Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

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190 CultureShock! China

during the day you can wander the streets lined with rickety
wooden huts along bubbling canals, colourfully decorated
with plants and birds, and full of shops, restaurants and
fun-loving people.

Tibet: Saddhus and Lamas

One of the most exciting ways to get to Tibet is by ttrain on
the Qinghai-Tibet railway from Beijing. One of the better
known experiences is visiting the Portala Palace, historically
the winter home of the Dalai Lama. Also on the list should be
Barkhor, a pilgrim circuit that is followed clockwise around
the 1300 year-old Jokhang Temple, which is one of Tibet’s
holiest shrines, and the Norbu Lingka, which was the summer
home of the Dalai Lama.
One of the less-known Tibetan adventures is visiting Mount
Kailash in western Tibet. Kailash is the mythical home of the
Hindu Lord Shiva, and is the source of the Ganges, the Indus,
the Sutlej and the Brahamaputra rivers. Each year, Indian
Saddhus, Buddhists and others make the high-altitude trek
around the peak in search of enlightenment.

Xiamen: Pianos and Old Painted Ladies

Historically known as Amoy, Xiamen is the closest city
to Taiwan in China. It is said on a clear day, you can see
part of the islands that make up Taiwan. Occupied by
the Portuguese, French, British and Dutch, it became an
important trading port. Strolling through the old part of
Xiamen city, you can still see hints of European-influenced
The most fun to be had in Xiamen is on Gulang Island.
Reported to have the most pianos per capita, the island
is covered with attractions, distractions and the remnants
of grand old estates that must have elegantly dotted the
garden-strewn island in the 18th and 19th century. One of
the better attractions on the island is the Piano Museum, a
private donated collection of antique pianos. Xiamen is also
a golf destination—there are a number of courses outside the
city, including the Greg Norman-designed Kai Kou Xiamen
Golf Club.
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