Journeys » China, South West (Journeys) » China, South West - 2012
CHINA SOUTHWEST - A STEP INTO THE PAST
At this stage, besides organizing trips increasingly far away, I was taking pictures for a friend. I thought it was fun.
South West China was organized by CHINATOURS.COM.
From Hanoi, we flew over the mountains into Kunming in the Province of Yunnan, the Eternal Spring region of China. The agency also organized all internal flights as they had access to cheaper fairs.
Kunming is a big city with the Old and the New Quarters. The Stone Forest is amazing.
The planned trip to Dongshuen-Luoxiagou to see the famous Red Land did not go ahead due to snow!!! So much for the Eternal Spring!
Lijiang one of the four most famous ancient towns in China built all in wood and stretching over several canals. It is home to the Naxi people. Women and men in ethnic costume gather during the day in the main square to dance and meet. Ninty percent of the business is run by women and women ONLY!
Silver, tea, fabrics, votives are the main produces of the area surrounded by the beautiful Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, part of the southern chain of the Himalayas.
Late on a Thursday late afternoon, the Oldest Orchestra in the World, play ultra ancient music with ultra ancient instruments. By tradition, women do not marry and men are chosen they don’t choose. Children are reared by the mother.
We also visited a Naxi family for lunch, the beautiful village where the famous American Botanist Rock Joseph lived while researching Himalayas Herbs and we spent time at the Baisha tribe center and learned about Baisha Murals.
In Chengdu, we couldn’t miss The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, far from the city but in beautiful surroundings, for US$100 you can help in the nursery.
Not to be missed is the boat trip to the largest Cliff Stone Carved Sitting Buddha in the world. It’s a bit of a drive and a short a boat ride. This Leshan Giant Buddha is quite a sight and does offer a steep climb all the way up to the temple where the monks that carved it lived.
WHERE TO STAY
- Kunming, Jinjiang Hotel, adequate.
- Lijiang, Sanhe Hotel, Shue (the old part of the town) Very unique.
- Chengdu, MinshanLhasa Hotel, Tibetan owned. Not great.
- FRANKFURT, HONG KONG, Internal Flights all the way.
- There are two currencies in China. Dearer for us tourists.
- Let the Agency organized internal flights. Their currency is better value.
- A train is now available from Hong Kong.
- Few people speak English. Chinese not as difficult as it sounds.
- Restaurants keep external doors open and they are horrendously cold.
- Chengdu is famous for the HOT POT. A table where people sit and cook their own food.
- This area is home to 52 of the 56 Chinese Minority Ethnic Groups.
- Lijiang is where you can adjust to altitude before reaching Shangri-La and Tibet.
- In Chengdu there is Opera and Changing Faces performance in a tea room.