- Category Archives 2016 Trip Planning
All set up! trip through the South Branch of Silk Road starts in 8 weeks and you are welcome to join
The trip on my life (after visiting 56 countries and counting) starts in Mid-May: The South Branch of the Silk Road, the one that Ella Maillart and Peter Fleming selected, in 1935 to return back home from Beijing because it was less traveled than the North Branch, through the Hexi Corridor, and Urumqi. Both branches split in Qinhai Lake, and join again in Kashgar.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017, Da Qaidam Zhen to Golmud
The original plan was to skip Golmud, to go directly from Da Qaidam to Delingha, and there to take a train or a bus to Ulan and Tsaka.
Monday, May 22, 2017 Mangnai to Da Qaidam (260 Km) or to Golmud (352 Km)
There is not a lot to see in Mangnai except if you are interested in the mining business. And, more specifically, in the asbestos mining. An interesting page from 10 years ago -> -> Shimiankuang <-
Sunday, May 21, 2017, Ruoqiang to Mangnai Zhen by minibus… if possible
Rough and ready, Qinghai is classic off-the-beaten-track territory, often as a last frontier feel to it. Traveling here can be both inconvenient and uncomfortable, though China’s rapid development plans have begun to touch the province, with huge railways and new rail lines under construction.
Despite that, Qinghai still delivers a high dose of solitude among middle-of-nowhere high-plateau vistas, Martian-like red mountains and encounters with remote communities of China’s ethnic minorities”
May 18 to Saturday 20: Free in Charkilik / Ruoqiang
Ruoqiang has an interesting museum, which hosts the “Beauty of Loulan”, a red haired mummy, of Caucasian origin (aka. European) who died 3.800 years ago. There is an interesting history underneath, almost a detective novel, because.. what did a red haired, 45 year old european woman doing in the Takla-Makan, 40 centuries ago?.
A diversion in Qiemo or map-makers horror vacui
“At the end of the first stage we rattled through Yamatu, a place prominent on mapswith no more justification than a tumble-down fort where half a dozen soldiers contemplate their chickens while waiting for tips from escorted travelers” (Owen Lattimore, High Tartary). When preparing today’s post I was on a trip, and I only had my Gizi 1:2,000,000 map, which shows a road, due South of Quiemo, that crosses places like Munaybulak, Kadalik, Bäshtograk to join the main road Qiemo-Ruoqiang at midway. I though that it should be a rather interesting diversion, at the feet of Altun Mountains, and, again, a road less travelled. And, probably, more interesting than the Cherchen River I planned
May 16, 2017: Qiemo-Rouqiang (315 Km) by local bus and a bivouac in the Takla-Makan
There are buses from Qiemo (Cherchen) to Rouquiang (Charkilik) (or, at least, quite a lot of bloggers have done this stretch of route by bus), so I assume that to find a bus full of smoking (and expectorating) people is not big deal. But… in Google Earth there are a lot of photos following the Cherchen River, which means that there should some kind of road there (and probably some tours too).
May 12, 2017: Niya-Qiemo (200 Km) by local bus
And they depart Cherchen, through a less desert country than expected “June and July are not good months to travel the Takla Makan and we had a certain dread of the desert. At first it seemed less naked, through not less desolate, than expected”.
May 10: Keriya-Niya (125 Km) by local bus. Traveling the South Silk Road
Each person, doing a trip like this one, must accept that other fellow-travelers may have different expectations, and not everyone may be interested in waking up at three in the morning to see the sun rising on a sea of dunes, or like the idea of a day bus instead of a night bus, to see a road in with there is nothing to see.