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Tim Richards
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Asia & the Middle East



Airline Review: Cathay Pacific Economy
Traveller
, 15 May 2017

"This is a brand-new aircraft which only recently started on the Melbourne-Hong Kong run, so all the fixtures and fittings are in top condition. Though seat width is snug, the leg room is surprisingly generous in economy - I can extend my legs beneath the seat in front without my knees coming close to bumping the seat pocket..."

Reviewing economy class on an Airbus A350 flight from Melbourne to Hong Kong
.

[Read the full article here]

The Real Westeros (and Beyond)
The Sunday Age

 7 May
2017

"The spectacular settings in Game of Thrones are shot at locations across two continents. Seek these out on your next overseas quest...." (This was originally a text box as part of a longer article in print.)
 
Listing filming locations of the popular fantasy TV series
Game of Thrones, including locations in Morocco.

[Read the full article here]

Vegetarian Food in Hong Kong
Traveller
, 27 March 2017

"'Every culture has its own vegetarian food,' says Peggy Chan. Peggy's restaurant, Grassroots Pantry, is the first stop on my mission in Hong Kong. I'm not in the city to defeat rogue magicians (like Dr Strange) or battle gangsters (in Jackie Chan style), nor even to tackle an assassin with a golden gun (a la James Bond). No, my self-appointed task is to eat vegetarian and well for a whole day, in the restaurants of this food-mad city. In a place which is famous for its meaty dishes, such as snake soup, is this even possible?"

Eating vegetarian dishes in restaurants throughout Hong Kong, China
.
 

[Read the full article here]

Singapore Art Deco Walking Tour
Traveller
, 21 October 2016

"'It's not technically a fire escape, it's a boyfriend escape,' says Lip Sin, pointing to the stairs on an apartment building in Tiong Bahru. 'A lot of rich businessmen housed their mistresses here.' It seems Singapore is not the buttoned-up puritanical state it's often depicted as; or at least it wasn't back in the 1930s. That's when this residential neighbourhood was built on a reclaimed swamp, with graceful art deco buildings replacing squatters' huts and rutted, muddy roads..."

Taking a free walking tour of the attractive art deco district of Tiong Bahru,
Singapore.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Top 10: Comedy Clubs Around the World
Traveller
, 7 October 2016

"The supposedly uptight island state may not seem an obvious stop on the laughter circuit, but since 2010 this weekly comedy night founded by Pakistani stand-up comedian Umar Rana has featured upcoming locals to great success. Masala alumni have gone on to success in international tours, so this is the place to spot Asian comic talents on the rise..."

Listing great comedy venues in the USA
, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Going Light
Paradise, May-June 2016

"Are you up for a travel challenge? Here it is: could you travel anywhere in the world, taking only cabin luggage with you? It may sound impossible, but it isnít. For years, Iíve been honing my approach to packing light, to the point where I only ever take a single bag. The upside? I zip through airports, often bypassing the check-in desks entirely if the airline offers mobile check-in. When I leave the flight at the end of the trip, I can walk straight out of the airport..."

Explaining how to pack light, including for a business trip to Singapore.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Chants Encounter
Issimo Magazine, 28 March 2016

"The most memorable moment of my Korean temple stay involves a giant drum. Weíve been led to an open-sided pavilion supported by intricately painted green pillars, to witness an ancient tradition. Standing in front of a vast drum, a robed Buddhist monk beats its surface with precision, producing a rhythmic beat. My eye, however, is caught by the monk standing behind him, recording the performance on a tablet computer..."

Staying overnight at an ancient Buddhist temple in South Korea.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Cats vs Dogs in Seoul's Hippest Neighbourhood
Traveller
, 16 February 2016

"Are you a cat person or a dog person? For many years, that was a question that many inhabitants of East Asia's most densely populated cities couldn't answer. Then, in 1998, the world's first cat cafť opened in Taiwan. The concept spread to Japan, where it became a craze, then onward to the rest of the world. Seoul was no exception. But in the South Korean capital I'm faced with an additional option: a dog cafť..."

Investigating a cat cafe and a dog cafe in the Hongdae district of Seoul, South Korea
.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Next Stop: Nature
The Sun-Herald
, 31 January 2016

"On a warm Friday afternoon, my Singaporean friend Walter Lim and I walk along a broad green path which once echoed to the clatter of carriages. Now the tracks are gone, and in its place is the Rail Corridor Ė a walking trail lined by tropical foliage. With the rails removed, what remains is a 24-kilometre green corridor. For now, at least, it's a basic walking trail, and we're taking the opportunity to appreciate its undeveloped simplicity..."

Strolling along an abandoned rail corridor, now a walking trail in Singapore
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Airline Review: Qantas Economy
Traveller
, 7 January 2016

"I've selected lunch using Qantas' Select on Q-Eat service, which enables passengers to order online before boarding. It's a big plus, guaranteeing you'll receive your meal choice; you can even see an image before locking it in. I've gone for the vegie option, which on this flight is stir-fried tofu with black funghi, rice noodles and soy beans..."

Reviewing the economy experience on a flight from Melbourne to Singapore
.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

The 60 Best Travel Finds of 2015
(five items by me)
The Sun-Herald
, 27 December 2015

"For over a century, drinkers at the luxurious Raffles Hotel in Singapore have shivered over the story of the tiger who was discovered beneath the hotel's billiard room in 1902. Now they have something with which to toast the terrifying memory: The Stray Tiger. Part of the hotel's Timeline series of cocktails based on historic events, it's a $S27 wild combination of white rum, Cointreau, vermouth, lime juice, absinthe and lemongrass foam. Chin chin!"

I detail five of 60 interesting attractions, in Los Angeles, Munich, Singapore and Melbourne
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Airline Review: Jetstar Asia Economy
Traveller
, 20 December 2015

"'Would you like us to sing a song for you?' asks a flight attendant jokingly when I inquire about the entertainment options. This is one of those rare flights where the passengers provide their own amusement, mostly in the form of phones and tablets. I while away the time with an ebook..."

Reviewing the economy experience on a flight from Singapore to Bangkok
.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Airline Review: Emirates Economy
Traveller
, 18 December 2015

"The system's programmers had fun shaking up the usual menu options, with  categories including Middle Earth, Film Club, Disney Classics and Arabic Cinema. The TV collection contains tired comedy stayers such as Big Bang Theory, along with Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and dramas such as Fargo, The Code and The Fall..."

Reviewing the economy experience on a flight from Dubai to Frankfurt
.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

A Boy and a Coin
Traveller (The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
),
17 October
2015

"The small boy shyly held out a coin to us, neatly reversing the tradition of baksheesh, whereby visitors would tip locals for providing services. We had to laugh at the gesture. We'd just come from Cairo, the world capital of baksheesh, a busy, ancient, exciting city where the timely exchange of loose change helped everyone get through their days. Things were different here on a quiet hilltop in western Syria, in the spring of 1994..."

Reflecting on the tragedy of the Syrian civil war, and happier times two decades before
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Express Yourself
The Sun-Herald
, 26 July 2015

"It didn't take long for Sinatra to show up. I may be sitting in the beautifully appointed piano bar aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express, a luxury train rattling along the rails of Thailand, but New York, New York is being crooned by the Singaporean pianist. Seated near him is a cluster of passengers, still in suits and finery from dinner, singing self-consciously under our breath while clutching drinks. I'll have to give that song a more determined effort later. For the moment, however, there is plenty to explore..."

Riding the rails from Bangkok to Singapore aboard a luxury train.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Only in Seoul
Paradise
, July 2015

"Mostly concrete, glass and steel Ė and just a little bit boring. Thatís how many people think of Seoul, dismissing the South Korean capital as lacking texture and personality. They are, however, wrong. Though Seoul remains the centre of the nationís busy economy, it also contains many quirky corners and distinctive attractions. Here are some highlights..."

Examining the South Korean capital's quirks for the inflight magazine of Air Niugini.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Singapore's Coffee Revolution
The Sunday Age
, 31 May 2015

"'Everyone loves to go out drinking coffee and having brunch. Brunch is like a sport here; on a Sunday we have queues down the road.' If this sounds familiar, it is Ė and it isn't. For cafe owner Harry Grover isn't talking about the brunching multitudes of Melbourne or Sydney. As we sit within Common Man Coffee Roasters, he's explaining how Australia's indie coffee scene has caught on in Singapore. 'It's exploded here, and a lot of that came from Aussie influence...'"

Investigating the coffee scene in Singapore
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Edgy Art Captivates Asia
The Age
, 2 May 2015

"'When I was at school I didn't have the option of art history,' says Audrey Yeo, owner of Singapore contemporary art gallery Yeo Workshop. 'So for my generation, it's something we're all catching up on very quickly. We love it, obviously, and the Singaporean public is hungry for it, but it's not something that I had the option to do when I was a kid.' Yeo's experience encapsulates the rapidly growing popularity of contemporary art in East and South-East Asia..."

Surveying the contemporary art scene in Singapore
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Flight Test: Malaysia Airlines Economy
Traveller (The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
),
21 March
2015

"As you expect from a long-haul economy class seat, 38D seems very snug when the armrests are down, and there isn't a lot of room for my long legs. However, the flight is far from full and I've scored an entire empty row of four seats Ė the poor man's lie-flat bed! Up go the armrests and I have plenty of space to spread out. Pity it isn't a night flight, though in the middle of the flight I do stretch out full-length for a while and have a snooze..."

Reviewing the economy experience on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne
.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Converts' Guide: Long-Distance Train Travel
The Sun-Herald
, 15 March 2015

"There are many types of long-distance trains, from regularly scheduled services to those that resemble luxury cruise liners. What they have in common is ever-changing scenery. A train is a unique mode of transport, akin to a small town on wheels; always in contact with the world outside, but also slightly separate. It's difficult to get bored as the entire planet passes by your window: people, farms, forests, dramatic landscapes, and the normally hidden backyards of vibrant cities..."

Promoting the benefits of long-distance rail travel in one of a set of travel essays; including trains travelling through Asia.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Lost in the Old Port of Muscat
The Sunday Age
, 1 March 2014

"Here and there I can spot old fortifications the same colour as the hills, as if their turrets have sprouted from the bare rock. The most spectacular martial remnant is the remains of a fort built by the Portuguese after conquering Muscat in the 16th century. There are the graceful lines of Islamic art here too, in the modern shelters along the foreshore, their domes criss-crossed by geometric patterns; and the beautiful patterned blue minaret of the mosque at the centre of the corniche..."

Exploring the souq and alleyways of Muttrah, the port district of Muscat, Oman
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Flight Test: Qantas Premium Economy
Traveller (The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
),
28 February
2015

"Situated upstairs behind business class, premium economy proves much more comfortable than economy. In many ways, it's similar to business class, with tables and video screens hidden beneath fixed armrests, which then swivel up as required. The seats are wide enough to comfortably seat me and my wife, both people who struggle with the tight conditions in economy. The seats are firm, but there's plenty of legroom..."

Reviewing the premium economy experience on a flight from Melbourne to Dubai
.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

In the Heat of the Night
The Sun-Herald
, 1 February 2015

"I hadn't thought to pack a suit jacket for a destination where the daily maximum routinely passes 40 degrees in summer. In these temperatures, shorts and T-shirts were what I had in mind. However, it's a jacket I must find, if I'm to enter the Royal Opera House Muscat for tonight's performance. Opened in 2011, this cultural institution was a personal project of Oman's ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said..."

Attending a night of noisy entertainment at the Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Metro Marvels (One item authored by me)
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
,
29 November
2014

"South Korea's capital has thrown off its over-earnest stereotype to reveal a city with a sense of style and fun. Its identity as a UNESCO City of Design was underlined in 2014 with the opening of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a spectacular building resembling a vast silver spaceship. Containing a museum, a design market and restaurants on the site of a former baseball park and historic fort, it's a compelling destination for both locals and visitors..."

One item
covering Seoul, South Korea, as part of a selection of top cities to visit in 2015.
My items available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

High Life in Oman
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
,
1 November
2014

"When you peer over the lip of an infinity pool in our part of the world, you're usually looking at a scenic jungle or a wide blue ocean. Maybe both. Not at Jabal Akhdar, 2000 metres above sea level in the Al Hajar mountains of Oman. Within eyeshot of pool's edge at the new Alila Jabal Akhdar resort, opened in May, there's almost no greenery at all. Instead, I'm looking down into a spectacular gorge which drops more than 400 metres between bare rocky slopes..."

Reviewing the impressive new Alila Jabal Akhdar resort in Oman
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Best Literary Walking Tours
Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2015
,
October
2014

"Thereís no better way to pay tribute to your favourite author or characters than to follow in their footsteps via these entertaining tours..."

Listing ten distinctive literary walking tours in locales across the world, including the UK, USA, Sweden, Ireland, France, Romania, China and Australia.

This book can be purchased online from Amazon.com.

Not available for republication.

[Read the full article here]


Postcard: Turtles Hatching in Oman
The Sun-Herald, 7 September 2014

"I'm standing beneath the brightest full moon I've ever seen, on the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula. The sand beneath my boots is soft and yielding as I turn to look over the Indian Ocean. Somewhere over there, a long way away, is Australia. And in the waters between are green sea turtles, heading this way to lay their eggs. The place is Ras al Jinz, on the coast of Oman, one of the few places in the world that sea turtles visit all year round..."

Observing turtles in the wild from a beach in Oman
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

First World Problems: Luxury Guests' Gripes in the World's Worst Cities
Fairfax Traveller
, 12 August 2014

"'No man is an island,' wrote the Elizabethan poet John Donne. But this may not be true of hotels. Every traveller knows that accommodation can be either a reflection of the city around it, or a refuge from its challenges. A hotel can seem like an embassy from another world Ė with a carefully orchestrated serenity aided by decor, light, sound and even scent. Nowhere is this contrast stronger than in the worldís 'least liveable' cities..."

Contrasting travellers' online
accommodation reviews with the cities they're visiting.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Seoul: Food & Culture
Serendib, August 2014

"If I've learned one thing on my first day in Seoul, it's this - never order topokki just for one. This popular South Korean dish is undoubtedly delicious. A big stew of rice cakes, fish cakes, boiled eggs, chilli sauce, noodles and vegetables, it's been bubbling away at the stove on my table for several minutes. However, it's impossible for me to finish more than half the amount in the cooking bowl..."

Exploring the vibrant food and cultural attractions of the South Korean capital.
Not available for republication.

[Read the full article here]

The Omani Road Less Travelled
Issimo Magazine, 2 August 2014

"I have Robert Frostís famous poem on my mind as I stand on the ramparts of Nakhal Fort in Oman. From the sand-coloured walls of this old fortification, the edge of the city of Muscat is on the horizon, a collection of low pale buildings dotted with greenery. As inviting as it is, however, Iím turning my back on the capital and heading inland with a small group aboard a 4WD vehicle, toward stark mountains, vast sandy deserts and deserted beaches..."

Investigating the dramatic landscapes of this Middle Eastern nation.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Cafes of Hongdae
Get Up & Go, Winter 2014

"Seoul is both a busy commercial centre and a UNESCO City of Design. But look beyond the glass and steel towers at its centre, and youíll find neighbourhoods of winding alleyways and human-scale buildings, where the South Korean capital comes alive. One of the most vibrant districts is Hongdae, centred on Hongik University and other nearby institutions devoted to art and design. Itís a happening area of dining, live music and fashion..."

Discovering the quirky cafes of this arty district of Seoul, South Korea.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Fifty Things We Love About Travel Right Now (Five items authored by me)
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
,
28 June
2014

"It's always been easy to figure out how to use public transport in a foreign city - as long as it ran on rails. Train and tram routes were easy to decipher, but local buses remained an impenetrable mystery. As more and more cities around the world make their transport data available to Google Maps, however, that puzzle has largely been solved. Tap in a query about getting from A to B, and the app will tell you which buses to catch and where to transfer. It opens up a whole new way of getting around in the company of locals..."

Five items of fifty, covering
Los Angeles, Seoul, Ballarat, and useful travel technology.
My items available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Escape the Concrete Jungle: Pockets of the Past in Modern Seoul
www.lonelyplanet.com, 26 June 2014

"Concrete. Glass. Steel. Thatís the common perception of Seoul. And when you consider the damage done to the city during the Korean War, followed by its rapid industrialisation, itís not surprising that the first thing you notice about the South Korean capital is its modernity. But believe it or not, thereís more to Seoul than shiny corporate towers. Here and there, pockets of its 2000-year-old past are tucked between 21st century structures..."

Detailing the quieter nooks and crannies of the South Korean capital.
Not available for republication.

[Read the full article here]

Design Landmark Bends the Rules
The Age
, 21 June 2014

"'Zaha Hadid is famous for her irregularly shaped buildings,' says Helen, my South Korean guide to Seoulís new Dongdaemun Design Plaza. 'She likes to emancipate buildings from right angles and T-squares.' She certainly does. As I gaze up at the new centrepiece of this UNESCO City of Design, thereís not an angle to be seen in the British architectís extraordinary creation. The vast lip of the building curves above us, like a slowly breaking wave or a strange metallic tongue..."

Exploring a stunning new design precinct in Seoul, South Korea.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Flight Test: Cathay Pacific
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
,
14 June
2014

"On this afternoon flight, drinks are served after departure and it's a gin and tonic (with Bombay Sapphire, naturally) for me, thanks. For my late lunch starter I choose the Iberico ham with smoked paprika chickpeas, followed by a main of lamb korma with turmeric rice and vegetable jalfrezi. The entree is presented more attractively than the main (the latter looks much like any airline meal, though in a ceramic dish), but both are flavoursome..."

Reviewing the business class experience aboard the Hong Kong-based airline
.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Bare Necessities
The Sun-Herald, 8 June 2014

"I know there's compulsory nudity involved, but I'm not sure when it begins. Having entered the men-only fifth floor of the Dragon Hill Spa, I've followed a couple of locals into a locker area. Thank god for smartphones - I pretend to be checking mine while waiting to see what my unwitting companions do next. As I inspect imaginary text messages, they strip off completely, then wander back to the foyer. OK. When in Rome... or Seoul. I strip, then wander cautiously through the foyer..."

Exploring the world of the traditional Korean bathhouse in Seoul, South Korea
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Flight Test: Oman Air
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
,
7 June
2014

"An early lunch is served an hour into the flight, with a choice of chicken, seafood or a vegetarian dish, each served with rice. I snag the last serve of chicken. It doesn't look like much, but turns out to be surprisingly tasty. In fact, it's delicious and thankfully much spicier than you expect airline food to be, which I attribute to the Thai catering staff at our point of origin..."

Reviewing the economy class experience aboard the Middle Eastern airline
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Korean Food On Foot
The Sunday Age
, 18 May 2014

"It's when tour guide Christina starts filling shot glasses, then stacking them inside a larger glass, that I realise this may not be your average food walking tour. We're sitting in an alleyway, surrounded by Seoul office workers having a bite after work, and our guide is constructing a local aperitif known as 'sweet after bitter'. A shot glass of cola is topped by a shot glass of the Korean liquor soju, then the two are suspended within a glass of local beer. Then it's bottoms up..."

Joining a lively walking food tour in the capital of South Korea.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

A Line in the Sand
The Sunday Age
, 5 January 2014

"I'm sitting inside a Bedouin tent as the pestle strikes the metal mortar, making it ring. The man in traditional robe and headdress crushing roasted coffee beans by an open hearth is Abu Khilim, and the ringing sound tells his neighbours it's coffee time. It's a tradition practised for generations in Wadi Feynan, a dry rocky valley within Jordan's Dana Biosphere Reserve. There are goats bleating outside the tent, and it feels like we're lost in the wilderness..."

Detailing an unconventional environmentally-friendly hotel in the desert of Jordan.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

The Rum Run
The Sunday Age
, 13 October 2013

"They may have swapped camels for jeeps, but our drivers don't believe in keeping things tame. As we tear across the desert in convoy, with some passengers perched on seating on the vehicles' open trays, they zigzag from one sandy track to another. Both speed and excitement builds, as new vistas open up around us. Strangely, these vast rocky mounds seem familiar, and then I realise why - I'm being incongruously reminded of the backdrops of classic Hollywood westerns..."

Tearing through the breathtaking desert landscape of Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Sin Central
The Sunday Age
, 2 June 2013

"The White Temple is a remarkable modern interpretation of the traditional Buddhist temple. The vision of artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, it's a unique blend of classic elements and pop culture. The main building is spectacular. Bristling with mirrored ridges, it's a blinding vision in white. I cross a sea of sinners' hands thrusting up towards the bridge, past more dynamic figures, and then I'm in the tranquil interior, with its statue of Buddha..."

Joining a fascinating new 'Green Route' tour across northern Thailand.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

A Peculiar Play Land
International Traveller, May 2013

"Watched over by these surreal inhabitants, thereís something other-worldly and fairy-tale about the building Ė as if the witch in the Hansel and Gretel tale had fancied a warmer climate, and set up shop in Thailand. I half expect a wizened old lady beckoning me in with a gnarled finger, suggesting I take a bite of the marzipan architecture on the way. Inside, however, itís simply delightful. Though a million toys is probably an exaggeration, there must be thousands of them within these walls..."

Journeying into nostalgia at a toy museum in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]


Between Rocks and a Holy Place
The Age
, 20 April 2013

"Like Moses, I'm standing atop Mount Nebo, hoping for a glimpse of the Promised Land. Though he never reached it, at least the prophet had good viewing weather: according to the Bible, he saw 'the whole land... as far as the Mediterranean Sea'. From the lookout, all I can see are dry, stony hills and a dusty horizon. So I step inside the adjacent museum, an attractive structure of rough stone walls, next to a church built around the remains of a 6th-century Byzantine basilica..."

Musing on the intersection of art and archaeology in Madaba, Jordan.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Beyond the Taj Mahal: The Other Tombs of Agra
www.lonelyplanet.com, 4 April 2013

"Itís difficult to be alone in India, where people throng every road and public space. Itís even harder to be alone in Agra, home to the Taj Mahal. However, thereís more to the attractions of Agra than the Taj. For centuries the city was the capital of the mighty Mughal Empire, whose Muslim rulers held sway over much of modern-day India and Pakistan. As a result, the city is littered with impressive tombs erected by or in memory of its powerful emperors..."

Visiting tombs beyond the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.
Not available for republication.

[Read the full article here]

A World Full of Cheap Thrills
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
,
16 March
2013

"To be an Australian traveller is to be obsessed by currency exchange rates, and certain cities have a reputation among Aussies for their crippling expense. But with the Aussie dollar's dramatic rise, things must have changed. To test this theory, I visited Lonely Planet's Melbourne HQ to thumb through guidebooks used by travellers ten years ago, comparing prices while factoring in inflation. What I found should put a smile on every Australian traveller's face..."

Exploring the effect of the Australian dollar's rise on attractions in London, New York, Tokyo and Reykjavik.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

World's Most Expensive Cities Not So Bad
Fairfax Traveller
, 7 February 2013

"They were bitter, strong, smoothÖ and extremely expensive at £18.50 each. In 2008, with the Australian dollar buying 48 pence, that worked out to $38.50 per cocktail. Ouch. I consoled myself that I was doing much better than I would have five years earlier when the dollar had been buying only 35p; at that rate, each Vesper would have cost $52.85. At the other extreme is the exchange rate of today, currently hovering around 66p. Assuming the cocktail cost the same in pounds, that Vesper would now go for $28..."

Examining how the Australian dollar's rise has made travel cheaper than ten years ago in London, New York, Tokyo and Reykjavik.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Enter the Dragon: Exploring Bangkokís Chinatown
www.lonelyplanet.com, 30 November 2012

"The dragon, in this case, is Thanon Yaowarat, the main thoroughfare which threads through Bangkokís Chinatown. Its head, say locals, is the Chinatown Gate at the roadís eastern end. The dragonís body then stretches west until it ends with the tip of its tail dipping into the waters of the Rob Krung canal. Be aware: this is not a sleepy dragon, dozing in its cave on top of a mound of treasure. Yaowarat Road is an active beast, exhibiting plenty of colour and movement..."

Profiling the alleyways, food and shopping of the Chinatown district of Bangkok, Thailand.
Not available for republication.

[Read the full article here]

Oddest Food Museums
Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2013, October 2012

List of distinctive food museums in locales across the world (including three in the USA, two in Germany, two in Japan, one in Hungary, one in Belgium, and one in South Korea).

This book can be purchased online from Amazon.com.

Not available for republication.

[Read the full article here]

Thai Toy Story
The Sunday Age, 3 June 2012

"I have an idea for the next Terminator movie: a cohort of tin robots marches across the earth, its colourful leaders backed by dozens of troops arrayed in black armour, with bulging red eyes and little looped antennas on their heads. At least, thatís what I see when I look into one of the many glass cases in the Million Toy Museum in Ayutthaya, Thailand..."

Exploring a vast and delightful museum of toys in historic Ayutthaya, Thailand.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

Escape for Artists in Morocco Retreat
The Age, 22 May 2012

"While popular uprisings have shaken the Middle East over the past year, the relatively unaffected North African kingdom of Morocco has remained a destination for Western travellers. It's in this country's remote desert hinterland that Melbourne woman Karen Hadfield has established an artists' retreat, within the village of Tissardmine near the Algerian border..."

Interviewing the creator of a remote artists' retreat in Saharan Morocco.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Zapiekanka & Daulat Ki Chaat
Lonely Planet: The World's Best Street Food
, March 2012

I provide history, descriptions and recipes for two street food treats - Zapiekanka from Poland and Daulat Ki Chaat from India.

This book can be purchased online from Amazon.com.

Not available for republication.


The Hot Seat
The Sunday Age, 1 January 2012

"The suburbs of Delhi, India seem like a strange place to find the throne of King Louis XIII of France. Though itís not a throne in the strict sense; itís a replica of a grand combination of chair and toilet that the monarch had made in the 17th century. Ever a busy man, the monarch used it to attend to his courtiers and, er, other royal business at the same time..."

Making a visit to the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in Delhi, India.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

Beachside Bliss
Air Mail, Summer 2011
(Air Australia inflight magazine)

"'All the worldís a stage,' wrote William Shakespeare, but he might as well have said 'All the worldís a beach.' Through Asia, Australia and the Pacific there are beaches of every type, hosting every attraction. Whether youíre after a rest, a meal, a party or a spot of retail action, thereís a sandy shore out there for you. Hereís a selection of the best..."

Detailing a number of fine beaches, including two each in Bali and Phuket.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.


Fit for the King
Medical Observer, 2 September 2011

"When the hotel opened as the Railway Hotel in the 1920s, it attracted Bangkokís well-to-do to what had previously been an unexceptional fishing village. Impressed with the new seaside resort and the contrast it provided with the busy capital, King Prajadhipok ordered the construction of a palace here, aptly named Wang Klai Kang Won ('Far from Worries')."

Visiting a beach resort town long favoured by the royal family of Thailand.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]


Fangtastic! The Worldís Best Vampire-spotting Locations
www.lonelyplanet.com, 9 August 2011

Revealing several ways of encountering vampires in places around the globe (including locations in Romania, the UK, France, the USA, Costa Rica and Indonesia).


Not available for republication.

[Read the full article here]

And for You, Sir?
The Sunday Age, 12 June 2011

"Within the grand art deco Imperial Hotel is this opulent fever-dream of the British Empire. Itís dominated by a vast horseshoe-shaped timber bar covered by a glass canopy bearing art nouveau designs. Sepia photographs of maharajahs adorn pillars, and along one wall is a large painting of an idealised scene of Indian riverbank life. One senses that this place was as much an anachronistic fantasy when it was built as it is now..."

Investigating the colourful bar scene of Delhi, India.
Available for republication (print only).

Images available.

Walking Old Delhi With a Local
NineMSN Travel, April 2011

"There's only one way to really discover Old Delhi, the 17th century city laid out by Moghul emperor and Taj Mahal creator Shah Jahan: on two feet. Though the government of India is centred on the geometric streets of New Delhi, Old Delhi has more historic appeal. Off pulsing Chandni Chowk, the district's incredibly busy main street, are dozens of narrow alleyways leading to shopping precincts and eateries."

Taking a heritage walking tour through the fascinating streets of Old Delhi.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Soi Tasty
The Sunday Age, 6 March 2011

"Ah, food. It doesnít take long for any Bangkok conversation to turn to the local cuisine. The frequent visitor will have eaten with backpackers on the Khao San Road, taken noodles in Chinatown, tried samosas in Little India, dined upmarket in Sukhumvit and sampled the streets stall dishes of Banglamphu. Been there, eaten that. But here comes Bangkokís latest hot eat street: Soi Ari."

Exploring an up-and-coming restaurant district of Bangkok, Thailand.
Available for republication (print only).

Images available.

Best Vampire Spotting Locales &
Top Ten Historical Re-enactments
Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011
, November 2010

Two lists of distinctive travel experiences in locales across the world (including one in Indonesia, and one in Japan).

This book can be purchased online from Amazon.com.

Not available for republication.


Mixed Spice
Medical Observer, 20 August 2010

"Walking from the square to the waterfront, I stand under a lone palm tree and gaze out over the strait. I canít see the island of Sumatra, lying just beyond the horizon, but itís easy to imagine the spice traders of bygone days threading their ships through this body of water, braving pirates and treacherous weather in order to be the first to land their cargoes in far-flung ports."

Investigating the diverse history and culture of Melaka, Malaysia.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.


Rubbing away the Stresses of the Day
Escape, 4 April 2010
(News Ltd's Sunday travel section)

"I try something Iíd not previously heard of: tui na, a Chinese massage that applies pressure to the traditional acupuncture points. My masseur is a Chinese-Malaysian woman of slight stature, but surprising physical strength. At the end of the hour she takes hold of my head, says 'relax', then twists it sharply till it clicks. Then in the other direction as well. I feel strangely flexible after all that."

Testing out three styles of massage in Malaysia.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.


Life in the Slow Lane
Jetstar Asia Magazine, February 2010

"Bangkok is an exciting and vibrant city at all hours of the day, especially here in the commercial centre where gigantic shopping malls line busy roads, overshadowed by the Skytrain elevated railway. But is it possible to discover a more contemplative side to the Thai capital? Having set out on foot through the humid morning haze from my hotel, Iím determined to give it a try."

Exploring the quieter back streets of Bangkok, Thailand.
Not available for republication.

[Read the full article here]


The Music of Old Shanghai
Sunday Herald Sun, 24 January 2010

"As I listen to the music, the waitress returns to top up my jasmine tea with boiling water. Then, to my intense surprise, the duo begins playing a version of Click Go the Shears. I glance up, catch the erhu playerís eye, and we exchange discreet smiles. Like the decor of the tea house, which features a jumble of items from Shanghaiís 20th century past, it seems the music selection is drawn from a variety of sources across the years."

Tasting tea, dumplings and the historic past in Shanghai, China.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.


A River Somewhere... in Sarawak
The West Australian, 17 October 2009

"Itís time for the moment Iíve been dreading: getting out on the river. Iím a novice on the water, being the kind of traveller who hangs around cities investigating art galleries and bars, so thereís some tension in the air as we walk down to the sandy shore below the village. Luckily, Iíll have the able Ivy to guide us safely over the admittedly tiny set of rapids weíll encounter en route."

A kayaking journey in the state of Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.


Wild & Free
Jetstar Asia Magazine, October 2009

"Then comes the character weíve all been waiting for: Ritchie swings down through the forest. Heís huge! Alighting on the platform, he samples the papayas and bananas, and then selects a coconut. With three mighty whacks against the wooden decking, Ritchie smashes open the fruit and casually tastes its interior. With a strength up to ten times that of humans, an orangutan instils a sense of awe."

Encountering wild orangutans in the forests of Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia.
Not available for republication.


Somewhere in Borneo...
Your Life Choices, September 2009

"Itís a Monday and, even for a travel writer, Iím experiencing an unusual afternoon at work. Iím at the front of a two-person kayak, paddling and sometimes drifting down the Sarawak Kiri River in Borneo, on my first-ever kayaking foray. The humidity is relatively low, itís a hot sunny day, and Iím moving past lush green banks. If only I could get my balance right, Iíd be in paradise."

I go kayaking in Sarawak, Malaysia, on the tropical island of Borneo.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

Scan of text and Shanghai
                        skyline.
Shanghai Surprises
Medical Observer, 7 August 2009

"Never one to avoid an amusingly tacky gift, I pick up a small red wind-up alarm clock featuring an image of Mao, with his arm frantically waving his Little Red Book at the masses. I also fancy a set of playing cards with interwar Shanghai posters, another set depicting a bizarre 1970s ballet involving women with guns, and a relatively tasteful set of worry balls featuring a dragon and a phoenix."

Exploring the Old Town district of Shanghai, China.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

Portion of newspaper
                        article
Profound Devotion
The West Australian, 25 July 2009

"Music is playing loudly, smoke is billowing from a nearby shrine, and a flock of birds is flying across the sky above the crowd. Itís an invigorating atmosphere: a potent blend of aroma, sound, colour, motion and human vibrancy that reaches deeper than the rational mind, intensely moving in both its passion and the good humour of the crowds which have come to share in it."

Witnessing the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

Image of newspaper article
24 Hours in Kuala Lumpur
The Age & The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July 2009

"Younger than most Australian cities, KL has the energetic feel of a city still in the process of establishing its identity, symbolised by the contrasts between the modern Kuala Lumpur City Centre, bustling Chinatown, and its colonial architecture. The icing on the cake - or the sambal on the laksa, perhaps - is the city's multi-ethnic population."

Outlining the attractions of the Malaysian capital over a single day.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]


Lonely Planet TV: Shanghai Snapshot

www.lonelyplanet.tv, July 2009



In this video presentation I walk the streets of the Old Town district of the Chinese city, and shop for some odd souvenirs.

To view it, click this link.

Petra: Attractions Carved in Stone
Arabia Travel, February 2006

"There is noise from the horses and people, but also beauty: strains of reds and purples running through the walls above and around you. You walk on, tiring, then suddenly there is a glimpse of something different. You turn the final corner to see the graceful lines of the Khazneh - the Treasury - carved out of the rockface dead ahead. In the morning sun the facade glows a subtle reddish brown. It's a stunning sight..."

The secrets of stunning Petra, Jordan, an ancient city carved out of the desert rock.
Available for republication (print and Web).

Exploring the High Road to Damascus
The Canberra Times, 7 April 1996

"Aleppo (Halab to the locals) has all the air of intrigue appropriate to the Arab world's northernmost city. Claimed to be the oldest settlement in the world, it has been part of every empire in the Middle East.  Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks and French have all ruled here at one time or other, creating layers of history."

The little known but spectacular attractions of Syria.
Available for republication (print and Web).

More travel writing: 
Australia | Pacific |
Europe | Americas
Travel: Asia & Middle East

I'm a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. This page contains examples of my travel writing, organised by location. Each entry includes a sample paragraph, and indications of available rights.

I also have a selection of high-quality digital images available, depicting a variety of international locations. 
See examples of my travel photography.

If you'd like to republish one of these pieces, or would like a new piece written about the same location, please get in touch via the contacts below:

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Archive
All articles in this archive are available for republication (fee to be negotiated). Articles can be rewritten to meet your style or length requirements. Please contact me by email with your query.

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Contact

postal:
Tim Richards
507/225 Elizabeth St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Australia

email:
tim@iwriter.com.au

phone:
0411-242327
(international +61-411-242327)

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