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Image: Ornamental Alhambra

By on Jan 3, 2013 in Photo of the Day | 1 comment

This image was taken at the Alhambra Gardens in Grenada, Spain. This ornamental knob was fixed to a beautiful red stone building and like much of the Alhambra, was intricately designed and beautifully crafted.  To see more photos of the gardens, check out our other post – The Islamic Infused Alhambra {Photo...

Image: A Summer’s Day at Brighton Beach, Melbourne

By on Jan 2, 2013 in Photo of the Day | 0 comments

Located twenty minutes from Melbourne, Brighton Beach is the perfect place to escape to during the scorching hot Australian summer. The shallow blue waters make it great for families, whilst the long expanse of golden beach it often filled with sun seekers soaking up the rays and listening to the latest beats.

Who is Air Asia? A Review

By on Jan 1, 2013 in Travel Coloumn | 2 comments

A few years back I was sitting at my desk booking passengers on various cruises around the world, when I overheard the guy next to me talking to his mate about heading off on a two month South East Asian adventure, country hopping with Air Asia. This was the time when getting to remote Asia required several long days of hard going bus travel and the idea of flying anything except Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific, was questioning your sanity. With that in mind, I couldn’t help but interject and ask who is Air Asia?  His response was that they were a new airline that he had never flown before and was going to give them a trial in a few weeks time. I said if he survived, he should send me a message telling me of his experience. The good news is that he is still alive today and ever since then, I have flown with Air Asia over thirty times from locations such as Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and even London.   So, who is Air Asia? Air Asia is owned by a group of private stakeholders (including Richard Branson) and was the vision of Branson’s former financial controller for Virgin Airlines, Tony Fernandes. In its current form, Air Asia has been operating for the past ten years and flies to over twenty five countries located primarily on the Asian continent. In short, Air Asia is a budget airline which hubs out of Kuala Lumpur’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) which is the budget section of Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport. When I first started flying with Air Asia, LCCT was nothing more than a tin shed. However today it is crammed full of duty free shops, fast food restaurants, hotels and busy travellers. The best way to describe the standard of Air Asia is that it is similar to the likes of Easy Jet and Jetstar. The airline has a reasonable sized fleet of modern aircraft, fitted out to put bums on seats with no extra frills. I’m just shy of 6ft and I find the leg room is adequate for short haul flights; however everything else comes at an expense. From food, entertainment, blankets and seat selection, you will need to pre-order or pay on board (higher price) for everything. I found though that for most destinations out of KL, you won’t require many of these extras as you’re only in the air for a few hours. Air Asia’s on time performance is mixed. Whilst I’ve never been delayed with any flight with this airline, I have met many travellers who have been delayed or had their flights cancelled. Recent stats that I’ve found suggests that the airline has between a 60% to 70% on time performance rating for most routes. Which brings me on to safety and let’s face it, this is probably the main concern of flying any airline in South East Asia. Safety is really subjective and I don’t like to say an airline is safe or not, as I don’t have the skills or knowledge to give that advice. However from my experience working with a certain other airline based in Asia, the main issue you have to be concerned about is maintenance and where it’s completed. Now whilst I feel reasonably comfortable with maintenance done out of KL, Air Asia also has two smaller fleets hubbed out of Jakarta and Bangkok which are owned by various other airlines (branded with the Air Asia motif).  It’s worth noting that Indonesia is notorious for its maintenance, with airline licenses often being revoked by European and Australian aviation safety bodies for failing to meet standards. However currently, Air Asia flies to both Europe and Australia and if there were any safety concerns, these aviation bodies would have stepped in. Overall I feel relatively safe and comfortable (as much as you can be on a budget airline!) when flying Air Asia. It feels no different to when I use Easy Jet to fly around Europe or Jetstar in Australia. I hope this helps to give you an idea into who Air Asia is and if you’re after alternative budget flight options, check out our post on the top five budget airlines to fly in South East...

Image: The Burj Khalifa in Dubai

By on Jan 1, 2013 in Photo of the Day | 0 comments

At 829.8m high, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and is the centerpiece of Dubai’s visionary development plans.

A New Travel Project In 2013

By on Dec 28, 2012 in Travel Coloumn | 0 comments

I can’t believe 2012 is almost over and on the good note, the Mayans were wrong – so I guess I get to spend a few more years travelling. It’s been 18 months since we re-launched the Travel Project and what a journey so far. I have joined an amazing travel community, met some interesting characters, read pages and pages of great content, started to make some serious headway into professional blogging and broke into the top 1,000,000 most viewed websites in the world. To any new bloggers who may be reading this, I’d like to say it was easy but it has been a hard but rewarding slog. This year also marked my very first Blogging Conference: Pro-blogger here in Melbourne. I’ve been spending the last four years blogging and wanted to finally work out if what I was doing was right? I learned heaps though and as a writer/blogger it allowed me to clear my mind and reposition what I wanted to achieve from The Travel Project. So first things first, my last word press theme was broken beyond repair and I wanted to create a new site that would allow me to write the way I want too. I’ve realised my blog isn’t a magazine or a travel factual site, however a personal blog about the experiences of balancing life and travel (don’t worry this isn’t going to become a dear diary). Have a look around, I have made some site wide changes and also added a few new features such as a section for Photo Junkets and Daily Photos. I’m also really excited to announce that in the coming months I will be releasing my first ever E-Book – stay tuned for this! Alas (I’ve always wanted to use that word), this all coincides with the ending of the Lonely Planet Blogsherpa program, as they officially close the doors on four years of partnership – this is a community wide change that will see all us Blogsherpas part ways. It’s a mixed blessing. The Blogsherpa program allowed a steady stream of visitors to The Travel Project and the prestige of saying I was a Lonely Planet Blogger, which was great when I first started blogging. There’s not many bloggers that can say they received an income from the very first post they released. However, increasingly I was finding the program frustrating and my work being underpaid for what they received in return. So all good things must come to an end. The year ahead seems promising on the travel front. Niki and I have finally got a base here in Australia and I’m looking forward to exploring a whole new section of the world – The Pacific, Eastern Australia and South America. I’m also thirty this year, and I have always imagined celebrating it in some fantastic destination – here’s the shortlist: Santiago, Japan, Indonesia (Not Bali) or Hawaii. I will also be travelling to Tasmania and hopefully New Zealand along the way and not to mention the trips home to Western Australia (surely a road trip in there). They’re going to be some great stories in these adventures and I also promise that I will come back to my India trip which left me 10kg lighter and in a hospital bed at Kuala Lumpur Airport. Looks like a busy 2013. I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year and thank everyone who has become part of The Travel Project over the past two years. This wouldn’t be as fun or rewarding without...

Two Nights in Oslo

By on Nov 27, 2012 in Norway | 0 comments

I first travelled to Oslo on an independent expedition which I was making to the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights. It was my arrival point to Scandinavia and not just because I had always wanted to visit Norway, however I had always wanted to see a Viking boat. Nordic history had always fascinated me and I finally had the opportunity to explore this culture in more depth. During my time is Oslo, I spent my days wandering the streets, walking through snow covered parks, visiting world class cultural museums and soaking up the reflective atmosphere of Oslo. The first thing you’ll notice about Oslo is the almost wilderness feel of its bay, with dozens of islands greeting the city. Whilst the city’s rich maritime history is never far away, which you only need to wander the bay to see the various vessels of shapes and sizes. The locals that I met were friendly, alternative and seemed to show a resilience that could only come from living in this bone chillingly cold climate. And whilst I only spent two nights here, I found Oslo to be rich in Nordic culture, smaller than I imagined and lived up to its reputation as extremely pricey. Not to mention in need to some good hostel options. With all this in mind, I wanted to share with you some of my photos that I took as I wandered around the quaint Nordic city of Oslo (and yes, I fulfilled my childhood viking dreams).               Have you been to Oslo? Let us know what you thought of your travels...