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LP Pathfinders: high posts from December 2017

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Skyline of Xinyi District in downtown Taipei, Taiwan © NH / Shutterstock

Could you cycle around Taiwan in 60 days? © NH / Shutterstock

Befitting the festive season, our Pathfinders gifted us a wealth of exciting and insightful blog posts to keep our wanderlust topped up throughout December. We’ve marvelled over mystical mud statues in Kolkata and salivated at the sight of Posta Negra in Colombia, with a quick sojourn to Syria for good measure.

Though it was tough to pick our favourites, here’s a selection of our top travel tales submitted by our globetrotting Pathfinders in December.

The mud statues of Kolkata – Crystal Egan

Well structured with strong accompanying imagery, Crystal’s profile on the mud statue workshops of Kolkata is an engaging read thanks to her decision to delve into a subject that may appear somewhat unsophisticated, but ultimately is steeped in fascinating traditions; for example, though many travellers may have seen the Durga mud statues, few would know that each one must contain soil from a ‘forbidden land’. The post serves as a timely reminder of how the country’s spiritual mysticism continues to permeate daily life in modern India.

Around Taiwan in 60 days – Graham Bland

Sustainable and inexpensive, exploring destinations on two wheels is an increasingly popular mode of transport with travellers, but few of us would consider circumnavigating an entire country by bike. In this lighthearted but highly informative post, Graham gives a detailed breakdown on his epic 1600km ride around Taiwan. As well as including practical elements like maps and safety tips, Graham intertwines a number of personal anecdotes from his adventure that give readers a taste of the Beautiful Isle, tempting them to saddle up themselves.

Buddhism at the hanging rock – Aleksandra Tofil

Travellers don’t simply seek out offbeat sights to snap ostentatious Instagram photos; finding a sight less frequented by tourists can help kindle authentic experiences. Aleksandra’s article is a great example of this, as she recounts her experience of receiving a personal tour around Rakkhiththakanda cave temple in Sri Lanka by a local monk while being given a – somewhat mind-boggling – sermon on the principles of Buddhism. The result is an enjoyable offbeat travel yarn with a philosophical edge.

The 20 dishes you can’t leave Colombia without trying – Reena Shukla

Shining a spotlight on one of South America’s overshadowed foodie destinations, Reena spices up the listicle format with personal insights and a strong knowledge to give a detailed overview of Colombia’s regional dishes and beverages. A post that’ll leave readers both surprised and salivating at the country’s culinary diversity, the article is also beautifully illustrated – an essential element of any engaging food blog.

As tourist in Tartous & Arwad Island, Syria – Christian Lindgren

The FCO currently advises against all travel to this war-torn country, but inevitably a few tourists will still visit. In this post intrepid traveller Chris journeys to Arwad Island on the Mediterranean coast of Syria, far from the country’s primary conflict zones. The post’s appeal lies in its blending of the area’s grand history with general observations on the humble daily routine of the local people. The post showcases a side of Syria that is serene and hospitable, a perspective often overlooked in regular news broadcasts.

RUNNERS-UP

  • Frequently asked questions about boat hitchhiking – Paulina Rubia
  • Taos Pueblo: Exploring a 1,000-year-old village – Kelley Baster
  • Don’t go to Halong Bay: A lesson in unsustainable tourism – Kate Beveridge

Find out what else the Lonely Planet Pathfinders are up to (or sign up yourself!) by checking out the Travel Bloggers: your stories forum on Thorn Tree.