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
  • Trek the Concordia route in Pakistan to the base of K2 mountain
  • See the mudbrick 'skyscrappers' of Sana'a in Yemen (definitely off limits for now…)
  • Photograph as many of the world's most spectacular landscapes as possible!
Wadi Rum in Jordan

Best Moments

  • In 2004 my husband and I hitched a ride in the back of a truck from Golmud to Lhasa. After 26 gruelling hours of cold and altitude sickness my first glimpse of the Potala Palace was pretty special. I really felt as though I had earned it!
  • In 1992 I participated in an archaeological project in northern Jordan. During a weekend off I travelled to Wadi Rum with some of the other project members and we slept out under the stars, with only blankets and a camel dung fire to keep us warm. Waking up in the darkness to see a desert fox sniffing around our camp was a really special moment.
  • 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

  • In 2004 my husband and I (illegally) hitched a ride in a truck from Golmud to Lhasa. Around 4 hours into a 26 hour ride we were told we had to travel in separate vehicles as the drivers could only hide one of us in each truck. At the highest point of the road (the Tanggula Pass at 5,300m) there is a Chinese army checkpoint. Lying under a blanket in the back of the truck's cab, wondering if either I or my husband (who was in another lorry and out of reach) would end up in a Chinese prison, all the while struggling with the altitude, was what they call 'character building'.
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!

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