The best China travel stories from around the net

by James Weir
Posted: June 12th, 2012 | Updated: June 28th, 2012 | Comments
China travel features_china travel news_china travel blogs_china travel stories Isidor's Fugue: China blog See this link for our most up-to-date info on the Tibetan travel restrictions. News of unrest in Tibet continues to trickle in. Late May saw two self-immolations in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), in front of Jokhang Temple, the last in a string of almost 40 self-immolations in Tibetan regions of China over the last few years. The ongoing issues in Tibet are disconcerting, touch very sensitive political territory and do not bode well for a stable, peaceful future in Tibet where the ethnic Tibetans coexist with the ever-migrating Han in a productive, harmonious way. And in the short term, for the foreign traveler, what this means is that the TAR will yet again have to be struck from the itinerary. Brian Glucroft, of Isidor's Fugue, recently took a trip through Qinghai Lake and nomadic Tibetan peoples. The TAR only covers a portion of the Tibetan plateau—Tibetan areas of China spread out from the edges of the TAR (regions known as Kham and Amdo) into Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Gansu, much of which is not subject to travel restrictions like the TAR (though these regions can be volatile and do close; currently, parts of western Sichuan remain closed following a spate of immolations and protests). The lack of travel regulations make these regions the destination of the season for those looking to get a taste of Tibetan culture.  More China links after the jump....
  • For more on Tibetan culture outside of the TAR, I'll direct readers to Land of Snows, a site that continues to amaze me with its wealth of up-to-date information, beautiful photographs and general Tibet know-how. In light of the recent TAR closure, this post on Kham and Amdo is particularly relevant and useful.
  • The mountains of Tibet may be rugged, but there is little in China that is more rugged than one's first experience with báijiǔ (白酒), the sorghum-scented firewater that has felled many a foreigner in its day (or night). Now that the author's 300 shot challenge has been completed—with the entrant emerging with an affinity for the strong stuff—the baijiu blog 300 Shots at Greatness takes a different tack: convincing the understandably hesitant and uninitiated public to give it another shot. In his words: "As a reformed baijiu-hater I, like many converts before me, feel the compulsive need to bring everyone over to my side. With something that's been dragged through mud as much as baijiu has, I know I've got my work cut out for me, but we've already established that I like a challenge." Good luck with that one! For my part, I indulged last weekend in more than a few rounds of the stuff, and while I'm not yet a baijiu missionary, I can sense a begrudging shift in my palate.
  • As I noted after a trip to Chengdu this past spring, the Jinsha Museum is a great way to kill an afternoon in the 'Du. And though I didn't get the chance to check out any other museums in the city, I'll know what to check out next time thanks to this guide to Chengdu's museums. Sometimes during a vacation of sunflower seeds, tea houses and cards you need to step inside and take in a little culture.
  • I'm a sucker for old photographs. There is no doubt about that. But this collection of Beijing photographs is unique in that it provides new and old photos, side by side and taken from the same vantage point, in order to let you see even more clearly how the world changes over time.
  • And in Ctrip news, this spring saw the launch of Ctrip Korean and Ctrip Japanese, doubling our multi-language street-cred. So if you've been looking for a way to book hotels in your native tongue—and your native tongue happens to be Japanese, Korean, English or Chinese—look no further. Ctrip has your back. Also your hotel bookings. We have those, too. In addition to having your back.

Until next time, hold onto your hat and lean into the wind....

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