Behind the scenes in Kirstenbosch, Cape Town

Cape Town has been appointed world’s most biodiverse city, and its outstanding Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are the perfect place to discover its ecosystems. This is probably what makes them one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world, attracting more than a million visitor a year.

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Behind the scenes in a GR 20 refuge at 1,810m

May, 1: Fred hikes up to the refuge d’Usciolu at an altitude of 1,810 metres from the village of Cozzano, two hours away. The athletic young fellow needs crampons and piolets to make his way up and often has to saw the icy snow to make his way into the kitchen of the refuge to warm up. For four years he has been assisting Francis, the refuge keeper in the summer months and this is how the 5-month season starts. Before the helicopter delivers 800 kilograms of Keep hiking!

Prins & Prins: beyond the diamonds, a treasure box with gems from the past

Walking the streets of Cape Town, one cannot miss the impressive colonial architecture of the Prins & Prins diamond store. Whether you are shopping for stones, interested in how they are dug up and cut, or curious about the early days of Cape Town, this is a door you want to push!

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A night at the opera in Oslo

Inaugurated only in 2008, the Oslo Opera House has already become the landmark of the Norwegian capital. Its architecture intrigues. Like an iceberg floating in the Oslo fjord, locals and tourists alike climb it to reach its roof via soft inclines or explore its warm and modern foyer. Far from the elite image of most opera houses, the Oslo Opera House is an open space decisively. It has revolutionized its area, a former shipyard cut off from the rest of the city by an ugly highway that was forced underground, and made it a favourite promenade attracting recommendable neighbours like the new Munch Museum or the bar code urbanization project. The building fascinates, and the temptation of exploring its ins and outs only grows bigger as one approaches it.

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Why sea turtles need rehab [and how we can all make life easier for them]

Beyond attracting thousands of people daily to observe the marine life of the cold Atlantic Ocean and the colourful species of the warm Indian Ocean, the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town hosts a rehabilitation centre dedicated to endangered sea turtles.

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Reviving Cambodia’s pride: Khmer golden silk

Born and raised in Paris, I am familiar with the haute couture stores of Avenue Montaigne or Rue Saint Honoré where the highest end luxury shops in the world can be found. The finest silk pieces I have ever seen are sliding through my fingers and I feel their soft and delicate textures. The shiny fabrics reflect the light delicately. The relief of the silk gives it an unexpected depth. However, I am not in the upscale heart of Paris, I am in rural Cambodia a stone’s throw from the temples of Angkor where this rare Khmer silk was made just for the king: “It took more than 10 years of research, and trial and error to revive the century-old forgotten techniques of silk weaving of the Khmers!” says Sophea Peach, the founder of Golden Silk, and it all started with the devata‘s sculpture of Angkor… Let me show you…” Keep travelling

Point of view on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand [or why you shouldn’t go]

With its vertical limestone cliffs covered in lush vegetation dramatically plunging into the turquoise waters and white sand beaches, no wonder why Maya Bay, a stone’s throw from Koh Phi Phi Island was chosen as the filming location for the Hollywood blockbuster “The Beach”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. However, Keep travelling!

From cotton to clothes in traditional Laos

In Laos, weaving is a traditional handicraft practiced by many women. Before being able to start weaving, a whole process is required to turn cotton into thread and yarn.

If today, most women buy the cotton threads, it is still common to Keep travelling

Discovering world’s oldest tea trees in Northern Laos

A roughly 20-kilometre long bumpy dirt road leads towards surprisingly well maintained trees on the steep slopes of Laos’ most remote mountains bordering China. Wooden houses are lined up along the road, leafs are drying in the sun, people are working on their doorstep, chickens roam around and some lazy dogs nap in the sun.  Keep reading

Rubber tapping in Thailand

Tall thin trees with only very few leafs are planted in perfectly aligned endless rows that cover hundreds of hectares of Thai soil. They provide a little bit of shade during the hot summer months, give off a slightly offending smell and supply their owners and their farmers with an income. We are talking rubber trees and are about to discover the ins and outs of rubber making.

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Traditional crafts of Cambodia (7/7): rice wine, Battambang

In this last article of our traditional crafts of Cambodia series, we will introduce you to the most favoured alcoholic drink in Asia: rice wine. As the name implies, the alcoholic beverage is made of Asia’s main cereal: rice.

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Traditional crafts of Cambodia (6/7): dried banana sheets, Battambang

In Battambang, another popular way for families to make a living is to produce the favoured local Cambodian snack: dried banana sheets. Keep reading

Traditional crafts of Cambodia (5/7): fish paste, Battambang

“Smell like the hell, eat like the heaven”, Mr. Ola tells us with a mesmerizing smile while explaining his mother’s signature recipe for the traditional prahok, a Cambodian fish paste dish. I uncomfortably move from one leg to the other trying to carefully listen to his story but holding my breath at the same time, avoiding the offending foul smell. We are about to discover how the unmissable and key ingredient for many Asian dishes is made on the fish paste market of Battambang, Cambodia. Keep reading

Traditional crafts of Cambodia (4/7): Rice paper, Battambang

Rice paper is used for making the famous and delicious spring rolls. Due to the high demand of these thin leafs of edible paper, most of its production takes place in factories. In Battambang, a few families still make a living by producing them by hand. Keep reading

Traditional crafts of Cambodia (3/7): Rice noodles, Battambang

Rice noodles are a favourite in many Asian countries. A pho for breakfast or rice noodles as a base for lunch or dinner are common. To serve this high demand, most noodles are produced in factories. However, it is still possible to buy them fresh and hand-made. In Battambang, a few families living in the rice noodle district have been passing on this know-how for many generations.

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Traditional crafts of Cambodia (1/7): Bamboo sticky rice, Battambang

Sticky rice is paramount to any meal in Lao cuisine, and can be found as well in neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Cambodia. There, it is prepared as a dessert like mango sticky rice, or a sweet snack known as bamboo sticky rice.

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Dyeing to weave your way through Vientiane, Laos!

The water has been boiling for a while now and a woody scent enters my nose. I pour the hot water full of shavings through a piece of cloth to filter the pulp out. I bring the water to the boil again before adding the main ingredients. No, I am not preparing a meal, I am making yellow! Keep reading

Dive into the Cambodian coral reef

Cambodia is not as famous as Thailand when it comes to islands, paradisiac beaches, coral reefs and scuba diving. And this is all for the best, I am telling myself as I am writing this article from the fishing village M’Pai on the small island of Koh Rong Samloem in Southern Cambodia. Feet in the sand, Keep traveling!

Spice up your trip to Cambodia with world’s best pepper, Kampot

The Kampot pepper is famous in the best kitchens all around the world. Farmed since the 13th century in Cambodia, it is during the protectorate that the French realized the potential of the Kampot area, giving a subtle taste to the pepper that lingers on one’s tongue. The hills of Kampot along the Cambodian coast Keep reading!

Insider tips: my favourite bakery in Paris!

There are more than a thousand bakeries in Paris, and each Parisian has its own favourite. As a Parisian, my own favourite is Legay Choc and its crispy and fresh baguette, homemade to-die-for chouquettes and delicious viennoiseries. Keep reading

Dutch cheese, the secrets revealed

Think: the Netherlands. What are the first few images popping up into your mind? Wooden clogs, tulips, windmills? Maybe gay-weddings, bicycles, the Amsterdam canals, or brown coffee shops? What about the yellow gold? No, not Heineken, I’m talking: cheese! Keep reading

Photo of the day: Why are Scandinavian cottages red?

The traditional red cottage is the typical postcard of rural Scandinavia. The red colour was not chosen for aesthetic reasons: Keep reading

Witness the biggest flower auction in the world!

An ant-hill… A beehive… No, it’s more like a ballet; a ballet, with its well-rehearsed choreography, every participant sticking precisely to its path in a continuous and fast motion, with an unbelievable precision. Except that I’m witnessing how electrical trolleys are evolving, delivering some of the 20 million flowers traded everyday here, in Aalsmeer, The Netherlands, at the biggest flower auction in the world. Keep reading

The dream tour for a chocolate addict!

The Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama is world-renowned for its stunning beaches, islands, surfing and snorkelling spots. And there is one more reason to go to Bocas: the mountainous forests on the mainland by the harbour town of El Almirante are home to one of the best organic cacao producers in the world! Keep traveling!

Tasting the best coffee in the world in Boquete, Panama

“Position your nose inside the cup and inhale. Just close your eyes and smell thoroughly.” My hands are wrapped around a warm coffee cup while I  am distinguishing the elegant flavours. “Now move your nostril along the ridge of the cup and smell again. What do you smell now?”

I am trying to recognize the different scents: honey, a trace of jasmine, a hint of fruits, an orange aftertaste. This coffee is not just a regular coffee: I am tasting the best coffee of the world! Indeed, the Geisha coffee from the mountains of Boquete, Panama, has been acclaimed by worldwide independent tasters as the best, with its price reaching up to $350 for a pound of its unprocessed green beans.

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Canal du Midi unlocked: the high-end olives of L’Oulibo (5/5)

“Almond, Granny Smith, avocado, and a slight trace of pepper lingers in the throat”, says Mr. Thibault after smelling and Keep travelling

Cormorant-fishing (ukai) in Ozu, Shikoku: witnessing a rare tradition

The setting sun colours the islands of the Inland Sea as we drive along the northern Shikoku coastline towards the ferry terminal. It is our last day on Shikoku after a week of adventures. On our way to the ferry, we drive via Ozu to try to get a glimpse of cormorant fishing on the Hijikawa river. This traditional way of fishing, Keep traveling!

Onsen hopping in Kurokawa, Kyushu, Japan

Day 8 in Japan. After flying, driving, walking and running for quite a few kilometres, we decided to indulge ourselves with a full day of relaxing: today is onsen-hopping day! Keep traveling!