The Road to Everest

Great Tour of China Day 2
Apr 27, 2006,

Thursday 27 April 2006
Datong ¨C Wutaishan

Just outside of Datong are the Yungang Caves. Known in English as the Cloud Ridge Caves, these outstanding Buddhist monuments consist of twenty caves carved out of sandstone. Each in turn contains statues of the Buddha and many other deities and scenes from Buddhist mythology. In total, there are a massive 51,000 statues, which were started during the Wei Dynasty in 452AD to atone for their persecution of Buddhism.

Today¡¯s lunchbreak, in Ying Xian, was combined with a visit to the Sakyanuni Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in China. Built in 1056, this impressive erection provides a beautiful sight over Ying Xian, although today views were marred somewhat by a sandstorm that sent locals running into their shops.

From here we made our way into the countryside and up into the hills, before arriving at Wutaishan, our overnight halt and a Buddhist capital. With over 100 monasteries and temples, Wutaishan is bursting with fascinating phenomena, from stunning traditional architecture, to nuns with shaved heads, to monks nattering away on their mobile phones.

After such a pious experience, we all humbly returned to the commodious Wu Feng hotel, where some participants enjoyed conversation and Jing wine until the wee hours.


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Day 30: Thursday 25 May 2006
Zhaoqing – Splendid China, Shenzhen

On this our final day of the Great Tour of China 2006, we made a short journey mainly on expressway from Zhaoqing to the Splendid China Cultural Park in Shenzhen for the ceremonial finish.

May 26, 2006
Day 29: Wednesday 24 May 2006
Guilin - Zhaoqing

We left Gulin on smooth fast roads with wonderful views of the ‘eggbox’ type hills. These are hills of limestone which have eroded into shape over centuries covered in native vegetation and resembling very large teeth.

May 25, 2006
Day 28: Tuesday 23 May 2006
Kaili - Guilin

The agenda today was another long driving day to Guilin along a mixture of road surfaces: smooth main roads, bumpy secondary roads and some roads still under construction.

May 24, 2006
Day 27: Monday 22 May 2006
Huangguoshu Falls - Kaili

Before negotiating another day on the road, everyone spent a couple of hours today visiting China’s most scenic falls at Huangguoshu. Set against lush, local vegetation, the falls make up in beauty for what they lack in size.

May 23, 2006
Day 26: Sunday 21 May 2006
Kunming – Huangguoshu Falls

This morning we took the northern road from Kunming on a mix of main highway, dual carriageway and back roads. The first town we passed through was Quiyang en route to Honggu, a large town with coal mining and steel production as it’s main industries.

May 23, 2006