This is my top 10 travel books collection. It is a selection of travel guides, non fiction books and fiction stories. Among classic travel stories like The Great Railway Bazaar from Paul Theroux you will also find more unusual choices like for example Unbroken from Laura Hillenbrand or A Short History of Nearly Everything from Bill Bryson. I hope that this top 10 travel books list will motivate you to start your own epic adventure.
1. The Great Railway Bazaar – Paul Theroux
The Great Railway Bazaar is one of my favorite travel books. If you like traveling by train then this book will definitely get you motivated to start your own train journey. Even when you are not a traveler you will still experience a great ride. In his book, writer Paul Theroux describes his train journey from the UK to Japan, and all the way back. During his travels he describes his experiences with great detail.
Theroux made this famous train journey almost 40 years ago, so it is interesting to read how the world has changed since that period. His observations provide a very interesting view on the world in the 1970’s. For example he travels true Vietnam right after the war, and describes in detail what kind of effect the war had on the country. During his train journey Theroux makes use of many famous trains.
2. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
Unbroken describes the incredible life story of Luis Zamperini. This man is by far the most inspiring person I ever got to know about. Although most of the book describes an involuntary journey, this is definitely a travel story you should read. I highly recommend getting to know more about Zamperini. He had an amazing life and is still among us. O how much I would give to spend even one minute with this hero.
Zamperini was a runner during the 1936 Olympics. He also served in world war two. His airplane got shot down above the ocean. he survived on a raft for months only to step into a next unwilling adventure because he was captured by the Japanese and taken to a prisoners camp.
3. Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China – Paul Theroux
Riding the Iron rooster gave me a great inside in the culture and history of China. China is such an incredible country. I did not realize that before I read this book. Author Paul Theroux really takes the time to travel true this huge country, and he describes everything he experiences in great detail. Theroux describes the history of China. For example he pays a lot of attention to the Mao Zedong period.
If you ever going to travel in China then I recommend that you read this book. Even when you just stay at home then you can travel with Theroux. Like with all of his travel books you dont have to take the journey yourself if your not a fan of traveling. Just sit back and trow yourself in the amazing world which is called China.
4. The Rider – Tim Krabbé
The Rider is a Dutch classic. It is a different kind of choice then you might expect to find on a top 10 travel books page. It is an autobiographical story from the writer Tim Krabbé. In 1977 Krabbé took part in the cycling Tour of Mont Aigoual in France. The Rider mainly describes the events during this 150 kilometer race. In his book he also talks about the cycling sport and his sports career.
The trip/race that Krabbé makes on his bicycle is an entertaining and detailed journey, especially for sports and cycling lovers. It is a journey which I recommend you to experience, if you are looking for an autobiographical travel and sports story. I was happy to find out that is has been translated into English. Now more people are able to read and enjoy it.
5. The Happy Isles of Oceania – Paul Theroux
In this book author Paul Theroux describes his epic journey in Oceania. When you read this book you will want to grab your bags to experience the amazing pacific islands. But even if you don’t go you will feel if you are traveling with Theroux. During his journey he visits places like Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and Tonga. He also visits a variety of small and remote islands.
Teroux describes the islands that he visits really well. It is interesting to read how the people live on on isolated islands. I have a lot of respect for the courage that Theroux shows by peddling with his Kayak to the various islands. While dealing with the ocean, dangerous animals, hostile people and many frustrating problems that accompany any long trip. His book really inspired me to discover and explore the many islands of Oceania.
6. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
In this book Bill Bryson travels all over the world to meet scientists, and he talks with them about their field of expertise. Bryson made an effort to describe a complete scientific guide about the world and the universe. Starting from the big bang to the various life forms on earth and in the universe. I also liked to read about the many wacky scientist that did research and sometimes came up with great results.
Alright I admit that A Short History of Nearly Everything is not categorized under travel books. However i still wanted to ad it to the top 10 travel books list, because Bill Bryson guides the reader on an amazing journey true the universe and our world. He has the ability to talk about difficult science subjects in a clear and entertaining way.
7. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit maybe is another unusual travel book suggestion for a top 10 travel books list, however, I belief that this epic fantasy journey can motivate you for traveling. The book tells the classic story of a small Hobbit, who is taken onto the journey of his life by a few dwarfs and a wizard. Imagine deep mysterious forests, large mountains and dark cave systems. You are in for a ride of a life time.
Do you want to have a similar travel experience like the characters in The Hobbit? Then I recommend you visit New Zealand. Director Peter Jackson was right by shooting the Lord of the rings movies in this this country. It consists of a large variety of amazing landscapes. While traveling in New Zealand you can really feel like you are walking around in the fantasy world of Tolkien.
8. Lonely Planet Japan – Chris Rowthorn
I remember the excitement I felt when I opened this guide book about my favorite country for the first time. If offers rich and colorful information about a beautiful culture. Every page made me exited. I hope you will have the same feeling when scrolling trough this guide book about Japan. Every time I need some travel motivation I open this book. Therefore it deserves a spot on my top 10 travel books list.
Reading about the rich culture of Japan really gets me in the mood for packing my bags. Japan offers a lot of amazing travel experiences. For example experience the amazing city of Tokyo and the lovely tranquil port of Yokohama. Eat from a dinner plate that looks like a piece of art and visit the many beautiful temples. Details about this subjects are all described in this guide.
9. Lonely Planet The Netherlands – Ryan Ver Berkmoes
I bought this version of the Lonely Planet because I wanted to look at my country from a tourist/traveler perspective. As a result I got to know my country a lot better. It really helped me to appreciate my country. It has a lot of beauty and entertainment to offer. I hope you visit my home country and have a great experiences while being guided by this Lonely Planet edition of the Netherlands.
Things I recommend you to do in the Netherlands are mudflat walking in the Frisian province, eating cheese at one of the many cheese farms and watching the mills in the the Zaan-area. Make your trip more active by cycling around while visiting the country. The cities I recommend you to visit are Utrecht, Maastricht, Haarlem, Amsterdam and Groningen. Your Lonely Planet guide will provide you with all the details about these activities and cities.
10. Lonely Planet Thailand – China Williams
Every time I go to Thailand I feel the urge to buy the Lonely Planet guide about this country. Maybe it is because of the sentimental value. The first real trip I made alone was to Thailand. As a rookie traveler I clutched on to my guidebook and it helped me a lot. Therefore I put this Lonely Planet guide on my top 10 travel books list.
I also like this guide because it gives a great inside into this awesome travel destination. The many pictures of beautiful beaches and temples always get me in the travel mood.