Category: China

So there I was in Nanjing Station to catch the bullet train back to Shanghai, minding my own business, and going for a quick slash before boarding the train as you do. It was one of those massive toilets in …

Bizarre Encounter at a Nanjing Station Urinal… Read More »

I was just sorting through some old travel photos after finally gaining access to the hard drive from my broken old laptop, and realised I’d never posted about the Yunnan backpacker trail in Southwest China. The basic route goes from …

The Yunnan Overland Backpacker Trail Read More »

I first heard of Hong Kong’s old Kowloon Walled City in William Gibson’s Idoru (which is a great novel if you’re interested in sci-fi & Japan), which features a virtual reality community based on it. A lawless, ramshackle, and insanely …

Kowloon Walled City, Kawasaki Read More »

You’re woken up by the sound of an old man violently expectorating in the hutong alleyway outside, cringing during the pause while he holds his mouthful of phlegm for a second or two between noisily bringing it up and noisily …

Life in Beijing: catching the bullet train Read More »

If you’re in China on a tourist (L) visa and want to get more time in the country without having to go down to Hong Kong for a new visa, you may be able to extend your existing visa at …

Chinese Visa Extensions in Leshan and Kaifeng Read More »

I was just going through some old photos and found this one of a pop-up street barber near my old place in Beijing. There isn’t much of a travel blog post I can write to go with it, but it …

Life in Beijing: the Street Barber of Shilipu Read More »

Cold, tired, and hungry, I finally dropped my bags and plonked myself down on the bed; all I had to do now was go out for food and then shower & sleep, before getting up next day to take the …

My Failed Tibet Trip: Permits, Solo Travel, Getting Stuck in Xining, and the Amdo Route from Xining To Chengdu Read More »

One night while living in Beijing I coughed and hacked and spluttered all night long, with an itching and burning in my throat that nothing would alleviate. I didn’t sleep much that night, and when I finally did wake up …

Life in Beijing: Airpocalypse Now Read More »

“Go to Guizhou, the Hidden Beauty of China,” the TV advised me. “No thanks mate – I already did, and it was kinda shit,” I replied. I was sat in my Airbnb in Taipei, doing some work with the TV …

(How NOT to) Go to Guizhou: the Hidden Beauty of China Read More »

Why are you even here? This wasn’t the plan at all. You were supposed to be in Tibet. Crossing the road, you tuck in behind the old bloke bent under the weight of an enormous load of empty plastic bottles …

A Stroll in Chongqing: City of Bridges and Spices, Phlegm and Trash Read More »

If you’re looking to travel overland from China to SE Asia (or vice versa) you have three main route options: Guangxi province to Vietnam, Yunnan province to Vietnam, and Yunnan to Laos (and Thailand); a fourth potential route is Yunnan …

Overland Routes from China to Southeast Asia Read More »

The Great Buddha of Leshan in China‘s Sichuan province is one of the largest statues in the world, 71 metres tall, and the largest stone Buddha. It can easily be visited as a day-trip from the nearby city of Chengdu, …

Leshan: Big Brawl at the Big Buddha Read More »

If you’re visiting China, the Great Wall is likely to be somewhere near the top of your list of priorities; but the Great Wall of China isn’t the only wall you’re going to come across – you’re also going to …

The Great Firewall of China, and why you need a VPN Read More »

“You know, you can see it for miles. It goes on for miles over the hills and everything; but so does the M6. D’you know what I mean? You can see that for miles… and you go, “great,” and that …

How to Visit the Great Wall of China from Beijing Read More »

This week saw the release of Ghost In The Shell, a live action Hollywood remake of the classic (1995) Japanese anime movie (itself based on the original manga by Masamune Shirow). The casting of Scarlet Johansson in the lead role caused some …

Ghost In The Shell: chasing ghosts in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan Read More »

Obviously, the train was packed. It was the autumn holidays, when the whole of China travels home to see family, and the only tickets available had been for the hard seat carriages – these carriages do have numbered individual seats …

Beijing to Chengdu in the autumn holiday: 27 hours in a tin of sardines! Read More »

Note: since this post was written, bullet train routes have opened from Chengdu to Kunming (6 hours, via Guiyang) and Kunming to Dali (2 hours), so the Panzhihua-Lijiang shortcut isn’t the major time-saver it used to be. It is still …

A useful backdoor route from Chengdu to Yunnan (Panzhihua to Lijiang bus) Read More »

“The man made scenery of the Yangtze is spectacularly grim.” – Michael Palin, Full Circle, 1997 “Marco Polo must’ve been pissed off by this point. It’s ‘orrible; it’s horrible. It’s a place to visit in a submarine this, this river. …

Down the Yangtze by hydrofoil through the Three Gorges Read More »

We got off the bus at some shithole bus station in a grim city that felt about two decades behind Beijing, under a smothering blanket of dirty brown smog so thick we couldn’t even see the tops of the faceless …

Hotpot Carnage in Chongqing Read More »

I’d been to Hong Kong & Macau the year before, but when we arrived in Beijing at the end of our Trans-Siberian journey, it was my first time in mainland China (and for my two companions too). Mike and Ross …

An action-packed first overland run through China Read More »