The great thing about a trip to India is that there are no rules on where to go first. From north to south lies a country so vibrant, vast and diverse – each corner of the subcontinent caters to different demands. Its cities are some of the most electrifying on earth and one, in particular, with its dynamic cultural scene, has helped to bring modern Indian art to the next level.
It’s a sunshiny morning in late April 2018 when we land in Tambolaka airport, after a 55-minute charter flight east from Bali. We are in Sumba. On a map of Indonesia, to its northwest, is Sumbawa, to its northeast, is Flores, to its east, is Timor, and to its south, across part of the Indian Ocean, is Australia.
For six days and six nights, I sit on a land cruiser and watch a never-ending highway in front of me. I observe the same vast and flat horizon for hours. The road, the sunshine, the red earth. It’s dry as hell. I feel the dust getting under my skin and the sun warming my bones. We drive across iconic highways and go deep into the prehistoric outback of Kimberley – a geological wonderland in North Western Australia.
Over eleven days – in late August 2017 – we crossed the wild outback of The Kimberley, in Western Australia. At first, I’m convinced the journey is all about the road, the savannah, the red earth. Then, I am overwhelmed by the diversity of Kimberley’s landscape.
When the seaplane lands on the waters of a remote atoll, in an Equator-straddling island somewhere in the Indian Ocean, I am not able to anticipate the dramatic wilderness of the place. The navy-blue waters sometimes interrupted by shades of infinite turquoise are, perhaps, the most obvious appeal of the idyllic paradise where I am headed. But there is so much beyond that. Beneath the surface of this ridiculously alluring ocean, lies one of nature’s most extraordinary events – and this is what drives me to this part of the world in the first place.Continue reading
On a journey to Ladakh, in the shadow of the Himalayas, I travel the world’s highest road and come across cultures and religions so diverse – yet they are just a few kilometers away from each other.
“Vietnamese people eat not to get bored,” explains Neville Dean, as I try another “pho,” in Hoi An food market. Neville is our guide in a food tour across the streets of the ancient town of Hoi An, in central Vietnam. It’s 7:30 am, and we have our fourth dish. “Eating is the best way to immerse yourself further in Vietnamese culture,” he points out.Continue reading
On a day in late January 2017, I land in Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, one of the last countries to open up in Asia after 50 years of isolation under the rule of a military junta. I’m only in Yangon for 12 hours before leaving for a five – day expedition across the Arakan Mountains, in western Burma. Despite being relatively new to tourism compared to other South-East Asian countries, in Myanmar, the heat is on. The much-touted places to visit – Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake – are on the standard schedule. But I want to be taken off-piste. It is that curiosity about the unknown with all its challenges that drives me to a forgotten part of this exotic country.
Five years ago, on a trip to Venezuela, I scuba dived for the first time. It was a journey that kicked off my passion for the ocean and its conservation. Since then, I’ve been traveling the world improving my diving skills in search of the most pristine coral reefs and wildlife. The more I understood the ocean, though, the more I challenged myself to be in harmony with the sea. I desired to dive with no weights and tanks, in the most natural way possible alongside the greatest’s marine creatures on earth. Then, I went to Hanifaru Bay – the world’s largest manta ray feeding station located in the Maldives – where one is not allowed to scuba dive.
Over the past four decades, one of the most exotic destinations in the world turned into the most visited country in Asia, thanks to its stable political atmosphere and the development of its capital as a crossroads of international air transport.Continue reading