Smoking in Austria

Having lived in Austria for over two months now, I started to look a little bit beyond the charm of mountainous backdrops and the sweet taste of Sachertorte. It is hard to argue that, objectively, it is a great country to live in for many reasons: high standard of living, decent wages, excellent social security…

Christmas in Austria

Many people have asked me, over the past couple of days, about my thoughts after spending Christmas in Austria for the first time. I actually really enjoyed the experience and decided to write this little post to elaborate on some of the reasons, why I feel so positive about it. Keeping the spirit alive The…

How I met Krampus and got into Christmas mood!

My first encounter with Krampus in Austria took place at a local grocery store. I was searching for some chocolate snacks for December 6th (which is St. Nicolas’ Day unlike the actual Christmas Day) and came upon an unusual package containing two chocolate figurines. One of the figurines was St.Nicolas (Nikolo) and the other one…

A few words about responsible tourism

Travel is a lot of fun. Relaxing at some pristine beach at the end of the world, sightseeing places rich with history and heritage or trying local specialties you have never heard of… You book, you pay, you go. Then you come back. The tan is still fresh on your skin and, as you are…

Myanmar economy: facts you didn’t know

Myanmar economy is a fascinating topic. Myanmar (also known as Burma) is a country in Southeast Asia which is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination (you should check out Bagan if you haven’t already). Myanmar is a very interesting country given its recent turbulent history and politics – it has been locked away from the…

Vietnam: Capitalism, communist edition. Limited.

Why Vietnam? My advice to any real, fake or aspiring economist – Vietnam is a place very well worth visiting. The dual nature of the country, led by a communist government, yet embracing the tools of capitalism and globalization, is pretty fascinating from economic and political standpoints. Add to it a very turbulent 20th century…

What’s behind Korea’s economic success?

For every economist South Korea is a fascinating country. In the 1960’s it was one of the poorest nations in the world with GDP per capita lagging behind that of Vietnam or Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, the nominal GDP per capita in 1960 was around $100, while in 2010 it reached $20,000 (source: nationmaster.com).  The country is…

Explore Vietnam part 6: The tale of Hoi An

The tale of Hoi An – rich port town Hoi An is a top position on any decent “Vietnam – things to see” list and not without a reason (being UNESCO-listed is only one of them). It is perhaps one of the best examples of traditional Asian trading ports which survived the test of time. Between 15th…

Explore Vietnam Part 5: Isn’t Dalat cute?

Petit Paris From the moment I arrived in Dalat, I couldn’t help but think of it as a Vietnamese version of Paris. I can almost hear all the French saying “blasphemy!” now… But the truth is, the town has a very European feel to it. The walk-able alleys, parks, little cafes and bakeries reminded me of…

Explore Vietnam Part 4: Sa Pa rice terraces and more

Sa Pa is perhaps my favourite place in Vietnam. The views, the local tribes, unique food… I definitely enojyed it more than the craziness of Saigon or Hanoi. The place has a very mystical vibe. Day 1: Arrival in Sa Pa First stage of my journey to Sa Pa was an overnight train from Hanoi. In…