Just as the title says. If you happen to stumble on to this blog, bear with me as I'm switching service providers. There might be broken links or images in the meantime 😦 Thanks for your patience! Hana
It was the day after China's annual Mid-Autumn Festival, and I had been debating what to do in Chengdu when a fellow backpacker mentioned that he was headed to the Tibetan region of the province. Yading Nature Reserve, in the western Garze region of Sichuan, promised a way to see a slice of Tibet without the hassle of obligatory tours and finicky travel permits. Over a steaming bowl of spicy hot pot and a copy of Lonely Planet China, I decided to come along to Yading, in the western edge of Sichuan province.
The former capital city of Xi'an in central China was the terminus of the Europe-Asia Silk Road for centuries. Along with trade, it also brought Islam into China from the west. Today, a small Muslim minority occupies a small, if not touristy, network of streets north of Xi'an's Drum Tower. It's a crowded mix of tasty treats, visual delights, and a little bit of street performance.
The Terracotta Warriors are one of China's most ubiquitous sights, and is an easy day trip from the former capital city of Xi'an. I decided to spend the day visiting the site with the lovely Li Hua, a Chinese girl I met at my hostel. Along the way, learned about China's first emperor, grave robbers, and Chinese ideas surrounding death.
After a week of exploring China's capital, I made my way west to Datong, in Shanxi province, to see some singular sights in the countryside. Datong is a good base to visit the Hanging Temples, Yungang Grottoes, and Mount Heng (Heng Shan), one of China's five great holy mountains.
Beijing might be China's sprawling capital city, but take one rogue turn and you might find yourself in a narrow pedestrian street with street hawkers, strange food, and people everywhere. They're Beijing's hutongs, or alleyways, and they make the big city feel like a small, bustling village.
Mongolia has always conjured images of wide steppes, nomadic peoples, and the golden sand dunes of the Gobi desert. After a long, 24-hour train ride from Russia, I was eager to stretch my legs and explore the Mongolian countryside, and joined a nine-day tour of the Gobi desert and central Mongolia.