Simon Reeve travels through the glorious Lake District and breathtaking Cumbria, revealing the secrets of this iconic part of Britain.
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Throughout Burma, temples, stupas, and statues of gold pop out in the lush, green landscape. This golden architecture has become Burma's calling card, but how and why did that become the standard here? Join us as we travel across Myanmar, the jewel of Asia, and reveal the history and myths surrounding these shrines, each one created as an offering to the Buddha. We will visit such treasures as the golden pagoda of Mt. Kyaiktiyo, which rests perilously atop a huge boulder, the 344-foot Shwedagon Pagoda, and the revered Mahamuni Buddha Temple.
The final leg of James’s journey from north to south finds him in Shikoku and Kyushu - the largest of Japan’s Southern Islands and a stunning paradise of blue water and semi-tropical sandy beaches. Cycling, archery, noodle making, and motorbike manufacturing are all in store, plus James is preserved for eternity in a creepy scarecrow village.
James journeys through Japan's mountainous forests, marvels at its zen gardens and admires centuries-old bonsai, to explore the connections between Japanese culture and the natural environment. Travelling around Japan's stunning island geography, he examines how the country's two great religions, Shinto and Buddhism, helped shape a creative response to nature often very different to the West. But he also considers modern Japan's changing relationship to the natural world and travels to Naoshima Art Island to see how contemporary artists are finding new ways to engage with nature.
Levison Wood and his guide Malang Darya travel through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and the Gilgit Valley, and aim to get as close to the heavily militarised border with India as they can, a dangerous journey that involves crossing a raging river and being met with suspicion by the local authorities. They meet a nomadic tribe that has driven herds across the Himalayas for centuries and visit a valley that has been closed to foreigners for nearly 70 years.
The second leg begins in Siberia and takes him to Russia's far south west and the majestic Caucasus Mountains. From Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake on Earth, Simon takes the Trans-Siberian Railway to the city of Krasnoyarsk, the scene of brutal violence in the 1990s, and now the location of a cafe paying homage to Vladimir Putin. Simon is introduced to a Siberian community that worships a former traffic cop they believe to be the reincarnation of Christ. Along with a rare interview with the messiah himself, Simon meets some of the daughters of his followers being educated to become future brides of worthy men. After encounters with Tuvan throat singers and Cossack street patrols, Simon visits Dagestan, a largely Muslim region that has been scarred by jihadist violence. He meets security forces who use highly trained dogs to tackle the terrorist threat, and villagers attempting to keep their ancient tightrope-walking traditions alive.