I started this blog to keep family and friends informed of where I am, and also to share some of my experiences

You can watch my videos on Youtube here https://www.youtube.com/user/Jason63625

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng July 4th 2012

Last time I blogged I was in Gianshui, China waiting for the overnight bus to take me south to the small city of Jinghong, just a few hours north of the Laos border. The overnight bus took 12 hours which meant I arrived at 4.30am, so I watched a few videos on my computer outside a small shop until it got light and then walked into the centre of town where I found a good room for $8 a night. To me Jinghong has a thai feel to it, unlike any other place in China. The city is quite small, tree lined, people are smiling and relaxed, and it also has quite a few foreigner style cafes and restaurants, another thing I wasn't used to seeing in China. I took a couple of day trips to ... read more
Planting rice near Ban Na village
Kuang Si waterfall near Luang Prabang
Monks receiving alms in Luang Prabang

Asia » China » Yunnan » Yuanyang June 13th 2012

I was planning to leave Jianshui and catch a bus to Yuanyang straight after watching the NBA finals but I started talking to a Taiwanese girl, Carol at the hostel and before I knew it, it was almost 4pm. I caught a taxi to the bus station and then had to wait an hour before my bus left for the town of Nansha, at the base of the mountains which contain the rice terraces. The interesting trip through the mountains took about 2 and a half hours so I arrived in Nansha after 7.30pm and the sun was starting to set. I couldn't find any vans going up to Xinjie and the taxi drivers were asking too much so I decided to get a hotel for the night. The following morning I got lucky as a ... read more
Yuanyang rice terraces
Sheng Cun market
Sheng Cun market

Asia » China » Yunnan » Shilin June 6th 2012

The 7 hour bus trip from Shangri La to Dali was quite pleasant and I was pleased that we bypassed Lijiang for fear of adding more time onto the journey. We went through some nice towns and scenery, and it is obviously rice planting season at the moment because it seemed that everyone from the towns were in the fields helping in some way. Once arriving in Dali I headed for a cheap family run guesthouse called YouYu that Aleksei recommended just inside the north gate. I got a great little room with wifi and bathroom( and a couple of free meals over my stay) for $8.50 a night and the location pleased me by being just outside the tourist area. I spent 4 nights in Dali and everyday I was there it rained. I was ... read more
Watching a Chinese movie in Dali
Stone Forest

Asia » China » Yunnan » Lower Yubeng May 31st 2012

The bus ride from Shangri La to Deqin was probably one of the worst I have ever been on mainly due to construction along the road, the way the drivers pass or go around blind bends on the wrong side of the road, and the dangerous mountain roads where you are surely dead if you go off the edge. Our 6 hour trip turned out to be 7 and a half hours so we arrived at 7.30pm and then stood around for a while before a minibus driver told us that he would take us to Feilai Si (3,360metres) for $1 each. About 15 minutes later we arrived at the temple where there are quite a few hotels and restaurants and a great view of the mountains including the 6,740 metre high Kawa Karpo. Aleksei and ... read more
View from Feilai Si
Feeding the animals cardboard in the main street of Xidang
Xidang to Lower Yu Beng

Asia » China » Yunnan » Shangri-La May 29th 2012

The 4 hour bus trip to Shangri La was quite enjoyable mainly due to the fact that Aleksei and myself were the only foreigners and also there was no problemsmoking onboard. We wound our way around the mountains for a few hours and as we were coming up to a high pass the houses became wooden cabins for a more tibetan feel. Once over the pass we came down to a narrow and flat valley full of yaks and horses grazing and the occasional large log cabin style wooden house. This continued for about 15kms before we came to a lot of very large wooden and mud houses which was obviously the outskirts of Shangri La. Wherever you looked there were new houses and when we came into the large town the streets were very wide ... read more
Ganden Sumtseling Gompa

Asia » China » Yunnan » Tiger Leaping Gorge May 23rd 2012

I spent a total of 3 nights in Lijiang and for most of that time I just hung around the guesthouse talking to some of the other Chinese guests and enjoyed walking around the old town in the evening. The best bit for me was the range of food on offer which I made the most of and even had KFC a couple of times. The downside was the amount of tourists, by far the most I have seen in China, and how jampacked the small streets became in the nightime. I found that it didn't really hold much value for me as a tourist but it was a nice place to take it easy for a couple of days and recuperate. On my last full day in Lijiang I caught a bus about 10 km ... read more
Tiger Leaping Gorge - Woody's guesthouse
Tiger Leaping Gorge - near Tina's guesthouse

Asia » China » Yunnan » LuGu Lake May 16th 2012

The overnight train from Chengdu to Xichang in southern Sichuan was again a very easy and comfortable 9 hour trip, and I highly recommend using the trains for long trips. I booked a 2nd class sleeper for $24 and had about 7 hours sleep before arriving in Xichang at 7 am. I found a minivan going to the bus station, and when I arrived 15 minutes later I was lucky to catch the bus to Lugu Hu which was departing in 10 minutes. Lugu Hu is a large lake on the Yunnan/Sichuan border at an altitude of 2700 metres and as I found out attracts quite a few Chinese tourists, and as usual very few foreign ones. My original plan was not to come to Lugu Hu but because foreigners are not allowed into western Sichuan ... read more
Lugu Hu
Lugu Hu
Lugu Hu

Asia » China » Sichuan » Jiuzhaigou May 11th 2012

I caught the 8.30am bus to Songpan, a town 300kms north of Chengdu and only 100kms from Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve. The trip took about 7 hours and I found it quite interesting following the river and passing near the epicentre of the devestating 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Most of the towns that were destroyed are full of new housing with only some remnants to be seen, including a few bridges that had collapsed which they haven't done anything about. The other interesting part was a definate tibetan feel the further we got from Chengdu which was reflected in the houses as well as the people. Arriving in Songpan and seeing the renovated city walls and temples I was worried that it might turn out to be another Chinese tourist town, but after going for a walk I ... read more
Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve
Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve
Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve

Asia » China » Sichuan » Chengdu May 9th 2012

The overnight train from Zhenyuan to Chongqing wasn't too bad at all. I had a 2nd class sleeper ticket which meant I shared the open compartment with 5 other people, all Chinese. The 15 hours went quite quick and I enjoyed most of the time trying to communicate with the others, which was pretty difficult. The train itself was good with food available, hot water for coffee and noodles, relatively clean squat toilets, and a spot to smoke between carriages. The lights were turned out at 10pm and I had a good sleep before being woken up at 4.30am just before we arrived at Chongqing. My idea was to board the first train to Chengdu, and I was told by the other passengers that I would have to catch a taxi to the other side of ... read more
Lady playing traditional instrument
Sichuan opera

Asia » China » Guizhou » Xijiang May 2nd 2012

After arriving back in Kaili after a disappointing night in Chong An I hopped straight on the bus bound for the Miao tourist town/village of Xijiang. The trip took about an hour passing some nice scenery along the way and then we were dropped off at the entrance gate at the top of the hill. I paid the $16 entry fee and joined about 100 Chinese tourists to have a look from the viewpoint over the town. The view was pretty good and after taking a few photos of the Chinese tourists dressed in traditional clothes I walked down the hill, across the river and eventually found a nice room in the main street above a candy shop for $11 a night. That night whilst I was having dinner at a cheap barbecue place I started ... read more
Xijiang - Chinese tourists

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