My initial plan is to take the Lanzhou - Xinjiang High-Speed Train and along the way, I could enjoy the Gobi desert, grasslands and a snow-covered mountain view. Well, in reality...I only manage to take the train up to Xining. What can I do? I may love to travel. But my time is limited because I still have a work commitment.
I am not like some people who have a thick face to get others to finance their travelling. I can't afford to quit or even take longer leave from work.
Anyway, I consider myself blessed compare to other people who don't even get the chance to leave their home country.
Since this is not my first time taking the high-speed train in China, so I was mentally prepared in everything. Even to the extent not much of the English language and more important be more alert to the surrounding.
I usually bought the train ticket in advance through the online platform such as trip.com, then collect at the physical ticket at the train station counter.
Don't forget to buy lunch to board the train with you. I tried this dicos Halal burger chain here. I prefer Mc Chicken though. I wish to remember to bring along the Chili sauce with me from Malaysia. Here you ask for chilli sauce but end up get yourself chilli powders sachet. I was like....eat a burger with chilli powder? This is not like I am eating Mamee Monster. Haihhhhhh!!!!
Everything goes smoothly from boarding the train until to my destination, Xining. I don't book any driver to wait for me at Xining. I was trying to be more adventurous by taking the local cab here. Note that most of the taxi station in China located in the basement area. There will be a line up of taxi waiting to be boarded. Yes! everyone queues like obedient people since there is security manning the people traffic. I got on to the cab very fast but of course, have a bit of problem to tell my cab driver the location of the hotel. The address in Chinese word doesn't really work here since no GPS used. Basically, if you are not in luck get the driver who is not so well versed with their own city. You struggle! In the end, I manage to get the driver to call the hotel personally for direction. huhuhuh...
Checked into my hotel, which is not up to my expectation. Well.. people, I have not much choice here since many nice hotels don't have a permit to take in a foreigner. So be careful when booking a hotel in Xining. If you force yourself to purchase a room with a hotel without permit...don't get shocked of your life if you get thrown out in the middle of the night without getting any refund if there is raid from the authority! Read and research properly before you go anywhere ya! For better stay and travel during vacation go for hotels coupons :)
Its late afternoon by the time I finished checked into the hotel. Since I read the cab is relatively cheap here, so I have no worry about my transportation. I move around Xining using cab which starts from 7 yuan. Very easy to get one too!
MO JIA JIE MARKET (MOJIA ALLEY)
I was not that hungry so visiting this food paradise is not a good idea for that day. But still...I end up ate a fair bit of Chinese Muslim food there. Rather than walking into the famous eateries pack of people. I went on the reversed side of the alley. The alley quieter and most of the customer is their local people.
I end up have a delicious early dinner. Fresh-grilled mutton on the stick, some flatbread and finish of with famous homemade yoghurt. Cheaper than dried Dicos burger. This one is worth and delicious!
I walked out of the shop and walk along the pavement. Enjoying the Xining breeze. Since the sun goes down seriously late here. At 8pm the sky is still bright like... the only 6:30pm in Malaysia. I was like....not use to it. I saw some local is queuing at this small shop. As usual me...gotten so curious. I peep into the shop and saw they are buying the homemade yoghurt drink. I decided to walk further and later turn back found that no one queuing anymore. I bought one bottle and then bought some Yak's milk too. Seriously delicious and cheap. The owner of the shop and his daughter got very curious about me because I look so like a foreigner. When told them I am from Malaysia. They are so happy and extra friendly. He even offered me to check out his little factory to make the yoghurt behind the shop. Interesting!
I continued my touring around this alley. I saw many people bought the flatbread. I tasted this in Xi'an and Luoyang but the bread was hard and cold. I saw this particular bakery is baking it hot. I bought one piece with Chilli flavour. OMG! super nice to eat it hot! It is like eating hot pizza. I bought some more grains drink and some raisins for my Mum.
The next morning, I decided to travel a bit far out from Xining City. I hired a private driver for a day to bring me to these 3 places. Just wanna free my mind with transportation for the day. I paid around 300 Yuan.
KUMBUM MONASTERY ( TAER MONASTERY IN CHINESE)
Kumbum Monastery or in Chinese known as Ta'er Monastery is around 25 km from Xining City. Since the day I was in Xining this Cyclethon is going on. The driver needs to use another road which makes my journey longer. around 2 hours drive. Hurl!!!! but still the journey view kind of worth it!
Opening hours: 8am to 17:00pm
Entrance Ticket 80Rmb
Address: Kumbum monastery, Lushaer Town, Huangzhong County, Xining City
I spent around 3 hours exploring nook and corner of this huge complex.
What so interesting to visit Ta'er Monastery? Well, I would say this is the place if you would like to experience and witnessed the ancient Tibetian and Han style building. There are many active religion devotees here.
After done with my exploring, I walked into one of the local Muslim eateries and ordered Lamb Fried rice. While waiting for my driver, I bought some Gooseberry and Raw Walnuts to eat in the car.
On the way back to the city, I requested the driver to drop by the Tuluo Temple.
TULUO TEMPLE OF BEISHAN MOUNTAIN
This temple is also called as North Zen Temple and stands on the Beishan Mountain which is around 2,400 meters high. This place originally built as Buddhist Temple in 106 AD during the Wei Dynasty and later on became Taoist Temple.
Unfortunately, this place is currently closed for maintenance. So its free entrance now. I was unable to climb up to the cave to see check out the historical hanging temple on the mountain. I just touring around the Lingguan Hall and enjoy the small garden nearby. It's very peaceful and beautiful view here.
Opening hours: 8am to 18pm
Entrance fees: Since it's closed for maintenance so it's free. A great place to walk and enjoy the beautiful afternoon view.
XINING DONGGUAN GREAT MOSQUE
My next destination for the day is Dongguan Mosque which located in the middle of Dongguan Street, Xining City. This place was built in 1380 which is more than 600 years. This mosque also a religious education centre and as the highest learning institution of Islam.
I spent around one hour exploring this place. From time to time the mosque organize a free guidance tour and of course in Mandarin. It is interesting to listen to this even though my mandarin listening skill is like 1.5 out of 5. hahaha
You can purchase some items in the mosque too for your support. But if you want the real shopping with good price..... just walk outside the mosque and go through the small alley at the side and walk to the back. There are many shops there.
Just next to the mosque you can try out the famous Mala Steamed Chicken and Dumplings. I tried both and it simply delicious. I bought some Hui's snacks too. For local or other people it is nice but for me, it's just a so so. Not to my liking because of its too hard for my weaken tooth. I love the locally made potato chips though. I bought some lemon and flower tea back too. It just more and more interesting discovery the further you explore this alley. My foot was super exhausted that day. Don't forget to try out the fermented drink there. Seriously delicious. I bought 2 back to the hotel and totally good for my digestion!
I have a full filling journey for the day. From Tibetian, Buddhist, Taoism and end my day with the Muslim Religious site.
This article is also available on GPSmyCity.
This article is also available on GPSmyCity.
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