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THE TRAVEL GAME


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TRAVELLERS' TIPS AND TALES


Asian wildlife sanctuaries: orang-utan sanctuaries; Gir National Park, India (Asiatic lion); Corbett Tiger Reserve, India; Taman Negara, Malaysia; Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Borderlines Who doesn't get a buzz, an adrenaline rush, from walking or driving across a foreign frontier? So often, two cultures come face to face here, perhaps clashing, perhaps blending, perhaps mingling like oil and water, as the communities either side of the line draw life and purpose from each other. Explore the mystique, the adrenaline rush, the paranoia even, which characterise border towns around the world; a novelty for Australians secure on our island continent.

Buddhist landmarks of Southeast Asia including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, Rangoon's Shwe Dagon, Borobudur in Java, Indonesia, and the national shrine of Laos, Vientiane's Phra That Luang

But I couldn't possibly leave my silverware. .. but their valuables are equally precious to them, and that's why house-swapping works wonders for most of those who give it a go. How else could you afford three months in a central London apartment?

Centres of pilgrimage: Cathedral of St James, Galicia, Spain; Canterbury Cathedral in England; Mont St Michel, France; Moscow's rebuilt cathedral. In Asia, the Jain temples of Palitana, India; holy Hindu cities including Haridwar, Rishikesh and Varanasi. Jerusalem's Wailing Wall and Temple of the Mount. Mecca - an Australian connection

Dollar Dazzlers : Yes Virginia, there are still a few places left on the planet where the your fifty-cent dollar still buys a good time. Many of them are in our own backyard; others survive in southern Africa, Eastern Europe or the Middle East. The trick is to avoid countries which hitch their fortunes to the greenback or the euro; there are some unlikely no-go zones for the hapless Aussie peso, even in South America.

Evocative hotels from the colonial era in Ovalau, Fiji; Kuala Lumpur and Penang; a royal seaside retreat outside Bangkok; palaces of Rajasthan's maharajahs; a royal villa in Laos; Dutch colonial splendour in Java, Indonesia, including a working coffee plantation

London: Love It or Leave It So you're in London... and the rain is still coming down. One of London's great attractions is as a springboard to somewhere else. In the last few years the rise of no-frills carriers and on-line booking has brought dozens of European cities within reach for short breaks. Here's how

Not safe to cross the street anymore? Where to get away from it all... Remote island retreats: Kiribati, Micronesia, Fiji's offshore islands Farm and station holidays, Australia Rent a cottage in France or Italy Head for the quieter corners of SE Asia: Luang Prabang (Laos), anywhere in Vietnam Disappear into the wilderness: Simpson Desert, Tasmania's Tarkine... Join the pilgrims: India, northern Spain

Offbeat train rides including Bangkok's Mahachai railway; Malaysia's East Coast Mail; the Ambarawa steam train in Java, Indonesia; Mexico's El Chepe or Copper Canyon Railway and the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad in Colorado, USA; Australia's own Savannahlander and Mary River Railways.

Offbeat lodgings in Tunisian caves; under the stars in the Simpson Desert; ice hotels of Scandinavia or Canada; tropical treehouses; surrounded by exotic antiques

Palaces to marvel at Buckingham Palace and Hampton Court, London; the Hermitage in St Petersburg; Madrid's Palacio Oriental and the Spanish summer palaces at Aranjuez and Santander; palaces of Oriental sultans in Yogyakarta and Solo, Indonesia; Moorish masterpieces in Marrakech

Remnants of colonial empires: Gibraltar, Diu and Pondicherry (India), East Timor, New Caledonia, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Falkland Islands, etc, etc

Teaching abroad Australian, British and North American teachers line up for the prestigious opportunity to trade jobs and homes for a year. Cross the world and move into a private home whose owners you may never meet

University cities of Europe including Cambridge, Oxford, Salamanca and Vilnius

Vietnam War legacies: Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum in HCM City and Ho Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi; Cu Chi Tunnels; Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos

Weird, wacky or wonderful architecture: Melbourne's Federation Square; Guggenheim museums in Bilbao and New York; Barcelona's marvels including the Palau de Musica; cutting edge modern in London's financial district; Vietnam's Cao Dai temples and Riga's Jugendstil heritage

Many World Heritage-listed sites are the obvious icons (Taj Mahal, Tower of London, Ayers Rock/Uluru), a few are regrettably lost to us already (Bamiyan, Afghanistan), others are indeed little-known gems (desolate and inaccessible sub-Antarctic islands) and a handful appear to be politically inspired (the monuments of Kosovo?). Closer examination even turns up a few surprising omissions, like the cultural monuments of Burma. This article examines the World Heritage concept, its genesis, its successes and challenges. [720 words]

World's most formidable deserts: the Sahara, the Sonoran Desert, the Simpson, South America's Atacama, etc


North American tips:

America is the ultimate road trip. Cruising the Interstates, negotiatingTinseltown’s spaghetti junctions, raising the dust in the Mojave Desert....images made familiar by the silver screen. What is the reality behind the images?

AMTRAK Aaall aboorrrd!!! Amtrak summons us to ride the rails across the USA; what better way for the solo traveller to rub shoulders with a cross-section of American travellers whilst crossing the rugged Alleghenies and the high Sierras, or to head out across the deserts of the Southwest?

An American calendar Americans love a flag-waving, fancy-dress parade; or even just a ritual enacted with or without tongue in cheek: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving, even Groundhog Day. The cycle of the seasons dictates how and when Americans live, workand play, and for the visitor, each brings its own rewards.

Camping in the USA Spend a few nights under America’s vast skies...more comfortable than you might think! Campground standards are high and the natural settings are spectacular. Stalk the aisles of a Wal-Mart ora K-Mart to pick up cheap camping gear... everything you need for the priceof a few motel nights.

Eating Well in the USA: Buy, Buy, this American Pie.... Here's how to beat the tyranny of junk!

Hostelling USA Don’t write it off... Hostels come into their own in the biggest cities and conversely, in places like Virginia’s Bluemont, right on the Appalachian Trail.

Twenty Tips for Travelling in the USA Many visitors approach America with a mixture of fear and fascination. Stodgy food and dodgy business practices, high prices and gun freaks are all there alongside unvarnished hospitality, unsurpassed natural wonders - and those endless, unfolding highways.
 

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