Traveller talk: May 2016

Durbar square night

Kathmandu’s Durbar Square at night pre-earthquake © Simon Gillespie / Lonely Planet

Every month our intrepid team of online moderators delve into the depths of the Thorn Tree forum to bring you the community’s pearls of wisdom. Whether you’re looking for advice on icebreakers, tea, or how to plan your trip, our community will come to your rescue. Here are May’s highlights.

Italy highlights – Venice, Florence, Rome

To gondola or not to gondola? Not, according to TT users who also advise that a lightning stop in Florence – ‘one of the most amazing cities in the world, historically and architecturally’ – will simply not do. Advice is fast and furious to help plan the whirlwind Italian job.

Taking kids to China

Meanwhile, leogeedida has been told that children will not feel comfortable outside of the cities in China and that bus journeys are dangerous. Turns out the kids are well travelled in Asia and TT-ers advise that they shouldn’t have any issues but giving the night buses a miss is probably a good idea.

Travelling in Nepal post earthquake

Alex.wharton writes that the Nepalese are still without shelter and adequate food and water post earthquake and asks whether the Nepalese could be hostile towards visitors. Doooooosra responds: ‘There is no hostility towards foreigners. What hostility there is about the situation is directed towards the government and other authorities for the lack of action.’

Lots of TT-ers have visited Nepal since the earthquake last year and advise that tourism will bring income into the region. The Langtang region has been affected but it is now open as well for trekking – although there has been little rebuilding of the heritage buildings and lodges. Kathmandu Durbar Square, for example, is badly affected.

Tea pouring at the Heritance Tea Factory, Central Sri Lanka ©Matt Munro/Lonely Planet

Has tea disappeared forever?

Thankfully no. But Fieldgate kicks off a conversation about which loose leaves make up the best cuppa – with Ceylon (yum) coming up tops. Some places recommended for their tea prowess include: the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius; UK tearooms; China; and Pakistan. TT-ers bemoan fermented fruity teas and apparently tea is ‘in’ in the US.

How safe are roads in Thailand?

Inspired by YouTube phenomenon ‘Freelee the Banana Girl’, yogi_brrr wants to live off fruit and get fit by riding a bike around Thailand for a year, but wonders how dangerous the roads are there. Kindly TT-ers advise that you need a ‘balanced diet if doing any serious pedalling’ and say that Thailand has some of the best roads in South East Asia and that the Thais are very good drivers.

Where to find topographic maps of Northern Laos?

TobiasAndersen has been asking TT-ers about where to find the best topographical maps of Laos – particularly Northern Laos – for a three-week kayaking trip. Suggestions range from Periplus Travel Maps to Jim Henthorn’s topos from ‘back during the war’.

Alternatives to ‘Hi, I’m Geoff’

Lastly, perhaps the simultaneously best …read more


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