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  The Chatter Box : Travel
China advice - Tibet or 3 Gorges? by agroundhog on 6 August 2004 4:19pm

I will be visiting China for the first time in October. I will be in Beijing for business and then hope to travel around for about 2 weeks. Xian and Shanghai are definitely on my list, Guilin is a maybe, and I am debating either flying out to Lhasa, Tibet or doing a cruise through the Three Gorges.

Which would you recommend? Part of me says "see the Three Gorges before the dam project completely screws them up" and part of me says "See Tibet!"

Re: China advice - Tibet or 3 Gorges? by Godfather on 7 August 2004 12:45pm
As far as i know, most of the valleys within the three gorges area,are already flooded. A few years ago,the estimate for completion was later. But the Chinese are so damn efficient, that they finished years ahead of schedule. I think they flooded the whole area last year some time. I could be wrong, but that's what i heard in China last year.

In terms of Tibet i would wait if i were you,Amy. Lhasa is hardly Tibetan anymore,and not really worth it. The rest of Tibet is still beautiful. But Lhasa is a massive dissapointment. You'd be better off saving Tibet for another seperate trip, becuase many of the fly in-fly out trips to Tibet from the rest of China,usually only end up going to Lhasa and Shigatse,before flying back out. Hardly gives you a proper impression of Tibet, as they're very "Chinesed" now.

X'ian is certainly worth it. The great wall at Simatai is a highly rewarding trip from Beijing. You can stay in little villages nearby the rail track,trek the wall, and get the train back to Beijing.

Another site you could consider is not so far from Beijing. It's called Datong. The site of the fantastic Buddhist cave complex north of Beijing. You can take a night train from Beijing and it will arrive in the morning. The collosal statues and wall carvings are well worth it.


Plus, not far away from Datong you can see the hanging temples. They are built up on kind of stilts on the cliff wall. Bizzare place.


Re: China advice - Tibet or 3 Gorges? by agroundhog on 17 August 2004 11:22pm
Thanks for the advice. It's hard to get accurate info on how much of the 3 gorges remains above water. Datong sounds great. And if I see Tibet I want to see the "real" parts that remain more authentic to what they were...

So much planning to do!

Re: China advice - Tibet or 3 Gorges? by Godfather on 18 August 2004 3:23am

Anything outside of Lhasa,pretty much retains it's original feel. The rural Tibet is alive and well, and that's where you get that feeling you may have expected. But Lhasa is swallowed up by Chinesization (is that a word?) to an absurd degree. It's still interesting in it's own right of course. Some areas in the Tibetan Quarter retain their charm. But the rest can be quite like any other Chinese city. Interesting to visit the city of Lhasa nonetheless. Afterall,that is another face of modern Tibet that cannot be denied. It's always good to get both sides of the story. But i just like to be honest with people about Lhasa,who may be expecting the Potala Palace to stand alone lofty in the mountains like all the cleverly angled photos of it you see everywhere,that are an utter lie. The modern city of Lhasa surrounds the Potala from all sides like a surrounded army. The Potala itself is eternally fascinating though. I just think people should be told the truth about the rest of Lhasa. It's interesting to visit, but by no means a shangri-la anymore at all.

Re: China advice - Tibet or 3 Gorges? by stefania62 on 1 September 2004 8:04pm
I'd see the Three Gorges if I were you, before the Yangtze becomes a lake. I spent 3 days on the Yangtze last October and it was great. It's lives up to the "gorgeous" adjective most of the time (the cities along the way are pretty grim) but the Three Lesser Gorges, an easy side trip, are even better. MP's Full Circle bit on the Three Gorges is pretty realistic. Like that town full of hair dressers. It's weird like that. We went through a town filled with bicycle repair shops. Sometimes I play that DVD just to get the feel of it again. China is pretty magical in general. But my real advice is DON'T GO ON A TOUR (at least not on one with flags...).

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