London to Shanghai overland

In June 2006, Iain and I left England for China, armed with all the money we’d saved running a pub in the English countryside. Eighteen months and eighteen countries later, we arrived in Shanghai, where we started another overland journey, to Cape Town, in January 2011.

Our journey to Shanghai began in London. From there we travelled north through England and Scotland, then west by ferry to Ireland. After a few weeks, we took another ferry to France. Western Europe’s railways helped us to wind our way through the continent, and a train that departed from Thessaloniki carried us into Istanbul, where we first saw Asia across the Bosphorus.

In Turkey we rode buses, and buses eventually carried us south through Syria into Jordan. We chugged into Egypt on another ferry, and left on a bus to Israel. Then, after hurrying back to Amman, with plane tickets to Mumbai tucked away in my money belt, we flew – over Iran and Pakistan, slicing 4000 kilometres off an otherwise uninterrupted 39,000 travelled by land and sea.

After arriving in Mumbai, we imagined we’d spend about three months travelling around the subcontinent before being ready to move on to China, via Nepal and Tibet. We also expected that our money would soon run out. India surprised us: nine months later we’d spent less money than we did during three months in Europe, and we’d soaked up about as much as we could – in one visit – of a fascinating but exhausting country. We headed north to the Himalayan Plateau, took a jeep from Kathmandu through Tibet to Lhasa, where we connected with the world’s highest railway line and set off for Chengdu, in China proper. We took our second-last train to Xi’an then our last to Shanghai, where we stopped, in December 2007, and began our lives in China.

Our Route

British Isles1 Month

England
London
Farnham
York

Scotland
Glasgow
Aberdeen
Ballater
Isle of Skye

Northern Ireland
Belfast

Republic of Ireland
Dublin (Photos)
Doolin (Photos)
Kenmare

The Continent3 Months

France
Bayeux (Photos)
St Malo (Photos)
Paris (Photos)
Provence (Photos)

Spain
Barcelona (Photos)
Madrid (Photos)
Pontevedra (Photos)
Santiago de Compostela (Photos)

Portugal
Lisbon (Photos)
Lagos (Photos)

Spain
Sevilla
Granada

Switzerland
Geneva (Photos)

The Netherlands
Amsterdam (Photos)

Germany
Berlin (Photos)
Black Forest
Munich (Photos)

Austria
Vienna (Photos)
Innsbruck

Italy
Venice
Bologna
Cinque Terre
Florence
Rome (Photos)
Naples

Greece
Athens (Photos)
Andros

Near and Middle East3 months

Turkey
Istanbul (Photos)
Ankara (Photos)
Canakkale (Photos)
Behramkale (Photos)
Selcuk (Photos)
Afyon (Photos)
Capadoccia (Photos)

Syria
Aleppo (Photos)
Hama (Crac de Chevaliers)
Palmyra
Damascus (Photos)

Jordan
Amman (Photos)
Dead Sea (Photos)
Petra (Photos)

Egypt
Cairo (Photos)
Aswan (Photos)
Luxor (Photos)

Israel
Jerusalem (Photos)

Indian Subcontinent9 months

India
Mumbai (Photos)
Matheran (Photos)
Goa (Photos)
Madikeri
Galibeedu (Photos)
Mysore (Photos)
Wyanad
Cochin (Photos)
Alleppi
Sivananda Ashram, Neyyar Dam
Trivandrum
Chennai
Mamallapuram
Bangalore
Hampi
Hyderabad (Photos)
Junagadh
Jamnagar
Dwarka
Udaipur
Jaisalmer
Delhi

Nepal
Lumbini
Kathmandu
Pokhara
Trek (An Improvised Ghorepani to Ghandruk Loop)

India
Darjeeling
Sikkim
Calcutta
Bodghaya
Varanasi
Delhi
Sivananda Ashram, Netala
Rishikesh
McLeod Ganj
Delhi

Nepal
Lumbini (Vipassana Silent Meditation)
Kathmandu

Far East2 months

Tibet
Zhangmu
Shigatse
Gyantse
Lhasa

China
Chengdu
Xi’an
Shanghai

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy

We welcome encouragement, questions and advice. Perhaps welcome isn't strong enough. Comments are the best and more or less only reward we receive for putting Old World Wandering together. We're addicted to the words at the end of an article because they, A, tell us you got that far and, hopefully, B, enjoyed getting there. But please stick to the topic and use your real name or a nickname. Generic comments submitted for SEO purposes will be deleted.

Top