Crossing the border from Laos you initially still ride in the tropics. Roads are in good shape and many are newly built. As we head north the mountains get higher and the roads have more curves. Each day we gain altitude and before you know it you are riding at +3’500 meters on the Tibetan plateau. Here the landscapes are magnificent, with huge open spaces, high snow-covered mountains, pristine lakes, and deep valleys. The riding is also about the journey!
China is vast. Off-the-scale massive. Wildly differing dialects and climates with topographical extremes it’s like several different countries rolled into one. Take your pick from the bazaars of Kashgar, a journey along the dusty Silk Road, or spending the night at Everest Base Camp Lhasa (the capital on the roof of the world). Three decades of round-the-clock development make some parts of the country completely unrecognizable from their more humble beginnings. Serve it all up according to taste: collapsing sections of the Great Wall, temple-topped mountains, villages that time forgot, languorous water towns, sublime Buddhist grottoes, and ancient desert forts. China’s diversity is second to none. Note that number four means bad luck and number eight good luck, once you are in China, the meaning of this will become clear.
In China, there are very different concepts of personal space than those in the West. People will stand closer to you, sit closer to you and walk-in closer proximity to you than in the West.
The word “friend” is used much more liberally in China than in the West. On the first meeting Chinese will often refer to someone as their “friend” if they wish the relationship to develop, or something beneficial to come out of the acquaintance. In other words, expect to make many friends while in China.
The Chinese live to eat, and with 1.4 billion food-loving people to feed, coupled with vast geographic and cultural variations in a huge land, the flavor profile, and ingredients used in the food change drastically depending on which region you visit. Overall most Chinese food is eaten with rice or noodles and consists of vegetables and meats that are cooked quickly at high temperatures. Tea originated in China and is often enjoyed plain with no sugar or milk added.
In China, we use clean and comfortable international business hotels in the cities and charming boutique hotels in the countryside. All with leisure facilities.