Tag Archives for culture


10 Reasons to Visit Thailand – from Trailfinders

Thai beach with blue seas, sand and palm trees via John Lembo.

Looking for somewhere to escape the English winter? Trailfinders specialise in bespoke packages that allow you to discover your own private Thailand. Whether that’s an off-the-beaten track adventure in the Golden Triangle or discovering iconic Bangkok, Trailfinders recommend ten reasons to visit Thailand. BEACHES The Beach was filmed in Thailand – and small wonder. The […]


A Swimming Date in China

Swimmer doing butterfly.

The lesser spotted tween, and its larger relative, the greater spotted teen, are elusive creatures in urban China. You might glimpse one between 6 and 7am, neat in their tracksuits on their way to school, then again between 5.30 and 7pm, returning to their homes. On Friday nights, you might catch one in a restaurant […]


What is Ubud Like? A Few Perspectives

Flower seller at Ubud Market

Embarrassingly for someone who writes for a living and has spent months in Ubud, I spectacularly failed the other night to answer the question “What is Ubud like?” Because the answer really does depend on your perspective. So here are a few perspectives on Ubud, the Balinese town where Elizabeth Gilbert found the “love” in […]


Experience What’s Happening in San Francisco This November

Golden Gate Bridge

Halloween is behind you and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. The weather is changing and holiday decorations are popping up everywhere. This is the perfect time to gather up the family and head to San Francisco where you’ll be sure to get in the holiday spirit. There’s a lot going on in November the […]


I F*cking Love Beirut

Beirut Flowers on the Razor Wire

As a child of the 70s, who grew up in the 80s, Beirut has all the magical allure of the forbidden that China did. And, rather as on our first day in Kunming, I looked out of our 32nd storey window and thought, “My god! I’m in China!” so too, on landing at the airport, […]


Incest, Murder, Porn & Tomb-Robbing: Lives of the Pharaohs


On the Politics of Museums

Parthenon Sculptures 1

The more time we spend in museums around the world, the more I come to realise how very, very political they are. Take the National Museum of China. When it closed for refurbishment a couple of years ago, exhibits were arranged according to the Marxist theory of history: Primitive Communism, Slave Society, Feudalism, Capitalism, etc. […]


9 Life Lessons Children Learn From Travel

9 Lessons Children Learn From Travel

After almost two years on the road, I have to say that if I’d known how much children learn from travel, I’d have started travelling sooner. Here’s nine key lessons travel teaches children. 1. To Keep an Open Mind Spending time in different cultures teaches you how very much is relative. From the small things […]


Learning Mandarin: Week 4

Shangri La Sign

“If you finish this book,” Sophie reiterates, “You’ll be able to get all around China with no problems.” I wouldn’t have thought it possible when we started learning Chinese. But, weirdly, I think she’s right. A month ago we couldn’t tell where one sound ended and the next one began. A Chinese sentence was a […]


The Friday Photo: Heavenly Palace


Yesterday we wandered through the skyscrapers of downtown Kunming to gawp at this ninth-century pagoda, set in a quiet garden where grandmothers take their grandchildren after school. In the evening, we watched the first module of China’s space station, the Tian-Gong 1 (Heavenly Palace), soar into the sky. The history and the future of an […]