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 the city, which is a little less crazy than some others in India, a little more ordered, at least by local standards.… Keep readingRead more
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 eagle perched on the leather gauntlet of his right hand.… Keep readingRead more
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 nations have natural beauty but also magnificent historic cities, fortresses, mosques and madrassahs which play a substantial part in their heritage.… Keep readingRead more
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 less developed, the wide open spaces and long distances were immediately striking.… Keep readingRead more
Shah Jahan’s mausoleum (and architectural love letter) to his wife Mumtaz Mahal is surely at the top of most people’s must-see list in India. One of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World, it has quite the reputation to live up to! But what do you need to know for your Taj Mahal visit?… Keep readingRead more
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 dreamed of visiting the beautiful squares and madrassahs of Uzbekistan, with their towering turquoise domes and exquisite mosaic façades.… Keep readingRead more
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. However, between the shallow waters of the atolls are much deeper channels, and these are when you find the manta rays.… Keep readingRead more
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 place. Here are 5 reasons why I love Taiwan.… Keep readingRead more