggers with experience in the amazing country also contributed to the series. These will be especially useful if you’re planning a first visit to India. I wrote the following articles: A Seasoned Traveler’s Guide to Weather in India Top Hikes and Treks for Eager Explorers in India Hike, Bike and Explore the Best of Himachal Pradesh I Traveled 450kms Over the Himalayas to Send an Email Other articles in the series by other authors cover many other aspects of travel in India.

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Great Cities to be a Freelance Writer

Great Cities to be a Freelance Writer

While my days of country hopping might just be over (don’t count on it), there is definitely something attractive about a freelance lifestyle that allows you to pick up and follow your heart’s desire. This is even more attractive if you’re a travel writer. And have a strong passport to back up your dreams, of course. I’ve just had this article published on The Write Life, titled ‘6 Cheap(er) Cities Where it’s Great to Be a Freelance Writer.’ My home of Kathmandu does not feature, because most of the time it’s pretty goddamn terrible! It usually features on lists of the world’s worst places to be a freelancer, along with cities in Bangladesh and India. The internet in Kathmandu goes to sleep for at least a couple of hours each week, usually more, and that’s with a pretty solid home connection. But I manage. No, you won’t find any South Asian countries on this list for quite obvious reasons, but there’s a mix of North American, Latin American, European and Southeast Asian cities featured. To find out which cities I’ve included, read the full article on The Write Life, here. Top image: Edgardo W. Olivera/Flickr

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Eat Your Way Around Hoi An, Vietnam

Eat Your Way Around Hoi An, Vietnam

As a vegetarian/pescatarian, Asia is generally a great region to travel in (with the exception of the Philippines, where they treat you like you’re suffering from a mysterious ailment if you don’t eat pig in all its permutations–I blame the Spanish.) Vietnam is especially wonderful, because there is such a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs served with every meal. And most of it is so healthy. I think you could eat your way around Vietnam and come back lighter at the end of it. Hoi An, on the coast about halfway up/down the skinny country, is often called the culinary capital of Vietnam, and for very good reasons. While food in Vietnam is good everywhere, in Hoi An it’s really something to write about, even for a relative non-food like myself. So that’s what I did. I recently published this article on Travioor titled ‘6 Hoi An Food Experiences to Sample Vietnamese Cuisine’. I’ve been to Vietnam twice, but this is the first time I’ve published anything on it. So enjoy. And then go find your nearest Vietnamese restaurant. Fortunately, we have a few excellent ones in Kathmandu. Read an extract below, or the full article on Travioor. 6 Hoi An Food Experiences to Sample Vietnamese Cuisine You could spend a year in Hoi An and still not sample every Vietnamese dish, or visit every restaurant and makeshift stall. Instead of recommending specific places, this article outlines the types of food experiences you should be aiming for in…

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