Page 2 of The Great China Roadtrip Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Yunnan » Dali April 21st 2012

We had the whole morning to ourselves as it was a mild 3 hour drive to Dali which we decided to do after lunch. Following a chill out breakfast overlooking the Snow Mountain, we went back to our rooms to pack and ready ourselves for the drive. Looking through the small booklet on Lijiang in the room, I thought it might be fun to check out the hot air balloon ride just 10km away. Suffering from vertigo, I would abstain and take pictures from the ground, and Sin and Lily would do the ride. Unfortunately, although the weather was picture perfect, we had to make other plans as the place told us that the winds were too strong and it was the wrong season for hot air ballooning. Back to the booklet and Lily found a ... read more
Impressions of Lijiang
Dali Ancient City
Our digs in Lijiang

Asia » China » Yunnan » Lijiang April 20th 2012

Sin got up early today to hit the gym. Surprised he has energy left in him as I am completely exhausted. I woke up to find almost 400 e-mails on my Blackberry that had not reached me these last few days in the mountains. Following a Western breakfast, and leaving my car behind, we headed for Tiger Leaping Gorge and the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with it’s 9 peaks. What can I say about Tiger Leaping Gorge except it has a great name that raises expectations only not to deliver. The Snow mountains surrounding the gorge however are breathtaking. We took the Landcruiser up the valley to a secluded farmroad that led us to the start of our trek. Apparently this particular trail takes 3 whole days to complete, but time was not a luxury we ... read more
Chill time at Dean's Table
View from breakfast
White Yak

Asia » China » Yunnan » LuGu Lake April 19th 2012

Our home for the night was a nice little wooden guesthouse run by a family of Mosuo. Almost half of the people living around Lugu Lake are of the Mosuo ethnic group. We woke up 5:45am to be greeted by a Mosuo lady who took us in pitch black to her row boat. Then out on to the still calm of Lugu Lake we were led to a small islet in the middle which we climbed to see the spectacular Yunnan sunrise. Back down again we sat round a fire talking to the Mosuo family. If you have time, do watch the video of the Mosuo boat lady singing. She had an absolutely amazing voice and the song matched the still calm of the lake perfectly. Back at the guesthouse we had a light breakfast of ... read more
Mosuo Boatlady
Sunrise over Lugu Lake

Asia » China » Yunnan » LuGu Lake April 18th 2012

Woke up early to catch the sunrise over Qionghai Lake, then hit the roads. I'd remembered passing a sign for the Xichang Satellite Launch Facility not far from Xichang, so I proposed to the team that we visit it before heading for Luguhu Lake. About 30 minutes out of Xichang, through Yi farmland, we reached the facility. Unfortunately the launch site, which is nessled in the mountains, is not open to Laowai (foreigners), but the soldiers at the gate did say we could visit the museum 4km away. What can I say about the museum except that every item looked like a school project. They even had Astronaut suits which you could put on to have your photo taken next to a tin can resembling a rocket. Unfortunately, the suits were not real, and the helmet ... read more
School Project
After a tiring drive with a view of our digs for the night
Lugu Lake

Asia » China » Sichuan April 17th 2012

What can I write about today. Well, for one thing, we spent ten hours on the road. And like most days, we experienced winter and summer within a twelve hour period. We woke up early, wanting to check out of our smelly digs and hit the road by 8:00am. We knew it was going to be a tough one today. Thus far, I must say that China has created one amazing network of expressways, second to no country I know of. That said, there are numerous provinces that have yet to be reached, and access is typically through what they call national roads. Today's national roads reminded me of the roads through the Atlas mountains. The poor little MX 5 was tossed about like one of those American salads. One stretch of road, about 20km long ... read more
The road to Xichang
Anyone recognize the language?
The road to Xichang

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu April 16th 2012

We left our hotel at 8:30am for the short ride to the “Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding”. Chengdu Monday morning traffic and Chengdu drivers are just as bad as in Shanghai. Actually the thing I noticed so far was that drivers all over China are much the same and totally insane, except for in Beijing.. In Beijing, drivers stick to their lanes, indicate, and generally do not try to cut you up into small chunks of metal. Apparently this is a well known fact, but I diverge. Back to the Pandas. What can I say? They are cute, cuddly, and extremely lazy, pretty much spending the morning eating bamboo on their backs, and the afternoons sleeping. They’ll sleep anywhere. Up trees, on the ground, making makeshift sofas out of bamboo trees. So cute were ... read more
Sinclair feeding Panda cub
Dean with Panda cub
On the job

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu April 15th 2012

Woke up this morning to find it snowing ! We needed an early start today. Even though we only needed to cover 400km, unfortunately due to the low road height of the MX 5, we decided to go back to Jiangyou the same way we came, electing the better of two evils, as the planned route back still has some unrepaired damage from the big earthquake. On the way, we stopped to have a snow ball fight, and then further down the road encountered a couple of nice Baima tribe folk. They were walking to hospital, so Sin and Ying Chu offered to give them a lift. Apparently the couple left the Landcruiser smelling of pot, which kind of explains the wonderful smiles they had on their sun dried faces. On the way to Jiuzhaigou, I ... read more
Snowball fight
On the road to Chengdu
Mid April

Asia » China » Sichuan » Jiuzhaigou April 14th 2012

We had the whole day to spend at Jiuzhaigou. The pictures speak for themselves. Who could have imagined such scenery existed in China. What is not captured in the photographs are the throngs of tourists. Jiuzhaigou however, is a massive valley, and the system of regular buses shuttling visitors up and down the passes to the scenic spots is very organized. The weather was perfect. This first photo of the beautiful lake was taken over 4,000m above sea level. This photo, and the photo of the sunrise over Pingyao and the "Road to Datong" have to be my favourite photos so far on this trip. Can’t wait to see Stel and Sin’s catalogue of pictures. Jiuzhaigou was simply breathtaking even despite Spring not being the best season to visit. I might consider coming again in Autumn. ... read more
Jiuzhaigou Valley
Jiuzhaigou Valley
Jiuzhaigou Valley

Asia » China » Sichuan » Jiuzhaigou April 13th 2012

Today was a driving day so we started off with a hearty breakfast of hand-pulled noodles with black bean sauce. We had to cover 400km of mountain roads in order to get to the Jiuzhaigou Valley. It was for refreshing to not have had to climb mountains on foot since this time we drove up with the open top down, to the border between Sichuan and Tibet and a maximum height of 3,100m before heading down to our destination. As luck would have it, we only had one puncture today, in the support car. The Landcruiser is supposed to be an ultimate off-road vehicle, but with two flat tires in two days compared to the MX 5’s one, I am beginning to think that the MX 5 might just be the ultimate roadtrip car. We’ve covered ... read more
On the road
On the road
On the road to Jiuzhaigou

Asia » China » Sichuan » Mianyang April 12th 2012

I'll spare the details of last night's farewell for Stel T and just mention that I don't think we have ever laughed so much in our lives. The night involved a number of China junkies from around the world whom we met in this hip Terracotta themed pub, and a Japanese import by the name of "Ping Pong Pang". I think we finished around 3:00am and said our farewells to Stel who needed to catch a plane this morning. Woke up at 8:30am and headed to Antique Street to see if I could find a 1/4th scale replica of the Emperor's charriot like the one we saw a day earlier at the Tomb shop. Then the team grouped up at 10:30 am for the 580km drive to Jiangyou in Sichuan province. This road is through gorgeous ... read more
Tunnels on the road to Sichuan
Lead car blowout
The wait

Tot: 2.654s; Tpl: 0.045s; cc: 19; qc: 163; dbt: 0.096s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.7mb