Features // Asia

Tokyo or Kyoto: where to visit first
Tokyo or Kyoto: where to visit first

Where first, Tokyo or Kyoto – it should be an easy choice, right? They’re polar opposites, after all: Tokyo is a land of neon and skyscrapers, the archetypal metropolis; Kyoto is full of kimono-clad geisha, temples and tea ceremonies. So just decide whether you want your first glimpse of Japan to be cutting-edge modernity or high-brow…

Bali travel tips: 10 things to know before you go
Bali travel tips: 10 things to know before you go

With its coral-speckled beaches, luscious green rice terraces and blissful azure seas, Bali has long been a haven for surfers, sun worshippers and yoga junkies alike. Whether you’re planning the adventure of a lifetime or a week of relaxation, here are 10 Bali travel tips to help you make the most of your visit. 1.…

Sapporo: Japan’s unsung city
Sapporo: Japan’s unsung city

Japan is a country that lives up to your expectations. Tokyo is as frenetic and exciting as you’d hope; Kyoto is full of historic shrines and temples; Ōsaka is brash, bright and foodie. But the problem with visiting world-famous cities whose reputations precede them is that… well, their reputations have preceded them. If you really want…

Everything you need to know about Japan’s bullet trains
Everything you need to know about Japan’s bullet trains

Surely one of Japan’s most iconic images is an impossibly fast bullet train (or “shinkansen”) speeding past snow-capped Mount Fuji – you know the photo. Clichéd as it is, it captures that most Japanese of phenomena, the seamless blending of the ancient and the modern. Beautiful views aside, the bullet train really is one of those must-do…

Avoid the crowds: 6 ways to get off the tourist trail in northern Japan
Avoid the crowds: 6 ways to get off the tourist trail in northern Japan

Japan is a country full of incredible sights: the ancient temples of Kyoto and Nara; Tokyo’s glittering streets; the floating shrine gate at Miyajima; Beppu’s red, steaming hot springs. The only problem with this list of alluring sights? It completely ignores half the country. So it’s time to look a little further up on the…

9 tips for backpacking Vietnam
9 tips for backpacking Vietnam

With striking landscapes, large stretches of lovely coastline, intriguing cities and excellent food, it’s no wonder the number of tourists in Vietnam has more than doubled in the last decade or so. The country is changing at lightning speed, and with roads being improved, comfortable long-distance buses and a decent train network, it’s easy to…

10 Sri Lankan foods you need to try
10 Sri Lankan foods you need to try

The tear-shaped Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka is a true culinary treat. Through years of colonisation and trade, many cultures have influenced its cuisine, creating a spice-filled fusion of Dutch, Portuguese, English, Malay, Indian and indigenous flavours to tantalise the taste buds. There’s certainly no shortage of fish, seafood, vegetables and spices to turn…

A taste of Kolkata: the foodie capital of India
A taste of Kolkata: the foodie capital of India

India’s most underrated city, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is a far cry from its negative stereotypes: it’s friendly, attractive and home to some of the best – and most diverse – food in the country. Shafik Meghji picks out seven essential foodie experiences. 1. Pick up a kati roll Kolkata’s ultimate street food is the kati…

On the trail of Sri Lanka’s famous film locations
On the trail of Sri Lanka’s famous film locations

Ever since the 1950s glory days of the silver screen, film producers and directors such as Don Boyd (Elephant Rock, 1977) have raved about how the beauty, light and variety of the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka make it a perfect outdoor film set. It was acclaimed author Arthur C Clarke who said the…

Stunning documentary on Nepal shows restoration of the country’s sites
Stunning documentary on Nepal shows restoration of the country’s sites

“The only thing you could focus on was the fact that the earth was moving from side to side by about eight to ten metres.” These are the words of Kathmandu resident Amritman Buddhachari as he describes the huge earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, destroying many of the important historical Buddhist sites throughout the country.…

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