Monthly Archives: August 2016

The best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you’d rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are the best places to travel alone.

 

1. Lombok and the Gili Islands, Indonesia

Not as overrun as Bali, its more famous neighbour, Lombok is gaining a sterling reputation with independent travellers who want to learn to surf, snorkel or dive in beautiful, clear waters. Inland, the lush green paddy fields stretch to the massive Gunung Rinjani volcano with its waterfalls and hot springs. The three tiny but increasingly popular Gili Islands off Lombok’s northwest coast are easy to access – Trawangan is where the party’s at.

 

2. Cuba

The Cuban capital of Havana conjures images of crumbling colonial architecture, 1950s Chevys, salsa and cigars. However, with the political scene inside Cuba shifting, private enterprise is being encouraged and small businesses across the country are opening and expanding. Now is a great time to visit those tiny back street restaurants and artisan shops. Homestays have always been characteristic of travel in Cuba, and this, along with low crime, means travelling alone is safe and rewarding.

 

3. Guatemala

If you’re looking for the best places to travel alone in Central and South America, don’t overlook Guatemala and its ancient Maya ruins. It’s an inexpensive place to travel, which means you could stay for a while to learn Spanish or even volunteer. Come here for adventure activities like hiking, kayaking and whitewater rafting – and to explore the jungle and get up close and personal with Central America’s most active volcano. Haggling for fresh produce in one of the country’s colourful markets is an adventure in itself.

favourite stories of the year all about travel

In February, we spoke to Robin Hanbury-Tenison, who’s still embarking on fascinating expeditions around the world at the age of 80.

He’s been awarded the Patron’s Gold Medal by the Royal Geographic Society and is currently undertaking eight challenges in an effort to raise £80,000 for Survival International.

 

Longread: Riding the Ghan through Australia’s red centre

Join Shafik Meghji, co-author of The Rough Guide to Australia, on one of the world’s great railway journeys, from Darwin to Adelaide. “It felt a bit like taking the Orient Express across Mars”, he said of the experience.

It turns out we’re not the only ones addicted to travel, as more than half a million of you watched this video, edited by Colt St George. If you rarely see a plane without wishing you were on it, this short film is for you.

Our author has crossed the Ghats many times on updating trips for The Rough Guide to India, taking this series of photographs between 2010 and 2014.

In this piece he takes us on a visual tour of this rugged and remote region, from the slopes of Kolukkumalai, the world’s highest tea plantation, to the fascinating hill station of Matheran.

Travel stories that really funny

While missed flights and lost luggage won’t make the headlines, some stories are a little more entertaining. From badly photoshopped holiday snaps to 47-year-long layovers, these are the silly travel stories that we’ll be giggling over long into 2017.

1. The man who x-rayed himself

Ah, border crossings. A bit boring once you’ve done enough of them, but bewildering the first time you try.

Spare a thought, then, for this man attempting to cross the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although he’s asked to put his bag through the x-ray machine, he seems to misunderstand and ends up putting his whole body through the scanner – much to the surprise of security staff on the other side.

2. The woman who photoshopped herself to China

Kenyan travel fan Sevelyn Gat became an internet sensation back in March 2016 when badly photoshopped images of her “travelling” began attracting thousands of likes on Facebook. Unable to afford a trip to Asia, she’d superimposed herself onto images of famous Chinese sights like the Great Wall – with hilarious consequences.

Sevelyn had the last laugh, though; a sympathetic Kenyan businessman later decided to fund her real-life trip to China.