Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, day 8: Langmusi and Tibetan sky burial site


Langmusi was very dusty even in the early morning. I saw janitors in their full workwear with masks and long gloves. I could only see their eyes.

I started for what I thought the Sichuan side of the town, but couldn’t find the Hui mosque. Then I bought the entrance ticket for Sertri Gompa aka Dacanglangmu Saichisi.

Luckily, because I didn’t know the direction well enough, I guessed I should do what others do. Turned out I was at the northern side (Gansu side). I sought for the sky burial site after I left my companions because they either went the other way or were slow. I saw people walking to the hill side, so I followed them. After a while, I stopped near a school and some Chinese women spoke to me. I could barely answer them, but they thought I spoke Chinese so well. However, I barely understood what they said because they used some local dialect. From their outfits, I thought they must have come from the countryside.

Surprisingly, I met the best English speaking person of China on the hill here where she happily told me I needed to walk up the way she went down to reach the Tibetan sky burial site. She also added that there were big birds and almost no people at the site now. Then I continued and saw only yaks.

I was surprised again when I saw cars at the burial site. Seemed like they came from a different road and didn’t see the monastery. I walked around the site for a while, took some photos and videos.

At the farthest point of the journey above 3,500m was a plot of land surrounded by Tibetan flags where I saw many huge axes on the ground and vultures waiting on the mountainside. I also saw many fragments of human bones and even a bloody tooth nearby. I wasn’t scared but I didn’t wanna see straight into the bloody stuff. I wasn’t scared of this place, just thought that it was so sacred.

https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17858287111867407/

After getting down the hill, my team joined me and we went to a crowded restaurant for lunch. The wonton soup was good, but I still preferred the dry wonton in Zoigê.

After taking a nap in the hotel, we went to the monastery nearby. I thought this Kirti Gompa aka Dacangnama Ge’erdisi (on the southern/Sichuan side) was more beautiful, but it was just one big temple. People outside it looked more like camping to me because they were like just sitting there or finding a good spot to take some pictures. I walked towards to canyon, and my temple visit suddenly turned into a trek. Maybe I lacked info of the Namo Gorge before I actually did it.

Wading through the stream, some horse keepers talked to me. They tried to get me on a horse trekking but I told them I was afraid of horses. (Actually I didn’t like riding animals). He told me the valley would lead to the meadow. Two companions found me while I was slowing down so I decided to continue. The meadow was a little disappointed because the scene was not very beautiful at this time of the year.

When I returned I met a Canadian guy whose face was redder than the Tibetans and a short-haired British girl who looked like a nun. He said my hat was from Canada, but I told him it was more Russian. He told me that he went to Vietnam, and actually the two of them were hitchhiking together after meeting in Hanoi. Lucy said the luggage was too heavy. Watching her carrying her backpack made me feel tired too.

I tried yak yogurt because a companion told me it tasted like Greek yogurt. But I smelled the cow in the first tasting piece instead. Nothing delicious about it.

Before dinner, I bought a panda faced craft item as a gift for my friend. After another fried rice meal, I decided to buy Tibetan beef jerky for my sis. I really liked the packaging. Then I called it a day after 20,000+ steps.

Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, day 7: Zoigê to Langmusi


Really, Langmusi was out of my initial plan. This was somewhere unplanned. It was somehow a last minute decision. It turned out to be the best place of the journey. It was that good because I left all the negativities of my companions behind. I meant, I left them alone with their negativities.

As we all stayed in one room with 2 beds, I woke up quite early in the morning. Unluckily, the rain from yesterday evening has not stopped yet, hence my plan to trek a nearby hill was ruined. A bit later, I decided to go out with my umbrella and found a corn for breakfast. However, the corn was so hard that I couldn’t finish it while it was still hot.

While others were roaming around Ruoergai, a driver found me opposite the bus staton. He told me that there was no direct bus from Langmusi to Mt. Siguniang and that I had to get back to Zoigê first then go to Maerkang (Barkam). He offered 120 yuan per person for the trip to Barkam. I took his name card, but I didn’t intend to hire a car. At least now I knew one way to Mt. Siguniang, by hiring a private car.

I met a Tibetan kid on the street where he grabbed my hand and shook it gently. It turned out that he was begging for money. I gave him some just because he was so cute.

I finally had the best meal of this trip so far. The wonton tasted even better with the delicious dipping sauce.

The bus to Langmusi was the same with the one we took to the Flower Lake yesterday. However, we were stuck in an hour long traffic. Was it because today was Saturday? The bus driver who was informative yesterday also told me to get back to Zoigê with his bus if I wanted to go to Mt. Siguniang.

The bus passed some small streets on the way to the Langmusi bus station. Then it stopped at a small parking lot in front of a big gate. I guess this was one of the 2 famous monasteries of Langmusi as I saw a ticket collector.

Had some misunderstanding with the hotel owner and his father who took us inside. I had to bargain for the two rooms again. This must be the tallest building around here. I had to climb to the 3rd or 4th floor. The rooftop where we found to hang clothes was still 2 floors up.

It was around 6:30 pm and the two Hanoian girls didn’t wanna go see the nearby monastery. So I decided to hike the hill nearby. It didn’t look far and the day was still young. Luckily, the Dien Bien girl accompanied me at last even though she was afraid we couldn’t be back before it was dark.

This was my bravest experience of the trip, and thanks to my companion, I finished climbing the hill passing old and damaged wooden stairs in a gloomy afternoon. The hill would be threatening to me if I did it alone.

We got back to the hotel around 8 pm and I still saw the hill from my hotel room. I tried to reheat the corn in the boiling water for dinner, but it was still too hard to eat.

The teacher girl told me she counted the money and thought that we spent half of the budget. I startled at first, and found out that it was half of the journey already. For the rest, I didn’t think it would cost more than what we had already spent.

Check out my Instagram story of this day: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18015565684279704/

Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, day 2: Dujiangyan and Mt. Qingcheng


We woke quite early this morning, then waited for the tour bus. But then a small van took us to another place where it started raining. I wore a waterproof jacket, and brought an umbrella, but I had to share with 2 companions who had nothing. Wonder why they didn’t prepare for a long trip?

The Chinese guy didn’t speak English so it was hard to understand about the Dujiangyan and Mt. Qingcheng history. And he tried to get more money from us. Turned out we had to pay more, and much more than the hotelier told us. I sent WeChat messages and they replied way too late. Bad service. Luckily, a Suzhou student girl tried to help me from time to time. 70 CNY more than expected (170 CNY instead of 100) made our trip too expensive.

To make it worse, it didn’t seem to stop raining, even after we visited Dujiangyan and sat for the lunch. The square lunch was worth the money somehow.

Somewhere on the hike to Qingcheng top, I saw billboards with the temperature and humidity (22-23.5 degrees celcius, 99.9%). I was a bit tired, but I found that Chinese people were really good at hiking. They almost wasted no time and breath.

I also tried in vain to ask for the coach stop to Huanglong and Jiuzhaigou, as the pretty girl as well as her handsome boyfriend seemed to have limited knowledge of Sichuan while the tour guide kept on thinking there was no way to go alone there. How about local ppl going back to their hometowns? They had no clue.

So, I’d like to go and see if I could buy the tickets at the Chadianzi station first. But I was lost from some metro as usual, and had no clue of the map. After walking for a while, I decided to take a bus. We reached the station a lil bit later than 7:30pm.

Back to our hostel metro, I decided to skip dinner and opted for a milk tea instead.

Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, day 1: Saigon to Chengdu, transit in Hanoi


So I woke up early this morning to board the plane to Hanoi, in order to meet up with my 3 companions that I found online through a Facebook travel group.

I might have got out of bed the wrong side, because I had a problem from the start. The VNA ground staff was very slow. She checked my Chinese visa and thought out loud that it was invalid. I had to tell her if she didn’t know how to check then someone from their international staff in Hanoi should know how to do it. Even if I couldn’t go to China, I was still entitled to fly to and fro Hanoi, right? To make it worse, my luggage handle was stuck in operation.

I met the 3 girls at Noi Bai airport. They seemed to be friendly at first though the girl from Dien Bien Province seemed to have a little difficulty in communication.

We reached Chengdu on time (or earlier than expected?), but I had some problem with the checkin machine, and even though I finished on the machine, I still had to scan the 4 fingerprints again at the counter. Finally, after 10 years, I fulfilled my wish to return to Chengdu.

The metro was outside the airport. I found how to buy the ticket after a while. But when we reached the Flipflop Hotel, there was a problem with a Hanoi girl.

As there was too much trouble today, I decided to go to Dujiangyan tomorrow with the hotel tour group. I asked for a discount, but they just gave me a stuffed panda, others some small panda things.

In the evening, I went to see the Dongmen Bridge (famous for its light at night) and passed by the bar street. Someone played a new song of Gao Jin, Xia Xue Ha Er Bin, which I liked a lot. We then strolled around and decided to have noodles at some vendor. On the way back, I bought some yellow cherries at a fruits store as I’d never eaten them before. It tasted like red cherries though.

Before going to sleep, I bought some bread for breakfast at a Hong Qi Guan store.