Beginner on a bike - Lombok's stunning south coast

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"If you can ride a bike you'll be absolutely fine." I was far from convinced. If it wasn't enough that I'd reached the age of 46 without ever having ridden a motorbike, on our way into Kuta in southern Lombok just a few hours earlier we'd witnessed the sombre aftermath of a fatal crash between a motorbike and a lorry. But still, we'd come to see the fabled beaches of South Lombok and a motorbike appeared to be the only feasible way to getting to see them. After a short demo and a ride with one of the staff from the guesthouse as my passenger, who screamed "Valentino Rossi!" in my ear as gentle encouragement as I wobbled across the car park, I was ready to go.

Eating your way around Singapore's hawker centres

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Food lovers can approach their dining plans in Singapore at almost any level. Those with a palate for luxury will find no shortage of high-end restaurants, offering wagyu steaks, rare lobsters and even truffle caviar, all washed down with lashings of vintage wines from the world's most exclusive vineyards. There's also a glut of mid-range restaurants which are priced similarly to typical European restaurants and which cover pretty much every known variety of cuisine.

Bypassing Casinos in Macau

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“Oh it’s terrible there,” mumbled an English expat I came across in Hong Kong. “It’s just so ugly.”

Making coconut oil in a Balinese home

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It was hardly a tough afternoon’s work, and coming away with two bottles of coconut oil seemed like a generous reward for doing little more than sitting in the sun. But what was offered as a coconut oil making workshop turned out to be just as much about an intimate look at Balinese family life.

Japan: Convenience and Replica

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On a recent visit to Japan I toured temples and shrines in Kyoto, visited temple complexes in the chilly mountain stillness of Koyasan, a centre of esoteric Buddhism, and soaked in mineral baths and ate delicious and strange things at a village onsen in Wakayama prefecture. Most of these experiences were unfamiliar. Each activity was truly unto itself; at no point could I have been anywhere but Japan.