Travel Newsletter: 9 July 2021

Remembering Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport, a new railway to Chiang Rai, Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor, flag mashups, some vintage travel, and other travel reads from around the web.

Hello from Ho Chi Minh City, where we have just started a two-week hard lockdown. Things are grim in this part of the world, so I would not expect travel to reopen in Southeast Asia anytime soon.

I’m looking at the next two weeks as an enforced productivity session. I’m writing travel articles that have been sitting in my draft folder, and I’m doing some promotional stuff such as speaking on podcasts (I’ll link to those when they become live).

And I’m still dreaming of travel, which is the purpose of this newsletter.

Travel and COVID-19

Air VnV: sold-out flights start from Taiwan to Guam for ‘vacation and vaccination’ trips

In Greece, it’s almost normal

“In Athens and on the island of Paros, a visitor joins other international travelers in search of that idyllic European vacation they’ve been yearning for.”

Assorted travel reads

There will never be another airport like Hong Kong’s Kai Tak

“Kai Tak Airport closed on July 6, 1998. It was one-of-a-kind, requiring pilots to be specially certified in order to make hair-raising landings amid mountains and high-rises.”

Inside a Turkish camel-wrestling festival

“Held annually on the country’s Aegean coast, the Selcuk camel-wrestling festival is part of a nomadic legacy rooted in ancient Turkic tribes.”

Chiang Rai Railway

“The Den Chai – Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong Railway is a proposed new railway in Northern Thailand. The railway would branch off from the current Bangkok-Chiang Mai Railway at Den Chai, towards Chiang Rai, and then Chiang Khong on the Thailand-Laos border.”

A new road to an inaccessible land

“Once an isolated region barely touched by the hands of time, Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor stands on the brink of great change with the building of a new road linking it with China.”

Five of America’s most invincible hotels

“From Miami to San Francisco, these luxury establishments survived their share of crises before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Goecha La: The Himalayan trek in India to the third highest peak

Giant kitty now greets commuters at Shinjuku Station

18 forbidden places you can't visit

Check out more of these flags via @FlagsMashupBot

Vintage travel

Thanks to a friend in Waikiki for sending this website of colorized Hawai‘i of the past. I was amazed by this footage of an electric streetcar in Honolulu in 1906.

A bit more recent is this article about Penang in 1972. Penang is one of those cities I revisit every year, so the next time I am back I will do a “then and now” series for these places.

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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