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The Hindustan Tibet highway part 4- The Spiti valley

As we travel west we enter the Spiti valley, one of the most sparsely populated regions in the world. The landscape is one of rugged interlocking river valleys and high altitude deserts ,hidden in the shadow of the Himalyas, a stark contrast to the Kinnaur valley from where we have come. A chunk of Tibet…

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The Hindustan Tibet highway part 3- the medieval village of Nako

Nako (at an alitiude of 3600mm) is a small remote village in the Kinnaur valley, Himachal Pradesh. It lies in the sensitive restricted zone along the border with Tibet and is said to date back to the 8th century, when Buddhism was first introduced here. The extraordinary difficulties travelling to Nako were already reported by…

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The Hindustan Tibet Highway -Part 2 Chitkul to Rekong Peo

The Kinnaur valley, stretching from Sangla to Chitkul, is a deeply carved cleft between high mountain slopes covered by evergreen forests. Chitkul is the last stop on the old trade route to Tibet and remains the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border. The Indian road ends here. During winters it is covered with the…

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The Hindustan Tibetan Highway- Part 1

The old Hindustan-Tibet Highway, built by the British as a potential invasion route into Tibet runs NE from Shimla through the Kinnaur valley’s apple  orchids, temples and villages that have not changed over the millennia. Our plan is to travel along the Sutlej river towards the greener Kinnaur valley (part 1 & 2) and then onto the high altitude…

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Human Skittles

We arrive in Delhi, a city with a population size that is almost half that of the SA’s total population. Everything seems to be stretched to the limit. Traffic, people, resources, systems… We have 2 days to wait for our bikes and spend this time walking around in temperatures that reach 40C by day and…

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The Secret Object

  Before we embarked on this trip we were often warned of Russian xenophobia and endless red tape. All as a result of the Soviet legacy. This was ” after all” historically  a closed country in which people could not leave or come freely. Suspicion of people from abroad, coming to Russia and doing something in Russia…

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Lake Baikal, south-eastern Siberia

Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, curves like a crooked finger for nearly 600km through south-eastern Siberia, north of the Mongolian border. Surrounded by mile-high snowcapped mountains, Lake Baikal  offers vistas of unspoilt beauty.  The mountains are still a haven for wild animals, while the few small remote villages are still outposts…

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The Tuva Republic: Russia’s Tibet

The Republic of  Tuva is at  the very center of the Asian continent. Situated at the southern edge of Siberia, just north of Mongolia it is one of three autonomous regions within the Russian Federation. We decide at  the last moment to visit Tuva as the Naadym festival is taking place. It is here that we hope…

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Some last photos from Kyrgyzstan

Here are a last few photos from Kyrgyzstan ….          

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An Animal Market

Our trip around Lake Issyk-Kol brings us to the old boundary post town of Karakol, and its animal market which runs every Sunday from 6am to 10am. Locals load their Ladas (and anything else that has wheels) with livestock; a spectacle, particularly if the animal refuses to be forced into a boot or back seat! Fat…

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