Archive for February, 2010

An elephant standing guard (sxe)

The appeal of travelling to learn something new is becoming more and more popular. Many of my friends, myself included, have studied abroad, taking advantage of our university-organized programs that allow students these days to do this so easily. But many more travellers are choosing their destinations for different types of learning opportunities. A few that come to mind at the moment are yoga retreats, language courses, cooking classes (see my post about Tuscan cooking classes), surf school among more I am sure.

Why not travel to learn something new, a skill to bring back with you? I remember my mom travelled to Malaysia years ago and took some batiking classes, supporting the local women’s culture centre while she was there and being able to bring back some hand-made souvenirs at the same time. She was crazy about batiking afterward. I was recently let in on the best classes to take while travelling to Thailand, a magical escape.

Bangkok is the best place to start. Fortunately for us, tourism is huge in Thailand right now and there are many hotel deals to choose from. Finding cheap flights to Bangkok is a cinch too,  from £358 you can be in Thailand in no time. Bangkok caters to students from around the world, offering many diverse and exciting different opportunities for the foodie, the casual Buddhist, the foreign language expert and the sensual masseuse. Picking up a few tips and tricks along the way are entirely worth it, so here’s my list of the best courses to take while visiting Thailand.

Thai Language – you can take a beginner’s class in Thai language for 100B to 200B (£2-3) an hour to learn some basic phrases and get a small glimpse into the magic of Thai. Check out AAA Thai Language Centre for different classes and schedules. Grab a group of friends and get the group rate. Travelling alone? Try asking some other staying at the same hotel or hostel as you, you’ll probably make some good friends along the way.

Thai Cooking – cooking Thai food is not science, you just need a little practice and some guidance on what spices go with what and how. There are a lot of great cooking school in Bangkok, but I recommend Baipai Thai Cooking School which offers completely hands on classes. There are even 1/2 day ones available for those who really want to see all the sights in Bangkok as well as learn something special. The courses per person average around 1800B (£35).

Buddhas in a row in Bangkok (WV Jazzman via flickr)

Meditation / Massage – want to learn how to meditate from the real masters? Many Buddhist centers in Bangkok are open to Western travellers and focus on insight meditation methods called vipassana. Try Dharma Thai for different meditation courses and workshops. For massage, learn some new tricks that your friends and special friends will definitely enjoy. The best place to go first is Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School which holds classes frequently. A 30 hour class costs around 8500B which is £165.

Muay Thai – this is a traditional style of boxing. Many foreigners head to Thailand to learn this style which is known to be rigorous and extremely strict. A real work out for your body. If you’re interested, check out Sor Vorpin which offers one-day and weekly training sessions for foreigners. Their half-day session costs 500B (£10).


Read Full Post »

Maybe Malmö is best known for its “turning torso” skyscraper, but there are plenty of more reasons to hit up this Swedish town. Malmö is located on the coast, looking over at Denmark. From chocolate factories to world class art museums to the best in Swedish design, there is no reason not to take a day trip away from Gothenburg to visit this city. Getting to Sweden is a breeze, grab a cheap flight from London to Gothenburg for €19. Take the train to Malmö or hire a car from Gothenburg and make the 2.5 hour trek along the seaside yourself.

malmoe sweden grafitti

swedish grafitti in malmo (Kristian M via flickr)

Malmö is a vibrant place, its multicultural.It attracts the Danes from across the waters and is home to more than 150 different nations. It is a hot spot for experimental and eye-catching architecture, defying all the rules when it comes to conventional city building. The Öresund bridge and the tunnel that runs underneath Öresund right to Copenhagen are just the beginning. Malmö is an eclectic mix of what you’d expect to see in Sweden and exactly the opposite. One thing is for sure, this city is a must. It is a city for artists and diplomats, a nice mix of modern art and traditional lines.

turning torse in malmoe

malmo's turning torso (barkingjohn via flickr)

So what to see if you’re going to spend a day or two in this fine city? The Form and Design Centre is a great space located in a 16th century garden courtyard. The centre features architecture photography and other design exhibitions but the neighbourhood around the centre is also worth a wander, cobbled streets make up an almost fully restored medieval town of little timbre houses and many shops and art galleries. Walking through St. Gertrud Quarter gives visitors a unique look into 16th to 19th century Swedish architecture, all within a few blocks of each other. While you’re here, take a look at Thottska Huset, the oldest timbre house in the city. It was built around 1550 and is now a restaurant. Reservations are definitely necessary if you want to enjoy a dinner at this place. There are plenty of arts events going on in the city all year round, you can find more about them at Malmö’s culture website.

malmoe sweden monument

Knotted pistol in Malmö (Dave Gorman via flickr)

Read Full Post »

photo from kfar / weekend trip to vienna

Today I went to take a look at the travel around the world blog that jelizaveta writes and I saw that she mentioned me in her post today! This is very cool! I am always inspired by the destinations she writes about, definitely check it out.

So I was thinking why not give a few shout-outs then to travel blogs that I have been following and I enjoy?

Mangovine is a blog about a couple livinging in Hong Kong and travelling around Asia. They collect very interesting photographs as they travel along and write about places that I would like to go if I was travelling through Asia. Its a really good resourse if you are heading that way and looking for some great design spots.

A big one but still very cool is Viator. I just came across this blog the other day when  i was looking for things to go in Croatia during the winter. I found a really cheap flight from London to Split for £59 on liligo.com and came across one of their posts with just the answer!

i left my heart is a very poetic travel blog… she has some really great photographs. its a more different type of travel blog but i think writing poems about destinations is a great way to get in touch with your experiences there!

What are you favourites? Let me know if you write a travel blog, we can make a link exchange! Dont be shy! Have a great weekend!

Read Full Post »