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How to travel – Why we love public transport

When you’re travelling independently, you’re faced with various options to get around. You can fly, take the bus or go on an organised tour. Using public transport in a foreign country can be problematic and daunting but for us, there’s no better way to see the country you’re in and here’s why; 1. You will […]

Trip to My Son – Vietnam

In March, we took a break from sourcing new products in Vietnam to visit the Cham temple complex of My Son. Jumped on our motorbike at 4am and drove the 40km to get there from Hoi An as they were opening. Made it in time to beat the tourist herds and were rewarded with breathtaking […]

The Shangri La Farms Story – A Socially Responsible Business

When the Malik family first discovered Shangri-La in Yunnan Province, China they were astonished by the beautiful scenery, pristine air and bountiful valleys, with surrounding snow-capped mountains. Shangri-La was a heavenly place, bursting with wild flowers in bloom, bees, butterflies and crystal blue skies with pure white clouds. The Malik children; sisters Sahra (a graphic […]

Tibetan Thangkas

A Thangka is an extremely intricate and highly detailed hand painted image from Tibet, taking anywhere between a few months to several years to complete due to the minute detail and complex layout. While some Thangkas may cover themes of history, society, astronomy and medicine, by far the majority cover religious themes. As with much Buddhist […]

Yummy Yaks and Delicious Ducks

We have talked before of Yunnan’s unique position within China geographically and culturally. These factors combine to create a diverse cuisine which brings together the tastes and ingredients of the surrounding provinces and countries. Around Shangri La (Zhongdian) To the North of Yunnan is Tibet and the Tibetan plateau from where the Khampa Tibetans of […]

The Ethnic Minorities of Yunnan vol.1

The Tibetan, Miao and Bai people of Yunnan Province Yunnan is unique in China, historically remote from the Chinese Empire and home to 24 ethnic minorities. Bordering Tibet, Myanmar, Burma, Laos and Vietnam, as well as the rest of mainland China through Sichaun, Ghuizhou and Guanxi, its culture today is influenced by neighbours both foreign […]

Super Fly Bai Tie-Dye

Over the last 1000 years or so, Zhoucheng near Dali in China’s Yunnan province has become known as the place to find traditional Chinese tie-dye or knot-dye fabric. The Bai people around Dali are well known as experts in this process, wearing small pieces of tie-dyed material in their headdress and tunics and producing what […]

Blazin’ Quad – Torch Festival 2013

On the 24th day on the sixth lunar month, the Bai people of Yunnan province celebrate the Torch Festival. It is also celebrated by the Yi, Naxi and Hani but in Shaxi, it is a Bai affair. Each of these people have different reasons for observing this celebration but for the Bai it celebrates the […]

The Tea-Horse Road

I’ve been in Yunnan for 10 days and so thought it might be time for an update. This is a beautiful area with a great and varied history. It was the area in which most foreign eyes first glimpsed the Chinese Empire. Trade with foreign countries has been taking place for centuries, not least of […]