We're heading off for a year in 2012 from the UK, across Russia to China then potter around S.E Asia on a motorbike for a while before heading to India then home again.
We've done a fair bit of planning (I'm sure it's not enough though) but are leaving as much up to serendipity as possible. We'd love to stay with local people as much as we can so that we can gain a better understanding of the country, culture and people.
What we're after is to make some friends in the countries we'll be visiting so we can get their story, what they think of living there, if they are from that country what makes them proud to come from there, the frustrations, the insiders knowledge to the places you would never get to unless you lived there and knew, the recipes from each region handed down from one generation to the next.
Can anyone suggest places we really should go? Things not in the Rough Lonely Guides? Or do you have space to put us up while we're in the area and show us around?
All the best
I understand that you are mainly looking for people who live at place you might visit on your trip and show you around. So, my comment is just based on my experience and how I found memorable places.
The two countries that will offer the most diversity and adventure will probably be China and India. I would highly recommend spending maybe 3 months in each China and India. Of course, the other regions will be equally interesting.
The way I travel is the following: I usually try to read a lot about the country, get a rough idea about the places others visit and examine the map of the region and try to curve out the route that may look the most interesting - sometimes just by simply picking an area on the map almost randomly. It's a day to day planning with high flexibility, and route may change anytime even overnight/during the day.
Most memorable experiences I have had are from areas that are seldom in the guidebooks, taking small roads, going through unknown rural areas where foreigners are almost never seen. You can find such areas almost anywhere in the world. Just buy a good map and point at a place and go for the unknown. People are in general very hospitable and friendly to visitors and very happy to share their ideas, food and house.
Couchsurfing and other social forums are still little known in this part of Asia, however in larger cities you may be able to find people who would be happy to guide you around or even offer their place.
At other places, you may find contact with people who are just naturally happy to be your host for a night or two.
Have a very nice journey!
Hello! I'm from city Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. If you will be in my beautiful city I can show you its places of interest. The most beautiful place here is our national park Stolby - you will be thrilled by the view from it. So, if you have any questions I'd be glad to help you.
maybe we can help you in Mongolia to show highlights, to organize your trip in Mongolia or actually, in Russia, in China as your wish.
welcome to Mongolia!