Wish You Were Here: Summer Holiday Inspiration

This month, we’ve collected our favourite postcards, sent from contributors around the world, to help give you inspiration for your next adventure.



In Kyoto, savoring the moments of wandering without a particular destination is all but guaranteed to lead somewhere interesting. Kyoto isn’t uniformly beautiful, but does have charming districts, distinct neighborhoods and throws in a temple or two on literally every street (1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, but who’s really counting?)
I contacted Samurai Joe to join his “Cool Kyoto Walking Tour.” Well into his eighties, Joe is equal parts endearing, informative and entertaining, and leads his tours fully outfitted in traditional Samurai garb. The day was topped off with a hilarious fruit-cutting sword show by the Kamo River. While his eyesight may be failing and his sword skills on the decline, his wit and charm are fully intact, making for an incredibly enjoyable day tour. In a country so full of curiosities, it always pays to have a guide to gain a bit more insight into the customs, people and products in the area as well as facilitate interactions with a range of locals.
After the tour, I headed to the Kyoto Imperial palace, which housed emperors for more than 1,000 years until the capital was moved to Tokyo in 1889. The spacious gardens and surrounding public space made for an enticing stroll.
Wish you were here,
Kyle Long
We arrived in Mumbai in good spirits and checked in to the Salvation Army Guesthouse, the cheapest accommodation in Mumbai. There are other guesthouses, but they were terribly small and filthy. We spent the day wandering around Mumbai, taking photos. At dusk, we were sitting on the front steps of the Salvation Army, sipping ice cold Slice and reading White Tiger. Touts approach us. “Hey man”, a cool Indian guy in reflective glasses said. “You want to be in a Bollywood movie?” He had our attention, but knowing touts, we proceed cautiously.
The next morning, at the meeting spot, there were fifty other foreigners, also waiting to be Bollywood stars. Turns out, we were all just extras. They bussed us out to DY Patil Stadium. We expected singing and dancing and glamour, but it was just a movie about cricket, India’s favourite sport.
With the 500 Rupee payment from our Bollywood debut, we booked a “reality” tour in Dharavi slum, where Slumdog Millionaire was filmed. No photos were allowed and Tom was dissatisfied, but we went back to the slum the next day, unescorted. Tom insisted on photographing the patchwork of corrugated metal rooftops from a high vantage point. 
Wish you were here,
Tom Carter and Hong



My journey began at Songtsam’s flagship lodge in Shangri-La, located just minutes away from the gold roofs of Songzanlin Monastery, Yunnan’s largest Tibetan monastery. The city, formerly known as Zhongdian, took inspiration from Hilton’s novel and was renamed in 2001 to boost tourism. The association certainly lends an air of mystery and mysticism to a stay here. After a hearty breakfast, including Tibetan specialties, I spent the morning at Songzanlin Monastery cultivating a mystical sense of self alongside monks reciting meditative Buddhist chants. At 3,200 meters above sea level, I could certainly sense the altitude, no more so than when scaling the steps leading up to the prayer halls.
My next stop was Meili, a five-hour spectacularly scenic drive away, delving into the truly remote areas including Nixi Village; a hamlet deep in the Shangri- La valley renowned for its production of black pottery. Next was Dongzhulin Monastery, located in a mountain village off a curve in the highway; an unexpected gem amidst the twists and turns of the mountainside roads.
Finally, we passed the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Diqing; a region in which the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween Rivers are approximately parallel. The Tibetan influence here is palpable, with steep gorges and lush greenery that anchor the stunning environment.
Wish you were here,
Kelly Conley
Hoi An
World Heritage-listed Hoi An, about halfway up Vietnam’s east coast, has been a magnet for traders and fortune-seekers for 2000 years, a prosperous little river town where capitalism and religion have long gone hand-in-hand.
After a few exhausting days of shopping and bar hopping in freewheeling Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An offered the perfect escape to unwind and nurse a serious hangover.
Motorised transport is banned in the centre of Hoi An, which allowed for care-free detours into boutiques, spa emporiums and former residences of Chinese and Japanese merchants without fear of being hit by a moped.
Hoi An is a treasure trove of antiquities, but the river-side market-place, a stroll down from the famous Japanese covered bridge, is the place for "antique-fied" knick-knacks that make great gifts.
There was little artifice about the food market, however, where older residents don conical hats and sell mountains of fruit and devotional flowers for temple visits. My lazy afternoons floated by in riverside cafes, with views of straw-roofed sampan boats, palm trees made foggy by the local tap beer and taking short bike rides to Cua Dai beach, a lovely stretch of sand that extends north all the way to booming Da Nang.
Wish you were here,
Donald Berkshire



Although Tokyo is one of the most densely populated cities on earth, I have found that the city’s scale and hustle is interesting, as opposed to overwhelming, and the lively neon lit streets not a world away from Hong Kong’s Wan Chai or Shanghai’s Nanjing Road.
The city offered a plethora of attractions to check out, so I decided to get my bearings for the city with a trip up the Tokyo Tower. Though a slightly tacky tribute to Paris’ Eiffel Tower, it was an opportunity for 360-degree views over the city.
In the evening, I knocked back a couple of espresso martinis at Two Rooms, a rooftop bar, before heading on to the clubs of Roppongi. The clubs there are big, loud, busy and booming, quite a contrast to other bars in the city, usually consisting of one bar counter with six seats, which once filled, leave little room for breathing.
As the evening rolled into morning, I was craving the freshest fish in the city, so went over to Tsukiji Market. The daily catch arrives at this bustling market in the early hours of the morning, so it was ideal to arrive at around 5am for the morning trade. I picked up a breakfast of mouth-watering sushi and headed back to bed.
Wish you were here,
Kermit Marlow
We took the five-hour ride to Sihanoukville, a beach town sitting on the Gulf of Thailand in the southern par t of Cambodia, from the capital, Phnom Penh. With rooms just steps from the ocean for as little as $5 a night, we now understand why Sihanoukville has long been a popular stopover on the backpacker's tour.
We wanted a little isolation from the crowded beach scene, so looked for accommodation on the tiny islands scattered off the shore. Lazy Beach, on Koh Rong Samloem, turned out to be a tiny sliver of paradise sitting about five miles from the mainland. The resort consisted of a tiny collection of bungalows on an other wise undeveloped island. During the days, we snorkelled amongst the coral reefs, hiked through the jungle to a secluded white sand beach and lounged on our balcony's hammock.
In the evenings, we enjoyed delicious homecooked meals, before heading to the beach to watch the thousands of hermit crabs scamper around and swim in the warm waters glowing with bioluminescence. For people like us who are content with amazing food, breath-taking sunsets and not much else, you will struggle to find a more idyllic place.
Wish you were here,
Ting Ting Lin and Eric Sweigard



Known as the “valley isle” in Hawaii, Maui is a long isthmus only 12 kilometres across, wedged between two extinct volcanoes. More laidback than the citified Oahu, which is just a 35-minute flight away, Maui has been voted best island in America for nearly two decades running, and we can see why.
Zip-lining is a popular activity on all the Hawaiian islands, but Flyin’ Hawaiian is not only the highest and fastest zip-line on the island, it is the longest in the archipelago. We zip-lined between two different towns, following four kilometres of  ridges, valleys and forests, all under the natural canopy of the West Maui Mountains.
Tucked away in the rural north-western slopes of Haleakala known as Upcountry, the Makawao is a living monument to the paniolo culture of the early twentieth century, when Hawaiian cowboys ruled the area, hitching their horses to posts that still stand outside saloons and restaurants, like the famous T Komoda bakery. Today, the area has a thriving local art scene, and we joined Local Tastes, a Makawao food and art tour, to take us through a special plate lunch and into galleries all around the town square.
Wish you were here,
Jamie Barys
I’m a world away from the crowds of Phuket or Samui (though quite geographically close to the latter) in Khanom – home to fishing boats, pink dolphins and calm, virtually uninhabited beaches.
This is exactly the kind of place to get away from it all, kick back, read some books and swim in the bathwarm waters of the Gulf of Thailand. We took a boat trip to see the area’s rare species of pink dolphin - a truly special experience. The Indo-Pacific Humpback species of dolphin is born grey, but gradually turns pink as it advances in age.
In Khanom, fishing is still the main industry and fishermen have been feeding these dolphins their smallest catch off the side of boats for generations (mainly to prevent the dolphins trying to eat fish from the nets and becoming entangled). Given their long history with friendly people who feed them, a pink dolphin sighting is quite likely, as the water-borne mammals sidle up to the boats looking for an easy meal.
We wanted to do more than get a glimpse though, and had to be quick with our camera, as flashes of pink fin above the water disappear as quickly as they surface. These dolphins may be spectacular to look at, but they are not exactly Instagram-friendly.
Wish you were here,
                                                                                                                                                                                Casey Hall
Inle Lake
We are in Inle Lake, famous for its legrowing fishermen who somehow manage to balance on one leg at the very end of their longboats, whilst casting their fishing nets. The lake is a place of unimaginable beauty, with bright blue skies reflecting onto the calm water.
We spent a few nights in Nyaung Shwe, a town in Shan state that lies to the north. Shan is known as the garden state in Myanmar, and we found that the best way to get to grips with the famous five-day market, Shan food and the local way of life was a Shan cooking class with Mr. Min, who we found eagerly selling tours at the edge of the market.
Min picked us up in the morning for an early rummage around the market for essential ingredients, before taking us, by longboat, to his family’s stilt house on the lake. It was really interesting to learn about the Southeast Asian, Indian and Chinese cooking influences on Shan dishes.
When we got back to dry land, we ventured to Red Mountain Estate Vineyards and Winery. Perched on a sloping hill, we went for a wine tasting, but ended up staying on for the splendid view of the sunset over the lake.
Wish you were here,
Nyima Pratten