If you are a wanderer, or a wonderer, or preferably both, then we hope you will find much to tickle your fancy here. Our itchy feet will take you on diverse travels, while our itchy mind offers a different sort of journey through news and views. We make no apology for being opinionated, but can assure you that our opinions are honestly held.
How safe are South East Asian airlines?
2014 was a terrible year for aviation in South East Asia, with three fatal crashes involving Malaysian-owned carriers, and a combined loss of 699 lives. Not surprisingly, concern has increased about safety standards, particularly in light of how congested the skies have become over the region. Read more.
A breath of fresh air: Malaysia’s colonial hill stations
Malaya, as befitted one of Britain’s steamiest overseas dominions, had several hill stations, which offered colonials some respite from the tropical heat of the lowlands. They included Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut), Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera), Fraser’s Hill (Bukit Fraser), and last but not least, the Cameron Highlands. Read more.
Rudyard Kipling’s Burma: three days of wonder
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) spent just three days in Burma (Myanmar), and yet this brief visit had a profound effect on him. The British writer – who was 23 years old at the time – stopped in Rangoon (Yangon) in March 1889, as part of a sea voyage from Calcutta to San Francisco. Read more.
A Malaysian year in festivals (2015)
Malaysia’s reputation as a tolerant, multi-cultural nation has taken somewhat of a battering over recent years, thanks to the rising persecution of religious and ethnic minorities. For the time being though, there are still sizeable communities of non-Malays and non-Muslims, each of which marks a number of festivals every year. What follows is a selection of some of the most important religious and/or cultural celebrations which visitors can expect to see in 2015. Read more.
The Great Farini, Lulu Farini and the Lost City of the Kalahari
The Kalahari Desert extends for 900,000 square kilometres, across three countries: Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. Its name, which comes from the Tswana for “great thirst”, gives a taste of just how inhospitable it can be. And yet in 1885, a former entertainer and impressario – the Great Farini – claimed not just to have become the first white man to cross the Kalahari on foot, but also to have discovered the remains of a lost civilisation. Read more.
2015 ethical travel guide to South East Asia
We believe strongly that tourism can be force for good in the world, but for that to be the case, people need to travel with their eyes wide open. It is our hope that this guide will help inform travellers about the ethical strengths and failings of the ten countries which make up Asean (the Association of South East Asian Nations). Read more.
New border regulations add to Thailand’s tourism woes
Faced with a serious crisis in Thailand’s tourism industry, the country’s military regime appears intent on making a bad situation even worse. Not content with overthrowing a democratically-elected government for the umpteenth time, the junta has ordered a tightening of border restrictions. Read more.
A day by day guide to the Langtang Trek
The Langtang Trek ranks as one of the very best “tea house trails” in Nepal, combining beautiful countryside, with stunning mountain views. And yet it attracts far fewer people than either the Annapurna or Everest regions. Read more.
Cecil Beaton in wartime China
It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely war photographer than Cecil Beaton, best known for his fashion and society portraits, as well as his costume design for theatre and film. But it appears that he was one of those people who is annoyingly good at whatever they turn their hand to. Read more.