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Lucy Grewcock

The Escape Artist

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One-off experiences, action-filled adventures and eye-popping cultural encounters: my kind of travel is all about switching-off from the everyday to discover the ultimate escape.

If you can ski it, surf it, bike it or hike it, I'm there. But I'm a sucker for culture too and find chaotic cities and ethnic enclaves just as exciting.

From windsurf instructor to chalet girl, I've travelled under many different guises but nowadays you'll find me scribbling in my notebook, penning my next travel article for the national press.

A Mandarin degree sent me to China in my 20s, as an expedition leader I've guided groups in the Amazon and, when I won the Guardian's ‘adventure travel writing competition,' the paper packed me off to Antarctica.

Follow my blogs to find inspiration for your next escape.

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Lucy's Been There Done That

  • Dived with whale sharks in the Philippines and great whites in South Africa
  • Travelled the long way round by train, bus and bike from Beijing to Hong Kong
  • Hung out with penguins and elephant seals on the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Canoed crocodile-filled backwaters in the Amazon Rainforest
  • Escaped from reality on an orangutan research base in the rainforests of Borneo
  • Dodged crevasses and polar bears on a 5-week camping trip in the Arctic

Recent articles by Lucy

  • 15 May 2017
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Always adventuring

Second time in Thailand - Where to go on a return visit

A second visit to Thailand is a quest that many travellers go on, especially UK ones, who are usually especially keen on returning and enjoying more of this stunning Asian gem. How to make the most of a second Thailand holiday after seeing if for the first time? Read on to find inspiring tips on how to make the most of a second journey to the buzzing capital, the cultural north and the idyllic beaches to rediscover the country in more than one fascinating way.
  • 21 Mar 2017
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Ethical Elephant Tourism in Thailand

Many travellers and animal lovers are seduced by the idea of interacting with elephants on a holiday, and many places in Asia offer tourists an opportunity to ride on their backs, but the experience has been tarnished with reports of the practice being cruel and of exploiters mistreating animals. Yet, there's a right way to get close to these fascinating gentle giants and that's by finding the right ethical company. Keep reading to find out about my personal elephant encounters in Thailand.
  • 20 Feb 2017
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A Guide to Transport in Thailand

Getting out and about in Thailand is not complex at all, not when you know a little bit about the many options on offer and how to make the most of them. This blog aims to enlighten you on the many ways to travel around Thailand, using as many means of transport as necessary, depending on where you're based and where you want to go. From tuk-tuks to elephant rides, trains, boats, flights and everything in between, here is my guide to using Thailand's varied (and often somewhat quirky) transport system.
  • 17 Jan 2017
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Thailand's five best national park forests

Thailand is blessed with jaw-dropping national parks that blanket its mountains, fill its valleys and spill out onto its beaches. While many tourist brochures show stunning images of coral reefs, remote islands and coastal reserves, there's far more to Thailand's national parks than sea and sand; in fact, some of the country's richest and most pristine wildlife lies in its forests, as I discovered on a recent trip.
  • 03 Jan 2017
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Thailand guide for first-timers

You might think a country as popular as Thailand might need little introduction for UK travellers, yet first-time visitors could immensely benefit from a brief introduction and step-by-step guide to navigating the cultural differences and getting the most out of your trip. From currency to the plug adaptors you'll need, mobile reception, top tips and what to pack, read my Thailand guide for first-timers to ensure you enjoy the smoothest of holiday experiences.
  • 15 Dec 2016
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Bangkok City - A guide for first-timers

Bangkok; the most mind-boggling of Thai destinations and the most diverse of all can easily overwhelm first-time visitors. This is why I’ve taken the time to write up my own guide to visiting the Thai capital, after having ventured there myself last October and having enjoyed an at times relaxing, others fascinatingly engaging experience. Read on for my top recommendations on visiting Bangkok for the first time and top attractions not to miss.
  • 15 Nov 2016
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Beyond green curry - a taste of Thailand

Embarking on a culinary journey is a must in Thailand, especially when you go beyond your comfort zone and taste new, unknown dishes. During my time there I ventured beyond the typical takeaway green curries, who most people associate with Thailand (and which taste much better in their place of origin) to try regional cuisines that changed in line with the landscape and the different geographical zones. The result was a sizzling palate rewarded with an incredible variety of flavours.
  • 03 Nov 2016
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City Guide: 24 hours in Chiang Mai

If you happen to be in Chiang Mai for a very limited time, this guide is the one to read. Check out my packed itinerary of what to do in the city for a day; right from the moment you awaken to very last minute before you tuck into bed. This 24-hour Chiang Mai guide will give you a full taste of the city, from where to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner to where to base yourself for people-watching, getting a monk blessing and exploring the main temples and sites.
  • 28 Oct 2016
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Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Fascinating, colourfully exciting and full of unexpected finds, my experience of the Chiang Mai night bazaar on Chang Khlan Road is a full immersion into Thai-style shopping. It's the place to peruse a wide variety of items (with everything from fake designer brands to crafts and handmade soap) for low prices while tucking into delicious, freshly prepared local fare at stalls. Bartering is a must and on this blog I enlighten you on how to proceed if you find yourself here in one of your travels.
  • 10 Oct 2016
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Thailand good reads

Before making the all-important immersion into Thailand, I personally find it a good idea, not only to read up on some background info regarding history and places to see, but to also go beyond the travel guides and get a different, more real and up-close perspective on the country as a whole, its people and their day-to-day outlook on many issues, their worries and passions. The way to get that insider's look is by reading novels either set in Thailand or written by Thai authors, or better yet, both. Here I list my top Thai reads and novels to immerse in before getting there.
  • 26 Sep 2016
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Thailand beyond the beaches: deciding where to go

When thinking of Thailand most people imagine dreamy, out-of-this-world secluded beaches with white sands that go on for miles and the most crystalline shades of aqua-green waters. And, although this image certainly isn't wrong, as Thailand is indeed home to idyllic beach stretches, that's not the full picture, nowhere close to it in fact. This is why, on my upcoming trip to Thailand I'm planning to go beyond the coastal lure and discover more of the country's natural and cultural riches. Find out which Thai destinations made it to the top of my list.
  • 20 Jun 2016
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Under the spell of the Western Sahara

I'd been dreaming of visiting <strong>Dakhla Bay</strong> for almost a decade and, in Easter 2016, I finally made it out there. Sandwiched between the Sahara Desert and Atlantic Ocean, this huge lagoon sits in the disputed region of Western Sahara, almost 1,000 miles south of Marrakesh (Morocco). There are no direct flights here from Europe, so your options are either to fly via Casablanca into Dakhla city (at least seven hours) or to endure the 600-mile road trip from Agadir.
  • 20 May 2016
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Five of the world's best beginner kitesurf spots

In recent years, kitesurfing has become one of the world's fastest growing watersports. Popular with both men and women, the kit is light and easy to transport, making it a perfect sport to travel with. Learning in a hot climate is far more appealing that braving the UK's icy waters, and there are countless kitesurf schools and all-inclusive camps around the globe. But if you're starting from scratch, which locations are best for beginners?
  • 28 Nov 2015
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The island for everyone: Reflections on Sri Lanka

After spending quite some time in fascinating Sri Lanka and documenting my many experiences there with a series of blogs, I've come to an inevitable conclusion: Sri Lanka is truly a place with a unique charm of its own able to seduce everyone and its widespread appeal goes far beyond the beauty of its beaches or the serenity of its lush green landscapes (or even the allure of its luxury beach resorts and family-friendly retreats). What truly makes Sri Lanka so unique and ultimately has people wishing to come back again and again lies in its unique mix of quite a few elements I'll go into more detail below. Keep reading to find out what makes Sri Lanka a place for all.
  • 22 Oct 2015
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Getting acquainted to Sri Lanka exploring Galle

Discover why Galle should be your first port of call when arriving to Sri Lanka and how this unassuming yet unmissable city has plenty to offer travellers in the way of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, cricket playing fields and plenty of colonial and historical landmarks. It's a great place for getting introduced to the country and generally observing local life go by at its usual calm pace.
  • 06 Oct 2015
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My pilgrimage to Adam's Peak following the "sacred footprint"

Read all my about my personal journey of pilgrimage in Sri Lanka following the "sacred footprint" and climbing the country's most revered mountain; Adam's Peak. From the challenges encountered along the way on this nocturnal route (the idea is to reach the top in time for sunrise) to the stunning views to be taken in, the beautiful shrines and helpful monks we passed; this was a memorable hike in more than one way. Read on to find out why...
  • 02 Sep 2015
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Sri Lanka on wheels - On train from Ella to Kandy

abstSri Lanka's rail system was introduced by the British in 1864 to transport tea from the Hill Country estates to the international port at Colombo. Today, these scenic rail routes are some of the world's most magnificent and, with many trains and stations dating back to the early/mid-20th century, there's a wonderful sense of nostalgia, with polished teak and vintage ceiling fans taking you back to the colonial era.
  • 23 Jul 2015
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Plane, Train, Automobile and more: How to travel in Sri Lanka

A little larger than England, Sri Lanka's modest size makes it easy to travel around and, with a smorgasbord of ancient relics, lofty peaks, lush tea plantations and glistening beaches to discover, many visitors see as much as they can by travelling the island with a multi-centre stay.
  • 03 Jul 2015
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Sri Lankan wildlife: Yala National Park

Covering an area roughly the size of Ireland, Sri Lanka is crammed with wildlife, which thrives in its National Parks and bursts beyond their borders. Vegetation drenches the island in countless shades of green, with lush forests reaching down to the coasts where white-sand beaches are backed by palms and fringed by swampy mangroves.
  • 19 Jun 2015
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Surfing in Sri Lanka: the world's best place to learn?

With year round waves, warm waters and a laid-back beach vibe, Sri Lanka is one of the world's top surf destinations. Modest 3ft waves regularly roll in, creating ideal conditions for beginners, while pro-surfers flock to the challenging 'point breaks' for international competitions.
  • 05 Jun 2015
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Whale Watching in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Ten years ago, few people were aware that thousands of whales were skimming past Sri Lanka's southwest coast each year. British marine biologist Charles Anderson first proposed the idea and, after significant research, it turned out that the island was sitting just off one of the greatest migration paths on the planet.
  • 14 May 2015
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Sri Lanka: Island of rice, spice, curry and curd

Aeroplane food rarely impresses me but the fish curry I tasted on route to Sri Lanka from Heathrow was so delicious that I couldn't wait to thank the sari-wearing airhostess who'd served me. 'Good, isn't it. Have some more,' she beamed, handing me a second pot. I greedily tucked in - with the in-flight food this tasty, I couldn't wait to touch down and taste the real thing.
  • 20 Apr 2015
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My ten year travel plan: a bucket list

My bottom-less 'travel bucket list' is overwhelmingly long and ever expanding, with many places having idled on it for over a decade. Last week, about to add yet another dream location to the pile, I stopped myself: like many people, my bucket list was filling with dreams, which I made little effort towards achieving. So I decided to make a new list; one with just five prioritised places. And with time and money my biggest obstacles, I included a realistic expiry date to keep me on my toes: My 'Ten Year Travel Plan' expires on April 1st 2025.
  • 19 Mar 2015
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Sri Lanka trip planning: deciding where to go

Romantic couple, independent backpacker or family of four, Sri Lanka is one of the hottest travel destinations at the moment, yet still manages to retain an heir of the undiscovered. A turbulent past put the island off the tourist radar for many years but, with FCO warnings lifted and tourism re-established, Sri Lanka has firmly restored its mark on the holiday map.
  • 23 Feb 2015
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Sri Lanka good reads

Reading about a place before actually visiting makes your destination that much more exciting to see and experience. Whether it's a travel guide, an inspiring novel mentioning a number of places that you can then see come to life or a piece of history form the country's past, reading up before escaping to a new country can enhance your overall experience in more ways than one. Find out what are my top reads for my upcoming trip to Sri Lanka.
  • 09 Oct 2014
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South Africa's Mother City

Through my many different travels throughout the years, I've learnt why South Africa is one of the cities you should go back to again and again. Take it from my very own experience and see for yourself why this is a city that begs for a second visit...and a third one, maybe a fourth...
  • 24 Sep 2014
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Knysna: one-off walks

An idyllic place found along the famous Garden Route in South Africa, my stop in Knysna proved most touching and exhilarating, as I got to walk with elephants, hike in the amazing Harkerville Forest and tucked into a big plate of oysters. Read all about it and more on my Knysna adventure here.
  • 13 Sep 2014
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Chobe National Park: The Elephant in the Garden

Home to the largest concentration of African elephants in the world, Chobe National Park is Botswana's most ecologically diverse reserve and promises some of the best wildlife viewing on the African continent.
  • 28 Aug 2014
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Cape Winelands: Beyond the Bottle

South Africa's famous Winelands are so much more than just about tasting some excellent tipple, although that's a big part of the experience and the main draw for many that visit; there's much else to be discovered within it and its surroundings. Read my blog on how to really discover the Cape Winelands, on foot, by mountain-bike or via the Franschhooek Wine Tram.
  • 27 Jun 2014
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Hiking in the High Atlas

Beyond the traditional sights and popular tourist stop-off places, I've taken the time to explore Morocco's heights and take the holiday experience in the country to a whole new level. Read all about it on this personal blog and guide to climbing the impressive High Atlas Mountains.
  • 14 Jun 2014
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Taghazout - Morocco's number one surf spot

If you've ever wondered what the surf is like on Moroccan beaches or if you'd like to stop for a bit of surfing action during your holiday in Morocco, this post will tell you all about the best spot in the country to hone your surfing skills and navigate the azure waves of the Mediterranean. Ideal for beginners especially, there's a reason (a few in fact) why Taghazout is Morocco's number one surfing destination.
  • 27 May 2014
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South China's Tulous - Homes of the Hakka People

I recently visited the Fujian province in South East China and while wandering around it I moved away from the tourist path only to find the amazing ancient houses in the mountains known as 'tulous'. Read on to find out more about my enriching and thrilling journey and the reason why it always pays to go off the tourist trail and travel further inland, beyond the attractive sandy beaches and into the rural countryside, to absorb the region's real culture and traditions.
  • 15 May 2014
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Escape to Shek O - Hong Kong's Green Lung

The beautiful Shek O in Hong Kong is a place little discovered by tourists but highly popular among locals and on this blog piece you'll find out just what makes this place so special and naturally appealing. As I discovered myself, this little slice of heaven offers many different experiences that, depending on your mood and interests, may strike you as especially attractive or worth your valuable holiday time. Follow my Southern China adventures to find out more about wonderful little Shek O.