Thomas Bird

Thomas Bird is an itinerant writer concerned with travel, the environment and art in China and Southeast Asia. He likes rock n roll, craft beer, scuba diving and the teachings of Zhuangzi.
Thomas Bird
Thomas Bird is an itinerant writer concerned with travel, the environment and art in China and Southeast Asia. He likes rock n roll, craft beer, scuba diving and the teachings of Zhuangzi.

Latest from Thomas Bird

The ancient Buddhist art of thangka has thrived in a Tibetan town, despite centuries of upheaval

Rebgong in northwest China is nurturing a new generation of artists, who are mastering the thangka, a Buddhist art form that has thrived over centuries of upheaval.

15 Feb 2019 - 9:53AM
The ancient Buddhist art of thangka has thrived in a Tibetan town, despite centuries of upheaval

Rebgong in northwest China is nurturing a new generation of artists, who are mastering the thangka, a Buddhist art form that has thrived over centuries of upheaval.

How a Tibetan hotelier born in exile helped put Shangri-La on the map

At the age of 16, Dakpa Kelden returned to his father’s hometown and enrolled at elementary school to learn Chinese. Today, he operates boutique hotels in Shangri-La and Lijiang and works to preserve Tibetan culture

17 Jan 2019 - 6:01PM
How a Tibetan hotelier born in exile helped put Shangri-La on the map

At the age of 16, Dakpa Kelden returned to his father’s hometown and enrolled at elementary school to learn Chinese. Today, he operates boutique hotels in Shangri-La and Lijiang and works to preserve Tibetan culture

‘World being pushed out of control’ the central theme at Lianzhou photo festival
On the trail of Deng Xiaoping in the French town where he embraced Communism

In the 1920s, the man who would become China’s paramount leader found his raison d’être in unremarkable Montargis, 120km from Paris.

19 Nov 2018 - 2:55PM
On the trail of Deng Xiaoping in the French town where he embraced Communism

In the 1920s, the man who would become China’s paramount leader found his raison d’être in unremarkable Montargis, 120km from Paris.

Lianzhou Foto 2018 – China’s edgiest photo festival puts quality over quantity

The Guangdong mountain town has historic landmarks, ethnic attractions and ‘weird’ food to entice visitors

10 Nov 2018 - 10:00AM
Lianzhou Foto 2018 – China’s edgiest photo festival puts quality over quantity

The Guangdong mountain town has historic landmarks, ethnic attractions and ‘weird’ food to entice visitors

Fire devastates historic wooden village on China’s ‘Dragon’s Backbone’ Longsheng rice terraces
Chinese on trains: photographer Wang Fuchun captures a nation’s progress over 40 years

Wang Fuchun’s candid portraits of travellers on China’s railways expose how breakneck economic development transformed lives since reform in the 1970s to the present day

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM
Chinese on trains: photographer Wang Fuchun captures a nation’s progress over 40 years

Wang Fuchun’s candid portraits of travellers on China’s railways expose how breakneck economic development transformed lives since reform in the 1970s to the present day

Dr Ho ‘goes to the mountains’ after a lifetime of international renown
Living through the Cultural Revolution: Chinese artist Teng Wenjin recalls sculpting in secret

As the 40th anniversary of ‘reform & opening-up’ looms, octogenarian Teng Wenjin, who created Shenzhen’s iconic Deng Xiaoping statue, reflects on a long journey from hard toil to artistic triumph

17 Aug 2018 - 10:46AM
Living through the Cultural Revolution: Chinese artist Teng Wenjin recalls sculpting in secret

As the 40th anniversary of ‘reform & opening-up’ looms, octogenarian Teng Wenjin, who created Shenzhen’s iconic Deng Xiaoping statue, reflects on a long journey from hard toil to artistic triumph

More than Beijing’s backyard: Hebei in China, where historical treasures shine through the pollution

Beijing’s hinterland, once the playground and battlefield of dynasties, has largely been spared the tourist makeover; pierce the pollution to reach the sea, and let history wash over you

20 Aug 2018 - 9:54AM
More than Beijing’s backyard: Hebei in China, where historical treasures shine through the pollution

Beijing’s hinterland, once the playground and battlefield of dynasties, has largely been spared the tourist makeover; pierce the pollution to reach the sea, and let history wash over you

China’s bike sharing bubble has burst – drone photography captures its casualties rusting in ‘bicycle graveyards’

Photographer Wu Guoyong travelled across the country to capture what happened when bike-sharing reached saturation point, inviting questions about the efficiency of China’s industrial machine

28 Aug 2018 - 5:43PM
China’s bike sharing bubble has burst – drone photography captures its casualties rusting in ‘bicycle graveyards’

Photographer Wu Guoyong travelled across the country to capture what happened when bike-sharing reached saturation point, inviting questions about the efficiency of China’s industrial machine

Chinese photographer captures ‘horror and beauty’ of modern China: from consumer culture to ancient waterways

Li Zhengde’s unvarnished, sometimes caustic images reveal the wonders and occasional horrors of a nation in flux

29 Jun 2018 - 10:49AM
Chinese photographer captures ‘horror and beauty’ of modern China: from consumer culture to ancient waterways

Li Zhengde’s unvarnished, sometimes caustic images reveal the wonders and occasional horrors of a nation in flux

How a writer gives voice to China’s ethnic minorities by translating their stories

Linguist and Chinese literary translator Bruce Humes looks back at life lived in all corners of the Sinosphere, and forward, to his passion for the literature of and about China’s minorities

25 Jun 2018 - 11:21AM
How a writer gives voice to China’s ethnic minorities by translating their stories

Linguist and Chinese literary translator Bruce Humes looks back at life lived in all corners of the Sinosphere, and forward, to his passion for the literature of and about China’s minorities

The first Chinese-built railway, the enthusiast trying to save it and his hero, the ‘father of China’s railroad’

As China forges ahead with a high-speed rail network few can rival, it seems hard to imagine it took 21 years for suspicious Qing dynasty officials to approve its first domestically built railway. An enthusiast tells of his fight to preserve it

20 Jun 2018 - 12:38PM
The first Chinese-built railway, the enthusiast trying to save it and his hero, the ‘father of China’s railroad’

As China forges ahead with a high-speed rail network few can rival, it seems hard to imagine it took 21 years for suspicious Qing dynasty officials to approve its first domestically built railway. An enthusiast tells of his fight to preserve it

Hong Kong photographer’s 40 years shooting a changing China, and why it’s more important than ever to dispel West’s ignorance

Magnus Bartlett published some of the first guide books to Chinese cities following the country’s opening up in 1978, and has been returning ever since. He believes it is more important than ever to tell the country’s story today

20 Jul 2018 - 8:47PM
Hong Kong photographer’s 40 years shooting a changing China, and why it’s more important than ever to dispel West’s ignorance

Magnus Bartlett published some of the first guide books to Chinese cities following the country’s opening up in 1978, and has been returning ever since. He believes it is more important than ever to tell the country’s story today

Halong Bay’s Cat Ba: a jewel in Vietnam’s island crown

A short train journey from Hanoi, Cat Ba and its neighbouring islands offer a lesser known, laid-back alternative to the country’s famous collection of karst islets

20 Jul 2018 - 8:47PM
Halong Bay’s Cat Ba: a jewel in Vietnam’s island crown

A short train journey from Hanoi, Cat Ba and its neighbouring islands offer a lesser known, laid-back alternative to the country’s famous collection of karst islets

Changing China: photo show focuses on impact of Wenzhou’s economic success story

A striking collection of images, exhibited at the 2017 Lishui International Photography Festival in Zhejiang province, shines light on those affected by unrelenting progress

2 Mar 2018 - 12:25PM
Changing China: photo show focuses on impact of Wenzhou’s economic success story

A striking collection of images, exhibited at the 2017 Lishui International Photography Festival in Zhejiang province, shines light on those affected by unrelenting progress

In deepest Yunnan: retracing the footsteps of Bruce Chatwin on late travel writer’s 1985 trip, when few had heard of Lijiang

What a difference a few decades make – or do they? Our reporter journeys back to a tourism-free time of wonder

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM
In deepest Yunnan: retracing the footsteps of Bruce Chatwin on late travel writer’s 1985 trip, when few had heard of Lijiang

What a difference a few decades make – or do they? Our reporter journeys back to a tourism-free time of wonder

Taiwan’s northern tip: weird nature, wonderful street food

A trip across the top of Taiwan takes visitors from hi-tech modernity through the island’s rich history and culinary heritage

A trip across the top of Taiwan takes visitors from hi-tech modernity through the island’s rich history and culinary heritage

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM
Taiwan’s northern tip: weird nature, wonderful street food

A trip across the top of Taiwan takes visitors from hi-tech modernity through the island’s rich history and culinary heritage

A trip across the top of Taiwan takes visitors from hi-tech modernity through the island’s rich history and culinary heritage

How China’s Shangri-La earned a name for craft beer after 2014 fire

The high-altitude Tibetan city in Yunnan is back on top of the world following blaze that destroyed much of its Old Town, with a focus on high-end tipples and luxury treks

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM
How China’s Shangri-La earned a name for craft beer after 2014 fire

The high-altitude Tibetan city in Yunnan is back on top of the world following blaze that destroyed much of its Old Town, with a focus on high-end tipples and luxury treks

The Lunatic Express: how Kenya’s colonial railway compares to new China-built line

The Victorian-era Nairobi-to-Mombasa line offered a chance to see Kenya at a leisurely, if unreliable, pace

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM
The Lunatic Express: how Kenya’s colonial railway compares to new China-built line

The Victorian-era Nairobi-to-Mombasa line offered a chance to see Kenya at a leisurely, if unreliable, pace

The rise and fall of Luoyang, China’s forgotten capital

At first sight, Luoyang, in Henan province, may feel like any other small town in China, but dig a little deeper and you will be rewarded with a rich and fascinating history spanning several dynasties

19 Jul 2017 - 11:13AM
The rise and fall of Luoyang, China’s forgotten capital

At first sight, Luoyang, in Henan province, may feel like any other small town in China, but dig a little deeper and you will be rewarded with a rich and fascinating history spanning several dynasties

Crowds from China to New York wowed by kinetic rickshaw sculpture from eccentric French artist

Niko de La Faye’s work M2B sets out to link ‘the cosmological views of ancient Taoism’ with Western science. Find out more about the project that has obsessed the artist for the six years since he moved to Beijing

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM
Crowds from China to New York wowed by kinetic rickshaw sculpture from eccentric French artist

Niko de La Faye’s work M2B sets out to link ‘the cosmological views of ancient Taoism’ with Western science. Find out more about the project that has obsessed the artist for the six years since he moved to Beijing

Mini-festivals spread across China as large-scale music events cancelled

From Shenzhen’s Tomorrow Music Festival to the Wetware and Yin Yang festivals at the Great Wall and La Fête de la Musique in Shunde, smaller events are carrying the torch for live performance in China

16 May 2017 - 5:58PM
Mini-festivals spread across China as large-scale music events cancelled

From Shenzhen’s Tomorrow Music Festival to the Wetware and Yin Yang festivals at the Great Wall and La Fête de la Musique in Shunde, smaller events are carrying the torch for live performance in China

The Shenzhen activists trying to stop Yulin dog slaughter and revive coral reefs

Post Magazine meets the Shenzhen-based activists who are striving to bring change to China, whether it is raising awareness about the controversial dog-meat festival in Yulin or coral conservation in the Dapeng Peninsula 

15 Dec 2016 - 9:40AM
The Shenzhen activists trying to stop Yulin dog slaughter and revive coral reefs

Post Magazine meets the Shenzhen-based activists who are striving to bring change to China, whether it is raising awareness about the controversial dog-meat festival in Yulin or coral conservation in the Dapeng Peninsula 

Shenzhen’s craft beer brewing scene takes off

The city may have been a little late to China’s craft-beer party but, with brew bars popping up all over, it’s catching up fast

1 Sep 2016 - 4:11PM
Shenzhen’s craft beer brewing scene takes off

The city may have been a little late to China’s craft-beer party but, with brew bars popping up all over, it’s catching up fast

The expats living the quiet life in rural southwest China

Trading city life for remote villages in the South China Karst region might seem an unlikely choice for expats but, as Thomas Bird discovers, some wouldn't have it any other way.

7 Jul 2016 - 4:45PM
The expats living the quiet life in rural southwest China

Trading city life for remote villages in the South China Karst region might seem an unlikely choice for expats but, as Thomas Bird discovers, some wouldn't have it any other way.

Goodbye old Canton: Guangzhou is booming, but at what cost to the people who live there?

As tower blocks replace its villages, Guangzhou has become unrecognisable to many locals. But is the flood of development worth it, asks Thomas Bird.

16 Apr 2015 - 4:02PM
Goodbye old Canton: Guangzhou is booming, but at what cost to the people who live there?

As tower blocks replace its villages, Guangzhou has become unrecognisable to many locals. But is the flood of development worth it, asks Thomas Bird.

Calling the shots: photography festival lights up Lianzhou
Shenzhen Oct-Loft jazz festival brings 30 bands

More than 100 jazz musicians from around the world descend on Shenzhen this month for a burgeoning festival run by two passionate aficionados.

1 Oct 2014 - 10:31PM
Shenzhen Oct-Loft jazz festival brings 30 bands

More than 100 jazz musicians from around the world descend on Shenzhen this month for a burgeoning festival run by two passionate aficionados.