Features // Helen Abramson

Goa or Kerala: which state should you visit?
Goa or Kerala: which state should you visit?

Since the 1960s, foreign tourists have flocked to Goa, India’s smallest state, attracted by its palm-fringed golden beaches, glorious sunshine and distinctly relaxed attitudes. Domestic tourism has taken off enormously in recent years too, such that now almost ninety percent of visitors are from within India. Kerala, several hundred kilometres south, draws double the number of both domestic…

Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: where should you visit first?
Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: where should you visit first?

Situated at the northern and southern extremes of this long, thin country, Vietnam’s two main cities lie over a thousand kilometres apart. Southern Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), formerly Saigon, was the US base during the Vietnam War and since the country’s unification has transformed into a thoroughly modern, thriving metropolis. The somewhat less modern…

Undiscovered India: 7 places to get off the tourist trail
Undiscovered India: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Despite India’s vastness, foreign travellers tend to clump together in a relatively small number of well-known regions or cities, leaving plenty of destinations to the more intrepid few who are willing to take the challenge of escaping the tourist trail. Here’s a selection of our favourites: 1. Climb to spiritual highs in Palitana, Gujarat Gujarat…

Singles holidays: 7 companies to travel with solo
Singles holidays: 7 companies to travel with solo

The idea of travelling solo can be daunting, but booking trips with groups you’ve never met can be even more terrifying. Play your cards right, however, and you can end up having fantastic shared experiences with other solo travellers who might become lifelong friends. Here are some of the most reliable companies to travel with…

15 lies we’ve all told while travelling
15 lies we’ve all told while travelling

Travelling isn’t always plain sailing. Sometimes you need the help of the odd little white lie to keep things running smoothly. We’ve all been there – whether we’re lying to ourselves or even those around us. Here are fifteen lies you’ve almost certainly told on you travels: 1. “I only eat what the locals eat.”…

6 of the best winter sun destinations
6 of the best winter sun destinations

With shorter days creeping in and woolly hats coming out, there’s no denying that a change of season is on the way. What better to beat the winter blues than escaping the cold weather altogether? Here, we’ve picked 6 of the best winter sun destinations. 1. Pinar del Río, Cuba Winter is the dry season…

8 of the weirdest things you’ll see in Vietnam
8 of the weirdest things you’ll see in Vietnam

Governed by Chinese dynasties for over a thousand years, ruled by the French for a century and occupied by American troops for over a decade, Vietnam has – remarkably – managed to uphold a vast array of cultural practices. To the rest of the world, some of these traditional customs seem pretty strange, but they’re still prevalent throughout this…

15 things everyone learns travelling in India
15 things everyone learns travelling in India

India varies greatly between its 29 states. Yet there are some things you’ll discover no matter where you are or how long you stay in the vast Subcontinent. If you’ve been to India at least once, you’ll relate to a few of these lessons we’ve learned over the years… 1. The street food is incredible…

9 of the world’s best white­water rafting spots
9 of the world’s best white­water rafting spots

Rough Guides’ adventure sports expert Helen Abramson gives us her top tips on some of the world’s best adrenalin­-pumping whitewater rafting. Rapids are classified from I–VI, where grade VI is “un-runnable”, so the Grade V rivers listed here are essentially as thrilling as it gets. 1. Zambezi River, Zimbabwe Africa’s most exhilarating rafting is found on…

Going it alone on the Annapurna Base Camp trek
Going it alone on the Annapurna Base Camp trek

Rough Guides writer Helen Abramson discovers the ups and downs of the Annapurna Base Camp trek in Nepal – all without the help of a porter or guide.  Something wasn’t right. I generally like to think of myself as physically fit. In fact, a doctor told me that was the case. I was convinced. Yet…

An introduction to Nepal: 9 things to do in Kathmandu
An introduction to Nepal: 9 things to do in Kathmandu

Nepal’s energetic capital is the entry point for most travellers who come to this mountainous and culture rich country. Foreigners tend to apply a “get in and get out” policy to the sometimes overwhelmingly chaotic city, sunk in the basin of the Kathmandu Valley. There are, however, plenty of remarkable sights in the metropolis to…

Thrill-seeking in the Julian Alps, Slovenia
Thrill-seeking in the Julian Alps, Slovenia

It might not be at the top of the list for great skiing destinations, but perhaps it should be. Tiny Slovenia has a surprising amount to offer in the way of winter sports, from cross-country runs to great skiing resorts – all within easy reach of the capital. Rough Guides editor Helen Abramson, a seasoned…

Buggy rollin down a bobsleigh course
Buggy rollin down a bobsleigh course

Rough Guides editor Helen Abramson tried out the unusual extreme sport of buggy rollin, headfirst down the Olympic Bobsleigh Track in the French Alps resort of La Plagne. The French Alps in summer are a wonderful sight. The mountains are lush and green after a wet few months, and Mont Blanc’s snowy cap twinkles in…

Adventure sports in the Pyrenees
Adventure sports in the Pyrenees

Rough Guides editor Helen Abramson does what she loves most, seeking out adrenalin sports in the stunning Pyrenees region around the town of Sort, Catalunya. The Pyrenees lend themselves well to outdoor activities. Sort, on the northwest tip of Catalunya, has a reputation as a handy base, where you’re never far from some of the…

Night-skiing, sledging and melted cheese in Switzerland
Night-skiing, sledging and melted cheese in Switzerland

Rough Guides editor and adrenalin junkie Helen Abramson is charmed by night-skiing and scared witless by sledging in Adelboden, Switzerland. I sit looking out over the moonlit valley ahead, dotted with the twinkling lights of Adelboden, transfixed. I am alone, in silence, surrounded by the fierce peaks of the Bernese Oberland in southern Switzerland. If…

Canyons, creeks and wildfires in Arizona’s national parks
Canyons, creeks and wildfires in Arizona’s national parks

Arizona is peppered with sensational landscapes – deserts lacerated with zig-zagging canyons, vast brightly coloured cliffs, boulder-filled creeks, and of course, the ultimate crack in the earth: the Grand Canyon. Rough Guides editor Helen Abramson takes on the national parks of this southwest American state. “I’ll take them!”, I cry enthusiastically to a heavily bejewelled,…

The best places to visit in November
The best places to visit in November

As the Northern Hemisphere is getting colder in November, below the equator things are hotting up as spring gets ready to give way to summer. The cooling temperatures aren’t all bad however, as the temperature in Egypt and India becomes far more bearable, and autumn in South Korea is a sight to behold. Check out…

Navigating Portugal’s Lake Alqueva
Navigating Portugal’s Lake Alqueva

Equipped with her compass, Helen Abramson goes treasure hunting on manmade Lake Alqueva and discovers the joys of GPS during a geocaching adventure. On the map, Lake Alqueva appears as a fierce artery, stretching out into countless capillaries offering countless opportunities to get lost. I feel prepared though; I’ve brought my compass. I’ll be staying…

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