Category

Experiences

10 days, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Iran, Itineraries, Middle East

Against the odds in Iran

It’s the end of March in southeast Iran, and I am setting up camp where the shifting sands of the Lut Desert, or Dasht-e Lut, forge a living work of art. Over sunset, my eyes get wider. Like in nowhere else, I’m entranced, the golden light unfolding the magnetism of a mystic wilderness. Max, my husband, and I assemble the tends under a gentle desert breeze. I look around and see nothing but infinity and silence in giant dunes framed by alien rock formations. “Lut is my favorite place in the world,” says Hooman, our Iranian fixer in the desert. “It’s the only place where I can have a glimpse of what freedom feels like.”

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3-5 days, Asia, Beach, Destinations, Diving, Experiences, Indonesia, Itineraries

Bawah Reserve, Indonesia’s finest private island

It’s late October when I am picked up at home in Singapore on an early Friday morning. Unlike most of my travels, this time, I’m loving the idea of a resort holding my hands from the moment I step out of my door until I reach its final destination. Yet I am quite intrigued by the place I’m headed. I can barely find it on a map. My husband points at the waters between peninsular Malaysia and Borneo on Google Maps. I have to zoom it in hard to realize those little dots are actual islands. 

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10 days, Culture, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, Papua New Guinea, Trekking, Wildlife

The tribespeople of Papua New Guinea

It’s the first morning of our expedition in Papua New Guinea. We trek through a dense jungle punctuated with waterfalls and scored by deep gorges, which in turn are crisscrossed by thickly knotted vine bridges. In the distance, the music of rare species of birds, and that feeling of life being as close to perfect as it could ever possibly be. We hike up alongside dozens of types of wildflowers until Thomas, our local fixer in the Highlands, Max – a photographer -and I reach the first tribal village. “This is a fortune-teller tribe,” says Thomas, “The men here use their ancestor’s skulls as instruments to foretell the future.” I look around and find a bunch of red and yellow-painted skulls lined up in a hut. There is nothing more bizarre.

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10 days, Beach, Culture, Destinations, Europe, Experiences, Italy, Itineraries, Uncategorized

Amusing Aeolian Islands

I’m hooked as I lay my eyes on the beautiful Aeolian archipelago rising out of the cobalt-blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea on the north of Sicily and west of mainland Italy. Locals call them the “shape-shifting” or “floating” islands as they have been continuously sculpted by volcanic activity over millions of years. As a result, its exotic black-sand beaches, craters, and splintered, rocky coastlines are something utterly unique in the Mediterranean. No wonder it was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2000. 

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14-18 days, Beach, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, New Zealand, Oceania, On the road, Trekking

New Zealand’s love story

When I take a taxi ride to Changi airport in Singapore, on a warm evening in late December, I’m aware I’m headed to New Zealand – a country I’ve been longing to go to. I have a brief idea of the itinerary: a few hikes to pursue, beach towns, wineries, restaurants to visit. But I’m not on full control of the program. I notice there are a bit more than the usual blanks in the plan. “We might give room for serendipity to take hold,” I’m told.

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10 days, 12 days, Beach, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, North America, On the road, Trekking

The shifting land of Hawaii’s Big Island

As the plane tips its wings toward the airstrip, I can see a mass of volcanic lava covering a large part of the land below, the green and blue turning into an immense brown, so alien as if I am reaching somewhere uninhabited, perhaps the edge of the world. On the horizon, volcanoes rise from the floor, reminding this is a place whose history has been shaped by fire; a far off group of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean formed five million years ago out of powerful volcanic combustion.

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7 days, Beach, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Kite surfing, North America, Trekking, United States

Kauai: the highs of a lush island

There had been heavy rain since we landed in Kauai, but now the clouds are slowly lifting. The sun insists on making its way through as I stop paddling for a few seconds to admire dramatic emerald mountains around Hanalei Bay – a long right-hand point break in the long stretch of beach where I am surfing – with views to cascading waterfalls.

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5 days, Australia, Beach, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Oceania, On the road

Esperance’s impossible blue

Traveling 631 km south-east of Perth – one of the most out-of-the-way cities on Earth, in far-off Western Australia, is a long way from anywhere. As I traverse Western Australia, I’m hit by that uncanny fizz of sacrifice, the struggle that reminds me this is a part of the world for the patient traveler. The one willing to move slowly and endure large, empty distances to discover pure landscapes, where few others have been. It’s a place that makes you feel things and realize that travel, after all, is an act of movement. I’ve been hooked on WA for a while; perhaps it’s the challenge of getting here, the sense of conquest at the end of each journey that I find so appealing – or it’s the effort that always, always pays off.

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