Chongqing – City of Contrasts

  I expected Chongqing to be pretty dramatic – after all, it is a city where the metro goes right through a building high on a hillside, where buildings like the Hongya Cave complex cascading down the steep incline have lifts that open at ground level floor 1 on one side and ground level floor 17 on the other, where the local super-spicy hot pot … Continue reading Chongqing – City of Contrasts

Doing The Usual and Unusual in Kunming

Planning for Kunming, I made sure to include “the usual” – the things I try to do in every city:  a day trip outside the city to the stone forest, a walking tour of Green Lake and Yuantong Temple inside the city, and a foodie experience.  But in Kunming, there was a BONUS – unusual experiences that were surprising, stunning and shocking – in a good way!  Even more… I found … Continue reading Doing The Usual and Unusual in Kunming

Incredible Edibles in Kunming

When I think of Kunming, the first thing that comes to my mind is the food!  Yes, the fall weather is glorious in Kunming – brilliant blue skies, golden aspen trees, piles of pumpkins, fresh mountain air.  Yes, the people of Kunming are special – more open, calm and welcoming than in many parts of China.  I really enjoyed both the usual and unusual experiences … Continue reading Incredible Edibles in Kunming

10 “Best” Ancient Towns in China 2018

If you’ve read any books by Pearl Buck or Han Suyin – my two favorite authors writing about China – you have imagined what old village life was like in China, but you can also experience it for yourself. Throughout China, I find “ancient villages” or “old river towns” – often preserved or enhanced for tourist and heritage purposes, although people still live in most of … Continue reading 10 “Best” Ancient Towns in China 2018

Not Enough Days in Dali

D is for Delicious, Delightful Dali – a premier ancient town in Yunnan.  I spent only 3 days in and around Dali – just enough to see the highlights and not enough to dally in Dali.  This is what greeted me after a day of travel by train from Kunming! And it just got better and better. This Chongsheng Temple, with three iconic pagodas, is … Continue reading Not Enough Days in Dali

Chilling on Ciqikou Chili

Ciqikou (Porcelain Port) is an ancient village inside Chongqing – built on the steep bank of the Jialing River just before it joins with the mighty Yangtze.  It is a maze of old wooden buildings with an amazing food street winding down down down the middle to a ledge high above the river. It’s pronounced “She chee koo” if you’re wondering, and it’s where a tourist … Continue reading Chilling on Ciqikou Chili

The Allure of Lijiang

Words are inadequate to describe Lijiang in remote Yunnan, so just a bit of context before my photo blast.  Lijiang Ancient Town is perched on a sidehill, with a serious of streams and canals cascading down through lanes and shops, guesthouses and restaurants, huge squares and tiny alleys.  At the top of the village is the Waterwheel, emblematic of Lijiang, next to a large parking … Continue reading The Allure of Lijiang

Shuhe on the Tea Horse Road

Tucked into the mountains just beyond bustling Lijiang city is Shuhe Ancient Town – notable as the start of the mountain horse paths carrying tea out from Yunnan to the world.  For a moment, I thought I was in Banff in my Canadian home of Alberta, until the traffic on the road reminded me I was in very remote China. Like Xizhou and it’s bigger … Continue reading Shuhe on the Tea Horse Road

Xizhou Village on the Edge

I suppose most villages in China –  if they have survived wars, earthquakes and the relentless passage of time – could be considered Ancient Towns.  Some have achieved status as World Heritage sites – Lijiang and Pingyao – or as AAAAA Tourist Attractions – Zhouzhuang and Dali.  But some are just there… like Xizhou Village, on the edge of famous Dali Ancient Town and on … Continue reading Xizhou Village on the Edge