Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Gansu, China

Jun 2, 2018 - Dunhuang

Dunhuang is our final stop before we visit the towns of Turpan and Kashgar in the autonomous Uygur region in Xinjiang province. The largest and flattest province(150 feet below sea level in Turpan) Also the hottest place in China. Three times the size of Western Europe and home to the Uygur minority. The Dunhuang caves were used by a Buddhist community between 600 and 1200 AD. Four hundred grottoes house the largest collection of Buddhist statues and art in China on a sandstone cliff wall. They were largely forgotten and covered in sand...

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May 28, 2018 - The Gobi Desert

The main attraction in Zhangye is the painted mountains. A freak of nature which over time has left these bare hills looking like they have been splashed and streaked with many colours, mustard, ochre, terracotta, beige and cream. There are many tourists here but 98% are Chinese. The foreigners and expats stand out because of their uncovered skin. No self respecting Chinese woman would ever leave her skin exposed to the sun’s rays. We see almost zero foreigners here which makes us a curiosity with the locals. Many say a friendly hello. An...

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Aug 28, 2017 - Dunhuang, Gansu province

The small town of Dunhuang was a pivotal point for Silk Road travellers where the North and South winter and summer routes from the west join up after desert crossings, and was always going to be the most magical stop on our route. It lies just inside China proper beyond the vast Jinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the Hexi corridor separating Mongolia to the north and Tibet to the south. We, however, reached it by overnight railway train from Turpan rather than by camel train though I am not sure which option would have been the least...

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Aug 22, 2015 - Xiahe, land of Tibetan Buddhists

Climbing up into Xiahe at almost 3000 meters was a whole different world; we had moved from Han Chinese glitz and glamour to Tibetan spiritualism. Although located in Gansu China, over 50% of the town is Tibetan, which in some ways renders it more Tibetan than most places actually in the Autonomous Region of Tibet. The town was full of pilgrims, prostrating as they circled the kora (prayer wheel circuit) around the Labrang Monastery, one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in the world. Fran and I joined the kora; I used my special climbing...

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Aug 20, 2015 - Stairs to Heaven at Kongtong Shan, Sacred Taoist Mountain

Camping in the parking lot for Kongtong Shan, we took the cable car up to the starting point and then started the relentless stairways up to a peak dubbed the Town of Heaven. Rising over 2000 meters, Kongtong is the "most famous of the Taoist Mountains under Heaven" and the first holy mountain from Beijing along the Silk Road. Luckily, many beautiful temples dotted our way along the endless stairs, with colorful prayer flags (called "wind horses" in Chinese), and beautiful, intricately carved temples perched on the rocks, devoted to a...

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Sep 9, 2012 - A City with Splendid Civilization-Zhenjiang

Zhengjiang, on the southern bank of the Changjiang River in central Jiangsu, faces Yangzhou on the otehr side of the river. Known as the “three-hill scenic spot”, zhenjiang is screened on three sides by the Jinshan, Jiaoshan and Beidu hills. The other faces the turbulent river. Some 60 meters high and 520 meters in circumference. Jinshan Hill was originally an island in the Chang jiang River which became part of the land south of the river. The hill became famous in the Tang Dynasty but long before that during the East Jin Dynasty 1,560...

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Trip Journal


Jun 29, 2011 - Dunhuang- The Mogao Caves

"Caves of the Thousand Buddhas", have been carved in the San Wei mountain, between the 4th and 14th centuries. Interesting that the french and british came here about 100years ago and bought (stole) practically all the ancient manuscripts that can be seen now... in the Louvre or British Gallery! Dunhuang, "Blazing Beacon" or "City of Sand" is the end of the Great Wall during the Han Emprire and the last stop on the Silk Road before the Lop Desert

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Jun 27, 2011 - 23 June - Pingliang

Next stop was Pingliang, where we stayed for 2 nights. Our trip notes said we would be staying in a comfortable but basic hotel - if this was basic, give me more! Luxurious rooms with a computer in each room for guests' use! Not bad! Pingliang is a town of around 107,000 people and the main attraction is the nearby holy mountain, Kongtong Shan. This mountain is very important to Taoists and has been mentioned in writings dating back to around 300BC. I'm not too sure of the Taosists beliefs - something to look up when we get back. There were...

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Jun 27, 2011 - Jiayuguan

Beteen the Qilian Mountain and the Gobi Desert "Stone Desert", Jiayuguan was the end of the Great Wall before the fort of Duhuang was established, was the last outpost of the great Wall... after was the unknown and the beginning of the unprotected territories, the wilderness... and actually, still since the Xinjiang province is so different from the other chinese provinces, difficult to feel in China after Dunhuang.

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Jun 25, 2011 - 18 June Liujiaxia & Bingling Si Buddhist Grottoes

Having breakfast at our bush camp we were visited by a group of locals who wanted to see what we were eating. After chatting for a while (or rather very complicated charades to try and communicate) they went on their way. We packed up camp and hopped back on Asima to finish our journey to Liujiaxia. We again created a stir when we stopped in a small village for lunch and the locals descended on us. We took photos of them and they took photos of us on their mobile phones, all the village kids were brought over for us to admire and they had a...

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Jun 25, 2011 - 19 June - Xiahe

We have 3 nights in Xiahe, a town with 50% Tibetan population on the Tibetan plateau. It has a nice laid-back feel to it, though there have been problems here between the various ethnic groups, especially after the 2008 riots in Lhasa when demonstrations in Xiahe resulted in many deaths. There are a few restaurants in town which have traditional Tibetan food (yak meat), plus Chinese food. There is also one restaurant run by a Peruvian, with a Mexican and American in the mix somewhere, which sells pizza, burgers and Lomo Saltado, a kind of...

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Jun 25, 2011 - Xiahe... still the same majestic monastic village

This small monastic village didnt change during the last 5 years! More than a 1000 monks are living and studying in this Yellow Hat Sect. The temples are superbes and we have been lucky to assist to a very interesting ceremony with another 100 tibetans pelgrims and monks. The hike around in the mountain above the village offered some fantastic views.

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