Tibet – Roof of the World

Tibet – Roof of the World

Often referred to as the Roof of the World, Tibet is an unique destination due to its location and history. I finally got my chance to visit Tibet in August 2014 by following a packaged tour with Chan Brothers (www.chanbrothers.com). The tour actually took us to Lanzhou and Xining for 3 days first to acclimatize to higher altitudes before taking the train to Lhasa, capital of Tibet. Although the trip included Lanzhou, Qinghai and Xining, I will just talk about Tibet in this blog post since this was the main highlight of the trip.

This blog post has been updated with a link to a local tour operator that specializes in inbound tours for English speaking visitors to Tibet. Go to the end of the post for details.

Continue reading “Tibet – Roof of the World”

Chinese Legends – Journey to the West

Chinese Legends – Journey to the West

Here is Part 2 of our journey through the legendary Silk Route. You can read Part 1 here where we started from the ancient capital of Xi’an.

When I told my Chinese colleague that I was going to Xinjiang, he wasn’t too impressed. He said I was going to get killed by the Uygurs because I’m of Chinese ethnicity. Well, I survived and lived to write about this trip. We took the flight from Xian to Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. Urumqi was one of the major hubs along the Silk Route and is the most remote city from any sea – 2,500km from the nearest coastline. Situated at 800m above sea level, the city is quite cooling at 25°C despite being summer in the desert. The flight time from Xian to Urumqi itself takes 3 hrs and it really gave me a sense of how large China is. For more about Xi’an, you can refer to my previous post. Continue reading “Chinese Legends – Journey to the West”

Chinese Legends – The First Emperor and Shaolin Temple

Chinese Legends – The First Emperor and Shaolin Temple

As a child I have always been fascinated by stories of Marco Polo’s journeys and the Silk Route. The opportunity came in 2011 and we got to go on our own little Journey to the West. The first stop was Xi’an, the ancient capital of China and the resting place of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shihuang, and his army of terra cotta warriors. This city is also one of the stops along the ancient Silk Route. Continue reading “Chinese Legends – The First Emperor and Shaolin Temple”

Trekking the Yellow Mountains (黄山)

Trekking the Yellow Mountains (黄山)

My first time travelling in China with nothing but a backpack was in 1998 when after an industrial exhibition in Shanghai, myself and 2 other colleagues decided that it would be a worthwhile adventure to visit Huangshan. Planning for the trip was minimal. We only applied for vacation leave, a quick check on the weather conditions in Huangshan and we were off. What else could go wrong? Continue reading “Trekking the Yellow Mountains (黄山)”

Hutong Visit

Hutong Visit

After my first trip to Beijing, I made another trip in 2002 but this time it was for leisure. There were a lot of changes to the city back then. Cars were now the kings of the road and the humble bicycles were slowly but surely disappearing from sight, while skyscrapers were sprouting out of the ground everywhere. As the modernization of Beijing progressed, I took some time to see some of the disappearing sights.

Continue reading “Hutong Visit”

Great Wall of China and Ming Tombs

Great Wall of China and Ming Tombs

There is a Chinese saying, 不到长城非好汉 which literally translates into  “He who has not been to the Great Wall is not a true man”.  How did this come about? Read on to find out. So during my weekend in Beijing, I had the Sunday to visit one of China’s, and also mankind’s greatest engineering achievements, to see and climb the Great Wall of China.

Continue reading “Great Wall of China and Ming Tombs”

Beijing’s Imperial Past

Beijing’s Imperial Past

My first trip behind the bamboo curtain was a business trip in 1997. It was a trip to give technical training to one of our Chinese customers who had bought our equipment. Normally, such training sessions are not stressful. But as this customer was in China, I had to give my training in Mandarin. As an indifferent student of the Chinese language, and attaining just a bare minimum passing grade in school, I was beginning to wonder if I should had been paying more attention in Chinese language classes.
Continue reading “Beijing’s Imperial Past”