Part One: Japan in Pictures

I’ve always loved Japan. I used to dream of it after watching too much anime and borrowing my dad’s novels by James Clavell. I would read Gai-jin and Tai-Pan and watch endless episodes of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, which in retrospect didn’t help my naive impressions of Japan. I was transported by historical, fictional…

Luoyang, Henan, China

We seemed to be the only westerners in Luoyang when we visited. It was the middle of a bitter, Chinese winter and the further north we travelled the deeper the ice-laden wind cut. When we arrived at our hostel we realised it was a flat shared with the owner and his son in the centre…

Trømso, Norway

In Norway’s frozen north there’s a tiny company offering a unique experience: a window into the life of a dog musher in the frozen depths of Scandinavia. Alongside Stian, Nieske, Amalia and 23 racing dogs, you’ll be shown the story behind the traditional two-hour tourist dog sledding, from harnessing and caring for your own dog…

Crazy House, Dalat, Vietnam

This house might look like a Quentin Blake drawing that’s leapt straight from the pages of a Roald Dahl, or one of Studio Ghibli’s creations on crack, but it’s actually the brainchild of Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga and is a fully-functioning hotel in Dalat, Vietnam. The building is based around a giant, man-made Banyan…

Hoi An, Vietnam

With its riverside setting, elegant architecture and glut of restaurants and boutique hotels, Hoi An is fast becoming Vietnam’s Venice of the East. In a sort of Primark-meets-Parisian-haute-couture way, Hoi An is most famous for its speedy, hand-made clothing industry and the streets are lined with endless tailors, cobblers and fabric shops hoping to entice…

Hiroshima, Japan

In Japan there’s an ancient legend that says magical cranes can live for a thousand years and that anyone who folds one thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish. Some stories say you’ll be given eternal good luck, others that you’ll gain good health or a longer life. Cranes can be made for peace,…

Chitwan National Park, Nepal

In Chitwan, Nepal you can organize up to week-long treks into the National Park to try and spot rhinos, tigers and the ever-elusive leopard. I joined a three-day trek from the Gaida Lodge and came across something unexpected deep in the forest. As the first rays lit the forest floor, the morning mist evaporating. In…

Kathmandu, Nepal

When you find out you’ve been allocated a window seat on a flight it always comes with a side order of smug satisfaction. You become baron of the window blind and lord of light with the power to block everyone else’s view if you fancy a sleep mid-flight. You might be first in line to be…

Bandipur, Nepal

Bandipur stretches like a scarf along the top of a ridge where three hills converge with nothing but sky and mountains to encircle it. We climbed above the cloud cover on out ‘cheap cheap’ local bus onto a vast expanse of forest-clad hills, steep ledges of farmland and lime-green rice paddies. The bus lurched to…

The Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

In north-western India near the Pakistani border is Harmandir Sahib – The Golden Temple – spiritual focus point of the Sikh religion. It attracts more visitors than the Taj and, for a small, voluntary (read: not so voluntary) donation, foreigners can stay inside this holiest of holy complexes. Foreign pilgrims camp together in a dimly-lit…

Mt. Cook, Aoraki, New Zealand

“Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia.” “By…