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I’ve been based in Bangkok for the last two weeks, and it has been a welcome change in pace after three full-on months of travel.

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After a pretty gruelling trip through Russia, I was very happy to be back in Asia.  I was especially happy, because my next stop after Beijing was Hong Kong – one of my favourite cities in the world.

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My final stop in the Balkans was Slovenia, the economic powerhouse of the former Yugoslavia and a charming country resembling Austria and Switzerland.  In fact, I couldn’t really see how it fit with countries like Bosnia & Herzegovina or Macedonia – it was like chalk and cheese.

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After being blown away by Dubrovnik I had high expectations when it came to Split and the Croatian islands.  Though I did enjoy my time on Brač, the same could not really be said about Split and overall I left Croatia after almost a week feeling a bit flat.

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I’m sitting in Sarajevo, reflecting on a very hectic week, in which I visited 7 countries in 7 days.  And yet it has been the most interesting, beautiful and puzzling part of my travels so far.  If you have never been to this part of the world, then I suggest you book your flights now!

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I have a confession to make: I love Singapore.  Well, two confessions, actually…I also love tilt-shift lenses (and I apologise profusely for totally overusing tilt-shift images in this post, but I rented one for a day and figured I should make good use of it).

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In my mind Da Lat is an anomaly.  Situated 1,500m above sea level, and frequently facing prolonged periods of rain and overcast skies, the city is a good 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the country.  This temperate climate, and the fact that the French colonialists treated it as a country retreat to get out of the stifling heat of Saigon, makes the place feel oddly European.

Pho

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What surprised me by far the most about Vietnam was the food.  A Seurat canvas of flavours, Vietnamese food combines sweet, sour, tart, crunchy, soft, spicy, fresh, smokey elements in a sophisticated way that is simply genius.  That’s before you even consider the intriguing blend of Eastern and Western cuisine…who would have thought that a stew with fresh baguette could be called ‘Authentic Vietnamese’ fare?