Debarshi and I had a couple of relaxing days in Shangri-La and were travelling to Xiangcheng today.
The plan was to drive through Daxue Shan and Xiaoxue Shan mountain passes on some gravel roads and enter the Kham Tibet region.
The drive is about 220 kilometers and through zigzag mountain roads winding beside the azure Dinqu river traversing many tunnels and rockfall shelters since this area is prone to mudslides.
We came across one or two places with no roads due to landslides. The Maowu tunnel was the only unlit remote and dark one.
We got a great view of the mountain top of the Daxue Shan. Daxue Mountain has a height of about 3,500 m poses quite majestically.
Entering Sichuan Province
The highway crisscrosses through a lot of old-world Tibetan villages, and we stopped at the Qingde village for a few striking images.
Xiangcheng is a tiny town with 3 grand hotels. It is an altitude of 2977 meters. Kevin told us that even small hamlets have large ostentatious hotels to cater to Government officials travelling across the state.
We were staying at the grand Zha Xi Grand hotel. Kevin took us to lunch at a nice Sichuan restaurant owned by a local couple. They were quite startled to see Indian tourists and were asking many questions (translated by Kevin). They were amazed to see us use chopsticks and asked us how we ate in India.
We promised to come back for dinner and quell more of their curiosity.
In the late afternoon, we walked around and explored the town on foot. The town is on the highway and you can walk across in ten minutes.
The Town Square
We discovered a small patisserie with pretty cakes and good coffee. A tiramisu topped pastry had caught Debarshi’s eye!
No one speaks English except in mega cities in China, hence Debarshi & I were using the translator app on our phones and expressing ourselves.
By about evening, Kevin had walked down from the hotel looking for us. The townsfolk had gathered in the large square. There was a large LED screen playing some songs and young women all dressed in red were dancing to the same. We also clicked some remarkable images of the old ladies huddled around.
We went back for dinner to the same Sichuan restaurant and met many locals there. The plate of food in front of them looked really appealing so I asked Kevin if we could order that. Lo and behold ! Fried duck intestines . Kevin also translated to the man eating then , and he said they are very delicious. Long story short, we did not order them!
We retired to our hotel and found the parking lot filled with SUVs now. We had a great night’s rest here and piqued to embark our next day’s journey to Xin long.