Top 10 travel books


With the latest version of Jungle Book hitting our screens, it sparked the conversation about our favourite stories from around the world in On The Go Tours HQ – the captivating stories where the locations are themselves characters in the story. After much discussion, a few recommendations and people returning home to re-read their favourites, we have finally agreed on our top travel books. Whether fiction or non-fiction, set in the present day or describing a bygone era, these are the stories which make us keen to visit the destinations beautifully described.

1. Jungle Book by Rupyard Kipling

Probably best known from the classic Disney animated film The Jungle Book released in 1967, Rupyard Kipling vividly describes the Indian wildlife and the jungle they inhabit, transporting the reading into the depths of the wilderness. Born in India and spending many years there, Kipling choose Madhya Pradesh as the setting now known as Pench National Park. The marvellous story gives the animal characters, humanlike qualities powerful and dangerous Shere Khan, loveable and affectionate Baloo, protective and responsible Bagheera, and sly and conniving Kaa.

2. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On The Road has been hailed as a masterpiece, striking a cord with not just with the youth at the time of the publication in 1957 but with those for decades to come. Starting in New York, Sal Paradise travels to Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, Virginia, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Mexico, picking up friends and experiences along the way. Although the faces of these cities have changed in the 70 years since On The Road was written, their characters have remained the same New Yorks promise of anything being possible, Chicagos understated style and San Franciscos casual cool. On The Road to this day still beckons the young and restless to set out on their own road trip adventure to discover Americas diversity of destinations and people.

3. The Beach by Alex Garland

Released in 1996, before the influx of backpackers descended on the beaches of Koh Pangan and Koh Tao, The Beach is a fascinating look at how tourism can effect a destination. Desperate to find a place without hordes of tourists and no Western influence Richard sets out for the beach located in the Gulf of Thailand. Although Richard get his desire of being part of a mostly self-sufficient community, spending his days fishing for the island, in an isolated location untouched by tourism paradise doesnt last long. A chain of incidents results in terrible and terrifying consequences, the terror of these set against an unspoilt and stunning Thailand setting.

4. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Describing his railway odyssey travelling from Londons Victoria Station to Tokyo Central and then returning from Japan on the Trans-Siberian in 1973, Paul Therouxs novel has become a modern classic. Travelling on the worlds most famous train this extraordinary railway journey takes the reader through some of the worlds greatest cities including London, Paris, Istanbul, Venice, Colombo, Bangkok and Singapore before ending in Tokyo. This spellbinding story not only describes the magic of seeing new lands whilst travelling but the beauty of meeting someone from an entirely different walk of life and what you can learn from them, the intimacy of meeting locals who regularly take the train journeys Paul set out on.

5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway

Cementing Hemingways reputation as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, The Sun Also Rises is loosely based on the escapades of some of the greatest wordsmiths including Scott Fitzgerald and T.S. Eliot as they made Europe their home in the 1920s. It follows the frivolity and disillusionment of the years after the dark times of the First World War in the beautiful cities of France and Spain. It follows Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley as they travel from the exciting romance of Paris nightlight to the dramatic thrill of bullfighting rings in Pamplona.

6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina is an epic tale, a story of love, Russian politics and social status spread across 864 pages. Set in Russia in the late 19th century, this tragic love story of a married aristocrat and her affair with an affluent Count taking place during a time when Russia was dealing with a huge amount of unrest when it was still an empire run by an all-powerful Czar. The drama takes place in various locations throughout Russia magnificent Moscow, elegant St Petersburg and the humble yet beautiful countryside.

7. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

With his trademark humour Bill Bryson recounts his tales of travelling across Australia, many miles conquered by railway and car, encountering an interesting mix of people, animals and cultures along the way. His adventures include taking the Indian Pacific railway from Sydney to Perth, passing the Blue Mountains and White Cliffs, and visiting the natural wonders of Great Barrier Reef, Alice Springs and Uluru. Taking readers off the beaten track, with wit and hilarity Bill Bryson captures the intriguing and different sides to this immense land creating the perfect guide to Australia.

8. The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith

Drawing you deep into the story, The Talented Mr Ripley has been praised for not only making us like the villain of the story but for making us like his crimes. Leaving New York on a boat for Europe, Tom arrives in the picturesque village of Mongibello in Italy where he meets Dickie. As the tensions between the triangle of the three main characters, Tom, Dickie and Marge, builds they travel to Naples and Rome. Tempted and seduced, completely enamoured by the glamour and allure of Europe and the lifestyle led by Dickie and Marge Tom is enraged by his jealousy to evil acts. Tom tries to escape his demons and his actions by travelling to Sicily and Rome to get away from the police and to continue living the life he has become accustomed to.

9. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Christopher McCandless left behind money, possessions and his life to survive in the Alaskan wilderness. He lasted 119 days, found by hunters in the northern boundary of Denali National Park. His tale of endurance has been told by Jon Krakauer who retraced his steps following his cryptic diary. While this style of travel is not advised, Jon Krakauer paints a tempting picture of journeying deep into the untouched nature on the ultimate camping trip.

10. ???

What would be your tenth choice? Tell us in the comment section which novel gives you itchy feet.

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