A dragon protects a gate at Hue's citadeI

Catfish, no Mandala

Short-changed, shoo-ed out of shops and fleeced by taxi drivers: Vietnam can be hard to like, but why should that matter?


Where to for travel writing?

As part of Old World Wandering’s Kickstarter project, I’m interviewing three people about travel, writing and how they intersect in the topsy-turvy present. Last week I [...]

Graham Boynton

Where to for travel writing?

Editor at Conde Nast Traveler and Group Travel Editor at the Daily Telegraph, Graham Boynton says “the greatest crisis facing travel writing [is] the dumbing down of the genre.”

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.

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 Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, dedicated to Brahma

A journey across the road

In his novel Travels with My Aunt, Graham Greene tells the story of a bookmaker who has spent his entire working life at a racetrack, [...]

Ban Houy Fai, with Houy Fai Peak in the background

Hike to Houy Fai Peak

A travel story about a trek in rural Laos, near Luang Prabang, and the fine line that divides tourism from voyeurism.

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 [...]

Reclining Buddha at Blue Lagoon cave in Vang Vieng, Laos

An Alternative to Tubing in Vang Vieng

Claire and I went to Vang Vieng to laze in a grove of Edenic green. It was a picture-perfect fantasy, conjured up by a postcard [...]

Swings over the 'Blue Lagoon' in Vang Vieng, Laos

Land of the Banana Pancake Eaters

A jaded view of tubing along the Nam Song River in Vang Vieng, Laos, and other bad backpacker behaviour on the Banana Pancake Trail.

Thailand's Quiet Island

Thailand’s Quiet Island

Koh Mak is Thailand’s quiet island. In the Gulf of Thailand, near Koh Chang, it isn’t visited by the hordes of tourists that fly into Phuket and Phi Phi; you can relax, and listen to the sound of the water curling its way up the sand.

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.

Allahabad boatman

India’s Touts: Journal Entry, Day 75

India’s touts treat tourists like walking wallets. Why should tourists treat them any better?

The Taj Mahal

Ticking off the Taj Mahal

Claire and I visited the Taj Mahal on Monday morning. It was a departure for us: despite spending nine months in India four years ago, [...]

Rice paddies during the harvest

A Homestay in a South Indian Village

Rural India is changing: electrifying, learning English and accepting tourists into its homes.

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.

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 [...]

A man in a galabiyya selling cucumbers

Cairo’s Small Courtesies

It is in small courtesies that cultures first come together or clash, whether at the pyramids or in chance-meetings on medieval streets, aboard ferries or a badly driven minibus.


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


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 [...]



Munich is the heart of golden Bavaria, where the beer flows in litre sized steins, Sunday lunch is sausage and sauerkraut, and men really do [...]


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. [...]


A Bullfight in Andalusia

The banderillero swaggered across the dry yellow sand, knelt in front of the bullgate, crossed himself – slowly, carefully – and spread out his pink [...]


Montmartre de Paris

Paris is the world’s most photographed, most written about, most visited city. More than 30 million people arrive on the banks of the Seine each [...]



Doolin, population 200, is a village on Ireland’s West Coast. It is renowned for its traditional music, hence the busloads of tourists trafficked through its [...]