Favourite places

Vietnam… with a side order of Romance and Intrigue

Vietnam… with a side order of Romance and Intrigue

Vietnam has plenty of attractions, writes Jimmy Thomson, but when you travel with The Quiet American by Graham Greene in your pocket, and Indochine on your laptop, a whole new world opens up to you. There’s something magical about travelling to the locations of your favorite works of fiction. It’s not as if Vietnam doesn’t […]

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Cuba keeps the wheels turning

Cuba keeps the wheels turning

Cuba is on the move. Its government Cuba and the USA are talking about allowing direct flights from American soil, although, while the USA is gung-ho, the Cubans are more reticent. And the first US-based cruise ships in more than 50 years have already docked, while swish air-conditioned buses whisk droves of mostly European visitors around […]

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Travel Notes from Laos

Travel Notes from Laos

  Visiting Laos is a bit like going to Vietnam 20 years ago before that country’s “Open Door” policy showed that Communist countries can extract Capitalist dollars just by offering a few decadent luxuries to overseas travellers. Laos still relatively less developed, in terms of tourism. But the scenery between Vientiane and Luang Prabang is […]

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Stop the bus:  Confessions of a tour guide

Stop the bus: Confessions of a tour guide

“Stop the bus!” The only time you usually get to say that on an organised tour is at a time of disaster: Someone’s been left behind, last night’s dinner turns out to have been as suspicious as it was delicious, or you’re on the wrong bus completely. Unless, of course, you are running the tour. […]

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Published articles

Oh, what a lovely war

Oh, what a lovely war

War is Hell but battlefield tours have never been more popular, with more commemorations than ever battling for the tourist dollar writes JIMMY THOMSON.   What’s the big attraction with battlefield tours? If you’re fascinated by the tactics, heroism and even horrors of ancient conflicts, it’s a thrill to just leave a footprint in a […]

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CARGO CULT: Cruising Pacific islands by working freighter

CARGO CULT: Cruising Pacific islands by working freighter

Nothing adds to the pleasure of a holiday quite like watching other people working, discovers  Jimmy Thomson, especially when it’s in the most remote islands in the Pacific There’s a first time for everything, especially on the maiden voyage of a new ship.  For me, it was the first time I had been on a cargo […]

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Venice Virgin: A film festival first-timer

Venice Virgin: A film festival first-timer

Back in September 1999 (was it really that long ago?) My partner Sue and I covered the Venice Film Festival. It was her second time there, and my first. As a Venice Virgin I found it exhausting and exhilarating in equal parts, as I hope this piece I wrote for the brilliant Urban Cinefile website conveys. […]

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Cuba gets ready to rock as Obama and the Stones roll in

Cuba gets ready to rock as Obama and the Stones roll in

“Compromiso,” says Johan Machin Morales, owner of one of Cuba’s most popular casa particulares, “that is all we really need.” Johan is referring to Cubans’ hopes for the outcomes from the visit of American President Barack Obama this weekend. As the operator of a casa in the tourist mecca of Trinidad, Johan knows better than […]

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Work for free to free the bears

Work for free to free the bears

The old moon bear is not for sharing. A cracked open coconut has been tossed into his enclosure and he is alternating chews with muffled growls as the younger bears sidle up .   If they get too close, the cute bundle of fur turns into a snarling flurry of fangs and claws.  This is no […]

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Glasgow’s hidden gems

Glasgow’s hidden gems

It’s 3.30 on a fairly typical Glasgow Spring afternoon, and I am standing in horizontal freezing rain in the midst of a fake Neolithic stone circle. Behind me, a 20-storey apartment block – which is actually older than the stone circle – is being nibbled into non-existence by a giant drill. “Look,” says Dr Kenneth […]

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Vietnam

Vietnam… with a side order of Romance and Intrigue

Vietnam… with a side order of Romance and Intrigue

Vietnam has plenty of attractions, writes Jimmy Thomson, but when you travel with The Quiet American by Graham Greene in your pocket, and Indochine on your laptop, a whole new world opens up to you. There’s something magical about travelling to the locations of your favorite works of fiction. It’s not as if Vietnam doesn’t […]

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Tour of duty

Tour of duty

With Vietnam increasing in popularity for all sorts of tours, including the recent, chaotic 50th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan, Tunnel Rats author Jimmy Thomson recalls how his first tour as a guide began with less than military precision. I was standing in the courtyard of a small temple in Long Phuoc, south-east of […]

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My tours

Join us in Cambodia and Vietnam

Join us in Cambodia and Vietnam

I am very excited to announce that the Sydney Morning Herald, in conjunction with Wendy Wu tours, is organising a 16-day tour of Cambodia and Vietnam … with yours truly as a guest speaker. I’ll be there to guide you through the Cu Chi Tunnels and take you to Long Tan and Nui Dat while […]

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