22. Travel Report: China  8.12. - 29.12.2008

Hekou - Yuanyang - Laomeng - Duoyishu - Jiangcheng - Simao - Jinghong - Mohan

The border crossing into China is one of the best organized and the friendly English speaking officials help with the procedure. Within 10 minutes we sit on our bikes again and are looking for a hotel room. The Chinese writing is challenging, but it’s a very good feeling, to realize that at least some basic knowledge of the language is still on my hard disk. So we are able to ask for prices, routes – but best of all, we even understand the answers.

China is developing extremely fast. The building sector is booming. In the towns, shops, boutiques and restaurants open daily. And – contrary to our prefixed opinion – China is investing into environment. On most roofs, even in the countryside, you can make out sun collectors for the warm water system. And we are astonished to see, that in some cities, public transport, police cars and private motorbikes are running with electric motors. But packing material is a different story; everything is 2 to 3 times wrapped in plastic.

The first two days leads our route along the Red River before it is starting to go uphill. For next 2 weeks we climb every day between 800 and 1500 meters of heights. But cycling is fantastic, there is nearly no traffic and the landscapes are great. These rice terraces are most spectacular and we cannot get enough. The visit of a colorful Sunday market is another mesmerizing highlight. Minorities from the surrounding hills, wearing their beautiful traditional dresses – mostly Thais – come here to do their business.

Slowly, landscape is changing, less rice terraces, more vegetable, chili, then endless tangerine- and banana plantations. Another few passes later we reach the famous area of the Puer Tee; terraced hills with tee bushes as far as you can see; an impressive picture.

Jinghong with its palm lined streets, capital of Xishuangbanna prefecture, is hosting us during Christmas time. We treat our self with a delightful Christmas dinner.

China is definitively worth a visit, not only because of the stunning landscapes or the colorful hill tribes, but also because of the very tasty food.

Further plans: North Laos, Thailand, flight via Japan to the marriage of our daughter Tanja (March 2009) to Mexico. And then? Everything is possible.

We do wish you all a very happy year and are happy if you travel with us.