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Himalaya by Michael Palin
Photographs by Basil Pao
Published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2004

Himalaya, Palin’s sixth travelogue, which accompanies the BBC television series of the same name, is a diary of his journey along the world’s greatest mountain range.

In 2003, Palin and his team journeyed for six months for 3000 miles along the length of the Himalayas from the Khyber Pass to the Brahmaputra Delta, passing through Pakistan, India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Bhutan and Bangladesh – some of the most visually stunning but dangerous regions of the world.

Although he does give a brief historical and political background to the areas in which he travels, Palin focuses more on the people who live in the region and their cultures and customs. Expressing a genuine interest in and respect for the people he meets, from the Dali Lama to the people in the street, Palin displays extraordinary good humour, patience and off-beat charm. It is Palin’s sense of wonder and of fun in the situations that he encounters that makes Himalaya a joy to read.

The 300 accompanying photographs by Basil Pao beautifully capture the sensational sights and scenery of the journey.

Joanne O’Connor in The Observer quotes a survey in which 1,000 travellers were asked to name their ideal travelling companion. Michael Palin came first, pipping Jesus Christ and Elvis. As the ideal companion for the armchair traveller, Michael Palin, with his unique wit, charm and wisdom, is unrivalled.

‘ This book could easily have been a glorified rehash of the TV script but, aided by the handsome photography of Basil Pao, it stands on its own merits and Palin is astute enough to know that what makes good telly doesn’t always work on the page. Palin’s status as the world’s favourite travelling companion is safe for now.’
Joanne O’ Connor, The Observer

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