Lhasa and Yamdrok Lake

Date: 2018-10-21 to 2018-10-25

I arrived in Lhasa on  the 21st in the evening. And the first impression when driving in taxi to the hotel was the Potala Palace properly light up in the night. It looked so amazing.

I shared a room with Roy, an Indian from Calcutta.

Next day I went with the group on a tour to see Drepung and Sera Monastery. We saw there a lot of statues of Buddhas and of an Indian who was invited to cleanse places from evil ghosts. And yeah the first Tibetan who got enlightened. I liked his statue best, because he was looking like a funny man. Very interesting was the monks preparing for their exams in the Sera monastery.

Next day we went to the old city centre and saw a lot of prayers walking round the Jokhang temple. Jokhang is one of the holiest places in Tibet. The prayers usually end their journey here.

In the afternoon we went up the amazing Potala Palace. The Potala has an older part, painted in red and a newer part from 17th centuary painted in white. Special fact is that the white colour is made of yoghurt and honey. The painting is done by Tibetian communities from different parts. And let me put is this way I won’t let them paint my flat, because they are more spraying the colour than painting on the wall and so the colour is almost everywhere — not only on the wall. In the palace every Lama built his own room for sleeping, and welcoming visitors.

We saw there the graves of the Lamas too.

In the evening I went out with Roy, my Indian room mate to have dinner and take some pictures around Jokhang Temple at night.

On the 24th after so many temples and monasteries, we went to Yamdrok lake which is up in the mountains at 4400 metres. There I saw Yaks. The locals there wanted to take a picture me riding on the Yak, but this is not my style of travelling to take these kinds of photos.

On my last day in Lhasa I have to wait till my train back to central China departed in the evening. So Nick a Swedish friend from the group and I went to Summer Palace in Lhasa.

Tibet Train to Lhasa

I went from Xi’an to Lhasa and in Xining I had to change to the Tibet Train.

The train cars are equipped with oxygen outlets, further more the cars are standard Chinese train sleeping cars.

I took a hard sleeper which was fine for me.

Next morning when I woke up we were going through these fascinating landscape and had an unbelievable clear blue sky. The train went then up over 5000 metres above sea level to go then down to Lhasa (3762) again.

Just amazing.

Longman Buddha Caves

Date: 2018-10-18

Near the city Luoyang at the shores of the Li river there are the famous Buddha caves.

I came from Xi’an with a highspeed train – it took only 90 minutes early in the morning. Then I went by taxi to the entrance of the cultural zone.

At the shores of the Li river there are small caves with Buddha statues engraved in the rocks.

Hiking Mount Hua Shan

Date: 2018-10-16

At the hostel in Xi’an I got the tip tjat hiking Mount Hua Shan is really beautiful. First I made some plans how I can get there and buy the tickets with my very limited Chinese language skills 😉

But I found a Chinese woman, who was staying at the same hostel and wanted to go to the mountain too. So it would be s lot easier for me, because she can manage the buying of the tickets and the Chinese conversations.

Thank you Maggie without you it won’t have been that easy to get there and back to Xi’an.

So we took an early morning bullet train to Hua Shan North, from there is a free bus going to the tourist centre of Hua Shan Mountain. There Maggie bought two entrance and bus tickets for us and we went by bus to the Hua Shan North base station. From there we took the cable car up, because we wanted to do all the five peaks up there.

On the mountain station we went up to the north peak, then we had a longer tour through a lot of steps to the Central peak. The mountain scenery was really impressive. And the special touch was that there are Buddhist temples just near the peaks.

From the central peak we again had to walk a lot of steps up and down and up again, had to climb up a sky latter and finally reached the east peak. Then we ha to go down again and then went again a lot of stairs up to the south peak, which was the highest point with 2150 metres.

From there we hiked to the west peak – and so we finally have managed to go to all peaks. The whole tour took us about 5 hours with breaks.

From the west peak we took another cable car down, which was really impressive because it crossed a valley and went up a mountain on the other side and them finally drove down tho the base station. From here we took the bus back to the tourists centre.

An finally took a bullet train back to Xi’an from Hua Shan North.


Date: 2018-10-14 to 2018-10-20

I lived in a hostel by the city wall in Xi’an. It was a perfect location in the centre and I could reach subway in a few minutes. The staff of the hostel was really nice, when I arrived they invited me for a special dish for Xi’an which is cold rice noodles with a spicy sauce. I liked it very much.

For a foodie like me Xi’an is the place to be. In the centre there are several markets, the biggest is the muslim market. There are small booths selling various kinds of food like Chinese Hamburger, seafood, different types of skewers, fruits, freshly prepared passion fruit juice, various kinds of teas. You can smell this try that – it was like a wonderland for me.

And Xi’an has an ancient city wall, where you can walk on. But most of the city is rather modern. In Xi’an you find as well small shops and big shopping malls.

A bit outside of town is the site where the terracotta army was found. It is really an impressive museum and you can see that there is still a lot of work on-going.

Pingyao – Living in a Museum

Date: 2018-10-12 to 2018-10-14

Pingyao is not so popular in Europe, but it is one of few cities in China which has an old city centre dating back to Ming Dynasty. The centre is circumvented by an ancient city wall too.

When I came first into the centre it was like going back several centuries. Really old small roads, little houses with typical Chinese style roofs. It was like in a film about old China. The houses have usually small backyards.

Actually Pingyao was in ancient times the financial centre of China. So there are museums in the city about ancient banking system an money transport.

Besides that I visited the city wall – you can partly walk on top of it, the ancient government building.

For all these and more sightseeing spots you can buy a ticket in the town.

Just when I have been there the International Pingyao Filmfestival started, but for the first days tickets still were sold out.

In my point of view Pingyao is very touristic and some kind of an Old-Chinese fantasy wonderland.

Eating 烤鸭 in 北京

Date: 2018-10-11

On my last night in Beijing we got to the Quanjude restaurant for eating kǎoyā – roasted duck, in western world also known by Beijing Duck.

It was an awesome restaurant with dinner show and a really delicious duck.

The Great Wall

Date: 2018-10-09

Wei and I decided to meet again in Beijing to hike the Great Wall together. We selected a part where we had not to much tourists, but which is beautiful because of the lake near the wall.

Well everyone knows hiking with me keeps always some surprises, because I like to take the off beaten tracks. So we took a nice tour along partly closed areas of the wall an even climbed up a construction site.

Thank you Wei for your confidence in my route.


Date: 2018-10-05 to 2018-10-12

Beijing was quite a surprise to me, because I heard really bad things about air quality and pollution there. But I stayed there for one week and hat clear sunny weather – no smog. The cars in the city looked very modern.

I lived there in a hotel in the middle of the hutongs. I expected to see a lot of poor people there, but most people living there nowadays count more to middle class. Some streets in the hutongs are becoming more and more a tourist attraction with a lit of food shops, restaurants and small tourist shops.

On 6th of October the last day of “National day” I went to forbidden city and summer palace. But even the tickets of forbidden city where sold out. So  I took some pictures of it from a park with a hill in the north of it. In summer palace too where many people, so that taking pictures of some spots was quite hard.

Later this week it was a little bit better, so I went back to the Forbidden City on Wednesday. Still many people, but it was really great to see all the small palaces and squares.

Beijing has several big parks and palaces, so I visited too Tiantan park with the Temple of Good Harvest, one interesting Temple of Confucius, where they had an exhibition too about his life and work.


Date: 2018-10-03 to 2018-10-05

Shenyang is a modern city, but in the centre there is the old forbidden city of emperor’s times.

In Shenyang I slept in a capsule.  The hostel I really cannot recommend: one dirty bathroom for many people, hard to find, staff smoked and I was sleeping in the entrance room. But the capsule was nice:

I was in Shenyang during National Day (actually it is a national week – 6 days of festivity), where a lot of Chinese Tourists as well were in the forbidden city palace. It was sometimes like kung fu fighting for a good picture.