Bijan Omrani's latest book, published by Odyssey Books is Asia Overland: Tales of Travel on the Trans-Siberian and Silk Road.

What was it really like to travel the iron rails of the Trans-Siberian Railway in its early years, the dusty, parched tracks of the Silk Road in its heyday, or the rugged, dangerous mountain passes into and out of the Indian subcontinent Eurasia’s great land routes, offspring of the ambition of Russian tsars, Chinese emperors and Mughal khans, have served human history well, acting as conduits for trade, religion and cultural conventions, and as avenues down which conquering armies and commercial pioneers swarmed in the forging of empires. With wit and humour, Omrani weaves a tapestry of tales and reports from a panoply of travellers down the centuries, taking the reader on an exciting journey that crosses continents and spans epochs. Richly embellished with stunning photography, detailed maps and fascinating archival illustrations, Asia Overland is a compelling piece of travel literature that will appeal to both modern-day explorers and armchair travellers alike.


“...First-class storytelling... will take you through the ups and downs, and leave you aching to take off....” - Time Out

“...Asia Overland is a taut single volume which skilfully collects 2000 years of travelling experiences in Russia and Central Asia ... but its real aim is to create a sense of timeless wonder, tempting the latent Romantic to explore the wonders of a vast region still relatively unknown in Western Europe and the United States...an absolute must-have for anyone with an interest in Russia and Asia and their history, people and customs...” - Julian Gallant for the GB-Russia Society

“...I think it looks wonderful: wish I'd had it when I did In Xanadu...” - William Dalrymple

“...The historical and geographical scope of this book is vast, and the sheer variety of peoples, customs and anecdotes can be dizzying; but then, the distances travelled astonished even locals. Anton Chekhov, riding the newly built Trans-Siberian in the 1890s, commented on the never-ending larch, spruce and pine forests: 'Over the first 24 hours you pay no attention to it, by the second and third day you are full of wonderment, and by the fourth and fifth you experience the sensation that you will never manage to emerge from this green monster' ... Asia Overland is richly researched and well organized ... a fine addition to the travel trunk and warm encouragement to anyone looking to offset their carbon footprint. ...” - Steppe magazine

“...Beautifully illustrated...well-written and drawing upon numerous resources, Asia Overland should appeal to readers fascinated by the region's history just as much as it would to travellers planning to set out along either of these great routes. Omrani succeeds in painting a vivid picture of the peoples seen along the way...A very engaging read from start to finish. ...” - Real Travel (Book of the Month, August 2010)

“...From recollections of the drunks who stumbled out of Moscow and St Petersburg's bars to the traditional nomad tribes of Mongolia, this engaging book reveals in candid detail what people thought of the rough - and often savage - landscapes they encountered...” - Wanderlust
New!
Bijan's new Blog and Twitter feed
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Bijan speaking at the Precious Afghanistan fashion jewellery show in London
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Asia Overland

What was it really like to travel the iron rails of the Trans-Siberian Railway in its early years, the dusty, parched tracks of the Silk Road in its heyday, or the rugged, dangerous mountain passes into and out of the Indian subcontinent? Eurasia's great land routes, offspring of the ambition of Russian tsars, Chinese emperors and Mughal khans, have served human history well, acting as conduits for trade, religion and cultural conventions, and as avenues down which conquering armies and commercial pioneers swarmed in the forging of empires. Read more...



Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide

Thanks to 20 years of civil war and its association with terrorism, Afghanistan is now unjustly thought of in the West as a barbarous backwater. Afghanistan: A Companion and Guide aims to dispel this image in a comprehensive introduction to 3,500 years of Afghan culture. Starting with a full history of the country from 1500 BC, each chapter looks at the major cities and regions, describing their distinctive cultural and ethnic traditions, their associations with poets, artists, musicians, travelers and holy men, as well as warriors and conquerors. Read more...