Monday, October 1, 2007


There is a big National Holiday in China that is the first week of October. I heard that traveling was not really easy because loads of Chinese would be traveling and you can’t get a ticket for a bus or a train and also hotel rooms would be hard to find and much more expensive. I decided I would go to a place I thought might be more off the normal path for tourist to spend this time. I picked Ganzi as one of the towns I would visit at the start of this National Holiday.

Ganzi is a town on the Nothern Route to Tibet via the Tibetan Highway. From Leshan I had to take a bus to Kangding and spend the night before heading on to Ganzi. The road to Kangding follows a river or stream and is a pretty ride. There was some kind of problem on a part of the road that caused a major traffic jam. The traffic jam allowed me to take a few pictures while we were stuck.

Including the time lost with the traffic jam the bus ride from Leshan to Kangding turned out to be 9 hours but that was not a bad bus ride compared to the following day. The bus from Kangding to Ganzi ended up only taking 11 hours when the book said it was 12 but it did not prepare me at all for the ride. I once again had a seat in the last row of the bus. The row is higher up then the other seats on the bus and I could not really see out the window for the whole ride. I was however really thankful that I had headroom. If it would have been like the bus I had taken from Wutai Shan to Taiyuan I’m not sure if I would have much of a head left. The road between Kangding and Ganzi is called the Tibetan Highway but I’m not really sure I would even call it a road but rather a series of potholes. I bounced up and down and left and right for almost the whole trip. I did get a break from the bouncing when a monk that was about my size sat next to me. With 4 of us stuffed into the back row of the bus it was so tight that I was wedged in and stopped bouncing. I sort of liked being wedged in but the monk moved at the first stop and set on the floor next to the driver. I went back to bouncing. We stopped a few times for toilet breaks and for lunch and it was really nice to get out of the bus as much to move around as to be able to enjoy some of the scenery.

Even though is was not a pleasant ride the time seemed to go by fast for me and I was really thrilled when we arrived an hour earlier then I had expected.

Ganzi sets in a valley in the Chola Moutains and is at an altitude of 3800 meters. It is really a very pretty place.

I just wondered around for a couple of days visiting the monastery on the north side of town and taking a long walk through part of the valley. When I visited the monastery there were a couple of monks blowing really large horns and other monks playing along with drums and cymbals. Also some of the monks were dancing along with the music or what I would call noise.

The town has mostly Tibetan people living in it and I did not think about it until walking around but my Chinese Hello did not seem to get much of a response but an English Hello seemed to get a smile. On my long walk just a head nod or wave seemed to put a smile on peoples face. I sort of learned the Tibetan Hello about the time I was leaving Ganzi.

Just like everywhere I have been in China the people were very friendly and also curious of me. I had people staring everywhere I walked and every time I would hear Hello in English I knew it was for me. At one point I was followed for a ways by 4 children that would just keeping saying Hello. When I went into a restaurant they kept staring at me through the window with us making faces at each other until the owner got tired of them staring and ran them off.

I did not get any pictures of any of the adult Tibetan people but their facial features seemed to remind me some of American Indians. I found the people really striking and they dress in really colorful clothes which adds to the look. I did get a picture of 2 little girls picking flowers that I really enjoy.

This picture is of a temple on the west end of Ganzi and I liked the photos so well that I have 2 other pictures on my web page that are almost the same shot.

The bus ride from Ganzi to Kangding was much better then the other way. I rode in a larger bus and it seemed to handle the potholes better and the bus driver seemed to go a bit slower. The trip back took about 12 hours. The highlight of the bus ride was I had a seat where I could look out the window and enjoy the scenery. Even the guy setting a few seats away getting motion sick and throwing up on the floor of the bus did not destroy the ride.


  1. Hooray! I finally remembered my password. Pity my original lengthy comment disappeared after I screwed it up the first time.

    Keep up the good work and just so you know: it's bloody freezing this week in Amsterdam.