Archive for the ‘China’ Tag

August 2011 12 by 12   Leave a comment

Dominated by China. Another country I never thought I would visit. Firstly the end of our Trans Siberian trip and Vladivostok on the eastern tip of Russia. So eastern next stop USA. With its rusting Navel fleet and the huge impressive suspension bridge under construction. We were sad to leave Russia and our Trans Siberian journey but knew China would be awsome.

China. Probably the highlight of the whole little adventure. Incredible, diverse and ancient Beijing. Then the amazing Great Wall, the white washed simplicity of Xi Tang, an absolute soaking in Xi An, Shanghi with its cool skyline and homecooked food and bike rides in Yungshou. Everyone we met in China was kind, helpful and greeted us with a warm smile. To top it all the brilliant group of people to share the experiences all with and a wonderful guide in Ting Ting.

By Stefan Palmer

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at

Stefan Palmer


Where next?   Leave a comment

Kerry and I still have a huge list of places we still want to visit in the world.  The more you travel, you realise there so much more to see. Some places/countries we have already visited and either didn’t get to the place we wanted to visit, due to time or it not being on our itinerary. Some we didn’t have time in the place we did visit.  Here are a few locations on our list

  • China – The Three Gorges or Yangtze Gorges.  This is a scenic area along the Yangtze River stretching for 120 kilometres and offering amazing views. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu.  Beijing Zoo wasn’t the best environment to see pandas.  This research base seems a better bet.
  • Russia – St Petersburg. We have got to go back and spend more time there.  It was such a fabulous place.  We loved the atmosphere, the architecture and the people. We had a ridiculously short time there.
  • Japan – There is a dive site in Japan, off the coast of Yonaguni Jima, that appears to be an underwater city.   It is called Japans Atlantis.  The largest structure looks like a complicated, monolithic, stepped pyramid that rises from a depth of 25 meters. Some say it wasn’t man made but natural.  I really want to see it for myself, to make up my own mind of course.  Here’s more information about it.  I am keen to travel on a bullet train through some of the Japanese countryside.  We saw a bullet train at one of the stations while we were in China.  It looked so sleek and fast, even stationary!
  • Scotland – (yep you read that correctly) so much to see there.  We spend a weekend on The Isle of Lewis a couple of years ago and really want to return and see more of it.  Uig beach was spectacularly desolate and beautiful.  We discovered an abandoned church overlook the beach for sale.  We have so many discussions about what we would do to the place and the views from there all year round would be breaktaking.  Also in Scotland, Edinburgh is a favourite spot.  We got snowed in there in December 2010.  I also personally want to dive Scapa Flow, in the Orkney Islands.  It was UK’s chief naval base during World War I and World War II. Following the German defeat in the First World War, 74 ships of their were interned in Gutter Sound at Scapa Flow pending a decision on their future in the peace Treaty of Versailles. On 21 June 1919, after nine months of waiting, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, the German officer in command at Scapa Flow, made the decision to scuttle the fleet because the negotiation period for the treaty had lapsed with no word of a settlement (he was not kept informed that there had been a last-minute extension to finalise the details). After waiting for the bulk of the British fleet to leave on exercises, he gave the order to scuttle the ships to prevent their falling into British hands.  Many are still there to see.
  • It’s clichéd but I would like to see the 15th-century Inca site at Machu Picchu.    I don’t have any great desire to see any other parts of South American (maybe because I haven‘t read up about it)
  • Madagascar – Did you see the David Attenborough series about the island?  A company called Blue Ventures do a fish survey project on the island (loads of Diving) they also do some worthwhile work with the local community.  Kerry and I both want to take part in this project and see the island before it is spoilt by tourism.
  • America – A few years ago Kerry and I, with some friend and family, travelled through part of America.  Starting in San Francisco, then onto Death Valley, Yosemite Park, Las Vegas and ending in LA.  I would just like to say here that Las Vegas does live up to its sign….It is Fabulous.  I would like to do the whole trip again.  I also want to visit Washington DC, Boston, New York (I’ve often contemplated doing the New York Marathon) and Seattle.
  • Arctic Circle – Unfortunately we didn’t get this far north during our Russian Trans Siberian trip but I really want to go there.  I also want to ice dive, where a hole is cut in the ice with a chain saw.  You then jump in and have a bimble around and see what you can see. I’ve dived with seals in the UK, penguins in the Arctic would be cool (sorry no pun intended).  I’ve been looking at this company.  Better pack my dry suit and thermals for that trip!
  • New Zealand – Who wouldn’t want to visit Middle Earth? Especially with Kerry and I being so close to this green sheep filled Island at the moment.
  • Everest Base Camp.  I have long held a dream of trekking to this and after recently reading Bear Grylls account of his ascent of Everest called Facing Up Amazon store link it’s just made me more determined to do it.  There are a number of companies that do the trip, Intrepid, Exodus and the Bonington Treks. The peak of Everest would be an amazing experience, but not for me.  Too much of surviving that experience is down to fate and chance.  To put Base Camps height into perspective.  The peak of our very own Snowden is 1,085 metres (3,560 ft) above sea level.  Base camp is situated at 5,545 metres (18,192 ft) above sea level.  Up there, altitude sickness is a huge threat, so adequate acclimatisation is critical. Many ‘Pretend Trekkers’ (because that’s what I feel I would be) don’t make it.  A few sadly even die just going to Base Camp.  I found this great Base Camp diary the other day.
  • Some other places I’m considering and need further research for me are Indian and Pakistan.  I’m not sure my stomach will survive the likely germ onslaught.  The Middle Eastern Jordon and Medina, Jerusalem. Safety is a concern.

There you have it.  A few thoughts for more Little Adventures.  These should keep us out of mischief over the next few years.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at

Stefan Palmer

UK to Australia – Trip Timeline   Leave a comment

Some of you may be interested how our journey as panned out.  I  have kept a diary, below are dated and locations.

UK – Jersey – 16/05/2011.

France – Albert (Close to the Somme) 16/05/2011.

Luxembourg – Luxembourg City 17/05/2011.

Germany– Colditz 19/05/2011 , Dresden 20/05/2011, Berlin 21/05/2011.

Poland – Auschwitz 23/05/2011, Krakow 25/05/2011.

Lithuania – Vilnius 27/05/2011.

Latvia – Riga 28/05/2011.

Estonia – Tallin 29/05/2011.

Finland – Helsinki 01/06/2011, Tarku 03/06/2011, Kolka 05/06/2011.

Russia – St Petersbourgh 06/06/2011, Novograd 09/06/2011.

Sergiev Posad 10/06/2011, Suzdel 11/06/2011, Moscow 12/06/2011, Volgograd 22/06/2011, Moscow 25/06/2011,  Kazan 13/07/2011, Ykatarineberg 14/07/2011, Novosibirsk 16/07/2011, Irkutsk 19/07/2011, Lake Baikal/Olkhon Island 22/07/2011, Khabarovsk 31/07/2011, Vladivostok 04/08/2011.

China – Beijing 11/08/2011, The Great Wall 22/08/2011, Xian 24/08/2011, Shanghai 26/08/2011,  Xi Tang 29/08/2011, Yungshou 31/08/2011, Longji Rice Terraces 03/09/2011.

Hong Kong – 06/09/2011

China – Kunming 08/09/2011,  Jianshui 11/09/2011

Vietnam – Sapa 15/09/2011,  Hanoi 17/09/2011, Ha Long Bay, Cat Bar Island 18/09/2011,  Ha Long Bay, Nam Cat Island 19/09/2011, Hue 23/09/2011,  Ho ian, 26/09/2011,  Nha Trang 29/09/2011, Saigon 07/10/2011.


Kuala Lumpur – 11/10/2010.


The Gold Coast – 19/10/2011, Townsville 20/09/2011

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at

Stefan Palmer

Final stop in China   Leave a comment

Our final stop in China was a town called Jianshui.  Kerry and I spent longer than expected there due to our Vietnam visa mix up.  See the attached (by clicking here) post for more details.  Our stay was during a bank holiday.  The day before which, Kerry and I braved the local market to see the sights.  They were something else!  Live chickens being sold and taken away live for the bank holiday cooking pot.  Sold chickens trying to escape purchase, families arriving on scooters to purchase their goods (and I mean a whole family on one scooter).  For some it was too much and a brief nap was called for.  It was madness personified…..but amazing.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at

Stefan Palmer

Posted 15/10/2011 by Stefan Palmer in China

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Kunming   Leave a comment

Mmmm.  The penultimate city in China for our tour. After the cool sights of Hong Kong, Kunming was a let down.  It was not helped by the traffic.  They are currently building a metro in the city which will be great when completed, but it is causing chaos at the moment.    We ventured out to the impressive stone forest (where the visitors were dressing up in traditional clothes) and the huge grossly polluted Lake Dian which is apparently rated Grade V (the worst grade) which makes the water unfit for agricultural or industrial uses.  There were some picturesque gardens around the lake though. On its shore the boys in the group had a go at  some karting.  The first time I have driven anything since early May!

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at

Stefan Palmer

Posted 12/10/2011 by Stefan Palmer in China

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Rice terraces as far as the eye can see   4 comments

What an incredible couple of days.  Out in the Chinese countryside.  While I have loved our China tour, I wish there was more of this.  We have seen lots of cities, but little of the countryside apart from on a bus or train.  When as far as the eye can see, you see rice terraces all cultivated by human beings you begin to realise have adaptive we are.  You also have to wonder why their ancestors didn’t  just settle on flat land all those hundreds of years ago.  The integrated irigation systems and perfectly correct angle of the land to let water flow to the next terrace is a real marvel.  The village we stayed in was a cobbled together marvel of wooden engineering.  I really don’t know how it all stayed together.  What was also nice was that we could photograph people without anyone holding their hands out for money.

Here’s a brief video of the terraces too from the village.  We stood on a balcony overlooking the valley.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at

Stefan Palmer

Posted 09/10/2011 by Stefan Palmer in China

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Yangshuo   Leave a comment

Here’s my gallery of Yangshou in China.  We did loads of activities there (see the link to the post on Kyacking and cycling)  It was what I expected Vietnam to look like with the stunning rocks just jutting out of the ground.  Now I’m in Vietnam I wasn’t wrong.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at

Stefan Palmer

Posted 03/10/2011 by Stefan Palmer in China

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