Wanderlust: 10 best Asia travel books

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


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.

Click the gallery to see the IndyBest buys

Click here to buy now

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.   

Buy now

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