An Englishman's favourite getaways, at home and in Shanghai.

We all need to recharge and escape from the normal routine now and again. Here are some of my favourite ways to make it happen.

An Englishman's favourite getaways, at home and in Shanghai. Large Header Image

My favourite local city break from London via road-trip.

Nothing leaves you feeling more refreshed than a weekend away with fresh air, open water and dense forests. I like to go relax in local parks as much as i can, usually less acting far less posed than the picture below.

Jon sitting on a large branch

England has some beautiful parks, but i have to say, our cousins in Wales have some unparalleled beauty hiding inside their cliffs. I would recommend English city dwellers to go to Portmeirion in Wales. It honestly feels like Italy.

The view of Portmeirion, Wales

The best time to visit is of-course summer, you can walk around the cafes and have yourself a weekend out in what feels like Tuscany.

The cafe

My favourite city break from London via air travel.

Recharging your batteries by watching a shamrock sunset of electrically charged particles hit our atmosphere causing a fluorescent nights sky is a global favourite. Depending on where you are geographically there are various places for you to catch the northern lights across the aurora zone. Here is the details on my adventure in Iceland.

Iceland Aurora, Northern Lights

After finding a rental car in Iceland, you can have your own adventure right down the coast to see black sand beaches, waterfalls, geysers and plane crash sights; I did it on a budget and rented a Hyundai I8, I recommend getting something a bit meatier if you don’t want to roll down a hill.

The southern coast of Iceland

You want to rent an airbnb to have the best time. I like to stay in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. Then drive down the southern coast during the mornings and drive back at night. You can chose to stay in small villages along the way if you want to go further. However, i love Reykjavik in the mornings, the coffee and chill culture is on another level.

Reykjavik Cafe

When you start your road trip you will go south out of Reykjavik and the first item to see if Selandjafoss.

Standing under a waterfall

It is an incredible view to see such powerful rapids above generating such an awesome waterfall, you can climb to the top via a stairwell and watch the water fall.

There is also a secret trail which goes behind the waterfall but you need to get your feat wet. To get to it, keep walking left past the waterfall about 100 m on your right you’ll see a small cave! Go inside if you dare.

Inside a cave behind the waterfall

If you left the city early enough you still have time to go and see the glacier, drive further down the long straight road until you see a huge glacier on the left of the road. You’ll see a small dirt road leading up the side of the glacier on the right hand side of the peak. This took me to the most remote spot I’ve ever seen. I have no idea where exactly it was but you’ll just have to follow these directions and go yourself to see. It was a great spot to watch the sunset too.

The glacier on the right of the peak

The rest of your break should be filled with relaxing by the hot-springs, Checking out the blue lagoon for a sulphur mask and a beer is a must. I managed to experience it whilst it was snowing, it was magical.

Enjoying a drink in the blue lagoon

My favourite local city break from Shanghai via road and boat.

In my first year in Shanghai i lived in Jiading, a suburban area. There really wasn’t much going on there so i spent every weekend exploring the local places. One weekend, i found an absolute gem, Shengsi Island.

Shengsi Island abandonded fishing villages

Shengsi Island has abandoned fishing villages, and beautiful beaches. It also boasts some smaller islands which are just as beautiful but with less people, for example bird and flower island. Shengsi is accessible from Shanghai via a two hour bus journey from Nanpu bridge and then a fast ferry which takes one hour.

A map of the journey across islands

You can rent a scooter and drive around the cliffs, it feels like your in Thailand. I truly love Shengsi and i plan to go back as soon as i get the chance.

Loving life on a bike

My favourite international city break from Shanghai via plane.

This isn’t just my favourite city break from Mainland China, but it’s my favourite city break in general. Hong Kong is a big city towering with sky-scrappers but it is littered with tropical beaches. You can go shopping in high end malls and then finish the day by the seaside.

Looking out to sea in Hong Kong

It’s easy to just spend your whole vacation by Victoria Bay enjoying sights like i did here. However, if your on a little vacation in Hong Kong there are three lesser known places you have to experience.

  1. Big Wave Bay, south of Cape Collinson and north of Shek O.
  2. Sai Wan Swimming Shed.
  3. Cheung Chau Island.

Big Wave Bay is great for relaxing by the beach and also for getting some nice photos.

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The best way to Big Wave Bay’s beach is to take the bus from Shau Kei Wan. Take the Island Line (blue coloured) and then go east to Shau Kei Wan Station. Upon arrival, take exit A3 and then look for bus number 9 to Shek O. Then it’s time to have fun in the sea.

Shek O Beach

Next up the the beautiful Sai Wan Swimming Shed.

Sai Wan Swimming Shed

It’s only a stones throw away from the city and you can access it easily from Kennedy Town MTR station, which is only 4 stops away from Central. When you leave the station take Exit A, and you’ll see a green Minibus, numbered 58. This bus will take you to paradise in less than 30 minutes.

When you arrive you need to go down a stairwell towards the beach which rips through a jungle.

The stairwell towards the beach

When you arrive you’ll want to stay all afternoon, dipping your toes into the water whilst having a picnic.

Dipping toes in the water

Finally, you need to wake up early one morning and go to Cheung Chau Island. You’ll need to wake up and go by a boat or a ferry from Central Pier #5. To find Central Pier #5, take the MRT to Hong Kong Central station and walk towards the seaside using the overhead platform. Then keep your eyes pealed for dock no.5 in a sequence which goes from 1-10.

The view across the jungle towards the blue sea

This island has mountains and beaches but also it has a unique personality. It has a personality of love. Pastel coloured sheds with lovers lockets and romantic beaches suited for couples are spread around the island.

The love lock bridge

After arriving at Cheung Chau Island, you’ll walk down a straight path into the heart of the island. Finding loads of lovely areas to take photos until eventually you get to the seaside on the other-side.

Cheung Chau Island, walking towards the heart of the island

If you want to have some memories you’ll never forget in Hong Kong, get some buddies together and take your self to Cheung Chau Island.

By TripaptPublished Aug 26, 2019


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