Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Himalaya” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  2,596 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
Michael Palin's travel books have repeatedly topped the bestseller lists. In this book he is back at his adventurous best tie-ing in with a major BBC TV series. The book/series will travel through many countries little known to the West, providing opportunities for Palinesque adventures to please the large and loyal audience who followed 80 Days, Pole to Pole and Full Circ ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 17th 2005 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Himalaya, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Himalaya

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Pramod Nair
Jul 04, 2015 Pramod Nair rated it really liked it
Shelves: travelogue
I was introduced to the travel adventures of 'Michael Palin' in 2006 when a friend presented me with the DVD's of 'Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days' and 'Himalaya with Michael Palin'. Both these travel shows were immensely enjoyable and Michael Palin as an engaging travel show host was simply great with much information on local wisdom while always keeping things light with right amount of humor. This left me with a need to catch up with more works from Michael Palin, and I discovered ...more
Enjoing travelling, I see travel documentaries or reading travelogues as the next best thing one can do to it. This time I had decided to pick this book up along with viewing its corresponding documentary series.

In Himalaya Palin travels to parts of Pakistan and India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Bhutan and Bangladesh - in the areas that are connected or related to the Himalayan mountain range. Amongst the several places that he visits, personally I have visited only McLeod Ganj in the state of Himacha
Enjoyable enough but I know I was expecting something a little heavier on some laughs from someone like Michael Palin. Probably unfair on my part. It's well written and the people met are interesting and lively. Overall a good read for the genre if a bit on the dry side at times. I will probably try another with different expectations.
Manu Prasad
Mar 28, 2012 Manu Prasad rated it liked it
Shelves: review
Michael Palin's amazing journey across the whole length of the Himalayas, beginning in Pakistan and ending in what was once known as East Pakistan, and covering on the way India, Nepal, Tibet, a small part of China, and Bhutan. What really comes through is the range of perspectives the author gains and shares with us through the journey itself, but more importantly, through the people he meets.
Isolated tribes beyond Peshawar who would seem to be living in a different era altogether, the dangerou
Stephen Dawson
Mar 01, 2016 Stephen Dawson rated it really liked it
Another classic Palin adventure. Here he spends four months travelling along the Himalaya (though ending with a trip through Bangladesh to the Bay of Bengal). In one sense the journey is a bit of a cheat, in that it isn't a continuous trip but a series of trips presented as a continuous whole, but with such formidable geography (and politics), the team can be forgiven that.

As always, the writing is excellent, and the geography is inspiring, and ably captured by the photographer Basil Pao. He tal
Jan 29, 2014 Virna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: photographers, himalayan travelers
One of my personal treasure; bought at New Delhi airport at the last leg of my himalayan adventure. I've never heard of Michael Palin before, but upon looking at the beautiful photographs in the book (taken by the famed Basil Pao who went with Michael almost anywhere BBC sent him to) and Michael's no-nonsense account of his journey across the Himalayan countries, I was hooked.
Waqietalin's prayer flags and Tintin!

I did get to visit some places Michael described in the book, but where I went, he went further. While I didn't get to v
Christine Blachford
Feb 06, 2014 Christine Blachford rated it really liked it
Michael Palin and his team travel the length of the Himalaya, shooting a documentary for the BBC, interviewing interesting people and gathering gorgeous views. The journey takes you from the flat lands of Bangladesh to the highs of Everest Base Camp, and along the way Palin meets so many unique characters. Monks, farmers, miners, he follows the ways of life for these people, discovering just how different life can be from one side of a mountain to another.

Palin is well known and well travelled,
May 22, 2008 Lynne rated it it was ok
I listened to this book on tape, but I think that it would have worked better as an actual book. I could have used some photographs and a map to break it up a bit. It started really slow, but I enjoyed it by the end. Although it was published in 2005, the commentary hasn't aged well. He refers to "the end of (this) Iraq war" several times. Oops!
Dean Hamilton
Nov 04, 2012 Dean Hamilton rated it really liked it
"Buddhism is a very steep religion."

This type of trenchent observation is what makes Michael Palin's travels a genuine joy to behold.

Having gone "Around the World in 80 Days", travelled "Full Circle" and traipsed across the Sahara. Michael Palin and his indefatigable BBC crew elected to visit the high peaks of the Himalaya. Covering 1800 miles, from Afghanistan to the China, the Himalaya is the highest mountain range in the world encompassing the top 14 tallest mountains in the world and some 30
Jun 15, 2008 Deborah rated it it was amazing
Michael Palin (of Monty Python fame) introduces the astoundingly diverse people and places along the greatest mountain range on earth, "Himalaya," in this book-companion to the BBC television production. Photos by Basil Pao lend color and form to the subjects Palin's witty and insightful narration.

Here are a few interesting facts I learned from "Himalaya":
* Himalaya is Sanskrit for "Abode of Snow."
* The Kalash in Northwest Pakistan are thought to be descendants of Alexander the Great's army.
* I
Nov 19, 2010 Hitbybus rated it it was ok
I found this book to be kinda slow and boring. I listened to it on audiobook and found myself constantly daydreaming and the story continuously running together. There were a few interesting parts to the book, but ultimately, I was unimpressed.
Nancy Townsend
I'm not usually interested in travelogues, but this IS Michael Palin. Read by the author in his warm, gentle tone, it is a fascinating account of an incredible six-month expedition across the Himalayan mountain range. It reads like a series of diary entries and so includes the inevitable boring days along with exciting, interesting and dangerous ones, but that helps to convey the sheer length of the journey. It is his fascination with and love of the people he meets along the way which made this ...more
Carl Nelson
Dec 22, 2014 Carl Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Michael Palin recounts his six month journey along the length of the highest mountains in the world in Himalaya. Told with amiable intelligence and a discerning wit, his descriptions of people, places, and experiences are evocative and interesting. The Himalayas are a divisive element of geography, separating many different cultures, religions, and customs with its rocky barrier. Palin is able to bring those differences to life, even within the short capsule presentation of the book.

Palin's tale
Sam Still Reading
Jan 16, 2011 Sam Still Reading rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: armchair travellers
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: read other books in the series
Everyone knows by now that I really enjoy Michael Palin’s travel diaries of his TV series (even though I have read more of the books rather than watch the series). Himalaya has spent some time on the bestseller list and it’s easy to see why. Palin and crew cover areas that the average person would be unlikely to visit and give you a warts and all experience, including what it feels like to have altitude sickness and meet the Dalai Lama.

I haven’t seen the TV series of this one, but I bet it’s maj
Oct 26, 2012 Madhavi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: armchair-travels
Himalaya is a book that takes you on an armchair's journey across the length of the himalaya's.
The author's journey, takes him across the Himalayan & remote parts five countries of Pakistan,India,China,Bhutan,Nepal and Bangladesh. His journey brings across the cultural diversity of the regions which are at times cut-off from the rest of the developed or rather the developing world beyond it.

Along the journey he visits the old cities along the old trade routes, samples the local fare,passes t
Aug 08, 2007 jeanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was 9 CDs long, and it seemed to take a really long time to get through. Michael Palin traveled through the Himalayas to film stuff for the BBC. He wrote this travelogue, too. I think the trip was somewhere around 4 months, and I think he narrated something for almost every day of the journey. The beginning of the trip really didn't grab my attention for some reason. He started in Pakistan, and I guess I just don't have any real connection to Pakistan. I didn't think we'd make end of ...more
Eva Whiteley
Jan 02, 2015 Eva Whiteley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of Michael Palin’s travel books that I have read and was selected in preparation for my own Himalaya trip that is scheduled to take place at the beginning of August 2014. With my own trip on the horizon I absorbed every landscape, person and local word with interest as Michael Palin and his BBC crew cantered across this wondrous, yet harsh part of the world. I was left disappointed when the adventure reached the area that I would soon be travelling to; the visit to Ladakh was ...more
John G
Dec 16, 2009 John G rated it liked it
Recommends it for: wishful travelers
I listened to this book on tape (unabridged, read by the author) while jogging in the SM mountains, which I pretended were the mighty Himalayas. Palin is only a fair writer but - of course - an excellent presenter. I think my review might have been less positive if I had read rather than heard this book. I particularly enjoyed the bits about the supposedly Greek hillbillies of Pakistan, claiming descent from Alexander's conquest, as well as Palin's visit to some of the weirder ethnic minorities ...more
Feb 25, 2016 Sarang rated it it was amazing
I bought this book a year ago at the Bagdogra airport while flying back from Sikkim after a holiday in the majestic Himalayas. So, it was with a sense of longing and nostalgia that I started reading it a month ago and found myself in an immersive arm-chair travel experience. Palin is naturally funny. But more importantly he has a warm and genuine spirit. That a man can make you feel like his travel companion through well-written diary entries speaks volumes about his own enjoyment of the whole ...more
Mridul Grover
Jan 30, 2013 Mridul Grover rated it really liked it
Michael Palin takes us on a journey across the length of the Himalayas like never taken before.The account made about the journey takes you from your chair right into the heart of the Himalayas. Apart from the serene and sublime beauty of the Himalayas the journey takes a deep insight into the lifestyle,culture and religion of the mountain people who spend their life in such harsh condition with just basic utilitarian commodities and still are such bonhomie..!!!...Their austere and persevere way ...more
Shweta Ganesh Kumar
Jul 03, 2012 Shweta Ganesh Kumar rated it really liked it

This is the kind of book that you feel bad about finishing. Michael Palin takes you on a wonderful journey through the lands that owe a lot to the mighty Himalayas.
The book written as the pages of Michael's diaries is a detailed yet fun narrative of the life in this region.
It is a tale simply told with wit, humor and sensitivity.
As I devoured the book, I felt like I was walking through the North-west frontier province, shivering in a tent on the snow capped mountains, wolfing down exotic meals
Apr 22, 2016 Mark rated it liked it
Pukka sahib BBC comedian and travelogue Palin tromps across southern Asia's defining granite curtain, through country after country, village after village stopping most frequently to get his picture taken at whichever spot he has reached. since almost every shot does include Palin- standing, pondering, laughing with hosts, or, somehow or other the focus of attention, this distracts from one of the main attractions of the book, which is , of course, how the daily lives of the local regions get on ...more
Himalaya is apparently based on the journals kept by Michael Palin whilst filming his tv series about traveling in the great knot of mountains that stretches from Western Afghanistan into China. Palin remarks on his impressions of the countries through which he and his companions pass, and although he is certainly charmed by the numerous mountain people he meets along the way, he's also a clear-eyed realist about hardships of their daily lives. This is a fun read with some lovely photos; nothing ...more
Kate Millin
Sep 19, 2010 Kate Millin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Palin's energy and enthusiasm amazes me, and comes through as well in his writing as it does on the screen. I am not sure I would want to go through some of the privations he did to visit these places, but I do find a vicarious enjoyment by experiencing it through him. What comes through is the fact that the people he visited seem to enjoy their lives, cultures and families despite the hard environment they live in. A good lesson in the fact that having a lot does not necessarily mean ...more
Jun 12, 2016 Duntay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only dimly remember the TV series, and the photos in the paperback veriosn of the book are not very helpful, quite small and dark.

Palin's friendly voice comes through in his writing, even when discussing events that are quite serious, like members of the crew suffering from altitude sickness seriously enough to be hospitalised and senior army officers being kidnapped by Maoists during a Gurkha recruiting session.

The book can really ony scratch the surface of some of these fascinating place, b
Sep 03, 2015 Kenny rated it liked it
Ah that nice Mr Palin. Always a good tour guide, with warm and wry style that never descends to malice or mocking the funny foreigners, but may praise an eyebrow is what make him such an entertaining presence. His tour of India Pakistan, Nepal Tibet, China,bangladesh and Bhutan is a you'd expect, with varying levels of time and exposure in each country.
Bhutan is (as it usually is)the most entertaining section. I what seems unr
an endearing country. Good photos in the book. Obviously accompanying
Nov 22, 2015 Dominique rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
I think this story would've been better suited for the TV. The main reason Michael Palin travelled through Himalaya was to create a BBC series, so the conclusion isn't very far off. The descriptions Palin provides in this book are nice, but not sufficient to get a good idea of the different countries he visits. It's such a pity because with a lot more photos and better descriptions this book could've been a good travel guide. This is not a travel guide because it doesn't tell you much about the ...more
Feb 06, 2014 David rated it really liked it
Very good read. It has some kind of a charming tone, something that derives from Palin's notes and commentaries which are very sympathetic. Also, sometimes the book gave me a good round of laugh. Perhaps it is thanks to concoct of British accent, post-colonial countries they visited and tons of yak dungs they encountered along the way :)

What is worth to mention, Palin is great observer, objective and sincere and he never looked down on any person he met during their travel. He is full of respect
Geoff Tebbutt
Apr 07, 2008 Geoff Tebbutt rated it really liked it
I have had this book about 4 years and just dipped into it now and again, looking at the pictures! This time I am reading it and find Palin's brief paragraph-long descriptions of incidents both great and small just right, for example the instance in 1842 of Army Surgeon Brydon bringing news alone up the Khyber Pass of the annihilation of 17,000 colleagues who set out to conquer Afghanistan for the British - wow! what are we doing there again.
He paints a very colourful and informative picture of
Chris Steeden
Aug 14, 2014 Chris Steeden rated it really liked it
Another great travelogue from Palin. Lots of detail in this book in the same format as he started back in Around the Word in 80 Days. As he has gone on the detail, both observational and historical, have increased and the books are better for that. Always easy to read and Palin is certainly a great guide. You know what you are going to get with the books. This is not extreme adventure by any stretch but as I will probably never get to go to any of these places it is the next best thing.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lost Heart of Asia
  • Clear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe
  • By Any Means: His Brand New Adventure from Wicklow to Wollongong
  • Travelers' Tales India: True Stories
  • Long Way Down
  • In Xanadu: A Quest
  • The Pillars of Hercules
  • Lost in Mongolia: Rafting the World's Last Unchallenged River
  • The Story of India
  • Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket (Crown Journeys)
  • The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze & Back in Chinese Time
  • And Did Those Feet: Walking Through 2000 Years of British and Irish History
  • Stephen Fry in America
  • The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America
  • The Road Less Travelled: 1,000 Amazing Places off the Tourist Trail
  • Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah
  • The First 200 Years of Monty Python
Michael Edward Palin, CBE, is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries.

Palin wrote most of his material with Terry Jones. Before Monty Python, they had worked on other shows such as The Ken Dodd Show, The Frost Report and Do Not Adjust Your Set. Palin appeared in some of the
More about Michael Palin...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“The Buddhist version of poverty is a situation where you have nothing to contribute.” 9 likes
More quotes…