Unknown treks in Asia: 10 offbeat trails

From remote corners of Bhutan to the lofty heights of Nepal, we profile some of the best unknown treks in Asia

When it comes to exploration, ‘too late for the seas, too soon for the stars’ may best describe our current times. Legendary explorers like Drake and Magellan charted the seas long ago while Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and their like did the same for remote lands. 

Best hikes in South Korea: 8 stunning trails

Naejangsan in autumn is one of the best hikes in South Korea NaejangsanTRAVEL TAKE PHOTOS/Shutterstock

The best hikes in South Korea offer a portrait of idyllic countryside as well as 5,000 years of distinctive culture and history

Mountain culture runs deep through the history of South Korea. Thousands of years before modern religion made its way onto the peninsula, Koreans worshipped mountain spirits known as Sansin. Today, much of the population remains strongly connected to mountains, albeit in a different way.

The travel that changed me: Roz Watkins

Dal Lake in KashmirTappasan Phurisamrit/Shutterstock

From trekking in the hills of Kashmir to evading a rhino in India, author Roz Watkins tells us about the travel that changed her

Roz Watkins is the author of the critically-acclaimed DI Meg Dalton crime series. Set in the Peak District, her novels are known for their extraordinary sense of place. Think moody moors, gnarled forests and creepy local lore. Her protagonist is spirited and sensitive, but what draws me most strongly to Roz’s work is her willingness to venture into the darker corners of society. 

17 megadiverse countries of the world

A tiger lazes in Ranthambore in IndiaOndrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

We profile the world’s megadiverse countries, from obvious contenders like Ecuador and Brazil to one or two surprise entries

It should be comforting to know that a mere 17 countries hold more than 70% of the world’s species. It should be easy to rally this small group of ‘megadiverse countries’ to protect the planet’s extraordinary biodiversity. Alas, some of these countries are also the world’s biggest consumers and polluters. 

10 hikes through the cleanest air in the world

Iceland is one of our Hikes in the cleanest air in the worldDreamstime

From Canada’s wild backcountry to the jungles of Brunei, we share some fantastic hikes through the cleanest air in the world

A few months after we moved to the country, some friends from London came up to visit. Stepping from the car, one commented that ‘it feels like mountain air up here’. I laughed and said, ‘it’s not that cold.’ He shook his head and said, ‘I don’t mean the temperature. I mean the quality.’

What is the greenest country in the world?

greenest-country-in-the-world-2020-map

Denmark is the greenest country in the world according to the 2020 Environmental Performance Index. Below, we take a look at the broader list

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) evaluates and ranks 180 countries on 32 performance indicators across 11 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

13 stunning natural phenomena

Gregory B Cuvelier/Shutterstock

From the famous northern lights to the lesser known sea of stars, we share the world’s most stunning natural phenomena

As Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken made history this week as the first astronauts to launch to orbit on a private spaceship, the world took pause to watch. Given the turmoil of our times, one observer quipped, ‘Congratulations to the Astronauts that left Earth today. Good choice.’

International borders: 10 remarkable frontiers

International borders Mexico-USA on Pacific CoastROSARITO TV/SHUTTERSTOCK

From mountains to libraries, we take a look at some of the most extraordinary international borders to be found across the globe

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an impressive collection of new websites, blogs and social media accounts dedicated to ‘travel porn’. They’re filled with big, sweeping images of fairytale lands and precarious precipices.

The travel that changed me: Jini Reddy

From trekking in Nepal to exploring Iran and Pakistan, author Jini Reddy regales us with tales of the travel that changed her

If there was ever an international woman of mystery, she would likely have been a lot like Jini Reddy. A British author and journalist, Jini has lived in London, Montreal, Hong Kong, Provence and Tbilisi. 

Happiest countries in the world 2020 – ranked

Happiest-countries-of-2020-map

The happiest countries in the world 2020 have been ranked in the latest World Happiness Report. For the third year running, Finland holds on to top spot

Happiness is a nebulous thing; hard to grasp and harder to hold onto. Scientists, economists and philosophers have defined it through the ages as a combination of different things, among them health, wealth, companionship and security.

10 books to transport you to the world’s most visited countries

Sample the world’s most popular destinations without leaving your home

On a normal spring day, you can expect the Champ de Mars in Paris to be teeming with tourists. This vibrant swatch of green offers iconic views of the Eiffel Tower and hosts droves of visitors every year – possibly as many as 80 million. France is after all the most visited country in the world. 

Non-technical mountain climbs: 12 trekking peaks

mountaineering calendar whitney usaDreamstime

There are no ‘death zones’ on these non-technical mountain climbs but they offer plenty of challenges for mere mortals like me

As a climber, I have completed several indoor climbing and winter mountaineering courses but my technical climbing skills sill leave a lot to be desired. I have mastered basic rope, ice axe and crampon skills but don’t practise them as often as I’d like.

20 interesting facts about Sri Lanka

interesting facts about sri lanka

We learnt a host of interesting facts about Sri Lanka on our month-long trip through the country. Here, we share the best of them

Sri Lanka is a rich and fascinating country that seems to have everything a traveller could want. It is one of the best safari destinations outside of Africa with an abundance of wildlife squeezed into its 26 national parks.

Ella Rock: how to hike it yourself (unguided)

Ella Rock how to hike it yourself lead image and view from topAtlas & Boots

A guide to hiking Ella Rock by yourself, including detailed directions, a downloadable route map, a video and a list of essential tips

Ella in Sri Lanka is beautiful, they said. ‘The closest thing to an English country village’ and the perfect place to slow down, we’d read.

I dolefully thought of this when darting across the thundering traffic to dodge yet another taxi driver insisting on taking me somewhere I didn’t want to go. The main street, stacked with milkshake huts and charm-free cafes, is a loud and roiling stretch of conveniences set up for the tourist alone.

Stewards of the wild: 10 famous environmentalists that give us hope 

Jane Goodall is one of the most famous environmentalists of our time.The Nature Conservancy/Fair Use

We profile 10 famous environmentalists, from the girl who lived in a tree for two years to the sea captain faced with Interpol arrest

I recently read a fact that stopped in me my tracks: in optimum conditions, some trees can live forever. They are vulnerable to predators, disease and natural disasters, but unlike humans, these ‘biologically immortal’ trees rarely die simply because they get old.

Most peaceful countries in the world 2020

Peaceful-countries-2020-mapVision of Humanity

The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2020. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

Global peacefulness has declined for the fourth time in the last five years, according to the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) report.

The GPI report is the only statistical measure of its kind and makes it possible to rank 163 independent states based on how peaceful they are. The 163 states cover over 99.7% of the world’s population and are assessed using 23 indicators, each banded or normalised on a scale of 1-5.

World’s most powerful passports 2020

We take a look at the world’s most powerful passports based on the ease with which you can enter foreign countries

Japan has been named the world’s most powerful passport in 2020, beating Singapore in second place and Germany and South Korea in third. 

The Henley Passport Index uses data from the International Air Transport Authority to measure how many destinations a passport-holder can enter without a prior visa. It analyses 199 different passports and 227 travel destinations to produce what is considered the most authoritative ranking of its kind.

20 interesting facts about Pakistan

A polo player at the Shandur Polo FestivalUmairHaider/shutterstock

From savage mountains to political firsts, we share the most interesting facts about Pakistan

I recently visited Pakistan for the first time to complete the K2 base camp trek. I would be lying if I said that I had booked my flights without a hint of trepidation. Pakistan has long suffered from bad press, exacerbated by years of political instability. As such, there are still areas of Pakistan where travel is not advisable