Tag Archives: asia

Taj Mahal Travel

A Long Way Back: Stories of Travelling Home is Now a Real (e-)Book

A LONG WHILE BACK, I said I was going to publish a book based on a four-month trip I took in late 2013. I finally did. You can buy it for Kindle here. The book is a simple one, roughly two dozen chapters of two millennials’ travels from South Korea to North America. It’s a collection of travel stories […]

In Defence of Malaysia: Don’t Let MH370 Be Your Last Impression

MALAYSIA’S BEEN BESMIRCHED in the media lately, and for pretty unfortunate reasons. First the shocking vanish itself of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; then the rumours about Iranian terrorists, stolen passports, hijacked planes, suicide missions and missing black boxes. Maybe they found some rubble in the Indian Ocean; maybe they didn’t. Maybe it’s on land; probably it isn’t. […]

Stories Left Behind in Asia

I WRITE THIS FROM the last frontier of Asia, Turkey’s eastern half, before flying over the divisive Bosphorus River into what is securely the First World, and the second half of this four-month journey. I have a few thoughts leaving Asia, where V and I spent the last two years living and travelling; mostly I […]

The People Around the Taj Mahal

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THE TAJ MAHAL AND AGRA FORT there is a quiet little town—quiet by Indian standards—and somewhere therein live quiet people, normal people, people not out to get your money or impress you with Mughal legends but rather who are interested in speaking to you. These are friendly people, too polite to be easily […]

How We Spent Ten Dollars On Scarves in Varanasi and Why We’re Okay With It

EVERYONE AND HIS BROTHER owns a silk shop in Varanasi. Walk down the street and you will be personally invited to one every few paces, told “No pressure” and “Just take a look” when you hesitate, persuaded when they explain the secret to proving real silk from polyester knockoffs (the threads burn into ashes) and […]

Woody Elephant Camp and the Lesser of Some Number of Evils

“THIS IS POWER in the human hand,” our guide said as she showed us the elephant hook, holding it up for the whole group to see. V quickly shot me a glare. “We use to punish them,” she continued with a smile. The man behind her, Jay, jumped from his seat. “It’s not for fun,” […]

The Best Bread in Bangkok, And, Perhaps, The World

THERE ARE TWO REASONS we decided to return to Bangkok. One is that flying out of Siem Reap is unavoidably expensive; the other was bread. But not just “bread” in the generic; rather, a very particular bread, a paragon role model—really, the Platonic form of bread—baked at a mystery bakery just off the Wang Lang […]

Everyone in Korea Must Visit Ulleung-do (Before it’s Too Late)

THE ANCIENT VOLCANIC SEDIMENT that rises up alongside Jeodeong’s coastal walkway is a reminder of how tiny and insignificant we are on, my God, this island alone, not to mention the world or its history. The bilingual leaflet that describes the island’s jagged edges is too overwhelmingly scientific to be educational to anyone without a […]

Qingdao, China: Sleeping Everywhere But in a Motel

WE HADN’T SLEPT longer than an hour when the disinterested, pale-shirted, tired-eyed Chinese airport security guard padded over and shook us awake. I knew immediately that our plan had failed. When you travel like this, very rarely do things go as expected. Flustered by interrupted sleep at 1:30 a.m. and a lack of ability in […]

Chenjiapu Valley, China: A Refreshing Take on the Great Wall

ACCORDING TO GOOGLE MAPS, Chen Yang’s farm is situated in the middle of a patch of complete, unblemished grayness. There is no Street View. Driving directions on his website are an exhausting 368 words long: Jingzang Expressway to Badaling, a tunnel to exit 62, keep right after a U-turn 200 meters after a toll booth […]