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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Yunnan, China

Sep 25, 2011 - Tibetan Villages

After a good breakfast at the Eco-Lodge, we spent time in the morning with Tony and Cao Lu discussing ideas for their future China tours. It was a sunny day and we had time to walk around the village before having an early lunch. In the afternoon, Ray, Philomena and the two of us were driven to Songzanlin Monastery (also known as Guihua Monastery or Sumtsenling ) by one of the staff from the Eco-Lodge. After a bit of confusion we finally found the right entrance, bought our tickets and boarded a bus that drove us up the hill to the...

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Sep 24, 2011 - Thanka Academy and Temple

We were up around 8:30 and were served breakfast of eggs, bread and onions in the Eco-Lodge. The plan for the day was to hike over the mountain (hill) to the summer pasture where the villagers graze their yaks. We set off with our two guides; Kelsang (who showed us around his home yesterday) and Shawo (who has been hired to take charge of the Eco-Lodge). We climbed the hill behind the Eco-Lodge and watched a group of Chinese soldiers performing various manoeuvres in the valley below; they were firing many rounds of ammunition - thankfully,...

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Sep 23, 2011 - Zhongdian (Shangri-la)

On our first morning in Shangri-la, we walked to a local coffee shop called Coffee Only for breakfast, before meeting with Kelden who walked with us to the Tanka Academy that he started in 2006. At the Academy, we watched young boys (who we understood are orphans) learning to create Buddhist paintings. They will use these skills as a future livelihood. Later in the morning, we met with a Buddhist Lama who was living at the Tanka Academy; he spoke with us (through Kelden) about Buddhism, dharma and the three truths -- happiness, freedom and...

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Sep 22, 2011 - Conclude Trek and on to Zhongdian (Shangri-La)

We were up early for breakfast at Halfway Guest House; again pancakes with banana and chocolate which seems to be a standard fare for tourists in this part of the world. We left the guest house around 8:30 and walked for an hour and a half along the gorge to the next guest house at Tea Horse Guest House. The trail snaked along the edge of the gorge, at times quite narrow and close to the edge and other times pretty wide, more like a road. It is possible to do the entire trail by pack horse, and we passed a few horses carrying supplies and...

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Sep 21, 2011 - Trek in Tiger Leaping Gorge to Halfway House

We had breakfast at Tina’s on the balcony watching the Tai Chi group from Australia warming up; Tony joined them for a while. We all had a pancake breakfast with banana and chocolate sauce or honey. Philomena had porridge that in typical Chinese style, we have named her 'endless bowl of Scottish happiness'. We packed our belongings and took with us only stuff we would need for one night and began our hike along Tiger Leaping Gorge trail. The actual gorge is around 15 km in length, and is located where the river passes between the 5,596...

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Sep 20, 2011 - Lijiang to Tiger Leaping Gorge

The hired bus that arrived to take us to Leaping Tiger Gorge was a 15-seater; we went from being squished into a mini-van to rolling in semi-luxury. On the back of the seats, the headrest covers were embroidered with the words "Lijiang Rende Hospital" (not sure what that meant!). A friend of the driver also came along, hitching a ride so to speak. About an hour or so along the way we hit a huge road block where we stopped for well over an hour. Some said it was an accident where someone had been killed; others said it was a daily road...

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Sep 19, 2011 - Dali to Lijiang

We left Yin’s Guest House in the morning after breakfasting at 'Go Go Cafe'. We changed places a number of times in the mini-van as it was a little tight for the six of us with luggage as well. It was raining for part of the trip to Lijiang and we witnessed the aftermath of a number of road accidents. Chinese drivers are a little reckless at times, overtaking on corners with simply a blast of the horn to warn oncoming drivers; sometimes not enough of a warning! We stopped in the village of Song Qui for lunch and Philomena and Heather...

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Sep 18, 2011 - Dali - Three Pagodas, village visit and dinner at farm outside Dali

This morning was our 'free' morning and we decided to walk to the Three Pagodas located in the northwest suburb of Dali. The Three Pagodas form a symmetric triangle that are visible from miles away as a landmark of Dali. In the time of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms, Chongshengsi was the largest monastery in this area and the Three Pagodas were only a part of it. The monastery has long disappeared and only the Three Pagodas remain. Qianxun Pagoda, the main one, is square-shaped with closed eaves; it has 16 tiers with a total height of 69.13...

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Sep 17, 2011 - Dali - Changshan Mountain Walk

According to literature, Dali Ancient City was a gateway to the Silk Road in Southwest China, and also served as a seat of government and a major military barracks for Yunnan Province in ancient times. Dali is located on a fertile plateau between the Cangshan (also seen written as Changshan) Range to the west and Erhai Lake to the east. It has traditionally been settled by the Bai and Yi minorities. It is the capital of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. Dali is also well known for its marble and the name for marble is actually 'Dali...

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Sep 16, 2011 - Kunming to Dali

Our origin plan this morning was to walk to a local park to join in a Tai Chi session. However, as it was still raining hard, we all stayed put. Just before leaving, some of us off-loaded a box of 'stuff' (books, purchases and clothing not required for the next week or so) which we left at the hotel for our return later. It did make our suitcases a wee bit lighter! Kunming is nicknamed 'City of Spring' due to the fact that it has a good climate for trees and plants. It evidently it boasts over 400 kinds of flowers, though during our stay...

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Jul 28, 2011 - ** Guangxi - Blog(ito) **

Another blog? OK this one is short and sweet - the photos speak for themselves hopefully. Yangshuo and Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces are both in Guangxi – a province famed for its natural beauty and we were not disappointed. We spent a week biking, hiking and water-rafting our way round to try to get the most out of it. Yangshuo – famed for its dramatic Karst peaks – is set in the intersection of the Li and Yulong rivers – both lovely to take a bamboo raft down or for a quick swim. Although we were expecting it to be the usual tourist...

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Dec 18, 2010 - Update from Xishuangbanna

Total days on the road: 263 Total days with butts on the bikes:125 Total KM in India: 3246 Total KM in China as of 12/20: 3965 Well, at one point I thought 30 days in China might be enough; maybe too much. Now, it's the 19th day of December, we're still in China and there's too much to see and do with only two weeks left on our 3 month visa. I need to take back the earlier comment on how good the roads were and how easy the riding had been.... Once we entered China's province of Yunnan the roads deteriorated and the mountains grew. Maybe we...

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