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Author Archive | Gilles Barbier

Unexpected Highlights South Of Yangon

Saddan Cave, near Hpa An, Myanmar

Surroundings of Hpa An, near Saddan Cave, Myamar

Myanmar is currently experiencing an exponential increase in international tourism, mainly through large, organized tours. Nevertheless, we found places Off The Beaten Track, actually many more than we had expected. And not all that far away from the main tourist drag Yangon / Mandalay / Bagan / Inle!

South of Yangon we discovered quite a few areas where even independent travelers are rare but highlights abundant! Continue Reading →


SaPa Rice Terraces & Bac Ha Sunday Market

A Photo Essay Of Northern Vietnam

Bac Ha Sunday Market, North Vietnam

Bac Ha Sunday Market, North Vietnam

Given that Vietnam is a very large country, five weeks simply weren’t enough. Like usually, the rushing sets in at the end of a trip. So four days was all we could spend in Vietnam’s scenic Northwest, focusing on SaPa and Bac Ha. In each place we moved around independently, avoiding tours! Continue Reading →


A Shaking Affair: Yangon’s Circle Line


Yangon’ Circle Line, Myanmar

Have you ever taken a 3 hour train ride arriving precisely where you started off? Being twirled around like laundry during the spin cycle? If not, take the Circle Line in Yangon and do the whole loop, for as little as 300 Kyats or 0,25 Euro. This commuter train takes you to neighborhoods in the north of the city, where you feel like being in the countryside rather than in a capital city.
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Who Am I?

Gilles Barbier

Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Gilles at Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

It is never too late…

A trip through Senegal in 2002 in a “Taxi Brousse” started it all! Back then, I had no experience of independent travel, and even less of countries outside of Europe or Northern America. 15 years later, I cannot help but dreaming of and organizing new trips to Africa, South America or Asia, always looking for places that are still not on the radar of mainstream tourism…



On a personal note

After graduating from NEOMA Management School in Reims (France) in marketing in 1996, I left Paris, my hometown, to work in Germany for five year. Afterwards, I moved to Vienna, Austria, where I spent almost 15 years. I finally decided in 2016 to come back to France, for personal reasons.

I have been working approx. 20 years in various positions in Sales, Business Development & Management, first in Internet DotComs – during the great hype and the even greater crash – then joined the printing industry in 2002, before returning to Entrepreneurship & Start-Ups in 2016.


Gilles in Semliki National Park, West Uganda, Africa

Gilles in Semliki National Park, West Uganda, Africa

Travel Photography, Travel Blogging

Before I started my trip Around The World in 2007, I created my first website At this point it was meant to be my Travel Dairy, since I realized that without clearly reflecting and writing so many strong impressions, a lot would be lost. That is why I chose the current format of rather detailed entries. To my surprise, lots of people visited this website and I received many friendly feedbacks as to how useful the site was. Considering that I do not write regularly but only after a trip, this success was indeed astonishing.

Now I want to take this to a new level. That is why I created GrandEscapades in 2014. Yes, another Travel Blogger joining the legions…

GrandEscapades-172I must have taken about 100.000 pictures over the years. More than 900 (and counting) are now listed with one of the leading, fastest growing Stock Image Agency, ImageBroker in Munich.


Where to turn next?

I will keep the focus on Africa, South America and parts of Asia, enough to keep going for two decades or so…

I actually have not worked on a list of places, countries or areas, as I expect this list to change repeatedly, depending on regional developments and travel experiences.




Travel Guide To South Rajasthan

Taragarh Fort, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

Taragarh Fort, Bundi, Rajasthan, India

In April 2012 we had our first brush with India, to be precise Eastern Rajasthan. For eleven days we gazed at the most incredible Moghul architecture in Agra and Jaipur. We also threw in a bit of wildlife by visiting Ranthambhore National Park. When we returned in March 2013, we headed for the Southwest of Rajasthan for twelve days, to marvel at these impressive forts & palaces in Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh, Bundi, Chittorgarh and last but not least Pushkar & Ajmer. Delhi was our hub during both trips. Continue Reading →


Highlights In And Around Cracow

Cracow, Poland

The grandeur of the historic city centre of Cracow is simply fascinating. You can stroll around the city centre for days and always discover something new. It has been beautifully restored, features many pleasant and rather cheap restaurants, cafes and bars, offers many parks where you can walk and relax or just sit on a bank and enjoy a beautiful spring day. We spent several days just walking around and enjoyed every single minute. Continue Reading →


Travel Guide To The Cook Islands

View of a part of the lagoon from the plane, Aitutaki Atoll, Cook Islands

View of a part of the lagoon from the plane, Aitutaki Atoll, Cook Islands

We spent three weeks on the Cook Islands in February 2008 during our Round The World Trip: altogether 9 days on Rarotonga, 7 on Aitutaki and 5 on Atiu. The Cook Islands were definitely a highlight in our trip and finally we discovered some of those Pacific Islands that matched our ideas of the “South Seas”.

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