I fly back to San Francisco today, completing my circumnavigation of the northern hemisphere which began way in June.  Looking back over the past several months, at all I’ve seen and experienced, I do have mixed thoughts.  Of course there’s a definite feeling of accomplishing something pretty damn special in traversing the ancient Silk, Read More

I hadn’t thought about it before, but Hong Kong is a fitting place to finish my Silk Road trip.  The trip began in Istanbul, that great city where “east meets west”.  Hong Kong, as a city where “west meets east”, neatly bookends the trip (while not having a think to do with the Silk, Read More

My last full day in China and one final stop along the Silk Road: some more Buddhist caves at Shuilian Dong! Shuilian Dong, or the Water Curtain Caves (I like the Chinese name better), are about 20km outside the small town of Luomen.  I traveled from Tianshui yesterday afternoon through some beautiful countryside to, Read More

Nothing much to report today.  I had a look at a “famous” Taoist Temple in the city today, but didn’t think it was anything spesh.  I’m off to my last destination, Luomen, this afternoon, and have time to kill until then so I’m chilling in this internet cafe with about a thousand chain-smoking Chinese, Read More

I was disappointed to leave Xiahe, but also excited at the realization that I only have a handful of days left before it’s all over.  I fly out from Lanzhou on the 15th for Hong Kong, where I’m going to chill (and stock up on yummy yum cha/dim sum) before I fly back to, Read More

After the deserts around Dunhuang I was keen for a change of scene, and jumped on board a 14-hour night train to Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province.  It was an uneventful train ride along the Hexi Corridor, a famous strip of land wedged between the mountains of Qinghai and Tibet and the deserts, Read More

The town of Dunhuang turned out to be a pleasant little place, without much of a built-up town centre and thankfully without the massive, wide and soul-less streets that have greeted me at every town I’ve visited in China thus far. I’d heard from a few travelers about some massive sand dunes on the, Read More

I flew into Urumqi late and, after much haggling with a taxi driver, found a cheap hotel right near the train station (no shower though).  After a quick six hours sleep I woke up the next day and caught a taxi to the bus terminal.  My plan was to head south-east to the town, Read More

I’ve been in China for several days now, and I have to admit it’s been OK so far.  I was a bit apprehentious about coming back here since my first trip back in 2001.  In Kyrgyzstan I heard my fair share of China horror stories from backpackers heading west, and I wasn’t looking forward,, Read More

Well, my plans have changed – again! Originally my idea was to travel from Kashgar along the remote but spectacular western highway into Tibet, through Ali and past Mt Kailash, and evetually to Lhasa.  I was able to ask one seasoned traveler in Kyrgyzstan for his opinion (because he’d just done it) and it, Read More