Asia

Discover the best of exotic Asia in our content on Reading the Book Travel!

Cambodia

Traditional dance around the world

One of the joys of travel is to experience the best of cultures the world over. Music and dancing is a huge part of my life at home, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience it in many styles across the globe, sometimes as a display for tourists, sometimes in its most...

Bamboo Train of Battambong: On the slow route in Cambodia

When they think of Cambodia, most people think of two things. There is the splendour of the temple complex of Angkor Wat, glowing golden in the sunset at the jungle’s edge; and then there is the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, the reign of terror which I still...

India

9 Amazing animal experiences from around the world!

For me, one of the most rewarding things about travel is the opportunity to view and photograph wildlife I could never see at home. In this post I share some of the most memorable - and unusual - animal experiences I have had on my journeys around the globe. What has...

Gandhi’s home state: The 12 top Gujarat highlights

Not many visitors make it to Gujarat, the most westerly state of India, perched on the western point of the diamond that roughly represents the shape of the country. A "dry" state (alcohol is banned, although foreigners can buy it for...

Central and Southern India: What to do in almost every state

India. It’s my favourite destination by far – for the colour, the heat, the swirling crowds and the incredible culture. But what destination in India should you pick for your own visit? Well, I asked the experts to weigh in with their own suggestions! A mixture of...

North and East India: What to do in almost every state

India. It’s my favourite destination by far – for the colour, the heat, the swirling crowds and the incredible culture. But what destination in India should you pick for your own visit? Well, I asked the experts to weigh in with their own suggestions! A mixture of...

Shatrunjaya: The Jain pilgrimage site of Palitana, Gujarat

We arrived at Shatrunjaya early in the morning, and it was just as well. Situated in the town of Palitana, just over an hour’s drive from Bhavnagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Shatrunjaya holds tremendous significance to followers of the Jain religion. A...

Life in Dharavi slum: the entrepreneurial heart of Mumbai

Slumdog Millionaire. That is what most people know of life in Dharavi slum, Mumbai. Images of young boys running barefoot through narrow alleyways, of poverty and hardship. Or maybe rough shanties leaning up against the railway lines, corrugated lean-tos housing...

Top sites you shouldn’t miss on a Kolkata day tour

The name Kolkata is woven into the history of India. Formerly known as Calcutta, and once the capital of the British Raj, this sprawling city is located in the north-eastern state of West Bengal, close to the border with Bangladesh, and buzzes with energy and life....

6 Incredible Reasons to visit Tamil Nadu

I make no secret of the fact that I absolutely adore India. I love the colour, the bustle, the curries and the history. I love the temples and the weather. But in all my Indian travels so far, the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu remains my absolute favourite....

Amritsar: the jewel of the Punjab

Amritsar, capital of the Punjab region of India, is a city with a character all its own. Sitting close to the border with Pakistan since partition in the 1940s, it has a large Sikh population and is home to the greatest temple in the Sikh religion. I fell in love with...

Traditional dance around the world

One of the joys of travel is to experience the best of cultures the world over. Music and dancing is a huge part of my life at home, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience it in many styles across the globe, sometimes as a display for tourists, sometimes in its most...

Indonesia

9 Amazing animal experiences from around the world!

For me, one of the most rewarding things about travel is the opportunity to view and photograph wildlife I could never see at home. In this post I share some of the most memorable - and unusual - animal experiences I have had on my journeys around the globe. What has...

The farmyard in Bajawa: adventures on Flores, Indonesia

It's a Wednesday night, and I'm tucked up in my bed, unable to sleep. It sounds like there's a farmyard outside my window. I'm in the small town of Bajawa on Flores Island, Indonesia. A bit of a geography geek since childhood, I pride myself on having a very good...

Traditional dance around the world

One of the joys of travel is to experience the best of cultures the world over. Music and dancing is a huge part of my life at home, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience it in many styles across the globe, sometimes as a display for tourists, sometimes in its most...

Kazakhstan

Traditional dance around the world

One of the joys of travel is to experience the best of cultures the world over. Music and dancing is a huge part of my life at home, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience it in many styles across the globe, sometimes as a display for tourists, sometimes in its most...

Central Asia: rebuilding a heritage

I spent a couple of weeks this summer in Central Asia, visiting the Silk Road nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. These countries have had a chequered history. From a rich heritage as trading posts, and at the heart of Timur's vast empire, all three...

Turkistan and Otrar: Kazakhstan’s Deep South

We arrived in Turkistan on a Thursday. It was our first day in Kazakhstan; after an overnight train journey from Bukhara to Tashkent, we took a private bus to the border. Kazakhstan was a shock to the system right away; very different from Uzbekistan, less Islamic and...

Kyrgyzstan

Eagle hunter: In the mountains of Kyrgyzstan

We pull up by the side of the windswept road in the heart of Kyrgyzstan. And there, by the roadside, is the eagle hunter. Dressed in traditional clothing, tall white felt hat sitting proudly on his head, he smiles as he holds his arm outstretched, a hooded golden...

Central Asia: rebuilding a heritage

I spent a couple of weeks this summer in Central Asia, visiting the Silk Road nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. These countries have had a chequered history. From a rich heritage as trading posts, and at the heart of Timur's vast empire, all three...

Malaysia

9 Amazing animal experiences from around the world!

For me, one of the most rewarding things about travel is the opportunity to view and photograph wildlife I could never see at home. In this post I share some of the most memorable - and unusual - animal experiences I have had on my journeys around the globe. What has...

Men of the Forest: the primates of Borneo

I'm staring out the window of a 737 as we clear the coast of Borneo. Down below me is a sea of palm trees, one of the many palm oil plantations which have taken over the island in recent years, causing untold damage to the ecosystem. But from up here they are a...

Maldives

9 Amazing animal experiences from around the world!

For me, one of the most rewarding things about travel is the opportunity to view and photograph wildlife I could never see at home. In this post I share some of the most memorable - and unusual - animal experiences I have had on my journeys around the globe. What has...

Swimming with manta rays in the Maldives

The Maldives are simply magical, but one of the most memorable moments of my time there was the day I swam with a manta ray. We had travelled by wooden dhoni through the islands, stopping off twice a day to snorkel on the spectacular reefs that litter the shores....

The real Maldives: Taking a Maldives liveaboard vacation

It's funny how there are some places you never thought you would visit. I have a friend who took some teasing over the years about his enthusiasm for the Maldives; he was keen to share the virtues of these idyllic islands in the sun, with its white sand beaches and stilted bungalows, to anyone who would listen. But I always knew that luxury holidays weren't for me...

South Korea

Busan: Riding the rails on a Korean day trip

One of the things I hate about only having short windows to travel is that I don’t get to explore a country as thoroughly as I would like. All the same, I try to make sure I escape the confines of the city I’m visiting, and see some of the rest of the country during...

Taiwan

Fun things to do in Taipei: The ultimate Taipei bucket list!

Taiwan is a country which is only just starting to get noticed on the tourist trail. A legacy of the Chinese anti-communist movement (the Kuomintan government under Chang Kai-Shek escaped here when Mao Tse-Tung took over on the mainland) and a lengthy period of...

Taipei to Taroko Gorge: Taiwan’s marble mountains

I set out from Taipei early in the morning. My base in Taiwan's capital city was in the far north of the country, but Taiwan is absurdly easy to get around. An extensive rail network takes you all over the country, but I had a specific destination in mind that...

5 Reasons you will love Taiwan…

Taiwan is a country I have long been fascinated with the idea of visiting. Independent but not, culturally part of China but not, it doesn’t quite fit neatly anywhere. I finally ticked it off my bucket list in March 2017, and it was almost inevitable – I loved the...

The coffee seller of Tainan

I arrived in Tainan on a Wednesday. Dropped off by bus in the city centre, I meandered through exotic local streets on the way to my hotel, absorbing the hustle and bustle of this very Chinese city. Taiwan has its own unique culture...

Uzbekistan

Central Asia: rebuilding a heritage

I spent a couple of weeks this summer in Central Asia, visiting the Silk Road nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. These countries have had a chequered history. From a rich heritage as trading posts, and at the heart of Timur's vast empire, all three...

Bukhara to Tashkent: Night trains in Uzbekistan

It's quarter to ten on a Wednesday night, and I'm standing on a station platform in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. I'm here on a trip-of-a-lifetime, bucket-list kind of adventure - and that's saying something for someone who travels as much as I do. But for many years now I've...