VOL. 7 · NO. 1, July 2019
Journal of Globerovers Productions · GR
10 Argentina - The Long Way Down
Argentina is a world in one. A country that offers rose-red deserts, snow-capped mountains, massive glaciers,
rugged landscapes, vast plains, great food and wine, and the best tango dancing in the world. We travel all the
way from the Bolivian border at the northern tip of Argentina down to Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the
world. Along the way we explore the world renowned Iguazú Falls, we dance the tango in the nation’s charming
capital, we crawl close to the wildlife of Peninsula Valdés, and walk on glaciers. Viva! Argentina.
ARTICLES + PHOTOS ESSAYS
Malaysia’s Sabah on Borneo Island
Malaysia’s untamed state of Sabah is
located on Borneo Island, home to the
proboscis monkeys and orangutans, as
well as tiny paradise islands.
Sensible Travel Gear
Tasty Traveller’s Treats
Postcards to Mommy
Cyprus - A Divided Island
The Republic of Cyprus with its predominantly
Greek inhabitants lies
south of the Turkish controlled North
Cyprus. We explore the Republic.
Mauritius - Idyllic Indian Ocean Island
Located west of Madagascar, Mauritius
is known for its turquoise seas, black
volcanic rocks, palm trees, sugar cane
fields and craggy mountain peaks.
Cruising with Crocodiles in Australia
Canada’s Best Hidden Train Journey
Travellers in the Spotlight
Peru’s Sacred Valley
This fertile river valley, a narrow strip of
land in the Peruvian Andes, has a long
history and is a place of eerie natural
beauty and a rich, colourful culture.
A Naga New Year Festival, Nagaland
In the remote northwest of Myanmar
(Burma) live the Naga people. Every
mid-January they come together for a
colourful 3-day New Year’s festival.
Boating Guilin to Yangshou, China
A karst landscape dominates the course
of the slow flowing Li River and its many
tributaries that drain the mountenous
area from Guilin to Yangshuo.
Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, Beagle
Channel, Ushuaia, Argentina
10 Great Experiences in Argentina
10 Highlights of Cyprus
9 Must-do’s in South America
IN THE NEXT ISSUE
Japan’s Winter Wonderland
The winter season in Japan is December
through March. This is a time of incredibly
beautiful snow-covered landscapes,
steam-engulfed hot springs, and many
winter acitivities for the active adventurers.
A beautiful time to visit Japan.
2 Globerovers · July 2019
“Not all those who wander are lost”. J.R.R. Tolkien
John Tolkien (3 Jan 1892 – 2 Sep 1973), an English writer, poet, philologist,
university professor, and author of ‘The Hobbit’, and ‘Lord of the Rings’.
THE FRONT COVER:
Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
is currently a biannual magazine, available
in digital and printed formats.
We focus on bringing exciting destinations
and inspiring photography from around
the globe to the intrepid traveller.
Published in Hong Kong
Printed in U.S.A. and Europe
WHO WE ARE:
Editor-in-Chief - Peter Steyn
Editorial Director - Tsui Chi Ho
Graphic Designer - Peter Steyn
Photographer & Writer - Peter Steyn
Proofreaders - Marion Halliday
Advertising - Lizzy Chitlom
Distribution - Leon Ringwell
In this 13th issue of Globerovers Magazine, we are pleased to bring you a variety of
exciting destinations and other reading enjoyment.
The feature destination is Argentina—truly a world in one! We travel from the far
north on the border with Bolivia all the way down south to Ushuaia, the gateway
to the Antarctic Peninsula. Along the way, we explore rusty-red valleys, spectacular
waterfalls, the world’s tango capital, wildlife hotspots, glaciers, national parks,
snow-covered mountains, the world’s southernmost town, and a lot more.
We drive around the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea and Mauritius
Island in the southern Indian Ocean, and then enjoy a colourful New Year Festival
with the Naga people in the remote Nagaland region of Myanmar.
Photo Essays include the proboscis monkeys and orangutans in Malaysia’s Sabah
State on Borneo Island, Peru’s Sacred Valley, and a boat trip down the Li River
from Guilin to Yangshuo in China.
We also have our usual contributions from Canada and Australia, a Q&A about
volunteering, and a 5-member panel offering their opinions about travel ethics.
A special thank you to our sponsors as well as all our
wonderful contributors who we introduce on page 5.
Visit our website and social media. For easy access,
scan the QR codes on page 7.
Feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I travel so you can see the world!
Peter Steyn, PhD
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher
Copyright © 2013-2019. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of this magazine
is strictly prohibited without the prior written approval of the publisher. The publisher
does not take responsibility for any potential inaccurate information herein.
THE FRONT COVER
Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, southern Argentina, is one
of the largest, most impressive, and most accessible glaciers. The
glacier’s front-face is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) wide with an average
height of 74 metres (240 ft) above the surface of Lake Argentino.
4 Globerovers · July 2019
Thanks to our Contributors
In this issue
All words and photos by Peter Steyn, except where otherwise indicated. A very special thank you to our
awesome contributors in this issue. Without you, Globerovers Magazine just wouldn’t be the same!
Janet-Lynn Vorster, Cape Town, South Africa (page 68)
Janet is a numerologist by profession, and journalist, editor and photographer by hobby. She is
the proud mother of three grown children and granny to three grandchildren. Janet is the Southern
African editor for Globerovers Magazine.
Marion Halliday, Adelaide, South Australia (page 118)
Marion is “Red Nomad OZ”, author, blogger and Aussie traveller who loves discovering naturebased
attractions and activities – and scenic loos – all over Australia. Her Aussie travel blog and
published book “Aussie Loos with Views” provide inspiration for other Aussie explorers.
Yrene Dee, Lumby, BC, Canada (Page 136)
Yrene is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and
worked on different continents and travelled the world before she settled in Canada. She is an
entrepreneur, wilderness nut, and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places.
Claire Bennett, Kathmandu, Nepal (page 142)
Claire lives and works in Kathmandu, Nepal, and freelances as a trainer and consultant. She is
passionate about global education, ethical travel and ensuring good intentions are put to good
use. She is co-author of Learning Service: The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad.
Matt Long, Washington DC, USA (Page 148)
Matt is an experiential luxury traveller who shares his adventures with thousands of readers
every day through his award winning site LandLopers.com. He has been to more than 95 countries
and all 7 continents and is also the host of the weekly Explore the World Travel Podcast.
Linda Ballou, Los Angeles, CA, USA (page 152)
Adventure travel writer, Linda has published a collection of travel essays, including Wai-nani, A
Voice From Old Hawai’i, The Cowgirl Jumped Over The Moon, Lost Angel Walkabout, and her
latest book: Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales. www.LindaBallouAuthor.com
Mike and Anne Howard, USA (page 154)
Mike & Ann Howard at HoneyTrek.com are the authors of their couples’ adventure travel book,
“Ultimate Journeys for Two”. Known as the world’s longest honeymooners—seven years and
counting—they are constantly travelling and exploring the world.
Travel Ethics Panel (page 94)
Thank you to the travel bloggers and ethics experts on our Travel Ethics Panel who were brave
enough to truly speak their minds. Marion Halliday (Australia), Claire Bennett (Nepal), Matt
Long (USA), Lauren Yakiwchuk (Canada), and Christine Dutaut (UK).
The Globerovers‛ World
Globerovers Magazine was created by Peter Steyn, an avid explorer who is constantly in search of the
edge of the world. He will always hike the extra mile or ten to get as far off the beaten track as he can.
It is his mission to discover and present the most exciting destinations for intrepid travellers. He has
visited 122 countries (including territories: Greenland, Hong Kong, Macau) and is poised to explore
Africa & the Pacific Islands in the near future. Peter’s home is wherever he lays down his cameras.
Myanmar / Burma
Papua New Guinea
Timor Leste (East Timor)
United Arab Emirates
122 and counting...
6 Globerovers · July 2019
Don’t hesitate to follow us to some incredible
destinations. You will never be sorry you did!
Use a QR reader
on your smart phone
Scan this code for a
FREE download of GlobeRovers app
Or search for “Globerovers” in your app store
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8 Globerovers · July 2019
IN THIS ISSUE
While the South American llama is a relative of the camel, it does not
have a hump and its most closely related cousins are the alpacas, guanacos,
and the vicuñas. The native people of South America have used
llamas as pack animals for centuries. The guanacos and vicuñas are less
likely to be domesticated but are raised for meat and their very fine wool.
10 Globerovers · July 2019
The Long Way Down
From north to south it is a long way down but what a pleasant country to get lost in any direction.
Come along as we explore the wildlife, deserts, glaciers, mountains, coastline, cities, and more!
Thinking about Argentina, you may
get visions of large stadiums packed
with chanting football fans. You also
may think of Evita Perón, or rugged
snow-capped mountains, or even large chunks of
BBQ’d steaks and tango dancing. Argentina is all
of this, and a lot more.
From the snow-capped Andes Mountain
Range in the west and the red-rock deserts in the
north to the swampy
Reserve to the east
and the Patagonian
glaciers to the south, it
seems like Argentina has it all.
Argentina is one of the most diverse and most
pristine places on planet earth. Unquestionably.
Enjoy some of the best BBQ’s in the world,
known as “asado” cooked on a grill, or “parrilla”,
while sipping on a Malbec wine from the Mendoza
wine region. All of this enjoyment while watching
impromptu tango dancing on the cobbled
streets of San Telmo in Buenos Aires.
You might already be thinking about taking a
week or two to explore this amazing country. The
problem is, Argentina is far away from much of
the world, and distances within the country are
vast. As a starter, the far north to the far south
stretches over 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi).
Once you make it here, you’d better plan on
spending at least four weeks, and without a doubt
when you leave, you will promise yourself to be
back soon with another four weeks or more.
Argentina is a lot more than mountains, glaciers,
deserts, waterfalls and wildlife. The country’s
best asset is its people, and you will realize it
the moment you arrive.
This is a place where family, friends, and
even colleagues have a ritual based on sharing a
cup of “mate” (pronounced mah-tay), a caffeinerich
drink made from the chopped dried leaves
of “yerba mate” soaked in boiling water. Served in
a small metal-rimmed hollow calabash gourd and
sipped through a metal straw, the drink and straw
are shared among several people. This is a country
where people dance the tango on the cobbled
streets before breakfast!
Argentina is also the birthplace of Eva (Evita)
Perón, the First
Lady of Argentina
from 1946 until her
death (aged 33) in
1952 from cervical
cancer. Che Guevara, one of the most famous revolutionaries
who assisted Fidel Castro to win
back Cuba in 1959, was born in Rosario, Santa Fe
province. Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, two
of the best footballers in the world, are also from
Let’s take the long way down to Ushuaia,
the world’s southernmost town, and gateway to
Antarctica. While we can’t visit the entire country,
we will explore some of the most recommended
Starting from La Quiaca on the Bolivian border,
we travel south to the red mud-brick village
of Humahuaca. From here we travel farther south
to Salta before we head east to the spectacular
Iguazú Falls on the tri-junction of Argentina,
Brazil and Paraguay. Buenos Aires is next before
heading south to the wildlife at Patagonia’s
Peninsula Valdés. Further south, we visit some
of the world’s most impressive glaciers in the Los
Glaciares National Park before reaching our final
destination at Ushuaia and the Parque Nacional
Tierra Del Fuego. From here it is a hop, skip, and
a jump to the Antarctic Peninsula, but we will
leave that for next time.
Feature • Argentina | 11
Argentina: The North
The rustic town at the heart of the
Quebrada de Humahuaca Valley.
Argentina’s northern gateway
is the border-crossing at La
Quiaca in Argentina and Villazon
in Bolivia to the north. This is a
border crossing which often requires a lot
of patience as queue lines can be long.
While Argentinians and Bolivians walk
freely across the bridge, foreigners must
get their passports processed in a building
below the bridge which can be tedious and
Not waiting in line are the hundreds of
labourers running back and forth across
the border to upload and unload heavy
bags and other goods between trucks
parked on both sides of the dividing line.
The border is not always open to cargo
vehicles so all cargo must be carried across
the border by manpower.
envenidos a La Quiaca - Ushuaia 5,121
kilometres (3,182 mi)”. As you stare at the
big number, you will with no doubt get
dizzy with the realization that it is a very
long way down to Argentina’s most southern
town, Ushuaia. Between the Bolivian
border and Ushuaia, known as the “world’s
southernmost town”, Argentina has more to
offer than we can experience in a lifetime!
About 160 kilometres (99 mi) south
on the road to the town of Salta lies the
itself is not
one of the country’s highlights, the surrounding
narrow mountains and valleys,
named Quebrada de Humahuaca, are
a vivid red-orange multi-coloured display
created by mother nature. Indeed, so
incredibly beautiful that it is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site.
As you arrive in Argentina, a large yellow
road sign will welcome you with “Bidered
by the Andean Plateau to the west
and north and by the sub-Andean hills to
the east. The Grande River (Río Grande)
flows through Quebrada de Humahuaca
and served as a caravan route to the Inca
Empire during the 15th century. The
river is mostly dry during the winter
months, which made it a perfect highway
for ancient explorers.
The Spanish conquerors knew these
Indian people of the Grande de Jujuy
from an Andean Indian legend that makes
reference to a people crying: Humahuacac!
Quebrada de Humahuaca, known as Argentina’s
Rainbow Valley, has been populated for thousands of
years. It is packed with history and natural wonders.
Base yourself in sleepy Humahuaca
and head out into the rusty-red valley
by horse, on foot, or any other type of
transportation fit for a moon landscape.
The valley stretches about 155 kilometres
(96 mi) from north to south and is bor-
The town’s Hispanic foundation dates
back to 1591 as it served as a stopover for
expeditions to the High Perú.
Humahuaca has narrow cobbled
streets, illuminated by colonial-style street
lamps and is inhabited by a people clinging
to ancient traditions.
The curious traveller will find a few
interesting attractions in town such as
Humahuaca in northern Argentina.
12 Globerovers · July 2019
the Monumento a los Héroes de la Independencia,
a monument made from
over 70 tons of bronze built in honour of
the “Army of North” and the indigenous
peoples who fought in the Quebrada de
Humahuaca during Argentina’s War of
The San Francisco Solano de la Bendición
is a Franciscan church in the main
plaza, and well worth a visit, mainly for its
unique bell-tower. Every day at precisely
12-noon, the heavy copper doors of the
bell-tower slowly open, and a life-size
animated wooden statue of San Francisco
Solano appears for about two minutes.
He makes the sign of the cross and bestows
his blessing on believers and passersby on
the village plaza before returning to his tiny
home inside the bell-tower.
Also check out the artisan market at
Centro de Artesanías Tantanahue, folkloric
music and dancing at selected venues including
restaurants, and red pottery shops
creating vivid red earthenware craft pottery.
Make sure to taste llama meat stews and
many delectable dishes from the Quebrada
de Humahuaca, such as quinoa empanadas
(a small baked pie), locro (hearty thick
stew), tamales (dough steamed in a corn
husk), humitas (steamed corn cakes similar
to tamales), charqui (dried, salted meat),
and many more local delicacies.
About 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) east of
Humahuaca lies the Serranía del Hornocal
mountain range at a height of 4,761 metres
(15,620 ft) with its multi-coloured jagged
landscape. The colours are most vivid in
the late afternoon and immediately after
“The non-touristy town
of Humahuaca is dotted with
adobe houses, cobblestone
streets and a quaint plaza.”
Driving south of Humahuaca along
Route 9 to Purmamarca with its Cerro
de los Siete Colores (The Hill of Seven
Colours) is a world of dazzling red rocks in
all directions. Purmamarca is considered to
be one of the most picturesque villages in
the Quebrada de Humahuaca, so it is not
to be missed! Enroute, spend a day or two
at Tilcara, about 26 kilometres (16 mi)
from Purmamarca. Tilcara is a small village
with a lively town square, a few bars and
restaurants, and plenty of historical and
natural sights to adore.
Don’t miss the Pucará de Tilcara, a
pre-Inca fortification on a hill just outside
The drive southward from Purmamarca
to Salta takes less than three hours though
you will be tempted to stop frequently for
Cacti in Humahuaca.
Monumento a los Hèroes de la independencia, Humahuaca.
San Francisco Solano de la
Early morning in Humahuaca.
Feature • Argentina | 13
Teleférico from Parque San Martín to the top of Cerro San Bernardo.
Founded in 1582, Salta is known for its
Spanish heritage & colonial architecture.
Salta, capital of Argentina’s Salta
Province, lies in the Lerma Valley
at 1,152 metres (3,780 feet)
above sea level and has a population of
well over half a million.
A great start to exploring the streets and
architecture of the city is to survey it from
above. Board the teleférico (cable car) from
Parque San Martín and reach the top of Cerro
San Bernardo Hill in less than 10 minutes.
Alternatively, take the trail with many
stairs starting at the Güemes Monument,
or just drive up by car. At the top
of the hill, you will find a wine bar operated
out of a tricked-out bicycle and wagon,
and several handicraft shops.
Salta’s palm tree lined main square,
Plaza 9 de Julio, is surrounded by Spanish
colonial architecture, cobblestone
streets and cosy
cafes. Along the
square is Salta’s
Catedral Basílica de Salta with its brilliant
red, gold, green, and blue interior.
“Time stands still in certain parts of
the city with its preserved cobblestone
streets and Spanish architecture"
Also along the square is the whitewashed
El Cabildo de Salta, the colonial
town hall which nowadays serves as
the Historical Museum of the North. The
current building was constructed in 1780
while the tower was completed several
years later. Since its completion, the building
has served many purposes including
police headquarters, government house, a
private compound, and even a hotel. Since
its full restoration in 1945, it is the most
Salta Cerveza (beer).
town hall in all of
the umbrellas outside
the El Cabildo
and order a cold
As we’re on the long way down to the
world’s southernmost town of Ushuaia,
we continue southeast of Salta on a rather
long detour to the Iguaçu Falls before
turning southwest to the nation’s capital,
14 Globerovers · July 2019
Argentina: The North
Colonial El Cabildo de Salta at Plaza 9 de Julio.
Plaza 9 de Julio.
Interior of the Catedral Basílica de Salta.
Feature • Argentina | 15
The Iguazú Falls is the largest waterfall
system in the world.
The spectacular Iguazú Falls lie
over 1,400 kilometres (870
mi) east of Salta on the trijunction
of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
The Iguazú River, with a drainage basin of
62,000 km 2 (24,000 sq mi), is 1,320 kilometres
(820 mi) long.
The falls, which divide the Iguazú River
into the upper and lower Iguazú, are the
largest waterfall system in the world. While
most of the river flows through Brazil,
the largest section (about 80%) of the falls
is on the Argentinian side.
While Iguazú Falls, at over 1,600 metres
(5,249 ft) wide and over 100 metres (328 ft)
in height, is wider than the Victoria Falls in
Southern Africa, the latter has a much
larger “solid curtain of falls” in high-flow
season. Iguazú is split into roughly 275 distinct
is not a wide
them are about 64 metres (210 ft) in height.
The most impressive of them all is the
Devil’s Throat U-shaped falls at 80–90 metres
(262–295 ft) wide and 70–80 metres
(229–262 ft) high.
Iguazú Falls is generally listed as the
world’s biggest waterfall, followed by Victoria
Falls, Niagara Falls, and Venezuela’s Angel
Falls which is also the world’s highest.
While it is easy to watch the plunging
waters all day long from several vantage
points, there are a lot more things to do at
Iguazú Falls than simply to marvel at their
The falls divide the river into the upper and lower
Iguazu. Some of the falls are over 80 m (269 ft) in
height, though the majority are about 64 m (210 ft).
On the Brazilian
on the Macuco
At $65 for an
adult, this is a speedboat ride you won’t
easily forget. The boat takes you right into
the Devil’s Throat where you run rapids
and ride right under the thunderous falls
located on the Argentinian side. As you
16 Globerovers · July 2019
Argentina: The North
get thoroughly drenched, you will know
that you survived a ride underneath one of
the world’s greatest waterfalls.
Also on the Brazilian side is the Parque
das Aves, where you can get close to
several bird species, including toucans,
macaws, scarlet ibises, flamingos and parrots
located in three immersion aviaries.
You’ll also find reptiles such as alligators,
anacondas and boas.
Helicopter rides over the falls are
available though they are quite pricey. You
can also hike, bike, and paddle around
the area, in addition to going on a guided
Just 13 kilometres (8 mi) north of
the falls is the Itaipu Dam, once billed as
the “largest dam project on earth” until
China’s Three Gorges Dam Project overshadowed
it. A sunset tour by catamaran is
a great way to end your day.
“Iguazu waterfalls are unquestionably
more impressive than the
Niagara Falls in Canada / USA! "
All these activities will work up a good
appetite, so try one of the authentic restaurants
located in the area of the falls where
waiters serve an endless selection of prime
meat cuts to your table.
Choose from pork, lamb, chicken and
every cut of beef you can think of. Eat as
much or as little as you like.
Feature • Argentina | 17
The wide July 9 Avenue, Buenos Aires.
English clock tower, San Martin.
Congress building in Buenos Aires.
Statue of Evita, Recoleta cemetery.
Colonial building in Buenos Aires.
Parrilla (BBQ) at the Siga La Vaca restaurant in Buenos Aires.
18 Globerovers · July 2019
Capital and largest city of Argentina,
BA is a feast for all the senses.
The road from the Iguazú Falls
to the nation’s capital, Buenos
Aires, stretches for almost 1,300
kilometres (807 mi) along the border
with Brazil and Uruguay. Located south
of the Rio de la Plata River on the Atlantic
Coast, the name Buenos Aires means
“good air”, for a very good reason.
Buenos Aires is a city where you may
want to linger for a few days, or even a few
weeks or months. Many travellers have
come here and stayed for years. Once the
city, locally known as BA, is in your blood,
it is hard to remove yourself from its loving
arms. No wonder some people describe
the city as ‘seductive’.
As the capital of Argentina, and also
one of the largest cities of South America,
the people of BA are known as the “Porteños”
or “people of the port”. Considered
to be the “pearl city” of South America, it
is one of the least expensive cities in the
Few cities will tug on your heart strings more
than Buenos Aires — the city of tango, food,
wine, and barrios with great personalities.
The recent decline in the value of the
Argentinian Peso has made it even more
affordable, though get in quick before a
spike in inflation erodes its affordability.
Many travellers visit BA for tango
dancing in the streets, the parrilla
(BBQ) restaurants, parks such as the
Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur and
the Bosques de Palermo, and the open-air
markets. However, BA is best understood
and appreciated by knowing, and enjoying
its 48 distinctive neighbourhoods
known locally as barrios, each with its own
personality and special characteristics. The
most popular barrios include:
• Palermo, BA’s most populated barrio,
has a young vibe that attracts expats,
foreign visitors and an evergrowing
number of porteños (local
residents). Here you will find boundless
cafés and restaurants, bars and
nightclubs, parks, botanical gardens,
a zoo, museums and galleries, shops,
and artisan markets. Its tree-lined cobblestone
streets are a favourite haunt
for backpackers, hipsters, designers
and digital nomads. During your visit,
you will no doubt end up spending
time in Palermo.
Street performers at work, Buenos Aires.
Tango dancing in the streets of Buenos Aires.
• Recoleta is an upscale area with welldressed
locals meandering along
exclusive avenues and dining in chic
cafés and trendy bars. It has countless
plazas, parks, museums, the national
library, and is home to the Recoleta
cemetery, a must-visit for graveyard
enthusiasts. Here you will find the
family tomb of Eva Mara Duarte de
Perón (aka ‘Evita’), Argentina’s First
Lady from 1946 to 1952. The graveyard
covers an area of about 55,000 m 2
(592,000 sq feet) and is a mini-village
of tombs, some lavish while others
• Puerto Madero is the old port
district transformed into a trendy area
with hotels and restaurants. Historically,
this busy old port was the heart
of the city, though it only functioned
as a port for about 15 years from 1897.
The increasingly large cargo ships
quickly rendered the port obsolete
and so a new port was opened in
1911. The ships and warehouses have
now made space for an upmarket area
with high-end night haunts, a rotating
footbridge, a floating-ship museum,
and the 864-acre Reserva Ecológica
Costanera Sur, popular with birdwatchers.
Feature • Argentina | 19
20 Globerovers · July 2019
• Belgrano is one of the largest barrios
and is a pleasant neighbourhood
for aimless strolling and admiring
residential homes. The barrio’s
square, Plaza Manuel Belgrano, offers
a weekend artisan fair where locals
show off their handicrafts and jewellery.
• San Telmo is blessed with cobblestoned
streets, colonial buildings
with crumbling facades, an amazing
weekly street market, and many great
restaurants and bars. With a very humble
beginning as home to the poor, its
past has been left behind. Today San
Telmo is a Bohemian enclave dotted
with designer boutiques, cafes, tango
parlours, and is described by many
as the city’s most fashionable barrio.
Be here on Sundays when the antique
market and street party turns Calle
Defensa street into the hippest place
Outdoor BBQ (parrilla) is very popular, Tigre.
• Monserrat is home to many significant
public buildings and the famous
Plaza de Mayo. In fact, the entire city
of Buenos Aires was built around the
plaza and many of Argentina’s historical
events took place here. In 1810,
Plaza de Mayo was the focal point of
the revolution that triggered the War
of Independence against the Spanish
colonialists. Surrounding this plaza are
historical buildings and architectural
masterpieces such as the pink Casa
Rosada, office of the President of
Argentina. Nearby is the Museo del
Bicentenario, the Cabildo (Town
Hall), the Catedral Metropolitana,
Museo Histórico Nacional del
Cabildo y la Revolución de Mayo, and
several galleries and churches.
• La Boca sits at the mouth of the Matanza
River and is known for its colourful
buildings and music, a buzzing barrio
where tango dancers rule the streets
and houses resemble a painter’s palette,
awash with all hues and colours. Caminito,
the main street, is every bit as
colourful as the La Boca houses, complete
with fairs of artists and painters
and tango shows. Here you will also
find La Bombonera, the 49,000-
seat football stadium that is home to
the much beloved Boca Juniors team.
Don’t miss a match when they are
playing on their home turf.
• Caballito is in the geographic centre
of the city and a great place to check
out the colonial-style mansions on
Avenida Rivadavia. Parque Rivadavia
has a daily market packed with all
kinds of interesting items. Interested
in historical tramways? On Saturdays,
Sundays and public holidays, take
a free two-kilometre loop ride on
the Tranvía Histórico trams lovingly
maintained by Amigos del Tranvía
(friends of the tramway) Association.
While BA offers an array of dining
experiences, nothing comes close to dining
at the 25-year old Siga la Vaca chain of
restaurants, which is exclusively for serious
Need a break from the big city? Just 32
kilometres (20 mi) northwest of the city is
the town of Tigre, a picturesque town on
the banks of the Luján River and the Río de
la Plata. The most economical way to Tigre
is via the Linea Mitre train which begins
at BA’s Retiro station. This is an interesting
experience complete with roving onboard
merchants selling anything you may need.
However, for those who want to travel in
style, the 11-station light rail line, Tren de
La Costa (Coastal Train), takes tourists to
various stops along the river with picturesque
views of the Paraná Delta.
Alternatively, go by bus or take a boat
trip to Tigre from the barrio of Puerto
Boat rides among the Parana Delta Islands, Tigre.
Once in Tigre you can walk around the
interesting town, along the river or take a
boat tour among the Parana Delta Islands.
Don’t miss the Museo de Arte Tigre which
is housed in one of Tigre’s most stunning
Belle Epoque palaces. The museum focuses
on Argentine art from the 19th and
20th centuries by masters such as Antonio
Berni, Raúl Soldi, and Eduardo Sivori.
Feature • Argentina | 21
Southern right whales can be seen around Puerto Piramides and Puerto Madryn, Peninsula Valdés.
Península Valdés is best known for its
protected marine animals.
One of the best areas to experience
wildlife in Argentina is
at Peninsula Valdés, a Patagonian
coastal nature reserve. Located in
the Argentinian Province of Chubut, the
peninsula is known for its conservation
of marine mammals with a large breeding
population of the endangered southern
right whale as well as active breeding
populations of southern elephant seals,
southern sea lions and thousands of nesting
One of the biggest attractions in this
area is observing the unique hunting
strategy of the killer whale or orcas—a
coordinated strategy to encircle and push
their prey into shallow waters where they
In addition to roughly 400 kilometres
(249 mi) of unspoiled shoreline, the mushroom-
cliffs of up to
(328 ft) high,
shallow bays, shifting coastal lagoons with
extensive mudflats, pebble beaches, large
sand dunes, and a few small islands.
The land ecosystem is dominated by
the Patagonian Desert Steppe with herds
of guanacos, one of South America’s native
camelid species and cousin of the llama.
You may also get to see the Patagonian
mara, a rodent endemic to Argentina, and
plenty of birds including the migratory
snowy sheathbill, white-headed steamer
duck and the ostrich-like flightless lesser
Patagonia’s Peninsula Valdés is home to an active breeding
population of endangered southern right whales,
southern elephant seals, and southern sea lions.
is famous for
rookery and cormorants
that can be viewed from the cliffs
While you may need a few weeks to
see all the animals that make their home
22 Globerovers · July 2019
Guanacos, Peninsula Valdés.
Magellanic penguins, Peninsula Valdés.
Southern sea lions at Punta Pirámides, Peninsula Valdés.
at Peninsula Valdés, even a one-day trip
from the nearby town of Puerto Madryn is
Over 800 kilometres (497 mi) northwest
of Peninsula Valdés is the town of
Bariloche. Situated in the foothills of the
Andes Mountains on the southern shores
of Lake Nahuel Huapi, it is a long detour
but the rewards are immense.
The ski resort at Cerro Catedral is
the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
Swimming in the lakes, fishing, whitewater
rafting, hiking, and bird watching are some
of the many reasons to visit.
Southern sea lions at Punta Pirámides, Peninsula Valdés.
Feature • Argentina | 23
Patagonia’s glaciers are among the
world’s most impressive and accessible.
Southern Argentina has well
over 300 glaciers. Many of them
located in the Los Glaciares
National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage
Site in Argentina’s Santa Cruz province. Ice
covers over 40% of this national park with
about 47 glaciers, all of which are fed by
the Southern Patagonian Ice Field which
holds the world’s third largest reserve of
Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the largest,
most impressive, and most accessible
glaciers in the park, covers an area of 250
km² (97 sq mi) and is about 30 kilometres
(19 mi) in length. The glacier’s terminal
(front-face) is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) wide,
with an average height of 74 metres (240
ft) above the surface of Lake Argentino. Its
total ice depth
at the terminal
is 170 metres
retreating, glaciologists claim that Perito
Moreno is one of only three Patagonian
glaciers actually growing.
A full day visit allows for views from
different vantage points around the terminal
of the glacier. The surrounding hills
offer spectacular views of the glacier while
other glaciers along the lake (e.g. Upsala
Glacier) can be visited by catamaran,
kayak, or 4x4 excursions.
Glacier hikes are offered, and as long
as you are very careful you won’t die a slow
icy death. Join a local glacier-hiking group
with a guide, put
Argentina’s southern Patagonia region is famous for
its Los Glaciares National Park with several massive
glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
on your crampons
secure the ropes,
and get onto
the glacier. An
unforgettable hike indeed!
Perito Moreno Glacier is a 90-minute
ride (78 km / 19 mi) west from the town of
El Calafate (pop. 6,500). The town is a convenient
base for many scenic spots in the
area, including the spectacular flamingos
that congregate on Lake Argentino. While
in the area, take a three-hour drive up to El
Upsala Glacier is one of the largest glaciers of the South American continent.
H. Hesketh Prichard, who called it “Giant Glacier”, discovered the
glacier in 1901 but in 1908, it was renamed by Geologist P.D. Quensel for
the Swedish Uppsala University, located 71 kilometres (44 mi) from the
Swedish capital, Stockholm. It was the fi rst university to sponsor glaciological
studies in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park.
24 Globerovers · July 2019
Chaltén, a small mountain village located
on the riverside of Rio de las Vueltas which
is known as “Argentina’s Trekking Capital.”
As the crow flies, roughly 40 kilometres
(25 mi) south of Perito Moreno lies the
equally impressive Upsala Glacier, one of
the largest glaciers on the South American
continent with a surface area of 765 km²
(295 sq miles), 53.7 kilometres (33.3 miles)
long and 70 metres (230 ft) high. Back in
1986, the area of the glacier was 896 km²
(346 sq miles), so it has shrunk significantly.
Occasionally, large portions of the
glacier break loose that create “floating
isles” on Lake Argentino.
Southeast of El Calafate, a half-moon
detour of almost 300 kilometres (186 mi)
by road, is the Torres del Paine National
Park in Chile, one of the most beautiful
mountain landscapes in the world.
Feature • Argentina | 25
26 Globerovers · July 2019
Perito Moreno Glacier has a powdery blue colour that comes mainly from
compressed snow and ice crystals formed by air bubbles. It appears blue
as a result of an overtone of oxygen-hydrogen (O-H) in the frozen water
which absorbs light at the red end of the visible spectrum (long wavelengths)
while the blue end of the visible spectrum (short wavelengths) is
transmitted and scattered. The longer the light takes to travel through the
ice before reaching our eyes, the deeper blue it appears.
Feature • Argentina | 27
Welcome to the
Edenia Punta Soberana Hotel
El Calefate, Patagonia, Argentina
The Hotel Edenia is strategically located in front of the Redonda Bay of El Calafate
and meters from the Argentino Lake, allowing you to enjoy a unique view.
It has a gourmet restaurant overlooking Lake Argentino and a Lounge Bar overlooking
Redonda Bay and the city of El Calafate.
Our spacious rooms are soundproofed for the tranquility and rest of the guest.
Surrounded by mountains and lakes, this hotel gives you the opportunity to be in
contact with nature and enjoy the tranquility of the landscape.
Tel: +54 2902 49-7021
Manzana 642, 9405, El Calafate, Argentina
28 Globerovers · July 2019
Las Lengas Hotel
The Las Lengas Hotel is located in front of the Parque Centenario,
placed on an elevation of the land with panoramic view of the city. PH: +54 02901 436100
It is located 15 minutes by car from the International
Airport of Ushuaia Islas Malvinas and 5
minutes from the Port of Ushuaia from where they
start sailing excursions to the Beagle Channel.
San Martin Avenue is 200 meters away. In common
areas of the hotel, high speed Wi-Fi is free.
FAX: +54 02901 423366
Goleta Florencia 1722
Ushuaia - Argentina
Feature • Argentina | 29
Ushuaia viewed from the harbour.
Streets of Ushuaia.
Sea lions on La Isla de Los
Lobos, Beagle Channel.
Hiking over Martial Glacier.
30 Globerovers · July 2019
Argentina: The South
The world’s southernmost town is also
the gateway to a lot of adventure.
Ushuaia, pronounced [u’swaia],
is the capital of the province of
Tierra del Fuego in southern
Argentina. Lonely Planet Travel guides describes
the town as “A sliver of steep streets
and jumbled buildings below the snowcapped
Martial Range. Here the Andes
meets the southern ocean in a sharp skid,
making way for the city before reaching a
sea of lapping currents”. How idyllic!
While this is not the most southern
settlement, it is generally labelled as the
“southernmost town” in the world, a title
long disputed by the much smaller Puerto
Although Puerto Williams, southeast of
Ushuaia on the Chilean island of Navarino,
is farther south, it has only 2,900 inhabitants
compared with Ushuaia’s population of
more than 60,000. As Ushuaia is commonly
regarded as the “southernmost town,” it
leaves Puerto Williams with the title of
Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the
southern coast of the island known as “Isla
Grande de Tierra del Fuego.” Guarded on
the north by the Martial Mountain Range
and on the south by the Beagle Channel,
the first humans to settle in the Tierra del
Fuego date back about 10,000 years when
the Selk’nam Indians, also called the Ona,
arrived. Their southern splinter group, referred
to as the Yaghan or Yámana, occupied
the area which now is known as Ushuaia.
British missionaries founded the town
of Ushuaia in
1884, and the
pertussis, and measles decimated the native
population and by 1911 the Yámana had all
The original train line was constructed
in 1902 and shuffled around on wooden
rails with flatbed wagons pulled by oxen. In
1910 a steam engine was brought in and the
gauge was widened, presumably with steel
tracks. The 1949 Tierra del Fuego earthquake
caused a landslide which blocked
much of the line just two years after the
gone were the
non-prisoners but again closed in 1952 due
to a lack of money.
Being so close to the bottom of the world is a
special feeling, in particular when you are surrounded
by beautiful scenery and wildlife.
To boost the small population, the
Argentine government started sending reoffenders
and dangerous prisoners, as well
as political prisoners from Buenos Aires to
the new jail in Ushuaia which at this time
was known as Presidio, meaning “the jail at
the end of the world.
The prisoners were subjected to hard
labour both inside the prison grounds and
outside. As forced colonists, they spent
much of their time building the new town
of Ushuaia with timber collected from the
lush forest around the town. They also constructed
a short railway to transport rock,
sand and timber to expand the prison and
Fast forward to 1994 when the line was
reopened and upgraded, with the addition
of a new steam engine from England. Now
known as the “Southern Fuegian Railway”
or “End of the World Train,” it serves champagne
and dinner to tourists on a short ride
along Pico Valley in the Toro Gorge. At the
Macarena Station passengers learn about
the Yámana indigenous people and then
continue on through the scenic Tierra del
Fuego National Park.
Guess what? It is indisputably labelled
as the “southernmost railway in the world.”
The original jail, closed in 1947 by President
Juan Perón, today serves as a museum
known as the Museo Marítimo de Ushuaia,
which is the southernmost museum in the
world, we assume! One of the cells known
as the Ala Histórica remains almost intact
to demonstrate the mysterious and dark
atmosphere inside the cells, complete with
memorabilia from the last prisoners who
Another pleasant day trip is to explore
the Beagle Channel and Lapataia Bay by
boat. The channel, named after the explorer
Charles Darwin’s ship which sailed here in
1833-34, separates Isla Grande de Tierra
del Fuego from the southern islands of Navarino,
Nueva, Lennox, Picton, and many
other smaller islands.
Lighthouse, Beagle Channel.
As your boat sails past the Les Eclaireurs
Lighthouse and many islands, look
out for breeding colonies of sea lions, imperial
cormorants, dolphin gulls, and steamer
Feature • Argentina | 31
Argentina: The South
TIERRA DEL FUEGO
Tierra del Fuego National Park has
dramatic scenery and wildlife.
From Ushuaia, it’s a pleasant day
trip into the nearby Parque Nacional
Tierra Del Fuego. Established
in 1960 and expanded in 1966, the park is
well-known for its dramatic scenery with
waterfalls, forests, mountains and glaciers.
Look out for several species of mammals,
including the guanaco, Andean fox,
and the North American beaver. Ignore the
many European rabbits as they don’t belong
here, and neither do other introduced
species such as Canadian beaver, muskrat
rodent, mink and armadillo.
A few pairs of European rabbits were
introduced to the Chilean side of Tierra
del Fuego Island in 1936 and knowing
these bunnies, they multiplied rapidly. Due
to these unwelcome breeders, the ground
in many parts of the park became riddled
with holes, and some areas denuded of
Back in 1950, the rabbit population
was estimated to be a whopping 30
million. In an attempt to control them,
grey foxes, which never existed on Tierra
del Fuego Island, were released in 1951.
The grey fox and the native Patagonian fox
did not do much to control the rabbit population,
in rabbits was introduced. It almost
decimated the entire rabbit population,
however, some survived so today there
are plenty of rabbits to be seen within the
from the nation’s capital, Buenos Aires.
The Martial Range to the north of
Ushuaia offers good ski runs. Taking the
Aerosilla chairlift to the top during any
time of the year offers spectacular panoramas
over the mountains, Tierra Del Fuego
Park, Ushuaia, and the Beagle Channel.
At the exit
of the chairlift
is the Club Andino
is a great place
for a rest and a drink. From here the trail
leads to the base of Glacier Martial, which
runs alongside a little mountain river in
its last stage. However, if conditions are
favourable, the panoramic views are more
impressive than the actual glacier. Glacier
Martial has shrunk dramatically over
the past century, as is shown in the photographs
on display in the shelter’s café.
The 63,000 hectares Tierra del Fuego National Park
stretches from the Beagle Channel to the edges of Lago
Kami at the southernmost point of Argentine Patagonia.
Among the many species of birds in
the park are kelp goose, upland goose,
torrent duck, southern crested caracara,
Austral parakeet, Andean condor, blackish
oystercatcher, and the Magellanic oystercatcher.
In addition to the fauna and flora, the
park is also famous for being the southern
terminus of the Pan-American Highway
(National Route 3), a highway which runs
3,045 kilometres (1,892 mi) all the way
So now we have made it all the way
down to Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel.
Going any farther south, we will enter
the most southern territory of Chile, Isla
Navarino and the Wollaston Islands. Next
stop is the Antarctic Peninsula which we
will leave for next time. GR
Scenery in Tierra del Fuego National Park.
32 Globerovers · July 2019
Small chapel (Cappella Maria Auxiliadora) in the Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Several airlines offer regularly scheduled
fl ights from Europe, the USA, and
Canada. Flights from Asia and Africa are
limited and often require a change in
Europe, the USA, or in Central America
(such as Copa Airlines based in Panama).
A north-south journey is best started
in La Paz, Bolivia, via the incredible Uyuni
Salt Flats to Villazon on the border.
While an Aerolineas Argentinas “Visit
Argentina Pass” will save you money, it is
more fun to take the long road. Popular
long-distance bus routes are served by
several bus companies, some of which are
super luxury and come at a reasonable
fare. The bus routes are extensive and a
highly recommended way to travel. Longdistance
passenger trains are limited.
Argentina is a photographer’s playground.
While the cities, Buenos Aires in particular,
have many neighbourhoods of interest
to urban living photographers, the country
is packed with beautiful landscapes, in
particular the mountains, ski resorts,
national parks, waterfalls, Patagonia’s
glaciers and lakes, wildlife hotspots such
as Península Valdés, etc.
When to Go
Argentina is an all-year destination. It’s
best to decide what you want to see and
where you want to go. Avoid the December
and January holidays. Generally,
springtime (October to mid-December)
and autumn (April to mid-June) are the
best times to visit Argentina.
Where to Stay
The tourist infrastructure is well developed
and accommodation is available in all
price ranges, except for the smaller villages.
Guesthouses and quality hostels are
widely available. If you visit the Pampas
lowlands, stay at a cattle and sheep ranch
(estancias) and hang out with a cowboy.
Argentina is a modern country but has
experienced a depressed economy in
recent years. Petty theft is common in cities
and muggings do happen. Argentina has
a problem with drugs, which can make
people unpredictable, so be careful. Nature
should be your biggest safety concern.
Dining is the most important reason for
many people to visit Argentina, in particular
if you are a serious carnivore and a
wine drinker. The BBQ asados are among
the best in the world. These people are
serious meat connoisseurs. Wines from
the Mendosa region are excellent.
This is a laidback country so dress casually
for most of the time. Your activities
and the time of the year will determine
the clothes you pack. Winters in the south
can be quite cold and summers in Buenos
Aires and the north are very hot. The
coldest months are June and July.
Cost of Travel
While the Argentina Peso has been
depreciating against the USD in recent
years, it lost half of its value since early
2018. Now is a great time to visit, though
infl ation hit 48% in 2018 but is expected
to cool down in 2019. Go soon to get
great value for your foreign currency.
Feature • Argentina | 33
10 Experiences in Argentina
It is tough to select the best experiences in such a large and diverse country. For those with less than a week, you will undoubtedly
miss out on some of the best places. Argentina should be explored in not less than three or four weeks, if not more. Based on my
own personal interests and preferences, here is my list of Top 10 experiences not to be missed. Beyond these ten, honorable mentions
must go to Córdoba city, Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), Punta Tombo National Reserve, and Talampaya National Park.
Viewing the Iguazu Falls from the Argentine side is a sight to
behold. The never-ending spray coming from the cascades
of white foam tumbling into the depths below is an incredible
sight and sound.
Between the many vantage points walk through the rainforest
to see coatis and tropical birds. Some of the walkways
get real close to the thundering falls and you will get completely
soaked by the spray. Once you are close to the falls
the sound is so loud that you can’t even hear people around
you. Take a helicopter ride over the falls or take a speedboat
to see the falls from below to appreciate the sheer power.
Food, Tango, Barrios
Los Glaciares National Park
Watch the live tango lessons on the street in
the bohemian San Telmo district of Buenos
Aires. Meet up with a local Porteño (resident
of the city) to walk with you through the
many barrios (suburbs). Each barrio has its
own distinct personality and attractions.
After exploring the city, settle down in a nice
cafe for a few glasses of wine from Argentina’s
Mendosa region. Don’t miss the Malbec
reds, which are authentically Argentinian.
For dinner, get to Siga La Vaca restaurant
in the barrio of Puerto Madero for a serious
carnivore indulgence, with more wine!
34 Globerovers · July 2019
Perito Moreno Glacier in the Los Glaciares
National Park of the Patagonia Region is
one of the most accessible glaciers in the
world. No need to hike for days through the
rugged mountain terrain. The front end of
this massive glacier reaches out into Lago
Argentino and is about a 1-hour drive from
the small town of El Calafate, a great base
to explore the region.
The area around Lago Argentino in the
Southern Patagonian Ice Field has several
glaciers, including the impressive Upsala
Glacier, known for its rapid retreat.
Located over 1,300 km (800 mi) south of
Buenos Aires, Península Valdés in Patagonia
is connected to the mainland by the
isthmus of Carlos Ameghino. It is home to
an important breeding population of the
endangered southern right whale as well
as southern elephant seals and southern
sea lions. You may also see orcas, rheas,
guanacos, maras, magellanic penguins,
foxes, and many bird species.
Stay in the nearby town of Puerto Madryn
or even closer at the small settlement of
Mount Fitz Roy
Located in the Glaciares National Park
near the town of El Chalten along the
border with Chile, this is one of the most
beautiful places on earth. Cerro (hill) Fitz
Roy has become an important symbol
of Patagonia, and also of Argentina. The
rugged sky-puncturing peaks are visible
from far away and only the most adventurous
dare to climb the peaks. Most travellers
come here to hike the trails rather
than climbing its high peaks at 3,375 m
(11,070 ft). Visitors can camp for free in
the designated campgrounds and entry to
the national park carries no entry fee.
The Iberá Wetlands is comparable to the
Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland
area located across Brazil, Bolivia and
Paraguay. It is teeming with wildlife such as
caiman, otters, capybaras, wolves, howler
monkeys and over 400 species of birds.
The Iberá Wetlands is a mix of swamps,
stagnant lakes, and lagoons and is the
second largest wetland in the world after
the Pantanal. Stay on a farm with the
gauchos (South American cowboys) and
experience life by drinking maté tea with
Argentina’s most skilled horsemen.
The legendary myrtle woods are located
near Bariloche in the stunning Quetrihue
Peninsula west of Península Valdés along
the Chile border.
The Myrtle is a bush with an exquisite
saffron-tanned colour covered in petite
white flowers. As the bush gets older it
becomes a tree and creates a unique
dense forest. The old trees have wide
trunks with saffron-tanned bark covered in
white spots. Nearby Lake Nahuel Huapi
and Victoria Island are located in a calming
and beautiful, natural environment.
Wines and Wineries
Quebrada de Humahuaca
No trip to Argentina is complete without
going the long way down to Ushuaia, the
world’s southernmost town. From here take
day trips to the nearby Parque Nacional
Tierra del Fuego and the Glaciar Martial.
Boat trips leave from the Ushuaia harbour
to show travellers the beauty of the Beagle
Channel that separates the larger main
island of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego
from various smaller islands to the south.
Here you will see the world’s southernmost
lighthouse, the 1920-built Les Eclaireurs
Lighthouse. It is 11 m (36 ft) high.
From north to south, Argentina has two
popular wine-making regions, Mendoza
and San Juan, and a developing region
of La Rioja, and Catamarca. There are
also some vineyards in the eastern part of
the country, in the provinces of Cordoba,
Buenos Aires, and La Pampa, but their
production is still low.
Mendoza, Argentina’s largest wine region,
is located at the edge of the Andes Mountains.
The fi rst vines were planted here in
the mid-16th century. It is most famous for
its excellent Malbec grape variety.
Two hours drive south of the Bolivia border
lies the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Humahuaca
Gorge). This is a 200 km long (124
mi) UNESCO World Heritage Site that
contains evidence of being inhabited by prehispanic
tribes about 15,000 years ago.
The area is rich in history, art and culture,
and one of the most unique and beautiful
landscape sceneries in the world. A highlight
is the Cerro de 7 Colores (Hill of Seven Colours)
in Purmamarca, as well as the ruins
of the Pucara fortress. The tranquil town of
Humahuaca is a must visit.
Feature • Argentina | 35
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Sabah, Borneo Island
38 Globerovers · July 2019
BORNEO ISLAND, ASIA
Malaysia’s Untamed State on
Malaysia’s State of Sabah is located
in the northern portion of
Borneo Island, the third-largest
island in the world. The island is politically divided
among Malaysia and Brunei in the north,
and Indonesia (Kalimantan) in the south. The
“East Malaysian” states of Sabah and Sarawak
make up about 26% of the island. Sabah is
less than half the size of Sarawak and occupies
the most northern tip of the island.
Borneo is home to one of the oldest rainforests
in the world, and Sabah has no shortage of untamed
jungles. While large portions of the state
remain inaccessible to most hikers, several
trails with accommodation are open.
With over 1,600 known species of animals,
birds, amphibians and reptiles, the jungle is
an Eden-like paradise. Sadly, the jungle is fast
disappearing due to deforestation and the encroachment
of oil palm plantations. According
to Greenpeace, some of the world’s biggest
brands are still linked to rainforest destruction
in Indonesia. These include Unilever, Nestlé,
Colgate-Palmolive and Mondelez.
Sabah is known for its rich biodiversity and
wildlife. However, the rapid deforestation in
Sabah has caused massive habitat destruction
and pushed many species to the brink of extinction.
Wildlife poaching to supply the illegal
pet trade and those with a taste for rare exotic
meat are speeding up the extinction. Among
the animals of Sabah under threat are the proboscis
monkey, orangutan, clouded leopard,
Borneo rhino, Borneo pygmy elephant, slow
loris, and the binturong bearcat.
Come along as we visit Borneo to photograph
the proboscis monkeys and orangutans in
their natural habitats at the Sepilok Reserve
and elsewhere. We start our trip at the laidback
town of Kota Kinabalu, the gateway to
Sabah, and also visit Pulau Tiga, one of the
most beautiful islands off the coast of Borneo.
Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 39
Sabah, Borneo Island
Likas Mosque (City Mosque).
40 Globerovers · July 2019
Kota Kinabalu - Sabah’s Gateway
Kota Kinabalu, affectionately known as KK, is the
state capital of Sabah and lies west of Mount
Kinabalu (4,095 metres / 13,435 ft), which gave the
city its name. Mainly serving as the gateway to Borneo
Island, the city has a few interesting attractions.
The Masjid Negeri Sabah (Sabah State Mosque)
is a masterpiece of architecture with its dove-grey
walls and glittering majestic domes with gold inlay.
The second main mosque is the Kota Kinabalu City
Mosque at Likas Bay which can accommodate up
to 12,000 worshippers. It is partially surrounded
by an artificial lagoon.
From Signal Hill Observatory Tower you can get a
fantastic view over Kota Kinabalu, the South China
Sea, and several small islands.
Masjid Negeri Sabah (Sabah State Mosque).
Located about 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of the
city is the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park which covers
about 280 acres of land. The park features species
such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, proboscis monkeys,
Malayan tigers, orangutans, Borneo pygmy
elephants and colourful hornbills.
Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 41
Kota Kinabalu’s City Mosque on Likas Bay is based on the design of the
Nabawi Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Surrounded by an artificial lagoon,
it has the nickname of the “Floating Mosque”.
42 Globerovers · July 2019
Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 43
Sabah, Borneo Island
44 Globerovers · July 2019
Sandakan and the Sepilok Reserve
Sandakan, the second largest town in Sabah
after Kota Kinabalu, is located along the Sulu
Sea, over 300 kilometres (186 mi) east of Kota Kinabalu.
A road trip from Kota Kinabalu takes about
6 hours while one of the many daily flights on Malaysia
Airlines or AirAsia takes just 45 minutes.
While the town has a few interesting spots such as
fresh markets and the Sandakan Memorial Park, it
is worth taking a short trip out of town to the Puu
Gih Jih Chinese temple and Kampung Buli Sim Sim,
a picturesque traditional Malay water village on
stilts. It is an atmospheric (and pungent) place to
just wander around.
The region’s best attractions are further afield and
include the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre,
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Turtle
Islands Park, and the Gomantong Caves that are
home to many swallow nests. Spend time with the
proboscis monkeys and orangutans. The proboscis
monkey sanctuary is about 40 kilometres (25 mi)
east of town while the orangutans are halfway at
the edge of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve.
Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 45
Proboscis monkeys are intelligent and incredibly sociable animals. This alpha male
with his wives and offspring were watching a nearby group while seemingly gossipping.
In this photo they seem to be grinning. Moments earlier their facial expressions were
46 Globerovers · July 2019
Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 47
Sabah, Borneo Island
48 Globerovers · July 2019
Located in Kimanis Bay off the western coast of
Sabah, Tiga Island was formed in 1897 when
an earthquake on the Philippine island of Mindanao
caused a volcanic eruption near Borneo. Tiga
Island is one of the three islands that make up Tiga
Island National Park.
The island’s claim to fame is being the first ever ʻsecret’
location for the TV hit reality series, ʻSurvivor’.
Hence, many refer to Pulau Tiga as Survivor Island.
Located about 10 kilometres (6 mi) off the coast,
the island is reached by a 30 to 40-minute boat
ride from the small settlement of Kuala Penyu. An
overnight stay is better than a daytrip. Stay at
the Pulau Tiga Resort which offers recreational
opportunities such a diving, fishing, billiards, and
non-motorized water sports.
The island is famous for its therapeutic natural active
mud volcanoes, however, at the time I visited
they were in a dire state. While the trails around
the island are worth the hike, the best attraction of
the island is the beaches and the incredibly beautiful
sunsets over the South China Sea.
Photo Essay • Sabah, Borneo Island | 49
50 Globerovers · July 2019
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52 Globerovers · July 2019
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Ayia Napa, Republic of Cyprus
Agia Napa Monastery
The Venetian-era monastery is located in Ayia Napa
on the east coast of the Republic of Cyprus.
Although it is unsure exactly when the monastery
was constructed, the cave of the monastery indicates
that Christians used to meet here in secret around
the 11th century.
54 Globerovers · July 2019
A divided island
The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is a divided island where the Turkish Cypriots live
north of the demilitarized zone, and the Greek Cypriots to the south.
Welcome to a guitar-shaped
island that claims to be the
birthplace of Aphrodite, the
Greek goddess of love! An
island with an amber-coloured sweet dessert wine,
commandaria, recognised as the world’s oldest
named wine, dating back to the 13th century. Here,
ancient tombs are carved from solid rock and decorated
with among the world’s best Roman mosaics.
Located a mere 70 kilometres (43 mi) south of
Turkey and 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Syria,
Cyprus is a glowing gemstone in the turquoise
waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Travellers are attracted to the island for many
reasons. Some come here for the world-class scuba
diving and wide
Others come for the
seas, the food and
people in quaint villages.
Many are attracted to the ancient historic sites,
remnants of bygone civilisations.
Turkey, however, considered Cyprus an “extension
of the Turkish Anatolia Peninsula”, so in line
with a 1950s policy of the Turkish Cypriot leaders
and the Turkish government, it was partitioned to
create a Turkish state in the north of the island.
After Cyprus was granted independence from
Britain on August 16, 1960, eleven years of intercommunal
violence between the Greek Cypriots and
the Turkish Cypriots followed.
The predominantly Greek population of the
Republic of Cyprus live uncomfortably, and with regret,
south of their Turkish neighbours.
During the 70s and early 80s, Cyprus went through a
tumultuous time when hundreds of thousands of Greek
Cypriots fled the northern areas occupied by the Turkish
troops while tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots were
transferred from the south. These forced displacements
left people on both sides of the dividing line with a
never-ending bitterness. The Cyprus divide, also known
as the “Cyprus problem”, still remains unsolved.
How the “Cyprus problem” was created: Britain
took over Cyprus from the Ottoman Empire as a
protectorate back in 1878, then annexed it in 1914.
After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in
1925, the island was made a British Crown Colony.
The Turkish military invaded the island on 20 July
1974, and by August they had annexed over 40% of the
island. After a ceasefire, the Green Line demilitarized
zone was established between the Turkish north and
the Greek Cypriots in the south. In 1983 the Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declared independence,
the only country to
recognise this illegitimate
Travelling is easy
except for taking a rental car across the dividing
Green Line. Car rental companies do not allow
cross-border driving so we will stay in the south and
explore the Greek Cypriot part of the island, officially
known as the Republic of Cyprus, or just Cyprus.
As the crow flies, the distance between Paphos in
the west to Cape Greco in the east is 153 kilometres
(95 mi) with a driving distance of about 186 kilometres
(116 mi). We start in the divided city of Nicosia
in the north, then travel southeast to Cape Greco.
From here we go southwest to the city of Larnaca,
then Limassol in the far south, west along the southern
coast and all the way to the historic city of Paphos
in the far west. We return to Nicosia by crossing the
scenic hills and valleys around Mount Olympos.
Article • Cyprus |
Cyprus: The north
Hilton Cyprus is the only five-star hotel in Nicosia, the premium business address and a home away from home for business travellers
looking for luxury during their stay.
Located next to the business distict and just half an hour away from Larnaca International Airport by car, Hilton Cyprus is perfectly
situated for your convenience whether you are staying for a couple of nights or a whole week. All 294 guests rooms have their own
private balcony with fantastic views over the city and a bright airy space within. High-speed internet access is available in all rooms.
Guests staying in one of our 76 Executive Rooms or 19 suites enjoy additional benefits including access to the Executive Lounge, with
complimentary breakfast and beverages.
The Executive Lounge is your home away from home, with breakfast served in the morning and hot and cold drinks, canapés and
cocktails available throughout the day. Satellite TV and a range of international newspapers and magazines keep you connected to
the outside world, and the Business Centre can help with any secretarial requirements you have during your stay.
For conferences, the hotel can accommodate groups of up to 720 guests in up to 1,900 sqm of function space, while smaller meeting
rooms are perfect for corporate meetings and presentations.
The Hiltonia Health Club is an oasis of calmness, with a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, a tennis court and a spa area with
steam bath, Jacuzzi, sauna and beauty center offering a selection of treatments to indulge yourself.
Whatever the purpose of your visit, make sure you take the time to soak up some Cypriot sun and enjoy the Mediterranean climate
at our outdoor swimming pool.
Hilton Cyprus - come and stay with us.
56 Globerovers · July 2019
The United Nations Buffer Zone (Green
Line) stretches 180 km along the north.
Nicosia, capital of the Republic
of Cyprus, is the world’s
last divided capital. Split into
North Nicosia and South Nicosia, the
Green Line of separation goes straight
through the city.
For many years, most crossings
between the North and the South were
closed, but in 2003 a few were opened, and
since 2008 the “Ledra Street crossing” has
allowed pedestrian traffic. This is a popular
place for travellers to cross from the
modern and developed South to the rather
depressing and backward North.
Bring along your passport as you will
need it to enter the North.
As you cross from the South into
the North, the scars of past conflict are
brutally evident. The dividing line itself is a
few metres wide and filled with abandoned
homes, shops, and deserted land. Buildings
still show the remnants of war — bulletpockmarks,
sandbags, and gun ports. Here
you need to stand still for a few moments
and ponder human stupidity.
When talking to people on both sides,
one gets the vibe that a spirit of reconciliation
is flowing through the fences. There
is a hope among the new generation of
Cypriots that their Greek and Turkish heritage
could soon be unified. It is time for
the gaping wound between the two sides
The Greek side of the city has modern
restaurants, shopping malls and fancy cars,
similar to the rest of the South.
Must-see attractions are scarce, except
for a few churches, mosques and museums,
Venetian walls, and the Liberty
North Nicosia is more of a traveller’s
adventure as time has been standing still
here since the Turkish invasion in 1974.
Just north of the dividing line are the
well preserved 16th century Büyük Han
Caravanserai and 14th century Selimiye
Mosque, historically known as the Saint
Sophia Roman Catholic Cathedral.
Wandering around North Nicosia’s old
town is such a pleasure. Make sure to have
lunch or dinner at one of the many authentic
Turkish restaurants. You likely will see
the Kahraman ice-cream man dressed in
his traditional Turkish attire mixing and
serving marvellous ice creams while entertaining
Euros in the South, Turkish Lira in the
Hotel sponsorship provided by Hilton
Cyprus who treated me like royalty. I can
highly recommend the beautiful Hilton
which is conveniently located. Awesome
staff, food, rooms, everything!
Ice cream man, North Nicosia.
Selimiye Mosque, North Nicosia.
Liberty monument, South Nicosia.
Archbishop Palace, South Nicosia.
Article • Cyprus | 57
Cyprus: The east
The Principality of Liechtenstein is double-landlocked
as it is totally surrounded by two landlocked countries
Austria and Switzerland.
We are all you need
for a friendly and
Explore the heart of Larnaka from Livadhiotis
City Hotel, just 100 meters from the famous
Larnaka Seafront (Finikoudes Beach) and 10
minutes away from Larnaka International
Surrounded by lots of great cafes, pubs and
restaurants and just a stone’s throw away
town’s main shopping and
commercial centre, Livadhiotis City Hotel is
the ideal base to discover the island.
Tel: 00357-24626222 | Fax: 00357-24626406 | 50 Nicolaou Rossou Street, St Lazarus Square, POB: 42800, 6021 LARNACA, CYPRUS
58 Globerovers · July 2019
The Republic’s east coast is home to the
most beautiful turquoise sea waters!
The road from Nicosia to the far
south-eastern tip, Cape Greco,
is a pleasant drive along wellmaintained
About 35 kilometres (22 mi) before
reaching the Cape Greco National Forest
Park, the road passes through the British
controlled area of Dhekelia, a United Kingdom
Overseas Territory, though you may
not even notice it. The Sovereign Base Areas
of Dhekelia and Akrotiri (near Limassol),
have British military bases and eavesdropping
installations on lands that were retained
under the 1960 treaty of independence.
Once you pass Dhekelia, the coastline
is idyllic, especially as you get closer to the
Capo Greco headland at the southern end
of Famagusta Bay. The water here is a brilliant
As you swim in these waters of paradise,
keep an eye out for the legendary Ayia
Napa cryptids sea monster known by the
local fishermen as “the friendly monster”.
While not regarded as dangerous, from
time to time the monster is reported to
drag away fishing nets.
Head back east to the pleasant city of
Larnaca with its popular beaches, historic
churches and museums, as well as a fortress
and the 18th century Kamares aqueduct.
A short drive south of the city on the
airport road is Larnaca’s own salt lake,
complete with pink flamingos from November
About 40 kilometres (25 mi) south
of Larnaca on highway A5, the Nicosia
highway A1 turns north. A 20 kilometres
(12 mi) drive gets you to the Stavrovouni
Monastery in Pyrga, founded in AD 327
and sitting in splendid isolation commanding
superb panoramic views across the sur-
rounding countryside. Note that only men
are allowed inside the monastery buildings.
From the monastery it is about 75
kilometres (48 mi) to the Limassol Salt
Lake, also known as Akrotiri Lake, lying at
2.7 metres (8.9 ft) below sea level. The lake
is worth a visit, especially in winter when
thousands of flamingos hang around while
gobbling up brine shrimp, crustaceans, and
Akrotiri Lake is the largest inland body
of water on the island and lies inside the
United Kingdom Overseas Territory of
No passports or roadblocks in Akrotiri
Territory—only large roadside signs forbidding
passing travellers to take photos of the
massive radar installations.
My accommodation in Larnaca was
sponsored by the Livadhiotis City Hotel,
which I can highly recommend. The hotel
is centrally located and a short walk from
the beach. Great rooms, great service, great
Salt Lake of Larnaca.
Fig Tree Bay, Protaras.
Beaches of Larnaca.
Article • Cyprus | 59
The Southern Route
The rugged southern coast of Cyprus is
known for its beaches and ancient ruins.
Limassol, the second largest city
after Nicosia, is very pleasant.
Make sure to visit the 13th
century Kolossi Castle and wander around
the old town of Limassol, then head 15
kilometres (9 mi) west to the ruins of the
2nd century city-kingdom of Kourion.
This once flourishing kingdom was
destroyed in a magnitude 8.0 or higher
earthquake at sunrise on July 21, 365 AD.
The earthquake’s epicentre was near the
island of Crete and caused widespread
damage in Greece, northern Libya, Egypt,
Sicily, Spain and here in Cyprus.
Today we are left with ruins of the
Greco-Roman theatre—the site’s centrepiece,
open during the summer months
for outdoor musical and theatrical performances.
Protected from the elements by
a large domed roof are the well-preserved
geometric mosaics and inscriptions of the
‘House of Eustolios’, originally a private
villa dedicated to Christ.
The 4th century AD ‘House of Achilles’
and the late-3rd century AD ‘House of
the Gladiators’ both have impressive mosaic
floors. The original parts of the Roman
Agora date back to the early 3rd century.
A few hundred metres east of the
Κourion Ancient Amphitheater stands a
chapel dedicated to Agios Ermogenis, who
was born in the 4th century. The original
chapel was destroyed by invaders, and the
current structure, within which a relic of
Agios Ermogenis is found, was built in the
About 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of
Kourion at Episkopi is the 8th century BC
Temple of Apollo Hylates, which is well
worth a short visit. This ancient monument
was dedicated to the god of Apollo,
thought to be the protector of nearby
Kourion city. In ancient times this was one
of the most prominent religious centres on
the island where Apollo was worshipped as
Hylates, god of the woodlands. The temple
was destroyed in the same earthquake that
Almost 70 kilometres (43 mi) further
west is the famous Aphrodite’s Rock, locally
known as Petra tou Romiou. Located
along the beautiful rocky southern coastline,
this is the legendary spot where the
ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite—associated
with love, beauty, pleasure, passion
and procreation—is said to have emerged
from the waves.
You will see two large rocks jutting out
from the sea, creating one of Cyprus’ most
photographed spots. At sunset, it is one of
the island’s most magical places.
The coastline around this part of Cyprus
is truly magnificent as the road winds
high above the cliffs with panoramic views
over the rocky shoreline.
Roman Nymphaeum, Kourion.
Lets hike the long road
Roman Agora, Kourion.
60 Globerovers · July 2019
Cyprus: the south
Cyprus: The south
Church of St. Hermogenes, Kourion.
Church of St. Hermogenes, Kourion.
House of Gladiators, Kourion.
Coastline southeast of Paphos.
Article • Cyprus | 61
Cyprus: The west
62 Globerovers · July 2019
Tombs of the kings, Paphos.
Little fisherman statue, Paphos.
Paraskevi Byzantine Church, Geroskipou.
Tombs of the kings, Paphos.
The west is dominated by beaches and
Paphos, inhabited since Neolithic times.
The route to Paphos continues
west along another beautiful
stretch of coast. Just a few kilometres
southeast of Paphos is the village
of Geroskipou, known for its 9th century
Byzantine church, one of only two such
churches on the entire island.
Dedicated to Agia Paraskevi, it is a
five-domed, three-aisled, barrel-vaulted
basilica. The interior wall paintings date
from the 8th to 15th centuries.
In Paphos, my stay was sponsored by
the highly recommended family owned
and managed Axiothea Hotel where you
will receive true Cypriot hospitality.
The sweeping views from the hotel
over the town and the ocean are beautiful.
The dominant feature of the town
of Paphos is the old part of town and
Medieval Castle by the harbour. This is
also where you will find the Paphos Archaeological
Park, locally referred to as the
This large area, which remains under
constant excavation, contains an ancient
Greek and Roman city dating from prehistoric
times throughout the Middle Ages.
Here you will find four large and elaborate
Roman villas: the Houses of Dionysos,
Aion, Theseus and Orpheus. They all have
intricate mosaic pavements, in particular
at the House of Dionysus.
Past excavations have also uncovered
an Agora, Odeon, and large Hellenistic-
Roman theatre. A little closer to town
is the ancient and very well preserved
4th century Agia Kyriaki known as the
Hrysopolitissa or Chrysopolitissa Basilica.
Several magnificent marble columns decorated
with mosaics remain, including the
so-called “St Paul’s Pillar” on the western
side of the church. According to ancient
scriptures, this is the spot where Saint
Paul was tied to the pillar and scourged
39 times before he finally converted his
tormentor, the Roman governor Sergius
Paulus, to Christianity.
Here you will also find the tomb of
Eric the Good, the 12th century king of
Denmark who fell ill and died at the age
of 42 or 43 on July 10, 1103, on his way to
Constantinople, now Istanbul.
A few kilometres north of Paphos are
the Tombs of the Kings, dating from the
4th century BC to 3rd century AD. This
UNESCO World Heritage Site contains
solid rock-cut tombs of several high ranking
officials or members of society, but no kings.
Article • Cyprus | 63
Cyprus: The west
The reference to King’s Tombs is more
likely referring to the magnificence of the
tombs than to kings being buried here. The
elaborately decorated walls and columns
carved out of the solid rock are truly aweinspiring.
Further north of Paphos are several
beautiful beaches, one of which is Lara
Beach, leading to the Akamas Peninsula in
the far northwest.
On the north side of the peninsula
near the monumental baths of Aphrodite
is Yiannakis Beach, regarded as one of the
island’s top beaches. The beaches of Cyprus
are more celebrated for the crystal clean
turquoise-emerald waters than their white
It is time to return to Nicosia where we
started our journey. The shortest route is
89 kilometres (55 mi) and passes through
North Cyprus, a route not allowed by most
car rental companies.
The best option is therefore to backtrack
and take the 121 kilometres (75 mi) southern
route through the Paphos Forest. The
roads here are challenging and adventurous.
Once you exit the forest just to the
north of Mount Olympos, take a short
detour via the villages of Pedoulas and
Both are beautiful red-roofed communities
built along the valleys, each with
its own prominent and impressive church
building. Pedoulas has the Church of the
Holy Cross (Timios Stavros) completed in
1935, while Kakopetria has the St. Panteleimon
Church (Agios Panteleimonas)
that was re-constructed between 1989 and
From Kakopetria it is about 30 kilometres
(19 mi) to Nicosia. You will be happy
to check into the Hilton Cyprus and order
a Commandaria, known as the “Wine of
Kings and King of Wines”.
Alternatively, order one of the local
favourites such as a Brandy Sour cocktail
or the local ‘firewater’ called Zivania, a
distillation of leftover grape skins and
residue from winemaking.
It is time to promise yourself to soon
return to Cyprus! GR
The REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS
• Land area: 5,896 km².
• Population: 854,800.
• Tourist arrivals: 3,652,073 (2017).
• Capital: Nicosia (Lefkosia).
• Neighbouring countries: UN unrecognised
de facto state of Northern Cyprus.
• Known for: The mythical birth place of
Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
• Interesting facts:
• Cyprus is one of the oldest wine producing
countries in the world.
• Cyprus’ beaches have been continuously
named the cleanest in Europe
for the past decade.
• The world’s oldest perfume was discovered
Lara Beach, Akamas Peninsula.
Crossing the mountains from Paphos to Nicosia.
64 Globerovers · July 2019
Agios Nikolaos, Kakopetria.
Agios Nikolaos, Kakopetria.
Frequent scheduled fl ights operate yearround
from European and Middle Eastern
cities. Cyprus has two international
airports: Larnaca and Paphos. Mediterranean
cruise ships stop at Limassol Port.
This port also handles connections to the
Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete and to
the port of Pireaus (Athens) and between
Cyprus and Israel, Lebanon and Egypt.
When to Go
Summers (May all the way through to
October) are dry and sunny but quite hot
while winters (November to February) are
mild but wet. Spring and fall are ideal to
travel around the entire country. Spring
is blessed with fl owers, such as orchids,
while autumn is colourful in a different way.
Cyprus has no train network and no domestic
air service, so your main options
are to drive, catch buses or take taxis.
Bus services between the large cities
such as Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos and
Nicosia are reliable and not expensive.
However, without your own wheels you
will be missing the best of Cyprus, so it is
best to rent a car or motorbike.
Where to Stay
Cyprus has a well-developed tourist
infrastructure with accommodation available
across the republic. This may not
be true for Northern Cyprus. In the small
towns and mountainous areas, many old
traditional homes have been converted
into guesthouses and are very pleasant.
While most photographers will fi nd
enough beautiful scenery to keep them
busy for a while, the country is not a
photographer’s paradise. Obviously it
depends on what scenery makes you tick!
Paphos and Kourion have many photogenic
ancient ruins while North Nicosia is
interesting as time seems to have stood
still for many years.
Cyprus is generally safe. The most important
safety rule to follow is to not attempt to
enter the United Nations buffer zone at any
place other than a designated crossing point.
Police and UN forces strictly enforce this restriction.
It is forbidden to take photos while
driving through the British territories.
Cyprus has great food and restaurants.
Traditional Cypriot foods include souvlakia
(grilled meat kebabs), shaftalia (grilled
sausage), afella (marinated pork), fried
halloumi cheese, olives, pitta bread, kolokasi
(taro), lamb, chickpeas, artichokes,
and rabbit stews. All very delicious.
Summers are hot but generally not
unbearable. Winters are mild but wet.
Packing all depends on the activities you
are planning. Hiking and swimming are
popular. The coastline is volcanic so bring
along the rubber shoes for swimming.
Cypriots are casual so dress down.
Cost of Travel
Bring cash in Euro though credit cards
are accepted in most hotels, restaurants
and larger shops throughout Cyprus.
ATMs are widely available. As with most
countries, it all depends on how much
you want to spend. Prices vary widely for
accommodation and food.
Article • Cyprus | 65
10 Republic of Cyprus
Cyprus is a jewel tucked in the Eastern Mediterranean, the pearl of the turquoise seas! Filled with archaeological, mythical as well
as cultural destinations, this small island has plenty to keep most visitors occupied for several days. Whether you are an adventure
hiker, a scuba diver, beach bum, history buff, mountaineer, city slicker, a foodie, or a salt lake walker, you will find Cyprus to be
mesmerizing. Rent a 4x4 vehicle, put on your hiking shoes, and explore the Republic of Cyprus.
The southeastern coastline of Cyprus is idyllic, especially as
you get closer to the Capo Greco headland at the far eastern
end. The water here is a brilliant turquoise colour. The entire
area around the Cape Greco National Forest Park is worth
exploring—beaches, swimming holes, sea caves, and more.
Several beaches to the west of Cape Greco, such as Nissi
Beach, are beautiful. The town of Ayia Napa is interesting,
especially the Ayia Napa Monastery.
To the north of Capo Greco are more beautiful beaches,
including Fig Tree Bay, Kalamies Beach and Trinity Beach.
2 Paphos 3 Troodos Villages 4 Nicosia
The dominant features of the town of
Paphos are the Medieval Castle by the
harbour, the Paphos Archaeological Park,
and the Tombs of the Kings. These are
ancient structures dating back to between
the 4th century BC to 3rd century AD.
In the central western part of the island
are the Troodos Mountains with Mount
Olympus (Chionistra) at 1,952 m (6,404
ft), being the highest point in Cyprus. Here
you will find ski resorts and quaint mountain
Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, is the world’s last
divided capital. Split into North Nicosia and
South Nicosia, the Green Line of separation
goes through the city. Many travellers come
here to walk across the Ledra Street pedestrian
crossing to get that “strange feeling”.
North of Paphos are several beautiful
beaches, one of which is Lara Beach,
leading to the Akamas Peninsula in the
far northwest. A few kilometres southeast
of Paphos is the village of Geroskipou,
known for its 9th century Byzantine
66 Globerovers · July 2019
Among the highlights of this area are the
villages of Pedoulas and Kakopetria. Both
are red-roofed communities built along
the valleys, each with its own prominent
church building. The winding road through
the mountains is beautiful, especially at
the Amiantos Mine View Point.
While South Nicosia has modern restaurants,
shopping malls and fancy cars, North
Nicosia is more of a traveller’s adventure
as time has been moving very slowly here
since the Turkish invasion in 1974. Don’t
miss the 14th century Selimiye Mosque and
the 16th century Büyük Han Caravanserai.
5 Salt Lakes 6 Aphrodite’s Rock 7 Akamas Peninsula
A short drive south of Larnaca on the airport
road is the Larnaca Salt Lake, complete
with pink flamingos from November
About 80 km (50 mi) southwest is Limassol
Salt Lake, also known as Akrotiri Lake
which lies at 2.7 m (8.9 ft) below sea level.
The lake is worth a visit, especially in winter
when thousands of flamingos gobble up
brine shrimp, crustaceans, and blue-green
algae. It is the largest inland body of water
on the island and lies inside the United
Kingdom Overseas Territory of Akrotiri.
Along the southwest coast is the famous
Aphrodite’s Rock, locally known as Petra
tou Romiou. Located along the beautiful
rocky southern coastline, this is the
legendary spot where the ancient Greek
goddess Aphrodite—associated with love,
beauty, pleasure, passion and procreation,
is said to have emerged from the waves.
Two large rocks jut out from the sea, creating
one of Cyprus’ most photographed
spots. At sunset, it is one of the island’s
most magical places. The entire coastline
here is quite dramatic and beautiful.
The Akamas Peninsula lies at the westernmost
point of the Republic of Cyprus.
The area covers 230 square kilometres
(88 sq mi) containing valleys, gorges and
wide sandy bays. Here you will find 168
varieties of birds, 20 different reptiles,
16 species of butterfly and 12 different
mammals, not to mention its rich variety
of fauna. As one of the least inhabited
places on the island, roads are not great
with mostly just dirt tracks and footpaths.
The best way to explore is by hiking, renting
a 4WD or signing up for a jeep safari,
or by taking a boat tour along the coast.
8 Lefkara 9 Ancient Kourion 10 Larnaca
Located about halfway between Limassol
and Larnaca, Lefkara is a mountain village
famous for its lace, known as lefkaritika,
and silver handicrafts. This picturesque
village with its narrow, winding streets and
traditional architecture of old, terracottaroofed
houses is unquestionably one of the
most beautiful villages in Europe!
To the east of the village lies the Greek
Orthodox Stavrovouni Monastery, founded
by Saint Helena between 327–329 AD
which makes it one of the oldest monasteries
in the world.
West of Limassol are the ruins of the 2nd
century city-kingdom of Kourion. This
once flourishing kingdom was destroyed
in a magnitude 8.0 or higher earthquake
at sunrise on July 21, 365 AD.
Here you will find the ruins of the Greco-
Roman theatre—the site’s centrepiece,
the 4th century AD ‘House of Achilles’
and the late-3rd century AD ‘House of the
Gladiators’, both have impressive mosaic
floors. The original parts of the Roman
Agora date back to the early 3rd century.
An interesting site if you like ancient ruins.
Larnaca, the third largest city after Nicosia
and Limassol, is the premier seaside
resort town of the country. The pleasant
beach is backed by a seafront promenade
lined with hotels and restaurants and
overlooked by a 17th century Ottomanera
Other attractions include the Agios Lazaros
(Church of St. Lazarus), the Hala
Sultan Tekke Mosque, Skala the old Turkish
Quarter, and several museums. Outside
town is the Kamares Aqueduct and
the Larnaca Salt Lake near the airport.
Article • Cyprus | 67
Mauritius island: Part 1
Gardens, tea, sugar, dolphins,shipwrecks
Words by Janet-Lynn Vorster,
Cape Town, South Africa.
Photos by Janet-Lynn and others.
In our series, Island LIFE, our Southern Africa correspondent, Janet-Lynn Vorster, takes us
2,000 kilometres (1,243 mi) east of the South African coast to the tropical Indian Ocean island
of Mauritius. In this 1st part of her article she introduces us to life on the island and takes us
around the Pamplemousses botanical gardens, the tea route, swimming with dolphins and she
tells us about some of the many shipwrecks scattered around the island. In the 2nd part (December
2019) she will take us to all 9 districts around the island, its islets, markets, and more.
Think turquoise crystal sea, black
volcanic rock, palm trees, sugar
cane fields and craggy mountain
peaks. Add waves crashing
relentlessly against high cliffs, strong currents,
lush green vegetation and waterfalls.
Surround this with coral reefs and you
know you are on the beautiful island of
Mauritius, also known by its Mauritian
Creole name, Île Maurice.
Officially known as the Republic of
Mauritius, named after Dutch Prince
Maurice of Nassau, Mauritius is an African
island located in the Indian Ocean about
2,300 kilometres (1,430 mi) off the southeast
coast of Africa.
“Mauritius was made first
and then heaven.”
Mauritius includes many tiny islets
scattered around the coast, as well as
Rodrigues and the outer islands of Agaléga
and St. Brandon. Mauritius and Rodrigues
form part of the Mascarene Islands, along
with nearby Réunion, a fellow member of
the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
The island of Mauritius consists of
Fast Facts: Mauritius
2,040 sq. km (790 sq. mi)
Multi-ethnic, descended from India, Africa, Chinese and Europe (mostly France)
Official language; English
Most spoken language: 84% Creole, 5.3% Bhojpuri-Hindustani, 3.6% French and 14.4% others (including English)
Religion: Hinduism is the major religion (48.54%), followed by Roman Catholic (26.26%), Islam (17.30%),
other Christian (5.54%) and Buddhism (0.18%)
Population: 1.265 million (2017)
Life expectancy: 74.40 years (2016)
Fertility rate: 1.40 births per woman (2016)
Population growth: 0.1% annual change (2017); among the lowest population growth rates in the developing world
Malaria status: Mosquitoes, but no malaria
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz). UK Style Adaptor Plug and European Style Adaptor Plug.
Grounding Adaptor Plugs C, D
Per capita income: Mauritius is seen as a model of stability and economic prosperity
Agricultural land: 43.8%
Highest point: Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire: 828 m
Natural resources: Arable land, fish
National bird: Dodo. This flightless bird is now extinct
National Flower: Trochetia Boutoniana (Boucle d’Oreille or Earring tree)
68 Globerovers · July 2019
Mauritius, Indian Ocean
Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster
Statue of Lord Shiva, the tallest statue on the island, at 33m (108 feet).
nine districts, one city, four towns and
134 villages. The capital, Port Louis, has
around 140,600 inhabitants.
In this first part of a two-part feature
on Mauritius, we focus on the climate, life
in Mauritius, the botanical gardens, Mauritius
Tea Route and the sugar industry, and
we swim with the dolphins. We will add
tips for travellers, a few interesting facts
about Mauritius, and pique your curiosity
a little on wreck diving. For those interested
in mysteries related to lost continents,
there is a section for you too.
In the next issue, we look at Mauritius
by district, each with its main attractions
and beaches. We visit the islets around
Mauritius, give you some ideas on where
to shop and which bazaars to visit. We
wrap it up with useful information on how
to negotiate with the local taxi drivers.
Highlights of this beautiful island
include idyllic beaches, snorkelling, diving,
sea kayaking and boat trips to waterfalls,
nearby islands or around the coast.
Visit vibrant local markets and purchase
speciality items like handcrafted wooden
boats. Explore the Black River Gorges
National Park, visit the caves and blowhole
on the rugged southern coast and dare
to try the longest zipline in the world.
See waterfalls such as the jaw-dropping
Chamarel falls. The Seven Coloured Earth
sand dunes in Chamarel are an amazing
natural phenomenon. Not to mention the
temples, historical places, fishing, cuisine,
rum and tea.
In short: Mauritius has something for
everyone, young or old, adventurous or
just curious to experience a little piece of
Photo: H. Hach
The Climate of Mauritius
There are only two seasons in Mauritius:
summer and winter.
Summer, from November to April,
has an average temperature of around
26°C. January and February are the hottest
months with temperatures hovering
around 28°C. Humidity is very high during
summer, particularly in the coastal areas,
and so it can become sweltering hot. High
rainfall, tropical storms and occasional cyclones
are pretty common during summer.
Winter is from May to October, when
Island LIFE • Mauritius |
70 Globerovers · July 2019
the average temperature is around 22°C.
July is usually the coolest month of the
year with an average temperature of 21°C.
Generally, the cooler months are the best
time to visit. I found September and October
to be particularly lovely.
Life in Mauritius
The population density in Mauritius is
one of the highest in the world, especially
in Port Louis. Houses in Mauritius are
not built for beauty, but to withstand the
onslaught of cyclones. Cyclones have no
respect for architectural design.
Houses are typically multi-storied
structures, with many generations sharing
a home. Each generation has their own
level, and houses are often unfinished to
avoid having to pay taxes.
Many houses are concrete structures
with shutters which are bolted closed in
extreme winds and cyclones. During summer,
check ahead to make sure you have
air conditioning. Mosquito nets are also
Many houses have a predictable array
of plants and trees in their gardens:
a banana tree, coconut tree, papaya tree,
mango- and/or lychee tree. Fruit trees are
protected from bats that destroy the fruit
virtually overnight. A curry tree which is
annually cut down to knee height is a standard
feature in many gardens too, and its
fragrant leaves are added to many Creole
and Indian dishes and have fabulous health
Mauritians have found innovative
ways to use fruit before it ripens and is
destroyed by bats and fruit flies. I loved the
grated green mango salad with raw onions,
salt, pepper and vinegar. Green banana
curry is also a well-loved dish.
The locals eat plenty of fruit, vegetables,
salad, beans and lentils. Meat dishes
are generally chicken, lamb or fish. Cows
are sacred in the Hindu religion and pork
forbidden in many religions, so this is not
cooked much. Duck is a favourite and
I found pre-cooked duck in large tins –
most delicious after being pan fried for a
What I found fascinating in Mauritius
when I first visited 20 years ago, was how
people shared jobs. For two women, alternating
and sharing a job meant sharing the
responsibility of raising the children while
each had time to cook and do household
chores. I still marvel at this brilliant solution
to joblessness, saving costs on daycare
Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster
View from Butte aux Papayes across the sugar cane fields and islands to the north.
Island LIFE • Mauritius |
and ensuring that children are properly
supervised and cared for.
This time when I was in Mauritius,
it was noticeable how little poverty was
visible. Questioning the locals uncovered
the Mauritian strategy for the upliftment
of their country which has the largest per
capita earnings in Africa. Everyone here is
educated. Schools are free and compulsory
up to the age of 16. Schooling is either in
French or English, and pupils learn the
other as a second language, although English
is the official language in Mauritius.
The school system in Mauritius is heavily
based on the British schooling system,
and thus the standard of education is quite
high and challenging.
Mauritius is a well-educated country
and it shows.
Pamplemousses — Home of The Giants
A visit to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam
Botanical Garden, better known as the
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, northeast
of Port Louis is non-negotiable. It is
reputedly the oldest botanical garden in
the Southern Hemisphere.
Here you will find the famous giant
water lilies. When I was here in October
2018, the lilies were not at their prime.
They were apparently decimated by apple
snails, though the situation is being remedied
and the lilies will soon regain their
The garden is known by botanists
worldwide for its enviable collection of
indigenous and exotic plants including
the numerous species of palm trees. Trees
are well marked, and a stroll around the
gardens is both educational and a delight
for botanists and nature lovers alike.
Historical Château de Mon Plaisir in
the gardens is a fine example of a colonial
The second largest botanical garden
in Mauritius is the Curepipe Botanical
Gardens in Route des Jardins, Curepipe.
This garden was created in 1870 for plants
that thrive in cooler weather. The Pamplemousses
Botanical Garden is far too hot
for certain species.
Curepipe on the central plateau is the
highest elevated town and therefore the
coolest, while the northern part of the
island is by far the hottest.
The Mauritius Tea Route
I love tea. I have found there is little
that a hot bath and a good cuppa cannot
fix. It is supportive and nurturing—a balm
for the heart and soul.
Exploring the tea route of Mauritius
is a delightful sensory experience. Discover
the making of teas, rum, vanilla, and
The tour starts in Curepipe at the
stately Domaine des Aubineaux restaurant
and museum. During the tour, you will
also visit Bois Chéri, Domaine de Saint
Aubin and Le Saint Aubin in the south.
Domaine des Aubineaux is a colonial
house built in 1872 which has since been
converted into a museum dedicated to
the history of Mauritian tea. While here,
visit La Maison des Essences, a range of
perfumery for men and women, born
from essences chosen with care by master
perfumers. Enjoy buffet tea in their famous
restaurant and tea room.
Bois Chéri is the first and biggest tea
producer in Mauritius since 1892. Visit the
plantations and factory and discover the
history of tea while visiting the tea produc-
Photo: Nici Keil
Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster
72 Globerovers · July 2019
Photo: Nici Keil
Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens.
Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster
An old decommissioned sugar factory in Bel Ombre.
Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster
Heritage Bel Ombre (formerly Domaine de Bel Ombre)
dates back to 1765 and is a fine example of an Anglo-Indian
colonial style family house, set in French gardens.
Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster
Baskets at Marche de Flacq, in Centre de Flacq,
one of the biggest markets on the island.
Island LIFE • Mauritius | 73
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74 Globerovers · July 2019
tion museum. Of course, tea tasting is part
of the experience.
Saint Aubin was built in 1819. It was
home to managers of the sugar estate
before being renovated in the ’90s. At
Domaine de Saint Aubin, discover the
fascinating transformation process of the
vanilla orchid from flower to aromatic
pod, visit the Anthurium greenhouses and
the tropical- and spice gardens, and then
taste and buy some rum.
“A spoonful of sugar helps
the medicine go down”
Julie Andrews, ʻMary Poppins’ movie, 1964
Complete the tea route with a special,
typical Mauritian lunch at Le Saint Aubin.
The island, with its characteristic sugar
cane fields spread like a patchwork quilt
on broad fertile plains, is home to several
award-winning sugars. The fruition of a
distinctive alchemy, they are sought after
for high tea and fine dining worldwide. The
island has a significant history linked to the
sugar cane plantations. It is fascinating.
In 1863, there were 303 sugar refineries
on the island, by 1993 there were only 42
left, and today only four remain. You can
still see some old chimneys dotted around
Swimming with the Dolphins
I asked my friend Matthew Miles-Nell
about his encounter with a pod of wild
dolphins. This is his story:
“I have been extremely privileged to
have had many magical experiences in my
life, none of which compares to the experience
of swimming with wild dolphins.
My husband and I, due to time constraints,
were only able to have a “minimoon”
in Mauritius after our wedding in
May, and I mentioned that I would really
like to go swimming with dolphins. He
was going to book online for Tamarin Bay,
which is known for its exceptional dolphin
sightings. Since our time was limited, we
decided not to spend one of our precious
days driving down the coast and back in
the hope of finding a pod to swim with.
We decided to rather enjoy the facilities of
our beautiful Trou aux Biches Resort.
On our first morning, walking along
the beach after breakfast, we were approached
by Sanjay, a private boat operator.
He mentioned that there were two large
pods of dolphins swimming just on the
other side of the reef, directly in front of
our resort, and that this was a very rare occurrence.
Sceptical at first, our busy minds
turned to thoughts of divine intervention at
play, and we decided to trust Sanjay.
At first, they swam deep, and due to
poor visibility, this made it difficult to see
them from the boat. On instruction from
Sanjay we jumped into the water. Swimming
in open water was exciting enough,
let alone the thrill of encountering these
majestic, sentient beings.
Hearing the dolphins communicating
with one another reassured us they were
still there. Initially, we struggled to see
them clearly as they were diving to great
depths, and we seemed to keep missing
them every time they resurfaced to breathe.
At the last minute, just as I had lost
all hope of viewing them in their glory,
they changed direction heading straight
for me. The speed and grace at which they
swam were both beautiful and mesmerising.
There were about 50 of them in the
pod, including a very young calf swimming
a mere three metres in front of me.
I managed to keep up with them until my
snorkel filled with water and I was forced
To say the experience was breathtaking
would be an understatement. Spending time
with these gentle creatures was a uniquely
magical and spiritual moment, and one I
will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Mauritius Wreck Diving
The entire history of civilisation in
Mauritius is written in shipwrecks. Many
still lie undiscovered at the bottom of the
Photo: Gilles Lagnel
Island Life • Mauritius |
Photo: Joa Kant
The first people ever to set foot on
Mauritian shores arrived by ship.
Even the first plane to fly over Mauritius
reached the island by ship. The first
flight to Mauritius was only in 1933, and
was from Reunion Island, 120 kilometres
(75 mi) west of Mauritius.
To better understand the shipwrecks of
Mauritius, I met up with Yann von Arnim
at his home in Curepipe. Yann is President
of the Historical Society of Mauritius,
board member of the Mauritius Museums
Council, vice-president of the Mauritius
Marine Conservation Society and president
of the Scientific & Archaeological
Commission of the Mauritian Scuba Diving
There are two kinds of interesting
shipwrecks, according to Yann: those with
interesting cargo and treasures on board,
and those with interesting stories.
Shipwrecks and treasure are synonymous.
While over 800 ships lie scattered
around the island, most of the cargo has
long since been retrieved.
According to my research, the first
ships arrived in Mauritius during the 10th
century, bringing Phoenicians, Malays,
Swahili and Arab seamen who visited but
did not settle. The island was originally
named Dina Harobi by Arab mariners.
Yann confirms this early discovery,
indicating that the Chinese and Arabs
knew about Mauritius long before the 15th
century, as deduced from ancient maps.
In 1498, Portuguese explorers stumbled
upon Mauritius in the wake of Vasco da
Gama’s voyage around South Africa’s Cape
of Good Hope. In 1510, the Portuguese
navigator Dom Pedro Mascarenhas visited
the island and named it Ihla do Cirné. It
was used as a port of call en route to India
for supplies and repairs. However, they did
not establish a permanent settlement.
In 1598 the Dutch claimed the uninhabited
island and renamed it Mauritius
in honour of Prince Maurice van Nassau,
head of the Dutch Republic. The Dutch
were thus the first to settle in Mauritius.
They exploited the ebony wood and
planted sugar cane. It was a hard life, and
they soon relocated to South Africa.
In 1615, on a return journey to Holland
from the East Indies, Admiral Pieter
Both and his fleet ran into trouble during
a violent storm while anchored off
Port Louis. Three of the four boats sank:
“Banda”, “Geunieerde Provincien” and
“Gelderland”. Admiral Pieter Both died in
the storm. Only one of the four ships, the
“Delft”, sailed back to Holland.
These were the first shipwrecks where
human remains were found, making them
significant for both archaeological research
and their story. Their spices were claimed
by the ocean, but the porcelain can be seen
in the Naval Museum in Mahebourg.
These wrecks were found due to small
green marks on the “secret maps” of the
Dutch East India Company indicating
their location. The guns found at these
wrecks were those of Pieter Both, confirming
the identities of the wrecks. Many
think the as-yet-undiscovered third wreck
went down with diamonds on board, but
the diamonds were on the “Delft” which
arrived back safely in Holland.
A mountain in Mauritius, a notable
76 Globerovers · July 2019
and equipment for one of the sugar mills.
The ship’s bell was found among the remnants
and is now displayed in the Naval
Museum of Mahebourg.
Paul, awaiting the return of his beloved
Virginie, was witness to the ship in distress
from the shore. Paul braved the ocean and
swam to save his beloved who, modest and
chaste, refused to remove her clothes. Her
waterlogged Victorian attire dragged her
down and she drowned. Divers found a
ring which is believed to have belonged to
Of the 220 people on board, only eight
survived. Most survived the shipwreck but
drowned as they tried to swim against the
strong current to reach the shore.
Photo: Joa Kant
landmark, was named after Pieter Both.
In 1638, another Dutch settlement
began but soon failed again. By 1710 a third
attempt at Dutch colonisation had also
failed and the Dutch withdrew permanently.
Yann explains how it was common
practice around the world for people to
leave a light burning on shore. Destitute
ships and sailors would come towards the
light for help. They were subsequently
killed, and their ships plundered. However,
this apparently did not happen much in
Sadly, the dodo, a small turkey-like
bird found only in Mauritius, became extinct
sometime between 1688 and 1715.
Pirates in Mauritian Waters
My favourite pirate story is that of John
In 1702 after a violent ruckus on board,
the pirate ship “Speaker” sank near Ile aux
Cerf, carrying cannons and treasure stolen
from Arab merchant ships. The first pirate
treasure ever found came from this pirate
ship. The wreck lies on a reef 2400m from
shore, so anything not yet retrieved now
lies scattered and probably deeply buried
over a large area.
John Bowen, a ridiculously wealthy
pirate, proved to be a generous pirate. He
shared the treasure retrieved from the ship
between all 130 of the pirates. These pirates
knew how to fight, and the locals didn’t.
Outnumbered by the pirates, locals
were very hospitable towards them. I would
also have been. The locals invited these
pirates to dine with them and tried to poison
their food. However, the wily pirates
cottoned on to this ploy and were not so
In the end, after a few large bribes, the
Dutch governor befriended the pirates and
allowed them to buy a sloop, a single mast
sailing boat, which they converted into a
brigantine, a two-masted boat. They left
the island on good terms.
All is Fair in Love and War
In 1715 the French East India Company
claimed Mauritius, renaming it Isle de
France. They settled down and imported
slaves. Port Louis was built and transformed
into a well-defended naval base
with a state-of-the-art naval workshop.
In 1744 “Saint Géran” sank on the
northeast coast. A small monument at
Poudre d’Or marks the spot of this tragedy.
This shipwreck has left traces in literature.
The story of Paul et Virginie is the “Romeo
and Juliet” of shipwrecks. The “Saint
Géran” was carrying silver coins, slaves
The book by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre,
first published in 1788, tells that Paul later
died of a broken heart.
By the early 1800s, Great Britain had
its eyes set on capturing the island due to
its strategic position.
A famous naval battle ensued—the
only naval battle won by Napoleon. The
Battle of Grand Port was fought in August
1810 between squadrons of frigates from
the French Navy and the British Royal
Navy over possession of the harbour of
Grand Port. The British lost. It was the
greatest naval defeat ever suffered by the
Royal Navy during the entire war.
Humiliated and upset, the British
ambushed the island four months later, in
November 1810, sneaking in with ships
and soldiers from behind the islands in the
north. They attacked, and the French were
defeated in battle at Cap Malheureux. The
British forces claimed Mauritius.
Slaves, Whiskey and Brawls
By the early 1800s, ships were so large
that they often ended up close to shore
when they hit the reef, carried by the sheer
momentum of the weighty vessels. Accessible
shipwrecks were used to repair other
ships, so the keel and ballast are probably
all that remain of most shipwrecks.
In March 1821 “Le Coureur” crashed
into the reefs. It had been waiting offshore
to deliver a cargo of slaves to French
colonists residing in the British colony
of Mauritius. However, the ship’s voyage
Island LIFE • Mauritius |
was being tracked by the British navy who
dispatched a schooner to patrol the eastern
shores of Mauritius. “Le Coureur” was
spotted, and drama ensued. Was the rough
sea to blame, or was it panic at the sight of
the pursuing British schooner?
The slaves disembarked and the ship
was set ablaze to destroy any evidence. It is
unknown whether any lives were lost in this
shipwreck. “Le Coureur” lay undiscovered
and unexplored for almost two centuries.
Yann and one of his diver friends
found “Le Coureur” by accident, even
though he had been searching for many
years. He has been studying the wreck for
the past 12 years.
In 1882 the Iron Screw Steamer “Clan
Campbell” hit the reef in the south of Mauritius
near the village Baie du Cap. A few
on board died, but most were unharmed.
Part of the cargo was whiskey. Locals
found the bottles and not familiar with
whiskey, it was a real treat for them. They
did not want the government to confiscate
it, so they buried the bottles. You might
still discover some today while building
sand castles on the beach.
Fast forward to 2016, when the
“Benita” ran aground on the rocky shore
of Mauritius en route from Singapore to
Port Elizabeth in South Africa. A brawl
broke out on board, and the chief engineer
took refuge in the escape chamber. The
only way he could communicate with the
captain was to shut down the engine, so
the ship drifted. The ship had no cargo and
was riding high at high tide, so it lodged
firmly on the rocks. It took three tugboats
to pull it free. It finally sank off Mauritius
while being towed to India to be scrapped.
In more recent times some ships
wrecked as they came dangerously close
to shore to make use of terrestrial internet
connection which is less expensive than
from the 15th and 16th centuries, while
iron cannon balls hail from the 17th and
Ships are obliged to leave the harbour
ahead of a cyclone. However, in bygone
days it was difficult to predict cyclones,
and many ships were caught off guard and
sank while still at anchor in the harbour, or
broke anchor and ended up being smashed
on the reefs close by.
Cyclones displace wrecks from
their original resting places, so they are
often not found where expected. During
cyclones, there is first a developing
depression over the ocean, and then an
immediate surge and a rise of a metre or
more, lifting ships up and over the reef,
especially during high spring tides. The
difficulty when diving and searching for
them is not the depth, but the churning
just below the waves where it is like being
in a washing machine. Many shipwrecks
have not been found because of this. When
shipwrecks end up near a river mouth, the
muddy water coming into the sea causes
bad visibility, making it both difficult and
dangerous to find them.
Shipwrecks off the east coast have hardly
been touched as the sea is rough in the east
and only accessible a few days per year.
Today many homes in Mauritius still
own artefacts and furniture recovered
from shipwrecks. Rosewood is still being
found in one of the shipwrecks and remains
usable for furniture manufacturing
after all these years.
Scuba diving only started in the 1960s,
so many shipwrecks were not discovered or
investigated before then. The government
does not want to punish people for goods
removed from shipwrecks in the past, so,
encouraged by this, artefacts are slowly
finding their way to the museums as people
donate them without fear of being prosecuted.
It has proven difficult though to know
which artefacts came from which ship.
If shipwrecks do not yield new information,
there is no reason to excavate
Locating and Identifying the Wrecks
Shipwrecks deteriorate over the years
and are often buried under sand or coral.
The only sure way to identify a wreck is to
locate its cannons. Anchors are not good
indicators, as they often snagged or were
Stone cannon balls indicate wrecks
78 Globerovers · July 2019
Photo: Joa Kant
them. Wrecks from all eras have already
been found, so the focus now is not on
searching for more wrecks but rather on
researching existing discoveries extensively.
Yann has full government backup to do
archaeological work on certain shipwrecks
and is currently searching for ships related
to slavery and indented labour from India.
Finding the ship’s log books in archives is
crucial. When the captain leaves a ship, he
takes his navigation instrument and log
book with him. This makes ships more difficult
to identify as well.
The Inhumane Aspect of Shipwrecks
Yann says their youngest shipwreck was
an old German adventurer sailing around
the world in a yacht. He got caught in a
storm near Port Elizabeth in South Africa
and damaged his boat. Slightly lost, he
knew the general direction, so he continued
sailing. He went off course, and in the
middle of the night ran onto the rocks to
the south of Mauritius near le Souffleur.
The coast guard and the police were not
very helpful, and instead of helping him
they arrested him and threw him in jail.
Yann reckons the world is “upside
down” with officials putting an old shipwrecked
man in jail rather than helping
him. Officials said he was polluting the
coast and entered Mauritius illegally. Em-
pathy is sadly missing in cases like this.
Apparently right up to the 19th century,
people were very helpful towards
shipwrecked sailors. In bygone days, ships
ran into trouble or came to shore when the
crew on board got sick, as they often did
from being at sea for so long. Sailors were
prone to scurvy and dysentery. Exposure
to the elements, poor hygiene, contagious
diseases, starvation and dehydration took
their toll. Alcoholism was rife, so many
sailors were not in a fit state to stand, never
mind sail a ship! Sometimes, only the
captain or one of the crew could navigate.
Cases of sailors being thrown into jail then
were unheard of. In fact, locals were often
so helpful that they were accused of being
too humanitarian, nursing sick or wounded
sailors themselves instead of putting
them into quarantine.
Degradation of coral reefs is one of the
most pressing environmental issues.
Ships are deliberately immersed to
form artificial reefs. The creation of artificial
reefs in Mauritius was initiated by the
Mauritius Marine Conservation Society
and dates back to 1981 with the immersion
of two barges off Trou-aux-Biches. Many
more have since become the new habitat
of underwater fauna and flora. They make
exciting diving sites. GR
Lets take the long road
Want to know more?
The National History Museum
(Naval Museum) in Mahebourg
showcases the entire history of
Mauritius including many shipwreck
Yann grew up in Germany. He started
spearfi shing from the age of 10.
When he was 12 years old, he found
a Roman shipwreck in the south of
Corsica. He found what he thought
were fl ower pots, but they proved to
be a cargo of Roman amphora.
In later years, Yann came to Mauritius
and went scuba diving with a friend.
He realised that his passion was not
only for shipwrecks, but for maritime
archaeology and oceanography too.
Today he is well-recognised worldwide
for his archaeological work.
With over 30 years of work behind him,
Yann wants to complete his life’s work
with a comprehensive database of the
About Yann von Arnim
underwater heritage of Mauritius. This
database will indicate which wrecks
will be most interesting to study in the
future, with reference to archive documents
and old newspapers.
The construction and history of each
ship must be categorised too, so that
they can be compared and studied.
Each ship should have a reference
as to where it is resting, who located
each ship, what artefacts were
retrieved, who donated the artefacts,
and to which museums they were
Yann is mostly interested these days
in the scientifi c issues around the
Blue Penny Museum at the waterfront
in Port Louis is mostly dedicated
to “Paul and Virginie” but well
worth a visit.
Do not forget to visit the monument
erected for Paul and Virginie in
Many of the dive centres offer wreck
dives. Few will allow you anywhere
near the very old shipwrecks
though, as they are protected and
dangerous, but will take you to those
that form the artifi cial reefs.
Dive centres are mostly located
from Flic en Flac on the west coast
up to Cap Malheureux in the north.
Island LIFE • Mauritius |
80 Globerovers · July 2019
By discovering nature,
Island LIFE • Mauritius | 81
Peru, South America
The old Inca village of Ollantaytambo is one of the oldest continuously
inhabited towns in Peru. The ancient Inca stonework, walls,
streets, stairways and waterways are all still visible and in use just as
they have been for many years.
82 Globerovers · July 2019
LOCATED in Peru’s Andean highlands, the Sacred Valley
formed the heart of the Inca Empire, along with the town
of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas, also known
as the Urubamba Valley and Valley of Yu-
cay, is irrigated by the Urubamba River and
stretches all the way from Pisac village to
Ollantaytambo, a distance of about 60 kilometres (37 mi).
The first known occupants of the Sacred Valley were
the Chanapata civilization around 800 BC. They were
followed by the Qotacalla civilization from 500 to 900
AD and the Killke civilization from 900 AD until the Incan
Empire took over the region in 1420. The Incan Empire
ruled over the valley until the arrival of the Spanish
conquerors. While the Incas won the Battle of Ollantay-
tambo against the Spanish in 1537, the Incan Emperor
was so rattled by the invaders that he withdrew from the
Sacred Valley and the area came under the control of the
Today the Sacred Valley is a major tourist attraction
for many reasons. Located just 26 kilometres (16 mi) from
Cusco, many travellers visit the valley on a daytrip, sadly
not having enough time to truly experience the many attrac-
tions offered by this historically and culturally rich region.
Inca ruins are still dotted throughout the entire valley
and the area has an authentic Peruvian feel due to the
many traditional villages and towns that populate the
Among the highlights of the valley are the Ollantay-
tambo ruins and the adjacent old village at the western
end of the valley. At the eastern end is the village of Pisac
and its authentic market that is packed with local produce
and a wide array of locally created arts and crafts. Up the
hills to the north of the village is the Pisac Archaeological
Park. Chinchero is a village located high up on the wind-
swept plains of Anta at 3,765 metres (12,350 ft), about
30 kilometres (19 mi) from Cusco. There are beautiful
views overlooking the Sacred Valley. The archaeological
site of Moray and the salt flats of Maras near Ollantayt-
ambo are hidden gems of the Sacred Valley.
For the adventure junkies, the Sacred Valley offers
enough opportunities for white water rafting, paraglid-
ing, mountain biking, ziplining, hiking, and a lot more.
Join us as we travel along the Sacred Valley of Peru.
Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley | 83
Cusco, the gateway
84 Globerovers · July 2019
Sacred Valley, Peru
Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley | 85
86 Globerovers · July 2019
Sacred Valley, Peru
Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley | 87
88 Globerovers · July 2019
Sacred Valley, Peru
Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley |
Sacred Valley, Peru
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Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley |
Ollantaytambo, the last fortress of the Incas, is set in the Sacred Valley on the Urubamba River amid high
peak mountains. This massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces on a hillside is a short walk from the
Ollantaytambo village with its Inca-era grid of cobblestoned streets and adobe buildings. The fortress was
built around the middle of the 15th century and is the second most well-preserved ruins in Peru.
92 Globerovers · July 2019
Photo Essay • Peru’s Sacred Valley | 93
gifts to villages?
pay for portraits?
94 Globerovers · July 2019
travel & blogging
Ethic considerations FOR responsible travel
Should I refuse to visit countries with repressive governments?
When I find places with no or few tourists, should I keep the secret or tell the world?
Should I take along gifts to villages in poor countries?
When I enter a village, is it ok to snap as many photos of people as quick as I can?
Should I pay to take a portrait if someone insists on “no money no photo”?
Should I pay inflated tourist prices or insist on paying what the locals pay?
Should I support foreign-owned hotels, restaurants, activities, etc. or only local businesses?
Should I take an elephant ride, visit a crocodile show, and swim with the dolphins?
While travelling, should I try to change the world by telling locals not to litter and abuse animals?
Is it ok to publish portraits on my social media without explicit consent of my subjects?
we asked the opinions of 5 thought leaders
Opinion Panel • Travel Ethics | 95
Opinion Panel: Travel Ethics
DILEMMAS IN TRAVEL ETHICS
Most of us love to travel to experience different cultures while meeting the locals. We also like
to take photos and videos to offer exciting blogs, vlogs, and to spread our experiences through
social media. While most travellers don’t set out to cause any harm, we can unwittingly do so.
So when we travel, in particular to foreign countries, we face moral dilemmas every day. We
present here ten selected travel dilemmas with the opinions of fi ve thought leaders in the travel
industry to help travellers make better and more informed choices while on the road.
THE PANEL SELECTION
We asked fi ve travellers, who also write about their travels, to offer us their opinions about our
selected ten moral dilemmas. Each panel member is an expert in their own fi eld and all are
thought leaders. They come from four different continents, namely Australia, Asia, North America,
and Europe. Our heartfelt thanks to you for your willingness to share your opinions.
WHAT THE PANEL WAS TASKED TO DO
Each panel member was presented with two dichotomous statements that presented the IT’s
OK versus the IT’s NOT OK sides of 10 moral dilemmas in travel. While we understand that
each dilemma has many “it all depends” qualifi cations, the panel was asked to focus and address
the concept, rather than the details. They were thus forced to choose either side, as an
“it all depends” was not an acceptable answer. Panel member opinions are randomly presented
for each dilemma so no opinions can be directly associated with any member.
Should we speak up when we see this abuse?
Should we go on an elephant ride?
Washington, DC, USA
Marion is “Red Nomad
OZ”, author, blogger and
Aussie traveller who loves
attractions and activities –
and scenic loos – all over
Australia. Her Aussie travel
blog and published book
“Aussie Loos with Views”
provide inspiration for other
Claire lives and works in
Kathmandu, Nepal, and
freelances as a trainer and
consultant. She is passionate
about global education,
ethical travel and ensuring
good intentions are put to
good use. She is co-author
of Learning Service: The
Essential Guide to Volunteering
Matt is an experiential
luxury traveller who shares
his adventures with thousands
of readers every day
through his award winning
site LandLopers.com. He
has been to more than 95
countries and all 7 continents
and is also the host
of the weekly Explore the
World Travel Podcast.
Lauren is a part-time
traveller and full time travel
blogger for justinpluslauren.com.
As a lifelong
vegetarian and longtime
vegan, she seeks amazing
as she travels – and she
loves sharing her favorite
meals on her blog.
Christine has been living
in the UK for most of her
life and more specifically
in the little town of Maldon,
Essex. By her side is her
partner in crime, and equal
travel enthusiast Toby.
Together they travel the
world and offer inspiration
to others to go and “See it
with your own eyes” too.
96 Globerovers · July 2019
DILEMMA 1: Making secret places not so secret
IT’S OK: “When I discover ‘undiscovered’ places such as remote villages and unspoiled beaches, I love to write about it (and how to get there) and
post on my blog and all over social media because that gets me a lot of follows and likes”.
IT’S NOT OK: “That remote village and beaches I wrote about 10 years ago now gets bus-loads of tourists so locals set up tacky tourist junk shops
and the kids beg for handouts. I keep the best places secret and only tell close friends. I protect villages from tour groups and irresponsible travellers”.
IT’S OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S OKAY
The world is there to be
explored and shared!
Nowhere stays the same
forever and places are
constantly adapting and
growing. By sharing our
knowledge of ‘undiscovered’
places we can also
share responsible travel
I don’t think individual
travelers “own” or “discover”
that places are “secret” is
almost always false as local
people know the place
is there. The forces of
tourism can be damaging
and need regulating but
that is not going to happen
through individuals not
posting on social media.
The world is becoming
smaller and smaller with
social media and the frequency
that people are traveling.
There are becoming
less ‘undiscovered’ places in
the world. As a blogger, I will
inform people of beautiful
and special places around
the world because I want to
share it with others. I won’t
keep it to myself because I
want others to have similar
experiences. At the same
time, I do encourage travelers
to act responsibly when
visiting the world and I share
reasons why it is important
to be mindful and kind.
One of the best things
about discovering a new
place is being able to
return and find it’s as good
as you remember it. My
main reason for travel is to
have new experiences, not
to become more popular
on social media or be the
‘first’ to show a new destination.
So it is NOT OK
to share, when it’s likely
(as so often happens) to
destroy what attracted you
to the destination in the
Nothing is really secret
in the world, at least not
anymore. There are spots
that are and aren’t as well
known, but I’ve never been
the first person anywhere,
at least I don’t think so. My
job is to encourage people
to travel and explore, and
sharing where I go is a big
part of that. It is incumbent
on the destinations to learn
how to best manage their
resources in order to avoid
some of the pitfalls associated
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: Except for one panel member, our panel likes to share their finds with fellow travellers—no wonder they are leaders in
the travel blogging sphere. I like to share too, but my most favourite unspoiled locations will remain my secret to protect against mass tourism.
IT’S OK: “It gives me great pleasure to take educational gifts such as pens and paper to poor kids, or healthy foods for the people, or give money if
IT’S NOT OK: “Taking gifts into slums and poor villages create child (and often adult) beggars so next time travellers visit these people will be very
disappointed if you don’t give them something. They become dependent on visiting tourists who sometimes give and other times not”.
IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S OKAY
I don’t take gifts with me
when I travel. There exist
many reputable organizations
around the world
empowering locals by involving
them with tours in a
way that makes them partners
and not be exploited.
Avoid orphanage tourism
and instead take part in
activities like a bike tour in
a South African township
led by a resident.
DILEMMA 2: Taking gifts to villages in poor countries
How many national heroes
from humble beginnings
tell the story about how
they got an unexpected
lucky break—a gift,
donation, sponsorship or
their life? And how they
wouldn’t have got where
they have without it? A
lot! So yes, it’s OK to
give—especially when the
gift is meaningful to the
recipient’s situation and
helps them move towards
a better and more sustainable
I generally do not take gifts
to people in poor countries
because I do not want
them to rely on tourists
for handouts. It becomes
problematic when adults
send their children to
beg for handouts rather
than going to school. An
education will serve these
children far better than any
gifts from tourists. It also
creates an imbalance within
a village or community if
some people receive more
gifts than others.
Handouts are nearly never
the answer to systemic
problems—giving a pencil
today will not improve access
to or quality of education.
What is worse, offering
incentives for child begging
often has the opposite
effect, as children can be
kept out of school as they
can make more than their
parents can at work from
begging on the street. If you
want to help people in the
country you travel to, think
about making a donation to
an organisation working towards
solving those issues
I am completely OK with
this. Your gift could be the
difference between a child
receiving an education or
not. Ponchos to walk in the
rain and school equipment
can make all the difference
to an underprivileged child
and their future
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: I think we all can agree that taking candies and packaged goods into remote villages is a bad idea. When it comes to
taking educational items and much-needed medicines, this becomes a more contentious debate. Best is to give such items to the school master.
Opinion Panel • Travel Ethics | 97
DILEMMA 3: Paying tourist prices
IT’S OK: “Tourists can’t expect to pay the same prices at markets as the local people because we can afford to pay a more”.
IT’S NOT OK: “I rather not buy than paying more than the locals. Prices should be the same for everybody”.
IT’S OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY
A similar dilemma occurs
in my home country every
and fuel prices
are significantly increased
and consumers are ‘ripped
off’. But you have a choice
in these situations—pay
up, or don’t go! I see
tourist prices as just a
variation on this theme,
where the same choice applies.
I might not like being
charged extra, but it’s OK
as I have a choice as to
whether or not I accept it.
I don’t have any problem
paying more than the
locals. Even at attractions,
there are tourist prices and
local prices. I can afford to
pay more than a local, and
I don’t mind contributing
what I consider to be a fair
price back into their local
While it can be frustrating,
the reality is that the vast
majority of tourists are
richer and more privileged
than the people selling
goods in the markets.
Realistically, few of the
market sellers will ever
have the luxury of travelling
abroad. Often even a
“tourist price” can seem
cheap to the traveler, and
the extra $1-2 can be important
income for the seller’s
family when it is not an
amount that many travelers
would really notice.
If I can afford a plane ticket
there, I can afford to pay
tourist prices – 9 times
out of 10 times the item
is much cheaper than it
would be at home so why
not let someone in need
benefit from the profit.
Plus, haggling is good fun
and if you’re looking for a
bargain, you’ll likely find
yourself in some interesting
I’m ok with paying more
at a national park or
UNESCO site if I’m not a
resident, but I’m not ok
with different prices for
normal everyday items or
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: We have a very free-giving panel here, though it is unknown how much more they are willing to pay than the locals. We
like to travel to developing countries due to cheaper costs, though when local businesses charge foreigners substantially more, its not good.
DILEMMA 4: Paying for posed portraits
IT’S OK: “In developed countries we won’t walk to a person and take a close-up photo, unless we ask permission, or the person is our paid model,
which is a fair and acceptable practice. Why do we so often take close-ups in poor countries, and refuse payment if the person asks for it”?
IT’S NOT OK: “I don’t pay for portraits while travelling in poor countries, even $1, because it sets a precedent for future photographers. It spoils the
IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY
I don’t pay to take photos
of people, but I also don’t
take photos of people without
asking their permission
in advance. I generally
don’t take photographs of
people unless we become
friends and know each
other fairly well.
You don’t have a god-given
right to have photographs,
especially if they are of
other people. If you want a
portrait and that person’s
condition is that you have
to pay, then not paying
and taking it anyway is
extremely unethical. Some
of the subjects might see
paying as simply a fair
exchange, others (those
dressed up in costumes
etc at a tourist site) may
see the service they are
offering as a job.
If I ask to take a photo of
someone and they say $1,
it’s my decision whether I
decide to proceed. If I want
the photo that badly I’ll pay
it! Chances are I don’t, but
I don’t think it’s OK to just
take photos of someone
without their consent and/
I ask people if I want to
take their photos and they
almost always say yes.
Once I paid for that photo
in Egypt, and maybe I
shouldn’t have done that
but the time it didn’t seem
like a bad thing to do.
In my travels I’ve found the
posed portrait is generally
not an authentic local
experience. I’ve seen
situations where the model
has sometimes dressed
especially for photos which
are taken completely out
of cultural context. As I’m
looking for a real understanding
and experience of
local culture, I say paying
for posed portraits is NOT
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: The message is clear: Ask permission, where possible, before taking portraits, and if the person demands money, you
need to decide if it is worth the photo, based on your moral compass. We all own photographic rights to our own faces, but only if its a closeup.
98 Globerovers · July 2019
DILEMMA 5: Publishing your portraits
IT’S OK: “People won’t even know if I publish their portraits on my blog and social media, and what does it matter anyhow”.
IT’S NOT OK: “I won’t like if a stranger takes a spontaneous closeup of my face and blast it out via social media and blogs”.
IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY
This is exploitative. You
are gaining from that
image, and the person in
it gets nothing. Even if you
get permission for portraits
to be used, “informed
consent” is very tricky,
especially in more remote
areas. How can you
explain (usually in a foreign
language) how images
are seen and used across
the internet, and how can
people who are unfamiliar
with the risks legitimately
This is so not OK. I would
not be happy if someone
was circulating photos of
me without my consent. It’s
polite to ask and chances
are you’ll get a good story
out of it.
If it’s a portrait and the
individual can be plainly
recognized, I ask before I
take the photo. If it’s in a
public setting of a larger
group or the back of that
person in public, I don’t
usually worry about it. In
the US at least, if you’re in
public there’s no expectation
to privacy by law. But
I never take advantage of
Many photo sale websites
stipulate that photos
with recognizable people
need to have the express
permission of those people
before being accepted for
publication. While social
media channels do not
have the same restrictions,
it’s a good rule of thumb
to follow to avoid potential
complications down the
track, especially if the
photo is going to be used
for commercial gain. Also
it’s good manners to ask,
and tell people tell why you
want their portrait.
I don’t take photographs
of people without their
knowledge, and I certainly
wouldn’t post them on
social media. I always ask
before taking a picture.
If the person says no, I
respect their privacy.
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: Generally (global) acceptable practise is that when portraits are for commercial use, such as in advertising, photographers
need written consent. For editorial use (posting on a travel blog), ask permission, then follow your own moral compass.
DILEMMA 6: Boycott controversial countries
IT’S OK: “I know it is subjective which countries to boycott but when I don’t agree with their governments I won’t go there. Right now I boycott Saudi
Arabia, Iran, Myanmar, Brunei and North Korea due to their repressive governments (not safety issues)”.
IT’S NOT OK: “I believe we should visit all countries, spend our money with the local population as far as possible, and support the local people as
much as we can. Boycotting a country does not bring any relief to the innocent people who are suffering under their repressive government”.
IT’S OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S OKAY
Stay away! I totally get
that innocent people suffer
from the lack of income
from boycotting but by
continuing to visit and
supply tourism money, the
government will feel no
reason to change. I was
desperate to visit Myanmar
last year on our big trip but
I just couldn’t bring myself
to book the flight.
Such a dicey question
that comes down to the
individual. If I boycotted
every country I had
disagreements with I’d
never go anywhere and I
would probably also have
to move. That being said,
I don’t believe in visiting
dangerous countries just
for the cache. This would
include North Korea,
Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia
and so on.
If a country has attractions
and experiences that interest
me, then I will travel
there. If I boycott a country
because of its (for example)
then doesn’t that make me
a victim of that regime too?
I don’t boycott countries
that are controversial due
to their repressive governments.
In many situations,
the people have no choice
in what their governments
decide, and the people are
lovely. I would travel to a
controversial country and
spend my money with the
local population. Furthermore,
there are many reasons
that we could boycott
countries like the USA
and Canada for having
policies, but this is rarely
an issue that comes up
I think boycotting is OK as a
way to demonstrate principles
but I don’t mean to suggest
that this is what we “should”
do. We are only getting partial
images of what is really going
on in those countries from a
biased media. A Nepali friend
of mine went to Iran recently
(as it is one of the places
where Nepali passports
are more welcomed than
most western ones) and he
said it was one of the most
welcoming places on earth,
and people were genuinely
concerned that their media
image outside of the country
is unfair and wrong.
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: It is true that if we want to blame a government for not visiting their country, these days we will find few countries to visit.
Travel everywhere safe, bring hope and income to the local people, and make sure as few of your tourist dollars as possible go to the government.
Opinion Panel • Travel Ethics | 99
DILEMMA 7: Approaching a remote village and snap as many photos of people as you can
IT’S OK: “The only way to get great photos of people and their daily life such bathing outside, as is common in poor countries, is to surprise them and
snap away, whether they know it or like it. I love peeking inside homes and take a few photos. If noticed, then just laugh it off as a joke”.
IT’S NOT OK: “I would not tolerate if a stranger secretly takes photos of me, especially through my house windows, or while bathing outside. Why
should I do it in undeveloped countries”.
IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY
Same answer as for
Dilemma 2 (Taking gifts to
villages in poor countries),
I don’t take gifts with me
when I travel. There exist
many reputable organizations
around the world
empowering locals by involving
them with tours in a
way that makes them partners
and not be exploited.
Avoid orphanage tourism
and instead take part in
activities like a bike tour in
a South African township
led by a resident.
Editor: Answer makes little
This sounds suspiciously
like treating people as if
they’re caged animals—
and on what cultural planet
is that OK? Using kindness
and respect as a behavioural
me a clear response to dilemmas
like this one—that
it’s NOT OK to intrude on
people’s privacy, enter their
property or document their
life without permission. It’s
also worth remembering
that it’s a privilege to be a
guest in another country,
and learning about another
culture doesn’t always
involve photographing it.
I’m not okay with this
because it really exemplifies
and treats people like
they are the “other”. I’m
not comfortable with this
idea and I wouldn’t take
photos of people without
their permission, especially
in private or personal
This is shocking behavior
and very difficult to justify
as “ethical” in any way.
Imagine a tourist coming
into your house and taking
photos of intimate activities—you
want to call the police. I
can’t even see how having
these photos is desirable,
when you don’t know the
people or have any relationship
We all take photos of
people without consent
everyday because they
happen to be in the background
of our photos, I
don’t have an issue with
this. But to make them the
subject without consent, or
sneak photos of peoples
houses? That is kind of
creepy. You wouldn’t want
a stranger taking photos of
you and / or your kids so
why do it to others?
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: We all agree that it is not the right thing to do, even though I bet we will all agree that candid photos are more natural
than posed photos once permission is granted. It is totally unacceptable to photograph inside homes or outside bathing without permission.
DILEMMA 8: Supporting foreign-owned hotels, restaurants, activities, etc.
IT’S OK: “It does not matter who owns the hostel or restaurant, local or foreign. In fact, I prefer foreign-owned places because it offers several benefits.
I’m French so when travelling in former colonies I always book at French-owned guesthouses”.
IT’S NOT OK: “Supporting the local citizens is key to responsible travel. We should not make foreign investors rich. Support local businesses”.
IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S OKAY IT’S OKAY
I prefer to travel for authentic
which I generally won’t get
with foreign owned attractions
It’s therefore NOT OK to
support the foreigners at
the expense of the locals,
especially if locals are
being exploited and the
experience or accommodation
doesn’t reflect local
It is best to support local
citizens and local businesses
when possible. It
puts money back into the
economy of the place you
are visiting and doesn’t
send it to rich people
Staying in a foreign-owned
guesthouse is not a
crime, but it is a far cry
from “responsible travel”.
There are countries where
large swathes of land
and a large proportion of
businesses are foreign
owned (look at Kampot or
Sihanoukville in Cambodia
being owned mainly by
Chinese investors). If you
want food or comforts from
home think about travelling
in your own country, rather
than travelling so far afield
and not putting money into
the local economy.
Maybe this is bad but I
have genuinely never
given this a second
thought! I don’t see an
issue with choosing to go
to an expat owned hotel or
restaurant once in a while.
When you’re on the road
for a long time it’s nice to
get some home comforts.
I have no problem supporting
certain hotels when I
travel. I tend to look at the
property that interests me
the most regardless of who
owns it. Even with foreign
owned hotels though, the
positive impact on the
local communities is still
dramatic from the people
who work there to local
suppliers. Large companies
also provide more to
local charities, do a better
job at empowering women
and other minorities, and
provide a rare opportunity
to enter a career they may
not otherwise be able to.
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: I think our panel member explains it well: “Staying in a foreign-owned guesthouse is not a crime, but it is a far cry
from responsible travel”. Foreign-owned businesses take most of the profits out of the country with little benefit to the locals. Keep it local.
100 Globerovers · July 2019
DILEMMA 9: Animal exploitation for tourist entertainment
IT’S OK: “Taking elephant rides and attending the zoo’s provide jobs to the locals, it is fun for tourists, and protects the animals”.
IT’S NOT OK: “It is not acceptable to use wild animals, even if (claimed to be) born in captivity, to entertain tourists. Do not support these activities”.
IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY
It is never acceptable to
exploit animals for tourist
belong only in the wild
living freely. Visiting and
supporting sanctuaries is
great, as long as it is actually
a sanctuary and not
a place that continues to
exploit animals for money.
We should not ride or take
selfies with wild animals.
We should not make
animals do tricks for us. It’s
Animal exploitation should
never be acceptable,
for tourism or any other
purposes. The canned
hunting trade in South Africa
is a case in point. Lion
cubs are tourist props as
cubs, drugged as adults,
made to breed to continue
the industry, and eventually
shot by people with big
egos for a huge fee. There
is no part of this story that
“conserves” an animal in
the way they are meant to
interact in the wild, it is a
industry of misery.
We actually made the
decision not to swim with
whale sharks in The Philippines
because we heard
it was messing with their
migration patterns. I’m
not down for anything that
alters an animal’s natural
way of life. Our behaviours
influence the industry and
by saying no to animal
exploitation, we’ll gradually
see more ‘sanctuaries’ and
opportunities to see them
in the wild that will benefit
Animals should not be
used for entertainment,
and it’s up to tourists to
understand why it’s harmful
and to stop patronizing
these places. Some zoos
around the world do a
great job at preserving
species and conservation,
so in regards to zoos it’s a
matter of doing research.
But other experiences like
elephant rides and dolphin
swimming should always
be avoided, there’s never a
positive outcome to those
It’s NOT OK to exploit anything
for tourist entertainment!
the only—way to stop it is
to eliminate the demand in
the first place. I’d be very
surprised if the only way
to experience a particular
culture is through animal
exploitation—so find other
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: We all agree with this, and likely most travellers will agree too. However, it is mind-boggling how many tourists still
support these practices such as elephant rides and tricks-shows, dolphin shows, and too many to mention.
IT’S OK: “We know that throwing garbage in the river is not acceptable. Mistreatment of domestic animals is, by our standards, not acceptable. Killing
manta rays and other rare and cute animals is not acceptable. When I travel I correct people when they don’t follow these rules”.
IT’S NOT OK: “Who am I to enforce my rules back home onto these people. It is their culture to throw garbage in the river and to eat wildlife. These
poor people need to eat. It is not my responsibility and my business to change their culture and lifestyles”.
IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S NOT OKAY IT’S OKAY
While it is very important
to stick to your principles
while traveling, making
judgments and assumptions
about other cultures
without understanding the
context can be very wrong.
It is fine to ask questions,
engage in a dialogue, raise
awareness about issues—
but to assume that you
know best about a situation
when you do not have that
lived experience can be
dangerous. In some ways,
having trash piled on the
streets is a more honest
reminder of the dangers of
DILEMMA 10: Changing the world while travelling
This is tough but I have to
say I roll over and allow
people to carry on even if I
don’t agree with the behaviour—especially
like littering. Cultures vary,
rules on whats acceptable
vary, it’s part and parcel of
exploring new places.
Honestly, this isn’t something
I’ve thought about.
Rather than yell at someone,
I usually use my
wallet to affect change. If
enough tourists stop taking
donkey rides, the owners
will stop. If I and others
refuse to utilize single-use
plastics, then change will
happen. Me yelling at
some guy on the street
though isn’t an effective
strategy to change the
Haven’t we all been
intensely irritated by
people from some of the
more dominant Western
cultures who can’t wait to
tell us locals how things
are done back home, and
insist they’re done that way
here? Cultural imperialism
is just as offensive as the
practices it condemns and
threatens cultural diversity.
Besides, I travel to experience
whether or not I agree with
their practices—who says
our way is the best, or only
I think it’s totally acceptable
to open up a conversation
about treating people,
animals, and the planet
better. I wouldn’t approach
it as a situation where I’m
telling someone how to act.
I’d approach a conversation
about why I feel that’s
wrong. Maybe there are
some reasons why people
are acting this way. A conversation
will not only bring
my new ideas to the other
person, but also teach
me something about the
people and place I’m visiting
(whether it’s good, bad,
or somewhere in between).
EDITOR’S TAKE AWAY: We as foreign travellers need to walk a fine line not to impose our own home-grown values onto others, though it is
hard to turn a blind eye when, for example, we see obvious animal abuse.
Opinion Panel • Travel Ethics | 101
Nagaland New Year Festival
Marching onto the festival grounds
One of the 17 groups who participated in the 2019
New Year Festival in Lay Shi marches onto the festival
grounds while chanting.
102 Globerovers · July 2019
In the remote northwestern corner of Myanmar lies Nagaland—home to the Naga people who
live peacefully on both sides of the border between India and Myanmar. During mid-January,
the Naga people travel from far across the region to a chosen town where they spend three
days celebrating the start of the new year. We joined them and were mesmerized.
New Year is the time of the year
when most of us are in a festive
mood. Wherever you are in the
world, there is a special time of
the year when your culture calls on you to reunite
with friends and family, or alternatively to
head for the beaches and party islands.
Some of us follow the Pope’s timing. That is
Pope Gregory XIII who
gave us the Gregorian
calendar in 1582 so we
know New Year starts at
midnight on December
31st. Time to pop the
champagne, or whatever you can get to feed
your partying mood. Others look at the phase of
the moon or the sun, or a combination of both.
In Asia, several countries rely on the lunisolar
calendar, an older version of the Hindu calendar.
While the Chinese have a moving target
around February, the Thai New Year (Songkran)
is celebrated on April 13th.
The Burmese New Year (Thingyan) is celebrated
in the middle of April according to the
New Year is a time to celebrate in dance
and music. One of the most colourful
festivals is in Myanmar’s Nagaland.
Burmese lunisolar calendar. In Nagaland, the
New Year festival is observed in mid-January.
Nagaland. That reminds me of a place with
a very colourful New Year festival. I have been
to some memorable New Year festivals in New
York City’s Time Square, London, Hong Kong
and Tokyo. I have attended countless Chinese
New Year festivals filled with dancing lions
and the accompanying
banging of tanggu drums,
cymbals, and gongs. But
sadly, I had never experienced
a Nagaland New
Several times I have looked at the map of
Nagaland, split between India and Myanmar
(Burma) by an international dividing line, and
wished I could visit.
Recently I decided to make it happen so I
started my planning rituals. First I had to better
understand the history of Nagaland and then
decide whether to attend the Nagaland festival
of India to the west of the international border
or Myanmar’s Nagaland to the east.
Article • Myanmar | 103
A BRIEF HISTORY OF NAGALAND
Without going into the deep history of
the Naga people, let us start at the time of
the arrival of the British East India Company
in the early 19th century, followed by
the British Raj—the ruling by the British
of the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to
1947. The colonial interests in the land of
the Naga people were mainly fuelled by
their interest in the region’s oil and mineral
resources, tea and timber, as well as to
control the south-to-east Asian
What once was a large
united area populated by the
Naga people, history left them
divided between arbitrarily
drawn political boundaries.
First came the 1826 Treaty of Peace at Yandaboo,
second the 1934 Pemberton Line,
third the 1935 Government of Burma Act,
and fourth the 1978 Indo-Burma Border
Agreement, all of which disregarded the
interests of the Naga people.
Let us first look at history on the India
side of the divisive border.
While loving the natural resources
of the Naga people, the British
regarded them as wild savage
India and Pakistan gained independence
on August 14, 1947, Naga leaders declared
their independence and named their land
Nagaland, even though India asserted
authority over their new country. Civil
disobedience and an armed struggle began
in 1955 with thousands of Indian troops
battling the slings, bows and arrows of
the Naga tribesmen. Many severed Indian
heads ended up on display outside tribal
homes as proof of their bravery—and the
right to marry the women of their choice.
The Naga people are spread across an area designated by the
governments of India and Myanmar. An area that is significantly
smaller than originally claimed by the Naga people.
In their efforts to appease the Naga’s
violent independence movement, in 1963
India declared Nagaland a self-governing
state with restricted access by foreigners.
However, violence continued and the
ensuing five decades of conflict claimed
about 200,000 Naga lives. Today the
Naga occupy the Indian states of Assam,
Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and the
state of Nagaland. Fortunately, life is more
peaceful on the India side and tourism is
Nagaland on the Myanmar side is a
self-administered zone, as stipulated in
the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar, and
officially consists of three townships in
the Sagaing Region: Lahe, Leshi, and
Nanyun. The constitution grants this
self-administered zone legislative powers
over 10 areas of policy, including urban
and rural development, road construction
and maintenance, and public
health. However, the “selfadministered”
little meaningful autonomy as
the national (Union) government
still exercises power, even
over issues such as when and
where the New Year festival can
The Myanmar military, the Tatmadaw,
also maintains a presence here with its
soldiers patrolling villages while carrying
weapons, a constant reminder of the
Union government and the military’s firm
grip on the region. Large parts of land outside
the official Nagaland are also claimed
by the Naga but denied by the Myanmar
From the time the first British arrived
in 1832 until about 1852, several battles
were fought with the defending local
Naga tribes, particularly the Angami tribe
known for their “head hunting” practices.
After the bloody battle at Kikrüma where
many died, the British decided to respect
the Naga tribes by adopting a policy of
non-interference. However, the tribes
continued to assert their sovereignty by
raiding the British forces, and hostilities
continued in the Naga Hills well into
the 1900s. By 1922 the British had fully
integrated the Naga Hills into its “British
India” and enforced the Indian rupee as
the local currency. All these changes created
profound social changes among the
The Nagas have never considered
themselves part of India. The day before
104 Globerovers · July 2019
government. The Naga people in the socalled
Eastern Front, continue to struggle
against the Myanmar government.
THE JOURNEY TO NAGALAND
To attend the New Year festivities in
Nagaland, I had to consider the logistics.
For Nagaland in India, I could fly on Air
India or IndiGo from Delhi or Kolkata to
Nagaland’s Dimapur Airport. Alternatively,
I could fly to Guwahati in Assam State
and then take a 450 kilometres (280 mi)
overnight bus to Nagaland.
Dimapur also has a railway station
connected to the main network. From
Kolkata, it is a 1,225 kilometres (761 mi)
journey, and from Delhi almost twice the
distance. None of the flights, trains, and
bus options I considered appealed to me.
From what I read, the Nagaland New
Year festival on the Myanmar side of the
border is similar to that on the India side:
just as colourful with friendly people and
good food. The difference is that the logistics
of planning a visit was much easier.
Myanmar’s Nagaland festival is held
around mid-January and rotates among
the three towns of Lay Shi, Lahe, and
Nanyun, in the large Sagaing Division of
northwestern Myanmar. These townships
are also among the poorest, most isolated,
and least developed in all of Myanmar.
As the three towns are far apart, you
need to plan accordingly. The distance
between Nanyun in the far north and Lay
Shi in the far south is over 200 kilometres
(129 mi) as the crow flies. Driving over
the mountains and along the rivers on the
small and poorly maintained road can easily
take two to three days.
The best way to reach Lay Shi is to
fly from Mandalay to either Hkamti or
Homalin and then drive. Homalin, to the
south of Lay Shi, is the preferred airport as
the driving distance is shorter than from
Hkamti to the northeast of Lay Shi.
Of all three towns, Lahe lies the closest
to an airport, Hkamti.
Nanyun, the northernmost town, is
best reached by either flying from Mandalay
I attended the festival in 2019 when it
was held in Lay Shi. As the shortest driving
route was from Homalin, ProNiti Travel
based in Yangon, booked our flight from
Mandalay to Homalin on Myanmar National
Airways. However, a few days before
departure, we were told our seats had been
given to government officials so we were
unceremoniously bumped off. Fortunately,
the travel agency found seats on the flight
to Khamti, although that meant a much
longer drive to Lay Shi.
“An endless dirt road with no
life in sight. It is a long and
lonely road to Nagaland."
The flight from Mandalay to Hkamti
took one hour and fifteen minutes and the
flight path took us over rolling hills, winding
rivers, and remote villages.
On arrival at the tiny Hkamti airport,
the few foreigners on board had to show
their passports and details were noted
down in the foreigner arrivals book. We
collected our bags and off we went.
Crossing the Chindwin River from Pint Mar on the east side to Hta Man Thi on the west side.
Article • Myanmar | 105
The long and lonely road to Nagaland.
Outside the arrivals hall, our driver
with his 4-wheel-drive vehicle was already
waiting for us. After a brief stop at a nearby
restaurant for an interesting lunch, our
journey on the long rugged road to Lay
Shi began. The road follows the scenic
Chindwin River, with particularly good
views about 8 kilometres (5 mi) before
the village of Kaung Hein. This area has
been described as “choking on gold” and is
fouled with red sludge and soil, the ruins
of abandoned mines and diggings.
I truly got the feeling I was in a remote
area when we saw no signs of life after
almost two hours of driving. No vehicles on
the road, no people, not even animals. This
is not a national park or a protected area so
I expected to see villages or at least people
walking or cycling on the side of the road.
When darkness fell, I hoped to see blinking
eyes in the lights of our vehicle, but nothing.
According to our travel plan, the
estimated three-hour 150 kilometres (93
mi) drive would bring us to Pint Mar village
where a short ferry crossing over the
Chindwin River would get us to Hta Man
Thi. From here we had a further three-hour
drive to Lay Shi. We thought the ferry closed
at 8 pm, so we arrived at 7:30, only to be told
that the last ferry crossing was at 6 pm.
Nearby, we found a very basic restaurant
where we enjoyed a few beers and
traditional food while pondering our next
move. After lengthy conversations with
locals in Burmese, our guide suggested we
stay overnight in a private house across
the street. “This is going to be fun,” I told
my Italian friend. And fun it was! Six of
us sleeping on thin blankets directly on
the wooden floors of the second level of
this traditional house. The floor was hard
and the cold wind blew through the halfopened
balcony door so I only got about
three hours sleep.
At sunrise, I was woken by the hosting
grandmother while she prepared for her
daily prayer ritual right next to where I was
sleeping. After meticulously preparing the
altar with her Buddhist offerings, she then
locked into a 30-minute loud prayer while
all my roommates were slowly getting up.
I was quite relieved to get going but found
that both my hips were badly bruised by
the hard floor. It would be another six days
106 Globerovers · July 2019
Mountain scenery of Nagaland.
House in Hta Man Thi on along the Chindwin River.
Banner welcoming visitors to the Nagaland festival.
before the pain was gone. I’m just not used
to sleeping on the floor. But, it was all part
of the adventure and I was enjoying every
Pint Mar village, where we slept, was
engulfed by fog at sunrise. I also saw a few
places where people were burning dried
leaves that created smoke. The combination
of fog and smoke set an eerie scene
over this small settlement by the river. I
was happy to capture some fine photos
of people strolling down the streets as
the early morning sun struggled to break
through the fog and smoke.
By the time we reached the wide flowing
Chindwin River with the car ferry
approaching our side, my camera was nonstop
capturing the surreal scenery. After a
short ferry ride with our vehicle onboard,
we arrived at the steep banks on the other
side where massive trees welcomed us to
the village of Hta Man Thi. From here the
winding road was very scenic in places.
When we arrived on the perimeters of
the Lay Shi township, a large banner flapping
high over the small road welcomed us
to the Nagaland New Year. The surrounding
picturesque mountain scenery was my
ultimate gift of the day. The views of Lay
Shi as it stretched itself over the small hills
“Welcome to Nagaland”, our guide
proclaimed. And Nagaland it sure was:
Remote, beautiful, peaceful, and so ready
for the New Year festivities. At last, we
Article • Myanmar | 107
THE NAGA PEOPLE
I firmly believe that before you party
with people, you should first get to know
them. Besides the fact that partying with
friends is safer than partying with strangers,
you also will enjoy a party more if you
first try to understand the people, their
culture, their lifestyles, and what excites
them about the upcoming party. With
this in mind, I had read a lot about the
Naga people and their struggles
before arriving in town. Now it
was time to meet the real Naga
To study the Naga people,
let’s first look at how they fit into
Myanmar’s administrative structure.
Myanmar is divided into regions (previously
called “divisions”), states, union
territories, as well as self-administered
zones and self-administered divisions.
The regions are ethnically predominantly
Bamar but often mixed with several other
ethnic groups, such as in Yangon and Mandalay.
The states and the zones are dominated
by specific ethnic minorities, such as
Shan State for the Shan people and Kayah
State for the Kayah people. Nagaland lies
in the Sagaing Division which means it is
home to several ethnic groups without being
dominated by a single group. Sagaing
has sizeable groups such as the Bamar,
Shan, Naga, and Zomi, as well as smaller
numbers of Kadu and Ganang. Each group
tends to cluster together.
“Naga” is a collective noun to describe
the many sub-tribes living in an area on
the border between India and Myanmar.
The most prominent Naga tribes are the
Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan,
Konyak, Lotha, Mao, Maram
Naga, Phom, Pochury, Poumai, Rengma,
Rongmei, Sangtam, Sumi, Tangkhul, Thangal,
Yimchunger and the Zeliang. With so
many tribes who were isolated centuries
ago meeting only in battle to claim each
others’ severed heads, a distinct language is
bound to have developed for some or each
of these groups. Today the Nagas speak
various distinct Tibeto-Burman languages,
including Anāl, Angami, Ao, Chakhesang,
Chang, Lotha, Mao (Emela), Maram,
Phom, Pochuri, Poumai (Poula), Phom,
Rengma, Rongmei (Ruangmei), Sang-
tam, Sumi, Tangkhul, Thangal and Zeme.
With so many distinct languages people
often can’t understand each other, so the
Naga people created their own common
language called Nagamese, an Assamese-,
Hindi- and Bengali-lexified creole language.
While widely spoken in western
Nagaland (India), the Naga Tradition,
Culture and Literature Committee Central
(NTCLCC) is working enthusiastically to
teach the Nagamese language to the Naga
The Naga people are a group of tribes historically known
as fierce warriors who displayed the heads of their
enemies at the front of their homes.
people of eastern Nagaland (Myanmar).
Where we were in the Sagaing Division,
there are no less than 16 or 17 “officially
recognised” Naga tribes.
Estimates of the Naga population
vary, but by most accounts there are about
1,850,000 Nagas living on the Indian
side of the border. On the Myanmar
side, the population is about 150,000 of
which about 120,000 live inside the “Naga
Self-Administered Zone”, announced by
decree on 20 August 2010 as per the 2008
Constitution of Myanmar. The remaining
Nagas live outside the boundaries of this
About two-thirds of the Nagas are
Christian, mainly Baptist, while the rest
practice Theravada Buddhism. Christianity
has come a long way for the Nagas. Since
the mid-19th century, Christian missionaries
from the United States
and Europe were posted to
India and then spread to Nagaland
where they converted
the Naga tribes from animism
to Christianity. Apparently,
the missionaries found a very
receptive audience and the conversion
process progressed relatively quickly.
Today the Baptists have their own
little churches. At the age of twenty, their
children can decide if they want to be
baptised. After a few weeks of preparations,
they are often baptised in the nearby
river. Once married, the bride normally
moves in with the groom’s family where
an extension to the current house is built
108 Globerovers · July 2019
for the newlyweds. While Baptists normally
marry within their religion, they are
allowed to marry an animist if the animist
converts to Baptism.
There are small Naga villages of different
tribes in all directions of Lay Shi.
These tribes are expert craftsmen and that
is evident in the ways they construct their
huts. A common practice among some
tribes is to decorate the entrances of their
huts with the heads of buffaloes, which has
replaced the human heads these headhunters
We spent two half-days driving in different
directions from town to visit a few
of these villages and were warmly welcomed
by the people. On arrival, we were
first spotted by barking dogs, then chickens,
kids, and finally a few adults would
come to greet us. During the daytime it is
only the elderly and kids in the villages as
the working people, generally aged 12 to
60, are active in the fields and hills.
These people practice slash-and-burn
cultivation and mainly grow rice, corn,
maize, yams, and beans. Sadly, this way
of farming leaves the rolling hills barren
that once were covered in primary forests.
Farmers grow crops for two to three years
in an area and then move to another area
to allow the soil about ten years to recover.
This means that the slashing-and-burning
continues relentlessly which decimates the
As per their ancient traditions, Naga
men enjoy hunting and fishing while the
women collect edible leaves and cultivate
The Angami sub-tribe buries
their men with a live young
chicken, a fire stick, and one
or two spears.
An ancient tradition that fortunately
died out, as far as we know, is the practice
by men of bringing home a severed head
from another village and hanging it outside
his house—a requirement before the
in-laws would allow him to take his new
bride. Nowadays Naga men prefer to visit
a nearby town, such as Lay Shi, to trade
or sell their produce, crafts, or livestock in
exchange for items needed by the family.
Increasingly their cultural practices are
changing. In the old days, Naga men wore
loincloths and decorated themselves with
animal parts such as tusks and tiger teeth.
The younger generation is nowadays more
likely to wear jeans and “I love New York”
t-shirts rather than the traditional loincloths
which they only wear when participating
While most Naga communities remain
impoverished and inaccessible by road, the
Nagas are renowned for their proud sense
of independence, integrity and community
At one village we were warmly invited
by the elders into a home which seemed
to be used as their community social
room. Through our interpreter, I asked
several questions about their lives, such as
their water supply, medicines which they
gather from nature, their farming, kids,
schooling, religion, and more. Once I was
done with my questioning, an elder asked
me: “As you have visited many countries
around the world, how do we compare?
Are we very poor?”
While there was a straight answer, I
replied that there are many poor people
around the world and most do not have
clean water, fresh air, and sufficient food
and shelter. The Naga people are blessed to
live in their own homes with ample space
where their kids can safely play around.
They have access to fresh water from the
mountains, clean air, and fresh food is
grown on their own land. The elders all
listened attentively and the moment I
finished they broadly smiled and started to
clap their hands.
I knew that I hit a soft spot in their
minds so deep in my heart I was shedding
a tear. They then thanked me for saying
what I just said, and offered me a bag of
their local oranges and a big cheroot, a locally
rolled cigar, which I politely declined.
The time spent with these people was
time spent very well. I now have a better
understanding and appreciation for the
way they live.
Article • Myanmar | 109
THE NAGALAND NEW YEAR FESTIVAL
All Naga people are linked by some
common customs, their Nagamese language,
and their celebration of the Naga
Held in winter when the harvesting is
done and before the new planting season
starts in full swing, it is a time to take a rest
while reuniting with the extended family
and friends from near and far away. It is a
time to settle debts and make prayers for
great yields in the upcoming season. It has
been reported that during the festival, the
Nagas pay respect to their deities by scarifying
domestic animals, something which I
personally did not witness.
In the distant past, these celebrations
were not coordinated among the villages
so the dates varied, and every village tried
to have their own celebration in its own
way. In the early 1990s, a commission decided
to fix the date to January 15th, even
though celebrations are allowed to start
two days earlier. It was also then decided
to rotate the celebration party through
three different towns in Myanmar’s Nagaland:
Lay Shi, Lahe, and Nanyun. The local
governments now also commit money
and manpower to make the annual festival
a big and successful celebration. It is not
clear to me how much money is given by
which levels of governments, and exactly
where the money goes.
The festival I attended in Lay Shi was
very well organised—kudos to the organising
committee. It is officially a two-day
festival with the first day set aside for
rehearsing of the traditional dances. Each
of the seventeen groups, that included the
Makury tribe from Phüvjüv village, as well
as the Mëkheotjüv, Tangkhul, Para and
Konyak tribes, got a few rounds to showcase
their best synchronised and chanting
manoeuvres in front of a clamouring
throng of spectators.
Singing folk songs while dancing in
large circles is an essential ingredient of
their traditional culture as it is through
singing that folk tales are kept alive. Their
songs are both romantic and of historical
significance as they narrate stories of
famous ancestors and important incidents.
Some songs are seasonal, such as harvest
songs, and describe the various activities
performed in that particular season.
The warm-up dances and singing
continued into the evening followed by a
few local and national singers and bands
performing on a stage. Well attended and
much liked by the local audience, it became
way too cold for us and we went back
to our hotel. Later in the evening while we
were sitting around a small bonfire outside
our hotel, a large group of male dancers
surprised us with their spectacular dancing
and singing performance around the fire.
The official opening of the festival
happened around 8:30 the next morning
by officials who arrived the previous day
by helicopter—to the great astonishment
of the locals. The rest of the day was filled
with each dance group performing a few
Lunch was a special event as the organisers
had a big free lunch prepared for
all attendees—spectators and performers.
Food consisted of rice and meat served on
banana leaves. It was indeed a special moment
to see these people humbly accepting
and enjoying the food, and for me, a
highlight of the entire festival.
There were also a few sporting events
during the day such as team wrestling,
tug of war, and an incredible impromptu
performance by a group beating the slit
drum carved from a large log. This is technically
not a drum but an idiophone as the
110 Globerovers · July 2019
sound is primarily created by the whole log
vibrating without the use of a membrane.
The day’s festivities on the town’s
central football field concluded with dance
performances by each group around a
large bonfire in the middle of the field.
This was followed by spectators joining the
dancers around the fire and eventually a
spectacular fireworks display.
The entire festival had a very friendly
party atmosphere. Performers and local
audiences were all happy to pose for
photos while the photographers had a
field day. Some foreigners were equipped
with seriously long lenses and big cameras
while others were snapping away on their
smartphones. We were all impressed with
the colourful outfits, facial decorations, and
elaborate headdresses of the performers.
While the attire for the performances
varies by group, there were some commonalities.
Men generally were bare-chested
wearing black or red shawls with a matching
kilt or very short pants or underwear.
Some groups’ headgear and shawls were
embroidered with cowrie shells. The cowrie
decoration is quite popular among the
Naga people and apparently the cowries are
always sewn by the man wearing the cloth
and never by his wife or anybody else.
The men are known as warriors and
their ceremonial headgear is a symbol of
position, status and also power. Headgear
is inherited by each warrior and worn
after having earned an achievement. Each
group’s headgear is distinctive, made of
cane and bamboo and then elaborately
decorated with dyed goat fur, bird feathers,
hornbill beaks, boar tusks, parts of animal
skulls, and anything symbolic of the warrior’s
bravery as a headhunter.
Rare items such as hornbill beaks and
feathers as well as certain rare animal
parts are worn like medals of the wearer’s
achievements. Headgear is particularly
important to the group leader as it must
strongly symbolise power and authority.
Another reason why the headgear
is so highly regarded is that the Moi, or
spiritual part of the deceased, lives in the
headgear. While I have not verified this
fact, it has been reported that according
to Naga belief, the human soul is divided
into the Yaha (the animal aspect) and Moi
(the spiritual aspect). When a Naga person
dies, the Yaha travels to the land of the
dead while the Moi remains in the village
and often takes to the headgear of the warriors.
An abundance of Moi is considered
beneficial to the prosperity and fertility of
The women mostly wear plain black,
blue, green, red and white blouses and
skirts with coloured bands. Most wear
elaborate necklaces and armbands.
According to a local printnews report,
the 2019 Naga New Year festival was attended
by 49 foreign travellers. The report
did not state how many locals attended,
but mentioned that “33 men and 16
women from countries such as Germany,
Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Australia,
France, Israel, the US, Canada, Czech Republic,
Italy, South Korea, and Spain joined
the Naga New Year festivities”.
According to records of the Sagaing
Region’s Department of Immigration and
Population, the number of tourists to Leshi
Township totalled 7 in 2011, 37 in 2012, 21
in 2013, 19 in 2014, 59 in 2015, 39 in 2017,
and 63 in 2018.”
After the fireworks, we all felt half-frozen.
January is mid-winter and this part of
Myanmar can get quite cold. We were glad
to arrive at our hotel and get to bed.
Article • Myanmar | 111
112 Globerovers · July 2019
Article • Myanmar | 113
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114 Globerovers · July 2019
THE RETURN JOURNEY
After spending three days with the
Naga people, it was time to return to Hkamti
for our flight back to Mandalay. The
drive back was uneventful and we made
sure to cross the river during the daytime.
Back in Hkamti we had time to quickly
explore the town before flying back to
Mandalay the next morning.
Hkamti is a rugged town and somehow
made me think of a typical lone-star
American midwest town of the 1960s.
As we walked through the dusty streets
filled with Kodak-moments around every
corner, we were looking for something
that we all expect in a lone-star town. Just
as we turned northwards along the muddy
shores of the Chindwin River, we saw it.
Large green, red and white signboards
announced our arrival at the “Beer Boy”
bar and restaurant. This dimly-lit social
hangout with metal tables and chairs is
known for its cold “Myanmar Beer”, the
best selling brand of beer in a country
where choices are limited. As we sat down,
we received a plate of peanuts and a small
serving of the famous Burmese tea-leaf
salad. On the house and repeatedly refilled,
this was just the place to be.
Hkamti treated us well with many
photos, friendly people, interesting food,
and of course the cold beer. The hotel
stay was uneventful but we all had a
well-deserved rest. After breakfast the
next morning it was time to head for the
nearby airport and fly back to Mandalay,
from where we all went home into different
I was glad that at last I had visited
Nagaland, in particular, to join in with the
New Years festival. It sure was an interesting
way to celebrate New Year and a trip
that I won’t easily forget. I hope you make
it to Nagaland one day and get to take part
in their festivals. GR
This tour was partially
ProNiti Travel in Yangon.
Contact them at
to book your tour to Nagaland.
Foreigners are currently allowed to travel
independently to Nagaland, however,
what is allowed today may not be allowed
tomorrow. This is Myanmar where rules
and regulations come and go without
much notice. Check with the Ministry of
Hotels and Tourism in Nay Pyi Taw at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Rent a 4X4 vehicle
with driver, or go with a local travel agency.
When to Go
The Nagaland New Year is held in mid-
January, the coldest time of the year.
Days are cool to warm and nights can get
quite cold. Best time to visit Nagaland is
November to April when it is dry and not
too hot. Summers are hot. Between June
to October, it will be rainy and muddy.
All-inclusive tours to the festival generally
include three meals, most of which
are served at your accommodation. Food
is generally good and you will likely find
many dishes you have never tried before.
Be open-minded and enjoy the local food.
The festival has many food & drink stands.
Whether you have your own vehicle or
you go with a travel agency, you need
wheels to get around. It is also possible
to get around on a motorbike. Roads are
mostly not paved so they can get very
dusty in the dry season, and extremely
muddy and may even be inaccessible in
the rainy season. In the festival grounds
and around town, get around on foot.
Where to Stay
If you plan your trip through a travel agency,
they will arrange everything, including
meals and accommodation. Depending
on which one of the three rotating towns
where the festival is held, accommodation
vary from fairly basic hotels to home
stays. Book in advance for the festival.
As most people will come here during the
winter’s New Year Festival, bring layered
clothing as the nights and mornings can
get cold, while days get warm. Accommodation
should have enough blankets
but may not provide a cover sheet so bring
along a travel sleep sheet or sleeping bag.
Nagaland is a remote part of the world
and many of the Naga people may never
have seen a camera. Mobile phones
with cameras are becoming common so
the concept of photography is becoming
less novel. Most people are not camera
shy and many participants at the festival
are happy to pose. As usual, for closeup
posed portraits, ask permission.
Nagaland is generally a safe destination
although there has been confl ict between
the Nagas and the Myanmar army and
police. Follow the advice of the tour guides
and locals and make sure to respect the
people, their culture, and the remoteness of
this mountainous region.
Cost of Travel
All-inclusive tours with travel agencies are
very pricey but as competition increases,
the fees are likely to decline. Several
agencies offer tours to the festival so
shop around. A small group of travellers
may fi nd it more affordable to rent a 4x4
with driver and arrange meals on arrival.
Article • Myanmar | 115
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Article • Myanmar | 87
Cruising with Crocodiles
in Australia’s Top End
Half an hour into the Victoria
River cruise and I’d already
seen more crocodiles than I’d
previously seen in my whole
life. Three hours later and I was in serious
danger of contracting the little-known crocodile
There is a reason the Victoria River, flowing
through the heart of the Northern Territory,
is known as Australia’s wildest river!
We rode the river past scenery so stunning—in
a hardcore Aussie Outback kind of
The 1971 Cruise Bus
Marion Halliday is Red Nomad OZ,
author, blogger and Aussie traveller who loves
discovering nature based attractions and activities
– and scenic loos – all over Australia.
Her Aussie travel expertise, photography
and the storytelling skills she developed in
corporate life come together in her Aussie
travel blog where the highlights (and lowlights)
of her many years of downunder travel provide
inspiration for other Aussie explorers.
Words & Photos by Marion Halliday
way—that it kept my shutter button humming.
It was so much fun, I nearly missed
the first crocodile of the cruise. But that’s
only part of my explanation for failing to
see the gargantuan six metre (about 20 feet)
muscular marauder—‘Lord Lizard’ to the
locals – sunning himself on the shore.
Turns out I’d actually seen him. But I just
thought the croc was an old tractor tyre lying
in the grass on the riverbank, seemingly so
fascinating the other tourists were taking
snaps of it. And then the penny dropped.
Crocodile-watching lesson #1 – don’t take
anything for granted!
As Lord Lizard slipped into the murky,
mud-stained water I guessed we were about
to find out just how crocodile-proof our
cruiser, the purpose-built MV Fleetwing,
The Victoria River Sunset cruise isn’t just
about the crocodiles. Or the sunsets. Or even
the cruise! After we boarded a nicely restored
1971 tour bus, complete with nicely aged
shock absorbers, we took a circuitous route
from the tour’s Croc Stock Shop starting
point to the jetty via some of Timber Creek’s
Just 600 kilometres (370 mi) south of
Darwin and an easy 289 kilometres (180
mi) drive south-west of Katherine along the
Victoria Highway, Timber Creek is almost in
the middle of Northern Australia, known to
us Aussies as the “Top End”. A small town of
about 250 permanent residents, it’s the real
Outback deal with an intriguing blend of
Indigenous, Colonial and Military history.
There’s the Escarpment lookout – a superb
spot for sunset watching—where a memorial
plaque tells of the Nackeroos, a Bush
Commando unit stationed here in World
War II, who worked with local Aboriginal
People to defend Australia’s coastline after
the Japanese bombing attacks in the Top End.
There are the Police Station Museum and
its historic memorabilia, including reminders
of a shameful past with the shackle and chain
used for Aboriginal prisoners still attached to
a tree outside.
There’s the Gregory Tree, a giant Boab
in the 13,000 km² Gregory National Park
named for explorer Augustus Charles
Gregory, whose expedition passed through
the area in the mid-1800s.
Then there’s the bridge across the Victoria
River – pedestrian traffic only unless you’re
on official business! Once I’d read the warning
signs, I figured I’d take my chances with
the crocodiles and use the bridge to test out
my long-range crocodile detecting skills and
admire the 560 kilometres (350 mi) long river.
118 Globerovers · July 2019
AUSTRALIA SPECIAL REPORT
And if the cruise doesn’t deliver up quite
enough crocodiles for you, just head down to
the creek behind the caravan parks in the late
evening for a freshwater crocodile feeding
Aboard the MV Fleetwing, I scanned the
swirling, crocodile-coloured waters where
Lord Lizard had sunk below the surface.
Perhaps I was just being paranoid, but wasn’t
“Whitey” the Croc
“Lord Lizard” the Croc
“Salty” the Saltwater Croc
it possible a prehistoric predator at the top of
the food chain with a killer combination of
ruthless cunning, environmental adaptation
and brute strength could easily take out a
small boatload of tourists?
But Lord Lizard must have had a better
offer because his gnarled and leathery hide
failed to reappear, and the MV Fleetwing
continued upstream with no crocodile collisions
the view. Despite
many of which
seemed to be personally known to our guide,
the scenery just kept getting better and better.
In that hardcore Aussie Outback kind of way!
The chances of seeing a broad cross-section
of Australia’s only two crocodile species
on this tour are better than average.
“Salties’ ie Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus
porosus) are big with a wide snout,
whereas “Freshies” ie Freshwater crocodiles
(Crocodylus johnstoni) are generally smaller
with a narrow snout and smaller teeth. But
don’t be fooled into thinking their common
names describe their habitat – they’re both
found in abundance on the Victoria River,
and in many waterways throughout the Top
On full crocodile alert aboard our crocproof
cruiser, I was far less likely to become
one of Australia’s annual average
of two fatal crocodile attacks than
a) swim in known crocodile
habitats (ie pretty much all the Top
b) feed crocs for selfies;
c) camp, clean fish or leave food
near the water’s edge; or
d) ignore the warning signs.
After passing Whitey and Old
Broken Jaw (those names are selfexplanatory,
aren’t they?) lying on
the riverbanks as crocodiles do
when they’re digesting whatever
they last ate, smaller freshwater
crocodiles with their deceptively
dopey demeanour began to appear
on the river’s gravel islands and
The massive Saltwater crocodiles
are far more dangerous than
Freshwater crocodiles to large
mammals (think kangaroos, cows,
humans) but if the Victoria River
wasn’t discriminating between the
two species, then neither was I.
I’d heard that smaller freshies
Contribution • Australia | 119
are ‘safe’ to swim with – what’s a bite or two
between friends? – but I wasn’t offering to
be the first human to disprove that theory
because just the thought of swimming with
them gave me the cold shivers.
Happily, swimming wasn’t an option on
the cruise which meant I could enjoy the late
afternoon’s golden glow as it lit up the Yambarrin
Ranges. As the 35 kilometres (~22
mi) to our date with a red-hot sunset came
to an end, the MV Fleetwing docked at what
would probably look like a flimsy pontoon to
a five or six-metre crocodile. With a flimsy
narrow gangplank and equally flimsy fence
around the deck.
But after a hard couple of hours cruising
and croc-watching on the river, I had more
important things to do than worry about the
wildlife. Things like snacking, drinking and
sunset watching. And things like – uh-oh.
Exactly what do you do and where do you go
when nature calls and you’re in the middle of
a crocodile-infested river?
Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t the first person
to ask that question and the pontoon’s full
potential became clear. Alligator amenities?
Crocodile conveniences? Or Wildlife
WC? Whatever you decide to call it, there’s
something quite surreal about doing your
business on Australia’s wildest river with just
that flimsy pontoon between you and the
Just 90 kilometres (55 mi) east of Timber
Creek and right on the river crossing, the
Victoria River Roadhouse is surrounded by
Gregory National Park, 13,000 km² (over 3
million acres) of Top End wilderness and
heart of the Victoria River Region. It’s an
easy day trip from Timber Creek, but the
campground also makes a great base from
which to see more of that hardcore Aussie
Outback kind of scenery and explore its
natural attractions. It’s close to the Escarpment
Lookout and Joe Creek Loop trails, and
although they have some steep sections, it’s
Victoria River from Escarpment Lookout
Pontoon and Loo
Victoria River Roadhouse
120 Globerovers · July 2019
worth it for the spectacular views, stunning
scenery, Indigenous Art and endless red
The Victoria River, a fisherman’s paradise
if you can keep the crocodiles away from
your barramundi, is easily accessible as is the
network of 4WD tracks through the park.
Eating at the roadhouse can be an exercise
in multiculturalism with both staff and visitors
from all around the world. I was so pleasantly
surprised by how many activities I fitted
into my overnight (and nearly 24 hours) stay,
and would love to have spent more time here
before the short drive to Timber Creek.
So there I was. I’d eaten, drunk and
answered natures call on a pontoon in the
middle of a magnificent waterway flowing
through a wild and remote frontier. The day’s
heat had died away, and water lapped gently
at the boat as the light of the afternoon sun
painted the distant ranges with a golden
glow. Wallabies grazed on the banks and
birds settled down to roost as the sun slowly
sank towards the escarpments.
Peaceful. Serene. Tranquil.
Could anything possibly make this picture
“Don’t you wish one of those crocodiles
would attack a wallaby,” the man behind me
whispered to his wife as they gazed across
the water. “It’d be great to see some action.”
Silly me. There’s apparently no situation
that a healthy dose of blood and guts won’t
But unhappily for my bored fellow tour
participant, the crocodiles stayed put as
we left the pontoon and boarded the MV
Fleetwing for the 90 minutes or so it would
take to return to Timber Creek. The sun set
behind the ranges as we sped back upstream,
the sky’s glorious colour intensifying around
us while the moon slowly rose ahead.
And for a few magic moments, Australia’s
wildest river was the most civilised place on
Marion Halliday blogs as
“Australia by Red Nomad OZ” at
Follow Marion @rednomadoz on Twitter,
Pinterest, Linked, and Flickr.
Buy her book: “Aussie Loos with Views!” at
Amazon.com, eBay and at
Gregory National Park
Contribution • Australia | 121
9 Destinations in South America
The South American continent is unquestionably a destination that will make you fall in love with life. The Latino way of life with
food, music and dance, is addictive. The landscapes are overwhelming and inspiring. It is hard to select just nine of the best destinations.
In addition to the popular destinations, many less visited destinations and experiences are waiting to be enjoyed by the
intrepid traveller. South America, you are awesome!
Patagonia is a sparsely populated region at the southern end of
Argentina comprising the southern section of the Andes mountains
and the deserts, pampas and grasslands to the east. Most visitors
are blown away by the jagged mountaintops, glaciers and wildlife.
One of the best areas to experience wildlife is Peninsula Valdés.
The peninsula is known for its large breeding populations of
southern right whales, southern elephant seals, southern sea lions
and thousands of nesting penguins. Patagonia has hundreds of
glaciers. Among the most impressive are the Perito Moreno and
Upsala glaciers. Landscape photographers will be in heaven!
Salar de Uyuni
Named after the shells of saddlebacked Galápagos tortoises, the
Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed
around the equator, almost 1,000 km (621 mi) west of continental
Ecuador. The islands are famed for their endemic species
studied by Charles Darwin which supported his theory of evolution
by natural selection back in the 1830s.
A four-hour flight from Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, takes you
right into the main island of Santa Cruz. The best way to experience
these natural wonders is to board a live-aboard boat for a
week or two. Boats sail at night between the many islands and offer
daytime hiking and diving among land and sea creatures. The
most amazing experience on the Galapagos Islands is that the
animals have little fear of humans. A must visit in South America.
In the remote southwest corner of Bolivia lies the world’s largest
salt flats, surrounded by a rugged area known for its natural scenery
and wildlife, including flamingos, llamas, guanacos and vicuña.
Salar de Uyuni, the salt flats, has a surface area of more than
10,500 square kilometres (4,054 sq mi). While in the dry season
the salt lake is nothing but a massive dry salt flat, during the
rainy season it transforms into a vast shallow water-filled lake
with beautiful mirror reflections. Located at an altitude of 3,656
m (12,000 ft) above sea level, this region is remote, unique, and
inhospitable. The area is known for its scenery with dormant
volcanoes, snow-capped mountain peaks, turquoise lakes, weird
rock formations, deserts, natural thermal baths, and volcanic active
areas complete with fierce fumaroles and boiling mud pots.
122 Globerovers · July 2019
Beaches & Islands
This 15th century Inca citadel is located
on a mountain ridge 2,430 m (7,972
ft) above sea level in the mountains
of south-central Peru. Constructed as
the royal estate for the Inca emperor
Pachacuti (1438–1472), it was abandoned
by its inhabitants about a century
later. The Spanish invaders never knew
about it and so it remained unknown to
the outside world until the famous discovery
by the American academic, explorer
and politician, Hiram Bingham III, in 1911.
The authentic way to reach the old city is
a 3-day trek via the original Inca trail.
The coastline of Brazil measures 7,491
km (4,655 mi), which makes it the 16th
longest national coastline of the world.
The long coastline is dotted with many
beautiful beaches, and in addition to
Brazil’s many idyllic islands, it will take a
lifetime to visit all the beaches and islands
Leave the famous, crowded, crime-ridden
beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema
and head either north or south of Rio to
the many unspoiled beaches and islands.
Too many to mention here!
The spectacular Iguazú Falls lie on the
tri-junction of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
While most of the river flows through
Brazil, the largest section (about 80%) of
the falls is on the Argentinian side.
While it is easy to watch the plunging
waters all day long from several vantage
points, there are a lot more things to do
at Iguazú Falls than simply to marvel at
their beauty. Take the boat into the Devil’s
Throat close to the thunderous falls and
get very wet. On the Brazilian side is an
impressive bird park with dense jungle.
Tayrona National Park in northern Colombia
is a protected area covering the foothills
of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
mountain range as they meet the tropical
Caribbean coast. The park is known for
its palm-shaded coves, coastal lagoons,
rainforest and a rich biodiversity. Take
along your hammock and sleep between
the palm trees. Beaches are stunning to
say the least. Hike a tiny forest trail to get
to the Pueblito ruins with its terraces and
structures built by the Tayrona civilization
who flourished in this area between 200
AD and 1600 AD.
Covering a 1,000 km (621 mi) strip of land
on the Pacific Coast, west of the Andes
mountains, the Atacama Desert takes the
prize for being the world’s driest, as well
as one of earth’s most surreal adventure
Among the desert’s many diverse terrestrial
offerings are spurting geysers, windsculpted
golden dunes perfect for surfing,
salt lagoons, and cliffs of colourfully
striped strata known as Rainbow Valley. It
is rich in fauna and flora and is undeniably
a photographer’s wonderland.
During the 1940s and 50s the people of
Uruguay became prosperous due to their
exports of wool and beef, and with much
disposable income they imported many
cars from Europe and the United States.
However, a lengthy economic downturn
brought their fortunes to a halt by the late
50s, and since then they have been forced
to keep, and maintain, whatever vehicles
they had. After many years the Uruguayans
realized that they prefer old sturdy
cars! All over Uruguay you will see Ford,
Chevy, Plymouth, Studebaker, Opel,
Austin, DKW, Fiat, and even horse carts!
Guangxi Region, China
124 Globerovers · July 2019
The Guangxi Days
China’s Guangxi autonomous region is known for its
landscapes, minority groups, and delicious cuisines.
The area around the towns of Guilin
and Yangshuo is famous for
its peculiarly shaped peaks, the
meandering Li River, small tranquil
villages of ethnic minority groups, vast
rice terraces, and most notably, the local
aromatic Guangxi food.
Guilin is packed with noteworthy sights
including day and night cruises on the
Li River, Elephant Trunk Hill, Diecai Hill,
Pagoda Hill, Fubo Hill, “Tombs of the
Prince” from the Jingjiang Ming Dynasty
(1368-1644), and several spectacular caves
including Lu Di Yan (the Red Flute Cave),
Guanyan (Crown Cave), Water Moon Cave,
and Seven Star Cave. In fact, you can easily
spend a week in and around the town of
Guilin, before getting on the boat south to
The people of the Guangxi Province are
multinational with a total population of
about 45 million. Besides the Han people,
there are several ethnic minority groups including
the Zhuang, Dong, Yao, Miao, Tong,
Maonan, Yi, and the Shui. Stop by (or stay
over) in the colourful Huang Luo Yao village
for a dance performance by long-haired
women and pretty girls. Gaze at the mud
ploughing water buffaloes while sipping on
local Chinese tea.
Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 125
Floating down the Li River
The boat trip on the Li River from Guilin to
Yangshuo will likely be the most memorable
part of any visit to the Guangxi Province, if not
all of China! The four-and-a-half-hour river trip
on the 83 kilometre (52 mi) stretch winds past
hundreds of gorgeous karst peaks which offer
surprises at each bend. Water buffaloes and
farmers work the muddy fields, peasants reap
their rice paddies, school kids and cormorant
fishermen float by on their bamboo rafts. This
is top notch breathtaking scenery!
The eye-feasting karst landscape, country
farming, and village-life scenery will keep you
snapping more photos than you expected.
Along the river and outside the town of Yangshuo,
many fishermen still rely on the cormorants’ fishing
skills for their daily catch. This human-bird coop-living
can also be found in Japan and even in Macedonia.
A snare is tied near the base of the bird’s
throat which allows the bird to breathe, but not to
swallow the fish.
126 Globerovers · July 2019
The Li River
Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 127
128 Globerovers · July 2019
The boat trip from Guilin ends on the outskirts
of the enchanting (albeit touristy)
town of Yangshuo. With several guesthouses
and hotels, this is the place to base yourself for
a few days to explore the surrounding villages
and stunning mountain scenery. In town, the
famous “West Street” is lined with Chinese restaurants,
western cafes, fruit stores, and coffee
shops. This street never sleeps and is an excellent
place for people watching, not to mention
the excellent cheap food and local beer.
Rent a mountain bike in Yangshuo and head
in any direction. Cycle along the river northwards
through several small villages, or
head south to Moon Hill which offers a short
but tough climb. From the top, the views are
spectacular and under a mysterious layer of
haze and fog, you will find tranquil scenery
comprised of levelled rice terraces and villages.
Explore the small paths leading to these
villages, and get lost while tasting the rural
Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 129
Longsheng Rice Terraces
For the most surreal experience, head north of
Guilin to the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces
(Longji Terraces) in Longsheng county.
Construction of these terraces began in the
Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and continued
until the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In
spring, the stagnant water renders the terraces
as ribbons on the hillsides while in summer
the green waves are shockingly brilliant. In
autumn it is decorated with gold and in winter
the terraces are covered in white snow.
Longji is a great area to experience China’s
ethnic minorities’ culture. The Zhuang and Yao
people live here. Visitors can attend their cultural
shows which include dancing and singing.
Stay in one of the few small guesthouses in
the villages of Long Ji and Ping An and explore
the surrounding terraces and hills. It is
also possible to have a homestay with a local
family enjoying Longji tea and Longji wine.
130 Globerovers · July 2019
Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 131
The Dragon’s Backbone (Longji Terraces) in Longsheng country, north of
Guilin city, are famous for its beautiful rice terraces, colourful ethnic minorities
such as the Zhuang and the Yao people, and their good food. Stay
in a small guesthouse or a homestay with a local family and explore the
beautiful scenery. Every season is photogenic, however, February to July
can be very rainy while September to December is more dry but colder with
possible snow in December. Late May and April are the greenest while mid
to late September is golden-yellow before harvest time.
132 Globerovers · July 2019
Photo Essay • Guangxi, China | 133
134 Globerovers · July 2019
Canada’s best hidden train journey
Lillooet, British Columbia
Words and Photos by Yrene Dee, a Lumby (British Columbia, Canada), based writer and adventurer.
The train adventure starts
in the small town of
Lillooet, a special place
surrounded by towering
mountains, deep canyons, roaring
rivers and crystal clear lakes. This
unique piece of heaven situated along
the mighty Fraser River captured
my heart the fi rst time I was in town.
Lillooet is accessible via the famous
Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver.
The rich history of Lillooet began
with the people of the St’àtäimc Nation
that continue to live in the area today.
Much later during the British Columbia
gold rush of 1860, Lillooet was Mile “0”
on the Cariboo Pavilion Road, the fi rst
wagon road to be surveyed in BC and
the route to the Cariboo gold fi elds.
When you travel through Lillooet
in July and August you will notice the
rock shelf in the Fraser River near
the town dotted with orange and
blue tarpaulins. The site belongs to
the Aboriginal people who still come
every summer to gather their salmon
for the winter as the fi sh make their
way upriver to spawn. You will notice
old drying racks scattered around the
banks of the river canyon.
often impassable. If you’re fortunate
enough to get on the ride you will
be amazed. The train runs along the
edge of Seaton Lake next to impressive
rock faces and cliffs and connects
passengers between Lillooet and
Seton Portage, every day of the week.
Most of the passengers travel between
the two towns for work, for family visits
and for shopping.
The Kaoham Shuttle is not meant
to be a tourist attraction and priority
to board the train is given to the local
people. Therefore, getting a spot on
this train is a privilege.
I soon found out that patience
and plenty of time were necessary if I
wanted to venture on this iconic train
journey. At the Lillooet Railway station,
I was told to phone the reservation
number listed at the door to get on the
shuttle the next day, but no one answered
my call. Booking ahead doesn’t
always seem to work and I waited
around until noon when fi nally the Kaoham
Suttle arrived from Seaton.
I was happy to talk to the friendly
train driver before he headed back
towards Seaton at around 3:30 pm
the same day. “I’ve been running the
shuttle for sixteen years and would like
to retire”, he said, “but no one wants to
take over my job”. That made me think
and wonder how much longer this train
journey will be available. I made sure
to let the driver know that I wanted to
get on the shuttle the next day, whatever
Apart from Friday’s, there is only
one train run per day, Seaton Portage
to Lillooet and back to Seaton, so I
had to look for accommodation.
The train journey on the Kaoham
Shuttle is something you won’t experience
anywhere else. For the local
people, it remains a vital service in
an area where backcountry roads are
The railway track follows the edge of Seaton Lake
Globerovers •· July 2019
I finally got ahold of the Lil’tem’
Mountain Hotel to find out that it was
fully booked by BC Hydro workers but
was promised that there was an empty
trailer in town I could rent for a night.
The next day at 3:30 pm I boarded
the train with a few locals. There
wasn’t much space in the tiny passenger
train this afternoon. The space
next to the driver was filled with packages,
groceries and other supplies
and was also used by the driver to do
The one car carriage followed the
old train tracks along the base of one
of the sheerest mountain rock cliffs
with a view of the beautiful jade green
shimmering lake. The little train puffed
through the spectacular backcountry
and made a few whistle and photo
stops along the way. The driver slowed
the train to point out eagles, mountain
goats, and even a black bear far in the
distance. The finale highlight before
arrival at Seaton Portage was the 1.2
kilometres (0.75 mi) hollowed tunnel
dug into the base of the mountain. The
impressive journey lasted just over an
After arrival in the small town,
I stopped in at the Lil’em’Mountain
Hotel to get the directions to my trailer
accommodation. Later I checked out
the Highline Pub & Restaurant, found
a small grocery store, and met friendly
locals. This tiny community is a piece
of heaven in the deep backcountry of
British Columbia, a special place to
For a different adventure, I caught a
ride with friendly locals back to Lillooet
along Mission Road the next morning.
The steep gravel road cut into the edge
of the mountain took us to the tiny community
of Shalalth and past the massive
Bridge River Generating Station.
From the top of Mission Mountain, the
road dropped down to Carpenter Lake
with plenty of switchbacks and incredible
views. The drive back to Lillooet
was a 72 kilometres (45 mi) journey
and took as just over two hours.
I know for sure that for the five dollars
the train journey cost me I would
have never been able to experience a
more breathtaking train ride anywhere
else. It was worth every second of
waiting around at the train station.
If you enjoyed this story and are
Lillooet Train Station
interested in learning more about
backcountry Canada please visit my
There you will find many guides and
insider tips for exploring the Canadian
Inside Koahan Shuttle
The start of the train journey in Lillooet
Yrene is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in
Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and travelled the
world before she settled in Canada. She is an entrepreneur, wilderness
nut, and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places.
Follow Yrene on Twitter @backcountrycana, Facebook @ backcountrycanada, and
Contribution • Canada |137
Ta st yTraveller's Treats
Authentic, affordable, clean food is every traveller’s dream.
Enjoy these tasty morsels from far-away places.
138 Globerovers · July 2019
Hong Kong Mynmar
Myanmar Sabah Hong Kong
140 Globerovers · July 2019
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Serious questions to ask yourself
Volunteer Tourism, quaintly
nicknamed “voluntourism”, is a
booming travel trend estimated
to be worth $2.6 billion and
involve over 20 million travellers annually.
A growing number of people (especially
millennials but reaching all demographics)
are unsatisfied with their vacations being
all about them and wish to “give back” to
the communities they are travelling in. It
can seem like a win-win situation, both
being a more immersive kind of travel and
By Claire Bennett, Learning Service
Claire lives and works in Kathmandu, Nepal, and freelances
as a trainer and consultant. She is passionate about global
education, ethical travel and ensuring good intentions are
put to good use.
Claire recently released her book: Learning Service: The
Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad.
For more information about volunteering, visit
also of benefit to others, but in fact it can
be complex to get it right, and there are a
few ethical issues to consider to ensure that
your good intentions are put to good use.
Volunteer trips can be a hugely rewarding
form of travel, but they can’t be
undertaken lightly. In this post, we share
some important questions that will help
you decide if volunteering is for you, and
help you pinpoint what you would like to
get out of the experience.
Question 1: What has attracted you
to volunteering abroad?
It is important to be honest about your
motivations to ensure you have a successful
and satisfactory time volunteering. Try to
identify a combination of motivations that
relate to both what you want to give and
If you are drawn to volunteering from
a desire for adventure, or snazzy brochures
of elephant trekking in exotic locations,
take a step back and ask yourself if what
you really need is a vacation. Volunteering
is hard work! Even though you may be in a
wonderful place and will also have time to
explore, the reality is that you may spend
the majority of your time in an office or
doing manual labour.
If you find you are mainly motivated
by the thought of doing some good in the
world, remember to be realistic about the
amount that you can contribute with the
time and the skills that you have. Even if
you plan to volunteer for many months,
you are likely to make only a small contribution
to bigger changes that will be led by
If your interest in volunteering mainly
stems from your desire to learn and for
personal growth, be sure that you are honest
with the organization that you volunteer
with. You may want to look for a program
with good training programs and systems
142 Globerovers · July 2019
Question 2: What are your core
To really ensure that what you offer as
a volunteer will make a difference, think
about volunteering in a field in which you
have some expertise. There is a need for
accountants, computer technicians and
nurses everywhere in the world! Even if
you don’t feel that you are an expert in
anything, there will always be skills that
you have and can offer – such as being a
whizz with social media or the ability to
edit documents in English.
You may wish to have a stint volunteering
in order to get a break from your normal
work and try your hand at something
new. While there is nothing wrong with
that, be sure that you are clear with the volunteer
organization about your limitations,
and never seek to practice beyond your
skill set. If you are learning a new skill try
to take the position of intern or assistant,
supporting qualified local staff members.
Question 3: What are your passions?
Think about what you love doing.
When do you feel most engaged, connected,
and alive? When were the times in your
life that you have been really enraged about
an issue or motivated about a change you’d
like to see in the world?
Every passion – dancing, programming,
good practice in management, campaigning
to reduce the amount of plastic in the
ocean – can be enhanced and channeled
into supporting a good cause. One of our
favorite quotes is from Howard Thurman,
who said, “Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and then
go and do that, as what the world needs is
people who have come alive.”
Question 4: What impact do you
want to have on the world?
If there is a change you would like to
see, or an injustice you would like to challenge,
be sure to avoid the trap of assuming
that you know all about the issue before you
have experienced it firsthand. Be open to
learning from local people, changing your
mind, and even “unlearning” some things
you thought to be true. For example, if you
are a huge advocate of organic farming and
have plenty of technical skills from experience
in your own country, it is crucial to
find out how cultural, climatic or economic
issues may affect the perspective of organic
We also encourage you to think about
how an experience abroad might affect your
ability to make long-term changes, looking
beyond the immediate effects of your trip.
Will you learn skills, such as movementbuilding
or effective fund-raising, which
will enable you to continue to contribute to
this cause in the future?
Considering these questions is a great
first step in deciding how to (and whether
to) take a volunteer trip abroad.
Good luck with whatever you choose!
Learning Service: The Essential
Guide to Volunteering Abroad
is full of advice on how to volunteer
abroad ethically. It is available to
buy from Amazon.
Contribution • Volunteering | 143
Po st c a r ds
My first postcard to you comes
from the beaches of Ksamil,
ALBANIA. Located in the far
south of Albania, the area is referred
to as the Albania Reviera,
and locally known as Bregu.
Mom, the food is good and the
beaches really beautiful. All along
the coast are secret beaches
with few tourists, so I love it here
very much. I love the Albanian
wine too. Wine is so affordable
here and so potent. I am often
Om Suastiastu Mom,
Greetings from Bali,
Indonesia. I am studying the
Mom, I know you won’t
like this postcard photo but
I thought its quite funny.
I walked down the street
near the Taman Ayun
Temple in BALI when I
saw it. I have no idea what
it means and what it is
about. Love ya, Lizzy
Salaam Alaikum Mom,
Mom, I am exploring the
many tiny blue alleys of
ROCCO. Almost the
entire town is painted in
powdery blue. If you paint
your house any colour but
this blue, I bet they will
destroy you in minutes.
144 Globerovers · July 2019
... by Lizzy
I’m in the Caribbean—in
Cuba. Mom, its an island
with a bad history, nice
people, very old cars and
buildings, and incredibly
beautiful beaches. I’m
now sitting on the beach
at Playas de Este to
the east of Havana,
CUBA. Mom, I’m a bit
drunk again. The Cuban
rum and cigars are so
Love you totally, Liz
I’m now at one of the world’s most unspoiled beaches, with no resorts
and no people on the beach. I’m in southern MYANMAR.
No name because this is my secret beach! Lovies, Lizzy
I know mom does not
like creepy frogs, but this
froggy is a real cutie. It is a
Red-eyed Leaf Frog, and I
found him in the jungles of
Monteverde in COSTA
RICA. He looks poisonous
but he is not, so I touched
Postcards to Mommy |
More Postcards to Mommy
Mom, I am at an amazing
festival with very few
tourists, but many local
people from the jungle.
This man dances in the
Pines Power SingSing
Group at the festival in
Goroka, PAPUA NEW
GUINEA. People used
to be cannibals, so I look
sour all day.
Gotto run, Lizzy
I’m at a boat in Khao Sok National Park, in
southern THAILAND. So peaceful and beautiful
here! Luv ya, Lizzy
Salaam alaykum Mom,
I know you won’t believe
I am in SYRIA, but you
know me. I am tough and
brave. This is the Citadel
in Aleppo. Built between
the 3rd millennium BC and
12th century AD, it was
much damaged during the
Don’t worry Mom, Lizzy
146 Globerovers · July 2019
... by Lizzy
Salaam alaykum Mom,
Mom, how would you like to live in the cute village of Masuleh, in
northern IRAN. It is in the mountains not far from the Caspian Sea, the
world’s largest inland body of water. But Mom, the water is salty almost
like the sea. Love you, Lizzy
I bought you this postcard before the Notre Dame Cathedral
in Paris, FRANCE caught fire on 15 April 2019.
Mom, this church has been so badly damaged by the fire.
Au revoir Mom, Lizzy
Anyoung haseyo Mom,
I am in NORTH KOREA.
What a bizarre place but
such an eye-opener. It is
not nearly as strict as I
thought, as long as I play
carefully by the rules,
or else I’ll be sent to the
hard-labour camps. Today
I visited the Korean War
Museum in Pyongyang
and bought you this postcard.
Mom, someone will
check my postcard before
I mail it so I can’t write the
Your crazy daughter Lizzy.
Postcards to Mommy | 147
A GlobeRovers Q&A with the luxury traveller from a popular blog: LandLopers.com
Matt Long of LandLopers.com
Matt Long is an experiential luxury
traveler at heart and shares his adventures
with thousands of readers every
day through his award winning site
LandLopers.com. As someone who has
a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels
the world in order to share tips on where
to go, what to see and how to experience
the best the world has to offer. Based in
Washington, DC, Matt has been to more
than 95 countries and all 7 continents.
Matt is also the host of the weekly
Explore the World Travel Podcast.
GR: Where do you wish you were right now?
ML: I love the South Pacific, fascinating cultures, great food and of
course those views....
GR: Among those countries you have not yet visited, which ones
are at the top of your “must do” list?
ML: Would love to go to: Portugal, see more of Japan, Vietnam, Argentina
GR: If you could spend the rest of your life somewhere other than
your current home country, which country would that be?
ML: Probably France. I love the country, it’s easy to get to other places,
the food is amazing, there are scores of interesting towns and cities to
visit —there are many reasons really.
GlobeRovers (GR): We talked with Matt Long about his travels and
started by asking how many countries he has visited.
Matt Long (ML): I don’t like the tendency of some travelers to visit
new places just for the checkmark. I go to places that interest me, it’s
that simple. Many times they’re new countries but just as often they’re
countries I’ve been to several times before. That being said, I’ve been
to around 90-95 countries depending on how you count and all 7
GR: What are your top 5 most preferred countries for leisure travel?
ML: Iceland, South Africa, France, Thailand and Australia.
GR: Which is your most preferred country for travel and why?
ML: The US, it’s where I live and I think has a little bit of everything.
Other than my home country, I always enjoy being in Iceland. I’ve been
5 times and every trip is a new adventure with new thing to see and do.
The Whitsunday Islands, Australia
GR: Please tell us about the most incredible and memorable experience
you have ever had while travelling?
ML: My first trip overseas when I spent the afternoon away from the
school group and got to know Paris in my own way. It was important
to get out and be independent and that’s why I think I love the city so
GR: Based on your travel experiences, if you were to recommend the
one most amazing destination for intrepid travellers, which place
would that be, and why?
ML: Iceland again has to be my answer. The country honestly has a
little something for everyone, especially travelers eager to get off the
beaten path and make new discoveries. Once you leave Reykjavik and
the South Coast driving route, you very much have the country to
148 Globerovers · July 2019
Table Mountain and Cape Town, South Africa
GR: Which people by nationality or subgroup would you say have
been the most hospitable during your travels and why do you say so?
ML: One of the best lessons I’ve learned from my years of travel is that,
for the most part, people everywhere are genuinely kind and caring.
I’ve had amazing moments of hospitality all over the world, including
in some countries that may not have a strong reputation for welcoming
GR: Let’s get a bit more personal. Do you have any “must take”
items when you travel that you think most travellers don’t think of?
ML: It’s probably not unique, but I swear by my travel power strip. It’s
compact, has plenty of outlets and USB ports which means that even
if my hotel room has just one outlet, I can charge everything. It’s been
GR: What is your favourite travel resource on the Internet?
ML: It’s funny, whenever I visit a new city I go very old school, go to the
bookstore and buy the Frommer’s Day-By-Day City Guide for that destination.
They’re great little books, compact with tons of great information.
BUT, if we’re talking Internet only, I get a lot of value of asking folks
on Twitter and Instagram for their top travel tips in specific destinations.
GR: Let’s talk about food. Which one country that you visited has
the best food in the world?
ML: I can’t pick one so here are some of my personal favorites: Germany
(Swabian cuisine), Thailand (anything) and Italy (go to Bologna
and eat everything).
GR: Where was the best meal you have ever had during your travels?
ML: My favorite meal was the first time I had expertly prepared Peking
Duck, which happened to be when I was visiting Taipei, Taiwan. It’s
still one of my favorite meals.
GR: And where was the worst food during your travels?
ML: I can’t stand fish or seafood and yet, so many times, I’ve been
presented with it on my travels. I can usually get out of eating it, but
whenever I can’t it’s pure misery.
GR: What is the weirdest place you have ever spent a night?
ML: I actually enjoying spending the night in quirky accommodations
and I’ve been to my fair share of odd spots, but the strangest for me
was the ice hotel in Alta, Norway. Everyone romanticizes ice hotels, but
actually spending the night in one is fairly uncomfortable and a little
creepy. (Continues on the next page).
Machu Picchu, Peru
Pontiac, Illinois, along Route 66, USA
GR: Based on all your travel experiences, what is the best tip you can
offer to new travellers?
ML: Just go. It doesn’t matter where you go, all travel, even to a spot 30
minutes from home, is worthwhile. Don’t be fooled by platforms like
Instagram into thinking that there’s a right way to travel, there isn’t.
Just go where you want and do what interests you and everything else
will fall into place.
GR: What is the single best lesson you have learned about the world
during your travels? ML: The vast majority of people around the
world are good. At the end of the day we all want the same things from
life: to be happy, for our family members to be happy and to live a good
life. Because of that, we all have much more in common than we do
GR: What is the main focus of your travels?
ML: To see as much of the world as I can and to learn as much as is
GR: You have a popular travel blog and you have a strong social
media following. Some posts are much liked and reposted while
others are not. What do you think makes a travel post popular?
ML: You know, it’s not something I’ve ever worried about. I’ve just created
content that I like and that I’m proud of and hoped other people
would like it too. If you try to create popular content, you’ll always fail.
GR: Travel bloggers who visit intrepid, off-the-beaten-track destinations,
or secret city spots, often have a hard time deciding on
whether they should keep the secret, or broadcast it to the world to
gain lots of attention and new followers (and likely change that secret
location and its people’s lives forever). What are your thoughts
on this? Should we keep the secrets?
ML: I enjoy sharing my travels and I did it well before I had a blog. It’s
just part of who I am and I don’t think I’m despoiling a destination by
sharing it with others. The fact is, there really aren’t any secret spots
around the world, just less popular ones.
GR: Please tell us briefly about your new travel podcast and what
you are planning for the next episodes.
ML: I am very excited about my podcast and I am so glad that I
started it. I’ve been running LandLopers for 9 years and frankly, I
needed to shake things up a bit. I needed to add in a new creative
challenge, and for me that’s been podcasting. It allows me to share the
150 Globerovers · July 2019
travel experience in a completely different way and I love the mental
challenge involved with organizing an episode based on my travels.
I’m also interviewing travel experts in a variety of subjects in an effort
to provide as much useful and interesting information as I can. Future
• Great American Weekend Getaway Destinations
• How To Find The Best Travel Deals
• Visiting the Bahamas
• Travel Photography Tips
• Visiting Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks
• Healthy Travel tips
• and many more to come...
The Explore the World Travel Podcast publishes every Sunday afternoon
and is available wherever you listen to podcasts.
GR: And finally, where are you off to next?
ML: I always have a trip planned! My next trip is a road trip visiting
Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks. Then I’m heading to California to
attend a conference in June and later on in June I’m taking a fun river
cruise from Budapest to Linz, Austria.
GR: Thanks Matt for sharing your travel wisdom with us. Safe
travels and keep up with your exciting Travel Podcast. Keep up with
your social media posts too and inspire people to travel the world.
Floating hut, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Follow Matt Long
Now available at
Amazon.com and Goodreads.com
Lost Angel in Paradise
by Linda Ballou
Subscribe to Linda‛s blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com to
receive updates on her books, travel destinations and events
Globerovers Magazine talks with Linda Ballou about her
newly-released book: Lost Angel in Paradise.
Linda is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel
articles on her site www.LostAngelAdventures.com.
You will also find information about her travel memoir,
Lost Angel Walkabout—One Traveler’s Tales.
GlobeRovers Magazine (GM): What inspired you to write this
Linda Ballou (LB): I love to hike and wander alone. I am fully engaged
when I am in a state of exploration. However, I do love to share
my adventures with friends and this is a way that I can. It is my gift to
all who have asked me to take them with me.
GM: I read your first travel collection “Lost Angel Walkabout” and
loved it, however this book is very different. You provide historical
details, poetic descriptions, and a good place to dine at the end of
beautiful day. It seems to be a cross between a trail guide and nonfiction
LB: Yes, I have been exploring the coast of California for that last
couple of decades. It gives me pleasure to share a well-rounded experience
with a tasty treat at the end of day. Some of these pieces are
remnants of an article I have written about a region, and others are
personal essays reflecting upon the inner journey. Most are a combination
of both genres. I am experimenting with delivering my stories
in a way that works with mobile aps. People are living off their phones
because it is handy for them. The chapters in this booklet are short
and sweet, yet capture the essence of a given outing. I don’t attempt
to give specifics, rather I provide links to sites where readers can get
maps and detailed directions. All the information they need is at their
fingertips. Plus, the table of contents is “live” which allows people to
jump to the chapter that holds interest for them with a click.
GM: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was
LB: I learned a great deal about how to create a book that works with
a mobile AP. I am not that techy myself, but it is exciting to make use
of different mediums. There are 33 images in this book. I am very
pleased to have the kindle option with a free AP, and Itunes- Applebooks
that takes readers to their phones available. I found a fabulous
person online who helped me with the formatting and navigating the
process. The book is also available in print format with images.
GM: How did you come up with the title?
LB: Like 17 million other angels, I am lost to the metropolis of Los
Angeles. I have talked for years about leaving L.A., but it doesn’t look
like that will happen. Instead, I have become an adventure travel
writer and L.A. works as a very good base for that occupation. In
addition, my travels have taught me that L.A. is not so bad. I live ten
miles from Malibu with long strands of sandy beach and water warm
enough to swim from April to October. My home is located in the
heart of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, the largest urban
preserve in the U.S. with miles and miles of trails
for me to wander. Traffic, floods, fires and mudslides
aside it’s a great place to live!
GM: Is there a message in your book you would like
readers to grasp.
LB: Yes, I want them get the idea that nature can be
our salvation. Urban life is hectic with long commutes
that don’t leave a lot of time for reflection at the end of
the day. We need to balance our lives with “unplugged
time” that allows our minds to relax. We need time
to digest all the stimuli we receive. This quiet time
enables the creative process which decodes and helps
152 Globerovers · July 2019
Arroyo Burro—Santa Barbara
Carpinteria Beach south of Santa Barbara
releases all that intake. Walking/hiking is a form of mediation, not
just something that will help keep your body fit. It will get the rust off
GM: Are there any new authors that have grasped your theory that
LB: Sure. Scott Stillman has a new book out titled Wilderness: The
Gateway to the Soul. He is about forty and fit enough to backpack
in remote areas solo. I wish I could do what he does, but physical
limitations say that I do day trips, or outdoor adventures with guides.
He spotlights the many virtues of being in nature in uninterrupted
solitude. His well-written book is a thoughtful reminder that we find
harmony and balance in nature, a condition the Navajo call Hozho.
GM: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
LB: Right now I want to travel more and collect stories for my next
travel narrative-- Lost Angel Unleashed. It will be more personal than
my first travel collection Lost Angel Walkabout. It will include some
of my past experiences that I did not write about at the time. It may
be the last in my series of travel books, as I have a couple of novels I
want to get out before it’s over.
GM: Your cover is fetching. Who designed it?
LB: I did with the help of a graphic artists. I used my images and
ideas and she implemented them for me beautifully. I am very pleased
and proud of the way Lost Angel in Paradise has turned out. I hope
others will find Lost Angel in Paradise fun and easy to use. I always
love feedback. If someone out there takes one of my suggested day
trips they can let me know how it went at my website www.Lostangeladventures.com.
I have lots of articles there for readers about other
adventures I’ve enjoyed.
GM: Thank you Linda. I have explored many of the destinations
you describe in years gone by. Your book brought back fond
LB: Thank you Peter for sharing my books with fellow travelers.
Ultimate Journeys for Two
by Mike and Anna Howard @ HoneyTrek.com
Globerovers Magazine talks with Mike & Ann Howard at
HoneyTrek.com about their couples adventure travel book
Ultimate Journeys for Two.
Now available at
Amazon.com and HoneyTrek.com
Known as the world’s longest honeymooners—seven years
and counting—we asked them about the book and their travels.
Follow Mike & Anne‛s ongoing journey at HoneyTrek.com
and @HoneyTrek across all social media channels
their first book on couples adventure travel and share our favorite
stories from around the world, we had to rise to the challenge. We
worked hard to narrow down the 500+ destinations we visited to our
absolute favorite 75 and cull down all we’ve learned from five years on
the road to our most impactful advice. We wanted to share the places
that have touched our souls and inspire more people to follow their
dreams of traveling the world with the one they love. That kept us
writing every day.
GlobeRovers Magazine (GM): So you’re on the world’s longest
honeymoon. How did that come about?
Mike and Anne Howard (M&A): When we were brainstorming honeymoon
destinations back in 2011, our list of dream places and experiences
was running off the page. A ten-day honeymoon wasn’t going
to cut it. We realized life is short, the world is big, and the value of
travel was too great to wait until we were 65. So with good health and
new marriage to celebrate, we decided there was no better time than
now. We thought it was going to be a one-year honeymoon but as the
once months went on, we got hooked on the beauty and kindness in
the world and January 2018 will mark our sixth year on the road.
GM: It’s not easy putting together a 272 page book, and 310 photographs,
what made you do it?
M&A: I’m not sure we would’ve had the guts or discipline to do something
of this scale, unless National Geographic asked us to. It’s the
holy grail in travel publishing so when given the opportunity to write
GM: What are some your favorite adventures in Ultimate Journeys
M&A: Scuba diving through the wheelhouse of a World War II ship;
cruising the world’s largest salt flat in a luxury Airstream; rock climbing
the sea stacks to the soundtrack of crashing waves; paragliding
over Roman ruins and a mountain of white travertines…and these are
just a handful of the 300+ adventures in the book. One of our favorite
pages is “Choose Your Own Adventure,” where we list out some of the
wildest activities. Pick the one that gets your heart racing then flip to
the corresponding page number to discover where it is in the world.
This book is not meant to be read linearly, it’s filled with rabbit holes
and bridges like this for you to keep exploring.
GM: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling?
M&A: There are many ways to find success and be happy. That definition
plays out very differently around the world and it never seems to
correlate with how much money you have. Love, health, and a positive
outlook seem to be the secret to the good life.
GM: What’s are your best tips for traveling as a
M&A: One of our best pieces of advice is to drop the
notion of “a perfect vacation” and learn to roll with the
punches. Find the humor and adventure with every
bump in the road...it might become the highlight of
the trip. We have plenty more tips on traveling as a
pair--not just from us, but from 11 other world-traveling
couples across ages, nationalities, and orientations.
For every chapter, we feature a “Power Couple”
sharing their absolute favorite place in the world,
plus their secret to keeping your travels a breeze and
romance on fire.
154 Globerovers · July 2019
Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
GM: You’ve been traveling for over six years. What’s your advice for a
couple to find more time and money for travel?
M&A: Start a travel fund and direct 5 percent of your paycheck automatically
into that account; travel is an investment in yourself--don’t
skimp! Join airline and hotel loyalty programs, and use credit cards
that reward your everyday spending. Join sharing-economy sites and
communities. The more you immerse yourself in the travel community,
the more opportunities will present themselves. Don’t think just about
planning your next Instagramable vacation, think about the experiences
you want in your life and how to make them a reality. We dive deep into
the savvy planning process in our Travel Smart section of the book.
GM: Why should every couple buy this book?
M&A: While this book would be a great engagement present, this
is not just a book for honeymooners. Whether newlyweds, emptynesters,
or parents that need a little more alone time, every travel-lover
needs something to feed their wanderlust. We want this to be on every
couples’ shelf so when they have a hankering to the trek the mountains,
medit4ate in ancient temples, swim among tropical fish, wander exotic
markets, or dine in a castle, they know where to turn.
GM: Thank you Mike and Anne for the interesting conversation.
Best wishes and may the moon never set over your HoneyTrek.
In a future issue...
Japan’s Winter Wonderland
Tancho cranes and whooper swans annually migrate from upper Siberia in Russia
to the less harsh winters of eastern Hokkaido Island of northern Japan. Watch as
these cranes perform their love dances in the snow and feel free to join the swans in
the thermal spring waters of the lake. In northern Honshu Island, snow engulfs the
fir trees to create frozen ghosts, while Mount Komagatake and Lake Tazawako are
covered in snow. Winter in Japan is a true wonderland.
Tibet stretches over 2.5 million square kilometres (965,000 sq mi), south of China.
Here you will find the vast Tibetan Plateau, a region of mountains and stunning
scenery that are generally above 4,000 to 5,000 metres (13,100 to 16,400 feet) in elevation.
Tibet is also a land of monks, known as the Bhikkhu, with ample monasteries
they call home. This remote land is often called the “roof of the world” officially
known as the Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region (TAR) of China.
In Part 2 of our article about the idyllic island of Mauritius, we look at the island by
its districts in the north, south, west and east, and we look at the many islets around
Mauritius in all four directions. Think beautiful turquoise seas, black volcanic rock,
palm trees, sugar cane fields and irregular-shaped mountains against the skyline.
Add waves crashing relentlessly against high cliffs in the south, strong currents and
lush green vegetation. Mauritius is truly a gem in the southern Indian Ocean.
Colombia’s Caribbean Coast
Colombia’s north coast stretches from the Darién Gap in the west all the way to the
Venezuela border, a distance of over 1,700 km (1,056 mi). Much of this coastline
is blessed with white palm-fringed beaches along the turquoise warm waters of
the Caribbean Sea. We start in the city of Cartagena, known in the colonial era as
Cartagena de Indias, and travel to the mud volcano of Volcan de Lodo El Totumo.
After getting muddy, we travel to Tayrona National Park with stops along the way.
The southern coastline of Albania, known as the “Albanian Riviera”, may be one of
the most underrated summer vacation spots in Europe. However, for those in the
know, it is enjoyed for its affordable accommodation, delicious seafood, friendly
locals, stunning beaches and turquoise sea waters. Stretching along the Adriatic
and Ionian Sea within the Mediterranean Sea, the Albanian coast is as beautiful as
Greece to the south, though it remains free of mass tourism and high prices.
Myanmar’s southern coastline
The coastline from Yangon to Kawthaung, the most southern town in Myanmar, is
rugged, unspoiled, and undeveloped. While the distance by road is well over 1,000 km
(620 mi), much of this road just recently opened up for foreigners. Tourist infrastructure
such as transport and accommodation remain sparse, but the situation is poised
to change in the near future. We travel by train, bus, minivan, and motorbike, to
explore the beautiful coastline void of tourists and touristy shops.
Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Costa Rica has no shortage of intrepid destinations. Around every corner is excitement!
Come along as we explore the Osa Peninsula, home to Corcovado National
Park. We start in Golfito on the east side of Pavon Bay, cross by boat to the small
town of Puerto Jiménez from where we sit on the back of a mini-truck down a small
jungle road to Carate on the Pacific Coast. Here the fun starts as we trek 7 km along
the beach and through the jungle to our base at the secluded Sirena Ranger Station.
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