Latest Posts:

Silk Road by MGB – China Stops Day 30 to Day 46

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

We’re at Day 53 and almost across China in our long trek from Bangkok to London (well to Abingdon, where they once made MGs). Here are a few more of our China stops en route:

▲ On Day 30 we were at Huangshan, one of China’s best known mountain sites and the view from the lookout point known as Monkey Watching the Sea of Clouds you could certainly appreciate where those misty, ethereal mountain views in Chinese art originate. The fact that it was a misty, ethereal – OK rainy – day probably helped.

◄ We rode up the Western Cablecar to the starting point of a walk across the mountains, along with a great number of domestic Chinese tourists because it was a public holiday.



◄ Not all of them walking, sedan chairs were available and you would have thought they were there for the elderly or somebody who suffered an injury on the walk. The young couple in these sedan chairs were neither elderly or injured, or embarrassed for that matter. The agilely hopped out to take photos at each viewpoint.

▲ Days 32 and 33 I was in Shanghai and I’ve already posted about the huge increase in the number of rental bicycles in Shanghai. I was also involved in the launch of the new Chinese edition of The Lonely Planet Story while I was there, we started the day’s events at the Shanghai Arts & Crafts Museum where there was a display of art from the Mao era. These wood carved children includes one in the middle demonstrating Mao’s statement about ‘power coming out of the barrel of a gun.’

▲ We started Day 35 at the morning opening ceremony at the gates to the Confucius Temple in Qufu, it’s the home town of China’ s great thinker.

▲ The afternoon was devoted to more mountain walking, this time at Taishan, another of China’s great mountain sites. There were certainly plenty of options for getting up and down the mountain.

◄ I rode the cablecar to the top and then walked down the many stairs, particularly the steep descent (I’m glad it wasn’t a climb for me) down the Path of 18 Bends.

▲ On Days 37 and 38 we were in Beijing and again I was involved with the Lonely Planet Story launch, but I also did some sightseeing including catching one of the regular drumming performances in the Drum Tower.

▲ And then wandering the hutongs, Beijing’s famous back alleys including Nanlougu Xiang, an amazing street and another ‘this is not a developing world city’ reminder. It looks extraordinarily flash and stylish. I found a card shop with some great Mao-era post cards, a couple of primary school pictures and one announcing ‘We Must Liberate Taiwan.’

On Day 40 we reached Pingyao, I’d spent a couple of days there a few years ago. On Day 43 we were in Xian, where I also cycled around the City Wall, then on Days 44 and 45 we reached amazing Maijishan and La Shao.

▲ On the night of Day 45 we’d reached Lanzhou, another surprisingly attractive modern city and another place with a population of over two million which I’d never heard of before. As the sun went down I climbed the stairs to the White Pagoda Temple and looked back across the Yellow River to the centre of the city.

▲It got darker as I climbed higher.

▲ On Day 46 we reached Xining, by now we were moving into another China, it was getting increasingly drier and the first signs of the Islamic world started to appear. Like the Dongguan Grand Mosque which combined trad Middle East architecture with with Chinese elements, note those Chinese roofs. Day 47 took us on the most spectacular drive of the whole trip so far, climbing to 3800 metres over mountain passes way higher than anywhere you would drive in Switzerland.

▲ Zhangye, where we ended that mountain driving day, featured the Great Buddha Temple with its 35-metre long reclining Buddha. OK, it’s not as big as the Wat Po reclining Buddha in Bangkok, but still impressively large and nicely dimly lit and uncrowded.

▲ Snow-capped mountains make a backdrop to the city skyline from the top of the Wooden Pagoda, also in Zhangye.

Silk Road by MGB – China Stops Day 30 to Day 46

24 May 2017 | Places

We’re at Day 53 and almost across China in our long trek from Bangkok to London (well to Abingdon, where they once made MGs). Here are a few more of our China stops en route: ▲ On Day 30 we were at Huangshan, one of China’s best known mountain sites and the view fr...

View Post

Silk Road by MGB – China Stops Day 19 to Day 29

22 May 2017 | Places

We’re now at Day 52 of our Silk Road journey and en route through China we made some intriguing stops, here are a few from our arrival in China through to Day 29 of the trip. ◄ On Day 19, between Mengla near the Laotian border and Pu’er, famous for its tea, we visi...

View Post

Xining to Zhangye on the G227 – Day 47 on the Silk Road by MGB

19 May 2017 | Transport

Most of the way across China we’ve followed the ‘highways,’ toll roads where you can cover lots of kms without interruption. About 40km out of Xining heading towards Zhangye the highway ends and we follow the often twisting and turning G227 for most of the day’s 336km...

View Post

Xian in China – cycling the city wall

18 May 2017 | Transport

◄ It may not be totally original, like the Pingyao City Walls, but the City Walls of Xian stretch for 14km and you can rent bicycles and ride a circuit. They cost 200 RMB (about US$30) refundable deposit and 45 RMB (about US$6.50) for two hours     ...

View Post

Maijishan & La Shao – Days 44 & 45 on the Silk Road by MGB

16 May 2017 | Places

It’s wonderful that you can still find places that a. amaze you and b. you’ve never heard of before. Both of these Buddhist sites in Gansu Province in China amazed me, La Shao I had never heard of until a day before my visit ▲ Maijishan I had heard of, although onl...

View Post

Xian – Day 43 on the Silk Road by MGB

15 May 2017 | Places

▲ I visited Xian back in 1995, with Maureen, Tashi and Kieran when our children were indeed children. Well the Terracotta Warriors, Xian’s big attraction, are still a big attraction. They’ve got a much flashier and more permanent display home and the car park and asso...

View Post

Share Bicycles in China

10 May 2017 | Transport

I’ve been riding bikes in Shanghai and Beijing, on my MGB Silk Road trip across Asia. On my first visits to China there were lots of bicycles. Over the years the numbers went down and down, part fashion (people wanted cars) and part government policy (cars were tomorr...

View Post

32 Days along the Silk Road by MGB – On the Road – Part 2

5 May 2017 | Transport

◄ Most of our driving in China has been on ‘Highways’, the extensive network of toll roads which have popped up in the last couple of decades. They’re fast, generally well maintained and for the first week or so after we crossed the border from Laos often remarkably e...

View Post

32 Days along the Silk Road by MGB – On the Road – Part 1

4 May 2017 | Transport

Of course a lot of our Silk Road travel – and we don’t even really start on the Silk Road until we get to Xian – is actually on the road. Part 1 of some ‘on the road’ shots. The trip has featured in an Australian Financial Review article. ▲ We can pack out a petrol...

View Post

Jingdezhen – Day 28 on the Silk Road by MGB

1 May 2017 | Places

▲ Our MGBs lined up in front of our hotel in Jingdezhen ▲ Jingdezhen as been a centre for Chinese pottery and ceramic works for nearly 2000 years. There are constant reminders of that history from shops to sculptures of ceramic workers on the bridge across the Chan...

View Post