Adventure

Ultratravel

The Heart of Lightness
Winter 2016
East Greenland is one of the most starkly beautiful places on our planet — and has been almost impossible to access, until now. Michelle Jana Chan ventures deep into the land of the midnight sun.

Travel+Leisure

Discover the Origins of Mankind
September 2016
In addition to luxurious lodges, wildlife encounters, and stunning landscapes, this experience will take you deep into the world of the Leakeys, the legendary family of paleontologists who have made numerous important discovers on the shores of Lake Turkana, near the Ethiopian border.

The Daily Telegraph

Take a deep breath...
August 27, 2016
If you have seen Luc Besson’s 1988 film The Big Blue, you will know about the moment when the sport of freediving was propelled into the public consciousness. One character, Enzo Molinari, aims to dive the deepest, holding his breath the longest and pushing his body to the limit. The other, Jacques Mayol, is less interested in breaking records. [...]

Tatler

And the grandparents came too
August 2016
For a proper take-to-the-high-seas-me-hearties adventure, opt for Tiger Blue, a traditional jaw-dropper of an Indonesian phones that sleeps 10. Inside, it’s all cool Balinese style (including child-friendly cabins), while outside are sprawling decks, billowing sails and outdoor beds for those who wish to sleep beneath the stars. [...]

Tatler

Into the Wild
June 2016
This year’s hot new destinations happen to be some of the most remote, bonkers corners of the planet. So it’s time to dust off those backpacks and work on your travel brags...

The Daily Telegraph

The day the mountains moved
April 24, 2016
There had been heavy rain overnight but now the clouds were lifting. I stopped on a promontory to admire the view across a wide valley towards the eastern arc of the Annapurna circuit. There was a steep drop below me and good visibility. I pulled out the map to pinpoint my location. The date was April 25 2015. Suddenly the ground began to shake. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: Warm trousers for women
February 1, 2016
A good pair of trousers is one of the most important pieces of kit you need for outdoor activities. Stretch and mobility are two critical elements to consider when choosing a pair of cold weather trousers. Loose trousers will chafe, while those that are too tight will restrict movement. Trousers made with tough material that can withstand scraping and snagging is key [...]

Condé Nast Traveller

The Comeback: Nepal
February 2016
Less than a year after suffering a double earthquake, Nepal is showing renewed spirit. Not only is the country reopening repaired tracks, but championing routes such as the Natural Annapurna Trekking Trail, which avoids just-built roads and allows trekkers — with relief and nostalgia — to return to the Annapurna Circuit and Tilicho lake. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: Down jackets for women
January 4, 2016
A down jacket is one of the most joyful pieces of kit, providing great, almost instant warmth for not much weight. Made with the soft, warm underfeathers of a goose or duck, down jackets are the best insulator. The fluffiness, or loft, creates tiny air pockets that trap warm air and retain heat. Compressible with a comfortable feel, one can be squashed into a sack the size of [...]

Condé Nast Traveller

Freeze Frame
January 2016
The raw wilderness of Norway’s Svalbard is one of the harshest environments on the planet but it’s a land where everyone gets along, because getting along is the only way to survive. This is real-life ‘Fortitude’, the Scandic-Noir that’s soon to resurface. [...]

Tatler

Travel Guide 2016
December 2015
It’s big on drama, this place. The location alone — on the Oloololo (try saying that after three G&Ts) escarpment, 1,000 feet above the Maasai Mara — will knock your little khaki shorts off. This striking new lodge has big names behind it: owned by safari legends Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald; designed by Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens [...]

Condé Nast Traveller

Room with a view
December 2015
Where are we? Angama Mara, Kenya. Why we love it? There’s a chink of sunrise. A fuzzy horizon, 60 breathtaking kilometres away, becomes defined, as do smudges of acacia. From your bed, atop the Oloololo escarpment the Maasai Mara begins to take shape and in the distance hot air balloons sail past. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: Shell jackets for women
December 7, 2015
A relatively recent invention, the shell jacket is a bit like the iPad - who knew we needed one? They strike a perfect balance between weather protection and comfort, but critics wonder whether they really can be windproof and waterproof as well as breathable and supple. With the development of high-tech fabrics, they are increasingly ticking these [...]

Condé Nast Traveller

Freeze Frame
January 2016
The raw wilderness of Norway’s Svalbard is one of the harshest environments on the planet but it’s a land where everyone gets along, because getting along is the only way to survive. This is real-life ‘Fortitude’, the Scandic-Noir that’s soon to resurface. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Family holidays: 10 places you wouldn't think to take your family
November 18, 2015
Offbeat and unusual destinations for a family holiday, from beach breaks in Colombia and Zimbabwe to museums in Manchester. [...]

The Australian

Reinhold Messner’s MMM Corones: Man meets the mountains
September 5, 2015
From the top of Mount Kronplatz, I gaze at the rugged range of peaks around me. To the north are the Zillertal Alps; in the other direction, Marmolada glacier; the Lienz Dolomites lie east and the Ortler to the west. A crown of summits and spires, pinnacles and towers, and below, dark-green pine forests and meadows of wildflowers. [...]

Condé Nast Traveller

Born Trippy
October 2015
This was once some of the most coveted coastline on the planet. Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, the French, Dutch and Portuguese clashed, conquered and colonised the stretch of Brazil wedged between the mouth of the Amazon and the north-eastern shoulder of South America. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: The best walking gear
September 12, 2015
This durable lightweight walking shoe keeps feet cool and dry in warm conditions. The upper is built from a single piece of suede leather with a breathable lining yet water resistant outer shell. This shoe supports the shape of the female foot well, creating some flexibility while maintaining good support. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: The best waterproof cameras
August 22, 2015
Today’s waterproof cameras offer much more than an underwater function. Many can tolerate cold environments, high humidity and the rough-and-tumble of extreme sports. These tougher, more durable devices are an ideal secondary camera to a smartphone camera. They provide similar features and image quality to good point-and-shoot cameras but [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Gap years: are they worth it?
August 15, 2015
Teaching English in Battambang? Kite-surfing in Jericoacoara? Rhino darting in South Africa? Learning Spanish in Sucre? Or passed out on the beaches of Koh Tao? How did you spend your gap year? Traditionally a gap year has been taken between school and university by so-called ‘gappers’, usually around eighteen years of age [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Where man meets mountain
August 1, 2015
From the top of Mount Kronplatz, I gaze at the rugged range of peaks around me. To the north are the Zillertal Alps; in the other direction, Marmolada glacier; the Lienz Dolomites lie east and the Ortler to the west. A crown of summits and spires, pinnacles and towers, and below, dark-green pine forests and meadows of wildflowers. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: The best swimwear for women
July 4, 2015
If only we could throw on a pair of board shorts or spandex trousers, without having to worry about support and a “stay-on” guarantee. But outfitters are getting savvier about the growing market of women triathletes, swimmers and surfers who seek streamlined one and two-piece swimwear. [...]

The Wall Street Journal

Going With the Flow on the Mekong River
July 3, 2015
Kneeling down on the pavement in Luang Prabang, I rest my swing-basket of sticky rice, warm and damp, on my lap. At this early hour, the light is still colorless and the shadows long. In the distance, a procession of monks in glorious robes trails down from one of the city’s many gilded Buddhist temples. [...]

Ultratravel

Ultra Drives
Summer 2015
Where: The Calchaquí Valleys in northwest Argentina, from Salta to Cachi, Colomé, Cafayate and back to Salta.
Why: This area of Argentina lies in the foothills of the Andes, with snowy peaks, cruising condors and a strong indigenous culture. Salta is a colonial city, with cobbled lanes [...]

Condé Nast Traveller

Underwater Love
July 2015
The fish around here know how special they are. They shimmer and glow and sparkle like stars in their own biopic, performing in the spotlight of crepuscular sunrays. There’s the arresting electric-blue giti damselfish with its flash yellow tail, the alluring doe-eyed, deep reef cardinalfish, and the jamal’s dottyback with aqua-rimmed eyes as startling as Daniel Craig’s. [...]

Tatler

Wander Women
July 2015
Woman are aces at adventurous. They always have been. Consider restless Freya Stark, who left behind her English-Italian family to journey through inter-war Arabia, writing dozens of vivid travel books en route. Or Gertrude Bell, an Oxford graduate who spoke eight languages, conquered numerous mountains, became a spy and made her home in Baghdad. [...]

Condé Nast Traveller

One Step Ahead
June 2015
Kenya’s having a tough time right now, but its fans are hardy sorts and nobody can deny that the Maasai Mara, the site of the annual wildebeest migration, is one of Africa’s greatest game reserves. And now there’s a new place to stay: Angama Mara, on the Oloololo Escarpment minutes from the Mara Triangle and flanked by that kopje [...]

Condé Nast Traveller

The expert... advice
May 2015
Question: I hear the traffic is dreadful in Istanbul. How would you recommend travelling across the city?
Answer: By front crawl. For a few hours every summer the Bosphorus is off-limits to shipping and the annual Cross-Continental Swim begins. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: The best GPS devices
April 11, 2015
Until about a decade ago, many of us went trekking with a map in a freezer bag and a compass on a string. Today we have replaced those with a handheld GPS (Global Positioning System) device. Using satellites, these mini-computers with an antenna can calculate your exact position on Earth, marked by a dot on a screen [...]

The Wall Street Journal

Infinity and beyond
February 13, 2015
Standing on the banks of the Maroni River, I look across the brown choppy waters from Suriname to French Guiana as ferrymen hustle for my business. It’s too far to make out St.-Laurent-du-Maroni in much detail, just a few mustard-colored buildings, a communication aerial and low-rise warehouses by a jetty. [...]

Tatler

Zephyr vs Zoom
February 2015
The vibe. Sail: it’s all about action. This is salt-and-wnd-in-the-hair stuff. Motor: it’s all about luxury. And a tiny bit of showing off. [...]

The Wall Street Journal

Big Small Talk
January 2, 2015
These zippy matte-red shades from ski goggle experts POC are named after Julia Mancuso, the alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist from Squaw Valley, California. She’s got the moves, and at least you can imitate her off-the-slopes style with these tough yet flexible frames [...]

Ultratravel

Travel writers' trips of a lifetime
Winter 2014
To celebrate 10 years of Ultratravel, the Telegraph's luxury-travel magazine, contributors recall their most extraordinary travel experiences.
The Peking to Paris classic-car rally, Michelle Jana Chan. Driving a 1940 Ford Coupe, my co-driver Mike Reeves and I crossed the start line at the Great Wall of China. [...]

The Wall Street Journal

The Highs of Climbing Mont Blanc
October 31, 2014
It's just after midnight but the snow is glistening in the light of a harvest moon—and our headlamps. I look up, enchanted, at the silhouettes of jagged Alpine peaks and processions of fellow climbers. Despite the physical task ahead—and against my guide’s wishes—I pull out my camera to capture some video. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

We can’t all be Himalayan climbers
October 20, 2014
In the wake of one of Nepal’s worst trekking disasters, the rescue efforts are just beginning. Already, harrowing stories are emerging. Hundreds of tourists and Nepalis have been caught up in the recent snow storms and avalanches in the Himalayan mountains, killing more than 40 and injured nearly 200. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: The best baby backpacks
October 11, 2014
A child-carrying pack gives you the freedom to head for the hills hands-free (or use trekking poles) while your child is safe and supported. When choosing a pack, a lightweight one is a priority – you’re already carrying the weight of a child – as is good weight distribution (a pivoting hip belt, padded straps and lumbar support). [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: The best watersports gear for women
August 9, 2014
Life at the seaside used to be so simple. In our beach bag was a towel, a bucket and spade, and a sandwich. Now we take our watersports much more seriously; it’s become hi-tech and just a little bit competitive. Here are some of the summer’s essential watersports accessories for women who prefer to get more than their feet wet. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

What a difference a baby makes
July 22, 2014
As the globe-trotting Prince George celebrates his first birthday, Michelle Jana Chan - who has taken already her one-year-old on 50 flights - reflects on the challenges and rewards of travelling en famille. [...]

Tatler

The world's best superyacht charters
August 2014
Let's face it, you'll probably never own a superyacht - but that doesn't mean you can't pretend for a week or two. Michelle Jana Chan on the beautiful boats that are available for hire. Now get out of my way, Roman... [...]

Tatler

Ride the waves: Nonsuch Bay, Antigua
July 2014
There are few better locations to find your kitesurfing mojo than this place -- a smart, family-friendly resort with a reef-protected bay, consistent trade winds, warm Caribbean waters and star instructors Chris & Susi, who will get you downwind (in a few days), upwind (in a week) and eventually flipping out (you’ll be hooked for life). [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: The best walking shoes for women
June 28, 2014
Ah, how times have changed. We used to wear rigid, bulky boots which felt heavy even before we had begun our trek. But now there is a new generation of walking shoes that are lightweight, flexible and supportive, yet sturdy, well-constructed and able to offer great traction. They feel like trainers but with technical prowess, durability and good protection. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Action Packed: The best rucksacks for women
April 26, 2014
The pressure for putting girls in pink begins early – in the baby department – but you might think it would halt at the entrance to the outdoor store. Alas, no. Not only are there fewer choices for women when it comes to adventure gear (due to lesser demand, it must be admitted) but the limited ranges come in a nauseating array of lurid colours. [...]

Peking to Paris Rally
December 20, 2013
The full-length journey.

Up close with Zambia's wild animals
December 13, 2013
Zambia has pioneered the walking safari - encouraging people to get out of vehicles and taking travellers into the bush for a more intimate experience of the African wilderness. Michelle Jana Chan travels to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park to find out more.

The Daily Telegraph

Mush mush, it’s a Mini Cooper!
January 11, 2014
Before arriving in the village of Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lapland I had images of reindeer-pulled sleighs and husky dogs yelping at speed across the icy terrain. But instead I was greeted with a four-wheel-drive Mini Cooper Countryman – and a track on a frozen lake close to the Icehotel, 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. [...]

Peking to Paris Rally: The final race
August 6, 2013
After nearly a month on the road, Fast Track's Michelle Jana Chan and co-driver Mike Reeves are coming to the end of the marathon Peking to Paris vintage car rally.

Peking to Paris rally: Racing across Russia
July 31, 2013
Fast Track's Michelle Jana Chan decided to join the 2013 Peking to Paris rally in a 1940 Ford Coupe called Shiner. After several weeks on the road she reaches Russia, but will her car survive the journey across Siberia and the Urals?

Peking to Paris rally blues
July 23, 2013
After a week on the road - and enjoying a first place position - gear and suspension problems cost Michelle and co-driver Mike Reeves valuable time during the drive across Mongolia. Can they get the car back on the road in time to stay in the race?

The Peking to Paris rally
July 16, 2013
The Peking to Paris classic car rally dates back to 1907 when the aim was to show just how versatile the motor vehicle could be. Fast Track's Michelle Jana Chan decided to join the 2013 Peking to Paris rally in a 1940 Ford Coupe called Shiner. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Peking to Paris classic car rally 2013: 'Let’s make a U-turn and do it all again'
July 6, 2013
It was a cold and wet afternoon somewhere between Saratov and Voronezh, Russia. As we drove around a corner, we saw an elderly couple standing on the side of the road in the rain. With one hand, the woman was pointing a camera at us; with the other, she was waving and cheering us on. Beside her the man was holding up a yellow banner. [...]

Condé Nast Traveller

Brave New Worlds
August 2013
Here’s the story of a man who made a billion bucks: first he launched himself into space, then he looked on Google Maps to find an island where he could be alone. But instead, he tells Michelle Jana Chan, he fell in love with a wonky lost land full of witch doctors and spider scientists. He’s now among a group of visionaries changing the way we travel. [...]

Tatler

Nautical but nice...
June 2013
Take the helm, climb the mast, swab the deck. Let free your inner salty seadog aboard HMB Endeavour, a faithful replica of 18th-century navigator James Cook’s tallship. No sailing experience required, but you do need a sense of adventure and a stomach of steel. Be warned: this is not luxury, no siree. [...]

Tatler

Sweetie, Darwin! Galapagos
June 2013
In the Galapagos, size matters: GIANT tortoises, ENORMOUS whales sharks, albatrosses with 10-FOOT wingspans. But with boats, smaller is always better here. Think of the logistics: shuttling 100-plus people between ship and shore via Zodiacs. No thanks. You must go small, and one of the very smallest vessels [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Peking to Paris classic car rally 2013: Highs and lows
June 28, 2013
Scariest moment? I do not think I was ever scared for our safety but there were many times I was afraid for the well-being of Shiner, our 1940 Ford Coupe. The worst moment was on Day 6 (Ulaan Baatar to Bulgan, Mongolia) when we ended up driving through a marsh. We had to keep up our speed but that meant violently porpoising for a hundred metres. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Peking to Paris classic car rally 2013: fighting for victory
June 21, 2013
From time to time I indulge myself and recall how it felt to be leading one of the world’s longest and toughest vintage car rallies. Alas, the unfiltered joy lasted only a few days - although it was during some of the most challenging driving at the start of the rally in Mongolia. That is a long time ago. It is now day 24 of this 33-day competition. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Death casts shadow over classic car rally
June 13, 2013
As we approached the end of the Wednesday’s stage, we heard the news: there had been a serious accident. All competitive racing was on hold. Everyone should head directly to our hotel in Tyumen, in south-west Siberia. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Peking to Paris classic car rally: And they're off...
May 30, 2013
It was one of those signature murky days in Beijing. As we headed down to the hotel car park it started to drizzle. In the flat grey light of dawn, among the row of vintage Bentleys and classic Mercedes, was our car, a 1940 Ford Coupe nicknamed Shiner, ready for a journey of nearly 8,000 miles to Paris. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

The Himalayas: Trip of a Lifetime
May 26, 2013
Home to the highest peaks on the planet, the Himalayas begin in Pakistan stretching across India, Bhutan and Nepal until reaching China in the east. This is a majestic landscape of mountains, deep valleys and glaciers, dominated by Mount Everest (otherwise known as Sagarmatha in Nepali) at 8,848m above sea level. [...]

Stargazing in the Atacama Desert
May 17, 2013
With high altitude plateaus, clear skies and low humidity, Chile is becoming a popular destination with the international scientific community and is home to many of the world’s most powerful observatories.

The Daily Telegraph

Ice-driving in Val d’Isère
April 15, 2013
It had been snowing for 24 hours when we found ourselves at the ice-driving circuit in Val d’Isère. The light was the same eerie diffuse blue of a B horror movie. Nestled in the craggy valley among fir trees the track was lit only by the beam of headlights as a fleet of four-wheel drives hurtled around the track, slipping and sliding and sometimes fully pirouetting. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Revving up for the greatest classic rally
December 29, 2012
It was 15 years ago when I was working as a news journalist in Beijing that I heard about the Peking-to-Paris Motor Challenge, one of the longest and toughest rallies undertaken in a classic car. The first race had taken place 90 years earlier in 1907 and was entirely off-road, participants travelling without passports or maps or recourse to garages en route. [...]

Tatler

Girls on top
December 2012
Staring at a summit on your screensaver? No, seriously -- are you? All-women climbing group Peaks Foundation has just launched a nifty number One Peak, One Week for anyone seeking a slug of adventure while raising big bucks for girls’ education. Back-breaking and bitterly cold, maybe, but there’s nothing like female bonding to generate girl power. [...]

The National

On high seas under square sail
September 28, 2012
Working day and night aboard an 18th-century sailing ship might not be everyone's idea of a holiday, but one of the world's greatest adventures awaits those who love a challenge. [...]

Climbing in Ladakh
August 17, 2012
Michelle Jana Chan joined a group of trekkers on a climb with one of the area's first female guides.

Sailing in Endeavour
August 2, 2012
Michelle Jana Chan joins would-be 18th Century seafarers getting a taste of life on the ocean as it would have been nearly a quarter of a millennium ago.

Tatler

Ladakh is back
July 2012
Mouldy mattresses, bad plumbing and a musty whiff in the air? Sounds like a homestay -- except when it comes to beloved Shakti Himalaya, queen of fine feasts, flushing loos and the best beds around. [...]

The Sydney Morning Herald

Sunrise at the summit
March 10, 2012
The Indonesian archipelago, a region susceptible to tectonic activity, is part of the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", a chain of beautiful and dramatic islands with cone-shaped peaks and fertile green fields enriched by mineral deposits and interspersed by stretches of solidified lava flows. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Bali without the crowds
February 13, 2011
It does not have the fabled image of Indonesia's more popular island Bali but, as Michelle Jana Chan points out, neighbouring Lombok has better beaches and far fewer tourists. [...]

Ultratravel

We’re all explorers now
Spring 2011
A week under a palm tree doing nothing? Very last century – unless you’re recovering from a trip down the Congo or a trek across the Sahara. In a world where the extreme has become the ordinary, Michelle Jana Chan attempts three famous peaks in Tanzania, Kenya and the Alps. [...]

Ultratravel

The Big Five
Spring 2011
Extreme adventure trips worldwide to get the adrenalin pumping. Cruising The Congo : beginning in the commercial hub of Kisangani, passengers board a traditional river cruiser and travel along two-thirds of the largest navigable portion of the Congo to Kinshasa. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Splash out -- without smelling the chlorine
January 29, 2011
Flailing limbs. Kicking feet. I swallowed several pitchers of East River water and took a few knocks to the head. But I did not forget to glance up at the towering skyscrapers glinting in the sunlight. [...]

Climbing Mt Blanc
December 3, 2010
Michelle Jana Chan comes to understand the growing passion for extreme adventure travel while testing her own limits on the way up to the summit of Mt Blanc.

Climbing Kilimanjaro
July 2010
Making her way up to the summit of Africa's highest mountain, Michelle Jana Chan considered the impact of tourism on the area.