Our Stay in Tanggulashang

Our hotel accommodation for today – and yes it brings back bad memories of similar facilities we had in Volgograd. Even worse this time as the four of us have to take turns in going for a shower. Electrics on the water tank work in this room only!

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Evening meal at a very local restaurant . Tanggulashang is only a stopover town – very small population and very underdeveloped, but we did get excellent service and food.

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42nd day Fri 23rd May. From Golmud to Tanggulashang

When we first met Bing in China, he had told us that the security at check points is more thorough and frequent as we approach Tibet.


At this particular checkpoint on route to Tanggulashang, our initial discussion with the officials was about the routine passport and car doc check. However, it then shifted to the two Jerry cans we had at the back of the vehicle, (both full of diesel). Basically, we had to dismantle them and leave behind. No metal cans of any sort were allowed when entering into Tibet – why, because they could be used by rioters to make petrol bombs etc. No amount of discussion via our guide made any difference – the jerry cans had to go! However we did get some return out of it, we sold the diesel to one of the many lorry drivers passing through the same checkpoint. Businessmen to the end! Up until now on this trip we have purchased petrol 39 times and managed to sell it once!!

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This particular journey seemed quite long, it had some good and some very bad roads. The tiring aspect however was to do with the altitude we were reaching. At one point we were driving at an altitude of over 16,000 feet above sea level. I was having some difficulty in breathing.


We have to acclimatise before we go foe Everest base camp, which will be in the next few days.

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It was extremely windy and cold, but some great scenes along the route. Slightly different to previous route, but almost as you would see in the movies. In the 400km we travelled today, we didn’t pass one single town or village. Finally now at our destination of Tanggulashang.


We reached another milestone today, by now having travelled 9,000 miles.


Click Here To Watch Road Video 1


Click Here To Watch Road Video 2


Click Here To Watch Train Video


Lots of Scenes from the journey….

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Army at work………..


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Meet the Bikers

Today, we met some interesting and very experienced Australian motor bike travellers who were also staying at the same hotel as us. They were only in their early 60′s, but have been travelling for over 10  years. They had even been allowed to travel through N.Korea!

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They have made a compliment card, which on one side shows all the travelling they have already done. It was very impressive. I’m sure you would see the world in a different light with all the experiences you are likely to encounter when you do such a journey.

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Our Lunch at the Supermarket in Golmud

We went down to a at the local Chinese restaurant – Manvir, Bing and I.

Kirit was not too well from yesterday evening’s dinner and Peter was not fussed about the lunch neither. Manvir, Bing and I enjoyed our lunch.

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Checked out the kitchen once again!!

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We had nearly five dishes including dim-sum and noodles all for less than £3. Accompanied with the chilly oil and all freshly cooked. It was delicious.

Click Here to Watch Eating With Chopstick Video

Eating with chopsticks is getting easier by the day. The acid test will be – ‘to be able to pick up a grain of rice’. As the video clip shows, not quite there yet!

A day in Golmud : 41st day Thurs 22nd May

Today we spent a day wondering around in Golmud and not driving anywhere. We have been pushing ourselves trying to cover large distances in the last four days, so thought it best to take a day out.


However first had to get my laundry sorted out. For the next seven days the hotel accommodation may be difficult or of the low standard, as we have experienced on a few occasions.

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Itemising list was in Chinese, so the nice lady somehow managed to get it sorted out.

Second stop: The local supermarket

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Click Here to Watch the Hens in the Supermarket Video

Mr and Mrs Fish – will be served on some dinner table tonight.

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40th day Wed 21st May : From Dunhuang to Golmud 534km

This was going to be another long travelling day.

Before leaving for Golmud we visited The Magao Grottoes (Caves).
The artistic features of the treasured Buddhist murals represent the artistic style of the Northern Wei (386-543), Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties through the combination of the architecture, statues and murals in the caves.
The Mogao Caves also known as ‘The Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’ form a system of 492 temples 25 km (16 miles) southeast of the center of Dunhuang. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. The first caves were dug out in 366 CE as places of Buddhist meditation and worship. The Mogao Caves are the best known of the three famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China.

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the caves, but incredible to think some of what we saw was over a 1000 years old!


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Click Here to See The Magao Cave Video

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Now came the time for our long drive – from Dunhuang to Golmud. This was our route:

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Driver rotation system is working well. We do about two to three hours each and change. Conversation still crisp, intense and prickly at times. Good and nothing taken personally.


Beautiful scenery along this route, we also reached altitude over 12,000 feet in some parts.

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Normally the check points we have crossed have been, for the best part, relatively straight forward. But a checkpoint we were stopped on route to Golmud, was a little different.

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As we approached, the stationed officials indicated to us to stop the vehicle. I could see an armed sentry, stationed on a large covered platform with the end of the rifle just visible. He was about 25 yards away from us. The ground officials asked for the paperwork and Bing our guide got out with the information. Within the next minute the sentry guard had turned around from his original position (and I think this next bit was quite dramatic), he looked at us with quite a serious face but he was now engaged and pointing the rifle squarely at the windscreen – Manvir was driving and I was the passenger in the front seat – although we carried on talking normally inside the car, this was very unnerving, haven’t had a armed rifle pointed at me – ever!



Paperwork intact, we swiftly moved on. Obviously, for the present anyway, there is no photographic evidence to show you – but it did feel too close for comfort.


The roads were brilliant and we made excellent time and were in Golmud at 6:30 pm. We were going to check into a hotel, bags almost unloaded, but were told the hotel was not registered to accept tourists. So we had to find someplace else. It was not a problem as we are now used to searching a place to stay at and were soon at another hotel.


The place seems like a normal town, slightly quiet but a lot more Tibetan looking people.

Our Walk in the city/town of Dunhuang

Dunhuang is a lovely place, it is also a tourist destination. People seem to be a bit more trendier, more modern dressing then the previous towns / cities we have visited so far in China. The city is very clean and there appeared a mellow tempo to daily life. As you can see captured with numerous photos – the locals, friendly as ever. I do feel as if I am intruding in their lives by taking the snaps, but to date I have not been made to feel awkward when doing so.


Bing, mentioned that Dunhuang is a very typical Chinese city – if this is the case I will definitely be coming back to China again.


Dunhuang had a flourishing trade along the Silk Road and became the most open area in international trade in Chinese History. It provided the only access westward for the Chinese Empire and Eastward for western nationalities.


We got to our hotel and then off to walk in the town.

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Here are some of our experiences from the walk in the town.

Firstly, here is a shoe repair shop on the footpath:

Click Here to Watch Video of A busy lady at shoe repair shop

Then is our experience at the local pharmacy, again, similar to the previous ones we have seen in China, this also has many products that look interesting!

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Yes and finally – we managed to find a bar for a quick drink and off to bed – have nearly 400 miles to cover tomorrow.

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On the way from Hami to Dunhuang – 20th May

There seems to be a lull in terms of the variety we have been used to in the journey to date. However the lull, we are all sure, will turn to unpredictability as we move towards Tibet. It seems from the information our guide, Bing has given us, the little comfort we may have been enjoying recently will be a distant memory. We shall see.



Ganhgu province which we will be going through today and in which Dunhuang, the city we will be spending the night in, has a different ethnic mix too, with more Han people and less ethnic Muslims. However the province does sit at a junction, in this particular region of China, which makes it an area having a mix of all the ethnic groups.


Pretty uneventful 400km journey. The land is so absolutely vast. Initially mountainous then The last 80 km to Dunhuang was just very very flat as far as the eye could see.


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