In the spirit of making lists, I thought I’d put together the 5 biggest frustrations I’ve encountered and continue to encounter whilst backpacking. Whilst most of this is tongue in cheek, there is an undeniable element of truth in these 5 points and I’m sure many backpackers will agree.
Northern Luzon in the Philippines is home to the best rice terraces I’ve seen in the past 10 months. Couple this with quaint villages to hike through and sleep in, it makes the region really special. Here’s a photo blog of our journey to the terraces, and a little practical information as the internet is lacking in good advice for the region.
I’ve just spent 6 incredible days in Tibet. I write this to you now on the eve of my return to Shanghai and I’d be lying if I said leaving didn’t leave me with a heavy heart. This could be because there is another monster train trip waiting for me but it’s hard not to love this place from the moment you set your eyes on it. Knowing that I’m leaving it to return to the sheer chaos that is most of the rest of China makes me want to crawl into a hole and die.
Brad Pitt spent 7 years in Tibet. I spent 47 hours on a train getting there. Thus, I feel like we have gone through the same journey and are effectively the same person. I’m just waiting for Angelina Jolie to jump out of the cupboard and tell me I’m married to her, and then I’ll be quite content to die thereafter. All my life goals would have been met!
First off, don’t ask me how to pronounce this word. Think you say Jung Jea Jee but who the hell knows. Seriously though, this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. Not just in China, but in the world. We throw around this phrase of ‘it took my breath away’ without actually experiencing it. Wait until you see the stone pillars for the first time – it’s like being hit in the chest with a club!
Guangzhou – I’ll be honest, in planning my Chinese trip, this city was only on the plan because it serves as a convenient transit hub to Zhangjiajie. Guangzhou is a big, modern city that is trying really hard to compete with the best of them. Here I am typing this and I’m certainly glad I spent a couple days there, if for anything, the architecture is amazing. Here are some pics from the few days spent here.
I try to condense my posts down to the Chinese province level as I don’t want to bore you with details of every place I see but Yangshuo needs some attention. The idea to write this came to me whilst holding on for dear life to my 60 year old motorbike driver whilst he was navigating the worst potholes in history. Did I mention on a motorbike? No helmet (and my brain is kind of a sensitive issue). At the time, I thought I’d lose a limb, but now that I’m safe and sound on a bus, we can joke about it a little!
I’m currently writing to you from a town called Krasnoyarsk, about 4065 km’s from Moscow. Getting here wasn’t a small deal – it meant the longest train trip yet – another 2400kms, passing through 2 more time zones and officially crossing the Ural Mountains – effectively the marker that separates the European side of Russia with the Siberian side of Russia.
After 4 days in Moscow, it’s time to bid it adieu as I make my way through to Vladmir tomorrow. But before I hit the road, here’s an update on one seriously interesting city!
First off, I had this idea in my mind that Russia would have a mild to warm climate with it being summer. Was I wrong! It’s as hot as hell – I’ve sweated so much this past 4 days I think I’ve lost 20 kgs. They should call this weather the ‘Moscow Diet’ or something. 33 degrees plus the last few days!