China Trip August 2007
We flew from Shanghai to Lanzhou, a 2 hour flight. From there, we ventured south and west. Our goals are to visit the ancient Buddhist statues, and experienced the cultural mix in China's Wild Wild West. We were not disappointed.
Lanzhou and Shanghai circled in red.
Google Earth image of area we visited.
Sticking to our tradition, we did not join a group tour. However, we bought our plane tickets and booked a couple of nights at a Lanzhou hotel in advance in the US. By the way, the hotel website we used was http://www.chinahotels.org. They did not ask for a credit card. The arrangement is that you pay the hotel when you get there, and therefore it should be OK security-wise. They will send you a confirmation form by email and you just take that with you to show to the hotel. We did not have any problems with this arrangement.
We winged rest of the way, using our excellent "Lonely Planet" guide book and my not-so-good Mandarin. We wind up hiring a local driver for most of the trips.
We did not get robbed and nothing got stolen – thank for all the advanced warnings. We did not even get taken by the Shanghainese taxi drivers, as far as I know.
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Maiji Shan Grotto
Xiahe and Labrang Monastery