«The Last Nomads» features the greatest traditional journeys left on Earth as seen through the eyes of the people who still travel on them. From the Zagros Mountains of Iran to the frozen wastelands of northern Siberia, the Sahara to the Himalaya, these beautifully filmed documentaries give a unique insight into the very last human journeys still being travelled as they have been for thousands of years.
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Overland’s journey starts from Beijing, which has now become one of the most modern cities in the world. With its peaceful daily invasion of tourists and visitors Tiananmen Square has changed radically, like it had on every previous occasion Overland passed through it: in 1985 with 3 fiat pandas in a sea of bicycles, in 1989 with the Itala shortly before the student protests, in 1999 with the orange trucks and in 2005 with the bicycles, in a square which was then full of motorised vehicles.
With its splendid testimonies of grandeur, the city of Xi'an offers travellers the Terracotta Warriors and the Wild Goose Pagoda. Here Buddhism spread easily thanks to the enormous quantity of people who coexisted in a single territory, despite being of different religions. Even now Muslims organise markets full of culinary resources and trading stalls.
From Lanzhou, after passing the Yellow River, we head back up the Gansu corridor, an obligatory step to head West amongst the final dunes of the Gobi desert to the North an the snow-capped mountains of Qilian Shan to the South. There will be numerous historical and artistic testimonies, which were in part described by Marco Polo who lived here for a bout a year.
At the legendary Jade Gate, we leave behind us Han China and enter the land of the Uyghur, the Muslim population that inhabits the North West of China. The most adventurous part of the journey awaits us: the exploration of the Taklamakan Desert with the tallest dunes in the world and the powerful sandstorms caused by the torrid Karaburan wind. The southern track of the Silk Road features a series of important Oasis-Cities that are irrigated by the water coming from the glaciers of the Kunlun.
The journey on the Southern Silk Road continues from Hotan and ends in Kashgar, which in ancient times was considered the city with the largest open-ait market in the known world. Today the extraordinary bazar is relegated to a covered pavilion surrounded by huge buildings. Kashgar is the starting point for the Northern branch of the Silk Road that will lead us to Turpan over a series of new roads, modern cities and stretches of the ancient track with ruins of the abandoned ancient dwellings.
Once we reach Urumqi, the capital of the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, our attention will be focused on the population that lives in this area of China, which is mainly Muslim in cultural and religious terms. Although the Han represent the majority, the Uyghurs insist on having their own state. The journey continues in the territory to the North of Urumqi and our encounter with thousand of oil wells shows the great race for the exploitation of the territory.
The Altai Mountains offers us forests, Kazakh tents, grazing animals, Siberian and Mongolian ethnic minorities. The Uyghurs, the ancient inhabitants of the territory, are mainly concentrated in the large cities and dedicate themselves mainly to trade and their families. The Kanas Natural Reserve, with its marvellous eponymous lake, has been transformed into a story of Chinese Switzerland, given the incredible similarity of the buildings in the vast pine forests.
We continue along a route amongst the sand dunes of the Badain Jaran desert. Mongolia presents its most well known but most shocking side: in a single valley we counted 49 coal- fired power stations. The Genghis Khan Mausoleum tells the story of this great historic character, who played a huge role in China’s, while the Taoist monastery Wudang reveals the Buddhist religion of the population.
Inside one of the world’s most famous hotels - Raffles and its massive new make over. Luxury in a villa suite with private pool at Sofitel Sentosa. Check out Singapore’s top restaurants Burnt Ends, Bincho and Cheek by Jowl plus the coolest bars now open. The incredible Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay. The Art Deco restaurant with a multi million dollar gin bar. Why Changi Airport is the world’s best, counting a butterfly zoo amongst its many attractions.