9/22/2007 to 9/24/2007 | Tibet

Crossing the Himalayas: Tibet to Nepal

Small lake on the road to Saga from Kailash.


After living on instant noodle soup and going without a shower for 10 days, arriving in the town of Saga with a choice of restaurants and most importantly public pay hot showers, was a welcome sight despite its grubby Chinese buildings.  We had no trouble with the authorities this time and arrived […]

9/17/2007 to 9/19/2007 | Tibet

The Kailash Kora: sin free for the moment

Approaching Mt. Kailash before starting the Kora.


According to Tibetan Buddhists completing the kora (walking) around the sacred Mt. Kailash rids one’s self of the sins (negative karma) accumulated over a lifetime.  It’s a bit tougher than walking in to a confessional at your local Catholic Church, but then again Tibetan Buddhism is not a religion for those wishing […]

9/13/2007 to 9/16/2007 | Tibet

The journey west: to Kailash

Himalayas on the road to Kailash


I decided to play by the rules for my journey out to western Tibet and the sacred Mout Kailash, home to the Hindu gods, a pilgrimage destination for Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists, and tourists alike.  The Chinese government tries its best to make the pilgrimage to this most sacred of mountains as difficult […]

9/9/2007 to 9/10/2007 | Tibet

Pictures from Ganden and Samye Monasteries

Ganden Monastery.


Eager to begin the trek and not knowing how long the first day would take us we left Ganden with out really exploring the monastery.  However, it was one of the only major monasteries in the area that I did not visit on my first trip and having seen the amazing setting […]

9/5/2007 to 9/9/2007 | Tibet

Ganden to Samye Trek

Late afternoon sun on the green mountains above our campsite on the first night.


As of September 1st “the powers that be” here in Tibet (i.e. the Chinese Government) decided that it would now take 10 days to get a permit for Mount Kailash instead of the previous 3 days.  Having been to most of the attractions around Lhasa on my pervious trip I jumped at […]

8/22/2007 to 8/28/2007 | China , Gansu

Xining to Dunhuang: a taste of the Silk Road

Street scene in Zhangye

Upon reaching the provincial capital of Xining from Xiahe, I decided to head out along the Hexi corridor, a valley between the Tibtan plateau on the south and the mountains of the Gobi desert on the north.  The geography forms a natural channel leading out of China to the west and central Asia […]

8/18/2007 to 8/20/2007 | China , Gansu

Xiahe: Monks, Pilgrims, Plays, and Basketball, oh my!

Monk watching the performance during the festival at Labrang monastery, Xiahe.


The city of Xiahe, in China’s Gansu province, is home to the massive Tibetan monastery of Labrang.  I had timed my arrival to coincide with a festival on the 20th of August.  There were a lot of pilgrims performing the kora, circumambulation, around the monastery.  The monastery was one of the most […]

8/16/2007 to 8/17/2007 | China , Gansu , Tibet

Langmusi: Monks and Mountains

Pilgrims performing kora, circumambulation of a monastery in Langmusi.


The small Tibetan town of Langmusi straddles the border between the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Gansu.  It has become a popular stop for tourists traveling between these two provinces via the Tibetan plateau due two the two monasteries in town and the surrounding jagged mountain landscape.  Of course with the tourist […]

8/15/2007 | China , Gansu , Tibet

Maqu: Interview with a Tibetan & Horse Racing

Horse race, Maqu.

From the small Tibetan town of Langmusi seven of us from the hostel I was staying at headed over to the nearby town of Maqu for another horse racing festival.  Unlike the races at Litang and Yushu, they had a circular 1 km long track at Maqu.  There was only one race in […]

8/13/2007 | China , Sichuan , Tibet

Hongyuan: Grasslands and Nomads

I arrived in Hongyuan just before 9:00 am, a starkly ugly city, especially in contrast to the beautiful scenery that passed by my window on the bus ride into town.  But I had known that the attraction here was not the city but rather the grasslands and nomads that surround it.  I wasted […]

5:15 to 5:45 am, 8/13/2007 | China , Sichuan , Tibet

One for the memoirs

I had a bad feeling as I walked down the dark deserted streets of Aba at just after 5:00 am in the morning, and I remember thinking if I was going to get mugged this could be the time; not unheard of in the impoverished knife wielding areas of Tibet.  The new bus station […]

6/31/2007 to 8/12/2007 | China , Gansu , Sichuan , Yunnan

China Archive (pdf)

Chenyang, China

Entries in pdf format from my travels in China when I was still emailing my Travel  Journal.

The Bridges of Dong County  pdf

Gaoding: Baiju Srikes Back  pdf

Zhaoxing: The VIP dinner  pdf

Miao villages: Basha and Xijiang  pdf

Tagong: A night with the nomads  pdf


2/27/2007 | China , Yunnan

Mengla: Finding what you’re not looking for. . .

pdf version of this post with pictures

Mengla was intended to be a just a brief stop over on the way to Laos I had rather low expectations after reading the description in the guidebook.  The highlight is the road to the town about 50 km from the Chinese border with Laos.  And the […]

2/22/2007 to 2/26/2007 | China , Yunnan


pdf version of this post with pictures

Xishwangbanna is the region where China meets Southeast Asia.  In the far south of Yunnan province the region hugs the Chinese border at the point where Laos and Burma meet.  This area was long ruled by the Dai people, related to the Thais.  A relation that is […]

2/12/2007 to 2/21/2007 | China , Yunnan

Leaving Yuanyang

pdf version of this post with pictures

As I prepare to leave Yuanyang behind me I must say I haven’t been disappointed.  It was a great place to start out my trip.  It was my first destination, the previous places really not being more of transit points.  It’s been a little over a week […]

2/19/2007 | China , Yunnan

Yuanyang New Year

pdf version of this post with pictures

With the onset of the Chinese New Year I was planning on moving on from Yuanyang especially after my hotel owner informed me that he was shutting down for the Holiday and I had to leave.  However, the bus to the next town I was heading was […]

2/12/2007 to 2/21/2007 | China , Yunnan

Pig Roast in Yuanyang

pdf version of this post with pictures

I was out on a morning walk with no particular destination in mind which I find tends to work best here in Yuanyang.  If I try to find something in particular I often fail but when I’m not looking for anything I invariably find something.  This morning […]

2/12/2007 to 2/21/2007 | China , Yunnan


pdf version of this post with pictures

Sitting atop a ridge in the mountains of southern Yunnan province lies the hill top town of Yuanyang.  It’s about a seven hour bus ride south towards the Lao border from the provincial capital of Kunming, but it couldn’t be further from the metropolis of shinny new […]

2/5/2007 to 2/10/2007 | China

The New China

pdf version with pictures

It’s amazing how fast things are changing in China.  Nowhere was I struck by the truth of that statement more than on my return to Guangzhou nearly eight years after I first visited the city.  I recall writing the first time I was in Guangzhou that I couldn’t believe a […]