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LONDON (3 November 2020) — National Geographic Traveller (UK) has announced the winner and runners-up of its Travel Writing Competition 2020.

Writing about the Songkran festival in Bangkok, Thailand, Doug Loynes beat hundreds of entries to be named the winner of this year’s competition. The story, published in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller, focuses on the traditional New Year celebrations, in which crowds engage in a colourful mass water fight.

The entries were judged by the editors of National Geographic Traveller, who said of the winning entry: “Doug’s Songkran story threw us right into the thick of it, with his finger on the trigger, and cleverly built subtle suspense around a tense stand-off in the opening paragraph. He continues the clear, focused narrative with flair, ducking in and out of the water fight with informative snippets and his own takes on the festival. It’s an action-packed, well-paced anecdote that really stood out.”

Courtesy of TUI, the winner receives £3,000 worth of holiday vouchers to use to book a TUI Tour or another TUI holiday of their choice.

The three runners-up are Nikki Scrivener, who wrote about the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Isabel Eaton, with a horse ride through the marshlands of the Camargue, France; and Deborah Telkman, with a tale of a boat trip through Brazil’s Pantanal region.

Launched in March, the competition aims to find the best new travel writing talent that encapsulates the ethos of National Geographic Traveller: a strong sense of place, authentic travel experiences and immersive storytelling.

The entries can be read online:

The winning entry and abridged versions of the runner-up entries can also be read in the Nov/Dec issue of National Geographic Traveller, on newsstands from 5 November, priced £4.95.

National Geographic Traveller (UK) has a cover price of £4.95, is available via subscription and on newsstands, and is published 10 times a year. Visit for more information.

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National Geographic Traveller (UK) is published under licence by APL Media Limited, from National Geographic Partners LLC in Washington, D.C. The travel and lifestyle magazine launched in December 2010 and is packed full of you-are-there photography, authentic travel experiences and inspiring narratives.

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