Listen carefully - that's a whale singing

The Al Hallaniyah islands off Oman are rarely visited. That's why they have become a haven for wildlife, says Carolyn Fry

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A desert kingdom squeezed between the West Bank and Iraq is not an obvious holiday destination. Jeremy Laurance explores a peaceful land of far horizons

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Dambulla, we have lift off

With the sci-fi writer Arthur C Clarke as a passenger, Allan Calder wanted to ensure a smooth take-off and landing for Sri Lanka's first balloon ride operation

48 hours in Bahrain

It may be the first Arab state to stage an F1 grand prix, but, it is not just race fans who will find plenty to do in this little kingdom, says Lucy Gillmore

So bad it's good

A seven-star hotel, chic stores, an artificial archipelago that creates a world map in the sea, the tallest building ever, the first underwater hotel: there are no heights - or depths - to which Dubai won't go in its bid to become a tourist mecca. Andrew Tuck visits a tiny country building a big future

Grand tours: A landscape left over from the days of fear

Writers' adventures in literature: Defying convention, Freya Stark seeks to explore Yemen alone. She is given an armed escort

Fancy a trip to downtown Baghdad?

Jeremy Hillman meets the first tourist into the Iraqi capital since the war

A Space Odyssey

Outer Mongolia has almost a million miles of open prairie where nomads on horseback slowly roam, seeking ever greener pastures. But when he leaves the tranquil steppes, Mark Stratton discovers the nation's fighting spirit

48 hours in Dubai

The Gulf's favourite destination is chaotic, cosmopolitan and cheap - ideal for finding shopping bargains on a stopover on your way East, or as a short break in its own right.

In North Korea, the game goes on

There's more to the little-visited Democratic People's Republic of Korea than the West suspects, says Tony Wheeler. You'll even find avid football fans
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