Thursday, January 18, 2018

Drum Tao in Tokyo and about the drop in Bitcoin and other crypto currency

The other day, the values of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency dived down, causing great concern among some crypto currency investors. However, other investors saw the drop in the value of Bitcoin as a great Bitcoin buying opportunity and a chance to invest in cryptocurrency

Travelife Magazine is bringing the Drum Tao show to Manila this April

Good afternoon from onboard Japan Airlines, enjoying a banana leche flan for dessert and a Watergate movie, on my way to Tokyo for the weekend to eat some real sushi (winter sushi is the best) and to watch the new show of Drum Tao

Dessert onboard Japan Airlines last night


And after that 90 degree drop in the values of #Bitcoin and other crypto currencies on Tuesday, I sure needed 2 glasses of 40% proof plum liqueur straight with my food. 

The drop in the values of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency on Tuesday certainly defied even my worst expectations for just how drastic crypto currency values can gyrate. Of course, I’ve lived through lots of investment bear markets so I know how to keep my head on straight when these happen. 

Nevertheless, it is unnerving, so I looked to a seasoned investor for advice. 



Bitcoin fell through the roof,” I messaged him somewhere else in this wonderful world, late yesterday. He’s completely uninterested in crypto currency right now, preferring to plunk his money into fine wine. And then to drink the wine. 

“Well, isn’t this the moment you’ve been waiting for then?” He replied back. 

Yes, for those with guts and cash in the crypto market, Tuesday was a big buying opportunity for crypto currency. Will another similar buying opportunity for crypto currency come again? Who knows? 

I answered: “Yes, but it’s still an ouch moment.” I could’ve gone on safari with that money, after all. 

Travelife Magazine is bringing the Drum Tao show to Manila this April


My friend, who was quite a legendary investor during the famous Tokyo bull market, then said: “In my experience, the toughest decisions usually turn out to be the best.” 

So I bought on yesterday’s dip, but of course only with money that’s the equivalent of a nice weekend trip somewhere — or more specifically, with the money I should have used to pay for a private meditation retreat at the Aman in Indonesia in a few weeks’ time. I promised to pay yesterday and then the crypto drop happened. So I bought Bitcoin yesterday with this money first. 

Travelife Magazine is bringing the Drum Tao show to Manila this April


Then one of my neighbors, who has been tutoring me about Bitcoin, also said: “Buy whatever Bitcoin you can get hold of. You’ll probably be smiling in February.” So with a little luck and a rise in the value of Bitcoin, my private Aman meditation retreat in Indonesia will turn out to be free. 

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend in Japan, then it’s back to Manila on Monday for work and a barbecue party. Incidentally, Travelife Magazine is bringing the amazing Drum Tao group to Manila this April. Don’t miss their show. I guarantee it’ll rock your world. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) 2018 in Chiangmai, Thailand. And about Thai gastronomy tourism and the best food products from Northern Thailand.

The countdown to the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2018 in Chiang Mai from  January 22 to 26, 2018 is underway with Thailand rolling out the red carpet to welcome participants under the theme of ‘Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity’. 

Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said the TAT will have a dedicated area called ‘Thailand Prestige’ highlighting Thai local experiences through the country’s rich culinary tradition in line with its marketing focus on Thai gastronomy tourism


Thai food continues to gain worldwide acclaim and is a major attraction for the millions of tourists who visit Thailand every year," he said. “ATF 2018 will draw on Chiang Mai’s outstanding reputation for tasty Thai gastronomy tourism that is so engrained in Lanna culture both for international and domestic tourists visiting Thailand’s Northern Region."  

“The ‘Premium Product Display’ will also showcase kitchen products and decorative items featuring a Thai design for international markets in the field of food innovation as well as award-winning itineraries that promote Thai local experiences,” he added.  



Highlights include an interactive cooking demonstration by celebrity chefs from Chiang Mai. Top talent poised to tantalise the taste buds of those in attendance include Chef Toei from Chiang Mai’s ‘Nasi Jampru’ Thai-fusion restaurant, Chef Kaew Koe the ‘Sandwich Man’ and Chef Black from Chiang Mai’s ‘Blackitch Artisan Kitchen’. 


Prempacha Collection of Thailand

Other ‘Premium Product Display’ items of interest include pottery and ceramic products from Prempracha’s Collection, celadon ceramics from Chiang Mai Celadon, handcrafted ceramics from PaChaNa Studio plus silver and lacquer ware from Wualai Silver

Pachana Collection of Thailand

Local food products from Northern Thailand on offer include dried meat and sausages from Vanasnun, spices and seasoning from Nithi Foods, sweet corn foodstuffs from Sun Sweet and honey processed food items by Bee Product

Monday, January 15, 2018

Famous travel writer and editor Pól Ó Conghaile shares his recommendations for Dublin

Travel writer and editor Pól Ó Conghaile reveals where to go in Dublin to get a feel of the city's unusual and quirky side.

Bram Stoker Festival, Dublin
Photo courtesy of

The Irish House Party runs dinners with a backdrop of traditional Irish dancing. Elsewhere, I love K Chido Mexico for tacos. You’ll find the blue and pink Citroen HY food truck hidden away in a warehouse on Chancery Street.

THE MOST ROMANTIC PLACE IN DUBLIN is the last resting place of St. Valentine. You’ll find the saint’s relics in Whitefriar Street Church on AungierStreet.


THE BEST PLACE TO BREAK-UP WITH A LOVER is at the Iveagh Gardens, a leafy and lovingly landscaped oasis near Stephen’s Green. Things could go quiet or loud here without drawing a crowd of rubber-neckers. Taxi!

TO GET THE MOST OUT OF DUBLIN, you should take a walking tour. Fabulous Food Trails, Hidden Dublin Walks &Tours, or historian and author Pat Liddy offer various themed trails. The best way to explore Dublin is on foot. No question.

Pulled pork taco from K Chido Mexico, Dublin

Dublin’s weather isn’t the most picnic-friendly, but its sandwiches can be stunners. Grab a free-range rotisserie chicken special from Poulet Bonne Femme in the basement of Avoca on Suffolk street, and take it to the Dubh Linn gardens in Dublin Castle.

MY FAVORITE PLACE FOR A NIGHTCAP IS the Vintage Cocktail Club on Crown Alley. It’s the most un-Temple Bar-like bar in Temple Bar – marked by a small doorbell just south of the Bad Ass Café. Its “Daily Mule” is a good vodka pick me-up. Or try the “Single Elix”, a Connemara single malt whiskey with orange bitters, lemon oils, and the “Bitter Truth Elixir.” Sláinte.

THE MOST UNUSUAL PLACE TO STAY is the Napoleonic-era Martello Tower in Sutton.

GO TO Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street or Grogan’s on Castle Market FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE NIGHT OUT IN DUBLIN. Both are old-school Dublin boozers serving great Guinness and greater conversation. You never know where the night will lead from here.

The Convention Center Dublin

THE BEST PLACE TO HAVE WHISKEY IN DUBLIN IS AT the Irish Whiskey Museum. You can get up to speed with Ireland’s craft whiskey before settling into the upstairs bar at The Palace on Fleet Street. Try a dram of their own-label whiskey.

THE BEST YET MOST UNDERRATED VICTORIAN PUB is The Stag’s Head on Dame Court. Any Dubliner will point you towards this Victorian beauty. Drop in during the day for quietude or in the evening for full-on quaffing. Atmosphere guaranteed. 


AFTER A TIRING WEEK, I LIKE TO UNWIND AND RECHARGE by walking through neighborhoods I haven’t explored in ages and just following my nose. Recently, it was Stoneybatter, a historic quarter rapidly headed for gentrification, but still full of Victorian houses, a great gastro pub called L Mulligan Grocer, and local street life. 

A LOVELY SPRING DAY SHOULD BE SPENT walking through Trinity College to soak up the April blossoms. The National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin is another off-radar treat – visit in January or February for the first droves of snowdrops.

Stay away from Temple Bar at night. Aside from the odd exception, it’s a tourist trap that’s over-priced and way over the top. Explore it by day instead.

The Stag's Head Mosaic, Dublin

FOR A TASTE OF MYSTERY IN DUBLIN, YOU SHOULD take a tour of the limestone crypts beneath St. Michan’s Church. Amidst stacks of cobwebbed coffins, clearly visible in the vaults are a few that have been cracked open, revealing the eerily preserved “mummies” inside. One is said to be a 650-year-old “crusader.”

Did you know Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, was born in Dublin? The Bram Stoker Festival, held at the end of October near Halloween, is a deadly celebration of Dublin’s dark side.

THE MOST HAUNTED PLACE IN DUBLIN IS the 40 Steps behind St. Audeon’s Church at Cornmarket. They twist around the church down to a surviving stack of old City Walls, and this area is said to be haunted by the ghost of Darkey Kelly, an 18th-century madam burned at the stake for suspected witchcraft.


GO GHOST HUNTING IN GlasnevinCemetery, the resting place of over one million souls and home to some amazing Dublin stories. HiddenDublin Walks also offers north side ghost tours. For something more theatrical, try the Dublin GhostBus.

THE BEST PLACES TO TAKE A FILM LOVER IN DUBLIN are Dublin’sLighthouse and the Irish Film Institute for art-house and limited release movies. But check the listings at The Sugar Club, too. Its stage, screen, cabaret tables, and velvet banquettes host everything from live bands to classic films and cheesy 1980s hits. Expect a late night.

Hell Fire Club, Dublin

I ALWAYS TELL FRIENDS VISITING DUBLIN FOR THE FIRST TIME to go to Francis Bacon’s reconstructed studio at The Hugh Lane. In the late nineties, the entire – and chaotic – contents of the artist’s studio were moved from London to Dublin and painstakingly reassembled, along with the dust. It’s a weird and wonderful exhibit in an oft overlooked gallery.

Dublin has several grand old hotels that lay the atmosphere on thick and fast at cocktail o’clock. Get the glad rags on and hit the five-star Merrion Hotel for drinks in its gorgeous Georgian drawing rooms.


It’s loud, clattery, and straight out of the hipster pub-design playbook, but I often meet friends at The Workshop on George’s Quay. It’s a reboot of Kennedy’s, an old boozer that we remember fondly, and the menu has a decent range of Irish craft beers and pub grub.

I LIKE LISTENING TO LIVE MUSICAL PERFORMANCES AT Whelan’s or The Button Factory, where up-and-coming bands play in intimate, sticky-floored venues. “I saw them back when they played Whelan’s,” is the Dublin muso’s trump card.

Fish plate from Winding Stair, Dublin

TO CLEAR MY MIND, I GO TO the roof garden in the Chester BeattyLibrary. It’s a surprising space with great views in the middle of Dublin Castle.

THE MOST PICTURESQUE SPOT IN DUBLIN IS a short walk up Mountpelier Hill which gives breathtaking views over the city and as far as Northern Ireland. It’s got a haunted building (The Hell Fire Club), too.

TOURISTS SHOULD NOT MISS visiting the old churches of Dublin. Take some time to pop into the medieval church of St. Audeon’s, or John’s Lane Church in The Liberties. Pugin’s design is one of the finest pieces of ecclesiastical architecture in the city – indeed, Ruskin is said to have dubbed it “a poem in stone.” The mosaics inside are amazing, too. 


The best entertainment is often just a few friends chin-wagging over a pint. But you can catch comedy (good and bad) at The International. First-time visitors should check out some theater at The Abbey, The Gate or Smock Alley.

I AM CURRENTLY IN LOVE WITH Dublin’s North side. Relatively few tourists venture across the River Liffey, but there’s so much to do here – from the GPO’s new Witness History exhibition to The Winding Stair bookshop and café overlooking the river, and the Georgian architecture of Henrietta Street. It’s not as postcard-pretty as the south side, but any work you put in here is very much rewarded.

Pól Ó Conghaile is the author of “Secret Dublin: An Unusual Guide” (editionsjonglez. com), which takes both tourists and locals off the grid in Ireland’s gregarious capital city. Pól is Travel Editor with The Irish Independent and You can follow him on Twitter at @poloconghaile.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The best hotel breakfasts in the world

Discovering cuisine from all over the world is one of the most delightful aspects of traveling. For those who like exploring new destinations and enjoying local food at the start of their daybreakfast literally becomes the most important meal. Savor these photographs of the best breakfasts around the world with us.

Mornings and breakfasts at the Hyatt Regency 
in Thessaloniki, Greece

Healthy starters at the Four Seasons Sultanahmet in Istanbul

Caviar over Eggs Benedict at The Standart in Moscow

Al fresco breakfast and croissants 
at The Selman in Marrakech 



A morning spread prepared by Palais Amani, Morocco

Fruits and olives for breakfast in Chateau Les Crayeres in Champagne, France


Oysters, green tea, seeds, fruits and champagne for breakfast
at the One & Only Cape Town in South Africa

Continental breakfast at the Rachmaninoff Hotel
in Veliky Novgorod, Russia

Eggs and fruit at the Park Hotel Bosphorus

The Eggs Benedict at the 
Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve, South Africa 
makes early mornings worth it

The Japanese breakfast at Amanemu in Ise,
via room service, came in a beautiful lacquer trio of boxes

Spicy eggs in Tel Aviv, Israel 

Breakfast in Otaru, Japan, 
a port city known for known for glasswork and sake distilleries

Santorini, Greece breakfasts are a feast for all senses

Farm to table breakfast at a farm in Rostov, Russia

An energizing morning meal in Crete, Greece's largest island

A French morning spread courtesy of Les Crayères

Crystal Cruises breakfasts are both eye-catching and delicious! 

A really delicious made-to-order omelette
at the Grand Hotel in Tver, Russia