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Different Ways To Explore China

 

From left to right: Gilles, Murielle, Martin, a German biking around the world, Camille, Michael - Yuanyang, Yunnan, China

From left to right: Gilles, Murielle, Martin, a German biking around the world, Camille, Michael – Yuanyang, Yunnan, China

Our fellow travelers in Yuanyang were, as usually, most interesting! Martin has traveled to China 11 times since 1992 (!) and knows every corner of Northwest & Southwest of China. He had lots to tell about how the country has transformed in a positive way. Especially the attitude towards foreigners has changed dramatically, reflecting the official government policy. Continue Reading →

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On The Way To Yuanyang

Rice Terrasses of Yuanyang (here in Duoyishu), Yunnan, China

Rice Terrasses of Yuanyang (here in Duoyishu), Yunnan, China

Squashed in our narrow seats riding the bus for almost 8 hours from Kunming to Yuanyang, we often asked ourselves if this trip was worth the trouble. The air was stuffy and worst, some passengers smoked. When the first person was lighting a cigarette, Gilles immediately went up front to the driver to complain. However, when he saw that the driver was smoking as well and that no “No smoking” sign could be seen, he gave in. The trip took us along farmland where rice, tobacco and corn are grown. Often we passed long stretches plastered with greenhouses. Continue Reading →

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Mastering Language Barriers

Market at a small Hani village near the Rice Terrasses of Yuanyang, Yunnan, China

Market at a small Hani village near the Rice Terrasses of Yuanyang, Yunnan, China

When we arrived in Kunming, after a five hour bus ride from Dali, Gilles finally decided to go to the hospital because he had had an upset stomach for more than one week. Needless to say that this was some kind of an adventure in a place where not a single person spoke more than two or three words of English! After running around for about one hour, going from one desk to the next queue to the next information center, where embarrassed nurses laughed but could not help, he finally managed to pay the registration fee and find the room with the right doctor. Continue Reading →

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China Is Mourning

Leshan, the Biggest Bhudda, near Chengdu, China

Leshan, the Biggest Bhudda, near Chengdu, China

Sunday evening the mood on Chinese TV changed significantly, quiet classical music, speakers addressed an audience, many of them sobbing. It seemed the people were being prepared for the sad truth that for the victims buried in the rubble, there was little hope. Continue Reading →

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Disappointing Dali

One of the four big gates surrounding Dali, Yunnan, China

One of the four big gates surrounding Dali, Yunnan, China

Dali’s Old Town is surrounded by high walls, its four big gates leading to the city center at the “Point of the four directions of the wind”. Different to Lijiang, “real” people live here, but the architecture is nowhere as remarkable. Basically, there is a main drag with souvenir shops where Chinese tourists are shown around by local tour guides dressed in Bai costumes. Our lack of enthusiasm for this place may also have to do with the fact that it rained, rained, rained… Continue Reading →

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A So Very Chinese Travel Experience

 

In the streets of Dali, Yunnan, China

In the streets of Dali, Yunnan, China

Another entertaining bus ride took us from Lijiang to Dali. Of course, as usually we were the only foreigners on the bus. We left Lijiang in the morning and for the next three hours passed little communities or rural areas with people working in rice fields. Our Chinese co-travelers always found a reason to loudly, repeat loudly, discuss various issues. The card games going on around us repeatedly seemed to turn into a veritable fight, but when we turned our heads, everybody was smiling at us. Continue Reading →

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Rip Off At Wenchu Temple

Cobble-stone streets lined with traditional Naxi architecture in the Old Town of Lijiang, Yunnan's number one tourist destination, China

Cobble-stone streets lined with traditional Naxi architecture in the Old Town of Lijiang, Yunnan’s number one tourist destination, China

Depending on which way you choose to walk up to the “Looking at the Past Pavilion”, you may pass Wenchu Temple. There, we were taken for a ride, big time! Continue Reading →

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Wenbi Monastery & Baisha

Wenbi Monastery, Lijiang, Yunnun, China

Wenbi Monastery, Lijiang, Yunnun, China

Our visit of Wenbi Monastery 10 kilometers south of Lijiang was one of the highlights of this trip through Southwest China. We followed the advice of our host who warned us against visiting Jade Peak Monastery, which is packed with Chinese tour groups. He also organized our transport, because it would have been even very difficult to reach the village at the foot of the mountain by public transport, not talking about the steep road up to the monastery. Continue Reading →

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Tourist Magnet Lijiang

Cobble-stone streets lined with traditional Naxi architecture in the Old Town of Lijiang, Yunnan's number one tourist destination, China

Cobble-stone streets lined with traditional Naxi architecture in the Old Town of Lijiang, Yunnan’s number one tourist destination, China

The Old Town of Lijiang is Yunnan’s number one tourist destination, famous for its Naxi architecture. The Naxi are the prominent ethnic group in the area with a very interesting history and a religion that shows their Tibetan ties. The city’s cobble-stone streets are lined with houses built in traditional Naxi style. These buildings have been tastefully restored and together with the red lantern give this area an irresistible romantic charm. The many small canals that crisscross Old Town even manage to emit a certain peacefulness, despite the hordes of Chinese tour groups that come and go in waves. Continue Reading →

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Wednesday, May 14th – A long Wait For Going To Lijiang

At Chengdu's Airport, after the Earthquake in Chengdu, on May 12th, 2008, at 14:28 - 7.9 on Richter Scale!

At Chengdu’s Airport, after the Earthquake in Chengdu, on May 12th, 2008, at 14:30 – 7.9 on Richter Scale!

After our flight Chengdu – Lijiang for Tuesday was canceled, we looked at alternatives. Unfortunately, none seemed really practical: we thought about taking a bus to Chongqing and fly from there, but it would have meant a 5 hour bus drive, not being sure when and especially if we were able to get tickets. Continue Reading →

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