Tom O'Malley

Travel writer

United Kingdom

An East Asia travel specialist, Tom covers China and the wider region including Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mongolia. As well as writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness and other publishers, he also reports on travel and hotels for The Telegraph. Tom splits his time between Edinburgh New Town and the old hutong alleyways of Beijing.



Lonely Planet Beijing (Travel Guide)

Buy Lonely Planet Beijing (Travel Guide) 12 by O'Malley, Thomas (ISBN: 9781787014022) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.

Mandarin Oriental
Your essential guide to Beijing

Beijing is a thrilling tableau of old and new, where grand vestiges of China’s imperial past vie for space with gleaming modern architecture. An unrivalled bounty of cultural and artistic treasures is waiting to be discovered, along with an agenda-setting food scene.

Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet Pocket Beijing

Lonely Planet's Pocket Beijing is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you.Explore the astonishing Forbidden ...

Open Skies, Emirates
Our Man in Beijing

It began as a barely audible flicker, a tremble in a Jurassic Park water cup rising slowly to a marching crescendo … crunch, crunch, crunch.

Bucket List Travels
Beijing | Expert destination guide

The best things to do & places to stay in Beijing, recommended by China specialist, local resident and leading travel writer Tom O'Malley.

Cathay Pacific
On Business: Beijing


Silverkris (Singapore Airlines)
Soul of a City

Tom O'Malley embarks on a journey along Beijing’s central axis, seeking out the historic heart of the capital city.

Fodor's Beijing

Written by locals, Fodor's travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for 80 years. Fodor's correspondents highlight the best of Beijing, including World Heritage sites, memorable markets, fantastic street food, and world-class nightlife. Our local experts vet...

Silverkris (Singapore Airlines)
Little Districts: Dashilan, Beijing

Once a boisterous warren of theatres, opium dens and pleasure houses, the district of Dashilan in central Beijing was thoroughly scrubbed and sanitised by the communist regime in the 1950s. Recently, a reawakening has taken place, with more than a little decadent joie de vivre returning to this increasingly hip ’hood. By Tom O'Malley

Silverkris (Singapore Airlines)
Little Districts: Gulou, Beijing

This area – known colloquially as Gulou after its traditional drum tower – is an appealing warren of streets. It boasts Beijing’s best preserved hutong alleyways – and more recently, bohemian culture and nightlife. By Tom O'Malley

Forbes Travel Guide
The Peninsula Beijing - Beijing Hotels - Beijing, China - Forbes Travel Guide

One of the city's longest-running luxury hotels, The all-suite Peninsula Beijing has stood witness to more than three decades of breathless change in China.A pair of works by avant-garde ink painter Qin Feng gazes out over fresh acres of pearlescent white marble in the stunning lobby, encircled by d

The Telegraph
Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing Hotel

After a decade of false starts (the first MO burned down before it opened), Mandarin Oriental has finally hit Beijing in a blaze of glorious excess. The capital’s most lavishly appointed guest rooms combine with delicious views of the Forbidden City, a fab rooftop cocktail bar and the most central of locations. By Tom O'MAlley

Beijing's 20 best hotels | CNN

It's not all flashy five-star high-rises; Beijing timeworn alleyways are home to secluded boutique boltholes and restored courtyard residences, too. Discover 20 of the best hotels when you visit China's capital.

Rails Through the Snow

On the hour, every hour, the clock above Beijing Railway Station chimes 'The East is Red', the de-facto theme song of the Cultural Revolution. At 10pm on a sub-zero January night, this jingle draws...

Higher View (China Eastern Airlines)
Forbidden Treasures

The Forbidden City. Is there a more evocatively titled tourist site anywhere on earth? It’s a name able to conjure up a closed-off world of antique ritual and political intrigue.

Beijing's 20 best restaurants | CNN

Whether you're carving artfully carved Peking duck, esoteric regional Chinese recipes or top notch global gastronomy, the city has got you covered, and then some.

Fraser Cachet
Live like an Emperor

Capital of China since the Mongol times, today’s hectic Beijing has as many modern marvels as ancient ones, not to mention an unrivalled culinary and cultural scene just waiting to be explored.

ABTA Magazine
Travellers' Tales: Beijing

China’s capital, rooted in politics, tradition and commerce, makes a fascinating place to explore, says Tom O’Malley

Hutong Hideaways

The regeneration of Beijing’s old hutong alleyways is ushering in a new wave of drinking venues BY TOM O’MALLEY

the Guardian
Bejing to Shanghai: a train for two cities

Today's launch of a new high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shanghai is yet another example of the country's accelerated development. But you can still get a flavour of old China in both cities, from a Hutong hotel in Beijing to a retro bar in Shanghai's French concession

Mainland China

Lonely Planet China (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet China (Travel Guide) : Butler, Stuart, Bremner, Jade, Chapman, Kate, Chen, Piera, Eaves, Megan, Harper, Daisy, Harper, Damian, Holden, Trent, Humphrys, Tess, Lioy, Stephen, Maric, Vesna, Masters, Tom, Mayhew, Bradley, McCrohan, Daniel, O'Malley, Thomas, Parkes, Lorna, Pitts, Christopher, Spurling, Tom, Tang, Phillip: Books

Gardens of the World

Buy Gardens of the World 1 by DK Eyewitness (ISBN: 9780241559246) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.

Lonely Planet
What to eat and drink in China

In a country with a food scene as diverse as mainland Europe, where to even start? Here are a few of the must-try foods and drinks in China.

Morning Calm (Korean Air)
Created in China

Shenzhen, the world’s most ambitious megacity, is coming of age. No longer merely the world’s factory, today it’s a global leader in tech and design, setting the course for China’s future.

Morning Calm (Korean Air)
A Thousand Tiny Paper Cuts

The art of jianzhi , or paper-cut, has been a fixture of Chinese life for centuries. Regionally diverse in style, form and function, it’s both popular folkcraft and high culture.

The Fastest Growing Place in China

It's not skyscrapers but vegetables, flowers and an alternative lifestyle that are once again sprouting in Dali, in China's Yunnan province

Lonely Planet
48 hours in Shenyang - Lonely Planet

Former home of the Qing dynasty, boasting royal palaces, ancient tombs and hearty cuisine: here's how to spend 48 hours in the buzzing metropolis of Shenyang, China.

Higher View (China Eastern Airlines)
Great Lengths

Tom O'Malley looks at the Great Wall's expanding waistline.

Higher View (China Eastern Airlines)
Honing Their Craft

Beers flavoured wih everything from Sichuan peppercorns to Chinese green chillies are all part of a burgeoning craft sfene, explains Tom O'Malley.

The magic of Harbin in winter

Harbin is famed for its ice and snow attractions every winter, but a new indoor park means its cold-weather sports last all year long

Silverkris (Singapore Airlines)
An Emperor's Tour of China

Following in the footsteps of China’s ancient roving royalty, TOM O’MALLEY discovers how the inspection tours of old helped establish a template for travel in the Middle Kingdom today.

China's most spectacular new museums

China's art museum landscape is booming. We look at four of the hottest avant-garde spaces that are shaping the country's future contemporary art conversation

Morning Calm (Korean Air)
The Almost Capital of China

China’s center was very nearly not in the north, but in the south. Journey back through time in Nanjing, the country’s “southern capital” and a city that wears its history on its sleeve.

Fraser Cachet
Jewel on the Pearl River

China’s most important trading center for centuries, the city once known as Canton remains a gateway between East and West, where temples, mosques and former consulates coexist with the 21st century architectural statements of this thriving metropolis.

Lonely Planet
The best beaches in China - Lonely Planet

A trip to a beach in China, having more in common with the seaside sanatoriums of Soviet Russia than, say, Surfin' USA, can be a fascinating cultural...

Lonely Planet
Great Wall of China: a complete guide

Cloaked in legend and mystique, the Great Wall of China crosses mountains, grasslands and desert on its tireless course across what used to be China's northern...

Discover the secrets of Shandong

From its ancient temples and historic mountains to the new wave of coffee shops and arts spaces, Shandong is striving hard to be both ancient and modern

Mandarin Oriental
Your essential guide to Guangzhou

Guangzhou, once known to Europeans as Canton, has long been China’s gateway to the world. Buzzing with big-city energy, it’s also surprisingly laidback when you delve into its back streets. Do as the locals do and make time for a dim sum brunch, then stroll to a traditional market below the banyan trees.

Virgin Atlantic Australia
A Walk on the Wild Side

Dispense with all the myths and take the hike of a lifetime along China’s mightiest monument. We reveal the real story behind the Great Wall. Words THOMAS O’MALLEY

Hong Kong

Lonely Planet Hong Kong (Travel Guide)

Buy Lonely Planet Hong Kong (Travel Guide) by Parkes, Lorna, Chen, Piera, O'Malley, Thomas (ISBN: 9781786578082) from Amazon's Book Store. Free UK delivery on eligible orders.

Lonely Planet
8 unmissable day trips from Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the world's great urban playgrounds, but this place has another side to its personality beyond the gleaming skyscrapers and shopping malls.

Lonely Planet
Getting around in Hong Kong

High-rise Hong Kong has long been a hive of busy worker bees who depend on the city's efficient transport system to whisk them from apartment to office to mall...

Lonely Planet
Best things to do in Hong Kong

It's hard not to fall in love with Hong Kong at first sight, a disarmingly high-rise metropolis in the dreamiest of island settings. Then you start to discover...


Hong Kong Airlines
The taps run in Tapei

With creative brews that showcase the innovative use of local ingredients, even the most jaded of craft beer drinkers will find something to tickle their taste buds in the capital of Taiwan.

Lonely Planet
Taiwan's 10 most beautiful hikes

In subtropical Taiwan, hiking is practically a national sport. For a place less than half the size of Scotland, this little island packs in a big topography -...

Lonely Planet
Top 7 parks and scenic areas in Taiwan

From the highest mountain pass in northeast Asia to rare saltwater hot springs, Taiwan's national parks and scenic areas have something for everyone.

Lonely Planet
Visas for Taiwan

Read everything you need to know about securing a visa to visit Taiwan, a land of fabulous food, stunning hikes, delightful beaches and much more.


Lonely Planet Mongolia (Travel Guide)

Buy Lonely Planet Mongolia (Travel Guide) 8th ed. by Lonely Planet (ISBN: 9781786575722) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.

Lonely Planet
17 Mongolia travel tips: read before you go

A land defined by boundless steppes, blue skies and roving nomads, Mongolia is perfectly set up for adventure and cultural immersion. Memorable experiences are...

Lonely Planet
The 3 best road trips in Mongolia

Imagine bouncing over rolling grasslands in a 4WD, with nothing but rolling green steppe extending in every direction. Mongolia is proof that roads (of the...

Lonely Planet
Do I need a visa for Mongolia?

Here's some great news for anyone who has been dreaming of Mongolia's boundless grasslands and eternal blue skies - travel into the country has recently become...

Morning Calm (Korean Air)
Escapes: Central Mongolia

A boundless ocean of grass beneath the eternal blue sky, Mongolia is one of the least densely populated countries on Earth. From the Gobi sands to the Siberian frontier, space and solitude reign. But this apparently primeval emptiness is an illusion, for Mongolia’s landscape has been carved over millennia by nomads and their herds moving between pastures with the seasons — a tradition that endures to this day.

Morning Calm (Korean Air)
Steppe Soul Music

The pounding of hooves, the moan of wind across the grasslands, the ripple of a horse’s mane — the sounds of the morin khuur are the sounds of Mongolia itself, which explains why the instrument is so revered by the country’s people.

South China Morning Post
Story on a plate: Mongolia

True, you can pick up a slice of pizza or an espresso in Ulan Bator, but outside the capital, the flesh and milk of the sheep, goat and cow remains the staple of all but the most upwardly mobile Mongolian.

the Guardian
Glamping in Mongolia

Mongolia, home to the yurt, is now offering luxury camping in sustainable, nomad-run gers in remote Khan Khentiii, says Tom O'Malley

Summit Magazine
Call of the Wild

Luxury stores and expensive cars may be starting to appear on the streets of Ulaanbaatar, but all around Mongolia’s rapidly modernising capital city lies pristine wilderness, where the skies are big and a slow pace of life prevails. Tom O’Malley explores both sides of this beguiling country.

The Beijinger
Treading Lightly in Khan Country

As the antique Russian bus growled up the slope, he rose into view: a horseman, alert and imperious, solemnly surveying miles of empty steppe. It was Chinggis Khan, 40 meters tall and cast from silver steel that dazzled in the sunlight.

Japan, Korea

Lonely Planet Japan (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet Japan (Travel Guide) : Milner, Rebecca, Bartlett, Ray, Bender, Andrew, Forge, Samantha, McLachlan, Craig, Morgan, Kate, O'Malley, Thomas, Richmond, Simon, Tang, Phillip, Walker, Benedict, d'Arc Taylor, Stephanie: Books

Tokyo on Two Feet Guide

An 18-page walking guide on Tokyo, printed in Wanderlust and as a supplement for World Travel Market 2023.

Lonely Planet
Japan vs South Korea: which to choose?

If you had to make the tough decision to visit either Japan or South Korea, which would it be? Let two expert writers help you decide.

Lonely Planet
What to eat and drink in South Korea

In Korea, food is for the soul as well as for the stomach. Meals are meant for sharing, and eating is seen as a means to better health and well-being. Known...

Lonely Planet Korea (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet Korea (Travel Guide) : Harper, Damian, Morgan, MaSovaida, O'Malley, Thomas, Tang, Phillip, Whyte, Rob: Books

The Beijinger
Tokyo: A Wonderful Place to Visit!

Like New York suspended in its Art Deco heyday, Tokyo’s street circuitry is hard-wired with an endlessly appealing retro-futurism: the red-and-white Tokyo Tower (stomped on countless times by Godzilla), the monorail built for the '64 Olympics, the chrome-trimmed taxis, sushi conveyer builts, capsule hotels and cone-tipped bullet trains.

China tech scene

How Chongqing Built a City in the Sky

Raffles City Chongqing, the southwestern Chinese city's newest megaproject, may change how skyscrapers of the future are designed

Why Nanning's Startup Scene is on the Rise

Known as a major economic zone in Guangxi, Nanning's lucrative location and efforts in boosting its eco-credentials is attracting start-ups to the tech hub

Guangzhou's Hi-Tech Innovation Boom

The capital of China's Guangdong province has been busy setting itself up as one of the Greater Bay Area's hubs for hi-tech innovation

The Rise of Shenzhen's Startup Scene

Chosen as the first special economic zone, Shenzhen is home to many multinational technology companies, and it's still growing

Fuzhou's Homegrown Tech Innovations

Fuzhou, the outward-looking capital of Fujian province, has become a hub for innovations in big data, smart technology and video gaming

Southeast Asia

Playboy Germany
The Whalers of Lemalera

At 7 a.m. the waves were still pummeling the rocks. Hieronymus glumly passed on the news: No hunt today. The sky was slung low and stormy over the village as we prepared for another day aground. Down on the beach, the spotters sat idling, smoking cigarettes rolled in palm leaves and gazing out to sea like they were waiting for a bus. Something bus-sized, at least.

Bodies Below the Banyan Tree

A pair of pantomime effigies, arms limp like dolls, beckon in the living. One is a man, with lips framed into a juicy smile. His suit jacket is rotting away, revealing the warped bamboo frame of his...