Category: Overland travel

Most visitors to Hokkaido fly in, but to do it overland you have two options – bullet train or ferry. If you have the JR Pass, the train’s the way to go – with the bullet train having recently been …

How to Take the Ferry to Hokkaido Read More »

I was just sorting through some old travel photos after finally gaining access to the hard drive from my broken old laptop, and realised I’d never posted about the Yunnan backpacker trail in Southwest China. The basic route goes from …

The Yunnan Overland Backpacker Trail Read More »

You’re woken up by the sound of an old man violently expectorating in the hutong alleyway outside, cringing during the pause while he holds his mouthful of phlegm for a second or two between noisily bringing it up and noisily …

Life in Beijing: catching the bullet train Read More »

We were two weeks into our epic road trip around the US, now driving through the incredible southwestern states of New Mexico and Arizona; we’d just spent two days in Albuquerque for the July 4 Independence Day celebrations (and also one of …

Hospitality and Scorpions in Marble Canyon Read More »

If you’re in China on a tourist (L) visa and want to get more time in the country without having to go down to Hong Kong for a new visa, you may be able to extend your existing visa at …

Chinese Visa Extensions in Leshan and Kaifeng Read More »

Naked children leapt from the ramshackle pier in the tropical downpour, laughing and screaming as lightning flickered across the edges of a sky as threatening as any I’ve yet seen. “That boat?” I asked hopefully, indicating the larger and (slightly) …

Overland Adventures: the stinky Filipino fish bus Read More »

The Japan Rail Pass (or JR Pass) is a nationwide rail pass allowing you unlimited travel on trains operated by Japan Rail (with a few exceptions, see below) for a fixed number of days. It’s amazingly good value if you’re …

Guide to Using the JR Pass Read More »

Cold, tired, and hungry, I finally dropped my bags and plonked myself down on the bed; all I had to do now was go out for food and then shower & sleep, before getting up next day to take the …

My Failed Tibet Trip: Permits, Solo Travel, Getting Stuck in Xining, and the Amdo Route from Xining To Chengdu Read More »

“Go to Guizhou, the Hidden Beauty of China,” the TV advised me. “No thanks mate – I already did, and it was kinda shit,” I replied. I was sat in my Airbnb in Taipei, doing some work with the TV …

(How NOT to) Go to Guizhou: the Hidden Beauty of China Read More »

If you’re looking to travel overland from China to SE Asia (or vice versa) you have three main route options: Guangxi province to Vietnam, Yunnan province to Vietnam, and Yunnan to Laos (and Thailand); a fourth potential route is Yunnan …

Overland Routes from China to Southeast Asia Read More »

*If you’re looking for full details on the JR Beetle ferry between Busan & Fukuoka see my page here* So the other week I had one of those travel days where everything fucks up – and it was mostly my own …

One of Those Days: a comedy of errors when taking the JR Beetle Read More »

I flopped into a chair and ordered a plate of nasi goreng and a bottle of Bintang, now running on empty and entirely on autopilot. The nasi goreng was to satiate my hunger, the beer to celebrate my having survived …

Robert Plant’s Lemon Juice: surviving the Trans-Sumatra Highway (Sumatra to Java overland) Read More »

We got off the ferry from Malaysia, cleared immigration, and made a mad dash across Medan (North Sumatra, Indonesia), just catching the last minivan to Bukit Lawang by the skin of our teeth. This was one of those minivans where …

A Crazy Journey to Bukit Lawang Read More »

When I first visited Southeast Asia in 2004 en route to Australia with my mate Danny, we’d had no real plan to visit Sumatra (or anywhere else in Indonesia). We flew in from India to Singapore, and were flying out …

Sumatra Overland Route Read More »

How NOT to travel from Thailand to Malaysia overland! (for the sensible routes from Thailand to Malaysia, scroll to the lower half of the post) Hat Yai bus station. The day was getting old, the sun dropping and the shadows drawing …

Thailand to Malaysia Overland: getting stranded at the eastern border with a lonely policeman (or, how NOT to travel to the Perhentian Islands) Read More »

Obviously, the train was packed. It was the autumn holidays, when the whole of China travels home to see family, and the only tickets available had been for the hard seat carriages – these carriages do have numbered individual seats …

Beijing to Chengdu in the autumn holiday: 27 hours in a tin of sardines! Read More »

Note: since this post was written, bullet train routes have opened from Chengdu to Kunming (6 hours, via Guiyang) and Kunming to Dali (2 hours), so the Panzhihua-Lijiang shortcut isn’t the major time-saver it used to be. It is still …

A useful backdoor route from Chengdu to Yunnan (Panzhihua to Lijiang bus) Read More »

En route from the UK to Australia (with working holiday visas arranged), my friend Danny and I visited the UAE, India, and Southeast Asia. We spent six weeks in India, and it was intense but memorable stuff. Flying in and out …

Our overland route around India Read More »

“The man made scenery of the Yangtze is spectacularly grim.” – Michael Palin, Full Circle, 1997 “Marco Polo must’ve been pissed off by this point. It’s ‘orrible; it’s horrible. It’s a place to visit in a submarine this, this river. …

Down the Yangtze by hydrofoil through the Three Gorges Read More »

I’d been to Hong Kong & Macau the year before, but when we arrived in Beijing at the end of our Trans-Siberian journey, it was my first time in mainland China (and for my two companions too). Mike and Ross …

An action-packed first overland run through China Read More »