Asia Overland

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Asia Overland
Author Mark Elliott and Wil Klass
Language English
Publisher Trailblazer
Publication date
Pages 567

Asia Overland by Mark Elliott and Wil Klass was an idiosyncratic book of the 1990s which developed a minor cult following amongst backpackers in Asia and the former Soviet Union. Although it has been out of print since 2002, the book remains a talking point amongst older travellers. Its unique feature was that practical information was displayed in a set of schematic 'treasure maps'[1] rather than in run-on text, a style later replicated in certain other books by Trailblazer,.[2][3]

Between maps, the book's writing offered a way to inspire questions and investigation more than providing answers in the style of more classic Lonely Planet style guides. The guide gained a certain notoriety by explaining 'tricks' for crossing ex-Soviet borders semi-legally, for reaching Iraqi Kurdistan when that area was still little known to exist, and for getting into North Korea without a visa. Today these tips appear extremely foolhardy but at the time the book was written (largely pre-Internet) they worked and caused much excitement amongst travellers of the era. Despite considerable interest from the public, there has been no follow-up edition and at times second-hand copies of the original edition have been offered at relatively exorbitant prices on Amazon and e-Bay.


The book contains several hidden in-jokes including 'towns' on maps named after friends of the authors (Bakus, Danigrad etc.).

Asia Overland was the first practical guide book in English to cover the ex-Soviet Caucasus region after the breakup of the USSR.

  • Page count = 567
  • Map count = 452
  • Publisher = Trailblazer
  • Publishing date = 1998