Qinghai Province


September 11, 2016


Kumbum Monastery (Ta’er Si) lies just south of the city of Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province.

The Monastery was built in 1577 at the birthplace of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Further south, on the road to Qinghai Lake, lies a lovely scenic spot  and a Tibetan version of a Petting Zoo.  The official name is Sun and Moon Mountain or Sun and Moon Pass.


Qinghai Province


September 10, 2016


Xining is a city with a history of more than 2000 years.  It was a vital link to Tibet to the south and to the city of Lanzhou to the east. 

Xining lies in the Hexi Corridor and served as a transportation and trading hub for the ancient Northern Silk Road route.  The city now serves as a hub for the Modern Silk Road providing connections to multiple-lane highways and bullet trains in all directions.

Tongren (pop 257,000)

Qinghai Province


September 9, 2016


The Longwu Tibetan Temple and Monastery is the main site in Tongren.   I saw very little of it.  In fact, I almost missed it. 

I stroll from my hotel towards the Temple along the main street but as usual, I am seduced by shops and shopkeepers and the local population at work or at leisure.

On the Road

Gansu Province


September 4, 2016


Here's the thing I love about Independent Travel:

When I’m On the Road, I’m on the Road.  I never know what I'll find.

Early today, it's a Livestock Market.  Herders transport their cows or sheep or goats for sale or trade.  Others come on a motorbike and buy a chicken for dinner.

Later today, I find two Minority Villages somewhere in the remote hills of Gansu Province. 

Bingling Temple

Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture

Gansu Province


September 3, 2016

For more than a millennium, the Bingling Temple was a work in progress.  Inside natural caves and grottoes, artists and craftsmen carved their venerated Buddha statues according to the current stylistic attributes.

I suppose it takes a lifetime of research and scholarship to ascribe the origin of a carving to a definite century or dynasty.