Browsing All Posts published on »December, 2012«

Ho Chi Minh City

December 24, 2012

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Vietnam is catching up.  They’re taking on China in low-cost manufacturing and have clear ambitions of their own. But there’s still a charm about Saigon that has already gone from much of urban China – starting with an airport that feels as though the troops have only just moved out.  Everywhere you turn buildings that […]

Hanging Temple

December 21, 2012

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An hour or so from Datong, through dusty villages, where houses are still built of mud and donkeys draw carts laden with melons, is a temple that has clung to the side of a mountain for more than 1,500 years. Unsurprisingly, it’s known as the hanging temple… Now, I’m not much of a one for […]

Yungang Grottoes – in pictures

December 18, 2012

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UNESCO has a decent track record in choosing places worth seeing, and we headed off to one of their World Heritage sites, the Yungang Grottoes, first thing in the morning, hoping to be able to see these and The Hanging Temple in the same day, which is easily done from Datong. Started in the 5th […]

Datong – Shanxi Province

December 15, 2012

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Datong is a gritty kind of town.  It’s coal country – and arriving at the station in the dead of night did nothing to change our opinion that catching a train from Hohhot in Inner Mongolia into Datong was something of a risk. Not least because there are several stations called Datong and China’s paranoia […]

Xilamuren – the Inner Mongolia Plains

December 12, 2012

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A couple of hours’ drive north from Hohhot lie the grasslands of Inner Mongolia.  Nomadic horsemen still ply their trade, but it’s now more for the Han tourist than to make ends meet. It is a shame that catering to the new affluent of China is in danger of homogenising the tourist experience, even in […]

Hohhot – images of Inner Mongolia

December 9, 2012

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China may be a single entity, but it has a great variety of people and peoples within its vast borders.  Alongside the 22 provinces (23 if you count Taiwan), there is a spattering of Special Economic Zones (2), 4 Municipalities and 5 Autonomous Regions. It’s often these latter that court controversy as the people of […]

Terracotta Warriors

December 6, 2012

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I remember going Christmas shopping once with my sister and, as we walked through the John Lewis kitchen department, no doubt in search of some delightful present for some lucky family member, it dawned on me that I could plot a path through the shelves in such a way as to arrive quite suddenly in […]