Little Europe on Phu Quoc island

China's high-speed railway, the volcano in Iceland, Tajikistan’s Pamir mountains, a cool tube map of Southeast Asia, and more travel reads.

Hello from Ho Chi Minh City. This week I caught up with my backlog of blog posts, and with no travel on the horizon it might be time to start local blogging. We are back to waiting to see if we go through another lockdown here. At the moment it’s a street-by street lockdown, so vaccines can’t come soon enough.

Covid broke a 20-year run for me where I would visit Europe at least one a year. It’s now looking like it will be 2 straight years without a Euro visit. I had a weird taste of Europe last month when I visited Phu Quoc, were as you will see in this week’s blog post, there are all these new European-style neighbourhoods. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Latest posts at Nomadic Notes

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Assorted travel reads

Surviving in isolation, where the steppe has turned to sand

“In the Russian republic of Kalmykia, the encroaching desert has transformed the landscape. “Nature,” one farmer said, “is forcing us to leave.””

Past, present and future: The evolution of China's incredible high-speed rail network

High up in Tajikistan’s Pamir mountains, life brings gruelling challenges

This American monk travels the world to rescue ancient documents from oblivion

“From Kathmandu to Timbuktu, an American monk travels the world to safeguard invaluable treasure—ancient documents that tell humanity’s story.”

Flight attendant answers 19 most frequently asked questions

How to check for hidden cameras and microphones in your vacation rental, hotel, or Airbnb

Southeast Asia's least-visited country

“Traditional East Timorese resource-management laws are helping to preserve the most biodiverse coral reef in the world.”

What else would you expect to see from the President of Iceland’s house…

And this one looks like an album cover of a Nordic heavy metal band. I had to check to see if was real (the noise appears to be traffic and not actual volcano noises).

Click through to watch this time-lapse of a pilots perspective of the starry sky


Southeast Asia in a tube

[Click for full size]

Loved this concept map by Stuart from Travelfish. This map groups famous places and foods of Southeast Asia into different lines of the London Underground network. You can read about how the map came to be here, which he put together while recovering his health.

I had a similar experience in 2016 when I ruptured a disc and was bed bound. I didn’t feel like doing my normal work, so I made a map of proposed railways of Southeast Asia.

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The Nomadic Notes Travel Newsletter is a weekly newsletter of the best travel reads and interesting travel news from around the web, and random ramblings by the editor.

- James Clark