Treks and Drugs and Chapati Rolls. Passu.

This is the Passu Cathedral. The magnificent snow covered mountain spires that reach over 6,100 metres (21,000 feet) surrounding the small Hunza Valley village of Passu in north east Pakistan. My plan was to find a good spot for a photo, probably just off to the side of the Karakorum Highway on which I was travelling, and then head to the border town of Sost for an early bus the next morning into China. Yet, exactly as Rabbie Burns had predicted in his poem about the dangers of making detailed plans over two hundred years previously, things went awry.

How to lose something larger than the Empire State Building. Shipton's Arch

It is easy to lose things. I have lost count of the number of decent pairs of sunglasses I have lost in my travels around the world. Yet to lose an arch, and not just any arch, but the largest arch in the world, which could easily fit the Empire State Building in New York into it with room to spare, well that seems to be a whole new level of carelessness.

Kashgar. The last stop on the Karakoram Highway

The Stone Fort at Tashgurkan
I felt like I was in Tajikistan not China. The clothes, the food, the way people dressed, all were just so Tajik. Yet I was in Tashgurkan, the first Chinese town on the Karakoram Highway which I had been travelling on since Islamabad.

Borders and Bandits. Into China on the Karakoram Highway

US Dollars. The greenback is useful in so many places in the world, not just of course the USA, and proved to be the means for my escape from Sost at the Pakistan end of the Karokaram Highway. I had been stuck at the here due to a tit-for-tat dispute between the countries which had led to the international border being closed for nine days.

Heading North on the Karakoram Highway. Pakistan

The Karakoram Highway, connecting Pakistan to China, regularly makes it into the top 10 most dangerous roads in the world, alongside the Kolyma Highway, or ‘Road of Bones’, in Russia and the Yungas track, the ‘Death Road’ in Bolivia. 

Climbing the Walls. Rohtas Fort in Pakistan.

When you think of Pakistan, many images come to mind. Cricket, curries, crowded streets, maybe the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Castles tend not to not figure that prominently.

The Far Flung Places Guide to Vanuatu is out now!

A mammoth project, and a result of spending two years living and travelling around the islands, and involving help from the Vanuatu Tourist Office, many locals living on the main and more remote islands, and Air Vanuatu (working there gave us access to cheap airfares which were a huge help in getting to the more remote islands!). 

324 pages with maps, photos and detailed listings on accommodation, food and drink, and things to see, not just for the main islands of Efate, Santo and Tanna, but also for the more remote islands including Ambrym, Malekula, Pentecost, Epi, the Banks and Torres, and much more.