10 Recommended Books to Read about Travel

It’s a dream to travel and most don’t get to as much as they’d like. With the power that books have you can travel to various destinations just with a turn of a page. Here are some recommended books to read about travel. We have travel guides, novels and memoirs for you to go pour over.

Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story by Tony and Maureen Wheeler

You may already be familiar with The Lonely Planet travel guides and in this particular book, it covers the personal journey of Tony and Mureen Wheeler, founders of the popular guide series. They share their experiences through anecdotes while traversing the land of independent travel. Travel to country to country with them and pick up useful information and inspiration when you make your own travel adventures.

The Beach by Alex Garland

What makes this suspense thriller a must read are the illustrative descriptions of the beautiful “Beach” yet is woven into the other authentic side of Thailand. Budget traveling, unsavory trade and the like are touched on in this novel. The seemingly untouched Phi Phi Islands is the star of the same titled movie featuring famous Leonardo Di Caprio.

Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See… Ranked by Lonely Planet

You may find some of the usual tourist attractions on this list or UNESCO certified destinations but Lonely Planet’s global community of travel experts also gives us some less known gems to explore. Some of the compelling places include Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil, Machu Picchu in Peru, Temples of Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia and more.

Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places by National Geographic

The pictures speak for itself in this collage of 250 color photographs collated by National Geographic’s expert and world class photographers. Take a photographic journey to 225 of the world’s amazing places. Expect scenic cityscapes, white-sand beaches, rain forests, and even authentic cobbled streets in this much recommended book.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Based on an impulsive decision Cheryl Strayed hiked more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State alone. A story of strength, determination and healing, Wild is an inspiring tale for those who encounter life changing circumstances and seek change in their life.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

A novel of self discovery against the backdrop of Italy, India and Bali, it explores the need for personal inflection and the true meaning of success in life. Eat Pray Love has been an inspiration to many seeking for more in their lives and those who wish to travel beyond what they could have imagined. In the setting of 3 beautiful destinations readers will experience cuisine in Italy, peace in India and healing in Bali.

The Lost Girls by Baggett, Corbett, Pressner

You hear about people leaving their “lives” to travel. Here are 3 women who did just that. Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett & Amanda Pressner left their successful jobs, friends, love lives and everything familiar to embark on a backpacking adventure around the world. They traveled to 4 continents through the mountains and jungles of South America, beaches of Australia, going to Kenya, India and New Zealand.

The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World (Lonely Planet)

Our 3rd recommendation from Lonely Planet, this book covers every country in the world. A double page spread showing places to visit, sights to see, a country’s culture and statistics and more. With over 229 countries and destinations and 814 images to pour over this book will fill many days and feed your wanderlust.

Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy

A bicycle trek starting in Ireland through Iran and Afghanistan, onto the Himalayas then Pakistan and lastly India, is the premise for this memoir. She prefers the hospitality of locals and focused on the local culture. That’s not to say the whole trip was a pleasant one. She has been attacked by wolves and injured in Afghanistan.

The Size of the World by Jeff Greenwald

With a goal to perform a kora around earth, a voyage that would consist of weeks at sea, days on trains, and hours on alternative modes of transportation anything except an airplane. His adventures led him to an active volcano in Guatemala, saving a baby snow leopard in Tibet, and spending his fortieth birthday in the Sahara.

Japan Summer Sonic Festival

Every year, Osaka and Chiba hold a two- or three-day rock concert at the same time called the Summer Sonic Festival. The majority of the bands playing in Osaka the first day go to Chiba the following day and vice versa. Many Japanese rock musicians from both major and indie record companies and some international acts contain the lineup for the festival that gathers around 200,000 people.

Summer Sonic Festival was founded in 2000. This year, Summer Sonic Festival will be held on August 19 – 20, 2017. The Tokyo venue comprises of 8 stages while the Osaka venue has four.

Here are some of the attractions at the Summer Sonic Festival 2017:

Osaka Attractions

  • SonicArt – an exhibition of live paintings in the venue by selected Japanese artists
  • Freedom Hills – a free activity area where anyone can put up a tent
  • Sonic Plus + – a refreshment room for women and a play area for kids

Tokyo Attractions

  • Seaside Village Camp – a place where guests can stay within the venue for a certain fee
  • Street performance – will feature Japan’s comedy act, magic show, pole dancing on the street, juggling act and more talents
  • Jungle Stage – Idol Sonic will feature 16 pairs of Japan’s new generation idols. This attraction will also feature comedy shows and live performances from DJ’s and other stage performers.
  • Autograph session – chance to have your stuff signed by the artists
  • Kid’s Club – play park, diaper change room, nursing room
  • Silent disco – a party where the Dj’s play music and the guests uses their headsets/headphones to listen and dance to the music.
  • Sonic Art – live painting sessions from various Japanese painters – professional and amateur
  • Space Odd – different talent show activity from yoga instructor, gymnasts, musicians and more

International artists will also be joining this year’s Summer Sonic Festival such as Calvin Harris, Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Liam Gallagher, and Lany.

 As early as August, tickets to the event will be selling like hotcakes, so grab yours earlier if you want to experience one of Japan’s most iconic music festivals.

Singapore National Day: Discover Hidden Treasures

We’ve known that Marina Bay Sands, Changi Airport, Merlion Park, Universal Studios Singapore, Jurong Bird Park, Sentosa Island are brands that Singapore owns. They are Singapore’s word-class attractions that brings millions of visitors annually. But do you know that Singapore despite being a young nation, still has a lot to offer to the world? It has more than 100 historic sites, complete with markers that tell the stories of days gone by. By taking the road less travelled, you will be surprised at just how close to your doorstep such adventures can be. Singapore National Day celebrates its 52nd Independence on August 9, 2017; let’s dig deeper into the nation’s very rich cultural and natural heritage as we present some of its hidden treasures.

1. Southern Ridges

The Southern Ridges is a beautiful 10km stretch of green open spaces perfect for walking trails, spanning the hills of some of Singapore’s most popular parks and gardens, connected by picturesque ridges and pathways. It crosses Kent Ridge Park, Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Hort Park, Labrador Park and Harbour Front on the Southern Ridge of Singapore.
At the top of the trail is the Jewel Box, a bar, restaurant and refreshment area. Southern Ridges is characterized by sheltered areas, rain forest and a variety of flora and fauna in their natural habitat. The place offers panoramic views and amazing sights and sounds of the forest.


2. Keppel Hill Reservoir

This is one of Singapore’s abandoned reservoirs that has been off the map and was rediscovered in 2014. The 2m-deep forgotten reservoir, reported to be dated as early as 1905, had appeared in the early maps. But by the fifties, it had vanished from the maps and its location was not officially marked for sixty years.

Remnants of the reservoir still exist today, such as concrete steps, an old diving board and a bathing area. New pipes and pumps, appear to be in fine working conditions, linking to the reservoir that is only about one-third of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The reservoir still has a working water filtration system and houses many different types of wildlife.

Photo credit: Remembering Singapore (https://remembersingapore.org/keppel-hill-reservoir/)
Photo credit: Remembering Singapore

3. Fort Siloso

Fort Siloso is a former coast artillery battery. It is the only remaining battery which has been restored, out of the twelve batteries placed in strategic positions which comprised “Fortress Singapore” at the beginning of WWII. Today the fort has been fitted with elements to bring history alive for the tourists. There are interactive exhibits recreating dramatic scenes from the part. Visitors are taken on a tour tram as guides describe the site and explain its role in the defense of the Malayan region. Visitors can explore the tunnels; see guns and cannons, film clips and historic photographs.

Photo credit: LimeBye (Flickr)
Photo credit: LimeBye (Flickr)

4. Orchard Road

Commonly referred to as Orchard, it is a boulevard that is 2.2 kilometers long and considered Singapore’s shopping and entertainment hub. It is locally called Tang Leng Pa Sat Koi by the Chinese Singaporeans and Vaira Kimadam by the Tamil people. Orchard Road gets its name from the numerous plantations and orchards that were present in that area in the 19th century and earlier. Popular legend also attributes the name to Mr. Orchard, the owner of many of the plantations in that neighborhood. Some of the numerous buildings from the colonial times that are worth checking out; are now luxury hotels. There are a number of cool restaurants and cafes to visit for some great food. It is also home to Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore.


5. Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin which literally means “Granite Isalnd,” first appeared on a map in an 1828 sketch of the Island of Singapore as Pulo Obin and in Franklin and Jackson’s map as Po. Ubin. Simply known as Ubin, it is an island situated in the north east of Singapore, to the west of Pulau Tekong. Granite quarrying supported a few thousand settlers on Pulau Ubin in the 1960s, but only about a hundred villagers live there today. It is one of the last rural areas to be found in Singapore, with an abundance of natural flora and fauna.

Photo credit: PROJirka Matousek (Flickr)
Photo credit: PROJirka Matousek (Flickr)

What to expect at the Burning Man Festival

What started as a bonfire ritual during the summer solstice on a beach in San Francisco has turned into annual event. The Burning Man Festival this year will take place from August 27 to September 4, 2017 Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

Thousands gather for a week of radical self-expression with art installations, performances, self expression and creativity within a temporary community. Among those who have attended are artists, CEOs and celebrities. To date there have been 70,000 “burners” that have attended in one year.

The festival has a theme every year and for 2017 it’s Radical Ritual. Past themes have included Fertility, Time, Hell, Outer Space, The Body, The Floating World, Beyond Belief, Vault of Heaven, Psyche, Hope and Fear, The Green Man, The American Dream, Evolution, Metropolis, Fertility 2.0, Caravansary, Carnival of Mirrors, and da Vinci’s Workshop.

The Saturday night before Labor Day is when the man burns, a much awaited part of the event.

Photo credit: Cory Doctorow (Flickr)

Some tips:

  • There is no vending at the festival. Only coffee and ice are for sale.
  • There’s also no selling of any kind of items, instead guests can trade or give to one another in keeping in the spirit of community.
  • Bring enough supplies for your length of stay. You need to make sure to bring your own food, water, sleeping gear, etc.
  • Remember to hydrate because it is the desert.
  • Print out a map and plan ahead for meet up locations better yet rent an vacation rental the night before and gather everyone together ahead of time before heading to the event.

Lastly, enjoy this one of a kind unique experience!

International Beer Day

Among the alcoholic drinks in the world, beer is the oldest and most widely consumed. It is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. People all over the world definitely love beer so much so that International Beer Day (IBD) was created and is now celebrated on the first Friday of every August.

This celebration was founded in 2007 in Santa Cruz, California which has grown from a small localized event in the western United States into a worldwide celebration spanning 207 cities, 50 countries and 6 continents. International Beer Day has three declared purposes:

  1. To gather with friends and enjoy the taste of beer.
  2. To celebrate those responsible for brewing and serving beer.
  3. To unite the world under the banner of beer, by celebrating the beers of all nations together on a single day.

Since 2007 until 2012, International Beer Day was celebrated on August 5. The holiday was moved to the first Friday of August after IBD 2012 when the founders took a poll of fans and chose to move the date.

Celebrations are observed throughout the United States as well as in Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, England, France, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, and Venezuela.

Some of the events included during International Beer Day are as follows : tapping of new or rare beers, all-day happy hours, beer flights, trivia nights, binge drinking and other games (such as beer pong), beer/food pairings and beer gear giveaways.

Have you tried joining the IBD celebrations? What was your most exciting experience?