Results

  • The Rota Vicentina is a new multi-day trek established by the Portuguese government to bring much needed revenue to the country’s rural south-west while allowing foot traffic access to one of Europe’s last wildernesses.

  • As one of the oldest continually lived-in cities in the world, Aleppo was also one of the most charismatic, before being largely destroyed during the Syrian civil war.

  • The annual Pasola festival on Sumba, Indonesia. An ancient ritual, Pasola involves two clans or tribes fighting each other on horseback with wooden spears. The Sumbanese believe that they need to draw blood to fertilise the land and ensure a fruitful harvest. Sumba begins early morning with Marapu priests sacrifice a black rooster to the Gods. The heart rooster will reveal signs from the Gods on whether to proceed with the Pasola. The priests then proceed to scour the ocean for green hued sea worms, which are a confirmation from the Gods to proceed with the game. If the worms are not present, Pasola will not continue. In past years the Sumbanese played with sharpened wooden spears; death by spear was considered a good omen. The Indonesian government…

  • One of the biggest tuna markets in Japan, Katsuura has seen both fish stocks plummet in recent years.

  • They have one of the richest textile and pottery cultures in India; spanning the Indus River, the Hindu and Muslim tribes of the Great and Little Raans of Kutch were historically famed for their vibrant mirror work embroidery and intricate clay pots that were traded far, wide and as far back as the days of Alexandre the Great. Falling into destitution, and relative obscurity, after the partition of India and Pakistan, when tribes were cut off from their regular trading outlets, many handicraft traditions had all but disappeared when the 2001 earthquake became an impetus to revive Gujarat's agrarian cultures. Hoping to both substitute meager incomes and revive the ancient weaving and pottery traditions, a clutch of NGO’s have emerged. Working…

  • The once capital of the Land of a Million Elephants, World Heritage listed Luang Prabang is well known for its many charms. Sitting plump on a narrow peninsula auspiciously cradled by the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, it brims with gilded Buddhist temples, rambling colonial mansions and quaint shop houses intercepted by splays of hot pink bougainvillea. The town’s culinary delights are a little less familiar. Cultured with herbs and tree barks foraged from the surrounding jungle and a handful of foreign ingredients- dill, tomatoes and chilli, which are thought to have arrived with a Dutch trader in the 16th century, Luang Prabang’s cuisine fell into obscurity after the communist revolution in 1975, when the courts were dismantled and aristocratic…

  • Partly prompted by the old aphorism, “the vines must suffer to make great wine”, and partly by the government’s marketing campaign to reinvent Yunnan’s Dêqên Prefecture as the fictional Shangri-La described in James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon, wine business in northern Yunnan’s rugged mountain slopes and river valleys is booming. Until now the market has been dominated by local wineries aimed at the domestic market, alongside remnants of Rose Honey, a grape introduced to Yunnan to make altar wine by French missionaries in the mid 1800’s, shortly before the Great French Wine Blight forced the grape’s extinction in Europe. But with French luxury wine behemoth Moët Hennessy currently tending 30 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and…

  • Its considered one of the most diverse trekking trails in the world; the 16 day Annapurna circuit is a tea passes an immense array of landscapes, from the lush green foothills of the Himalayas to the 5400 meter Thorung La pass and the moonscape of Mustang, a former Tibetan kingdom on a treeless plateau. Asia's most popular trekking trail, the Annapurna circuit has come under immense pressure in recent years with the construction of a road along the old trekking route. The road brings vital access and goods and services to the villagers, some who previously lived up to a week's walk from the nearest road head, but destroyed the tranquility of the mountains for trekkers, it has also hindering much needed tourism. Hoping to balance the…

  • A lighter and spicier melange of north Indian styles with traditions borrowed from the British- Bengali is one of the world’s most underrated cuisines. It’s also one of the best, says Gaggan Anand, the Kolkata born chef of Gaggan in Bangkok, ranked #3 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list and #17 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, who has made Kolkata’s street food delicacies the hallmark of his cooking. Taste buds and camera at the ready, Anand takes writer and photographer Leisa Tyler on a food safari of his motherland.

  • Dressed in the white of the dead, a thousand years ago Japanese aristocrats would take weeks-long sojourns to trek between Shinto Buddhist shrines in Kumano, the southern part of Japan’s mountainous Wakayama prefecture. Hoping to reignite the trail and support the rural population that live along it, the Wakayama government is turning its attention to a new type of pilgrim: tourists.

  • Ten years ago even Filipinos had barely heard of Siargao, a tiny but lush island ringed by crisp white beaches flanking the far eastern reaches of the archipelago. Back then the island was known only by a castaway crew of hippies relishing in its lazy tempo and intrepid surfers after the perfectly hollow waves found at Cloud 9, a reef break fuelled by the Pacific Ocean's Philippine Trench. That changed in 2011 when Siargao received an airport and Bobby Dekeyser, former goalie for German football club Bayern Munich and owner of high end outdoor furniture company Dedon, opened the nine villa resort Dedon Island.

  • The Yaji- the festival of summer pleasures- is one of many that simultaneously occur across Kham, a former kingdom of towering mountains and grassland plains- in eastern Tibet each summer. They are remnants of the great clan gatherings, when nomadic tribes would meet to settle disputes over land, leadership and who had the fastest horse. Feudal and forever locked in endless bloody disputes, some handed down through generations, Yaji presented clans with a week-long armistice, taking the discussion off the battle field and onto the sporting, in theory at least. Banned during China’s Cultural Revolution, and intermittently ever since, the festivals have once again resuming their essential role in the order of tribal harmony. Drawing nomads from…

  • Almost overnight, the country that invented the smorgasbord has emerged as one of Europe’s most exciting culinary destinations. Perhaps spurred on by the success of what has been dubbed “new Nordic cuisine” and the trailblazing kitchen of René Redzepi and his Copenhagen restaurant Noma, Swedish chefs have recently turned their focus inward, rediscovering the bounty of their own gastronomic heritage. The movement has gained so much momentum that tourism authorities have made a campaign of it—“Sweden: The New Culinary Nation.”

  • Having won global renown, and a Michelin star, for his Nahm Thai restaurant in London, Australian born chef David Thompson is bringing his recipes back to their roots with the opening of a second Nahm restaurant in Bangkok. Located in the Metropolitan Hotel, one of the city’s citadels of cool, the new restaurant will add momentum to Thompson’s celebrity, recently bolstered by the release of a book about Bangkok street food. Camera in hand photographer Leisa Tyler joined Thompson for a tour of some of Bangkok’s most appetizing street level eateries.

  • The Gulf region is full of superlatives, with quests for the biggest, fastest, tallest around every corner. As far as obscurities go though, Sir Bani Yas may top them all. A barren 87 square kilometre island in the Persian Gulf- one of the world’s most parched environments- and once private retreat of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, is being planted with millions of trees, stocked with tens of thousands of wild animals, including many endangered ones, and reinvented as the Arabian Wildlife Park. The park’s objectives are two-fold: The first is to offer tourists and Gulf residents an opportunity to explore their great outdoors with safari, mountain bike, horse riding and kayaking excursions…

  • When, in 2006, Avalon Coastal Retreat opened on Tasmania’s east coast, it became a trailblazer for a whole new generation of lodges. The three bedroom self-contained house overlooking a magnificent white sand cove on the East Coast offered the trappings of a top-notch resort- a string of architecture awards, designer furniture, spellbinding views, a private beach, wine cellar- but with limited services and more privacy. From Table Cape in the island’s north-west to Dover in the south, there are now dozens of Avalon- styled luxury retreats scattered across the island. Each offers guests something unique; a working sheep station, an uninhabited beach, old growth forest, and even a winery.

  • Opulent, sprawling and filled with tonnes of black Burmese teak wood, intricate hand-painted tiles, British iron and Danish glass, more than 60,000 Chettinad mansions pepper the desolate arid landscape of Central Tamil Nadu. They were built by the Nagarathars, otherwise known as the Chettiars, bankers and merchants who made their fortunes ferrying teak, marble and lacquer from Singapore to Sri Lanka during the height of the British Raj- then sinking the profits into building lavish mansions in India. Requisitioned home during WWII and unable to eek a living out of Tamil Nadu’s impoverished soils, many Chettiars relocated to the nearby city of Madras instead. Now, unable or reluctant to pay for the upkeep of their family estates, many owners…

  • French native Dimitri Klein is forging new grounds for the eco-tourism industry in Asia by proving that ecological and sustainable resorts can be both cool and comfortable. Using only local and organic produce, reverse-cycle air conditioners, and solar hot water heating amongst other things, Klein’s 35 acre property on India’s steamy Coramandel Coast uses a third of the energy as compared to a similar sized non eco-resort.

  • Tasmania has long been celebrated for its wilderness - eerie rain forests dating back thousands of years meet with untamed rivers as they snake their way down through furrowed mountain ranges and uninhabited desolate beaches. Until recently, hiking the island’s spellbinding tracks usually meant having to rough it; a diet of bland, dehydrated food and sleeping in tents barely able to withstand the fierce elements. Creature comforts such as showers and a tipple at the end of the day were unheard of. But thanks to a handful of luxury-minded tour operators, the island’s trekking scene has taken a substantial leap forward. Trekkers can now stay at ecologically-sustainable cottages. These trek resorts offer hot showers, heaters, dry beds, gourmet…

  • When the 2004 tsunami devastated Phuket’s western coastline, local residents feared a meltdown. Renowned for its sun, sand and laid back lifestyle, the tear-shaped island on Thailand’s west coast was one of the most popular resorts in Asia. Three years on, Phuket is back and hotter than ever – the high season now sees up to 100 charter flights a week arriving from Germany and Sweden alone. The property market is also booming, with $10 million beach-front villas listed alongside some of the most sought after property in Asia. These include Philippe Starck’s hotel and villa complex Cape Yamu, the private resort island Barama Bay and Zoran Island, a man-made island and hotel designed to berth super-yachts.

  • Tigers in Bandhavgarh were once so prolific it was traditional for the ruling Maharajas to kill 109 during their rule in order to bring peace and prosperity to their people. Today there are only 3500 tigers left in the entire country; some experts estimate only half of this figure. Copying the model which made the company Conservation Corporation Africa a vanguard for sustainable tourism, India’s Taj Hotels and Resorts have now bought luxury safari to India. By using environmentally friendly building materials, employing local staff and educating villagers on the importance of safeguarding their endangered animals, they are hoping to take the circus out of Indian safari and place India’s stunning wildlife on centre stage. There are plans for…

  • Little more than a group of sand banks in the middle of the Indian ocean, 30 years ago luxury tourism in the Maldives seemed impossible. Yet today, with 86 resorts to choose from, the Maldives has become one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. Guests are spoilt with Bollinger and Bang and Olufsen, fresh tropical fruit flown in straight from Thailand, white truffles and even a Swedish masseuse if they wish.

  • Ayurveda is enjoying a renaissance. The 5000 year old Indian health philosophy seeks to balance mind, body and spirit through diet, yoga, meditation and treatments. Reinvented by the current explosion in spa and health tourism, its potions, concoctions and cures can now be found almost anywhere. But it is in Kerala that the real revival is happening.

  • Thailand's royal resort town of Hua Hin is experiencing a renaissance, emerging as one of the kingdom's trendiest spa destinations.

  • "Providence created the Maharajahs to offer mankind a spectacle," wrote Rudyard Kipling about the princes of the Indian state of Rajasthan. In post Independence India, however, the Maharajahs have seen their opulence wane. Now they are converting their splendid palaces into heritage hotels, giving visitors a rare taste of India's regal past.

  • Luang Prabang is enjoying a renaissance. Crumbling architectural gems are being transformed into stylish and luxurious hotels. Perched on the banks of the Mekong river in northern Laos, this ancient city was once the capital of the Empire of a Million Elephants.

  • Quintessentially Himalayan with vast tracts of lush wilderness, towering snowcapped peaks and ancient Buddhist monasteries, Sikkim is now open for business. As a Maoist insurgency drives tourists from neighboring Nepal, Sikkim is fast becoming the hippest trekking destination in the Himalayas.

  • Tracing the rugged coastline of Tasmania's most southern tip, the South Coast Track is renowned as one of the world's greatest wildernss walks. The 83 kilometer trek takes seven days.

  • The Indian desert state of Rajasthan has never been graced with world-class hotels – until now. Offering luxury to rival the Maharaja’s palaces.

  • A former Tibetan Kingdom, more than 90% of Kham’s cultural and religious heritage was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Many of the murals in the monasteries that remain are being restored by the monks that live in them. Critics suggest butchered would be a more apt description of the quick fix paint-jobs being applied to the 700 year old murals.