The ethnic minorities of Guizhou have a simple recipe for enjoying the holidays. Drink enough rice wine to drown a chicken, kill a pig and cook it for your friends, and round up the meanest water buffalo in the village and let them fight it out. In between the chaos and cheers a few fine dances are put on display by the prettiest girls in town.
Photo Essay | 41 images | Xijiang Guizhou | China
Tuyugou of Turpan
Tuyugou Canyon is hidden on the back roads of the Flaming Mountains, a dramatic range of hills that rise out of the desert near Turpan. Originally a 5th century village, built from mud and timber, it is one of the many towns near Turpan that grow grapes and mulberrys and is the location of Xojam Maxar.
Photo Essay | 33 images | Turpan | China
The Silk Route
Spicy lamb and oven cooked bread is not what you expect in China, but as you travel west of Xian the cultural journey takes on a very different flavour. The Silk Route is where Islam meets Buddhism. The western province of Xinjiang is vast and diverse, with Tibetan influences to the south and Uyghur people to the north. Head far enough west and you evetually reach Kashgar, one of the world's truly great trading cities, even in this modern day.
Photo Essay | 45 images | China | Uyghur People of Western China
This little village is home to a lovely temple that takes in domestic animals that no longer have a home. There's a very posh resort hidden away here too, blended nicely into the traditional architecture of the region. Lots of barley soup and yak butter tea on offer. Beware the yaks, they are cranky in the mornings.
Photo Essay | 40 images | Yunnan | China | Kham Tibet
People of the Drum
Held high in the tops of ornate towers, the Dong people built skin covered drums as places of spiritual worship. Under Chairman Mao the drums were destroyed, but their spirit lives on. Know recognised as the most beautiful singers in China, it is with great irony that the drums remain silent.
Photo Essay | 31 images | Zhaoxing Guizhou | China
Mini Skirt Miao
In Vietnam they are known as the H'Mong, and China the Miao. From one edge of Asia to the remote reaches of Guizhou this ethnic group have adopted local customs to form unique sub-groups. The Mini-Skirt Miao of the Da'Tang township in Guizhou are fast becoming famous. They dance, smile and habitually offer guests copious amounts of rice wine. These traditional dances are usually seen at harvest time or the welcome to spring, and are a genuine celebration.
Photo Essay | 35 images | China | Guizhou
Every year I make a special trip to China with a group of photographers to share what I love about the country. Every year the journey is unique, never the same as before and never to be the same again. This year I borrowed a Leica M9-P as my camera companion for the trip, which was both challenging and enlightening. I discovered a whole new respect for professionals who choose the M format.
Photo Essay | 54 images | China | Travels with Leica
In the far west of China, where the Silk Route meets the hills of Kashmir, the city of Kashgar has been a trading mecca for centuries. On my last visit to Kashgar I imagined what it might be like to overlay the language of modern stock markets onto the traditional buying and selling of livestock that dominates this bazaar.
Photo Essay | 36 images | Kashgar | China
Litang in the Sky
The town of Litang is not easy to reach. After two days on public buses that rattle along mountain roads, clearing high-passes at 5300m and stopping every few hours to buy more cigarettes, our driver finally pulled into the town of Litang. My guesthouse was named Pokhara Palace, but was not as glamorous as the original in Lhasa. At night the wild dogs roam the streets and bark incessantly. Litang sits at 4100m, and a mile out of town the monastery sits a little higher, casting a paternal watch across the valley. The monks here are known throughout the Tibetan world, because three Dalai Llamas have been schooled here and today they continue to practice sky burials. Litang is where the sky meets the earth, where the wind-horse is carried by the breeze.
Photo Essay | 26 images | China | Tibetan Counties of Western Sichuan
Last Night in Xian
I wasn't actually there last night, but it was my last night. After a decade of travelling across China in search of yummy food and pretty pictures this journey may have been my last on tour. Inspired by the delicious culinary journeys of great chefs who have also visited Xi'An I share my last night in the delightful chaos of the Muslim Quarter.
One of the great monasteries of Tibetan China, once home to over 2000 monks and a sacred place of learning. Labrang Tashikyil is a cluster of temples, prayer halls, residences and shrines. The monks here are very friendly, a little cheeky and very devoted to their Yellow-Sect traditions.
Photo Essay | 42 images | Xiahe | China
Zhongdian means the 'middle valley', a place below the snow peaks but above the grassland where the growing season is very short and only half-breed yaks can survive in the meadows. Beijing has renamed the town Shangri-La, the famed oasis in the novel 'The Lost Horizon'. Only they can't say the name in English, so they officially call it Xiangelila. This is a cultural centre for Kham Tibetans, and the towns surrounding the city are rich in the living traditions of the Kham. They drink Yak Butter tea take care of their monasteries.
Photo Essay | 37 images | China | Tibetan Counties of Yunnan