One of the things that tour operators learn is how to get the most out of a few weeks holiday – what not to miss, where the cheapest and most characterful accommodation might be, how to get from one place to the next with the least fuss and time, how best to support local efforts at self determination.
Since 1996 Pat and Murray Reedy have organised literally hundreds of guided trips along the Silk Road – through Central Asia, South West Asia, East Asia, South Asia and South East Asia. Their company Silk Road Adventures currently has 20 tours on their books through these areas for 2013. (see their guided tours HERE)
Many tour Companies offer to customise a trip for you, New Zealanders Pat and Murray have taken this a step further and set up a unique website for DIY travel people who also want to make the most of the experience of veterans with a huge knowledge of an area. So they have set up Inside Asia – Journeys to Suit your Style Read more
Silk Road Adventures explores an Intriguing Frontier…
Silk Road Adventures have been exploring the Silk Road through Asia since 1996. This area has become a passion for Pat Reedy and her husband Murray who are based in Greymouth in the South Island of New Zealand. They have organised hundreds of tours and since 2000 they have been part of the Women Travel Network.
Pat writes: In May we went off to the Caucasus for a nosey around Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. That part world is a seriously interesting place, much more interesting than my research had suggested that it might be. Read more
A journey of discovery and delight by road, river and rail with Silk Road Adventures
In May 2009, I travelled from China to Nepal on a 26 day trip, so full of interest and contrasts that it seemed to last for months rather than days. First, we sampled views, made famous by traditional Chinese paintings, of the Karst landscape in the Guilin region of southern China. This included an enjoyable three hour boat trip on the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo – a great place for touristy shopping. In the morning, we headed for the rice terraces of Long Ji. After about two hours, we left our bus in a car park and climbed a path to stay the night in a Dong style ‘village in the clouds’. This was a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of Guilin and that afternoon we walked to the top of the hill, for stunning views over villages and water filled terraces glittering in the sun. The next three days were spent travelling through the hilly Dong and Miao minority areas of lush green tea plantations and ever present flooded rice terraces. We had time to visit several villages and also spent one night in a traditional Dong drum tower village. Read more
I have just added a whole lot more tours for women to India onto the Women Travel the World Tour Calendar. There is so much choice from some wonderful companies, you can do a tour, and add some extra stays to explore by yourself once you have gained some confidence. As a woman travelling on my own, I find this a great way to travel. Join a small tour where I can get the feel of a country and then branch out confidently to explore on my own. There is now a choice of 17 tours in India on the Tour Calendar on Women Travel.
One … two … three… four … five … six … seven … eight … nine … ten … pause
Why on earth did I think I could do this? I have to be mad. Here I am climbing this hill, this mountain – Mt. Victoria in the Chin State of Myanmar at 3050m – and I don’t think I can do it
one … two …three…
We were up at dawn in order to make an early start, after two nights in our Mt. Oasis Resort, an eco-complex with charming self contained chalets with cold running water, hot water delivered in buckets by the boys and all set in beautiful gardens, both vegetable and flower. I had been cold then, now I am hot, my jacket stuffed into my day pack.
one … two … three…
There’s Pat – our Silk Road Adventures tour leader – up ahead of me, and she seems to think I can do it. But then perhaps she’s mad too. Oh God! Look at those rhododendrons, only one or two flower heads because it’s not quite the right season, but the shape of those old, old trees and the bright red blooms – stop, take a photo and breathe deeply.
one … two … three… up and up.
MyoWin, (or Melven) our Myanmar guide has already taken my day pack, my water bottle so I only carry my stick and bumbag. One of the other Myanmar local guides lurks ready to help me over any sticking-out bits on the path. I feel gracious as he hands me across a rough patch. Behind me he and MyoWin are singing cheerfully – Witney Houston love songs, songs of yearning, Unchained Melody. I find the breath to laugh but not to join in.
one … two … three…
only an idiot does this – but just look at those mountains peeling off into the distance, we are all above the cloud level, the valleys below shrouded in mist – or is it smoke from the burn-offs that the villagers carry out. When I stop to look – and breathe – I can see a huddle of houses across the valleys, the families living there must do this all the time. These villages are called Cloud Islands, such a lovely name, I don’t think I have ever been this high up before.
one … two … three …
look, those are gentians! A soft blue, not hard like ours at home. Pause, take a photo, breathe. And here are the rest of the group, having a lovely sit-down! ‘Here!’ says Frank, ‘this tree stump is just made for sitting on! Sit down.’ He gets up to give me his prime position. Drink, breathe – gasp at the wonder of it all – and the others trot, or trudge off.
Pat of Silk Road Adventures writes
Burma is a country with two names and a controversial history. Anglophiles mostly use the old colonial name Burma but in 1992 the government re-established the traditional name Myanmar which is phonetically correct Burmese pronunciation in pre-colonial times. Which name to use is not my greatest concern as I wait at the Ruili-Muse border between China’s Yunnan province and Myanmar’s Northern Shan State where a recent and conditional agreement between the two countries that allows properly authorised western travellers to cross this border is about to be tested.
The point where the famous Burma Road crosses from China to Myanmar is marked by an arch in typical Chinese monumental style and a group of inscrutable Chinese border police. Up to this moment every travel guide I have read suggests that this could be the end of journey that has brought me overland down the Burma Road through Yunnan. Accounts of other travellers tell me that the English vocabulary of the Chinese gentleman now approaching me amounts to just five words, ?sorry border closed to foreigners?. Not today though, our Chinese and Myanmar agents have done the paperwork, our documents are in order.
It takes just a few steps to get to the Myanmar immigration post where our colleague from Yangon is waiting. Those few steps have landed us in a time warp, about 30 years removed but only one hundred meters distant from the steel and glass tower blocks on the Chinese side of the border. It’s a rare experience to find somewhere in Southeast Asia that hasn’t succumbed to the onslaught of the west and we are relieved to leave the incessant bleating of mobile phones behind on the Chinese side of the border.
Silk Road Adventures is a New Zealand based company who do small group tours through Asia, following the Silk Rd.