I’ve been in China for several days now, and I have to admit it’s been OK so far.  I was a bit apprehentious about coming back here since my first trip back in 2001.  In Kyrgyzstan I heard my fair share of China horror stories from backpackers heading west, and I wasn’t looking forward,, Read More

Well, my plans have changed – again! Originally my idea was to travel from Kashgar along the remote but spectacular western highway into Tibet, through Ali and past Mt Kailash, and evetually to Lhasa.  I was able to ask one seasoned traveler in Kyrgyzstan for his opinion (because he’d just done it) and it, Read More

Kashgar is the beginning (or the end, depending which way you go) of the great Karakoram Highway.  This road connects China to Pakistan over the 4800m Khunjerab Pass in the western Himalaya, and continues down to Islamabad.  It took 20 years to plan and build and is an engineering marvel.  It takes well over, Read More

I made the decision when I first arrived in Kyrgyzstan that I would try and cross into China over the Torugart Pass.  Not only is this 3600m pass extremely remote and susceptible to snowstorms year-round, but as a “Class 2” Chinese border crossing it’s meant for commercial freight traffic only – tourists are not, Read More

I stayed in Karakol one more night to give my feet a rest from the pounding I’d given them, and the next morning I had yet another early start.  My aim was to catch one of the early morning marschrutky minibuses along the less-visited but more scenic southern shore of Issy-Kul lake.  It took, Read More

I left Bishkek early in the morning and traveled an uneventful eight hours to Karakol, in the far east of the country.  The drive took us along some atrocious roads and along the northern shore of massive lake Issy-Kul.  Karakol is a very “nothing” town that has the feel of a border post.  I, Read More

I left Mashhad mid-afternoon yesterday and watched the terrain change as we flet north-east towards Kyrgyzstan.  We first flew over the flat desert expanses of Turkmenistan, which reminded me of central Australia.  Next came the Fan Mountains of Uzbekistan and the Pamirs of Tajikistan, all easily identifiable as the jagged peaks rose up thousands, Read More

It was with a touch of disappointment that I flew out of Iran yesterday.  I really had a delightful three weeks in the country, yet it was also one of my most profound travel experiences.  It wasn't just that it was a great travel destination – a really "different" part of the world with, Read More

Sorry this’ll have to be a quick entry but I’m just about to duck into a taxi and make my way back to the airport.  I’m in Mashhad, in the far north-eastern corner of Iran, near the Afghan and Turkmen borders, and will be catching the once-a-week flight to Biskek, Kyrgyzstan, on a dodgy, Read More

Persepolis was absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!  Easily one of the most impressive ancient sights I’ve ever seen – right up there with Tikal in Guatemala or Mt. Nemrut in Turkey. The site of the ancient royal city of Persepolis is about 50km north of Shiraz.  It’s the remains of one of the three Achaemenid capitals and, Read More