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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The Silk Road and Pamir Highway

Fann Mountains

The silk road conjures images in the mind of exotic faraway lands, eschewed by the crowds, with a blend of Asian and European cultures combining under the backdrop of bustling bazaars, spice markets and beautifully tiled mosques, well, it’s kind of like that. In truth, in Uzbekistan at least, there are crowds, hordes of older bus tours roll around these plains, and bazaars that may have once traded in exotic goods now sell post cards and cheaply made souvenirs, the spice markets still exists, although it’s unclear exactly where the spices end up, because it certainly isn’t in the local food. As we moved through from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, the crowds dissipated, the true wonders of this part of the world revealed themselves; friendly locals, dramatic and diverse landscapes, and a place untouched by mass tourism. While modernity has long since touched down in Central Asia, local culture and customs still endure, there is still plenty to discover.

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Rwanda & Some Gorillas

Rwanda, it conjures memories of one of the darkest chapters in recent history, when the world forgot, or worse, ignored, the absolute horror that was taking place in the heart of central Africa. While the UN condemned what was going on, in the same breath they pulled back. The maundering Interahamwe went on a 100 day reign of terror, killing an estimated 1’000’000, mainly Tutsi, but also moderate Hutu civilians. After the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front), led by current president Paul Kagame, moved in and took control in 1994, modern Rwanda has emerged from its tumultuous past as a beacon of how to pull a country back from the brink.

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