Features // Asia

Quiz: can you name these famous sights?
Quiz: can you name these famous sights?

Do postcards and travel posters paper your walls? Do you pride yourself on your travel knowledge? We’ve selected ten of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights around the world to put you to the test. Can you identify the famous sight from the picture? Be warned, sometimes places can look surprisingly similar…

Shipwreck diving in Bali, Indonesia
Shipwreck diving in Bali, Indonesia

While researching the Rough Guide to Bali & Lombok, Jeroen van Marle took some time out to explore an underwater shipwreck in east Bali. We waded into the warm sea from the black sand beach, slipped on our flippers, did a last safety check and then dived down. Our dive master Wayan had only led our small group of…

Funeral season in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Funeral season in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Motorbiking around Sulawesi in search of one of the island’s famed funerals, Anthon Jackson attends an intense and bloody ceremony to bid farewell to the deceased. Leashed to a stake in the ground, the buffalo’s entire body squirmed as its broad throat was slit, its knees buckling and its huge torso collapsing onto the grass.…

The best beaches in India
The best beaches in India

With 7500 kilometres of coastline to explore, good beaches in India aren’t hard to come by. From the party sands of Goa to the bustle of Marine Drive in Mumbai, here are some of the best beaches in India.  Chakratirth Beach, Gujarat The larger Chakratirth Beach, overlooked by a high bound, is a little to…

Passport to write: travel writing competition
Passport to write: travel writing competition

** This competition is now closed ** Do you want to become a travel writer? Have you always dreamed about getting paid to travel the world? We’re on the lookout for talented new authors for our online features section, and have teamed up with Journeys are made @ gapyear.com to give someone the chance to write for…

The stunning Philippines in pictures
The stunning Philippines in pictures

Rough Guides writer Kiki Deere shares some of her best photographs of the Philippines from her latest trip to Southeast Asia.  Comprising 7107 islands, the Philippines boasts some of the world’s most incredibly diverse landscapes – nowhere more so than Luzon, the country’s largest island. Northern Luzon is home to the country’s remotest wildernesses, a…

Roughing it by container ship from Athens to Hong Kong
Roughing it by container ship from Athens to Hong Kong

Rebecca Hall takes the long way round: thirty seven days from Athens to Hong Kong via ports in Italy & Spain by container ship. “You’ll certainly have to lock your cabin door at night.” “You’ll have to sleep in a container like refugees do.” “And you’ll probably get taken hostage.” These are a selection of…

Kashmir: paradise with imperfections
Kashmir: paradise with imperfections

After an unforgettable first trip to Kashmir, India, in 1990, Nick Edwards returned to research the area for recent editions of the Rough Guide to India and found some things unchanged, while others quite different. Ever since being mesmerised by the symphonic juggernaut of Led Zeppelin’s epic track in the mid-seventies, the name Kashmir held a…

The sex theme park that’s helping Koreans loosen up
The sex theme park that’s helping Koreans loosen up

 In amongst blushing couples and giggling grannies, Nelson Groom gets a sex education at Jeju Loveland, South Korea.  South Korea has a prudish past. It was only in the 70s that police were patrolling the streets with rulers, measuring the length of ladies’ skirts. Gauging from my time there, South Koreans remain vastly conservative, especially…

Travel news: ninja bus tours and Burmese visas
Travel news: ninja bus tours and Burmese visas

Heated sleighs, bag-tracking apps, Burmese visas and ninja-themed bus tours: Steve Vickers gets you up to speed with the latest travel news. An iBeacon in your bag You know that thing at the airport where you’re waiting to get your bag off the luggage belt, and the whole thing is surrounded by so many other…

Thailand: 10 tips for first-time travellers
Thailand: 10 tips for first-time travellers

Thailand remains one of the first ports of call for first-time backpackers. But don’t be fooled – though travelling here means following a well-beaten tourist trail, there’s no denying that this beguiling country can take a while to get to grips with. To make sure you hit the ground running on your first visit, follow…

The best beaches in Bali
The best beaches in Bali

From dramatically rugged coastline scenery, to great sweeps of golden sand and lovely white coves, Bali’s beaches have long drawn visitors to its shores. The beaches here tick all boxes, whether you’re after world-class waves to surf, crystal clear waters for diving, or simply days digging your toes into fine sand and lazy evenings watching the…

From mountains to markets in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
From mountains to markets in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city, is a tropical gateway to one of the region’s main surfing areas, Kenting. But it’s also well worth a visit in its own right. Jamie Fullerton finds some of the top things to do in Kaohsiung. Taipei, the capital of Taiwan and most travellers’ gateway to the island that is…

Travel news: can tweeting get you hotel discounts?
Travel news: can tweeting get you hotel discounts?

September’s journey through the travel news jungle includes trips to space, another chance to ‘fly’ Pan Am (cocktails and all), and the hotel website that promises discounts for high-profile tweeters. Win a trip to space… someday Virgin Galactic and Land Rover have launched a new competition. The prize? A trip to space for you and…

Nagaland: 15 pictures of India’s most fascinating tribes
Nagaland: 15 pictures of India’s most fascinating tribes

Last year our roaming photographer Diana Jarvis took some time away from her usual stomping grounds in Europe and headed to the far northeastern Indian state of Nagaland to witness the annual Hornbill Festival. Here, she shares 15 pictures of the region’s fascinating tribes. “I’d visited India on several other occasions but my trip to…

How to escape the intensity of Shanghai
How to escape the intensity of Shanghai

Not far from the taxi horn-laden bustle of Shanghai, Moganshan is a bamboo-adorned retreat perfect for a weekend visit. Jamie Fullerton heads into the trees. Exciting, exhilarating, intense, pungent – Shanghai is many things, but peaceful it is not. Those visiting the city who crave to crank down the ever-present car honks have few options…

An Interview with Pico Iyer
An Interview with Pico Iyer

British-born, with Indian parents and a childhood spent in California, Pico Iyer is one of the most respected travel writers today. Tim Chester asks Pico about lessons learned, packing and the evolution of travel.  Could you single out the first formative experience that sparked your love for travel? I was lucky in that I was…

Travel News: the new Everest railway & Icelandic volcanoes
Travel News: the new Everest railway & Icelandic volcanoes

Steve Vickers checks in with another suitcase full of travel stories, including news of free wi-fi on London’s red buses and the new ‘roof of the world’ railway line that’s bringing tourists closer to Mount Everest. More on Myanmar visas Last month we reported that Myanmar (Burma) was about to introduce a new e-visa that would…

23 fascinating facts about China
23 fascinating facts about China

With a civilisation spanning over 5000 years and a land area of 9,600,000 square kilometres, China certainly packs a punch. From the sweeping vistas of Mount Sanqingshan National Park to the sprawling cities of Beijing and Shanghai, it makes for an unforgettable eastern experience. Why not begin your oriental odyssey by checking out these fun facts…

Karst out in Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam
Karst out in Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam

The stunning karst pinnacles of Ha Long Bay are one of the jewels in Vietnam’s crown, but as Ron Emmons discovers, nearby Bai Tu Long Bay boasts the same beguiling scenery – without the crowds. After three days cruising through the jaw-dropping scenery of Bai Tu Long Bay, and taking about 5000 photos of rugged…

6 special places to stay in Laos
6 special places to stay in Laos

Until the 1990s, Laos remained shut off from the outside world, and largely unknown to Western travellers. Since then, more and more visitors have come to discover that this landlocked country offers some of Southeast Asia’s most enchanting natural landscapes and a fascinating diversity of cultures. Although Laos still much less developed than neighbouring Thailand,…

20 arresting pictures of India
20 arresting pictures of India

A land of countless colours, intriguing cultures and scores of delicious foods, India is an exciting and beautiful travel destination. To inspire you to jump on that plane, we’ve selected 20 pictures of India to take you from the backwaters of Kerala to Ladakh’s soaring mountain passes.  Palace of the winds (Hawa Mahal), Jaipur, Rajasthan…

Things not to miss in Japan
Things not to miss in Japan

An archipelago of 6800 islands, the land of the rising sun has a wealth of landscapes to explore. There’s skiing, beach-bumming, and mountain climbing to be done, while thousands of temples and museums cast light on the history and culture of this fascinating country. Taken from the Rough Guide, here are 24 things to do…

14 magical sunrises that prove it’s worth getting up early
14 magical sunrises that prove it’s worth getting up early

Looking through the Rough Guides photography archive, one kind of shot stands out again and again: pictures captured at sunrise. Sure, there’s nothing more tempting than sleeping in until noon while you’re on holiday. But if you can bring yourself to brave the odd early morning, you’ll discover a magical world as dawn breaks. From…

Stunning Sri Lanka in pictures
Stunning Sri Lanka in pictures

Described as the “finest land of its size in the world” by Marco Polo, Sri Lanka attracts thousands of visitors each year. Sitting just above the equator it’s a hot and humid place, brimming with exciting food, colours and culture. Travel photographer Andrew Lever shares his beautiful Sri Lanka images with us. Travel photographer Andrew Lever…

Video: 27 things not to miss in India
Video: 27 things not to miss in India

Whether you want to fill your belly with delicious Punjabi dinners, relax on a sandy Goan beach or explore the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu, India has something for everyone. Here are our top tips on things to do in India: EXPLORE MORE OF THE WORLD WITH THE ROUGH GUIDES YOUTUBE CHANNEL.  Explore more of…

5 magical getaways fit for an Airbnb king
5 magical getaways fit for an Airbnb king

Airbnb continues to excite travellers in their quest for the perfect accommodation. With scores of rentals across the globe, kipping on someone’s sofa or crashing in the spare room is no longer the only option available to weary travellers. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live like a Lord or Lady, you…

A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums
A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums

Sex museums are nothing new. Dozens were erected across Europe during the Swinging Sixties when the sexual revolution was in full swing. These days the orgy of sex museums has slowed to a mere mouthful, though they have been stimulated by a new breed of ‘erotic’ museum that aims to steer more towards art than…

The Andaman Islands: India’s far flung string of pearls
The Andaman Islands: India’s far flung string of pearls

Longstanding author of the Rough Guide to India, Nick Edwards, explains how the remote Andaman Islands have been slowly increasing their tourist profile but still reward the adventurous traveller with natural splendour unlike anywhere on the mainland.  The long emerald necklace of the Andaman Islands – an archipelago lying over a thousand kilometres out in the Bay of…

The untouched coast of southern Myanmar (Burma)
The untouched coast of southern Myanmar (Burma)

While researching the new Rough Guide to Myanmar (Burma), Jo James discovered the Tanintharyi Division – a blissful corner of the country that has only recently opened up to travellers. As we coasted downhill towards the village I tried, briefly and unsuccessfully, to suppress a grin. The road ahead curved along a soft sweep of sand.…

Things not to miss in Vietnam
Things not to miss in Vietnam

From the chaotic motorbikes of Hanoi to the floating markets on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam is an ever popular backpacking destination. With great links by bus and rail across the entire country, it’s easy to tick off all of these amazing things to do in Vietnam: Music: Crossing the Valley by Huong Thanh, available on the Rough…

A Godzilla-themed hotel has just opened in Tokyo
A Godzilla-themed hotel has just opened in Tokyo

Because robot restaurants and themed cafés aren’t enough: Tokyo is now home to a Godzilla-themed hotel. Towering thirty storeys above Shinjuku in the Japanese capital, the Gracery Hotel revealed a new permanent resident last Friday – an enormous Godzilla head that menacingly overlooks the streets below. In a bid to cash in on the Godzilla hype…

Hyderabad: India’s most up-and-coming city
Hyderabad: India’s most up-and-coming city

A fascinating, fast-developing city in southern India, Hyderabad is one of India’s up-and-coming tourist destinations. Co-author of the Rough Guide to India, Nick Edwards, gives us an insider’s guide. The rapidly growing metropolis of Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad occupy a fascinating place somewhere between India’s past and future. The old town is by far…

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…

Baba-Nyonya cuisine: 6 dishes you need to try in Malaysia
Baba-Nyonya cuisine: 6 dishes you need to try in Malaysia

Rough Guides author Kiki Deere delves into Malaysia‘s unique Baba-Nyonya (Peranakan) community and introduces us to their unforgettable cuisine. The delicious hybrid cuisine of Malaysia’s Baba-Nyonya is one of southeast Asia’s finest. Like the community from which it takes its name, the cooking style is a unique hybrid of Chinese and Malay culture – a…

Video: 13 things not to miss in Cambodia
Video: 13 things not to miss in Cambodia

It’s not just temples and tuk tuks, Cambodia has so much to offer travellers. From the delicious cuisine to floating villages, here are the top things not to miss on your trip to Cambodia. For more inspirational travel videos, subscribe to the Rough Guides Youtube channel >

In pictures: Holi Festival 2015
In pictures: Holi Festival 2015

Last week saw India celebrate Holi Festival, one of the most well known and colourful festivals in the annual Hindu calendar. Powdered paint of all colours was hurled between friends, families and worshippers across the country as they celebrated the beginning of spring. We’ve scoured GettyImages for the best shots to show you Holi Festival 2015 in pictures. View image…

Northern Thailand: the railroad less travelled
Northern Thailand: the railroad less travelled

Tourists are visiting Thailand in increasing numbers, but some communities remain stuck in a time long passed. In pursuit of the “old Thailand”, Alex Robinson shuns the tour buses and takes local’s route, the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. We’re waiting on the road, huddled together with locals who’ve risen in the pre-dawn dark.…

These are the world’s most bizarre spa treatments
These are the world’s most bizarre spa treatments

If you’re after some rejuvenation on your next break but still fancy a bit of an adventure, there are a whole host of alternative therapies offered around the world. From snail facials to a spot of sauna whipping, you can invigorate your body and soul with a smorgasbord of weird but wonderful wellness treatments. Here…

Discover Indonesia: our film of the week
Discover Indonesia: our film of the week

Searching for that daily dose of travel inspiration? Look no further, but don’t be surprised if your feet start to itch for Indonesia. This archipelago nation is vast and complex: the world’s fourth most populous country, home to roughly 700 living languages and 300 ethnicities. Its massive size is still an enigma – even in the age…

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…

Video: 17 things not to miss in Singapore
Video: 17 things not to miss in Singapore

Singapore has many sides. You can take in Little India, Arab Street and Chinatown before heading for a cosmopolitan night out hosted by some of the world’s top DJs, or delve into the wild at a rainforest nature reserve and search for inner peace at holy temples. These are the top things not to miss…

Video: things not to miss in Malaysia
Video: things not to miss in Malaysia

From its tea plantations to its pristine beaches, and from its mountains to its modern cities, Malaysia has a wealth of natural beauty, distinctive art and delicious food. These are the top 18 things not to miss in this exciting southeast Asian destination. We’ve picked Malaysia as one of the top countries to visit in…

14 essential Burmese experiences
14 essential Burmese experiences

Wherever your itinerary takes you, travel in Myanmar (Burma) is sure to provide a wealth of new experiences – whether you’re air-kissing at your waiter in a city teahouse or witnessing your first nat ceremony. To mark the release of our first guide to the country, co-author Jo James shares fourteen of her essential things…

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…

16 captivating pictures of hill tribes in Laos
16 captivating pictures of hill tribes in Laos

Professional travel photographer Tim Draper has shot images for 24 Rough Guides guidebooks, visiting far-flung corners around the world. Here he shares some of his stunning shots taken in northern Laos, where he spent time with the Akha people. I‘d been trudging steadily uphill through dense jungle in heavy rain for over seven hours when I caught…

Would you attempt the world’s highest bungee jump in the dark?
Would you attempt the world’s highest bungee jump in the dark?

With summer on the way, the landmark 338m-high Macau Tower has launched a new season of its Night Bungy experience. Yes, you read that right. You can plunge 233 metres off the side of a building at speeds of 200km/h – in the dark. The frankly terrifying free-fall lasts five seconds, offering a adrenalin-inducing hit of terror sure to put this Guinness…

5 reasons why Ladakh offers the best trekking in India
5 reasons why Ladakh offers the best trekking in India

Co-author of the Rough Guide to India, Nick Edwards, explains why the trekking in Ladakh is among India’s finest. Ladakh is quite unlike any other region of India, both geographically and culturally. A rugged and arid high-altitude desert, set between the mighty Karakoram and Great Himalaya ranges, its very name means “the land of high…

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…

Andhra Pradesh: India’s unknown backwaters destination
Andhra Pradesh: India’s unknown backwaters destination

In search of somewhere a little more adventurous and lot less travelled than the famous backwaters of Kerala? Head to the Godavari Delta on the eastern coast of Andhra Pradesh, where you’ll find a rich area for exploration says Nick Edwards, co-author of The Rough Guide to India. The mighty Godavari, second only in length to the Ganges,…

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