As for many visitors for China travel, buying artwork of Chinese calligraphy should be considered. But how much do you know Chinese calligraphy.
In China, calligraphy occupies a distinguished position in the field of traditional art. It is not only a means of communication, but also a means of expressing a person's inner world in an aesthetic sense.
Calligraphy has endured for more than 2,000 years, and evolved into five main ways of writing each with different techniques. Even today, these are still followed and practiced often as a hobby.
Ancient people paid great attention to calligraphy. It was the essential whereby a candidate could manifest his literary talent in the Imperial Examination, for it gave a first impression to the examiners. Children of high officials had to learn and try to write a good hand; even emperors themselves were good at calligraphy, for example, the versatile Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) has left us many examples of his handwriting on steles in temples and palaces.
To practise calligraphy requires the basic tools of “four treasures of study” (writing brush, ink stick, paper, and ink slab) as well as much concentration on guiding the soft writing brush charged with fluid ink, and writing on the paper where the ink will diffuse quickly. Once the brush movement hesitates, a black mark is created, so speed, strength and agility is the essence of fine artwork. When writing, many calligraphers will forget all worries and even themselves, combining all thoughts in the beauty of their art. Thus it can be compared with Qigong, which also can mould and improve a person's temper and promote well being.
Calligraphy, like a mirror, is a silent reflection of the soul. Su Dongpo, one of the four litterateurs in the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), composed many bold and unconstrained ci (a form of poetry that flourished in the Song Dynasty), and could also write handsome characters in good taste.
Today, although various modern ways have been substituted for the original calligraphy (brush writing), people still love the ancient form and practise it untiringly. During the traditional festivals, propitious couplets are always indispensable decorations each written in a beautiful style.
If you want to know more about Chinese calligraphy, you can get some of it from China travel agents.
Located near the Zhangjiapo Village in Mawang Town of Chang'an District in Xian City (a place for China tours for students) and on the west bank of the Fenghe River, the Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit is a typical sacrificial tomb of slave society. Archeologists have confirmed that the system of burying living people with the dead began in the Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC). At that time, many alive slaves were buried with the dead, killed or after committing a suicide for the slave owner and nobles believed that the tombs were their residence in the spiritual world after their death.
The rectangular pit is 5.6 meters (6 yards) long and 2 meters (2 yards) deep. Two 0.68 meter-long, 1.38 meter-wide wooden chariots standing over 0.45 meters tall (1.5 feet) are arranged side by side in the pit with their wheels facing east. Doors with a width measuring about 0.4 meters wide (1.3 feet) are located at the rear of the chariots. Railings made of small battens, with a width of 0.32 meters (1 foot) stand beside each door.
At that time, the chariot decorated in bronze was used in battle and hauled by four horses, while the chariot hauled by two horses and adorned in seashells was used mainly for transport. In the pit, six dead horses crouch directly opposite the chariots. These horses were obviously killed prior to the burial and arranged in this position. Heads of the horses are covered with silver beast-face ornaments. Under the chariot lies a skeleton, supposedly the wheeler of the tomb owner.
Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit was unearthed in 1955. Besides, the research work has provided valuable information both in economic life and metal industry, woodworking and leather production in the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC - 771 BC).
The most tourists who visit China in Xian nearly don't know Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit.
With rapid development of so many industries in China, China play an important role in propelling the development of world economy. China tourism has made a great progress. China aerospace industry also make progress. But China still lag behind many countries in study of the natural sciences. In ancient China, astronomics was developed by comparison with counterparts.
As one of the four advanced natural science subjects in ancient China, astronomy, with the innovative calendars and surprising inventions, played an important role in the world's history of astronomical development.
Since the ancient Chinese believed that the perceived movements of the stars were closely related to the destiny of the country and its rulers, for thousands of years they recorded their movements with great attention. From the 16th century BC to the end of the 19th century AD, almost every dynasty appointed officials charged with the sole task of observing and recording the changes in the heavens. Such observations and records have left a rich astronomical legacy.
The first record of a solar prominence has been found in a tortoise shell inscription, which describes "three suddenly bursting fires eating a chunk of the sun". According to statistics, sunspots occur in a cycle every 11.33 years on average, which is in conformity with ancient Chinese documents and once again testifies to the fact that records of sunspots made by ancient Chinese people are a very valuable astronomical legacy.
Yi Xing (683-727), a monk of the Tang Dynasty, led a large-scale project to identify the locations of the major stars, and, based on the results, concluded that the length of a degree of the meridian line was 351.27 li by Tang measurement, which meant 123.7 km. This was the first measurement of the meridian ever done in the world.
Astronomical studies made impressive headway during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). During this period, five large-scale observations of the sky were undertaken, resulting in star maps. The stone planisphere kept in Suzhou today was first drawn during the reign of Emperor Yuanfeng (1078-85) and then committed to stone in 1247 by Wang Zhiyuan of the Southern Song Dynasty. On the map are 1,434 stars, the ecliptic, the equator, the Milky Way and the twenty-eight constellations. The lower part of the planisphere is occupied by explanations totaling 209 characters, which constitute a concise introduction to the astronomical knowledge man had grasped by that time. This is China's earliest and most complete star map still extant.
Shen Kuo of the Northern Song Dynasty, left behind a great store of notes and research findings in the fields of geography, geology, astronomy and mathematics. His work Dream Stream Essays contains early discussions of the compassand movable type printing. This book is of great value for the study of the history of science.
Other scientist, such as Guo Shoujing (1231-1316), a noted scientist of the Yuan Dynasty, made major improvements to the sundial. Guo Shoujing made great contributions in the areas of astronomy, the calendar and water conservation.
The Houfeng Seismograph
In 132,Zhang Heng, a famous astronomer in the EasternHan Dynasty(25-220), invented the world's first earthquake-observation instrument, the urn-like Houfeng Seismograph that was made of fine copper with a central pendulum.According to the principle of inertia, an Earth tremor would cause the pendulum to lose balance, activating a set of levers inside. Then, one of the eightdragons placed in eight directions outside the urn would release abronzeball held in its mouth. The ball would fall into the mouth of a toad and give off a sound, informing people of the time and direction of an earthquake.
The Celestial Globe
The celestial globe was used it to pinpoint the position of the sun, the moon, and the stars with respect to each other and to know their movement. The celestial globe is seen as the ancestor of the modern celestial globe.
If you plan to have private tour of China, the above-mentioned ancient astronomic equipment can be seen in the museum.
It is important to learn the culture beforehand if you plan to visit this country or place. With the development of China tourism, many tourists choose to visit China and many of them confused with the Chinese zodiac. The following give you the general info about it.
Chinese zodiac is a scheme that relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year cycle. It has wide currency in several East Asian countries besides mainland China and Taiwan.
Identifying this scheme using the term "zodiac" reflects several similarities to the Western zodiac: both have time cycles divided into 12 parts, each labels at least the majority of those parts with names of animals, and each is widely associated with a culture of attributing influence of a person's relationship to the cycle upon their personality and/or events in their life. Nevertheless, there are major differences: the "Chinese" 12-part cycle is divided into years rather than months; contrary to the association with animals implied in the Greek etymology of "zodiac", actually four of the Western "signs" or "houses" are represented by humans (one such sign being the twins "Gemini") and one is the inanimate balance scale "Libra"; the animals of the Chinese zodiac are not associated with constellations, let alone those spanned by the ecliptic plane.
Chinese zodiac signs represent twelve different types of personalities. The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat, and there are many stories about the origins of the Chinese Zodiac which explain why this is so (see below). The following are the twelve zodiac signs in order and their characteristics.
Rat – 鼠 (子) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water): Forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, intellectual, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, self-destructive, envious, mendacious, venal, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, scheming.
Ox – 牛 (丑) (Water buffalo in Vietnam) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Water): Dependable, ambitious, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious. Can be stubborn, dogmatic, hot-tempered, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding.
Tiger – 虎 (寅) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, generous. Can be restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish, aggressive, moody.
Hare – 兔 or 兎 (卯) (Cat in Vietnam) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn.
Dragon – 龍 / 龙 (辰) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, brash.
Snake – 蛇 (巳) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, purposeful. Can be loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious, suffocating, cold.
Horse – 馬 / 马 (午) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile—mentally and physically, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, open-minded. Can be fickle, arrogant, childish, anxious, rude, gullible, stubborn.
Ram – 羊 (未) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, gentle, compassionate, understanding, mothering, peaceful, generous, seeks security. Can be moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer, weak-willed.
Monkey – 猴 (申) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, factual, intellectual. Can be egotistical, vain, arrogant, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious.
Rooster – 雞 / 鸡 (酉) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, responsible. Can be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, proud, opinionated, given to empty bravado.
Dog – 狗 / 犬 (戌) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome.
Pig – 豬 / 猪 (亥) (Boar in Japan and Elephant in Northern Thailand) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water): Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, intelligent. Can be na?ve, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, materialistic.
In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. It is a common misconception that the animals assigned by year are the only signs, and many western descriptions of Chinese astrology draw solely on this system. In fact, there are also animal signs assigned by month (called inner animals) and hours of the day (called secret animals).
After learn the knowledge about Chinese zodiac, you can begin to plan your China custom tour.
The other five grasslands which make contribution to China tourism are listed here.
Top 6 - The Xilin Gol Grassland is situated within Xilin Gol in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The Xilin Gol National Nature Reserve was set in 1985 and took prt in the International Man and Biosphere Reserve Network in 1987 to protect its environment and plateau grassland ecosystem.
There are great number of rare wild animals here, including swans, the red-crowned crane and bustards. The grassland is home to the biggest nature reserve ecosystem of its type in China.
Top 7 - The Ordos Grassland is located 12 kilometers west of Hanggin Banner in Ordos, 430km west of Hohhot. The grassland, with and area of 600 square kilometers, consists of over 100 Mongolia yurts. The whole grassland is divided into song and dance area, entertainment area, accommodation area, fete area, Mongolian folk area and so on.
You also have the chance to take part in the traditional activities of Mongolia such as wrestling, horse riding, toxophily etc. The green grass wafts under the blue sky, and white sheep hides among the grass, appearing while wind blowing. The Ordos Grassland is like hovering lannerets always with warm greeting to the friends from all corners of the world.
Top 8 - As its name suggests, Qilian Mountain Grassland located at the foot of Qilian Mountain. The Qilian Mountain sits at the junction of Gansu and Qinghai provinces with a sea-level of between 4,000 – 5,000.
Differen from most other mountains where lives are missing above the snow line, Qilian Mountain is home to snow lotus, which is a rare medicinal material growing on the snow line. The best time to travel is in in July and August.
Top 9 - Situated at the area where Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan all meet, Shangri-La County is governed by Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province. The Shangri-la Grassland is less populated and not very developed, thus the natural environment is comparqtively well preserved. The grassland is a habitat for many kinds of rare wild animals including yaks, Tibetan antelopes. Shangri-La adventure is very hot in recent years.
Top 10 - The Naqu Grassland in Tibet is surrounded by mountains, covering a total area of about 40 million square kilometres and an average sea level of about 4,500 meters. The eastern part of the grassland is the only cultivable land in Northern Tibet.
August is the best season to vsit Naqu Grassland since there will be a plenty of festive activities to beld on the grasslands.The Naqu Grassland is sparsely populated and not so developed, thus the natural environment is comparqtively well preserved. The grassland is a habitat for numerous rare wild animals including yaks, Tibetan antelopes and wild donkeys.
China has about 400 million hectares of natural grasslands, the second-largest in the world in terms of area, making up about a third of China’s total land area, the second-largest in the world in terms of area, extending from northeast China to Southwest China: Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Gannan, Sichuan, Qinghai and Tibet which are famous and most-visited destination included in China Tibet tour.
But climate change, overgrazing and rural development have inflicted damage to 90 percent of these grasslands. In May, 2011, the Chinese government announced to sponsored a subsidy and reward program for the country’s herdsmen over the coming years in order to reverse and prevent the damage that has been caused to China’s grasslands.
Top 1 - Narat Grassland is part of Yili Grassland (or Ili Grassland ) in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Xinjiang China. Narat Grassland is about 180km long from east to west along the river bed sandwiched by the mountains of Tianshan in three sides. The famous Ili River zigzags through Ili Valley. Ili River is formed by its principal three tributaries - Kashi, Kunes, and Tekes. Kunes River is the upper reaches of Ili River, passing through the river bed of Narat Grassland.
Narat Grassland is a typical river bed grassland and the alpine meadows. Narat Grassland is located at the sea-level of 1800 meters. It is inhabitated by Kazakh minority (but ironically, here in Narat Grassland, we, Han people are the minority.
Top 2 - Bayinbuluke Grassland is located in the middle of Tianshan Mountains, all year round surrounded by snow caped mountains on its four sides, in central Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on the sea level of 2500 meters with an area of 22,000 square km, the second largest grassland, just after Ordos Grassland.
Bayinbuluke literally means “rich with springs” in Monglian language. Bayinbuluke Grassland is typical of Grass meadow steppe, one of the most important herding and grazing area. The abundant rainfall,coupled by snow melting water, form zigzaging streams and lakes, making it one of the fast grass meadow growing place in Xinjiang which is destination for adventure-love to start their Silk Road adventure. It is actually a huge swamp made up of many small connectedlakes, also a place for Nature Reserve for the swan in China.
Top 3 - The Gannan Grassland is located within Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, southwestern Gansu Province. The grassland covers an area of over 2.5o million ha, primarily within Gansu’s Maqu, Xiehe and Luqu counties. Luqu is a town on the fringe of Tibetan-Qinghai Plaetau with green alpine meadows in the west and the Tao River in the east. Two third of Luqu county is suitable for grazing livestock, like sheep and yak. Along the Tao River.
Top 4 - Ruoergai Grassland is located in the north of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, and borders Maqu, Luqu of Gansu Province. It is on the east edge of Tibet-Qinghai Plateau with an altitude between 3000 and 3600 meters.
Ruoergai Grassland is said to be the fourth largest grasslands in Chinao. Ruoergai Grassland belongs to the kind of alpine meadow, also one of the China’s three largest wetlands, covering 10436.58 square kilometers. The best time to view the wildflowers of Ruoergai Grassland is between July and early September. Ruoergai Grassland is neither the greenest nor a fertile grassland, but what catches my eyes and makes my excited is its numerous wild flowers.
Top 5 - The Hulun Buir Grassland is situated within the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region with a total area of over 93,000 square kilometres. It is named the Hulun Lake and the Buir Lake. It is reputed as the most beautiful grassland in Inner Mongolia as well as one of three most beautiful grasslands in the world. Enclosed with over 3,000 rivers, 500 lakes, the Hulun Buir Grassland reasembles a huge natural green carpet. In summer, the Hulun Buir Grassland presents a peaceful and harmonious idyllic scene.
If you have a China tour to the provinces of these grassland, you should consider to visit the grasslands.
There are five great grottoes in China. Many tourists are very familiar with Yungang, Dunhuang and Datong grottoes for their China education tours but seldom visit Maijishan AND Kizil grottoes.
Maijishan is a famous Buddhist grotto just south of Tianshui, the hometown of Fuxi, one of the legendary founders of China. From 384AD to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), ancient artists built scaffolds along the cliffs and chiseled hundreds of caves out of the 142-m tall mountain. There are 194 caves with 7,200 sculptures and 1,300 sq m of murals.
The clay sculptures here display Chinese features, which are quite different from the diversified foreign styles in Dunhuang.
Legends say when the highest cave was completed, Sakyamuni arrived here to preach Buddhism and his 28 asparas (attendants) threw flower petals onto the pilgrims below. If a petal fell on someone, it meant he or she did not truly believe in Buddhism but to everyone's joy, all the petals scattered upwards toward the sky.
It is 290 km by highway from Lanzhou, provincial capital of Gansu, to Tianshui, where there are a number of hotels and also an attraction of Silk Road travel.
These were created as Buddhism thrived between the 3rd and 8th centuries and were the first major grottoes created as Buddhism spread to China.
The Kizil Grottoes' 235 caves are 60 km southeast of Baicheng county, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. They contain murals and written documents in many ancient languages, although many were pillaged by foreign explorers early last century.
The grottoes are 70 km from Baicheng or Kucha and are best reached by taxi.
If you want to know more information about these two grottoes for your China tours, you can consult the detailed information from China travel agents.
Different from Western characters, Chinese characters are square and indicate either pronunciation or meaning or both. Chinese characters provide a convenient tool for imagery thinking. If you want to learn more knowledge of Chinese characters when you travel to China, you should read the following before your journey.
With language, ancient humans began accumulating knowledge through which human culture came forth. With characters, they recorded the language and communicated with each other, which distinguished man from animals. It is characters that drew a line between the primitive and civilized periods of human society.
There are various sayings in ancient Chinese documents concerning the origin of Chinese characters, such as "tie knots," the "Eight Diagrams," "picture," and "carved characters," among others. The legendary story about Cang Jie creating characters is generally recorded in ancient books. According to ancient records, Chinese characters were created by Cang Jie, a history officer of the legendary Yellow Emperor.
Huainanzi (Masters in the Kingdom of Huainan) says that it was because of the characters Cang Jie made that the Heaven rained grains and ghosts cried at night. Xun Zi and Shi Jing (The Book of Odes) and other ancient books also record the legend of Cang Jie creating Chinese characters. By the Qin (221-206BC) and Han (206BC-220AD) dynasties, the legend had become more widespread and had more far-reaching influence.
Historians in the past once tried to prove whether there was a person named Cang Jie in history, and if he did exist, when he lived, but they failed to draw a conclusion due to lack of irrefutable proof.
Some people guessed that Cang Jie was the historiographer of the Yellow Emperor. Xunzi thought Cang Jie must have been a prehistoric wise man who sorted out and standardized the characters that had already been in use.
Evidently the legend of Cang Jie cannot be accepted as the truth, for any script can only be a creation developed by people to meet the needs of social life over a long period of trial and experiment. Chinese characters are a huge and complicated system, and they could only have come into being after a long period of creation and development.
According to modern researchers, the ancestors of the Chinese people tied knots in rope to record events. Later, they adopted sharp weapons to inscribe signs, and developed the earliest form of Chinese characters. Archeologists have found inscribed signs on Neolithic pottery shards in Banpo Village in Shaanxi Province which are hot for tourists to learn the ancient Chinese history and always contained in China tour deals. These signs, dating back to some 6,000 years ago, were possibly the seeds of later Chinese characters.
Inscribed signs, a little younger than those found in Banpo Village, were also found on pottery along the lower reaches of the Yellow River. There, archeologists found a sign with shapes of the moon and a five-peak mountain underneath a circle. Experts in ancient characters say the pictograph symbolizes the interval in which the moon disappears and the sun rises. Mythology researchers have another interpretation. Their understanding is that the moon shape symbolizes the red clouds as the sun rises, and thus the picture portrays a sunrise over the sea.
Most of the signs inscribed on pottery were painted red, creating an imposing and mysterious impression. The hypothesis is that pictographs were used in sacrificial rituals dedicated to the sunrise or as prayers for good harvests. They were inscribed in an orderly way, and the strokes are full of strength. Similar signs and designs have been found in other regions in China, indicating they had become generally recognized. These are the earliest symbols, or pictographs, in China and are more than 5,000 years old.
In Qinghai Province in western China, pottery objects of approximately the same period and inscribed with images of birds, insects and animals have been unearthed. These, too, are regarded as pictographs. According to philologist Tang Lan, Chinese characters originated from pictures; the older the characters, the more they look like pictures. Since pictures have no fixed forms, the ancient Chinese characters were generally free in form.
Xu Shen, a philologist of the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), divided Chinese characters into six categories. Modern scholars have since reduced them to three types, of which the pictographic character is one. The picture signs are the embryos of both calligraphy and painting, which gave rise to the Chinese saying that calligraphy and painting have the same origin. At first, the pictographic characters differed from region to region. As time went by, however, they become more standardized, abstract and united, and the earliest Chinese written language, Jiaguwen (shell and bone writing) appeared.
It is said that Cangjie created Chinese characters. When you plan a China custom tour in Shangluo City, Shaanxi Province, you can find a statue of Cangjie.
The Snake's Spring Festival ended. Many foreign tourists begin to plan their China tours. Many tourists don't know what meaning the snake stand for in China.
The snake’s spiritual and cultural include evil, auspicious, and honorable meanings. It is the devil incarnate, an ancient totem, a protector of kings, an omen of good fortune and health, and a symbol of wisdom and strength. Overall, the snake has rich cultural and mysterious connotation.
Snake, a symbol of auspice and honor in China
Ancient Chinese thought that the snake could prolong life, and considered it to be a symbol of good luck, great harvest, and reproduction. Snake-themed cultural relics were often found in southwestern and southern China. There are vivid patterns of two snakes fighting with frogs on a bronze jug dating back to the Spring and Autumn Period unearthed in Gongcheng, Guangxi province.
Ancient people living in southwestern China considered the snake as a symbol of good harvest and the earth. The image of the snake often appears on bronze cultural relics used for worshiping and praying for good harvest. The handle of a gold seal that the central government of the Western Han dynasty granted to the ruler of Yunnan province has the shape of a gold snake, which symbolizes the ruler’s high status and authority.
In ancient Chinese mythology, the snake also has close relations with gods. Fu Xi and Nv Wa were pictured as having snake bodies and tails in Han Dynasty stone and brick paintings, with their hands holding the sun and moon since certain people considered them as sun god and moon goddess. There are also paintings of them holding the gauge and square and having dragon bodies and tails. In a silk painting unearthed from the Astana Graves in Turpan, Xinjiang, Fu Xi and Nv Wa are surrounded by stars, and hold each other tight with their snake bodies and tails interlocked, reflecting the grave owners’ wish for more descendants.
The Legend of the White Snake is a popular ancient Chinese story about loyal love, and has been performed in a large number of operas, films, dances, New Year paintings, and shadow plays. And the background of the story was set in Hangzhou, a hot tourist site included in China tour packages.
Snake, a symbol of divinity and eternity in Egypt and India
Unlike the Bible, ancient Egyptian and Indian mythology has depicted the snake as a symbol of divinity rather than the devil incarnate.
The snake was the first animal to reappear after the Nile flood receded. It was considered to be an underworld creature that had the power to create the world. In Egyptian mythology, four goddesses with snake heads and four gods with frog heads created the world. They formed four pairs representing the reproduction nature of the primeval sea. Sun god Amun is sometimes represented as a snake devouring its own tail all the time, which signifies eternity and perpetual cycles of renewal.
Indians call a group of serpent deities “Naga.” Ancient Indian Buddhists and Hinduists often drew Naga as having human heads and snake tails as well as five or seven cobra heads like a marquee. A typical example is the relief of serpent gods and goddesses swimming in the Ganges on the Descent of the Ganges dating back to 670 at Mahabalipuram in southern India. In Indian mythology, the snake is also a symbol of eternity, especially when it bites its own tail.
Xian is a very ancient city with long history and many historical and cultural relics are left. With rapid development of China tourism in recent years, Xian attracts more and more tourists but few of them have visited Banpo Museum.
Banpo Culture, originating from the middle reaches of the Yellow River, is part of the Yangshao Culture of the Neolithic Age. The culture is so named because it was founded in Banpo Village in Xian, Shaanxi Province. The culture lasted from 6,800 to 6,300 years ago and reflects the geographical situation of northern China at that time.
Residents in Banpo lived in villages in clans or tribes. Agriculture, fishing and hunting were their main ways of acquiring food. The dwelling place for a clan was surrounded by a moat as a way to prevent invasion by wild animals. Houses were square or round in shape and were built so that some of the building extended under the ground. In light of many kinds of farm implements and fishing tools excavated, it is inferred that the Banpo people depended primarily on farming and fishing for survival.
Banpo Culture is renowned for its fine painted potteries. The pottery-painting skills displayed here are listed the top among all the cultures at that time. Their earthen wares were uniformly red in color and decorated with black pigment. The craftsmen had their potteries simply decorated, the most striking are the designs of fish that can be seen everywhere. The fish was finished in symbolic pattern. It is concluded that fish should be the totem of ancient Banpo people. Not only are the pottery wares of different kinds but they are also meticulously painted with unusual patterns. Human faces, fish, deer, plants and other geometric figures are commonly seen on the wares, which were usually dyed red with black-lined patterns. The most representative design is a basin with human face and fish patterns found in Banpo, Xian that is the crystal of art and characters of that time. Judging from the patterns painted on the pottery, archaeologists have concluded that the fish symbol was regarded as a good omen by clans that time.
Banpo Culture witnessed the time of matriarchal clan society. Women took a dominant position in everything and there were no permanent couples. After death, adult women and men were buried separately in communal graveyard, having potteries and beads of animal bones as burial objects. Children, however, were not allowed be buried with adults. The mother would put the body of her child into urns and bury it in a pit close to her house. This special burial urn practice reveals that child was still not counted as the member of primitive community. More burial articles were found in girls pit than in that of boys.
Excavated in 1954, the ruin of Banpo Village lies in the east suburb of Xian. In 1958, a large Banpo Museum was built there presenting the production scenes of Banpo people, and social life and artistic achievements to modern people.
If you want to know more about Banpo culture, you can contact with China tour agents.
Watching Peking Opera become a indispensible part of China tours in Beijing. Learn something about Peking Opera.
Chinese traditional opera is considered one of the world's three ancient operas, together with Greek tragedy and comedy, and Indian Sanskrit opera. Among the more than 360 ancient local operas in China, Peking Opera is known as China’s national opera, despite its comparatively young 200-year history.
Although it is called Peking Opera, the origins of Peking Opera are not in Beijing but in the provinces of Anhui (East China) and Hubei (South-central China). Its rise is due in great part to the favorable eyes and patronage of the imperial royalties.
Peking Opera is a purely Chinese opera form dating back to the year 1790, when the famous Four Anhui Opera Troupes first came to Beijing in celebration of the 80th birthday of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The tour was a hit and the troupes stayed. In 1828, some famous Hubei Opera Troupe players came to Beijing.
The artists of Hubei and Anhui troupes often jointly performed on the stage and absorbed repertoires, music, arias and performing techniques of each other and from other operas like Kun Qu, Qin Qiang and Bang Zi, as well as the local dialect and customs of Beijing. Its repertoires mainly depict fairy tales of preceding dynasties and important historical events.
It was after 1840 that Peking Opera formally took shape, growing even faster during the reign of the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908), who was an opera aficionado. Classic Peking Opera repertoires and the names of the first-generation masters were on the lips of the people in Beijing (always contained in last minute China travel deals), and eventually prevalent around the country.
Peking Opera Roles include sheng (male role), dan (female role), jing (painted-face male role), and chou (comedic male role), distinguished on the basis of sex, age, and personality.
Unlike European operas, which concentrate on usually one kind of performance in one stage representation, Peking Opera integrates music, singing, dance, costume art, makeup, acting and acrobatics into a unique whole.
Facial Make-up (Lianpu) in Peking Opera is mostly applied to the male roles of jing and chou, with particular styles to symbolize the different personalities, characteristics, and fates of the roles. Some people argue that the facial make-up is similar to the mask. Nevertheless, there are great differences between the two in that masks are separate from the face. Different make-up colors symbolize different personalities:
Red -- brave, faithful and wise men, with utter devotion
Purple -- wise, brave and steadfast men
Black – upright, outspoken, and never stooping to flattery
Blue -- brave, upright and outspoken men, but obstinate and unruly
Green -- hero of the bush, chivalrous but with a testy temper
Yellow -- valiant but ferocious military men or crafty civil officers
White – insidious and treacherous
Gold & silver -- mysterious monsters or gods
Peking Opera Costumes, mainly made of satin, crepe and silk and decorated with various meticulously embroidered patterns, tell a character’s sex and status at first glance, marking off people from all walks of life, noble or humble, civil or military. Accessories, including helmets and hats, constitute an integral part to bring about dramatic stage effects.
Peking Opera Basic Skills include dance movements and special acrobatic movements while singing or reciting, a necessary requirements mastered by all actors and actresses.
Ater reading this article, you may have a general idea about Peking Opera. If you are from English-speaking countries and don't know Chinese, it is also very interesting to watch the posture and costume which add colors for your private tour of China.
"It is a City of Light. When night falls, countless lamps and torches light up all the streets and lanes, and the whole city, viewed from afar, turns into a sea of lights," described Jacob d'Ancona, a scholarly Jewish merchant, in a manuscript. Quanzhou, as the starting point of Maritime Silk Road, now become a hot tourist destination of China tourism.
In 1270 Jacob d'Ancona set out on a voyage from Italy. A year later, he arrived in China at the coastal metropolis of Zaitun -- the "City of Light" four years before Marco Polo arrived at Xanadu in 1275.
Nothing was known of this epochal journey until 1990 when a remarkable manuscript of d'Ancona's account of this travel, after being hidden from public for more than seven centuries, was shown, bringing us back to Jacob's encounter with one of the world's great civilizations -- the City of Light, now known as Quanzhou.
Tracking the Maritime Silk Road
Quanzhou, situated on the southeastern coast of East China's Fujian Province, was an important harbor and the starting point on the Maritime Silk Road. In ancient times, citong, or the paulownia trees that bear fiery red flowers every spring, were cultivated widely in the region to a circumference of ten kilometers, hence the nickname "Citong City." Visitors from the Middle East mistook it for the olive tree as zaitun in Arabic.
During the Maritime Silk Road ear, the name of no city was more resonant than Zaitun, where hundreds of huge ships docked in the bay. Boats loaded with goods would shuttle back and forth between the ships and the wharves, the latter already piled high with goods. After unloading items such as spices, ivory, pearls, hawksbill turtles, and rhinoceros horns, the ships would then take on silk, porcelain, tea, and Chinese arts and crafts before sailing back home.
The earliest records of trading between Quanzhou and foreign countries dated back to the 6th century. By the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Quanzhou had already become one of China's four greatest ports. Its foreign trade reached the peak of prosperity in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The four great travelers of the medieval West -- Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Giovanni Marignolli, and Odoric -- all wrote of the openness and prosperity of Quanzhou. The North African traveler Ibn Battuta compared it to the Egyptian port of Alexandria, and Marco Polo described it as "one of the largest ports in the world."
Quanzhou Maritime Museum
The best place to trace Quanzhou's ancient maritime prosperity is the Quanzhou Maritime Museum in Fengze District. It is the only maritime museum in China, with two sites -- the old one in the Kaiyuan Temple and the new one in the East Lake, built in 1959 and 1991 respectively. From the hundreds of thousands of cultural relics like real boat parts, stone, wooden and iron anchors, and models of sea boats through the dynasties, the rises and falls of ancient port city Zaitun are vividly revived. These attractions are must-sees included in China vacation packages.
There are also relics and models represent such historic events as the great mariner Zheng He's seven naval missions (1405-1433) to Asia and Africa, and the national hero Zheng Chenggong's warships reclaiming the sovereignty of Taiwan from the Dutch naval.
Quanzhou was so cosmopolitan that many Persian, Arab, Indian, and Southeast Asian merchants, sailors, emissaries, missionaries, and officials settled down here. It was a veritable showcase of religious tolerance: Apart from Buddhism and Hinduism, Islam, Nestorianism (widely viewed as a kind of pseudo-Christianity), Manichaeism (a kind of world religion), and Taoism all made their mark in this city, hence its fame as the "world museum of religions."
For many tourists, they are just familiar with the Silk Road in Xinjiang and many of them may have Silk Road travel. After reading this article, you may have a general idea of Maritime Silk Road.
Tibet Permits (or Tibet visa) are another documents required for a Tibet travel except China visa. There are three Tibet permits: Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (or Tibet Entry Permit), Travel Permit or Aliens' Travel Permit and Military Permit.
Due to Tibet's unique ethnic traditions, cultural heritage, tourist service facilities, reception capacity, ecological environmental protection needs, as well as the traffic situation, the National Tourism Administration prescribed that foreign tourists, Taiwan and overseas Chinese tourists (except Hong Kong, Macao residents holding Chinese passports or return certificates) have to get a Tibet Permit to Tibet, otherwise they may get into great trouble. At the same time, all the people can get Tibet permit through a travel agency except diplomats, journalists, and government officials who have to travel to Tibet under the arrangement of the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office.
However, Tibet Tourism Bureau issued a new policy on issuing Tibet permits in May, 2012. The new policy stated that Tibet permits would only be issued for a tour group with minimum FOUR toursits with the same nationality, which makes it hard for individual travellers to get Tibet permits.
Please keep in mind that there are generally four documents required for foreign tourists who want to travel freely in Tibet.
- One is the Chinese Visa, which you can apply in the Chinese Embassy in your country (When you want to go to Tibet via the mainland of China).
- One is Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB), also called Tibet Entry Permit, which you have to obtain in order to enter into Tibet by plane or train.
- One is the Aliens' Travel Permit (PSB), also called Travel Permit, when you are planning to travel to the 'unopened' areas of Tibet.
- The other is the Military Permit, which you have to obtain if you are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas in Tibet.
Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit (Tibet Entry Permit)
Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit which is necessary for entering into Lhasa or any other parts of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, is obtained through tour operators. When you take a flight or train to Lhasa, you will be asked to show this permit during the process of check-in. Furthermore, TTB permits are also needed by groups traveling by Land Cruiser but this will be arranged by the travel agency organizing the trip.
Important Issues About Tibet Travel Permit
1. After having a permit, a travel agency could buy air tickets for you, and you can pass the check-in at the airport and get on board of your plane.
2. You are not allowed to bring along with the TTB permit to travel to anywhere outside of Lhasa city. If you want to go out of Lhasa area, you have to apply for another permit, Aliens' Permit.
3. Generally it needs three working days to get the TTB permit if you supply all the necessary documents in time.
Aliens' Travel Permits (PSB)
Aliens' Travel Permit is required to visit 'unopened' areas. Which is issued by the police (Public Security Bureau, "PSB"). Usually you can apply for it once you arrive at Lhasa. For tour groups, our guide will ask you for the passport and TTB permit and submit it to the Foreign Affairs Section of PSB for the Travel Permit. It normally takes several hours and the cost is 50 CNY/person. If you are an individual traveler, you need to join local tours to 'unopened' areas, and the local travel agencies will arrange the PSB for you as well. Pay attention, there is no travel agency can provide 'PSB permit-only' service.
Notice:If you want to do a Tibet overland tour from Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai or Xinjiang province (these are always contained in popular China travel package) to Tibet, you must got the PSB permit before your tour starts.
Tibet Permit Application Procedure
Notice: Any Visa card issued by associations like APEC does not equal to Chinese Visa for Tibet permit application.
(1). If you visit China for travel, and your visa type is "L", Please email us the photo copy of your passport and China Visa 20-30 days before you arrive in China, we will set out to apply for your Tibet Permit upon we receive it. Please be sure that the photos are in large size and clear enough.
(2). If you visit China for business purpose, and your visa type is "F" or "Z", please offer a business visiting certificate paper from the company or association in China, which you pay a visit to and can provide your accurate purpose. This certificate paper should include two parts:
Firstly, your personal information: your full name, passport number, the purpose of visit, the duration of your visit.
Secondly, the company information: the company's full name, address, telephone number, fax number.
Besides, this certificate paper must be stamped by this company.
(3). If you live in China and hold a resident permit, please offer your working permit issued by China government or a certificate from your company to prove you are working there. The certificate should include:
Firstly, your personal information: your full name, passport number, the purpose of visit, how long have you been working there, your position in this company;
Secondly, the company information: the company's full name, address, telephone number, fax number.
Besides, this certificate paper must be stamped by this company.
Sample of Certificate Paper
Confirmation your full name, Passport Number, is working at your company name since the date you join in this company to work as your position. (for visiting)
Visit our company for your purpose , from the date you star visiting to the date you end visiting.If you have any question concerning with your full name, please feel free to contact the telephone number and fax number of your company
4. Your Tibet Permitwill be issued 2-5 working days since we pass your documents to Tibet Tourism Bureau. The Original Tibet Permit will be posted to the city from which you depart to Tibet, please let us know the address, telephone number, the hotel name of your accommodation in that city 15 days before you arrive in China. If you are asked to go to our branch office in that city you depart to pick up documents in person, we will mention it in the contract.
5. Travelers need to offer unfeigned, effective and related credential, license or certificate through which CITS Tibet Travel Org will apply for necessary permits. Once any counterfeit credential, license or certificate from travelers is confirmed, CITS Tibet Travel Org reserves the right to cancel the corresponding trip, without any refund. Necessary compensation from travelers also occurs when any counterfeit made by the travelers induces loss to CITS Tibet Travel Org .
Please pay attention: Tibet occasionally sees political tension and social unrest. When there are important political events or any indication of such political or social unrest, the government may not issue Tibet permits during some special periods. Although, the conflicts are defused day by day, it is still a problem out of our control. Therefore, we cannot entirely certain that you will get the Tibet permit in these cases. Moreover, we cannot predict when it will happen. Please make a full understanding of it and take it into consideration when planning your trip to Tibet. However, it is not necessary to worry too much about it because it rarely happens. And any unofficial information you find on the Internet or hear from other people, even from travel agencies, can be considered as rumour. Please do not believe it unless you get an announcement from the government.
If you enter Tibet from Nepal, you need get Chinese Visa and Tibet Permit under the guidance of Enter Tibet From Nepal.
Hope that the above-mentioned info can help you have a easy and happy China vacation deals in Tibet.
Of course, it depends on many factors, including your travel experience, personality, and budget. You’ll have to balance the trade offs and decide which is more appropriate for you specifically.
In general, going with an all-inclusive China tour deals in China is more suitable for travelers with little to no overseas travel experience. Or those who really dislike the hassles of deciding where to go, how to get there, choosing a hotel and restaurant, and so on.
Cost-wise, it depends. For the serious budget traveler, going solo is cheaper (but you’ll likely won’t be traveling as comfortably). But because tour groups can get volume discounts and share transportation, they aren’t necessarily more expensive than independent travel and can be a good value.
Organized tours in China: Pros & Cons
Although there are differences, an “organized tour” in China usually refers to a full-package with a tour guide who handles virtually every detail of your itinerary, including which attractions you’ll see (and stops along the way), where’ll you’ll stay and eat, and so on.
Hassle-free: You just show up and do what they tell you. You won’t have to figure out how to buy tickets or negotiate with taxi drivers or look for a hotel. It also means that you and your friends won’t have to bicker endlessly about where, when, and how to go to your next destination.
Join a tour group or independent travel in China? You’ll have a Chinese tour guide, who (should) have specialized information about the sites as well as serve as a translator for your group.
Safety in numbers as well as a tour guide who can help steer you clear of trouble and annoyances.
New friends: You’ll have the opportunity to socialize and share experiences with other travelers in your group.
More variety of foods: You’ll be eating Chinese family-style for most meals (shared by entire table) so you’ll be able to sample a wider range of foods that you might not otherwise try.
Join a tour group or independent travel in China?Lack of flexibility: You might feel as if you’re back in summer camp since someone else will be dictating all the details of your day (such as when to wake up, etc). Want to take a detour to check out something interesting? Have a craving for some non-Chinese food for a change? Sorry, the bus is leaving in 10 minutes.
You”ll have a more “watered down” travel experience. Being part of a large tour group — which largely go to the same popular tourist spots — means fewer opportunities to have genuine interactions with locals and appreciate the subtleties of daily life in the back streets.
If your tour guide is unpleasant (or just annoying), you’re out of luck since you’re stuck with him/her for the rest of your trip. The quality of your tour guide is critical in other respects — some can barely speak English and are not as knowledgeable as they should be so do your homework first.
If other people in your group are unpleasant or annoying,it can be harder to appreciate the majesty of the Li River whose view can be compared with that of Yangtze River cruises as you listen to Bubba loudly tell the story of how he once caught a 20 pound catfish with his bare hands….for the fifth time.
Waste valuable time in attractions and pit stops that are thinly disguised tourist-trap gift shops. Since tours typically get some sort of commission or kickback for bringing in a bus load of rich tourists, you might get annoyed at all of the pit stops as well as the mediocre restaurants that cater to tourist groups.
Many tourists like to trace the route of Silk Road when they have an educational China tours.
The Silk Road is a world-renowned trading route of ancient Chinese civilization which covers area including East, South and Western Asia, Mediterranean world, as well as North and Northeast Africa and Europe. The area in China on Silk Road includes Shannxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Xinjiang provinces with the length of more than 4,000 kilometers, more one-second of the whole route.
With the history of more than 2,000 years, the glamour of the Silk Road attracts many people to explore and witness with their own eyes. In the ancient days, the camel, hailed as the ship of dessert, was the main vehicle. But now tourists can take plane, train and coach to go sightseeing along the Silk Road.
There are numerous cultural and historical sites along the road including the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, praised as the eighth wonders of the world, Famen Temple which preserves the Buddha bone, Mogao Grottos in Dunhuang, Maijishan Grottos, Jiayu Pass of Great Wall, Ta’er Lamasery in Qinghai Province and relics of Gaochang Old City.
The natural landscape along the road is peculiar and magnificent. Qinghai Lake, Bayanbulak Grassland – a paradise for swan, Heaven Lake on Heaven Mountain, Yadan landform in Lop Nur, the Mountain of Flames in Turpan and Ghost City in Karamay add infinite fascination to the Silk Road. The numerous minorities live along the Silk Road. They are friendly and skilled in dancing and singing. With different history of development, ethnic groups here have retained their own traditional culture, religious beliefs and characters.
The best time to have a Silk Road adventure should be in May and October. The summer is searing hot and the winter is freezing. The average temperature in May is around 15C and the scenery is beautiful. The temperature difference is big in the morning and afternoon, so you should bring warm and cool clothes with you. The distance between two sites is far so that the most time of the day is spent in the car.
Because the silk road route is very long which takes you about over 14 days so that you'd better join a private China tours.
Like a huge range of inspiring landscapes lied within the vast territory, China also is the home of diversity of peoples. The Han People is the dominant force, but there also are more than 50 ethnic groups with different customs, traditions, languages and ways of life living on this large area. Despite these differences existing, one thing that binds all Chinese people together is the passion on food.
Now let’s begin our food China tours
Chinese food enjoys a reputation in the world. One of the best known is Beijing Roast Duck which can be eaten in other countries, but the authentic Beijing roast duck can be found in Beijing. The Beijing roasted duck can be dated back to 1,500 years. Why Beijing roast duck got so famous is the breed of the duck, i.e. Beijing duck. According to the legend, the superb taste of the roast dick comes from the rare-breed Beijing duck. The most famous Beijing roast duck restaurant that offers the most tasting roast is Quanjude restaurant.
Snack stalls and markets abound are perfect to taste delicious food. You can spend little money to get you stomach full with delectable snacks. The night markets and snack stalls can be found in most China cities.
Do you like spicy food? If you like, you should head to Sichuan Province and Chongqing City which are place to start Yangtze River cruise, home to the spiciest dishes on the planet. Chillies are used as the fixings along with the unique Sichuan pepper. The signature dish in Sichuan is hotpot. Although hotpot can be eaten in other places of China, Sichuan is the hometown of hotpot.
Hongshao Rou (braised pork belly) is a popular dish among Chinese. Hunan Province, the birthplace of Mao Zedong, is the home to this dish. But this dish is too fatty for some western. Taste because it is really delicious.
Speaking of Guangxi, people always think of the enchanting landscapes in Guilin. But Guangxi is also famous for its dog-meat hotpot. If you think eating dog meat violate your morals, you can try beer fish, a mouth-watering specialty of village of Yangshuo.
Wow, the food trip is very marvelous. Besides tasting the delicious food, we can also have some wonderful private tour of China.
When you have private China tours, you shold not miss Tianyi Pavillion.
Tianyi Pavilion in Ningbo of Zhejiang Province is not only renowned for its book collection, but also for its refined design of building. Tianyi Pavilion is the oldest ancient library in China. Occupying 26,000 square meters, Tianyi Pavilion was built by Fan Qin, a retired government official in the mid-Ming Dynasty. There are over 300,000 scrolls of ancient books collected in Tianyi Pavilion. Besides, plenty of calligraphies and paintings, rubbings and elaborate local handicrafts are also collected in the pavilion. The whole pavilion is separated into collecting, exhibition and garden area for entertaining. Centering on Precious Library, the collecting area is comprised of Dongming Thatched Cottage, the former residence of Fan Qin and his offsprings, Mingzhou forest of stone tablets and some other collecting places. In garden area, some scenic spots are included here, such as Ming Lake, artificial hills and Bai’e Pavilion. There are also Furongzhou, Ancestral Hall of the Wens and calligraphy and painting art center here. The ancient buildings and classical garden are also a big attractions for tourists to customize China tours.
For protecting the books in the pavilion, Fan Qing had made the family laws and one of them is “Any book mustn’t be moved out of Tianyi Pavilion”. However with the time went by, there are still many books lost. In 1808, Tianyi Pavilion had 4,094 scrolls of books and 53,000 books in total, while dozens of kinds of ancient books were plundered by British invaders during Opium War (1840-1842). From 1851 to 1861, thieves burglarized the pavilion and stole many books. Later they sold these books to missionaries and paper mill for the profits. In 1940, the pavilion only collected 1,591 scrolls and 13,038 books in total. After the founding of People Republic of China, the government set up the special organ to protect and seek the lost ancient books about over 3,000. Now, the total number of books reaches over 80,000 including the books donated by the local collectors.
Tianyi Pavilion was designated the national key cultural relics center by the State Council in 1982. The pavilion was upgraded to a national 4A tourist attraction in 2003, and selected as the national key department of protection of ancient books in 2007. Since then, it become a hot destination included in China travel packages.
Source of Article: http://www.articlestars.com/articles/1271294_Tianyi-Pavilion-%E2%80%93-a-Must-Go-for-All-Book-Lovers.html
Do I need a visa before entering China?
China visa & entry requirements"
Yes. All foreign visitors to China need to apply for a visa in advance, available from Chinese embassies and consulates, as well as through visa agents and tour operators. Most embassies and consulates don’t allow you to mail in your visa application so you’ll either have to visit one or use a visa/China travel agent.
The exceptions are Hong Kong and Macau, which have own tourist guidelines (citizens from the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand don’t need a visa and can stay up to 90 days).
1. Visas must be used within 3 months of ISSUE date
2. Best to apply for your visa about 1-2 months before departure date. It supposedly only takes 4 business days but I’d give yourself 2 weeks lead time just in case.
3. The visa application asks to list your occupation. If you’re a journalist, photographer, filmmaker, or writer….it’s probably safer to write in something like, “professional dog groomer” or “subway bucket drummer.”
China visa & entry requirementsVisa regulations are subject to change, especially during times of political unrest when it’s possible (but unlikely) that you’ll be asked to show additional documentation such as your airline tickets or hotel reservations.
If you’re traveling on a China tour package, you probably won’t need to apply for an individual visa since your tour leader will apply for a group visa (after getting your details).
1. Single-entry tourist visas (L) are most common and easiest to get. They’re almost always good for 30 days from date of entry (but they’ll also grant 2-3 month visa if requested). Multiple-entry L visas are also available and are typically valid for one year. COSTS: non-US citizen= $30. US citizens= $130 (in response to higher US visa fees)
2. Business visas (F) require an invitation from government-recognized Chinese organization and are valid between 3 months to 2 years.
3. Work visas (Z) also require invitation, plus additional documentation like a clean bill of health.
4. Student visas (X) less than 6 moths need letter of acceptance. If longer, you’ll also need health certificate (typically valid for a year but renewable annually).
The above-mentioned information about China visa can help your customize China tours.
Today's settlement in China's remote, northwestern Gansu Province belies the once-bustling hub of Silk Road merchants, suppliers, and entrepreneurs who once populated this desert oasis. Plundered by some unsavory, late 19th century "archeologists," Dunhuang and other Silk Road towns lost a good deal of their riches - now displayed on museum shelves throughout the world. But Silk Road adventures still attracts tourists at home and abroad.
Much as today's Egyptian archeologists and curators rightfully curse the foreign "archeologists" (and the corrupted local officials) who permitted a wholesale removal of national treasures, controversy remains in China as how best to arrange a return of those treasures. Outsiders may cite China's past rollercoaster record on antiquity preservation, but it's ironic that Chinese citizens often need to travel to London, Paris or New York to view some of their nation's finest Silk Road artistry!
Not all was lost to the west, however. In fact, a good deal remains, saved not by the Chinese, removed not by Westerners, but hidden by nature. In the 16th and 17th centuries, when maritime shipping displaced the overland Silk Road routes, entire desert towns were abandoned. Over the years, shifting sands covered them, hiding their riches from even the most enterprising excavators.
Dunhuang's major sights and attractions include:
Mogao Caves: Over a period of about 700 years, from the 4th to the 11th century AD, Buddhist monks - often supported by rich patrons - excavated and executed astonishing works of art in caves outside of Dunhuang. The arrival of Islam in the 12th century ended the cave creations and their virtual abandonment (and the soon-to-follow economic downturn of Silk Road communities) actually helped secure their preservation. "Discovered" in 1907, the caves are Dunhuang's top attraction which make great contribution to China tourism.
Yueya Quan: Literally, "Crescent Moon Lake," this oasis sits just a few miles outside of town. Countless Silk Road travelers, nomads, merchants and now, tourists - have quenched their thirsts here!
"Singing Sand Dunes": The sand storms are said to create almost melodic sounds as millions of minute particles bounce and rub. You're unlikely to hear them, as tours don't head for the dunes during sand storms! But you'll cherish the views of the surrounding Taklamakan Desert. For the energetic, parasailing, tobogganing - and now - "sandboarding," are fun activities available here.
If you want to know more information about Dunhuang, you can contact with a China travel agency.
Treking on the mountain is a very challenging activities for your Tibet travel.
The high Tibetan plateau is the rooftop of Asia, hidden from the Indian subcontinent behind the ramparts of the Great Himalaya. Despite Chinese-led modernisation, Tibet’s great monasteries still hum with murmured mantras and the flicker of yak butter lamps. Sublime landscapes, ranging from rolling grasslands to high-altitude turquoise lakes, a vibrant Buddhist culture and the friendly and resilient Tibetan people are the highlights here, as are the views of Everest’s North Face – miles better than anything you’ll see in Nepal. When to go mid-May to September Getting there Flights to Lhasa from Kathmandu, Chengdu, Beijing and many other cities in China, or take the world’s highest train from China to Lhasa. Suggested itinerary Join a requisite tour for the ten-day overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu, stopping at the incredible multistorey stupa (structure containing Buddhist relics) at Gyantse and the spectacular medieval monastery at Sakya. Off the beaten track alternativeComplete a rugged three-day trek around Asia’s most sacred peak, Mt Kailash, in remote Western Tibet, and then visit the incredible Kashmiri-influenced art of Tsaparang and the Guge Kingdom, hidden deep in the weirdly eroded desert gorges of the Sutlej Valley. Freshly paved roads and a new airport outside Ali make the two-week trip much less arduous than just two years ago, though you still have to hire transport and a guide through an agency in Lhasa or Kathmandu.
If you need more info about trekking in Tibet, you can consult from China travel agents.
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