Life is in the detail

Spend the night at a homestay in Banteay Chhmar in Cambodia. This allows you to visit the nearby temple first thing in the morning when you will very likely have the entire huge and wonderful site completely to yourself.

Holly - Original Traveller

Holly in the mountains

Holly Barber

Original Travel Expert

I have extensive travel experience throughout The Far East and Indian Subcontinent.

My travels

Snow leopard in Ladakh

Travel Things I Want To Do Before I Die

  • See a snow leopard in Ladakh, India
  • Photograph as many of the world's most spectacular landscapes as possible!
  • Visit the temples of Koya San in Japan
Angkor Wat

Best Moments

  • My first view of Angkor Wat after travelling up to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh by local boat. It was 1997, with the civil war was still raging in Cambodia, and I was quite nervous about being there, so the feeling of acheivement in getting to Angkor was intense.
  • Photographing Phou Phra mountain in Laos. As a tourleader in 2001 I often passed a particularly spectacular view in the north of the country, but never had the chance to capture it. Whilst lliving in Cambodia in 2014 I made 2 attempts (involving 20 hours on a Honda scooter) and finally managed to get the photograph I was after.
  • In 2004 I travelled overland by public transport from Istanbul to Delhi via Turkey, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, China, Tibet, Nepal and India. Whilst in Pakistan I visited Kohat, a cantonment town north of Peshawar, where my mum was born in 1940. Visiting the town hall to look for her birth records was, if not an epic experience, certainly an unusual one.
Hitchhike to Lhasa

Toughest Travel Moment

  • A 36 hour bus journey across Sumbawa Island in Indonesia in 1996. It was a local bus with limited leg room and infrequent toliet breaks. Before boarding the bus I had trodden on what I though was solid ground, but actually turned out to be a thin crust covering a stagnant and smelly pool. The stench of my shoe was a constant companion for a full day and a half!
Beds in the India train

Weirdest Travel Moment

  • Sleeping on the floor of an overnight train in India (I couldn't get a bed confirmed from waitlist but had to get back to Delhi to run a tour), and then being offered a sleeping berth halfway through the journey because the previous occupant had died!

Explore my blog posts

rice farming thailand

Getting Off The Beaten Track – is it Really Worth The Effort?

Getting off the beaten track when travelling is routinely touted as a good and worthy thing, but it almost always requires extra effort and sometimes a little discomfort. Many would argue that any country or region's most popular tourist targets (think Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, the Taj…

toyko header on set in asia

On Set in Asia - Film Locations in Cambodia and Japan

How often have you been watching a film and been awestruck by the location? 'Where did they shoot that?', you wonder, and start plotting your own visit. Memorable locations for me included The Grand Canyon in Thelma & Louise (the final scene was actually shot in Utah!), the mountain…

khao sok landscape

Exploring Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

South East Asia is well known for its jagged karst landscapes, and many people will recognise images of the vertiginous peaks rising from the sea at Krabi and Halong Bay, or the wonderful limestone formations around Vang Vieng in Laos. But while these destinations share fabulous scenery,…

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