Mixed feelings on this warm September morning. We leave Japan shortly and it represents a significant change in our journey. For the first time we are heading back west, returning to a country we already visited. Japan was the goal when we first conceived of this trip.

When we left China there was a real feeling that there was so much we still wanted to see so that is very exciting. At the same time leaving Japan is a sad experience, it really has won us over. We met some amazing people, saw some incredible cities and landscapes, and visited a place which is now my absolute favourite in the world (so far). But there are stunning places in China still to be visited. On this trip we hope to visit the terracotta warriors, see the avatar mountains and visit the far western region of Urumqi.

Before we get there a 47 hour ferry ride lies ahead of us. In the waiting area with us currently are a very small number of Chinese passengers. The boarding starts in 20 minutes so either most of our fellow passengers are going to swoop in at the last minute or this will be a very empty ferry. Longest uninterrupted boat journey so far, ikou!

4 thoughts on “Sayounara Japan

  1. Hi, I just back to the UK. How is your days in China now? I hope you enjoy it. I guess there is cooler now, well, you are in south China, so maybe still quite hot :-p

    It’s always difficult to control myself to not suggest travel ideas :-p so,
    0. before go to Urumqi, I strongly suggest you visiting 敦煌石窟 “the Dunhuang Caves” that is one of the best buddhism rock cave remain from Tang dynasty.
    1. If you go to Urumqi, I would suggest you also explore the south part of Xinjiang province – Where 喀什 Kashgar (the capital of south Xinjiang province) is a great city with full of culture (you may think you go to a middle east country when you arrive there);
    2. After visiting 喀什 Kashgar, you could take a train to 和田 Khotan which used to be a very famous city in ancient China, but now it is a small town, so not many tourist but more local & unsophisticated people living there (well, maybe less people speaking English as well..), their night market has many delicious and inexpensive food!
    3.a. Another reason to visit 和田 Khotan is because you can take a public cross-cities-bus to go through the biggest desert in China, the Takla Makan Desert, which is the third biggest desert in the world. The Desert Bus may need one full day to go across the desert and arrive some small town that close to 库车 Kuqa (you may need a taxi to go to 库车 Kuqa if the bus arrive late). 库车 Kuqa is famous about it’s geology and some people call it ‘the donkey town’ and you may see many donkey there. After 库车 Kuqa, you can take a train back to Urumqi
    3.b. Some people go to Tibet from 喀什 Kashgar or 和田 Khotan but I have never done that…
    3.c Most Chinese tourist would do a round trip in north Xinjiang. I personally feel north Xinjiang is also very nice with it’s landscape, but the landscapes are kind of similar with European countries’ country side style; the south Xinjiang would give you a stronger culture feeling.

    Above texts are only suggestions, you can think/search about it. I went through this route many years ago and it is still one of the best trip in my memory. However, I would suggest you find some local people or trust worthy Chinese tourist do this route with you if you do want to go to the south part of Xinjiang province.

    I think I got a good friend who live close to the avatar mountains, he used to study in the UK for two years, so let me know if you need anything when you travel to there.

    Best wishes to your journey!

    1. Ah Chenhao, thank you so much for the travel tips!! Urumqi is definitely on the list, and yes I remember you previously talking about Kashgar and it sounds like a really interesting place and a different China. I’ll research the buses across the desert though if it’s difficult maybe I can get the train there and back to Kashgar. 谢谢 🙂

  2. Don’t go back too often to beautiful places you missed the first time round; you might not get home for a long time! But maybe postponing your mammoth boat journey to ‘storm engulfed’ America might be a good plan! Hope this crossing will be calm. Ikou!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.