Pakistan: Hospitality Is Its Middle Name

Admittedly, Pakistan isn’t on the top of many peoples’ travel lists, for which they may have many reasons, some are legitimate of course, but most chiefly it has to be that it’s a little misunderstood. We had wanted to go for some time now, but the ridiculous rigmarole around obtaining a visa made it almost impossible. That’s changed and the world’s 6th most populous country is open for business. Perennially seen by the outside world as India’s rabble rousing neighbour with even more rabble rouserery neighbours of it’s own. The new PM, former World Cup winning cricketer Imran Khan is trying to change that; from relaxing visa restrictions for foreigners, implementing a raft of equality laws for his citizens, opening investigations into rampant government corruption and helping facilitate the opening of a visa free corridor to allow Indian Sikhs to visit a holy shrine in Pakistan. Pakistan is a land of plenty, with nature that is almost unparalleled, people just as welcoming, tons of history, and of course yummy street food, Pakistan should definitely start nudging up that list of yours!

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Bangladesh: River Sides and Bus Rides

 

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The rare Hoolock Gibbon

Bangladesh, often over shadowed by its largest neighbour and, lately at least, in the news for the wrong reasons, is a land criss-crossed by rivers and at times strikingly beautiful is an up and coming tourist destination. We were asked many time why we were heading here, and if we are honest, mainly out of curiosity – curiosity that is reciprocated by the locals. Bangladesh gained independence in 1971 after a bloody war with its erstwhile overlords Pakistan. With a population somewhere around 168m people, it is the most densely populated country on the planet, cramming¬† in a remarkable 1252 ppl per sq.km! (By way of comparison NZ has just 14 ppl per sq.km). That means we’ve now been to the most densely and most sparsely populated (Mongolia) countries in the world on this trip.¬† Continue reading

Sichuan: Chongqing and Chengdu

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Chongqing: The City of Mountains (and Hotpot)

Yay! We were on our way after six weeks of sort of planning. As it eventuated, Tianjin airline’s food wasn’t half bad and the entertainment was better than the reviews would have us believe. The first thing to notice upon exiting the airport was the heat, leaving a Melbourne winter had left us somewhat under prepared for the sudden rush of heat. Chongqing is a sub-tropical climate, so it gets very hot and muggy at this time of year. It’s also huge, with a population hovering around 30 million it was slightly embarrassing we’d never heard of it. Continue reading