Adventures in learning

Straight from his teaching degree, adventurer Andrew Hughes jumped into a kayak instead of a classroom. Hughes then embarked on a 5000-kilometre voyage from Hobart to Cape York, learning as he went.

“I was a really inexperienced sea kayaker,” the University of Tasmania graduate says. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Tourism operators need to lift their game

Australia’s high cost of living and strong currency mean tourism operators must be remarkably shrewd to attract patronage.

This country holds the distinction of being one of the world’s costliest to visit. Its flagship cities Sydney and Melbourne rank among the top five most expensive anywhere. Analysts blame high wages and the gouging effect of the high Australian dollar. Read at the Sydney Morning Herald..

Networking at 35,000 feet

Forget Twitter for a second and think about a potentially tremendous networking platform: the passenger jet. Any airline flight is likely to be peppered with powerful people who cannot escape.

If you are canny enough, you can turn chit-chat conducted at 35,000 feet into connections that give your small business added oomph.

Read more at the Age.

Collision of worlds: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Discover a Thai town abuzz with culture, history and eccentricity.

HOME to 250,000 people, Chiang Mai has more life than a city with 10 times that number of inhabitants.

No longer treated by travellers as a sleepy backwater en route to the hills, the town steeped in local Lanna culture is booming. Travel and leisure has helped Chiang Mai climb up the ranks as one of the world’s top cities.

At the heart of the north-western town ringed by highways and hills stands the old, moat-lined walled city. One ex-rodeo rider resident I know, who roves the area’s maze-like streetscape by bike, says Chiang Mai is so rich that you never exhaust its potential. Read more at the Star..

Homage to a goddess

Welcome to a captivating spiritual hilltop complex by the Vietnamese seaside.

Despite raids launched by pirates, the Po Nagar temple complex remains robust. Po Nagar – or Thap Ba as locals call it – stands on a granite knoll just outside the beach town of Nha Trang in south-central Vietnam. Read more at the Malaysia Star..

Borneo Bling: inside the kingdom of Brunei

Discover BSB, the capital of tiny, shiny, secretive Brunei.

Story at the Malaysia Star

Potholes and Piranhas: In search of a lost Amazon tribe

Picture a murky world of piranhas, fire ants, and vipers. Add jaguars and an elusive, unpredictable tribe that protects its interests with poison arrows. Factor in malaria, seesawing temperatures – baking days, icy nights – and the risk of starvation.

Enter National Geographic explorer Scott Wallace. In 2002, Wallace joined a 34-man Amazon expedition led by pro-Indian activist Sydney Possuelo: a fiery Brazilian with “a hawk-like beak, balding head, and thick auburn beard”, Wallace recounts in his new travelogue, The Unconquered. Read more at the Adrenalist