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Drive or ride from Southeast Asia, through China, to Central Asia and even Europe
view in Google Map: Laos – China – Kyrgyzstan
China’s megacities and rural areas, world natural and cultural heritage sites, national parks of china, giant panda, tibetan areas, tibetan buddhist monasteries, xinjiang uygur region, Silk Road…
Gather 1 day in advance in place not far from the Laos/China border
Enter China in the morning. The tour guide will wait in the China Immigration Hall and assist in customs and border inspection procedures. Drive to mengla for vehicle and driver formalities.
Obtain Chinese temporary number plate and temporary driver’s license, buy china sim card, let’s hit the road.
Visit opportunity: Agricultural town near kunming
Today we will drive more than 500 kilometers to a small town by the Jinsha River.
Visit opportunity: Leshan Giant Buddha, the tallest Buddha sculpture in the world with a height of 71 meters, it was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site together with Mount Emei in 1996.
Chengtu, is a sub-provincial city which serves as the capital of the Chinese province of Sichuan. With a population of 20,937,757 inhabitants during the 2020 Chinese census, it is the fourth most populous city in China, and it is the only city apart from the four direct-administered municipalities with a population of over 20 million. It is traditionally the hub in Southwest China.
In 2011, it was recognized by UNESCO as a city of gastronomy. It is associated with the giant panda, a Chinese national symbol, which inhabits the area of Sichuan; the city is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
Visit opportunity: Giant Panda & take a rest.
Today we enter the aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, and the altitude of the destination was 2800m.
Visit opportunity: Songpan ancient town
Huanglong, China National Park, World Natural Heritage, Spectacular beauty created by geological formations over millions of years of evolution, is worth exploring in half a day. This park is suitable for both adults and children.
Leaving Sichuan Province and entering Gansu Province. Our destination is Labrang Monastery.
Lonely Planet describes Labrang monastery like this: with its succession of squeaking prayer wheels (3km in total), hawks circling overhead and the throb of Tibetan longhorns resonating from the surrounding hills, Labrang is a monastery town unto itself. Many of the chapel halls are illuminated in a yellow glow by flickering yak-butter lamps, their strong-smelling fuel scooped from voluminous tubs. Even if Tibet is not on your itinerary, the monastery sufficiently conveys the mystique of its devout persuasions, leaving indelible impressions of a deeply sacred domain.
This area is definitely the center of Tibetan Buddhist culture and art. Labrang monastery, then drive to Rebkong(Tongren), surrounding monasteries include Rongwo Monastery, Gomar Monastery (located in a fortress), Nianduhu Si(Nyendug Gompa, Gelugpa monastery), and the Upper and Lower Wutun monasteries in Wutun village.
Rebkong (Tongren) area is not yet a tourist-developed place, it is highly recommended to stay in this area for one night, people here including Tibetans and the various Muslim peoples are friendly and hospitable.
Driving through Hui Muslim Areas we arrive Qilian, a County in the middle part of the Qilian Mountains, the average altitude of 3169m.
Travel through the hinterland of Qilian Mountains. Most of the time is off road. Arrive Jiyuguan pass, a key waypoint of the ancient Silk Road.
Jiayu Pass or Jiayuguan: The pass is located at the narrowest point of the western section of the Hexi Corridor. It’s the first frontier fortress at the west end of the Ming dynasty Great Wall. In the Ming period, foreign merchants and envoys from the Central Asia and West Asia mostly entered China through Jiayu Pass.
Overhanging Great Wall: Running north from Jiayuguan Fort, this section of the Great Wall is believed to have been first constructed in 1539, though it was reconstructed in 1987.
Keep driving to Dunhuang.
Mogao caves: Situated at a strategic point along the Silk Route, at the crossroads of trade as well as religious, cultural and intellectual influences, the 492 cells and cave sanctuaries in Mogao are famous for their statues and wall paintings, spanning 1,000 years of Buddhist art. The Mogao Caves became one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1987.
Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Moon Spring: Legendary desert peak featuring an ancient crescent-shaped lake & traditional-style building.
Today we enter the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, long drives on the highway all day.
The Turpan area is historically significant because nearby Gaochang was once the Uyghur capital and an important staging area on the Silk Road.
Turpan is the most original city near Urumqi with Uyghur ethnicity. It is highly recommended to leave the highway, take some country trails, and drive through Uighur towns and villages, where you can buy naan and various melons and fruits on the road.
German scientists conducted archaeological expeditions, known as the German Turfan expeditions, at the beginning of the 20th century (between 1902 and 1914). They discovered paintings and other art treasures that were transported to the Museum of Asian Art in Berlin.
Visit opportunity: Gaochang Old City, Baizikli Cave of Thousand Buddhas, Flaming Mountain
Visit opportunity: Turpan’s karez water system, Jiaohe ancient city
Urumqi is the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far northwest of China. Ürümqi developed its reputation as a leading cultural and commercial center during the Qing dynasty in the 19th century. With a census population of 4 million in 2020, Ürümqi is the second-largest city in China’s northwestern interior after Xi’an as well as the largest in Central Asia in terms of population.We think it’s worth staying for a day here.
Visit opportunity: Xinjiang Museum, Hongshan, International Grand Bazaar,
drive 2 days 1479km from Urumqi to Kashgar.
We leave early, go through several checkpoints, arrive at the border and complete exit procedures. Goodbye China, hello Kyrgyzstan.
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