Over 20 years covering China, travel, and culture for publications across the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Author of multiple books on China.
OBERAMMERGAU, Germany — The cosy wooden interior of Oberammergau’s 500-year-old Gasthaus von Stern could hardly be more welcoming.
Families tuck in to hearty meals of sausages and rye bread, and men play cards over glasses of locally brewed beer, while outside bright snow can be seen piled on the eaves of massive dark-wood buildings, whose windows glow with goodies.
It’s a Christmas-card-perfect scene.
This south Bavarian village’s Passion Play, staged roughly every 10 years since 1634, invol...
Sir Francis Galton’ s The Art of Travel, perhaps the world’s first travel guide, is full of practical tips and advice, from how to start a fire to surviving on carrion and insects
Portraits of Sir Francis Galton show a man with mutton-chop whiskers and the demeanour of a minor public school headmaster of the “spare the rod, spoil the child” persuasion. A Victorian-era polymath with a patchy education in medicine and mathematics, Galton (1822-1911) was knighted two years before his death for h...
Christmas Island – the next big thing in travel? Home to Chinese, Indians and Malays, it’s a fascinating mix of cultures
From the terrace of the Lucky Ho restaurant, in the Poon Saan district of The Settlement, Christmas Island’s only town, all looks well. The air-conditioned interior is busy with Chinese families and, across the road, a large crowd is watching a Disney film at an open-air cinema.
The menu features the Sichuan classic gong bao ji ding (spicy diced chicken with peanuts), though that Chinese province is several thousand kilometres away. Lucky Ho, one of only about half a dozen restaurants on the ...
‘I’m the worst daughter ever,” says Delia Hou over the music of a tango orchestra. The lissome 35-year-old Taiwanese-American quotes her parents: “You graduated once and you’re still not married. You graduated twice and you’re still not married.”
Ms. Hou has degrees in astrophysics and law, but here in a milonga, or tango-dancing club, they are forgotten. She and other Asian milongueras speak of the dance in almost metaphysical terms.
“Tango is about what you really genuinely want but you don’t even dare to admit,” says Ms. Hou. “Here you are, you don’t have a serious respectable job, you’re spending your evenings pressing your body against strange men. It’s not really typically Asian behavior.”
The Swiss are record-breaking rail travellers, spending more time in trains than even the Japanese. A dense network of often improbable lines wraps around and perforates the country’s many high mountains, sewing 26 disparate cantons into a single nation.
LUCERNE, Switzerland — The construction of the Gotthard line through some of Switzerland’s most challenging terrain involved spiral underground tunnels, long galleried sections, and dozens of bridges. Opened in 1882 it climbed to a 15-km-long summit tunnel, then the longest of its kind in the world, and was celebrated as a marvel of engineering.
The line was built for the sake of the Swiss economy and intended to ensure that trade flowed through the mountainous country rather than around it. ...
How could China dismiss the 1984 Joint Declaration as meaningless, yet days later cite an 1890 treaty signed with Britain in support of a territorial claim in the Himalayas? It’s all about convenience.
Cossies Beach on Direction Island may have been named Australia's best beach, but there are other stretches of beautiful sand everywhere you look in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
The South of England’s leafy countryside is dotted with mansions built around the time of King Henry VIII, or even before that much-married monarch took the throne of England in the 16th century.
This is fortunate for filmmakers wanting to put prize-winning historical novels such as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall on screen. Many of the London palaces and great houses of Henry and his courtiers are long gone, but to the west beyond Oxford a string of ancient halls make suitable stand-ins.
Restaurant in the sky? Another sad attempt by an airline to convince us that its food is actually edible? There is some air travel involved although your distance above ground is never more than 130 metres. But forget foil-wrapped dishes on a fold-down plastic ledge; this is a full-scale evening meal served on snowy linen as you ride 1,000 metres up the side of Switzerland’s Mount Rigi in a cable-car gondola (top far right), enjoying vast sunset views over cross-shaped Lake Lucerne to Bürgens...
The remote, isolated atoll, a four-hour flight from Perth, is home to the top-ranking Australian beach – so why is no one visiting it?
Book review: everything you need to know about the iPhone’s history, and quite a few things you don’t, in The One Device | South China Morning Post
Brian Merchant's fast-paced, easily digestible read covers everything from office politics to software development and chemistry, delving deep into the iPhone's origins and dismantling a few myths along the way