– Travel: off the beaten track

Lightheaded in Litang

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. June, 2019. I hadn’t been up there for ten years.  Would altitude sickness give me a headache to remember? Would my lungs be able to extract enough oxygen out of the rarefied atmosphere to keep brain and body functioning OK? And once extracted, would my heart cope with the […]


Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China.  The first snow has fallen. A soft, white, layer of magic. A sparkling membrane of tiny, tiny crystals resting gently on the contours of the Maoya valley, its protective mountains, and the Khamba Tibetan town of Litang.  Monastery: in Litang _________________________________________________________________________ Apart from the snow, nothing much has changed. It […]

Ciqikou. Ancient village

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. September, 2016 If you want to get an idea of what Chongqing used to look like, visit Ciqikou in Shapingba District. It is both a symbol and a microcosm of old Chongqing. This fascinating old village is perched above the Jialing River which flows downstream to its confluence with the Yangtze […]

Turpan: on the Silk Road

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. Sept/Oct, 2015 Turpan used to be a stopover on the northern Silk Road in what is now the province of Xinjiang in western China. It is adjacent to the eastern Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountain) on the edge of a Taklamakan desert depression called the Turpan Basin. It is 154 […]

Dunhuang: on the Silk Road

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. September/October, 2015 Located near the eastern end of the Silk Road, Dunhuang and its ancient Mogao caves contain an extraordinary number of religious artifacts, shrines, and secular manuscripts. Together they open a window into China’s fascinating history. Here is a little bit of it to whet your appetite (click […]

Bamboo Sea

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. May, 2015 I had been thinking about visiting the Bamboo Sea (Zhu Hai) near Yibin for years. You know how it is: places close to home (in this case, three hours by road from Chongqing) never seem as exotic as those further away. Nevertheless, when my friend Xiaojin who comes from […]

To Danba: in West Sichuan

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. May 2015 Dānbā (丹巴) is an isolated county in western Sichuan populated by Qiang and Tibetan peoples. I had hoped to visit this mountainous area and its famous watchtowers a few years ago, but the 2008 Sichuan earthquake had destroyed the roads. In 2015, I was able to travel there by […]

Wind and rain bridge

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. April, 2010 Sanjiang is about a five hour journey from Guilin, and a two and a half hour bus-ride from Longsheng near the Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces. It is the last sizable township in the province of Guangxi before entering neighbouring Guizhou and is the centre of the Dong […]

Dragons Backbone Rice Terraces

Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. April 2010 If you believe the tourist brochures, Guilin is a pleasant city situated in a beautiful limestone kharst mountain environment. However, despite its attractions, this city in Guangxi province is not worth visiting for its own sake. It’s not the type of town to be out on the streets […]

Trouble on the Tibetan Plateau

Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. 2007 It was the first week in August when the Tibetan nomads come into the township of Litang for a yearly festival. Horse racing, dancing, singing, socialising, and so on. It’s the event of the year, and a time when provisions are bought, marriages are arranged, and the clans are […]

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