First Impressions

We kinda drop the ball on this page. I’ll still keep it here for the China photos, but for more updated photo updates. Jo’s “Panorama Power” album on Facebook is a good place to have a quick peek at our latest photos. For play by play updates, look for “njl333” on Instagram. I swear, Jo is addicted to that thing.


I know… Updates to the blog have been coming in slowly. Believe it or not, we do need time to read through and edit what we wrote. As the heading suggests, this page will feature our unedited notes or first thoughts for each of our travel days. To make reading this gibberish bearable, we will include up to 3 shots from our camera phones that we think best represent the day in question.

Why from our camera phones?

Because most of the time, they are the ones that are the most readily available. To me, that means they will probably capture things that caught our eyes at the particular instant. And even though I like to indulge in the occasional DI (mostly to make Jo look fatter) (because it amuses me), I promise the photos will be mostly un-photoshopped. (Warning: The Photoshop fat prank should only be attempted by professionally trained husbands/significant others)


6 Dec

Still haven’t learned to treat ourselves a bit better. 8 hours cycling to Haba Mountains & Napa Lake… so this is the real Shangri-la.
Scraggly yaks, wild warthogs, munching cows, ducks larger than baby pigs, horses with resoundingly loud neighs, head-butting sheep, flocks of various migratory birds that we couldn’t identify… we challenge you to not feel good here.

5 Dec

Shangri-la feels more like Lhasa than Lhasa did?!
Being abducted by Beijing aunty into amazing Xiang Rui Hotel

4 Dec

Tiger Leaping Gorge Day 3 – down at the Tiger Leaping Stone

3 Dec

Tiger Leaping Gorge Day 2 – how awesome (and COLD) is it to brush your teeth with the snow mountains right in front of you
Stumbling upon the best waterfall we’ve seen so far
Discovery: trekking in TLG is not for the faint hearted. Safety railings? What are those?
Overnight in Tibet Guest House

2 Dec

Tiger Leaping Gorge Day 1 – conquering the 28 bends WITHOUT accepting 和大叔’s donkey ride
The Jade Dragon Snow Mountains watching over us as we trekked
Meeting Claudia the wacky Aussie who doesn’t brush her hair

1 Dec

What else can you do in Lijiang but 晒太阳、发呆 as advertised by numerous cafes
Black Goat steamboat dinner with ultra friendly Naxi people

30 Nov

Spectacular views on our way up to Lijiang
Soaking in Lijiang’s indescribably comfortable vibe

29 Nov

Why is Emeishan so pretty.

28 Nov

Original plan to cover all of Emeishan completely smashed to pieces once we reached the Golden Summit and saw this
Jin Ding, it’s your fault we only completed one item in our itinerary and had to extend our stay in Emeishan.

27 Nov

Emeishan, we’re ready for you

26 Nov

THE Giant Buddha! is giant indeed.
25 Nov
黄坤, the amazing real-life crazy taxi driver, who entirely owns the credit for us managing to catch our train from Chongqing to Leshan
Scam #2 in Leshan, by an honest-looking trishaw man… how could he.

24 Nov

Fengdu’s Ghost City (meh. Can you say Haw Par Villa)
More eat sleep eat sleep on The Victoria Empress

23 Nov

Catching the sunrise on the deck

Cruisin’ through The Lesser Three Gorges, and the Lesser Lesser Three Gorges (Seriously!!)

22 Nov

Eat sleep eat sleep on The Victoria Empress

The amazing navigating skills of the Empress’ Captain

Shore excursion to the Three Gorges Dam Project

20 Nov

Huanglong Cave

I don’t want to use the word “phallic”, but…

Free performance!

19 Nov

Day 2 in Zhangjiajie – 乌龙寨,天子山,十里画廊

Almost missing this incredible view of Tianbo Mansion because we unwittingly allowed ourselves to have our fortunes told

Tianwei getting attacked by a macaque (who ran off with an unopened packet of instant noodles… bon appetit)

Super happening night market in Zhangjiajie city with its topless dancing kebab sellers (male ones hmmm.)

18 Nov

Day 1 in Zhangjiajie – The Golden Whip Stream and Yang Jia Jie (金鞭溪,杨家界)

Being enchanted at Mi Hun Tai (literally The Enchanting Platform)

16 Nov

1000-year-old Sculptures & Calligraphy appreciation at Xi’an Bei Lin Museum

15 Nov

Biang2 biang2 mian4 for brunch!!

Shaanxi National Museum

Adventures of Tintin in 3D, for the same price as the Terracotta (something is not right with this world.)

14 Nov

Scammed Scammed and Scammed again

Looking at unimpressive mountains (Li Shan), and climbing up to Chiang Kai-Shek’s Hiding Place (errrr….)

Terracotta Power…not enough time!

Xi’an subway needs to be excavated with a brush

13 Nov

Han Yang Ling – Exploring the half excavated tomb of Han Jingdi

Big Goose Pagoda Redux

Jo and the KFC egg tarts

12 Nov

Xi An!! (after a 15-hour train ride on a hard seater with various butts & armpits stuffed in our faces -____-)

Paying good money to work hard for your own food (Mutton Paomo)

Big Goose Pagoda (hur hur…)

Muslim Quarters with awesome street food

11 Nov

Hanging out at Zhang Ye (lots of 11 11 11 weddings)

Overnight train ride on a Hard Sleeper aka Life is hard

10 Nov

Monk that coerced us to lie

Village life in Mati Si

Standing tickets on a 15 hour journey????? No WAY!

09 Nov

Gambling scams on squeezy, bumpy buses

Tomb raidering through cliffside temples

08 Nov

Jiayuguan Fort

The GREAT WALL!!! (the overhanging one okayyyy)

07 Nov

Nothing much… we reached Jiayuguan and basically lazed the day away

We ate more mutton!!!

06 Nov

Ya Dan National Park

Accidentally walking onto a film set in Dunhuang Old Town

Jade Pass

05 Nov

Mogao Caves

04 Nov

Our Day of Rest (what we were SUPPOSED to do)

Climbing up (and sliding down) Sand Dunes (what we REALLY did)

Camel trekking YAY!

My first taste of Awesome Mutton

03 Nov

4WD through the Gobi Desert

Nearly sliding down the ICE MOUNTAIN OF DOOM

02 Nov

Train Ride to Golmud – Worst city in China with the Worst.Hotel.Ever

01 Nov

Hot Spring enroute back to Lhasa

AWESOME last dinner with Tibetan tour group

31 Oct

Super Cold and Breathless night at Rongphu Monastery (someone almost died…. true story)

Barely catching the sunrise at Everest

Return Bus Ride to Shigatse through same dirt road (yaaaaaaay!!!)

Awesomely cheap and authentic Tibetan food. Waitress tried to warn us away saying that they only serve REAL Tibetan food

30 Oct

Continuation of loooooong drive (except that we are on a dirt road instead of a tarred one now). 102km of pure joy!

First view of Mount Everest, along with Mount Lhotse, Mount Mayalu and the awesomely named Mount Qowowuyag. (All more than 8000m)

Conquest of MOUNT EVEREST!!!……………………*whisper* Base Camp

Top of the world

29 Oct

Start of looooong drive to Mount Everest Base Camp

Of glaciers and Yamdrotso lake with the huge stone piles

Chuan Chuan Dinner with rest of group

Stopover at Shigatse with the BEST HOTEL ROOM SO FAR

28 Oct

Potala Palace

Jokhang Temple

Barkhor Street (again and again and again)

27 Oct

Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery

The smell of Yak Butter in the morning


Debating Monks

26 Oct

Can’t…..breathe…. otherwise known as back in Lhasa

25 Oct

Being at the roof of the world

Hiking up to 5200m to get the best possible view of Namtso Lake… TOTALLY WORTH IT

24 Oct

Unexpectedly over-commercialized Lhasa

Shrunken wrinkled pilgrims with such character on their faces, pacing through Barkhor market with their prayer beads and chupas

23 Oct

Waking up to the sunrise, and the train radio blaring “天路”

Such blue, blue skies & the ground shimmering with frost

Checking into Lhasa Hostel with all its stories of broke backpackers, heartbroken souls & breathless trekkers suffering from altitude sickness, graffitied all over the walls

22 Oct

Sleep sleep sleep.

Idiotic TW behaving like a Patapon after hours spent playing on his PSP.

Meeting a family of Israeli men in the neighbouring cabin, one of whom backpacks for a living

21 Oct

Happy Birthday Cai Hong!

Leisurely day reconnecting with the world through the internet

We are in Lianhe Wanbao????

Last-minute panic shopping for supplies to last us a 44 hour train ride

Getting crammed into a teeny cabin with 2 demure Thai girls who never stop taking photos

20 Oct

the unbelievable genius of constructing Du Jiang Yan

When we spent more time with survivors of the Sichuan Earthquake

19 Oct

Qingcheng (Back) Mountain

Hell of a track and worth every single minute

A MAD rush down the mountain

The elderly couple that seemed to have floated down the mountain.

18 Oct

Unexpected Change of plans – no more salmon at 4 ladies Mountain

Sichuan Earthquake Memorial sites

17 Oct

No entry to Flower Lake because it’s…. Autumn (duh…)

Sitting beside a pile of burning yak dung eating Zang Ba and raw mutton in a random Tibetan’s tent

Horse riding on endlessly vast plains

452-step climb to see the first bend of the Yellow River

16 Oct

Jiuzhaigou Redux

Having a whole waterfall all to ourselves

15 Oct

Jiuzhaigou day 1

Uncle Chang’s awesome palace

14 Oct

8 hour road trip to Jiuzhaigou

Staying with Ah Zhong and family

Meeting the five feisty girls

13 Oct

Panda Power

Standing on the spot where Liu Bei, Guan Yu & Zhang Fei became sworn brothers

12 Oct

Chengdu is a grey grey place


4 thoughts on “First Impressions

  1. Pingback: It’s been an AMAZING week | TW and Jo's Excellent Adventure

  2. Pingback: Home for the Holidays!! | TW and Jo's Excellent Adventure

  3. Back in 1995 we trod a few of the same paths and know that you are having a blast. We loved Lhasa–have a look at us then:

    We hope that you are able to find a way to continue your retirement into your Golden Years. But if not, we’re sure that when you do have to return to the work-a-day grind, you will conclude that your early retirement was well worth it.

    • The Potala Palace!! We have quite a few good memories of the place. We are enjoying whatever we can now… before we have to go back to the rat race..

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