Wanderlust: 10 best Asia travel books

If you’re heading east or want to learn more about the continent, take a guided tour

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The Independent Online


Asia is a vast, diverse continent; spanning from the mountainous extremes of the Stans down to the tropics of Indonesia. It offers something for every traveller  – and armchair explorers with a thirst for knowledge.

Map and travel book specialists Stanfords have selected a variety of guidebooks, histories, travelogues and cookbooks from all corners of the continent. From William Dalrymple’s absorbing Return of a King, telling the tale of the disastrous campaign in Afghanistan, to the Lonely Planet’s South East Asia on a Shoestring – a must for backpackers on budget.

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Verdict: Ignore the fact it’s had the big screen treatment, Eric Lomax’s The Railway Man is a powerful autobiography that shines a light on a difficult period in history. If you want to be inspired to head for a country that’s not on a well-trodden path, pick up Odyssey’s guide to Myanmar. And Charmaine Solomon’s recipes will transport you to the East, without the cost of the plane ticket.   

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1. Mr Selden’s Map of China by Timothy Brook, £13.95

2. Complete Asian Cookbook Series: Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore by Charmaine Solomon, £14.99

3. The Railway Man by Eric Lomax, £7.99

4. Love Mumbai – 4th Edition, £24.95

5. Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, From £12.59

6. Midnight’s Descendents by John Keay, £17.60

7. Wallpaper Guides Ho Chi Minh 2014, £6.95

8. Return of a King, £8.41

9. Myanmar – Burma In Style, £17.95

10. The Teardrop Island by Cherry Briggs, £8.99

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