If you are you a traveller who likes to get off the beaten track, or a person who likes to seek out the unusual, take a look at some of the amazing listings in Concorde Travel's "Asia's Most Interesting Hotels" website.
This collection of Asia's most interesting and atmospheric places to stay has been the private collection of Concorde Travel's founder, Graham Elsom, for many years. It has been a hobby associated with his work to collect these hotels.
Graham has now decided to throw them out into the open for Concorde Travel clients.
Even if you are only an armchair traveller, you will find lots of interest in this ongoing collection.
CHINA - KUNMING - Pilgrimage to Yunnan's Mt. Kawagebo 9 days
Kawagebo is the highest mountain in Yunnan Province. It is located in Diqing Prefecture on the border with Tibet and near the border with Myanmar. It is located approximately 20km west of Diqing.
Meili Snow Mountain (also called Prince Snow Mountain) is situated at the western end of the White Horse Snow Mountain. It is higher and more elegant compared with the White Horse Snow Mountain. The highest peak is Kawagebo.
At 6470m, the local Tibetans regard it as a Holy Mountain. Each year, in autumn, the Tibetan people come here from far and near.
Climbing Meili Snow Mountain has proven very dangerous. Several attempts have been made to conquer it since 1990, but all have failed.
In 1991, a Sino-Japananese joint climbing team were very close to the main peak, Kawagebo, when it began to snow heavily. The team was forced to abandon the climb and the whole team perished when returning to No.3 Base Camp, situated 5,100m above sea level. The party included 6 Chinese and 11 Japanese and it marked the greatest human sacrifice in the history of mountain- climbing in China. It was not until July,1998, that the frozen corpses of the team were found.
In Tibet, there are 13 holy mountains. Among them, Meili Snow Mountain is regarded as Number One because it is the only male, in Tibetan legend. The main peak of Meili, Kawagebo, is a handsome prince.
Every year, in autumn, Tibetans from Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai and Tibet undertake a pilgrimage trekking around the holy mountain to worship the prince and to pray for good fortune. To many Tibetans, this pilgrimage is the most important thing in their life. They believe that trekking once, can offer a lifetime's peace and safety. If they can make this trek three times in their life, then they can go to paradise in their after-life.
This pilgrimage trek has more than 600 years history. The scenery en route is breathtakingly beautiful and the ecology system is well preserved. Even the animals you encounter are unafraid because nobody wants to hurt them. All the villagers are very friendly and hospitable.
Many in China consider this to be the most classic trekking region in China and it is guaranteed to be unforgettable.
Day 1 Depart Kunming by air
Arrive Diqing Zhongdian
Day 2 Zhongdian
A full day is spent touring the Zhongdian region. Zhongdian is a small town on the Tibetan Plateau. At 3,300 m above sea level, Zhongdian is much cooler than Kunming. Visit Songzanlin Monastery, the largest in Yunnan and visit a Tibetan village with the opportunity to visit a Tibetan family.
Day 3 Zhongdian - Deqin
Start driving northwest towards Mt. Kawagebo (196 km, 7 hours). On the way, pass over Baima Snow Mountain. At 4,200m it is one of the most important bio-diversity sites for the Great Rivers Project sponsored by the Nature Conservancy. We will arrive at the town of Deqin (3,500 m) late in the evening, for overnight.
Day 4 Deqin - Yubeng
Early in the morning we visit Feilai Monastery and view the whole of Mt. Meili. Then a two-hour drive alongside the Mekong River to the trailhead. Arrive at Xidang hot-spring. Today's hike is a strenuous one but it can be done on foot and on horseback. It would be six hours on foot. We will climb from 2,500 m to over 3,500 m at the pass - but you will traverse beautiful, pristine alpine forest. After a picnic at the summit (where there may still be snow), descend to the isolated village of Yubeng. We will spend the night in a small lodge. Stay in the village.
Day 5 Yubeng
Sightseeing in Yubeng on foot or on horseback (6 hours). Proceed to the Mt. Kawagebo Holy waterfall. Yubeng, is located at the foot of Kawagebo Peak, part of Meili Snow Mountain. It is "the land of peach blossoms alienated from the world", barely accessible by car along precipitous mountain roads. The scenery is spectacular and unique. Visit the holy waterfall, flowing down from peak of Kawagebo, which radiates as a holy place attracting many Tibetans and pilgrims. Overnight in Yubeng.
Day 6 Yubeng – Deqin
Continue local sightseeing on foot or on horseback including the Xidang hot spring (6 hours).
Drive back to Deqin, a journey of two hours, for overnight
Day 7 Deqin – Zhongdian
Continue by car from Deqin to Zhongdian, visiting the Dongzulin Monastery en route.
Day 8 Zhongdian – Lijiang
Depart Zhongdian for Lijiang. On the way, visit the First Bend of the Yangtze River and also visit Tiger Leaping Gorge.
On arrival in Lijiang visit the Black Dragon Pond which is the ideal place to view the snow mountain, then visit the Naxi Dongba Culture Museum.
Day 9 Lijiang - Kunming
Visit Lijiang Old Town, a World Heritage Site, and the Market Square.
Transfer to the airport.
Depart Lijiang by air
Accommodation can be arranged according to ones budget, or it can be the best available throughout. Transfers and touring is by Japanese 4WD vehicle with driver and English speaking guide. A local English speaking Tibetan guide will be provided in Zhongdian and during the trekking/riding sectors. All meals and admission fees included
This suggested itinerary can be adjusted to suit your own requirements and can be combined with other arrangements in Yunnan or elsewhere in China.