The People Behind CABINZERO and Our Favourite Destinations

As borders still remain closed in many parts of the world, especially in Southeast Asia at the time being, our team has been working remotely from home and constantly craving for an adventure abroad soon - but we have no other choice. Therefore, we have decided why not spending this time to sit back and reflect on our previous trips in the pre-COVID era, when travelling to anywhere in the world was possible. 

All of us in the CABINZERO team share the same passion for travelling, which has brought us together as a team, and we all have a place that we always want to come back to when the world opens up its borders again, hopefully in 2022. 

Let’s have a look at the people behind the brand and what we say about places we love, from Europe to South America to Asia - we would love to share it with you!

1. Neil Varden, CEO

My favourite travel destination? - I have many but I do love arriving at a beach. So I would say, right now, Krabi, Thailand is the place I crave to visit again. 

Krabi is really a chilled out part of Thailand. Great weather, cool beer, great food and friendly people. It feels like going home.

When first I travelled to Thailand back in 2004, I would say visiting Krabi was the first time I felt I had ‘arrived in Thailand. When I felt relaxed. It was then I made the decision I would never return to a normal 9-5 job again and I set work on trying to build a business for myself, which resulted in CABINZERO. With lots of eBay selling in between. I remember searching the internet on the hotel computer for ideas of products to sell and it was there that I saw Nancy Chandler Maps of Bangkok. I contacted the publisher and asked for distribution rights. They granted me the rights and I started to sell them in the UK to stores like Stanfords. This was my start of selling travel products and the rest is history, So I would say Krabi and particularly AO NANG, has a special place in my heart.

Travel tip to Krabi: Stay in the Verandah Hotel for the best budget experience.

I’ve stayed in this hotel many times since 2004 and it is consistently my favourite place, even though I've also stayed at 5* hotels such as Amari Vouge, and Sofitel.

Verandah hotel costs around 1200 Baht a night, it’s got nice, simple rooms with balcony, A good, friendly breakfast service, and importantly, you can use the swimming pool of the 5* hotel 100 yards away for free and this pool has a stunning backdrop. See the pool photos. I recommend this hotel to everyone!!!

2. Felix Rydzek, Brand Manager Europe

My favourite travel destination? - Peru 

Uhh, where do I start?! I keep Peru very close to my heart. I have a lot of very fond memories and experiences with this country and its people. Having worked there in a non-profit organisation whose mission is to offer a new life to street children or those kids in high-risk situations for a whole year in Lima, I have developed long-lasting relationships and ties to the country. But also as a travel destination, Peru has so much to offer. Peru was named the “World’s Leading Culinary Destination” for seven years in a row by the World Travel Awards just beaten by Italy in 2020 ending its winning spree. Many people consider Peruvian food the best in the world and I can only agree. 

But it doesn’t end with the food, Peru has lots to offer from beautiful landscapes with 28 of 32 different climates it is a mixture of desert, high mountains, jungle and everything in between. If you love sightseeing you will need to bring a lot of time at least 2-3 months to engulf yourself into each relevant sight in Peru. There are so many but to list a few that are impressive. Firstly one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is probably the most famous sight in Peru. Closely followed by the former capital of the Inca empire Cusco. If you are already in the Andes you should make the effort and visit Choquequirao another Inka settlement which requires a bit of a hike to reach but you will have it mostly to yourself when visiting. Talking about hiking, if you love adventure sports Peru is a must-have. Mountaineering in the Cordillera Blanca and climbing Huascaran, Peru’s highest peak or sixteen other mountains over 6,000 meters in height will surely take your breath. If you prefer it a bit warmer, why not go sandboarding close to the beautiful oasis of Huacachina or grab your surfboard and go surfing with some of the best surfers in the world up in Northern Peru at the board with Ecuador. 

After a lot of adventures, you will usually return to Lima where a city awaits that rarely sleeps and you will be able to eat, drink and dance until dawn. Beautiful colonial architecture, mixed with a young demographic and some of the best restaurants in the world make Lima a cultural melting pot that many people will enjoy. I can’t wait to get back to Peru to do more exploring. 

Travel tip to Peru: There are so many beautiful things to discover. My only recommendation is to bring enough time and don’t rush yourself.

3. Paul Fowler, Consultant

My favourite travel destination? - Chile

I love the outdoors, big open spaces and a feel of adventure. The climate and geography in Chile are so diverse you can find everything. You have amazing mountains, picturesque lakes and beautiful coastal areas. How many countries can boast deserts and glaciers? The people are also very friendly and welcoming of travellers. My favourite experience was hiking the Q circuit of Torres del Paine in the southern Patagonian region - 8 days in a remote area of breathtaking scenery.

Travel tip to Chile: If you plan to travel to different parts of the country then you will need to pack smartly to be prepared for large changes in temperature - a Cabinzero Adventure Pro 42L packed with a good variety of clothes and layers will work well. Use local transport to embrace the local culture. Spanish is useful and appreciated when travellers make the effort to try.

4. Khanh Truong, Assistant to CEO - Vietnam Team Manager

My favourite travel destination? - I like to travel to any new place but I would love it if those places have a beach. I love relaxing on the beach in the cool air of the sea with the sound of waves hitting the shore. It makes me feel relaxed and able to think of new ideas in life or even for work. Laying on the beach in the sun and getting tanned is my favourite thing to do, as well as take as many photos as I want to keep those memories alive. 

I like simple and lightweight travels, which is why I always have my favourite CabinZero backpack on every journey! 

Travel tip to the beach: Use packing cubes to easily pack all your stuff neatly in your backpack as it will keep everything tidy and neat. Also, don’t forget to bring a shoulder bag for your passport and the necessary personal items. 

If you are a beach enthusiast like me, it is worth getting yourself a dry bag as it can keep all your belongings dry when you go to the beach. It is also very compact to put in your main backpack. 

5. Yolanda Smit, Accounts Manager

My favourite travel destination? - Soča Valley, Slovenia

The Soča is one of the most beautiful rivers I have seen. It is a very vibrant emerald green colour due to the mineral deposits in it. You have to see it to believe it. 

The river makes its way from the Julian Alps to the Adriatic Sea in Italy winding down through deep gorges, high mountains and waterfalls creating a paradise for adrenaline activities. 

I spent a week in the valley-based in Bovec where I went rafting, tandem paragliding, kayaking, hiking, biking, caving and canyoning. I hope to go back one day to explore even more of the valley.

6. Trung, Quality Assurance (Vietnam)

My favourite travel destination? - Singapore

It is safe. You will not be concerned about your stuff because the crime rate is so low in Singapore.

When you are in Singapore, everything is simple. It is simple to go around and to shop. You can buy everything that you want quickly due to numerous shopping malls. It's simple to speak with others. Most Singaporeans speak English and are easy to comprehend.

And the most important aspect of Singapore for me is its impeccable cleanliness.

Travel tip to Singapore:

  • Singapore is hot and humid all year. We should wear light clothing (T-shirt, Flipflops, shorts..) and bring a rain jacket or an umbrella with us. There will be rain unexpectedly in Singapore.
  • Cash is always available. Somewhere Singapore still uses cash.
  • Use the Grab App or public transportation. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) in Singapore is a traveller’s dream! The country's public transportation system is amazing and will take you everywhere you want to go.
  • Enjoy with Singapore Flyer, If you want to watch some incredible panoramic views of Singapore from high above, even you can see Indonesia and Malaysia country as well when you almost reach the top.
  • 7. Tram Nguyen, Content Creator & Social Media Executive

    My favourite travel destination? - Japan 

    Let’s start with my everlasting love for ramen. As a country with its doors closed to the world for quite a long time, Japanese distinctive culture is absolutely well-preserved - and their amazing cuisine is not excluded. Ranging from the world-renowned ramen noodles to sushi lines, the famous street food okonomiyaki and many other delicious dishes I couldn’t name all, Japanese food definitely deserves a place in my heart. 

    My favourite experience was travelling to a nearby town to Mount Fuji, where the tranquillity and peacefulness just merged into one - the big lake, the little wooden houses and the greenery of the forest. I wasn’t lucky enough to see the top of Mount Fuji but it was really worthwhile! 

    I was actually planning for a trip to come back to Japan before COVID-19 started but apparently couldn’t make it. I’ll definitely go after this as I’ve got so much left to explore - the amazing countryside, nature and urbanscape!

    Travel tip to Japan: Don Quijote is a must-visit store in the whole of Japan if you are on the hunt for some inexpensive but good quality Japanese goodies.

    8. Thanh Nguyen, Customer Service 

    My favourite travel destination is the beach. I would like to go to the beach because I could swim in the sea, I could sunbathe on the beach, I could listen to the waves on the beach, and I would eat seafood in the restaurant at the beach. These are all my favourite activities and they relieve my stress.

    On my back is a Cabinzero backpack, I can easily travel for a week. If you are tired of the heat in the city where you live and work, then you could take some time to come here to relax.

    9. Thu Su, SEO Specialist 

    My favourite travel destination? Vietnam - I love everything about my country!

    Travel tip: If you travel regularly, keep the basics in your backpack.

    We hope you had a good time reading about our travel experience and favourite places. Is any of our travel destinations on your list? Or would you like to share your number-one travel destination? Let us know in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you! 

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