Dean Ashley Owen

The Great China Roadtrip

Dean Ashley Owen

Everyone needs a bucket list. So my friends, welcome to item number 7 on my bucket list, Road Trip across China. Enjoy, support, and follow every step in this journey.

Starting 31st March, I will embark on a 10,000km road trip in the world's best selling sports car. My team includes my co-driver in the lead car, and a 4x4 vehicle in support. Enjoy the ride!

Asia » China » Shanghai May 30th 2012

I have had to give up all aspirations of being a gastronome during my time in Shanghai. Unfortunately I have had few meals here that leave any form of lasting impression. There are few restaurants that I crave to return to, and so far, I have yet been able to find any that are worthy of those coveted stars from the infamous tyre company .... until recently that is. In my mind, were I a food critic, not only would the food have to be exceptional, but the visit must be a total experience, an event even. Very often the most important ingredient in a successful restaurant is passion. A good chef will be one that takes reward from seeing satisfied customers. Unfortunately chefs in China do not yet enjoy the same status as those in ... read more
12 Chairs by David Laris
12 Chairs by David Laris
12 Chairs by David Laris

Asia » China » Shanghai May 14th 2012

This blog is dedicated to my brother, who took a break from his studies to fly out from Lisbon and join the roadtrip through the Middle Kingdom. I'd not seen my brother for 10 years, and this trip was a good way for us to reflect on times past. It was also strange to see that although we had totally different upbringings, we shared very similar personality traits that could easily identify us as brothers. I was also glad to see that my brother had commendable skills as an amateur photographer. This first photo of the donkey trek in Lijiang was taken by me using his mighty big Canon DSLR. It has to be one of my favourite photos, and also proof that he had the better camera. Despite this, I'll not revert back to DSLRs ... read more
Huanguoshu Waterfall
Houkou Waterfall

Asia » China » Shanghai » Pudong May 4th 2012

Lead Car: 2010 Mazda MX 5 Support Car: 1999 Toyota Landcruiser Dates: 31st March - 30th April Distance Covered - 10,017km Total off-roading distance covered - About 200km Toll Fees Paid for one car - A whopping RMB 3,030 Number of Toll Gates - 63 Total gas bill for MX 5 - Around RMB 8,000 Number of spare wheels used - MX 5, 1 / Landcruiser, 2 Speeding tickets - Hehe, None !!!!! Cheapest Room: Dong Village Guesthouse RMB 130 per night Most Expensive Room: Aman at The Summer Palace, Beijing RMB 3,865 per night Favourite Room: Dong Village Guesthouse Route: Shanghai-Huai'an-Tai'an-Beijing-Huairou-Datong-Pingyao-Hukou-Huashan-Xi'an-Jiangyou-Jiuzhaigou-Chengdu-Leshan-Xichang-Luguhu-Lijiang-Tiger Leaping Gorge-Lijiang-Dali-Kunming-Xingyi-Huangg... read more
Beijing to Datong
On the road

Asia » China » Anhui » Huangshan April 30th 2012

We discovered a new phrase these last few days. “A tree is a tree, a flower is a flower.” I think Cao Li coined the phrase but she is not so sure how she stumbled upon it. I have no idea what it means, but somehow I feel it could be the answer to an infinite number of questions. I woke up to the sound of birds chirping their morning call. Our innkeeper kept birds in small cages in the courtyard. We are ready for our homeward leg. Cao Li will fly to Shenzhen from Shanghai, Sin back to Portugal, Ying Chu and Lao Liu back to Chengdu to await their next assignment. For me, China is my home now. I have come away from this odyssey with an understanding that there is so much more ... read more
Hongcun Village
Hongcun Guesthouse rooftop

Asia » China » Jiangxi » Nanchang April 29th 2012

Day 29 - Happy to leave Guilin, we hit the road for the marathon 820km leg to Nanchang. Someway into our journey I was saddened to have seen a sign to Shanghai, the first in over three weeks. The landscape is also gradually becoming more familiar now and I am cherishing every single kilometer clocked as I know the dream is ending soon. On route we are hopelessly looking for signs to tempt us into a detour, anything to break the finality of the schedule. A sign for a hot spring has us pouring over maps to see if we can accommodate the detour and still make it back to Shanghai in time. Alas, no choice but to stick to the schedule and head for Nanchang. After 9 hours on the road we finally hit Nanchang, ... read more
Hongcun Village
Hongcun Village
View from my room in Hongcun

Asia » China » Guangxi » Guilin April 27th 2012

It was refreshing to wake up in a tropical resort in a tropical rain shower. The previous night we went for a swim after the hoard of 80+ Shanghai American School students had their pool party, so we felt somewhat energised. I am not too sure who runs the Yangshuo Resort Hotel, but it is a foreign style Banyan Tree wannabe type hotel with all the amenities but none of the expertise. It seems to be the Shanghai expat weekend retreat, which is probably a good reason to avoid it. My room has an amazing bath in the center of the room, but I am missing my $20 dollar room at the Dong Village with it's water faucet and riverside views. We headed for the lovely Yangshuo West Street, and got on a river raft down ... read more
Ms Li, Li River Raft
Li River Raft
Yangshuo Resort Hotel

Asia » China » Guangxi » Yangshuo April 26th 2012

Our $20 dollar rooms with balconies overlooked the river and rice paddies that fed on the river, and it was a perfect summer morning in the deep South of China. There is nothing quite so refreshing as waking up to the sound of running water. With a simple bowl of noodles for breakfast, we walked across the Dong bridges to the village. I was almost contemplating staying at the guesthouse for a year to simply clear my head of decades of city life. After a light lunch we drove to the Longji Rice Terraces, said to be amongst the most beautiful in the world. The lighting and timing prevented us from being able to capture it's beauty as well as in the numerous photobooks that you can purchase on the way up. It is hard for ... read more
Longji Rice Terraces
Longji Rice Terraces
Longji Rice Terraces

Asia » China » Guizhou » Sanjiang April 25th 2012

Woke up this morning and headed staight for the nearby Dong Village. The village seemed deserted, so we hopped in our cars and drove through the mountains from Rongjiang to Sanjiang, stopping off at the Basha Village in the Qiandongnan Miao-dong Autonomous Prefecture of Guizhou. The 499 households of Baisha folk live in harmony with nature, worshipping the tree and the sun. They believe their race was born from the stem of the maple tree. They are distinctive from other Miao cultures with the men bearing shaved heads except for the top middle piece which is grown long and twisted into a "Hugun" knot. These are the only people in China aside from the police and military that are allowed to carry guns. More like muskets, they were readily willing to discharge their firearms to the ... read more
Baisha Tribe
Baisha Initiation
Baisha Dance

Asia » China » Guizhou » Xijiang April 24th 2012

Today was truly a special treat. As fate would have it, the Kaili Ethnic Minority Museum was closed for refurbishing. Leaving Kaili we headed into the mountains to visit the secluded 1,000 Family Miao Village. Access to the village required some real off roading, but fortunately we befriended a govt official who allowed us to drive through the villagers entrance to this magical place. If you ever visit China and could only see one place, I would choose this village. I could easily spend a week here, chilling out with the warm Miao villagers. The Miao women are known for their spectacular costumes and headdresses. Their houses and bridges were very intricate in design compared to the Baima, Naxi, Yi and Mosuo and Bai ethnic minorities we had encountered. And this village of just over 1,000 ... read more
Miao ladies
Miao bridge
1000 Miao Family Village

Asia » China » Guizhou » Kaili April 24th 2012

I’ve combined these two days, as really, our 23rd day was spent on the road doing the 630 km to Xingyi. Really not to much to report. The landscapes were not so spectacular, but I guess that thus far we have truly been spoilt. We passed through Kunming, which on the surface looked like just another grimy big city. Then heading to Xingyi where we observed the numerous pyramid type hills dotting the landscape. Nothing to report from Xingyi, yet another new town that is popping up in the valleys. The following day started off with a piano recital by two team members on the hotel lobby’s baby grand, then we hit the road to Kaili stopping to see the Huanggoushu Waterfall, said to be in the top six in China. Beautiful, yes, but after Jyuzhaigou ... read more
On the road to Kaili
Huangguoshu Waterfall
Huangguoshu Waterfall

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