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Asia Laos

Luang Prabang: Learning the loom

Shuttle in the left hand, foot on the left pedal, slide. Shuttle in the right hand, foot on the right pedal, slam the beater. Learning to weave on a loom is like learning to use a typewriter while simultaneously…

bia hoi in vietnam
Asia Vietnam

How to style your night out in Hanoi

Whether it’s huddled on tiny plastic stools cluttering a footpath, admiring a rooftop view over Hoàn Kiếm Lake, or strutting down a strobe-lit dance floor, Hanoi offers a night life to suit any taste. Hanoi’s nightly drinking venues are…

phong nha khe bang
Travel Insights Vietnam

Phong Nha Khe Bang & the art of trusting

Karst hills rose spectacularly around us as our boat put-putted upriver. We passed grazing buffalo, playful, naked children, a church spire shrouded by dense foliage, and boxy pastel houses lining the river. Several tourist boats raced by, their hulls…

girl at angkor wat
Asia Cambodia

What’s so great about Angkor Wat?

It was five in the morning, but the streets showed plenty of activity. Like a school of fish, all traffic – mostly tuk-tuks and bicycles – were headed in one direction. We were all driven by the same urge…

chong kneas village
Asia Cambodia

How I got scammed in Chong Kneas

At the dock of a floating souvenir store in the middle of  Tonlé Sap lake, a fragile woman paddled to our boat. Her child – or her grandchild, it was impossible to tell – clung to the side of the…

monks on u bein bridge
Asia Myanmar

U Bein Bridge: Bridge to another world

“Shhh! Stop talking! Sunset. Bridge. Look!” Our boat rower punctuated his demands like a Lieutenant-General. We straightened to attention at his rebuke and brought our camera viewfinders to our eyes, fingers ready on the shutter button. It was indeed…

captain on dotthawady river
Asia Myanmar

Hsipaw: Discovering the real Myanmar

He was dressed in impeccably pleated suit pants and wore creased but polished black shoes. His face was as worn as his shoes, lines branching off at the corners of his eyes. His ears stuck out behind pokey greying…

monkeys at mount popa
Asia Myanmar

Eerie magic at Mount Popa

They were everywhere, cluttering the staircases leading up Mount Popa. A mother held her baby close to her chest as we walked by, eyeing us curiously and suspiciously. A child slid recklessly down the banister. A portly fellow, slumped…

shwezigon pagoda
Asia Myanmar

The hawkers at Shwezigon pagoda: A cautionary tale

One of the best things about Myanmar (for now at least) is the absence of persistent hawkers. In the former capital Yangon and even the more touristic Nyaungshwe a simple “no thanks” suffices to quell any sales pitches. But…

Asia Myanmar

Bagan by horse and cart

Bagan is Myanmar’s answer to Angkor Wat. Many tourists choose to explore the 42 square-kilometre archaeological area on bicycles, but given the stifling heat and the novelty of alternative transport, my sister and I decided to see the sights…

Asia Myanmar

A DIY hike in Kalaw

Kalaw is a small hilly town only a few hours’ (awesome!) drive from Nyaungshwe near Inle Lake. The town is centred around a market of rusty tin sheds and the glittering gold and silver stupa of Aung Chan Tha Zedi. Whilst…

Asia Myanmar

Doing it local: Inle Lake to Kalaw

Sometimes when you travel a country, you can feel like you’re being led on a sanitised tourist trail removed from local experiences. Not so in Myanmar. When my sister and I decided to travel from Nyaungshwe on the edge…

Asia Myanmar

Traditional Myanmar puppet show

The ceiling lights didn’t dim, they were swiftly extinguished, so that only the velvet curtained stage before us was illuminated. The crowd – all seven of us – were hushed as a tape deck clicked on. A crackling, poncy…