Page 3 of The Great China Roadtrip Travel Blog Posts

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an April 11th 2012

Happy to see the team recovered from yesterday's trek up Huashan. We left the hotel at 9:30am to drive the short 40km to the Terracotta museum. I'll not go into history lessons here but let's just say that aside from the Great Pyramids, this has to rank as the greatest tomb for a single person, Emperor Qin Shihuang, ever discovered. Discovered by a farmer in 1974, this army took 720,000 artisans 38 years to build. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending upon your point of view, the general public can't get up close and personal with each distinct figure, so it was hard to capture in photograph the incredible detailing. Amazing though that so far, about 1,900 warriors have been unearthed, and each one was models after a real person. Unfortunately we are all saddened to hear that ... read more
Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army

Asia » China » Shanxi April 10th 2012

They actually did it. Stel T, Sin and Ying Chu our guide got up at 3:00am to do the whole climb. The rest of us left the hotel at 8:00am, got the bus, and another bus, and then the cable car to the drop off point about 1,000m from the top of Huashan. I cannot imagine how exhausted the early birds are. The climb from the cable car drop off to the top was absolutely exhausting, so much so that our support car driver gave up half way. Stel and Sin did the first part of the climb in pitch black armed with an LED torch and rock climbing gloves. I've not seen their pictures yet, but they must be amazing. And by pure chance, the five of us actually met up at one of the ... read more

Asia » China » Shanxi April 9th 2012

Not much to report. After a debate on whether or not skip Huashan and head straight to Xian, we put it to vote and decided to stick to the original schedule as Huashan has some of the best views in the whole of China. First things first, we headed straight for the nearest mechanic to fix the puncture on my back right wheel. Turns out a one inch nail had found it's way into my Yokohama. Deciding to save the spare wheel for the road ahead, the mechanic patched up the small puncture with parrafin and a tyre bandage. Then off again through the mountain twisties to Huashan. It was drizzling with rain when we arrived at 3:00pm, so we decided to put off the daunting climb up the mountain until the next day. Sin, Stel ... read more
Rugged Beauty
Tyre change

Asia » China » Shanxi April 8th 2012

Got up this morning at 5:45am to get some shots of the sunrise over Pingyao only to find out that we’d been locked in the guesthouse. Finally the innkeeper came and let us out and we set about walking the beautiful empty streets. After a hearty breakfast of Chinese buns, tofu, millet soup and pickles, the team set off on the 310km ride to the famed Hokou Waterfalls. After about 150km we got off the highway and hit the mountain roads. I had no idea that these roads were ideal twisties for my trusty MX 5. The car was in it’s element, and I’d not had so much fun driving since the trips up to KL from Singapore. About an hour into driving the twisties, one of the tyres got a puncture. We decided to press ... read more
The valley
Shanxi nomad
Houkou Rapids

Asia » China » Shanxi » Pingyao April 7th 2012

The 380km drive from Datong to Pingyao should have been a relative breeze, but the whole team is exhausted and driving started to transform from pleasure to pain. Still, we reached the Ancient City of Pingyao at around 2:00pm, and the pain was soon forgotten once we saw what an incredible place this was. We checked into the Pingyao Yiguan Guesthouse within the Ancient city before heading down the colourful streets. The guesthouse has all the warmth and charm of “Old China” at only $52 a night. As for Pingyao, I would probably say that any visitor to China should make the effort to put this wonderful city on their schedule. We spent 4 hours walking the streets and sampling the street foods and then headed off for a wonderful dinner at the Tian Yuan Kui ... read more
Electric scooter ride

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Hengshan April 6th 2012

Woke up at 7:00am and decided to go for a quick dip in the Aman pool before setting off on the 400km hop to Datong. This particular perfectly manicured Aman pool must be one of the most spectacular underground swimming pools in the world. I know that, as far as hotels go on this trip, and as we head West, the hotels are going to be more and more localised. We set off on the journey, and for the first time on the road I found myself totally in awe of the rugged beauty of the China landscapes. Heading through the mountain passes and catching glimpses of The Great Wall, it was the first time I truly felt we were on a roadtrip like no other. We’ve covered 2,000km in 7 days of leisurely driving. The ... read more
Perfectly Manicured Pool
The Hanging Temple
Aman pool

Asia » China » Beijing » Forbidden City April 5th 2012

Another exhausting day as the intrepid China explorers did Beijing's symbols of the past. We did the quick tour of the Forbidden City before getting ripped off by the bike taxis taking us the short trip from the back gate to Tianenmen Square. Despite the generous tip, the three drivers still chased us out of the drop off area for more money. All in good fun, we headed off for a typical Beijing lunch of refreshing pizza at a Belgian bar. We reckon the food will get more and more localised as we head West, so pizza was a hearty time-out for us. The afternoon we went our own seperate ways, with Stel and Ying Chu heading off to a shopping mall and a Korean movie, myself off to the new and first Lotus showroom in ... read more
A Perfect Spring Day
The Forbidden City
Budding Socialists

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China April 4th 2012

Got up early to test our "secret gate" to the Summer Palace. Upon entry we were a little surprised to see that other Chinese may have had there own method of early access. Still, there were not many people and our smaller team of Stel, Sin and me took advantage of the perfect blue sky weather and shutter clicked our way to the entrance of the palace itself where we patiently waited for the ticket office to open. We certainly beat the crowds and were the first sprinkle of nomads to get to the top. Back to the hotel for a hearty non-Chinese breakfast of granola, blueberry pancakes and eggs florentine, and then off to the Great Wall. Stel had done the Wall before, so decided to take the opportunity to use the day to catch ... read more
The Summer Palace
Aman at The Summer Palace
The Great Wall

Asia » China » Beijing » Summer Palace April 3rd 2012

Today was a relative breeze in terms of scheduling. We left Taishan at 9:00am following a simple continental buffet breakfast at The Four Points Hotel, Tai'an, in need of some deep tissue calf massage from walking down 7,000 steps in blizzard conditions the day before. I can hardly walk today, but managed the 470km top down drive to Beijing in 6 hours and 30 minutes. Yesterday was a freak winter day, but today I managed to add to my right arm and facial tan on what seemed like a perfect summer day. After checking in to the Aman at The Summer Palace at 4:00pm, the Aman staff led us to their "secret gate" to the Palace. Unfortunately although the gate was exclusively for Aman guests, once inside, we were once again amongst the whole populace of ... read more
The Summer Palace
Peking Duck

Asia » China » Shandong » Tai Shan April 2nd 2012

I love it when nothing goes according to plan. Today, what could go wrong, did indeed go wrong. I have frost bitten fingers and blisters to prove it ! I am typing this with my elbow. We set off for the short drive to Taishan at noon. We'd all decided to take the bus and cable car to the top and then walk the 7000+ steps down. Little did we know that the rest of China shared the same plan. It was, after all, the start of the Tomb Sweeping Holidays. We reached the misty top and took pictures and hunkered down on onion pancakes whilst Cao Li nibbled a cucumber. All of a sudden the cold front moved in from Siberia, and after a couple of hours at the top, we decided that the cable ... read more
Cable car up !
Supposed to be the support car !
The population of China on the mountain

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