This Chinese Restaurant is in North Point, a stone's throw from Wing Hing Street and the public toilet and refuse tip, but don't let that put you off. It's in a side street and under a bridge and doesn't look much from the outside, but the food is terrific and cheap too. They serve decent wine that's not expensive and is full of locals. Try the beef with peppers and onions in black bean sauce.
9 Tsing Fung St Tin Hau
+ (852) 2571 0913
Google map: bit.ly/pg1D5Q
This little unpretentious bar which also serves good simple seafood is run by a one-time bullfighter. Most of the seating is outside on the street. We paid €29 for starters/mains and two drinks.
Located in the old fishermen's quarter Barrio de La Vina where many of the streets are populated with bars and restaurants.
Not surprisingly considering the previous occupation of the owner, the bar is full of bull fighting memorabilia.
Calle San Félix, 2 Barrio La Viña, Cadiz, Spain
+34 956 220 838
This traditional stand up tapas bar is located on Plaza Alfalfa. Above the door is a colourful tiled arch depicting a beach scene.
A very popular place with both locals and visitors alike and it quickly fills up as soon as the door opens. Offers superb value for money & allows you to try traditional Andalusian-style tapas at great prices.
A novel tapa for me was the Iberian pork liver, served cold in an olive oil marinade. The tortilla portions were massive. Staff friendly and attentive.
There are tables at the back, but most opt to stand while eating tapas and watching the football on the TV and the activity on the street outside.
Calle Alfalfa, 4 41004 Seville, Spain
Google map: bit.ly/pdCHCA
Opens: noon - 4pm & 8pm - midnight daily.
Bodega Santa Cruz (aka Las Columnas) is a great find, just around the corner from the Giralda.
An authentic tapas bar where the good humoured bar staff chalk up your tab on the bar counter.
Food while cheap is good, and we ended up frequenting this place a few times during our stay in Seville.
Some seats outside.
C/Rodrigo Caro 1 (very near cathedral)
Open 7am - midnight daily.
Google map: bit.ly/q4Nee4
An absolute gem. One of the oldest tapas bars in Seville, with a bar on the site since the late 17th century. Popular with tourists and locals alike.
Dark wood panels with seating at a minimum but great food and a great atmosphere.
You stand at the bar and order and your tab is chalked on the bar counter to keep track.
Food really good quality and not that expensive. The espinacas con garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas is particularly to be recommended.
You can book a seat at the back for the dinner menu but we much preferred the tapas menu at the bar, so much so that we returned a number of times during our stay in Seville.
While we were there there we encountered an elderly gentleman named Valentino who writes poetry on napkins and hands to people in the bar. If you do see him, buy him a glass of beer for his trouble.
We first heard about this place on Rick Stein's TV programme 'Spain'.
C/ Gerona 40 near Plaza Ponce de Leon
+34 954 22 31 83
Open until late every day
Google map: bit.ly/o0Hn7B
See bar featured at the start of this Youtube video on Rick Stein's Spain:.
The Leicester Square Box Office is a small theatre ticket box office tucked away in Leicester Square.
I recently bought tickets to Lion King:The Musical, and the tickets were a lot cheaper than anywhere else! You can't argue with that.
This is a 2 star hotel in a historical Ottoman building. It has air conditioning, pool and B&B plus wi-fi all for 30 Euros a night. Ibrahim the manager is very helpful and accommodating.
Fans of Vietnamese food may want to try Pho Vietnam in Prague 2. Located a stone’s throw from Jiriho z Podebrad metro station, this tiny restaurant offers a small outside seating area but mainly offers takeaway meals. Their menu includes some delicious pho (Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga)), which is absolutely packed with fresh spring onions and corrainder, for around 80 CZK.
Pho Vietnam also offers Vietnamese curry dishes with rice, and some sushi.
A basic restaurant but a great quick and healthy option for food in a hurry.
Slavikova 1, 120 00 Prague 2
+420 774 167 786
Nearest Metro: Jiřího z Poděbrad
Nearest Tram: Jiřího z Poděbrad (11), Vinohradska Vodarna (10 and 16)
Google map: bit.ly/oatzRk
* Helen is our Been there local for Prague. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-helen-ford.jsp and she has her own blog here: czechingin.wordpress.com/
Mango Bay is one of the rare genuine eco resorts in Vietnam and South East Asia. A recent long weekend there proved to me that the resort stays true to its ethos of being a "low-density resort with a passion for the environment".
My bungalow was built using reclaimed wood and other local materials such as rammed earth and thatch roof. And the waiter told us our seafood beach barbeque all came from either local fishermen or the resort's own garden. In a country obsessed with imported meat such as Japanese Kobe beef or Australian lamb, or exotic fish (shark fin is featured as a top delicacy in some restaurants we went to in Ha Noi), it is refreshing to see how this little French run resort sticks to their gun of providing locally sourced and ethical food.
Oh, and summer and autumn are considered low seasons here, so the prices are significantly reduced. Our big room only cost us USD90 per room for two adults for THREE nights. Even in a cheap country like Vietnam, it is still very cheap for a good island resort.
Ong lang Beach, Phu Quoc, Vietnam
+84 903 382 207
This little place on the lake shore - opposite the huge Overlanders place - is quiet and pretty with room for camping as well as the huts. Each of these is perfectly comfortable, even though the shower is more like standing under a dripping tap! But it's the staff that make this place - young, friendly and with Ronald cooking delicious food. Try the crayfish curry. The lake is stunning, especially from the top of the hill, the 29 islands seeming to float on its surface.
P.O Box 242,, Kabale, Uganda
Google map: bit.ly/nktzRQ
Prefect place to stay on a tight budget. We spent four nights in August. Very good location at Plac Nowy, center of Krakow's Kazimierz. Friendly atmosphere, clean basic rooms, plenty of showers and toilets. Lot of hot water. Kitchen well equipped, breakfast rather basic but very tasty. Staff, specially Karolina very helpful, she gave us very good tips where to eat or what to see. Location is perfect for exploring Krakow, not too commercial area plenty of cheap places to eat. We recommend for all.
If you're looking for paradise, this is as close as you'll ever get. Unspoiled, uninhabited islands where you can camp under the stars, snorkel in pristine waters and marvel at what a beautiful world we live in.
It's a little deceptive, as there are no yachts and no club. There is however a lovely big shaded grassy area to swing a hammock or pitch a tent (as we did). There are also showers and toilets - bring a torch though. The great thing about the yacht club is it's probably the cheapest place in town to stay. The caretaker will charge a couple of dollars and he even looked after our bags. The beach and restaurants are just a short stroll. For the budget conscious this place can't be beaten. It's the perfect base from which to chill out or to return to after the rigors of a few days on the trails in Corcovado NP.
Corner of Aeropuerto Este and Parrot Acces. From the Boat Pier turn left walk 100m, the junction is in front of you, Yacht Club marked by a small house.
+506 2735 5051
Google map: bit.ly/pp7l6R
This is a great YHA hostel, in the southern bit of Stockholm. It's set in parkland, next to some great allotments. We walked past one morning and a plot holder showed us round their plot and summer house. The hostel is easy to get to from public transport and the area has some good local restaurants.
The hotel room was simple but good, and affordable.
Zinkens väg 20, 11741 Stockholm
+46 8 6168100
Google map: bit.ly/quehyY
Zinkens väg 20
Tel. 46 8 6168100
Fax. 46 8 6168120
An eclectic mix of sights and smells that is lively and gives great views across to the Vancouver skyline. The market is full of great stalls and colours and is a dream for fruit and vegetables. The varied eating places in the market allow all members of the group to eat what appeals at the time. Take a trip down the harbour in the little tug boats to see the diversity of Vancouver. A great place to spend up to three hours.
Located five minute's walk away from the main square (Praça da Liberdade)is this Porto institution (which is due to celebrate its 50th anniversary this November).
The speciality of the house is BBQ food – meat, fish and the star of the show as the name of the restaurant insinuates is the chicken (frango being the Portuguese for chicken). The food is delicious, the standard portions are really meant for two, but many a hearty diner seemed to be giving it a go. For the not so hungry, there are half portions.
It’s a pretty simple place full of locals (which is always a good sign). Downstairs you will find a bar filled mostly with local gentlemen at the counter socializing while having their meal and upstairs a simply decorated dining room filled mainly with families and couples.
The service from the waiters is professional, efficient and friendly.
Also worth a mention is the local beer, the refreshingly crisp and fizzy Super bock.
Upon leaving, the smile on your face will not only be from the delicious meal you just ate, but also from the reasonable price you just paid.
Rua Bonjardim 223, Porto 4000-124, Portugal
+351 222 008 522
Google map: bit.ly/qslqxR
Wherever you go in the world on your gap year, my advice would be to not just flit from place to place but to stay in the places you enjoy the most for as long as you can to really get a sense of the people and place - you'll appreciate it way more. You can do this by finding a job in the local community that can fund your stay and future travels. If you speak English, then teaching is the obvious option, or work on a farm or whatever you like (see organizations like WWOOF, or meet locals by coach surfing). Also, take one set of smart clothes for when you're away, you never know what you might be invited to (I was invited to a wedding in India by the headmaster at the school I was working in). Finally, avoid the agencies if you can, organizing it independently is cheaper and gives far more options and freedom.
Shane Henwood and his beautiful family run the local YHA hostel in this little hidden gem of a fishing town. Shane runs a super cheap tour which includes surfing with his surf champ brother in law, cliff jumping, bush walking and sailing- finishing up with a proper Aussie barbie of course. Total highlight of my gap year in Oz - Yamba is not very well known, but all the better for it!
26 Coldstream Street, Yamba, NSW Australia 2464
(+612) 6646 3997
Google map: bit.ly/o15yJp
This is the 'remotest bunkhouse' on the west coast of Scotland situated in a beautiful bay at Ardintigh on the south shore of Loch Nevis with a fantastic view over the sea to the Cuillin mountains and across to the remote peninsula of Knoydart. It is only accessible by walking or by sea and our party arrived by various methods including walking, boat taxi and canoeing via Loch Morar (deepest loch on the UK mainland). It is a wonderful place for adventure or just chilling out. We spent a long weekend canoeing and walking and thinking about swimming! The accommodation is in small wooden bunkhouses scattered around the bay with plenty space for campers too. We cooked in the large bunkhouse by the beach (showers and toilet block under the kitchen and dining room) We went as a small party of 11 but the site sleeps up to 24 (plus extras camping). You can go as a group or as individual at £15 per night for the bunkbed (take your own sleeping bag).
The sunsets are wonderful and the last night we watched the sun go down not long before midnight after a beach barbecue. I almost forgot to mention the whale ...
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