The fringes of Tibet: One week in China’s Yading Nature Reserve

Milk Lake

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.

Photo Diary: Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter

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.