history

Lhagang Monastery, outside Tagong

Along the Map’s Torn Edge

It is in Sichuan that China’s Han majority rubs up against the edges of the Tibetan Plateau, along a fault line straddled by National Highway 318.

Krishna and his sidekick Garuda

Ancient Angkor: Stories in the Stone

The history of the Khmer Empire is written in the ruins at Angkor, from ancient Roluos to Hindu Angkor Wat & the Buddhist Bayon

Skulls in the Choeung Ek Memorial Stupa

Atrocity Tourism in Phnom Penh

The ethical consequences of dark tourism are ambiguous, especially in Phnom Penh, because the Killing Fields and S-21′s extermination camp are monuments to violence as well as its victims.

The Buddha at Wat Maha Pruettharam Worawihan, supposedly from Sukhothai

The Reincarnated Capital: A History

Southeast Asian history is mostly the story of competing city-states like Bangkok and Ayutthaya, which are reincarnations, in their way, of one another, with the same karma.

Zhan Dening outside his family home in Mae Salong

China’s Forgotten Army

An interview with a veteran of China’s Forgotten Army in Mae Salong. Abandoned by Taiwan and adopted by Thailand, he fought for over 40 years.

Fishermen float by on an green jade Nam Khan

Paying Homage to Henri Mouhot

When Henri Mouhot travelled to Luang Prabang, he was the first white man to enter Laos in 25 years. He died beside the Nam Khan, where a tomb stands as a testament to his journey and his journals, “scribbled generally by the light of a torch, and on my knees at the foot of a tree.”

The Mekong reflects dusk's eerie light

Luang Prabang: The Elements of Heritage

Luang Prabang is a riddle that photographs can solve. It is a town popular with tourists and a World Heritage site, but it rarely feels [...]

The new Fude Temple in Vientiane

The Chinese of Vientiane

A portrait of the Chinese immigrants transforming Laos’ sleepy capital.

A fish tank in Bangkok's Chinatown

A Letter from Thailand

The censor didn’t deliver the letter, and through every promotion and every move, he made sure that he received the 95 that followed – and that the businessman’s mother, who must have thought herself abandoned by an ungrateful son, received none of these letters from Thailand.

The Curse of Gokarna

The Curse of Gokarna

Gokarna is a village growing awkwardly and uncomfortably into a town. It is in this sense an adolescent, unsure of itself in the modern world, but in every other sense Gokarna is old, with a history that stretches into the remotest parts of human memory.

An Brahmin and a priah dog pass a door advertising Thums Up, India's spicy cola

Varanasi’s Doorways

Mark Twain visited Varanasi in 1895, while following the equator around the world. “Benares” he wrote, referring to the city by its Raj era name, [...]

Cochin's backwaters

Backwaters and Beer Teapots in Cochin

The train rattled along, inducing in me the sluggish fatigue of rock-rocking train travel and blanketing heat. I sat atop a wooden luggage rack in [...]

Maharaja's palace in Mysore, it up at night

Mysore: The Demon, the Goddess and the Indian Prince

Mysore, which was one of India’s most important princely states, traces its history back to a Hindu goddess and a demon doing battle on Chamundi Hill.

Cows on Vagator's Little Beach

Goa’s Haughty Hippies

Vagator in Goa has a reputation for trance parties. It didn’t live up to it when we visited, but its hippies were there, most of them drug-addled and obnoxious.

Mumbai's Victoria Terminus

The Mumbai Revelation

Arriving in Mumbai was a revelation. Bollywood, Indian newspapers, cows on Khar Road and crowded trains: all of them began our love affair with India.

The Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem

A predawn haze lit the kilometre of road before us. We trudged along it, still groggy from the half hearted slumber of our bus ride [...]

Tout Like an Egyptian

Tout Like an Egyptian

A train deposited Iain and I in Aswan four hours behind schedule. A crowd of soldiers in combat uniforms guarded the platform, torso sized shields [...]

Petra

Petra

Deep in the desert of Jordan we roamed, In a rose tinted city named Petra, borne from stone. Three hundred years before Christ it was [...]

Floating on the Dead Sea

Amman and the Dead Sea

Heavy water rolled gently towards my toes, over thick layers of caked salt, like rock candy, which had sunk to the seafloor. I stepped gingerly [...]

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

The bedroom was icy. Fresh breaths of arctic air sifted through unseen cracks, under the door, through the glass. My foot lay exposed. I snuck [...]

Suleymaniye Mosque Interior

Ramazan in Istanbul

“Allaaahuu Akbaarr.” The muezzin paused, drew breath. I held out a public phone’s plastic receiver, stretching the wire, and hoped my father on the other [...]

athens

Athens

Monastiraki square bubbled with the bustle of Athenians and tourists alike. Fruit sellers, bananas hanging from the awnings of their wooden stands, bellowed the price [...]

rome

Misadventures in Rome

A single coin thrown into the Trevi Fountain, with your right hand, over your left shoulder, is said to ensure a return to Rome. The [...]

Old World Wandering

Venice

I sat in Hotel Caneva’s small reception area, chatting to Stephano, the night time receptionist. Water, displaced by passing boats, lapped up against a rudimentary [...]

berlin

A Berlin Walking Tour

Rain crashed on the tin roof of a small caravan dispensing draught beer. Claire and I huddled beneath it, sipping Becks from refundable plastic cups. [...]

geneva

Geneva

Deliciously ice cold tap water, gleaming white supermarkets, perfectly packaged cheeses, watches weighted with glittery bits, and the magnificence of the lake, a glistening great [...]

bayeux

Crossing the Channel

Our last night in Ireland was spent in Cork, drinking Murphy’s, the local stout, while drifting between the pubs near our hostel. We caught a [...]

Old World Wandering

Belfast

Claire and I walked off the ferry from Stranraer to Belfast, through the strange contrivance that takes you from land to sea without seeing either, [...]

Old World Wandering

Highlands and Islands

I’m writing while on a train through the Scottish Highlands, from Mallaig to Stranraer, along a track cut close into jagged cliffs, skirting the ocean. [...]

Old World Wandering

York

Dodging traffic in London, chests heaving, burdened by still unfamiliar and uncomfortable backpacks, Claire and I started our ambitious trip, on a tight budget, through [...]

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