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The Wall Street Journal currently features the China-Laos Railway on its front page in a special video report:[...]

This WJS report reveals China's BRI plan to connect SE Asia via this railway. Journalists Nikki Walker and Todd Holmes obviously didn't travel to the border SEZ themselves. This area has been a ghost town with stalled development projects for several years, but may slowly pickup in the future if one is cautiously optimistic.

The paragraph under "Side Trips from the Gorge" mentions the ferry across the Jinsha River. Ferry service has closed down with the April 2023 opening of a highway bridge for cars and pedestrians. The bridge is close to Daju Village. Thus ends a long-standing service that years ago was a standard feature of trekking the gorge. Nowadays, the vast majority of trekkers end their journey at Tina's Guest House, far upstream from the ferry location and new bridge. No need to weep for the ferry operator. He built a guest house in Daju, and now the village has seven lodging establishments.

Nice to see the return of travel blog pieces on this site.

Moon and Chalice boutique hotel has turned into a must-visit "打卡" (punch-in time slot) destination for selfie taking tourists who come to Kunming in the past couple of years.

After years of closure due to covid, one of Dali's biggest san yue jie festival is officially back in full force, from May 4 and ending May 10. Highest local officials have attended the festivities.

For those travelling by train to Dali, the Dali station is under complete renovations. No. 8 bus (3 yuan) to old town is across the street.

Hai dong train station (aka North Station) will be built in five years and slated to be the biggest train station in Dali.

Like this railway, Beerlao lager is also a joint venture (Carlsberg Group with the Lao government) and one of the most prominent brands in Laos. A national treasure worth protecting ;)

The brewery company's 10% shrinkage during summer wet seasons may be attributed to the poor road conditions scattered throughout most of Laos. One of the infrastructural problems that needs to be addressed at the ministerial level.

The "three hours" bottlenecks for passengers in Moding is a wrinkle to be ironed out... granted the two extra shared vehicle trips (jacked up fares on the Lao side) between Boting, the border checkpoints, and Moding could now be bypassed.

The Lao government needs to stop turning a blind-eye to their custom officials, not to mention the consulate staff in Kunming, from threatening passengers and pocketing extra fees for themselves.