Lonely Planet Writer

From the Lonely Planet Magazine: Insider news and tip-offs

Lonely Planet's UK-based Travel Editor Tom Hall shares his latest insider news and tip-offs. This month: Short-lived short-haul, Inca ruins back in business, a tourist clampdown in the Bay of Bengal and Europe's best connected city.

This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of the Lonely Planet Magazine. Click here for more information and subscriptions (UK only).

Get Connected

Signs 2

Still smarting from airline strikes or stuck in a lengthy security queue? Console yourself with the thought that London remains best connected city in Europe. Analysis by anna.aero shows that a whopping 370 destinations can be reached non-stop from the south-east of England’s airports. All the means millions can thumb their nose at continental rivals when it comes to choice of destination. This might be somewhere that England still leads not just Europe, but the world too. Anyone done the sums?

Inca Training


The rail link to South American icon Machu Picchu is set to recommence for April. Unprecedented floods caused damage to the line and stranded hundreds of tourists at the once-lost city in January. The full link from Cusco will not be restored until June at the earliest. If a very rainy cloud has a silver lining for Peruvian authorities it has been the chance to show off some of the country’s highlights that don’t involve sharing a hiking trail with 500 other people.

US Travel Editor Robert Reid has an update on this.

Short haul

What might be the UK’s shortest-lived airline has come to an end after one week. Varsity Express, flying between London Oxford Airport – so named despite being a mere fifty miles from the capital - and Edinburgh has suspended flights, citing financial difficulties. Exiled Scottish academics must be wringing their hands, or checking train timetables.

Tribal Ban

North Sentinel Island: none shall pass

Indian authorities have placed new restrictions on visitors to areas of the Andaman Islands inhabited by indigenous tribes. New buffer zones preventing tourist resorts opening in buffer zones between protected tribal areas and other parts of Middle and South Andaman Islands came after the death of the last surviving member of the Great Andaman tribe earlier this year and will create a buffer zone between tourist resorts and areas reserved for the Jarawa tribe. Other islands in the Indian Ocean Andaman and Nicobar archipelago are home to isolated and little-visited tribes. The Sentinelese, who live on North Sentinel Island, still regularly repel visiting anthropologists and Indian officials with hails of arrows. See Surivival International (survivalinternational.org/tribes/jarawa) for more on the Jarawa.