Ronan O'Connell
Ronan O'Connell
Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for 17 years and is based between Australia, Thailand and Ireland, reporting on travel and current affairs for the likes of CNN, BBC, WIRED, Forbes, The Guardian and The Telegraph. He has been freelancing for eight years and prior to that spent nine years reporting for daily newspapers in Australia.

Remnants of a long-ago empire, towers carved with scenes from Hindu myths at the Unesco World Heritage site of My Son in Central Vietnam have emerged from a 6-year restoration.

Amsterdam is a city of museums, including some exploring pretty exotic subjects. Enjoy the charming Cat Cabinet, cringe in the Torture Museum and say ‘high’ at the city’s famous marijuana museum.

Phuket isn’t known for surfing, but recent festivals form part of the Thai island’s efforts to get in on the global surf tourism boom – which it could do as a place where novices can learn the sport.

From a stone in Tamil Nadu, India, covered in ancient writing to an arena in Hue, Vietnam, where tigers and warriors fought, we explore five Asian locations where you can channel your inner adventurer.


Asia’s long-standing relationship with Christianity is embodied by magnificent churches in places including Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and India. Here are 10 of the most noteworthy.

The total solar eclipse on April 20 will draw international tourists to Exmouth, a quiet town known for its Unesco World Heritage Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park.

Six places in Ireland to visit that are connected to the country’s patron saint, from its most sacred mountain to churches, baptism sites, a 1,000-year-old-tower and a brewery.

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet brings tourists to Verona, the Italian city where it is set. Yet he didn’t create the romantic tale. That was the work of an author from a neighbouring city.

The legacy of Malacca’s colonisation by European powers is evident in the Malaysian city’s old town, but look closer and you find evidence of Chinese explorer Zheng He’s influence.

With woodwork and calligraphy, two men are keeping the dying art of Chinese signboard making alive in Singapore – the city state’s Chinatown is filled with decades worth of their work.

A stroll along Singapore’s Graftbusters’ Trail helps explain how the city’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau fearlessly went after police and government ministers.

The Majapahit empire, Indonesia’s largest ever, was born in 1293 and lasted until the 1520s. Now, 700 years later, it is being celebrated by a new luxury resort in Bali.

The 11km-long Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk takes in four of London’s eight royal parks and passes by Buckingham Palace – a fitting way to remember her 25 years after her death.

The Shinju Matsuri, an amalgamation of Chinese, Japanese and Malay celebrations, attracts thousands of visitors each year to Broome, possibly the most multicultural small town in Australia.

Australia’s Aboriginal heritage has long been underappreciated and a beautiful new public art project overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge is trying to address that.

The Vietnamese capital has been a hub of traditional crafts for hundreds of years, and as the city emerges from the pandemic, tourism authorities are putting its 800 artisan villages front and centre.

A forest park in Bangkok, a gondola ride offering a panaroma of Singapore, an Instagram-worthy bridge and a theme park in Malaysia, a man-made beach – there’s a lot to draw visitors back.

After being shut to the world for almost two years thanks to the pandemic, Australia has reopened to international tourists. Here’s how to explore the deep Chinese connections in the nation’s most populous city.

Indentured workers, plucked from Indigenous communities and, later, Asia, risked their lives to enrich their white masters in the pearl fishing industry of Broome, Western Australia.

The US president-elect’s familial ties to Mayo, one of Ireland’s most trad­itional and untamed counties, run deep, while in his home state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia played a pivotal role in his election, as it does in modern American history.


Stunning scenery and welcoming, laid-back locals make it difficult to keep your eyes on the road along Sri Lanka’s southern coastline