Entertaining kids in Delhi is child’s play

Escaping the crowds at Humayun’s Tomb. Image by Andrew Geiger / Getty Images

At first chaotic, teeming, tumultuous glance, you might be forgiven for thinking that Delhi is not the most relaxing spot on the planet to spend time with children, but with a bit of forward planning, it’s easy to discover the family-friendly side to India’s frenetic capital.

The trick to family travel in Delhi is escaping the crowds. Try crossing Connaught Place, amid careering traffic, in the heat, whilst gripping the arms of several toddlers, and you might find yourself racing back to the cloistered sanctuary of your hotel room. Relax in the calm confines of a Mughal garden however, and you might see the city in a very different light.

A good hotel is worth its weight in Mr Men books

Getting the best out of Delhi with kids in tow requires a certain amount of forward planning. Rather than staying in the busiest districts, life will be infinitely less stressful if you choose one of the quieter corners of South Delhi, where guesthouses and hotels offer a bit more room to breathe. Some even have enclosed gardens. As

The best places to swim with whale sharks

A diver photographing a whale shark. Image by Jones/ Shimlock-Secret Sea Visions / Getty Images.

Swimming alongside the largest fish in the sea is one of the ultimate bucket-list experiences. Lucky, then, that there are a handful of destinations around the world where in-season sightings of whale sharks are almost guaranteed. Remember to keep a respectful distance from the gentle giants, resisting the urge to touch them or to use flash photography.

Isla Holbox, Mexico

A 25-minute boat ride from the mainland, Quintana Roo’s sleepy northernmost island is the antithesis of crazy Cancun, just 150kms to the south.

  • When to go: tours depart daily from June to September, when the whale sharks arrive to feed and mate. July to August is peak season.
  • Where to stay: some tour companies offer speedboat pick-up from Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but relaxed Holbox is a great alternative to the main tourist centres (and closer to the sharks). Lodging ranges from cheap hostels (try Tribu Hostel) to mid-range guesthouses (Holbox Apartments and Suites) and a smattering of plush hotels (Palapas

Carving Korea a guide to skiing and snowboarding in South Korea

High1 boasts wide slopes and stunning views over the Taebaek Mountains. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

Though South Korea may not spring immediately to mind as a winter sports destination, its well-developed resorts and abundance of snow make it a worthwhile choice for keen skiers and snowboarders. It’s also one of the few places in the world where you can hit the slopes by day and party in a major metropolis – Seoul – by night.

Pyeongchang county is set to host the Winter Olympics in 2018, and South Korea has ramped up development of its winter zones, including building a new high-speed KTX rail line from Seoul to the Olympic resorts, which are nestled in the Taebaek Mountains (sometimes called the Korean Alps) in Gangwon-do.

You can get a jump start enjoying South Korea’s pistes before the Olympic crowds descend. Here’s our how-to guide for discovering Korea’s best slopes and fluffiest powder.

Korea’s mountains and resorts

Korea is bisected by the Taebaek Mountains, a range that stretches along the eastern side of the Korean peninsula, from Wonsan in North Korea all the way down to Busan in southern South Korea.

Traffic at 30 mph is too fast for children’s visual abilities

New research reveals that primary school children cannot accurately judge the speed of vehicles travelling faster than 20mph.

A study by researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London reveals that primary school children cannot accurately judge the speed of vehicles travelling faster than 20 mph.

The researchers measured the perceptual acuity of more than 100 children in primary schools, and calculated the speed of approach that they could reliably detect. The results suggest that while adult pedestrians can make accurate judgments for vehicles travelling up to 50mph, children of primary school age become unreliable once the approach speed goes above 20mph, if the car is five seconds away. Professor John Wann, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, who led the research, says: “This is not a matter of children not paying attention, but a problem related to low-level visual detection mechanisms, so even when children are paying very close attention they may fail to detect a fast approaching vehicle.”

The researchers are now looking at the potential for using virtual reality systems to make children more aware of the errors that may occur, but Professor Wann stresses that the simplest solution lies in traffic regulation: “These findings provide

Half of those travelling internationally not aware of potential health risks, study finds

More than 30 million people in the United States travel to resource-limited areas of the world each year. This global mobility may contribute to the spread of infectious diseases — such as influenza, measles, and meningitis — and may also put individual travelers at risk for malaria, typhoid, dengue fever and hepatitis. Despite these potential risks, a recent study conducted by the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published in the Journal of Travel Medicine found that 46 percent of travelers to resource-limited countries did not seek health advice or vaccinations prior to departure.

The researchers surveyed more than 1,200 international travelers departing the United States at Boston Logan International Airport. The study was the result of a broad-based collaboration between MGH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Boston Public Health Commission, and officials from the Massachusetts Port Authority, which owns and operates Logan International Airport. Based on the results from this work, the CDC, travel medicine experts and Logan Airport officials hope to develop better tools to educate people about the public health risks associated with global travel.

Of those surveyed, 38 percent were traveling to countries described as low- and

Start travelling and change your life perceptions

Do we have a long-term sense of being, direction in life and well-being because of travel and tourism? Tourism psychology research has previously been concerned with tourist motivation, behaviour in and satisfaction with destination but new research explores how tourism might affect people’s perceptions.

This article Does Tourism Change our Lives published in Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research looks at previous research to explain the difference of this new research, it investigates people’s perceptions using four focus group discussions, MUNSH methods, Oxford Happiness Inventory and Oxford Happiness Questionnaires.

With 83 million Chinese travellers in 2012 (UNWTO) this research has been tailored to China, split between those that have travelled outside of mainland China in the previous 12 month and those that haven’t. Analysis has been carried out from the results of 682 questionnaires and ten themes that were used in the focus discussion groups.

The article concludes that although there are further areas to be looked into such as the distanced travelled, destination, how tourism affects people in their everyday life, motivation and satisfaction, travel and tourism does impact younger people enabling this generation to better cope with the modern day pressure and the rapidly changing world, acquiring a

A Travelling Salesman Problem special case 30-year-old problem solved

The science of computational complexity aims to solve the TSP — the Travelling Salesman Problem — when the time required to find an optimal solution is vital for practical solutions to modern-day problems such as air traffic control and delivery of fresh food. Warwick Business School’s Dr Vladimir Deineko and colleagues have now solved a 30-year-old TSP special case problem.

The Travelling Salesman Problem, or TSP, was first defined around 150 years ago. The problem then was to find the shortest possible route for salesmen to visit each of their customers once and finish back where they started. In the 21st century, this same problem now applies to a multitude of activities — delivering fresh stock to supermarkets, supplying manufacturing lines, air traffic control, and even DNA sequencing. Complex and sophisticated computer programmes using optimisation — where algorithms produce the best possible result from multiple choices — now form the basis of solutions to these modern-day problems. The time required to find an optimal solution is vital for practical application of the TSP. How long can lorry drivers wait for their route to be finalised when the salads they hope to deliver will only be fresh for another

Escaping modern China unwind in historic Huizhou

It is said that an immortal from the north flying on a goose was so taken by the scenery at Huizhou’s West Lake that she landed and turned into Flying Goose Mountain. This is how Huizhou got its term of endearment, “City of the Goose”.

Located on the eastern periphery of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province, Huizhou can feel a world apart from the surrounding industrial region of the Pearl River Delta – China’s manufacturing powerhouse.

 

Urban upstart cities like nearby Dongguan and Shenzhen might outsize and outpace Huizhou (sounds like ‘hway-joe’), but old Goose Town’s lakes, waterways, and verdant hills, not to mention its many historic attractions, make it the perfect antidote from the rush and clamour of modern China.

Poet’s path

 

The delight most feel when first confronted with Huizhou’s West Lake is not unique. The Song Dynasty scholar Su Dongpo (also known as Su Shi) was equally awestruck. Su hailed from Sichuan province, but had grown to prominence in the Song capital, Hangzhou,

Singapore’s best bars with a view

Peppered with futuristic skyscrapers such as the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the Singapore skyline is truly a sight to behold. As the sun begins to set and the temperature drops, head up to one of these sky-high bars to experience this city from its best angle – drink in hand.

Cé La Vi

Balancing on the ‘bow’ of the equally famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel, this might just be the most hyped bar in Singapore. The view is what you’re here for, and the bar formerly known as Ku De Ta (which received a facelift along with its new name in 2015) certainly delivers. Service can be patchy and at times it can feel touristy – but the sweeping views over Marina Bay really are worth it.

Dress code: rules are strict – no shorts, flip-flops or tank tops. It’s cultivating a chic vibe so it’s best to glam up.

What to order: cocktail prices are equivalent to what you’d pay to visit the SkyPark Observation Deck on another area of the rooftop – we think getting a drink and a view is a better deal. Cocktails are strong and there’s a large spirits menu, including a particularly good rum selection.

Top 10 experiences in Dili

The young nation of Timor-Leste may be remote and sparsely populated, but its capital, Dili, is a bustling urban centre. With its streets covered in murals depicting Timorese pride, Dili feels like a city in the midst of reclaiming its national identity – or forging a new one. From day trips and natural beauty to relics of colonial oppression, here are 10 ways to experience the best it has to offer.

Snorkelling & hiking on Atauro Island

Dili is a great base from which to explore Timor-Leste’s untouched wilderness, and the city’s finest experience is arguably a day trip to Atauro Island, which is ever visible from the city’s shores. Accessible by ferry (two hours) or speedboat (one hour) booked through one of Dili’s numerous dive shops, Atauro boasts pristine beaches and prismatic coral reefs just metres from the shore that make for immensely rewarding snorkelling. The interior of the island rises up into a mountainous spine for dramatic hiking, while those who prefer to kick back in a hammock with a cold Bintang will meet their kindred at rustic eco-lodge Barry’s Place, just a stone’s throw from the boat dock.

Digging the Beach Road scene 

The road hugging the beach west of Dili’s port area, Avenida de Portugal

Secret Hong Kong singalong parlours and modern monasteries

It’s hard to keep anything in Hong Kong a secret for long. The walls between the world city and the world are thin; its people travel far and frequently, and they talk loudly.

But the city has some wonderful experiences that are not widely known, due to accessibility issues or simply because they have been forgotten.

If you’re looking to get under the skin of this Asian metropolis, here are a few of our favourite Hong Kong secrets.

Rocks from the dinosaur era

Hands-down one of Hong Kong’s most stunningly beautiful places but relatively unknown to visitors, Saikung’s hexagonal volcanic rock columns are part of the UNESCO-recognised Hong Kong Global Geopark (geopark.gov.hk), which features spectacular rock formations (volcanic and sedimentary) from 140 to 400 million years ago. The most geologically impressive of the volcanic gems can only be viewed from a boat, so the best way to see them is to join a boat tour or hire your own vessel.

Tours last about three hours and let you see, at reasonably close range, a variety of sea- and wind-sculpted marvels – massive sea stacks, precipitous rock cliffs, secluded bays, sea arches, sea caves. And imposed upon on these

Is it time to go back to Nepal?

On 25 April and 12 May 2015, deadly earthquakes struck central Nepal, causing catastrophic damage to Kathmandu and the surrounding valleys. Harrowing pictures of magnificent temples turned to rubble and concrete hotels collapsed on their foundations were beamed around the world. Five months on from the disaster, Nepal has declared itself open for tourism, but is now the right time to come back to Nepal, and what exactly will you find when you get here?

Assessing the damage

Media images at the time of the earthquakes made it look as though Nepal was completely destroyed, with its astonishing cultural heritage in ruins. The truth makes for less sensational headlines: while 130 historic temples collapsed across the country, only 14 of Nepal’s 75 districts suffered damage, and many of Nepal’s most famous sights escaped completely unscathed.

Even at the height of the disaster, travellers were relaxing in the resort town of Pokhara, unaware of the destruction to towns just 50km away. In Kathmandu, the vast majority of hotels reopened within days of the earthquakes, with just a handful of historic heritage hotels remaining closed for repairs.

This is not the first time Nepal has faced an earthquake of this scale, and as

Best places to travel in February

The shortest month of the year is also the sweetest – if you know where to travel. Spend February up to your eyeballs in sugar-laced pancakes at Russia’s version of Mardi Gras; sip cocktails at a Modernist poolside setting in Palm Springs; or opt for something a little more tart, like Menton’s Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival).

Whatever your tastes, Lonely Planet’s destination experts have a treat in store for you.

Ski for your supper in the Dolomites, Italy

February is the peak of the European ski season, with the year’s best chances of great snow conditions (though obviously there are no guarantees when it comes to the weather!). Awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO for the exceptional natural beauty of its sheer rock faces and jagged pinnacles, the Dolomites mountain range in northern Italy provides the perfect backdrop for a spectacular ski holiday.

There are two main ski areas here: Dolomiti Superski (dolomitisuperski.com) is the largest, with 1200km of ski runs that connect up 12 valleys, and Skirama Dolomiti (skirama.it) in the western Brenta Dolomites, with 360km of pistes reaching up to 3000m altitude. Highlights include the famous Sella Ronda ski touring route, where skiers can spend a whole day circling the

Tech-free travel: where to go for a true digital detox

Back away from your iPhone – this is a travel intervention. Do you ask about wifi before you’ve checked in? Instinctively arrange meals to fit an Instagram frame? Do you miss the magic of wildlife migrations and waterfalls in your hurry to edit the perfect Snapchat Story?

Help is at hand, digital traveller. But to overcome this addiction you must accept the cold turkey treatment. These remote places will deny you wifi, muddy your phone signal, and replace the trill of instant messages with roaring waves, monastic chanting or pure silence. Shun the modern world at these eight far-flung destinations.

Luxury lodges in Namibi

Does the idea of digging your own toilet make you want to stockpile two-ply and rush back to civilization? Fortunately you don’t have to forgo comfort to disconnect from the digital world. In Namibia, you can luxuriate in a plush lodge and remain blissfully unbothered by emails from your boss. Wilderness Safaris (wilderness-safaris.com) has a range of luxury accommodation, including 26 deliberately wifi-free camps in some of Namibia’s richest wildlife-spotting territory. Their Desert Rhino Camp is set within a valley home to Africa’s largest free-roaming population of black rhinos, plus lions, giraffes, springbok and more. Out with

Beyond the dunes: road-tripping Mongolia’s Gobi Desert

Giant sand dunes fringed by sun-scorched valleys. Primordial fossils hidden within flaming-red cliffs. The sun setting pink and purple over a Mongolian yurt. Few experiences bring together offbeat adventure and epic road-tripping quite like bouncing through Mongolia’s Gobi Desert in the rear-facing seat of an off-road van, hoping against hope that the next little village has a couple of cans of petrol.

Hiring a van and a driver and spending a week cruising around the Gobi is one of the highlights of an adventurer’s trip to Mongolia. The region’s main natural sights are all less than 150km from one another, making an easy interchangeable loop that starts and ends in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.

 

Charge up your mp3 player, grab a few handfuls of camel cheese and set off on one of the best drives this side of Siberia.

Prepping in Ulaanbaatar

Before any of the photogenic bits, the adventure starts in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar. You’ll need to hire a van and driver, possibly source a group of travellers to fill it with (and share costs), and get enough supplies to keep the lot of you in good shape for the duration.

Hiking Kyrgyzstan a trekker’s guide to the Tian Shan

Bishkek has many moments of beauty, but it’s the Tian Shan mountains that are the real scenic draw of Kyrgyzstan.

Bishkek serves as a de facto visa capital of Central Asia, so many travellers find themselves with a bit of extra time here, passing the painless few days for a Kazakh tourist visa or the purgatory that is a Turkmen transit visa.

Situated in the northern centre of Kyrgyzstan just above the Tian Shan range, Bishkek makes an excellent hub for short trips into the mountains. The closest hikes are less than an hour away, meaning there’s a hike nearby just the right length for even the shortest of layovers. Here’s our guide to getting out of town and into the mountains, whether you’ve got a week or just one day.

One day – Exploring Ala-Archa

The easiest and closest option to Bishkek, a hired car can get you from the centre of town to the alplager (mountain camp) of Ala-Archa Canyon in under an hour. It’s popular with locals and tourists alike, and for more than just proximity: the main trail traces the Ala-Archa

Ten of the world’s most mind-blowing landscapes

Gazing at a remarkable view for the first time is one of travel’s greatest thrills – and these 10 landscapes are among the most mind-blowing we’ve ever seen.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

 

Yellowstone National Park has an embarrassment of astonishing sights, from the thundering waterfalls of the Grand Canyon to the infamous ‘Old Faithful’ geyser. But it would be hard to top the dazzling colours of the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the USA. The spectrum of shades from aqua to rust derives from different types of bacteria, each of which thrive in a particular water temperature.

Aurora borealis, Kiruna, Sweden

 

This surreal spectacle is one of the most coveted bucket list experiences out there. The mesmerising display appears when charged particles, which flow from the sun at 1.4 million km/h, hit the Earth’s magnetic field at the planet’s poles. The effect of these curtains of light is heightened by solar storms. There’s never been a better time to view the mysterious aurora

Force fields: where to experience the Star Wars universe

If you’ve felt a disturbance in the Force lately, you’re not alone: millions of film fans are awaiting the new Star Wars movie, which comes out this week.

Whether the reboot gives devotees new hope for the franchise or proves to be a phantom menace remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: you’ll struggle to avoid Luke Skywalker and co. for a while. Even if you’re not a fan, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is coming to a commercial break, fast food chain and probably a cereal packet near you.

So if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em? Slip into the cockpit of the nearest X-wing and set a course for one of the even-better-in-real-life places to have featured in that galaxy far, far away.

Mývatn, Iceland

The film-makers of the latest instalment could have plonked their cameras almost anywhere in Iceland, such is the otherworldliness of its landscape. Rumours suggest the Star Wars crew focused its attention on the northeast Mývatn region, which is a good bet: home to a spectacular lake, the Krafla volcano, and more gurgling mud pots, steaming fumaroles and weird lava formations than you can shake a stormtrooper at.

Sultry Southern Thailand a guide to the Trang Islands

Giant rock formations rise from glimmering emerald waters and sugary beaches wrap jungle-shrouded islands. Speedboats buzz between them, with weathered long-tails puttering behind. This is southern Thailand as you’ve always imagined it, only more beautiful – and less travelled. With improving transport links and small distances, the sun-soaked Trang Islands, on Thailand’s far southern Andaman Coast, make for idyllic island-hopping.

Though no undiscovered tropical utopia, the Trang Islands are a notch up in tranquility from nearby Ko Lanta, Ko Phi-Phi or Phuket. Getting here requires more commitment than jetting into Phuket or Krabi, but even before arriving, you’ll spot those sparkly white sands and know it’s absolutely worth the effort.

Ko Ngai

Just 16km southwest of mainland Pak Meng, road-free Ko Ngai (also called Ko Hai) is a tiny, semi-wild stunner. It’s deservedly Trang’s most popular island, a particular hit with families and loved-up couples, but even so there’s still just a murmur of development rather than a roar. No permanent population lives here; there are just a sprinkling of low-key, upper-midrange resorts to enjoy.

Ko Ngai’s vibe is understated, dishevelled beach chic with 24-hour electricity (yes, and wi-fi). The shimmering aquamarine waters off its main strand conceal coral reefs worth exploring;

A perfect weekend in Melaka

Melaka has transformed itself from a faded port city into a strutting tourist hub, and its kaleidoscope of cultures makes it one of Malaysia’s most irresistible weekends away. The trick is finding the time to sample flavours from Peranakan to Pakistani, roam from Chinatown to the Chitty village and go gallery-hopping and shopping, without dropping. This itinerary weaves together the very best of Melaka in a single weekend.

Friday

Evening

Arriving in Melaka on a Friday night hurls you straight into the colour and chaos of Jonker Walk Night Market. The street swarms with food vendors, craft stalls, fortune tellers, gag gift sellers and purveyors of flashy souvenirs. Start at the south end of the market near the bridge, working your way up past deep-fried octopus, Dutch tilework, I-heart-Melaka shirts and a rainbow of kuih Nonya (Peranakan rice sweets that glisten with coconut milk).

Just after the right-hand turn-off to Jln Hang Lekiu, find the courtyard with a statue of famous body-building champ Dr Gan Boon Leong and a menagerie of animal sculptures. It’s an irresistible place to take a selfie, so strike a pose before continuing north up Jonker Walk to Geographér Cafe. Fight for a seat; this traveller haven gets