Travel Writer

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.

Condé Nast Traveller

Pop, lock & drop it
November 2016
There's a great-value, feel-good place on Crocus Bay selling barbecued baby-back ribs and Piña Coladas. Everyone tries to get to da'Vida by 11am to bag a lounger in the shade, but even if you're late someone will shuffle along to share. [...]

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

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. [...]

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. [...]

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

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 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. [...]

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. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Bohemian Rhapsody
November 15, 2014
Guidebooks often warn tourists away from Wenceslas Square in Prague. That might be because at first glance there seems little to set apart this lozenge-shaped thoroughfare. The shops and fast-food chains could be on any high street in Europe. With three different metro stops the pavement is always crowded and locals caution against pickpockets. [...]

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

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. [...]

The Sunday Telegraph

Wish upon a star
July 8, 2013
It is said that the Incas did not focus on the stars at night. Instead of pointing out twinkling celestial bodies and joining up the dots to make constellations, they found meaning in the dark patches of the night sky. For them, a pool of blackness immediately below the Southern Cross was the head of a snake [...]

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. [...]

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

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. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Bali: ten years after the terror
September 12, 2012
Bali's natural riches and robust, timeless culture have given it the strength to rebuild a thriving tourist scene since a bomb struck Kuta in 2002. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Beautiful and damned
July 16, 2011
Following the advice of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-democracy leader, Michelle Jana Chan travels around under her own steam. Mya rubbed drops of water into the tree bark to form a yellow paste. She smeared it on my forehead and cheeks, finishing with the flourish of a dab at the end of my nose. The children jostling around me looked on, giggling. [...]

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.

Financial Times

My discovery of 2010
December 11, 2010
The breeze blew, the sea splashed our feet, we drank pastis and ate fresh crab cooked with the country’s most revered seasoning, Kampot pepper. From Llandudno to the Kalahari desert, FT travel contributors reveal their favourite finds of the past 12 months.

Financial Times

More than just rice and beans
November 20, 2010
It is easy to find one of Havana’s many ration shops. The aged shuttered doors are folded back to the wall, the room is poorly lit and there is little for sale. Just down from Plaza Vieja, in the historic district, I entered Bodega La Caridad. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Cambodia : Beyond Angkor
November 20, 2010
More than a million tourists visit Angkor Wat each year but further afield there are countless exquisite hidden monuments testifying to Cambodia's rich past. Michelle Jana Chan reports. The older, wiser people of Cambodia say you must never plan to visit the prized temples of Angkor. Better to see them when you least expect it. [...]

Financial Times

One for the road
August 15, 2009
The political instability in central Africa has stunted the growth of tourism in Uganda, despite landscapes to rival those of neighbouring Kenya or Tanzania. Safari vehicles are uncommon enough that children wave frantically when they pass. [...]

Tatler

The Lost World
August 2009
Crocodiles, croissants and cricket - the three Guianas are a bewitching triumvirate. Michelle Jana Chan goes into the wild. In so many ways, it’s a tough sell. On a map, all three Guianas -- in total about twice the size of the UK -- are wedged between Venezuela and north Brazil but are fiercely non-Latin. [...]

Newsweek

No Big Hurry
May 18, 2009
For some, there's no better investment right now than a long, leisurely trip. Everyone is looking for a good investment these days. And with stocks, currencies and companies all foundering, some are finding that taking the trip of a lifetime is actually a smart move right now. [...]

Financial Times

Wild abundance
January 17, 2009
A raindrop falls in the upper reaches of the Angolan highlands. It trickles off the waxy leaf of a rubber tree into a stream. The stream courses through the verdant Caprivi Strip of Namibia to join the Okavango, one of southern Africa's mightiest rivers. [...]

Financial Times

City of mud and honey
May 23, 2008
The point of departure can be as significant to a traveller’s first impressions as the destination itself. From Dubai, San’a seems all the more dusty, bleached and biblical. Yemen has long been isolated from the rest of the Gulf. The country is hemmed in by the rocky Haraz mountains, screening it from neighbouring Saudi Arabia. [...]

Newsweek

The New Inn Crowd
May 20, 2007
Why celebrities like Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Redford and Richard Branson are getting into the hotel business. He may be more famous for directing "The Godfather" film trilogy, but Francis Ford Coppola has another trio of esteemed creations to his name: three boutique hotels hidden in the Central American jungle. [...]

Newsweek

Capturing The Niche
May 14, 2007
Travelers are seeking focused, meaningful trips—and tour operators are happy to comply. Claire Hurren is not interested in spending her vacation lying on a beach, shopping or museum hopping. She doesn't even want to go on safari. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

Brazil : embers of empire
July 23, 2005
Concluding her series, Michelle Jana Chan finds the land of the carefree carnival still coming to terms with the legacy of Portuguese rule. Long before Britannia ruled the waves, Portugal had established a global empire stretching from Madeira to Macau and Mozambique. [...]

The Daily Telegraph

China : A land on the move
October 23, 2004
Michelle Jana Chan returns to China after a decade away, and journeys by train across a country in the throes of momentous change. Just over 1,000 years ago, present-day Xi'an was arguably the largest, most cosmopolitan and cultured city in the world. [...]