Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Vietnam - Trip Report

I had previously visited Vietnam in 2011 but missed out on a lot as I'd only spent time in and around Ho Chi Minh City. Needing to leave Thailand again for a visa run and having a friend who lives in Hanoi, I decided to return to Vietnam to check out more of the country.

I flew to Hanoi direct from Bangkok, in business class, with Qatar Airways on a short 90 minute flight. The return ticket cost me 18,000 Avios (British Airways miles) + £98 GBP in fees. Sure, for the same as I paid in fees I could have bought a cash ticket on a budget airline like Air Asia, but for much better take-off times and the opportunity to fly business class with one of the best airlines in the world I was happy to flick in the extra 18K Avios.

The first thing I did when I arrived there was to buy cheap local SIM card with data from a kiosk at the airport and then book a ride to the city with the Uber app. I chose to use Uber Black and was driven to the city in a nice new SUV for 25% less than the flat fare of a standard Vietnamese taxi and also got a further large discount for using a first ride promotion code. Isn't technology brilliant?

I stayed in a nice hotel in the old quarter. Just as well that the hotel was quiet, clean and nice because it was in contrast to the noise, dirt and chaos on the streets outside - the like of which you could only find in a busy city in a developing country. It was brilliant.

Hanoi traffic. Good luck crossing the road. #Hanoi #Vietnam

A photo posted by Dale Philip (@daleroxxu) on



Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Taiwan - Trip Report

Taiwan was one of the few countries in Asia that I hadn't yet visited.

Needing to leave Thailand briefly for visa reasons, I saw some good value direct flights from Bangkok to Taipei with Tiger Airways and decided to fly there for a 6 day stay.

From Thailand to Taiwan on a tiger.

A photo posted by Dale Philip (@daleroxxu) on



Hotels are quite expensive in Taipei when compared to some other Asian cities. A room is around 3x the price that it is in Bangkok for the same standard and in the equivalent location.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Istanbul Food Tour

When I flew from Thailand to Ireland this Easter to play in the Irish Open I broke up the journey with a stopover in Istanbul, Turkey. One night on the way there and another two on the way home.

At the time I booked the trip I didn't know much about Istanbul or even what I actually wanted to do there, other than eating my weight in Turkish Delight. My main motivation for this itinerary was to save myself a lot of money. However I'm always glad for the opportunity to visit somewhere I've never been before.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Irish Open (Dublin) - Trip Report

From Bangkok, Thailand to Dublin, Ireland. I made that long journey to play in this year's Paddy Power Irish Open and end my 10 month hiatus from live poker tournaments.

The venue for the Irish Open was the Hilton Doubletree hotel, who got my stay off to a sweet start. When I was checking in I was handed a large, fresh, warm and extremely delicious chocolate-chip cookie along with my room key.

I think more hotels should do this kind of thing. The financial cost is small compared to the resulting customer satisfaction level. Maybe I love cookies too much, but if I'm a customer of yours and you unexpectedly hand me a delicious freshly baked cookie, chances are I'll write good things about your business on the internet. (Contact me for postal address to send all cookie bribes.)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Maldives - Trip Report

This trip report from my visit to The Maldives in December will be rather different to most other Maldives trip reports you will read online.

It will also be difficult for me to write. If you read until the end you'll see why. But I won't let that get in the way of me documenting my travels.



Last year I got into what I'd call my first serious relationship in as long as I can possibly remember. I was happier than I ever had been in my life. Life was awesome. Except for one problem. My girlfriend had to leave Bangkok for 4 and a half months to do an internship at a hotel resort island in The Maldives.

I knew it was going to be be difficult because we had spent every single day together up until then. I promised that I would fly over to visit her halfway through, to make the temporary distance-relationship easier to handle.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Returning to live poker at the Irish Open

It's been 9 months since I played my last live poker event. I lost a coinflip on day 2 of the UKIPT Marbella main event and proceeded to get involved in a bit of football related light banter later that day (Oh sorry, did that celebration offend you?).

To be honest, I never was much of a live poker player. I much prefer clicking buttons on a laptop where I can happily play poker in my underwear without people complaining. I decided after what went on in Marbella that I'd only play live poker from then on if the event is held somewhere that I actually want to travel to and that I know a lot of my poker friends will be attending.

As I've mentioned before on my blog, my favourite place in the world to play poker, other than "the internet", is Ireland, and the largest Irish event of the year is coming up soon. The €3,500 buyin Paddy Power Irish Open.


My plan is to make the long journey from my home in Bangkok all the way to Dublin to participate in the Irish Open this coming Easter weekend (Friday 3rd April - Monday 6th April).

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Penang, Malaysia - Trip Report

As every foreigner who stays in Thailand for a while knows, you have to get your foreign ass out of the country every now and again when your visa expires.


For some that is a major hassle, but for me it's a good opportunity to visit some cool places. Penang in Malaysia is my favourite place to do my Thai "visa runs".

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Chiang Mai, Thailand - Trip Report

After my poker trip to Marbella I returned home to Bangkok with far fewer commitments and much more free time.

I used that free time productively - by dating pretty girls. Eventually I met a pretty girl that actually had a personality and that I actually enjoyed spending time with. Like me, she had a lot of free time on her hands, as she wasn't due to start at university for another month. I suggested that we make the most of our freedom by taking a short vacation to Chiang Mai together.


Friday, 5 September 2014

UKIPT Marbella - Trip Report

Marbella is a coastal resort in the massive tourist trap of the Costa del Sol in the south of Spain.

Beaches, hotels, bars, drunk Brits, drunk Germans - and not a whole lot else. It's not type of place that I generally visit as I believe there are far more fun, interesting and culturally rich places on earth but I travelled to Marbella primarily to play the UK and Ireland Poker tour event.

Yes, that well known part of the UK in the south of Spain. Actually, Marbella is only 50 miles up the road from the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, so I guess that's close enough.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Helsinki, Finland - Trip Report

I was sitting at my laptop looking to book a flight ticket from Bangkok to Marbella to play in the UKIPT. The best I could find was a journey with Finnair that was a 10.5 hour flight to Helsinki, followed by an 11.5 hour wait in the airport before a 4 hour flight to Spain. Screw, that!

Whenever a long haul flight has a connection it's generally no more expensive to book it as two separate legs on the same ticket and enjoy a few days stopover in the connection city, so that's what I did. I did the exact same thing last year with an Emirates flight between Glasgow and Bangkok that had a connection in Dubai.

The way I look at stopping over on connections is that it's like taking an extra vacation somewhere but not having to pay for the flights. I surely would have taken trips to Dubai and Helsinki at some point anyway, but this way I did it without the expense of the flights.