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Himalaya

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,376 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
This book is compiled from Michael Palin's diaries, records the pleasure and pain of his most challenging journey so far and Basil Pao captures the sensational beauty of the finest mountain scenery in the world.
Hardcover
Published September 27th 2004 by W&N (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Pramod Nair
Jul 04, 2015 Pramod Nair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Manu Prasad
Mar 28, 2012 Manu Prasad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Stephen Dawson
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
...more
Virna
Jan 29, 2014 Virna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Christine Blachford
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,
...more
Lynne
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!
Deborah
Jun 15, 2008 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Dean Hamilton
Nov 04, 2012 Dean Hamilton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
...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 o ...more
Hitbybus
Nov 19, 2010 Hitbybus rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kenny
Sep 03, 2015 Kenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...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
...more
Madhavi
Oct 26, 2012 Madhavi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
jeanie
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 t ...more
Sam Still Reading
Jan 16, 2011 Sam Still Reading rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Bharath Ramakrishnan
This is a very nice travel book. Michael Palin narrates well with notes of the local culture and a good touch of humour. The places he travels, the notes and pictures are all top quality. At times though his understanding of facts and culture is superficial and the tone is irritating in instances where he seems to suggest that he knows best. Nevertheless he does manage to bring out the essence of the Himalayas very well
Katy
Apr 26, 2015 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this at a bookstore in Pokhara, Nepal, so I may have enjoyed more because it was so relevant to my travels at that time. But I don't think that influenced my thinking too, too much. Michael Palin is a good writer! Amusing and informative at the same time. Really good descriptions of people and places. Just the kind of armchair travel book that I love. I will be reading his other travel books, too.
John G
Jan 22, 2007 John G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dominique
Nov 22, 2015 Dominique rated it it was ok
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
Mridul Grover
Jan 30, 2013 Mridul Grover rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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


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
...more
Vikas Datta
Nov 24, 2014 Vikas Datta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic travelogue (but then we can always expect that from Mr Palin) about one of the world's most picturesque and stunningly beautiful - but also harsh and unforgiving - natural sights. A mere description of the range would have been enough to earn this the highest laurels but when teamed with the witty but incisive observations (and the irreverent asides) of the author, it makes it seems that one is reading a descriptive letter sent by a close family member or friend...
David Musgraves
Jul 14, 2014 David Musgraves rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This one may have gone over a bit better with me had I seen the BBC program that the book accompanies. As a stand-alone book, it lacks a little bit of depth that it tries to make up for in breadth, but doesn't quite succeed.
Beverly Hollandbeck
Since I read my first book about climbing Mt. Everest (Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer), I've been fascinated with the Himalayas. Palin does not disappoint.
Dina Mohammad
Oct 11, 2015 Dina Mohammad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good fun. Can't go wrong with Palin. Very interesting to learn a lot about the history of countries along the Himalaya.
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 li ...more
Bibliophile
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
Katherine
Jun 17, 2014 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I was lucky enough to get this signed by Michael Palin so it's a bit of a treasure in my house.
David
Feb 06, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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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
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