Travel & Outdoor

Wanderlust March 2019

Sri Lanka: Trip Planner Big wildlife encounters. Historic rail journeys. Ancient culture. There’s a reason why this resilient island keeps winning gongs – here’s how to explore its wonders Reader Travel Awards Last year you ranged far and wide, thumbed many guidebooks, put a lot of gear to the test and generally proved yourself the most-travelled lot around. What you think really matters – so here are your top picks: definitively the best of the best Mongolia Head to the Altai Mountains of West Mongolia for natural splendour, nomadic hospitality and swirling, luminous skies Finland Think Lapland hosts the best of Finland? Think again. We head to Europe’s largest lake district in search of its wilder side, from sleeping among reindeer to bedding down with bears... Morocco Morocco may be known for its souks and sand dunes, but beyond its exotic interior, there’s over 1,200km of Atlantic coastline and a melting pot of cultures to explore Dispatches: Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent On a journey to Nagaland on the Indo-Myanmar border, the British travel writer encounters a local tribe and learns all about the centuries-old tradition of headhunting Plus… a short break in Aarhus, Denmark; Travel Icon: Amiens Cathedral, France; Romanian cuisine; Head to head: Uzbekistan vs Kyrgyzstan; Go now: Scottish Highlands; Dream sleep in Caiman Ecological Refuge, Pantanal – and lots, lots more… WIN… …A Norwegian sailing safari beneath the northern lights worth £4,300 …A cruise to Antarctica worth over £15,000 …A two-night cycling break for two in Carmarthenshire

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10 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

Five things I have learnt this issue: if eating big hairy spiders (unlikely!), I should make sure that their hairs are singed off first (p159); that one of the world’s most surreal wildlife experiences is available again (p23); that no one knows where two-thirds of all North Atlantic right whales migrate to (p88); that Rod Stewart was rather cuddly-looking back in the ’90s (p26); and that I haven’t taken any photos as good as those shot by the winners of our annual Travel Photo of the Year contest (p10 & p110). The photography competition has been running for 23 years, yet the number and quality of entries show no sign of waning, and even the longer-standing judges get just as excited each year at the skill and originality on show. I…

2 min.

Mark Stratton Kyrgyzstan & Comoros features Few travel writers are as intrepid (or relentless) as Mark – as seen this month in a pair of articles that go from Kyrgyzstan’s steppe (p40) to the little-seen Comoros Islands (p130). My top travel icon: “The Varanasi ghats (river-side steps) in India are a window on ancient facades, mythology, the Ganges, aarti fire rituals and sunrises to die for – quite literally, if you visit the cremation ghats.” Ben Lerwill Head to head Ben Lerwill has visited and written about islands as diverse as Barra and Barbados, so he enjoyed putting together this issue’s Malta vs Madeira feature on page 34. (Barra gets his nod over Barbados, by the way.) My top travel icon: “Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth NP. It’s under-visited, so the wildlife encounters are that much more special. I’ll…

1 min.
travel photo of the year

TRAVEL ICON WINNER Colourful Cuba Havana, Cuba “This was taken on the seafront road in Havana. One afternoon, after a heavy downpour, I returned to this beautiful white Orthodox church and photographed the old cars as they drove past, using a fast shutter speed to freeze the splash of water made by the vehicles.” Congratulations to all the finalists of this year’s Travel Photo of the Year competition. Over the next eight pages you can enjoy the fabulous winners of the four categories in their full glory; for the complete list, turn to page 110. “Cuba’s a photographer’s dream of colourful classic cars and beautiful architecture”Geraint Rowland WILDLIFE WINNER Scissors, paper, stone… Chobe River, Kasane, Botswana “I was on an early-morning river safari when I noticed a couple of baboons engrossed in their own game. The rising sun was…

2 min.
your letters

Star letter Hitting the heights I was recently very lucky to be able to return to Nepal for a fourth time and experience this magnificent country again in the company of some firm friends. This photo (I’m the one holding the magazine), taken from the top of Gokyo Ri (5,357m) in the Everest region was a high point in more ways than one. But, for anyone else thinking of doing this trek, I would recommend wearing a Buff or face mask over your mouth anywhere above 3,500m to avoid the dreaded ‘Khumbu cough’ (a hacking cough caused by low humidity at high altitude), which is a proper nuisance if you get it! David Kiddy, via email Going local Your recent online article on ‘5 Ways to Travel More Responsibly in 2019’ is extremely relevant. But…

1 min.
social talk

Planning your 2019 trips: “Baja California whale spotting, Iran, Coast-to-Coast walk in Northern England and Zimbabwe – all being well!” @baxterjeffs1 Dreaming of Singapore: “I would love to see the super trees in Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. A great example of a modern tourist attraction!” @binarytourism Recalling a hairy time in Belize: Being on top of the temple at Xunantunich scared the pants off me!” Chris Walmsley Remembering a close call: “Hippos grazed about a foot from my head one night in Zambia. That’s about as close up as I’d ever like to be.” @anoasisinspace…

1 min.

“Pausing for a break on a motorcycle trip around the Mae Hong Son Loop in Northern Thailand.” @freespiritofme “Trekking the Himalayas with Mount Everest in the background. Amazing when you see it for the first time.” Pammi Bhogal ”Taking my Wanderlust with me on a freezing trip to the Garibaldi Glacier in Chile.” Derek Mepham “Experiencing an unforgettable sunset with magical colours in Lac Assal, Djibouti.” Sebastian Huschner “Getting ready to join the Day of the Dead celebration in Oaxaca, Mexico. Great costumes.” Andrew Heppleston “Dangling my feet over Washington’s Vance Creek, on one of the highest railroad trestle bridges in the USA.” @onewaywander “Walking on an ancient Inca road in El Cajas National Park, near Cuenca, in Ecuador.” Louise Markus “Experiencing the colourful, vibrant energy and culture of the Cuban people in Havana!” @moderatelyexcited “Perched at 2,321m…