Jiuzhaigou National Park – Stunning scenery, crazy bus rides, and Oreos

Jiuzhaigou is a UNESCO World Heritage nature reserve in the northern Sichuan province in central China and is known as the habitat of the giant pandas (although it is extremely rare to see a panda in the park). Jiuzhaigou’s main feature is its multitude of blue, green and turquoise lakes. Originating in glacial activity, Jiuzhaigou’s water has a high concentration of calcium carbonate, making it so clear that the bottom Continue reading Jiuzhaigou National Park – Stunning scenery, crazy bus rides, and Oreos

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding – Because pandas!

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and red pandas alike.  It was founded in 1987 with 6 giant pandas that were rescued from the wild. By 2008 it had 124 panda births and the captive panda population had grown to 83 animals – it is currently at a staggering 113 giant pandas. The goal of the facility is Continue reading Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding – Because pandas!

The cost of travel – September 2014 budget roundup

My first month on the road was spread between 10 days at home in Massachusetts, 8 days in Washington, and 13 days in China. I’m not going to talk about those last few days at home because I really didn’t spend much at all – maybe $40 for gas – so I’m not going to bother writing about it. What you guys probably really care about is how much I’ve spent Continue reading The cost of travel – September 2014 budget roundup

A day exploring Shaanxi – Mosques, pagodas, and Muslim food

My German friend Chris and I had such a good time at the Terracotta Warriors together that we decided to explore the rest of Xi’an and the Shaanxi Province the following day.  Most people visit Xi’an exclusively for the infamous warriors but there is a lot more to the city than that. Did you know that Xi’an has a very large Muslim population?  A wall that surrounds the entire downtown Continue reading A day exploring Shaanxi – Mosques, pagodas, and Muslim food

The Terracotta Warriors – Rain, soldiers, and a free tour

My first full day in Xi’an was a rainy but good one. I had taken a 6.5 hour high speed bullet train the day before from Beijing and decided to have a relaxing afternoon.  After all, getting to my hostel was a pain in the ass because the directions my hostel provided said to get on subway line 3 – there is no line 3 – and then get off Continue reading The Terracotta Warriors – Rain, soldiers, and a free tour