21 January 2015

Ride to China ; The search for the Lost Horizon......Shangri-La : Part 3

                                                                             Day 7

                                                                So damn cold.... around 1C

We're up early to start our tour 

Early  morning view of the mountains of Dali.

Cannot read....hence the all important GPS.

So cool.....

Not enough sleep and freezing temps and what do we do.............

...... go for a tour ........ha ha ha

We'll be riding here later.

2nd destination.

Nice huh.............

Walls of the ancient city...

The old city was built during Ming Dynasty emperor Hongwu's reign (1368–1398). - Wiki

1st destination

Next to the mountains

Artistic pics by Han -1 , 2  and 3 in a row. .............very nice huh.

Almost at the main entrance.


So cool..

That's what we came for....

The 3 pagodas of Dali.

Memories .

With the Dali Tiger Snow mountains behind...

Nice huh.....more later.

Seeing this online for so long............

...and now in person . 

Snow  :-)

Really a ride of a lifetime.

Nice grounds.

Further down the path.

This is what we were looking for....

Awesome with the reflection .

Too cold to smile ...ha ha ha

To our next destination .

Not so busy streets .

Fantastic carvings .

The dustbin. Such a cool design . In Shangri-La the dustbins look Tibetian...funny .

Near the main entrance.

Happy horsie...

What a view.....

South gate ancient city of Dali.

Emperor Han's soldiers.  :-)

THIS is CHINA !!!!!

This oso  ha ha ha 

So cool.

A last look .

See the mountains in the background ?


Haven't seen this in 30+ years.

and the weighing scale.

Inside the old city.

South gate from the inside.

Ancient houses.....

...now shops for the tourist.

We can picture the same scene 500 years ago.

The idol is carved from a single block of jade.

Ancient side streets....

The roof caught my eye.


In the distance is the other main entrance - the north gate.

A modern statue.....

This is communist China after all.

Not sure what this is...we think its an army post ??

So cool...

Just as i was going to take a pic...they jump infront   :-(

Streets of Dali's old quarter.

The North gate.

So cool................

There is a small stream running through the town.

Nicely done .

Awesome .

Now we walk upstream.

Good landscaping.

See ?

Carved doors everywhere.

A bridge, look at the posts.

Chinese zodiac ?

A very cool well.

ha ha ha :-)

Still we walk upstream.

Till we reach the mosque in the ancient city.

After searching the Internet...we found it .

That's the actual mosque

Unfortunately it was locked.

Guess the price for this puppy...yes its still a puppy   .....

Still around the old city.

Fried or curry  ha ha ha

Outside the city walls.

ha ha ha .

A last look.....then back to the hotel.
Change and on the bike.

Okay . A bit of background.
 1) The Red Versys had a small problem with the low beam. It was dead for the last few days. Which was not a problem as the high beam was there. Yesterday the high beam also died off. So in the morning after changing the fuse thank god the high beam came back on. It was a problem last night riding at night with no lights. After this fix the high beam was fine till the end of the ride. Low beam still dead. No worries now though. 

2) From Jinggu to Dali we passed through a very bad stretch of muddy single lane .Thick mud with a 300+kg bike and rider. Not fun .It was haunting me till Shangri-La as we would have to go back the same way...that's for later. Anyway being extremely smart guys with lots of experience it ONLY took us 2 days and that bad stretch before we realised hmmmmmmmmm  we have a support car and maybe we can put our luggage ~ 20kg each in the car to make it easier on the bikes on bad and bumpy roads of which there were a lot.  2 days huh........

3) In almost every road you'll see this. Wet lines on the roads. Now this is the problem. Trucks in this part of China have a sprinkler system which sprays water to each tyre and brake.   EACH !!   This is to cool the brakes when going up and down the mountains, now everything here is mountains so the whole roads are full of water. Which is not a problem generally EXCEPT its almost freezing here. So when we go further north to  the mountains of Shangri-La , it will be full of black ice if the temp drops. So our guide and us had a meeting. Based on our friend Yempaul's experience where they had to turn back to Lijiang after many had close calls and one person had an accident ,and based on our guide's advise , taking into account the temp in Dali and Lijiang which was 0-4 C  ,and temp in Shangri-La which was -5  to 2 C , we made a decision to ride till Lijiang today ,leave the bikes there ,ride the support car to Shangri-La ,spend the night there ,tour ,and return to Lijiang the next day .
One accident and the ride will be finished, so in the interest of safety we took our guide's advise and changed our plans. 
In hindsight we made the right decision.
That will be clear when we post the pictures of Shangri-La.

Wet roads everywhere.

Bikes ready...time to go.

Leaving Dali.

We'll be back.
The whole slow lane on the right is wet.....

The mountains beyond Erhai  lake.

Surrounded by mountains.

Everywhere you look.

And the best part is we will be climbing soon  :-)

Enjoying the moment.

Fantastic view.

Like ,like  :-)

Don't see this nowadays.

Like from an old Kung Fu movie.

Temp here is about  4C

But the views make up for it.

Big sky country.

Nice huh.

A short break here. 

We're going to be climbing up those mountains soon.

up...ever up.
Keep an eye out for the wet roads.

This is what i mean.  EVERYwhere.

Fantastic on the bike shot.

Look at that............

Amazing vistas.

Elevation ~ 8000 Ft

China is beautiful.

Seeeeeeeeee !!

A viewing point up in the mountains.

FJR surveys its domain  :-P

This is why we ride ..........

Onwards north.


Even the vegetation is different.

A short break ...., and to also enjoy the view.

Nice huh.

Adventurer and explorer.!!

We saw this coming downhill....

Manual labour.

We're a long way from home.


Look at the views........


Running out of superlatives.

Then we come here.....

You think its going to end around the corner......


12 km of this. Not too bad though .

It was a different story when we returned after the rains  ha ha ha

On and on...


We got on to a fantastically smooth road here.....

Riding alongside the mountains...

A real pic of a lifetime.

What a rush.

As we rode we saw it ......

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain !!!!!!!!!!!!!


We made it.

I kept snapping pics ... 

Once in a lifetime chance.....

This is China. 
This is exploration.
This is why we ride.

Riding with a smile.

And there she is...............

This is my favourite pic of the whole trip ,and ever.
FJR in front of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Hell Yeah !!!!!!!!!

All this is thanks to Han's on the bike photo skills .

Superb ,awesome  :-)  :-)  :-)

2 nobodies from Selangor.

Such a beautiful mountain.


We parked our bikes in the hotel and jumped in the car.

It took another 5 hours on the freeway to Shangri-La .

We reached at 9pm. Dinner straight away with fried Yak and Yak stew.( seriously ) 
Climbing up to our 2nd floor room and we were panting.
Elevation 11,000 ft or 3350m.
Temp  -3
Wihuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu  .

****As i'm typing this i looked up at the temp in Shangri-La now( Jan 21st )   . -6   and later tonight  -13.  Wow!!
Even with 4 layers and heated blankets we were still freezing .

Ah well....tomorrow we tour the fabled city

Day 8

Shangril-La's modern city.

This is not our target.

This is  the Dêqên Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Our 1st destination.........

Shangri-La old town

Snowing !!

Most of the people are Tibetan..

Stone roads.....

This is where the populace stays.

Tibetan design....

A classic Buddhist stupa.

See the Tibetan prayer wheels ?

Heart of the old town of Shangri-La .

A giant prayer wheel.

How do you turn it ???.


Ornate designs.

Temp here was  -5C....

The temple in the old town.

Nice huh.

After all the planning............

.........so cool to be here .

The square in front of the temple.

Even our guide from the north of China was freezing.


A final look .

Checking out another temple nearby.

The inside.

Even the local were bundled up.

Chinese hippo hands  :-)

Back around the old town.....

See the snow falling ?

This is where we are.

ha ha ha ha   ..  written in snow ah  :-)

As we walk.............

.....more snow .

Chinese motorcycles.

3 wheeled car  :-)

Now were headed to the real Shangri-La.

Snowy mountains .

Tibetan writing..........

Almost there.

Tibetan writing again.....

For every attraction in China we need to buy tickets.

Too cold to even think.........

Now we board their bus.........

No private vehicles allowed.

This is where we are  :-)

We are above the tree line....

Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese influence.

More Tibetan stupas. 

Almost there............

Let me introduce you to the Monastery of Shangri-La.
We made it. 
Through thousands of km's ,cold and deprivations in every sense.
We made it here. 
The search is over.
The Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery.

The Lost Horizon of Shangri-La.

Found !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Built in 1679, the monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province and is sometimes referred to as the Little Potala Palace. Located in the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, it is also the most important monastery in southwest China.

Look at that la.

As we walk down in the bitter cold.

Bloody awesome.!!!!!!!!

3400m elevation

Remember the dustbin in Dali old city.
This is the Tibetan version.
ha ha ha

The main entrance.

After all the planning...

Lost Horizon found  :-)

Awesome gilding.

Look at the detail.

Look carefully at the lake....see it ?

Anyway ,see the part in the foreground and to the left.........? 

Thats ICE on the water  !!!!!

Now think of the roads  :-)

3 Stupas.

And the mountains of Tibet beyond.

See the flight of steps going up ?

2 stories in our hotel and we were breathless....

Success...  :-)
The Lost Horizon of Shangri-La. 

Guardians again.

Beautiful murals.

And celling.

Sooo cool .

Dinner  :-)

We checked out part of the monastery only......

..... as it was just too cold....-5C

....and too high an elevation. We didn't suffer any altitude sickness though. 
The jogging for months really helped.

Looking on to the lake.

The snow mountains beyond.

Local outfits....

That local ... i dono la ... ha ha ha

All we remember about China besides the views was the damned cold.

When the sun came out for 30 seconds.....

The gold got brilliant.

Look at the detail.....

...and brilliance.

Good bye Shangri-La ,we'll never forget you .

The lake outside the monastery.

From here on its always south. 

Tibetan daggers.

Those aren't daggers.

Snow everywhere.

So... we rode our motorcycles from Malaysia to China .But the final leg from Lijiang to Shangri-La we were forced to ride in the car.
Why ??

Because the weather and police traffic reports  ,reported bad ice on the roads. 
This would not have happened except for the stupid the trucks  dumping water on the roads.

So did we make the correct decision to leave our bikes. ??

YES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is leaving Shangri-La. 
Look at the wet roads.

Another stupa.

Snow next to the road. 
Below freezing temp. 
You don't see the ice ,hence its called Black Ice.

We made the right decision.
Along the way ,we saw one car upside down and another skidded into the cliff.

There is NO traffic ,yet 2 accidents.

The plateau.

Snow mountains beyond.

Imagine  -5C

Snow everywhere.

and wet icy roads  :-(

 Haba Snow Mountain

Half way to Lijiang.

We are going to make a detour.

First a stop for lunch.

Then along this road.

Lunch here.


I don't know where this pic came from  ha ha ha

After lunch.

We drive here.

Tiger !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally we reach.

So cool.....

Thats the  Jinsha River, a primary tributary of the upper Yangtze river. 

Nice attire.

The Tiger leaping gorge.

At a maximum depth of approximately 3790 meters (12434 feet) from river to mountain peak, Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest and most spectacular river canyons in the world

Memories :-)

Further down the road.

We are going to the viewing point.

Beautiful !!!!!

The left bank is Shangri-La and the right is Lijiang.

So cool.

For lazy people like me... i won't fit though.

There are steps descending the the waters edge.....

700 steps down.....

I said no way... thats why cameras come with a zoom function  :-)

Someone wanted to go down ha ha ha

At the base.

I'm way at the top here.

So cool and cold :-)

on the other bank.

After climbing 700 steps...ha ha ha ,sweating in the freezing cold :-P

We reached Lijiang in the evening. 
Now we tour the old town of Lijiang at night.  

in Dali and Shangri-La we toured the old town by day.

So a different look.

Its amazing at night.

Temp 1C

Memories :-)

Fantastic pic huh.

Only a few shops were open.

Christmas  !!

Imagine 800 years ago.

Streams again like in Dali.


Walking ,taking pics and shivering ha ha ha

This pic is shot in almost pitch darkness.

Thats why the sky looks light.

Well and brooms ??

All we do is stock up on memories .

After a full day.

Time to eat.


Yak stew and broiled yak.... :-)  :-)

What a day !!
Tomorrow its back on the bike  :-)


  1. What ?? nobody commented yet?? Bro Griffin and Han, I have beon following you all punya expeditions for quite sometime ,,, bro memang betul la view mengancam ... no wonder you berdua bersusah payah buat trip ni ... long distance, foreign/border rules/red tapes, road conditions, food restrictions, temp/elevation changesdan mcm-mcm lagi you all redah .. memang true adventure riders la korang .. salute ...and after tengok photos I faham sangat la dia punya berbaloi-ness

    Keep riding and keep sharing stories and as always ride safe ... lg satu ... good (and responsible) call tak bawa motor on the last leg sampai kat the ori Shangri La

    Hamdan @ Puchong

  2. Bro ,3 people read this blog. now you are the 4th .ha ha ha. Thanks for the comment .

  3. tu laaa kan..kurang baca agaknye..tp asyik rajin bertanya