Lara where are you
Our Land Rover Defender (Lara) has been to many, many places with us. Here is a (huge) selection of photos of her in various countries. Most are taken on our trip from Kuala Lumpur to London in 2013. There are also some of her, showing the ingenious inners of Lara where there was space for everything we needed in a whole year on the road.
Some camp sites with Lara around the world:
One of our favourite pictures of the trip. This is Lake Karakol in Tajikistan at 4000m altitude. Our water bottles froze overnight, but what a views!
Our very first camp on the big trip in Selangor (Malaysia).
One of our first campsites in Malaysia on the beach at Cherating.
A lovely camp site in Malaysia before crossing the border into Thailand.
Our last night camping next to the ocean for a long, long time. From Sihanoukville (Cambodia) to Ephesos (Turkey) we would not see the sea.
Empty building lots are excellent camp sites. Here is another one in Cambodia near Kratie.
Camping in the middle of a small village in Laos on the road to Phongsali. Like everywhere else we attracted a crowd, all very interested in who we were, what we were doing and where we were going. The local English teacher was found immediately to help translate and we had another great camp.
Our camp sites are not always romantic and secluded. Sometimes they just have to be practical like here in Phnom Penh where we find a camp site in a car park next to the Mekong, right in the city centre. Very practical, but a bit tricky when you return in the evening after dinner out and it is very tight to open up the ladder as they parked a few extra cars around us… (just for the night)
Another favourite, camping right on the water’s edge in Van Vieng (Laos). Perfect for the next day’s tubing trip too.
Camp sites in China are not great, this is in the city of Jinghong, probably one of our worst camp site of the whole trip – a carpark in the middle of the city with no toilet facilities anywhere around.
A damp camp in Shennonjia (China), so we added a tarp around 2 of the sides of the awning.
Yep, we camped right next to the entrance gate to the Summer Palace… (Beijing, China).
The beautiful empty horizons of Mongolia, this is near Dalanzadgad.
An amazing camp site on the edge of Son Kul without mozzies (pretty rare if you are near a lake in Mongolia).
The stars above Lara in Kazakhstan.
The sun is setting on yet another beautiful day in Kazakhstan, another country with huge empty horizons. This is on our way to Sauran, an ancient caravan serai.
We loved the camp sites in the middle of nowhere. Another beauty near Taraz (Kazakhstan).
A very windy camp in Sharyn Canyon (Kazakhstan), so we anchored the tent down with extra tie down straps as it felt like the tent was about to take off!
Camping near big cities (Almaty, Kazakhstan) is not always easy, but we were quite lucky with this spot only a few km out of town.
More often our campsites were amazing spots along the road, this was in Kyrgyzstan. Not another soul in the area.
Sometimes our campsites were just off the main road, in whatever secluded spot we could find.
Removing one massive rock in front of a small side track rewarded us with this amazing campsite in Kyrgyzstan on the way to Tash Rabat.
Lara under the stars in Arslandbob, the place in Kyrgyzstan where probably all your walnuts come from.
We camped next to a little geyser in Tajikistan on the way to Lake Yashil Kul as we didn’t get there before nightfall.
Birthday camp site for Jude in the Pamir Valley in Tajikistan with Afghanistan on the other side of the river.
Another fantastic camp site in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan.
Amazing views across the valley into Afghanistan. Zong, Tajikistan.
Another lovely campsite next to the road on our way to Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Campsite in Tajikistan, we are about to head off on a 3-day hike and leave Lara behind for a few days.
You get a good impression of the size of the huge gas crater at Darvaza in Turkemnistan with Lara next to it. We camped on the edge of the gas crater and had the biggest campfire ever at night for just the 2 of us.
If possible we would camp in the middle of nowhere like here in Iran, on our way to Persepolis.
Camp in the middle of a salt lake in Iran.
Camping on the landing spot of one of the many hot air balloons in Capadocia, Turkey.
Camping in the snow near the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. The Taj Mahal (our roof top tent) was always fantastic, even in cold conditions.
Other memorable Lara moments:
Lara arrives in Malaysia safe and sound.
Affixing the world map at the start of the trip in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The map proved a huge success and helped us explain to the locals where we were going and where we came from without the need of spoken language.
We created clothes pods for our trip. We each had our own side for our clothes, shoes, wash bag and towel.
Jon setting up his shoe rack on his side of Lara. The pods underneath could hold a huge amount of clothes and the shelf above it our towel and wash bag. A perfect system.
Lara is even equipped with a (hot) shower!
Lara in front of Victory Gate, Siem Reap in Cambodia. The gate is still being used so we had to be quick to get this shot!
Lara in Cambodia, Siem Reap in front of the little known and little visited East Gate of Angkor Thom.
Following the gps is not always a good idea,luckily the mighty Mekong had a little ferry suitable also for cars, otherwise we would have had to detour a long, long way to get to the nearest bridge (Cambodia on our way to Kratie).
Filling up Lara’s water tanks at a petrol station in the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia.
A mud bath for Lara in the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia.
Quite a few rickety bridges to cross for Lara in the Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia.
Creek crossings are excellent places to wash Lara. This is in Namtha, Laos.
Lara next to a Tibetan holy site in Zhongdian, the self-proclaimed Shangri-La…
Lara in Beijing in front of the Forbidden Palace – we nearly got arrested for this photo.
Lara in front of a Tibetan Monastery.
Explaining our trip to a monk in Sainshand, Mongolia.
Luckily Lara fits through the narrowest part of Yolyn Am (Mongolia) as it would have been a long, long drive back and around if we couldn’t.
The beautiful empty horizons of Mongolia, this is near Dalanzadgad.
A rare instance of rain in the Goby Desert and a double rainbow comes out for Lara.
The beginning of a disaster. Stuck in the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Trying to get out we blew the differential and had to order a new one in from the UK after spending 4 days to get to Ulan Batar – the Mongolian capital where there was an excellent Land Rover garage.
The start of a long journey in the back of a groceries truck to get us to Ulan Batar
Breakfast the next morning, still in the truck
Doing the dishes on the border between Mongolia and Russia
Lara being checked by a customs official on the Mongolian – Russian border
We found an old deserted tank in Mongolia.
The amazing blue skies and blue ceremonial sites of Mongolia.
This was just a lunch spot in Kyrgyzstan near Jeti Oguz.
The lunch time setup when shade is needed.
Driving past Sauran in Kazakhstan, a beautiful and deserted ancient caravan serai. We certainly enjoyed our night inside its protective walls.
Jon does all the routine maintenance himself.
Lara meets a champion Golden Eagle in Kyrgyzstan near Lake Izzy Kul.
This brake protection plate broke off when it was very cold and wet out there.
Removing the broken off protection plate in the middle of nowhere in Kyrgyzstan.
Not much later Lara was driving through this.
Lara in the first snow of the season near Arslandbob, Kyrgyzstan.
Lara creating a dust cloud on the way to Son Kul in Kyrgyzstan.
Lara amongst more amazing scenery in Kyrgyzstan.
Lara with an impressive back drop of the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. Here we are still on the high plateau of Kyrgyzstan.
The petrol station on the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan is also slightly different then the ones we are used to back home.
We had to cross some streams to get to Lake Yashil Kul in Tajikistan.
The empty roads to Lake Yashil Kul, even in daylight it was hard to find.
We tried always to avoid driving in the dark, but we were desperately trying to arrive at Lake Yashil Kul in Tajikistan for Jude’s birthday the next morning. We didn’t make it.
Filling up the water tanks of Lara by the side of the road in Tajikistan near the Khaakha Fortress, using a pump the locals use to fetch water for their houses
Sometimes the petrol station look a little different than at home, this one is in Tajikistan on the way to Dushanbe.
routine maintenance in the morning before we head out.
Lara occasionally has to go into a garage of course. Here they are fixing the broken off brake protection plate and whilst they were doing that they discovered a tear in the diesel tank so they weld that for you too, on the spot. A few hours later we were on our way again. (Penjakent, Tajikistan)
Some of the roads are pretty narrow – this is on the way to the 7 lakes in Tajikistan
Lara in front of the beautifu Gur-e-Amir in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Lara parked where there used to be a huge inland sea – the Aral Sea (Uzbekistan). That night we camped in the Aral Sea.
The deserted dessert roads in Iran on the way to Yazd.
Driving in Iran means driving with a headscarf for Jude.
We didn’t see much snow on our trip. This is in Kandovan, Iran where people still live in rock houses.
Lara in front of the fairy chimneys of Capadocia, Turkey.
Parking Lara can be a problem as she is so tall with the additional roof top tent and aluminium box. Here she was parked in the old coach house of the parochial house in Piran (Slovenia) as we were visiting friends living there.
Driving into France, we are getting close to our destination. Our bikes on the back of Lara were a perfect additional mode of transport!
Lara in the car park in front of Jude’s parents house in the Netherlands.