Inle Lake has plenty to see with cute stilt villages, cottage industries and lots of fishermen plying its waterways.

Exploring Inle Lake, Burma

Exploring Inle Lake by longboat is an absolute highlight of Burma. Calm waters mimic rippling silk offering stunning mirror-like reflections punctuated by lush floating gardens, simple stilt houses and traditional fishermen all surrounded by picturesque, verdant mountains.     While these form the essence of the waterway the area is so much more with unique cottage industries…

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Wonderful sunset view of some of the beautiful temples of Bagan, Myanmar.

Breathtaking Bagan

Hurriedly scampering up to the 2nd floor of an old temple in the golden dusky light of a rapidly approaching sunset was the perfect introduction to Bagan’s  magnificent landscapes.      Sheer magic is the only way I can describe this first glimpse and it has to go down as one of those truly special moments in…

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Northern Lights near Fairbanks, Alaska

Northern Lights near Fairbanks, Alaska

  Wow, what a first day out at the Mount Aurora Lodge! Located 30-40 mins from Fairbanks the lodge has sweeping views over the surrounding valleys from  its hillside perch. Housed in a converted gold miners dormitory the rustic, warm lodge has an open plan lounge/sitting/dining area that is just perfect for lounging around and…

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Man Leading Donkey in Trinidad

First Impressions of Cuba

Wow, how fantastic is Cuba! It has always been on the list of places I would love to visit but apart from the promise of gorgeous architecture and cool looking old cars I was not really sure what to expect, and have been so busy over the past couple of months I didn’t do a…

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Tibetan Festival in Langmusi

Tibetan Nomad Festival, Langmusi

How awesome was this Tibetan nomad festival in Langmusi, China on International Children’s Day, 2002. I was incredibly fortunate to experience this event with one of my groups and it was definitely worth arriving after 2am in the morning for.  We had broken down on the grasslands in the middle of Sichuan the previous day…

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On the streets of Yan'an, China.

On the Streets of Yan’an, China

Yan’an in China’s northwest gains its fame for being near to the end point for Mao Zedong’s Long March, with the town serving as the Communist capital in the revolution. For me it was definitely one of the more interesting stops on the tours I led in China, resulting in what was generally a very…

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In the village of Langmusi, China in 2001.

Lovely Langmusi

Straddling the Sichuan / Gansu border is the simply wonderful little village of Langmusi. The first time I visited this remote outpost was back in 1997.   The location is simply stunning, located up on the sweeping grasslands of the Tibetan plateau. There have been big changes since I first visited, apparently the roads in town…

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Fantastic 2012 Calendars

enigmatic china calendar – Images by Jillian Mitchell I have recently released some gorgeous new calendars featuring images that showcase the spectacular beauty of the lily and the magnificent magnolia. A3 in size and printed on 200gsm high quality satin art paper the calendars come bound with white wire and are ready to hang. The…

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Latest Article Published

My latest published article has just been released in the June 2011 issue of Qatar Airways inflight magazine – Oryx. It is a short introduction to one of my favorite areas in Guangzhou. To read the full piece, My Favourite Street, Guangzhou – click here.

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Guangzhou’s Architecture Favorites

I have literally passed through Guangzhou dozens of times but have been yet to discover any real charm amongst its mammoth sized urban sprawl. This all changed when I stumbled upon a few classic streets in the city’s old quarter which have thoroughly revived my interest.   The stunning qilou that line the peaceful En Ning…

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Guangzhou’s New TV Tower

Stretching some 450 metres into the sky on the banks of the Pearl River is Guangzhou’s newest icon.   Nicknamed the “Supermodel”, the tower is said to mimic the body of a sexy woman. The elevator to the top is a special ride that brings dizzying but intermittent views across the city as you whizz your…

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Shamian Island, Guangzhou

Shamian Island is known in Guangzhou for its beautiful old architecture.   This former UK & French concession area is a great place to enjoy an atmospheric stroll amongst colonial styled structures from a bygone era. It also means this picturesque little spot is a draw-card for photographers adding a layer of vibrancy and interest that…

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Chen Family Ancestral Temple

A Qing dynasty relic of Lingnan culture which seems to have survived the cultural revolution relatively unscathed now houses the Guangdong Museum of Folk Art in a few of its many halls. Elaborately carved Chaozhou styled wooden doors depict classic Chinese scenes while mythological characters feature in the colourful, intricate lime sculptures that grace the…

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Magnificent Macau

The sheer contrasts of Macau make it an intriguing and picturesque destination with a unique mish-mash of cultures.    Not only does the city continue to grow economically due to its burgeoning gambling industry, but it has physically increased its size by around 170% from land reclamation. A gambler’s mecca with glitzy, shiny, mega dollar structures…

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Yangshuo: a threatened wonder?

Being Popular in the World’s Most Populous Nation Brings its Challenges.   An article in Wanderlust magazine discusses the “Threatened Wonders 2010”, which sees Yangshuo as number 2 on the list.   Needless to say I found some of the comments quite interesting and thought I might toss my opinion out there.   Most of China’s…

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Drifters in Yangshuo Closed Down

An era came to an end in Yangshuo with the popular café and hang out joint of Drifters being closed down. It has always been one of my favourite places in town and was almost an institution during my tour leading days. While I was unfortunately not in town for the final party, I was…

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Charming Hoi An

Hoi An has not lost even one iota of its charm. There have been many but few changes to this ancient World Heritage site over the past 10 years. I still found myself gasping at just how beautiful and appealing the architecture is in the old town. It also took me a day to realize…

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Happy Birthday Hanoi

It has been 10 years since I last visited Hanoi and I must say it was great to be back. The city seems to retain a traditional vitality and wonderful atmosphere in the old quarter with so many street vendors carting colourful baskets of fruit and flowers amongst the rustic French colonial architecture lining the…

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Christmas Day on Halong Bay

After a tedious bus journey from Hanoi it was as if Mother Nature had snapped her fingers the moment we arrived in Bai Chay. Looming gray clouds parted giving way to dazzling rays of winter sunshine that started to slip through just as we stepped onto one of Bhaya’s traditional junk styled cruise boats. We…

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Train from Nanning to Hanoi

  The overnight train service running daily between Nanning and Hanoi is very comfortable in Chinese soft sleeper carriages however don’t look forward to getting too much sleep.   Departure from Nanning is currently at 6.45 pm, with arrival in Pingxiang a little after 10pm for Chinese border control formalities which took around 90 minutes.   …

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Jingshan Park, Beijing

Jingshan Park located across from the North Gate of the Forbidden City is somewhere which should be included on your “things to do in Beijing” list.   The Wan Chunting pagoda offers 360 degree panoramic views of Beijing including amazing vistas back across the Forbidden City which help to put in perspective the size, scope and former…

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The stunning Detian Falls on the China/Vietnam border is simply gorgeous in any season.

Guangxi’s Detian Falls

The magnificent Detian Falls located on the China/Vietnam border shines with vivid, jewel like colour and is definitely worth a visit. So much more attractive than just your standard trickle of water running over a cliff, Detian is some 200 metres wide and has three tiers of water rushing over its various edges. Despite the…

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Nanning – China’s Green City

Most of the guidebooks don’t have so much to say for Nanning however I found it to be one of China’s more likeable cities.   Green spaces and a population that is incredibly relaxed and happy.     Dancing is a past time that you can see happening most early mornings and evenings all around China however…

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The Cycle of Rice

  The cycle of rice has passed through its final phase with the 2nd harvest taking place throughout the countryside.     These times of intense activity witnessed during planting and harvesting make exploring the countryside just that little bit more interesting and alive.   Dry warm weather with fields of burnt gold contrasting superbly against…

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