Zhongshan Lu, Xiamen
Xiamen not only has the beautiful scenery preparing for China travel deals; visitors are just as often attracted by the food and goods that are very much unique to the city. Bustling shopping centers in Xiamen are largely concentrated around Zhongshan Lu and around the railway station. There are various malls carrying name-brand items, including high-end fashion, jewelry and accessories. Aside from the high-end malls, specialty shops, gourmet streets and night bazaars also offer a completely different assortment of goods and shopping atmosphere for visitors. Here's a guide to Xiamen's main shopping areas.
Zhongshan Lu is one of the oldest shopping districts in Xiamen. The road has got a large selection of goods and attracts large crowds daily. Various architectural styles can by found lining the road, as well as numerous malls, restaurants, theaters and many better-known, older shops in the city. Popular local shops selling tea leaves cultivated in Fujian can also be found here – the taste of the tea cultivated in this region is known for its refreshing taste. Another local favourite is Gulanyu Pastry Shop – a must-visit store for any visitor that visits the area. Of course, Zhongshan Lu is never short of name-brand department stores and malls selling high-end fashion and the trendiest wears – Hualian Plaza and Bali Chuntian (Paris Spring) Department Store are two such venues.
Another shopping hotspot (can be roam after your tired China tours) is Jukou Jie, a small street nearby Zhongshan Lu that is a well-known "women's specialty shopping street". Jukou Jie features various retail stores that carry an eclectic mix of fashion, shoes, accessories and hair salons catering to women.
Add: Between South Siming Lu and Xinhua Lu, Siming District, Xiamen
Transportation: Take bus routes 2, 3, 4, 10, 12, 23, 25, 27, 30, 32 to the area
Shimao (World Trade) Commercial Plaza
Shimao Commercial Plaza is one of the most well-known shopping and entertainment centers in Xiamen. It is conveniently located near the train station, and therefore easily reached by public transportation. The plaza has five floors and features a supermarket, a department store, a cinema and a food court; it's also got an underground garage that offers free parking and an above ground parking lot that is also free for use to customers. American supermarket chain Wal-Mart is found in the building, as are numerous shops carrying nice collections of quality casual wear and clothes for women. The top floor is the food court – it's got all the famous street eats in Xiamen as well as snacks from other localities and cultures. After you've gotten tired of shopping, you can also opt to catch a movie at the Jinying Cinema; it's a small venue but very cozy and the tickets are one of the most reasonably priced in the city.
Add: 878 -888 Xiahe Lu (nearby the railway station)， Siming District, Xiamen
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:30
Getting there: Take bus routes 1, 3, 16, 21, 42, 96, 102, 507, 508, 517, 534, 813 to Jinbang Park and walk around 100 m to venue
If you want to know more, you can contact with China travel agents.
For domestic and foreign tourists alike, China's Yunnan Province offers a long list of destinations for your China tour deals among which Tengchong County is lesser known but can be a great delight once discovered, just as a team of CRI reporters recently found out.
The main sightseeing spot in the county is Tengchong National Geological Park nicknamed "a museum of geological features" for its diversified landforms created by frequent volcano eruptions hundreds of years ago.
As Tengchong County is located in an area where the Indian plate meets the Eurasian plate, a complicated fault belt creates occasional volcanic eruptions. There are as many as 99 volcanoes of various sizes in the area surrounding Tengchong, the last eruption of which occurred in 1639. According to scientific research, Tengchong's volcanoes are now dormant. The frequent movement of the tectonic plates also has created a large number of hot springs.
The local government has made full use of the area's geological resources and branded the county as a destination for both sightseeing and leisure. Besides tourists, the National Geological Park also receives students who come for field studies or outdoor camping trips of China and serves as a venue for company employee training.
Regular overnight trains connect Tengchong with Kunming, capital city of Yunnan Province. It takes about nine hours by car to drive to Tengchong from Kunming. The county also has an airport with flights to and from major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing (a city which you start your Yangtze River cruises ) and Guangzhou.
- Step into China's ancient civilization while gazing into the eyes of the Terracotta Warriors that guard the tomb of the first emperor to unify China
- Explore Xi'an's central Asian influences at the end of the Silk Road (Silk Road tours) through a stroll in the city's vibrant Muslim Quarter
- Admire the Big Goose Pagoda, a reflection of Buddhism's development in China
Explore the original capital of the Chinese Kingdom, Xi'an (formerly known as Chang'an). The political center of numerous imperial dynasties, during its time Xi'an challenged the likes of Rome and Constantinople as the greatest city that ever lived. If Beijing is China's political center today, then Xi'an remains its historical center, with more than 300 sites designated as culturally important (including the renowned Terracotta Army) and countless relics uncovered. Add to this the city's historical status as the terminus of the Silk Road, and it is unsurprising to discover just how rich and deep Xi'an's heritage runs, to the extent that no trip to China is truly complete without a visit to this historic center.
From the world famous excavation site of the Terracotta Army which is the must-see included in affordable China tours, where we admire the craftsmanship and fine details of the more than 8,000 life-size figures on display, to a private taichi lesson on the Ancient City Wall, to the Han Dynasty Hanyang Tomb, on this journey we delve into China's ancient history and culture.
Featured Trip Plan:
Day 1: Arrive in Xi'an; visit Terracotta Army; traditional dumpling dinner; explore the Muslim Quarter.
Day 2: Private taichi lesson on the Ancient City Wall; calligraphy lesson at the Forest of Steles; vegetarian lunch; stroll around the Big Goose Pagoda Square; visit to the Shaanxi History Museum which is the best place to learn the ancient history and culture for your popular China travel package .
Day 3: Visit the Hanyang Tomb; transfer to the airport.
Probably the most popular structure associated with Buddhism, the pagoda is an important part of Asian culture. Its origin can be traced all the way back to the 3rd century BC, when the first Indian stupas were built. Early pagodas were built entirely out of wood, but as sturdier materials began being used, to protect them against fire and rot, this unique architectural style evolved, and more impressive pagodas appeared. Let’s take a look at the most amazing pagodas in China and include them in your last minute China travel deals, today:
Literally translated as “Six Harmonies Pagoda”, this architectural wonder is located at the foot of Yuelun Hill, in Hangzhou, China. Named after the six Buddhist ordinances, Liuhe Pagoda was originally built, during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD), to stop the tidal bore of the Qiangtang River. The octagonal pagoda was built out of brick and wood, and is 196 feet high. Each of its seven floors feature paintings and carvings of flowers and animals, and can be accessed via an interior spiral case.
The oldest fully-wooden pagoda in China, the Sakayamuni Pagoda was originally a big temple, built during the Liao Dynasty. Throughout 900 years of existence, this 221 feet high structure suffered multiple reconstructions and withstood countless powerful earthquakes. The name of the pagoda comes from the giant statue of Sakayamuni Buddha, housed inside the first level.
Located in Xian (starting city for Silk Road travel), one of the four ancient capitals of China, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a symbol of Chinese culture and a holy place for Buddhists. It is considered a masterpiece of Buddhist architecture, due to its simple but appealing style. The name of “Big Wild Goose Pagoda” comes from an old legend that says a wild goose broke its wing and fell in the place of the pagoda, right when a group of Buddhist monks were praying Bodhisattva would provide some food. The 211.6 feet high Big Wild Goose Pagoda is visible from pretty much all hotels in Xian, so you don’t have to worry about finding it.
Standing at 504.6 feet, the 13-story Tianning Pagoda is the tallest pagoda in the world. Very tough wood, brought in from Burma, and 75 tons of brass and gold were used in the construction of this incredible structure. Tianning pagoda is 7.2 meters taller than Khufu Pyramid, in Egypt, and has a 30,000 kilogram heavy bronze bell that can be heard from up to 5 kilometers away.
Known as “The First Scenery under Heaven”, Yellow Crane Pagoda is one of the most popular towers south of the Yangtze River (where you can have Yangtze River cruises), and a symbol of Wuhan City. Originally built during the Three Kingdoms Period, by Sun Quan, King of Wu, Yellow Crane Pagoda served as a watchtower for his armies. Over the centuries it lost its military function and became a popular picturesque location, praised in poems and songs. Although it was destroyed by fires, many times, its fame made the people rebuild it every time. The current structure dates back to 1985, and it copies the design of a Qing Dynasty picture.
Constructed in 975, by the King of Wuyue Kingdom, to celebrate the birth of his son, Leifeng Pagoda quickly became one of the most famous buildings in China. The octagonal, five-story pagoda was built out of brick and wood, which made it vulnerable to fire. Unfortunately, the structure suffered a lot of damage over the centuries, and in 1924, it suddenly collapsed. Because of its popularity, as a tourist attraction included in best tours of China, and historical value, Leifeng Pagoda was rebuilt, and inaugurated in 2002.
Located on Banyu Lake, the Sun and Moon pagodas are one of the most popular attractions of Guilin. Sun Pagoda, the taller of the two, is the tallest copper pagoda in the world, at 41 meters. The nearby Moon Pagoda is only 35 meters tall. The two are connected by a tunnel, at the bottom of the lake. The best time to visit the Sun and Moon pagodas of Banyu Lake, is at night, when they both light up in gold and blue.
All the above-mentioned pagodas has made contribution to China tourism.
You just have to turn your head to get another outstanding view in Tibet, a hot tourist destination for China vacation deals. Whether the rolling grasslands of the north, Mars-like deserts of the west, snowcapped Himalayan views to the south or the huge valleys and gigantic lakes of the center, everywhere you turn are amazing high-altitude colors.
Everest Base Camp
Jaw-dropping views of the north face that are so much better than from the Nepal side.
Rising 5200 meters above sea level, the camp mainly provides travelers with accommodation. The “tourist Base Camp” is located about half-way between Rongbuk Monastery and the actual climbers Base Camp at the foot of Rongbuk glacier. Besides a couple of permanent structures and a small army base, the base is enclosed by many tents. The best time to climb the Everest is from early April to the end of May. Many famous climbers come here to prepare for climbing the summit of the Everest.
Most travelers spend a night or two at the tent camp. Owners of tents all charge the same per-bed fee (rmb 40) and offer very simple meals and drinks. At Rongbuk, you can stay at Monastery Guesthouses, located across the road from the monastery itself. Climbing Everest is a great challenge and many tourists are hard to choose for their popular China tours.
Northern Route, Western Tibet
Herds of antelope and wild ass graze by hug salt-water lakes in this empty end of the world.
The northern route is the longer of the two routes from Lhasa (a tourist destination for top China tours) to Ngari but it is the more spectacular route, passing the huge salt-water lakes and valleys of seminomadic herders, as well as marmots, blue sheep, wild asses and antelope. Although it is no free way, the dirt road is well maintained and driving condition is good.
Sublime Swiss-style pine forests, green valley and jagged peaks feature the Tashigang area. Tashigang is a small village with a small number of residents. A couple of kilometers east of the small town of Lunang, Nyingchi, is for many travelers highlights of a trip to this part of eastern Tibet. Surrounded by deep green barley fields and bright yellow rapeseed, and framed by forested mountains, Tashigang with its pigs and chickens roaming free, is made up of a handful of large stone Tibetan block homes, six of which have been converted into fabulous family guesthouses. Staying in the family guesthouses, it is the best chance to experience the authentic Tibetan lifestyle.
For more, you can contact with China travel agents.
The following is the places where you may miss for your popular China tour package.
1. The Hidden Village of Guoliang in Henan Province
Years ago, local villagers could only descend the village’s mountain on a dangerous path. They tunneled a road through the mountain and named it Guoliang Cave, which was composed of exposed red shale. Guoliang Village is now an attractive spot because of its unique scenery and stone buildings.
2. Xianglu Temple in Shaanxi Province
The temple, which lies on the banks of the Yellow River in Jiaxian, Shaanxi Province, is supported by a stone column that is more than 20 meters high. It is indeed a marvel.
3. Bayanbulak Grassland in Xinjiang
Resting at the foot of Tianshan Mountain, Xinjiang (a part of Silk Road tours), the Bayanbulak Grassland is the second-largest grassland in all of China. It is also home to the famous Swan Lake. Each year in April, swans and other rare birds return from the south to live and breed there. The Nadam Fair, held from June 4-6 of the lunar calendar, is another good time to visit the grassland.
4. Red Beach in Panjin, Liaoning Province
The beach’s red color comes from a kind of grass that grows in saline and alkaline soils. It is a wonderful scenic wetland tourist resort area. October is the best time to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
5. Dalinor National Nature Reserve in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia
Dalinor, perched in Chifeng City of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is an important wetland ecosystem in Asia and a state-level nature reserve designated for the protection of rare species. About 160 species of rare birds live in the swamps and prairie there.
6. Zhuge Bagua Village in Zhejiang Province
Zhuge Bagua Village (bagua means “Eight Diagrams” in Chinese), was designed by Zhuge Liang, a remarkable Chinese politician, strategist, and diplomat during the period of the Three Kingdoms (A.D. 184 - 280). The village is located in Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province which is the optional tourist destination for your top China tours.
7. Malinghe Valley in Guizhou Province
The valley around the Malinghe River is a national scenic spot in south western part of Guizhou. It was formed during the Yanshan movement of the earth. With fantastic views, precipices and waterfalls, the valley is absolutely fascinating. Boat rides down the river provide great views of the beautiful scenery.
8. Qiantong Town in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province
Qiantong is an ancient town in Ninghai County. Tong descendants have lived in the area for more than 760 years, maintaining the traditional architecture of their homes from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
If you want to know more, you can contact with China travel agents.
Astana Ancient Tombs lie in San Pu and Er Pu Xiang 42 kilometers southeast of Turpan city. It had been the public graveyard of ancient Gaochang people with an area of about 10 square kilometers. Since 1959, 456 tombs have been excavated and thousands of cultural relics have been unearthed. Besides hundreds of dried up bodies, there are murals depicting figures, birds and flowers on display in the three tombs. Altogether 2,000 documents were unearthed, with content covering political, economic, cultural and military developments of Gaochang City, an ancient town in China and a part of Silk Road tours.
Painting on silk with Fu Xi and Nu Wa, two mythological figures in ancient China: (up, length 184 cm); Document written on paper: (bottom, length 76.5 cm)
The Ancient City of Gaochang
The Ancient City of Gaochang is located near the seat of the Flaming Mountains. The city walls are high and the crisscrossing streets and the city moat are still visible. The city walls, which are basically intact, divide the city into three parts: the inner city, the outer city and the palace city. The 5.4 kilometer-long wall of the square outer city is 11.5 meters high and 12 meters thick. The wall is built of tamped earth, with some section repaired with adobe. There are two gates on each side of the outer city and the two on the west side with defense enclosures outside the gates are the best preserved.
The inner city, which is located in the center of the outer city, has a three-kilometer long wall, most of the west and the east sections of which are well preserved and which is the indispensable for your China vacation deals, if you are interested in the Silk Road.
The rectangular palace city is in the northern part of the city of Gaochang, and it shares the north wall with the outer city and uses the north wall of the inner city as its south wall. There are still several three- to four- meter-high earthen platforms in the palace city where the court of Huigu Gaochang Kingdom was seated.
In the north-central part of the inner city, there is a high terrace on which stands a square pagoda built of adobe called Khan's castle which means Imperial Palace. Somewhat to its west there is a half-underground, two-story structure which was probably the ruins of a palace.
In the southwestern part of the outer city there is a temple which is 130 meters long from east to west, 85 meters wide from south to north and covers an area of 10,000 square meters. Murals remaining in the main hall are still visible. The renowned Buddhist monk Xuan Zang of the Tang Dynasty is said to have lectured in the temple for more than one month in the year 628 on his way to India to obtain Buddhist scriptures. In the vicinity of the temple there are also ruins of workshops and market sites.
The construction of the city of Gaochang started in the first century BC. First called Gaochangbi, it was a key point on the ancient Silk Road, but after many changes in fortune over a period of 1,300 years, the city was burnt down in wars in the fourteenth century. Caochang should not be missed for your Silk Road travel.
It was classified as an important cultural unit protected by the state in 1961.
Tombs for the nobles in Gaochang City, from the Western Jin to the Tang Dynasty
Location: Turpan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Period: mid of 3rd century-end of 8th century AD
Excavated from 1959 to the present
Significance: It has supplied important material objects to the study of the economic, cultural developments of Gaochang City from the Western Jin Dynasty (3rd century AD) to the Tang Dynasty (8th century AD), as well as the changes of folk customs. So you can consider it for your China vacation packages.
Although Beijing (a destination for last minute China travel deals) has been the capital of China for five dynasties, the only imperial mausoleums in the immediate vicinity of the city today are those of the Liao and Qing emperors are in the northeast China and in Hebei Province respectively. The tombs from the Jin Dynasty were destroyed at the end of the Ming Dynasty, and since the Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty had no specific funeral rituals, there are no extant burial sites from this period.
The Ming tombs lie in a broad valley to the south of Tianshou (Longevity of Heaven) Mountain in Changping County, about 50 kilometers northwest of Beijing proper. To the southwest of this valley, a branch of the Yanshan Range suddenly to breaks off and forms a natural gateway to the 40-quare-kilometer basin in which the tombs were built. This gateway is "defended" on each side by the Dragon and Tiger hills, which are said to protect this sacred area from winds carrying evil influences. Thirteen out of the 16 Ming emperors are buried in this peaceful valley.
Visitors first pass by an elegant, five-arched white marble memorial archway. Built in 1540, this 29-meter-wide and 14-meter-high structure, with its delicate bas-relief carvings of lions, dragons and lotuses, is still in near-perfect condition. About one kilometer to the northeast of this archway stands the Great Red Gate (Dahongmen), the outermost gate of the entire mortuary complex.
The Great Red Gate marks the beginning of the 7-kilometer-long Sacred Way (Shendao), which leads to the entrance of the Changling, the tomb of Emperor Yongle (reigned 1403-1424). Continuing on, one comes to a tall square stela pavilion, with four tall white stone ornamental columns (huabiao) set at each of its four corners, standing boldly in the center of the Sacred Way. The pavilion houses a huge stone tortoise by the famous Avenue of the Animals, where pairs of lions, elephants, camels. Horses and a number of mythological beasts line the road. There are 24 stone creatures in all. These beasts are followed in turn by a group of 12 stone human figures, which represent the funeral cortege of the deceased emperors. Carved in 1540, this group is made up of military, civil and meritorious officials. Immediately beyond these human figures are the Dragon and Phoenix Gate (Longfengmen), which are pierced with three archways.
Continuing north to the Changling, the Sacred Way passes over a river via two bridges of five and seven arches respectively. From here, all 13 tombs can be seen; the foothills and groves of trees dotted with golden yellow roofs stretch for 19 kilometers across this sacred valley. Ming Tombs is an option for your best tours of China.
Compared to the other 12 tombs the Changling is the largest and best preserved. Built on a south-facing slope, the Changling‘ s three courtyards are entirely surrounded by walls. The first courtyard extends from the massive three-arched entrance gate to the Gate of Eminent Favor (Long‘ enmen); on the east of this courtyard stands a pavilion, which contains a stone tablet, a stone camel and a stone dragon. Inside the second courtyard stands the Hall of Eminent Favor. The central portion of the stairway, which leads up to this great hall is carved with designs of sea beats and dragons. To the east and west of the hall stand two ritual stoves where bolts of silk and inscribed scrolls were set aflame as offerings to the emperor‘s ancestors. The dimensions of the Hall of Eminent Favor (67 x 29 meters) closely match the dimensions of the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian) in the Forbidden City (a must-see in Beijing for your popular China tour package), which makes it one of the largest wooden buildings in China. Four giant wooden columns and 28 smaller pillars support this structure, The four large columns are 14.3 meters high and 1.17 meters in diameter, and are extraordinary for the fact that they are each a single trunk of Phoebe nanmu.
Though thousands of miles from the familiar beaches in the United States, Beidaihe is very much like a beach town that I would see in America. The shops sold bathing suits and cheesy souvenirs, and most restaurants served seafood.
It was barely 7am when we arrived at the Beijing (a hot tourist city for China travel deals) train station. We followed the signs as best we could to find where to buy tickets. I bought sleeper car tickets for 133 yuan (US$16) and enjoyed the two-hour train ride with a relaxing nap, but I could have bought soft seats for about 70 yuan (about US$8).
When we arrived, we still had to take a taxi to the beach. This was just a 15-minute drive, and because the roads weren't paved, we had to roll up the windows to avoid the dust.
We stayed in the Beidaihe Guesthouse for Diplomatic Missions and it was beautiful. The resort overlooked its own private beach. This Chinese-style Martha's Vineyard is where Communist officials used to stay and have big meetings. I was impressed to be where Chairman Mao used to swim.
The rooms were comfortable with two beds and private balconies. The cost was 250 yuan for two beds and air conditioning. It also had restaurants, tennis courts and meetings rooms.
One could also jog or take a stroll along many secluded paths in the area. For the more adventurous, you can rent speedboats and other sports equipment to play with in the ocean.
The seawater was too cold, for me at least, though some brave souls did take a dip. I enjoyed lying out under the umbrella, listening to the ocean waves and watching Chinese families and tourists pose for pictures by the ocean. The scenery was beautiful and the water crashing on the rocks is a good spot for photography and popular China tours.
But at the same time, I think they enjoyed watching us even more. We were all sitting and lying on towels right below a tourist boardwalk. It didn't take long for us to feel like animals on display in a zoo. People would stare, point and take pictures of us half naked.
When we ate at one of the many seafood restaurants, we picked out our dinner from the tanks, but were shocked to see the staff quickly stun the fish by quickly slamming them on the sidewalk in front of us.
The food was delicious - but we paid dearly for it. Our bill was 1,592 yuan.
We tried to bargain and communicate that the price was too high with our hands. But the staff insisted we pay. But we shook our heads furiously to show our displeasure.
We grew tired of arguing and finally agreed to pay 1,200 yuan, but it was an expensive learning experience. Now I will always ask how much things are before sitting down to eat.
Not being able to speak Chinese can be frustrating at times and makes simple tasks like buying train tickets, asking for directions and ordering food very difficult.
Not wanting our night to be ruined by this unfortunate incident, we bought snacks and ice cream and sat on some huge rocks by the ocean. It seemed to be a popular spot. Families and teenagers were also hanging out and playing games.
The peak tourist season starts in June so there were not as many people when I was there in May. But as the water warms up, the beaches fill with more tourists and swimming.
The next day we returned to Beijing on the train and I was convinced that Beidaihe was the ideal place for relaxation and fun for a weekend or longer. So you can consider it for your China travel packages.
China is launching new tour routes to showcase China's culture and its tourist treasures in the best way. The nation's first-batch of 12 officially recommended tour routes were announced on Tuesday by National China Tourism Administration.
China hopes the new designation will attract more domestic and overseas tourists. The draft plan is now awaiting public comment.
Among others, the 12 tour routes cover the world famous Silk Road, the Three Gorges, the Great Wall and the Yellow River. Here are the details of the 12 routes:
1. Silk Road tour route
This route, focusing on the history of silk across Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, and Xinjiang, has significant market appeal both at home and abroad.
2. Shangri-la tour route
This route is a trip from Kunming to Dali, Lijiang and Diqing in Yunnan Province, spreading into Sichuan and Tibetan areas, and introducing local ethnic culture and unique landscapes. It is another of the hottest trips, also very popular in the overseas market.
3. Three Gorges tour route
With attractions like beautiful valleys, spreading waters, views of the dam, and the traditional culture of the region, this route is a classic trip keenly promoted by China.
4. Qinghai-Tibet railway route
Qinghai-Tibet railway route rises from eastern Xining to western Lhasa and extends to other areas of Tibet. It leads across a snow-capped plateau attaching Qinghai to Tibet by rail.
5. Great Wall tour route.
The Great Wall stretches across many provincial regions from Shanhai Pass in the east to Jiayu Pass in the west not only a symbol of Chinese culture but also a major Chinese tourist resource, which is always contained in top 10 China tours.
6. China Grand Canal tour route.
Descending through the eastern part of China, the tour begins in Tongzhou in the north and continues to Hangzhou in the south, spanning Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
7. "Long March" tour route.
The "Red Army's Long March" trip is currently the most popular route in revolutionary tourism. The route begins in Ruijin in Jiangxi Province, passing through Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Shaanxi to Yan'an, connecting east, west, south and north China.
8. Songhu - Yalu rivers tour route
This route runs through three northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, featuring immense forests, clear skies, blue water and snow, and introducing regional culture and frontier customs.
9. The Yellow River tour route
The trip stretches from Shandong Province in the east to Qinghai in the west, covering the cultural areas of Shaanxi, Henan, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu, and Shandong in the central plain.
10. The middle and lower Yangtze River tour route
The trip, centering on the cities and world Heritage sites around the middle and lower Yangtze River, features city tours and heritage, and the landscape of Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shanghai.
11. "Beijing-Xi'an-Shanghai-Guilin-Guangzhou" tour route
The trip focuses on the air routes connecting 5 well-known tourist destinations: Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guilin and Guangzhou. It was the first trip opened to the overseas market and its long-standing reputation justifies its title of the "Classic China" trip.
12. Seaside holiday resort tour route
The trip covers China's eastern seaboard cities by air and sea, working from north to south through Dalian, Yantai, Weihai, Qingdao, Rizhao, Lianyungang, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Haikou, and Sanya, and promoting China's seaside holidays and leisure for your popular China tour package.
Sort: Folk Music
Area:Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
Serial No.: Ⅱ-4
Declarer: Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (an optional place for affordable China travel packages)
For one person to simultaneously make two sounds up to six octaves in difference simulating the sounds of pouring waterfalls, winds on the grassland, and the cries of animals would seem an incredible feat. But Mongolians have such a way of singing, called 'Hoomii' or throat-singing.
The method of singing Hoomii, in Mongolian, is called 'chor'. Interestingly, 'chorus' in English, 'chord' in French, and 'chor' in German, all refer to the same thing: multi-part singing. The Mongolian 'chor' is multi-part singing sung by just one person. Hoomii, in Mongolian, means larynx. With more than 800 years of history and three different genres -- the overtone, the quaver, and the complex -- the Hoomii is surely more than an outstanding vocal mimicry. The basic structure of Hoomii is consists of a continuous bass and a musical treble. Singing the Hoomii, one needs to use the vocal cords, the nasal and oral cavities, and even the thorax to vibrate the current of air to flow between the three. Sometimes, a Hoomii singer can even create consonances without using the vocal cords. It is said that Hoomii is not to be sung with larynx, but with air currents.
One of the most famous Hoomii singers is Wen Li, who is the only female Hoomii singer in Chinese and Mongolian history, since Hoomii had always been a folk art which only males were allowed to learn. However, Wen Li can produce four voice parts and there are eight frequencies in her voice. It is said that not only talent and hard work are necessary to learn Hoomii, there is also a certain kind of physical standard the singers must have - Wen Li is the combination of all. In her words, "I might have the soul for it". If you plan to go to Inner Mongolia during your China tours, you should try to listen to it.
For the past 100 years, the Hoomii was once lost on the vast Inner Mongolian Plateau. Even today, the number of Hoomii singers is less than 100 throughout the nation. For the protection as well as the development of the legendary folk art, the Hoomii singers are considering whether to add in some modern music, for example, rock. However, as ancestors of the Mongolians said, "chor can only be sung where it is quiet, where you can hear the nature, the birds and the leaves dancing. Once the soul is there, you can begin the chor."
You can get more via China travel agents.
Green Dragon Temple is a famous Buddhist Temple from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in Xian which should be considered to include in your Silk Road tour. When it was built in 582, it was called Linggan Temple (Temple of Inspiration) and then renamed to its present one in 711. When Buddhism was prevalent during the Tang Dynasty, some Japanese monks were sent to China to study Buddhism. Six of them studied at Green Dragon Temple, and this led to a flourishing period of the temple in the ninth century.
Kukai, the most learned of the six monks, made great progress in learning Buddhist sutras, Sanskrit, poems and Chinese calligraphy. After his return to Japan in 806, he advocated the building of a Vagra Temple (Vagra means Buddhist Warrior Attendant) and founded the Zhenyan Sect (the True Word Sect). He is highly honored by both Japanese and Chinese, and in 1982 Kukai Monument was constructed inside the Green Dragon Temple.
For uncertain reasons the Green Dragon Temple which had no fortune, like other ancient temples was destroyed. This was perhaps during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).
The present temple was reconstructed in 1963. Memorial halls for the earlier monks and exhibition halls with some excavations displayed are all built in the Tang architectural style. So if you are have free time, you should contain it in your affordable China travel packages.
Green Dragon Temple is a place where the cherry blossoms can be enjoyed. Every year during May and June, an endless stream, of tourists comes to appreciate its beauty.
Admission Fee: CNY 10; CNY 16 (during the Cherry Blossom Period: Mar.12-Apr.20)
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 17:00
Time for a Visit: One and a half hours
Bus Route: Take bus no.19, 25, 41, 45, 48, 118, 221, 237, 242, 400, 521, 525, 526, 606, 607, 903 or tourist bus No.6 and get off at Qing Long Si (Qinglong Temple) Station, follow the direction board and you will find it.
For more, you should contact with China tour agents.
China is a paradise for hikers, trekkers and mountain climbers of all skill levels. And as the weather warms, it's time for hiking.
North, south, east and west, China has mountains to match the expectations and test the skills of beginning, intermediate and expert climbers.There are many delightful hikes that stop short of being real climbs. The scenery is breathtaking and there's lots of culture along the way.
China Travel Tips:
1. Choose a climb appropriate to your skill level.
2. Do not climb alone, always with a partner or group.
3. Check the weather before and during the climb.
4. Dress appropriately, wear comfortable boots and a hat.
5. Pack a water-proof coat, fresh water, food, first-aid kit, flashlight, sunscreen, sunglasses, change of clothes, maps and other items.
Here are some springtime climbs.
Only six hours' journey from Shanghai (a hot tourist destination for China vacation deals), Mt Putuo on an island in the East China Sea is one of China's four Buddhist mountains along with Mt Wutai in Shanxi Province, Mt Emei in Sichuan Province and Mt Jiuhua in Anhui Province.
The mountain in Zhejiang Province is part of a scenic archipelago. Its highest peak is only around 290 meters above sea level and Mt Putuo is really just a stroll.
The area features lush greenery, strange rock formations and interesting temples. The view from the summit over the Zhoushan Archipelago is breathtaking.
At its peak period, Mt Putuo had 82 temples with more than 4,000 monks and nuns. Tourists walking along mountain paths encounter many monks, who sometimes share their wisdom with visitors. Most temples are sacred to Guanyin, the goddess of Mercy.
There are three major temples on Mt Putuo today: Puji, Fayu and Huiji temples.
The most famous is Puji Temple covering 11,000 square meters and featuring a giant statue of Guanyin in the middle of the main hall, surrounded by 32 smaller statues of the goddess. There are nine halls in the temple.
Fayu Temple was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and incorporates the topography. Tall and ancient trees give it an atmosphere of tranquillity.
Huiji Temple, also built in the Ming Dynasty, is atop the mountain.
A night market on the island sells souvenirs of Mt Putuo and nearby eateries specialize in local snacks and seafood. There are many vegetarian restaurants.
In the main square near Puji Temple, guidebooks and maps in English are available.
A more challenging but not difficult climb is Mt Wuyi, averaging 350 meters above sea level in coastal Fujian Province (a province for top China tours) where the climate is warm and mild. It has a reputation as the most charming mountain in southeastern China. There are spectacular cliffs, waterfalls and vistas as well as temples and relics.
It is also famous for Wuyi Oolong rock tea, so called because tea bushes grow in rocky areas and are nurtured by the mists and perfect temperature.
The name Wuyi comes from an legend about Wu and Yi, the sons of an 800-year-old hermit who lived on magical ganoderma mushroom. In ancient times flooding caused great suffering to people and damage to crops, so the two cut through the mountain and tamed the raging river by channeling it into nine branches. A palace was built in their name.
The area has one of the world's largest intact mid subtropical ecosystems. More than 90 percent of the area is covered by forest; more than 3,000 species of trees and plants grow there, and it is home to more than 400 species of animals.
A major attraction is Dawang Peak and Yunu Peak, which face each other, like a couple in love. The area is one of cliffs and luxuriant vegetation.
Legend has it that long ago a king fell in love with a commoner but she did not accept him because she knew their different rank would spell misfortune. The king would not give up; he asked a witch to turn the girl into Yunu peak so she would be there forever. He stood enthralled and finally he too became a mountain, Dawang Peak.
Jiuqu River, also known as Nine-Bend River, is popular for boating and riding a bamboo raft for sightseeing along its 9-kilometer length. The water is so pure and clear that pebbles and fish are clear visible.
Another sacred Buddhist peak, Mt Emei in Sichuan Province, is a world heritage site dotted with beautiful temples and called by poets "the greatest beauty under heaven" and the "mountain of brightness." So it should be contained in your popular China travel package.
It is said that the first Buddhist temple in China was built on Mt Emei, which is 3,099 meters above sea level, the highest of the four sacred Buddhist mountains.
It is famous for sunrises and the "Buddhist Light," a halo or rainbow created by perfect conditions of mist, clouds, light and landforms. Tourists and pilgrims can stay in a lodge at the summit.
Many temples and shrines are to be found along the way through luxuriant vegetation. Monkeys, birds and butterflies can be seen. Monkeys can be quite demanding of food from tourists.
Mt Emei (meaning a beauty's eyebrow) is so called because two of its facing peaks resemble the eyebrows of a traditional Chinese beauty.
In spring, the mountain is green, pink and white with blossoming trees. In autumn the leaves turn red, amber and gold. In winter it's beautiful and covered with snow, but too dangerous for climbing.
Standing in the mountains, one can often see swirling white clouds that obscure and then reveal mountains and vistas.
The major attraction, Baoguo Temple, is in the center of the Buddhist area of temples and shrines filled with relics. It was built in the Ming Dynasty and has been reconstructed. The temple's name was inscribed by the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Wannian Temple, literally 10,000 years' temple, is awe-inspiring in autumn because people can enjoy two different climates as they climb from the bottom to the top of the site, temple after temple on the mountainside.
A visit to Jiulao Cave, meaning nine seniors' cave, is popular because it is said to bring luck and a long and healthy life.
Legend has it that an emperor traveled to the site and saw an old man with silver hair practicing tai chi in front of the cave - obviously he had found the secret of youth and long life.
It's said that everyone should climb Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) once in their life because it is one of the greatest symbols of China. It is memorialized in paintings, poetry, music and martial arts films. The world heritage site in Anhui Province is 30 kilometers from east to west and 40 kilometers from north to south. The highest peak is 1,864 meters above sea level. And Yellow Mountain has made great contribution to China tourism .
It is famous for bizarre rock formations and ancient pine trees, often growing from rocks at seemingly impossible angles. And of course the seas of clouds and mists. And waterfalls, streams and hot springs. The seasons are distinct. In spring it's green, blossoming and fragrant; in autumn, it's a blaze of color and in winter, it's a snow maiden.
Mountains and rocks bear colorful names. The Lion Peak looks like a lion and atop it is a huge stone named Monkey Watching the Sea. From Lotus Peak the view of the cloud seas is breathtaking.
Like Mt Emei, Yellow Mountain is famous for sunrise, ideally seen on Bright Peak.
Visitors should check the weather frequently since some peaks may be closed for safety reasons, such as heavy rain and ice.
How to get there
Mt Emei: Take a flight from Shanghai to Chengdu (about three hours), then a bus to the mountain (about two hours).
Yellow Mountain: Expressway bus takes 4 1/2hours from Shanghai to Tunxi, a town at the foot of the mountain, then another 40 minutes' bus ride to the mountain area.
Yulong Snow Mountain
On the southeast edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Yulong, or Jade Dragon, Snow Mountain in Yunnan Province is for professional climbers only. But much of the mountain area is popular all year for hiking and covers several climate zones.
It has 13 peaks, the highest being Shanzidou at 5,596 meters above sea level. Shanzidou came to the world's notice during World War II when US pilots could clearly see it as one silver color signal while flying hundreds of miles away along one enormous mountain.
It is said that viewed from Lijiang ancient town, a destination for China tour packages, 25km away from Yulong, the mountain looks like a flying dragon playing with snow and clouds. Legend has it that from day to night, the jade dragon keeps on fighting and protecting their homeland with 13 swords, finally the devil gone in the dust and jade dragon disappeared.
The mountain area, which covers different climate zones, is home to more than 30 types of rare protected animal, including the snow leopard, scaly ant eater, Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, forest musk deer and spotted civet cat.
There is a saying that Yulong has 12 faces for 12 months. In spring it's famous for blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons and in autumn the sunset colors seem to move in the wind.
The most celebrated place of interest on Mt Xumi in Guyuan City is the Giant Sitting Buddha Maitreya in Grotto No. 2, measuring 26 meters in height.
Drawn by the romance of the far west, Liu Qi ventures into the vast desert in Ningxia where she makes friends with a camel before heading south on other adventures near the Silk Road (Silk Road tour).
Stretches and stretches of sand dunes extending as far as eye can see, a train of camels trudging against the skyline, turbaned trekkers braving the searing heat and dust ... I was so haunted by this vision that I realized it was time to go west.
I flipped a coin and decided on the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, land of the little-explored Western Xia State (1038-1227), exotic Chinese Muslim culture, and of course, the desert where kingdoms rose and fell and ruins are buried.
The minute I stepped out of the Yinchuan airport (a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Shanghai), I found a somewhat cliched capital city: well-constructed roads and modern buildings. My disappointment at the mundane, however, was soon be replaced by pleasure with the novelty of back streets navigated by my taxi driver.
The various mosques, the unique dress of the Hui minority people, the all-pervasive small of mutton - all reminded me that I had stepped out of my Shanghai (a hot tourist city for top China tours) routines and was right in the middle of my dream of the wild, wild west.
Ningxia is a raw landscape of stark mountains and dusty plains sliced in two by the Yellow River. This was clear when I traversed the Yellow River on a sheep-skin raft. The sparse and boring industrial landscape gave way to fascinating mountains cape that suddenly emerged from nowhere. I passed flocks of sheep at the foot of a severely weathered section of the Great Wall as I traveled toward the edge of the 42,000-square-kilometer Tengger Desert, China's fourth-largest desert.
To get there, I traveled 150km from Yinchuan to Zhongwei City near the sands.
Unlike some of the arid places I've been to, the Tengger is classic desert: The endless waves of sand dunes stunned me as soon as I entered the Tonghu side of it.
This was where my desert daze began: For a whole day, I shrieked my guts out as I was catapulted up and down and tossed back and forth on daredevil jeep rides on sand dunes that seemed to transform and shift by the minute. I climbed up the sand dunes (barefooted for a while), hung out on their highest ridge, dug my toes into the sand and then slid back down the slope on my bottom.
I was lucky because the sun was not a big enemy in this season (the temperatures in May and June are very tolerable), but I still constantly fought persistent sandstorms that seemed to accompany my every step and sometimes sent sand lashing painfully against my cheeks.
This was my first "sand experience" and I was so excited that I took off my shoes and let the feet reach deep into the fine yellowish sands, feeling it and touching it.
At first the desert might seem devoid of life - just sand, sand, sand and nothing else - but here and there were hardy green plants, withered wood and insects that added color. I was lucky to spot an owl that probably preyed on rodents (hidden in holes during the day) and large beetles and desert cicadas that run around on the dunes.
Before this transformative trip, there were two animals I had no affection for or interest in whatsoever - camels and horses. I told myself from the beginning that I would not get close to a camel, let alone sit on one.
But I soon broke my vow about avoiding nasty camels after I saw them sitting quietly and peacefully in the sands. As I approached, they greeted me with a friendly nod.
At that moment I decided I'd like to take my maiden camel ride. My camel was cute, clean and very obedient. I patted him and he replied with a "grin."
When the guide and I tried to ascend a particularly tricky high dune, a strong wind gust blinded me for a moment (my camel with double rows of extra-long thick lashes was okay), I got nervous. The camels were tackling the dune and I was fighting the sand in my eyes while tightly gripping the rocking saddle. When the blow was over, we shared a sand-filled, slightly worried laugh about the adventure that I won't forget for a long time.
In the process of my camel encounter, I finally reconciled with the peculiar but admirable creature that never complained and was so perfectly suited for the environment so harsh on man and beast - a true desert hovercraft and indeed, a quite endearing creature.
I kept my vow about horses and steered clear.
Since the narrowest part of the Tengger is only a little over 20km, it's possible to hike across the sands.
It takes around six hours on camelback to get to the other side of Shapotou, a highly touristy place for China travel deals, from Tonghu, which is somewhat less commercial. A walk takes eight to 10 hours. When the weather is nice, you can appreciate the gorgeous desert sunset and many fantastic desert landscapes.
If you're adventurous enough or want more fun, take a detour into the desert - riding a camel across all those rolling dunes, the desert is all yours, no traffic jam.
Although Tonghu resort provides accommodation, camping outside on the sand dunes in the Tengger is a fun alternative. It's pretty safe to camp on the desert near the resort; there are no wild animals and seldom a dangerous sandstorm.
This is right on the border with the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, so at night, you can join guests from everywhere inside a yurt for a typical Mongolian dinner party. Singing, drinking, and Mongolian barbecue are basic. Definitely ask locals to sing Mongolian folk songs from their hometowns, all of them are great singers.
To get a real taste of Ningxia, the awesome desert tour is only part of the adventure. Leaving behind the modern Yinchuan, I headed deep south to Guyuan, which is famous for mountains, grottoes, gorges and Danxia landforms which is very specific here for your popular China travel package.
My first stop in Guyuan, one-hour flight from Yinchuan, was Xumi Grottoes at the eastern foot of Mt Xumi, 55km northwest of the city.
This is a gateway on the ancient Silk Road and part of the magnificent Liupan Mountains. The grotto carving began in the late Northern Wei Kingdom (AD 386-534).
Twenty-two grottoes are well preserved, with a rich collection of high-quality carvings of the Northern Wei, the Northern Zhou (AD 557-551), the Sui (AD 581-518) and the Tang (AD 618-907) dynasties.
This area used to be a key passage on the Silk Road between the East and the West and a thoroughfare for exchanges between the Han Chinese and minority ethnic groups.
The most celebrated place of interest in the mountain is the Giant Sitting Buddha Maitreya in Grotto No. 2. The Maitreya measures 26 meters high, with its ears the length of two adults put together. The Buddha with a benign look is considered a representative masterpiece of the grotto on the mountain.
Grotto No. 5 is the biggest of its kind. Made of a hollowed-out mound, it is called the "Haloes of Xumi" and contains seven well-preserved Buddhist statues, each 6 meters in height, and seven Bodhisattva statues. These figures look mysterious and fascinating under a few rays of light that enter the grotto through a hold in the roof of the mound.
Due to devastation by earthquakes and windstorms in its 1,400-year history, half of the grotto was caved-in, but it has recently been restored.
Another an hour from the grottoes, I reached my last but arguably the most impressive stop in the south - Yanzhi Canyon. In Chinese, yanzhi means rouge, and legend has it that a fairy came down from heaven one day and washed her faced in the Huanghua River (running through the canyon). And then rouge on her face dyed the river red.
The canyon neighbors Mt Kongdong to the east, Mt Liupan on the west and Old Dragon Pool on the south. Formed in the Ordovician Period of about 800 million years ago, it was named after the minority Yanzhi Clan of the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). The clan evolved from the Yanzhi Tribe, and then lived near the canyon during that period.
The river runs joyously through the steep canyon and transforms into waterfalls in various sizes and forms. Everywhere in the central area of the canyon, you can see strangely shaped pines and weird rock formations, flowers and rare vegetation.
There are several views of natural tableaux, such as "Kwan-yin Appreciating Music" and "Taoists Worshipping the Moon." The lower reaches of Yanzhi Canyon connect Mt Kongdong in Gansu Province which is one destination for Silk Road tours.
With mountains reflecting on the surface of the river and clouds and mist forming wreaths in the sky, it's quite a spectacular fairyland.
The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, established in 1958, is bordered by Shaanxi Province to the east, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the west and north and Gansu Province to the south. The Yellow River runs across 12 cities and counties in the region.
Chinese Muslims, the Hui people, make up 33.4 percent of the total population of 6 million people in 35 ethnic groups. In ancient times, the Tangut kingdom of Western Xia, was locked in confrontations with the Song, Liao and Jin dynasties for 189 years.
There are six major tourist zones: Shahu Lake, the Western Xia Mausoleums, Jinshui River, Qingtongxia Gorge, Shapotou Oasis and Liupan Mountains. If you visit there, you can consider to contain them in your China travel packages.
As it is very hot in Shanghai in summer, you should avoid this season to have affordable China tours in Shanghai. But if you do come to Shanghai in summer, you should try the following cole dessert to shave off the heat.
1. Sweet soups
A dessert soup in Shanghai doesn't have to be complicated. It can be as simple as a bowl of freshly squeezed watermelon juice with sago pearls or sweet, chilled mung bean soup (an all-time local favorite, mung bean is believed in traditional Chinese medicine to cool the body). Any Taiwanese/Hong Kong dessert place worth its salt will offer page-long variations on the magical trinity of chilled fruit, beans and jelly. We like the experimental snow white sago at Honeymoon Dessert -- a creamy, white 'soup' with chunks of banana, mango and dried longan topped with sago and basil seeds.
Honeymoon Dessert, multiple locations, 72 Wanhangdu Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu
2. Iced coffee Shanghai-style
Iced coffee offers the dual benefits of leaving you refreshed and wired to work. As a consequence, legions of Shanghai workaholics love a good, iced coffee to beat the heat. If you like creamy, try the sea salt coffee at 85 Degrees -- a milky coffee drink with a rim of foamed, savory cream. The savory and sweet blend nicely together in each sip, but this is more of a coffee-flavored pick-me-up rather than a real cup of java. For serious caffeine, try the slow-drip iced coffee at Carmo, which comes in a small pitcher and a highball glass filled with ice. Milk and simple syrup are served on the side so you can customize. It is should be have a try during your Shanghai journey, a part of popular China tour package.
3. Alcoholic tipples
Sometimes, it takes a cold, spiked drink to make the heat bearable. Enter the boozy shakes from Gourmet Cafe. They're creamy, with an almost undetectable alcohol taste, but guzzle a few too quickly, and you might get a case of the spins with your ice-cream headache. We like The Dude, a milkshake made with vodka, kahlua, cream and vanilla ice cream.
Gourmet Cafe, 1/F, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Tongren Lu
4. Salt water ice lollies
Before the first ice cream ("zhong bing zhuan," middle ice cube) and way before Magnum bars came to Shanghai (a destinaton for top China tours), local kids went crazy for salt water lollipops -- they were rare summer treats in a time of great scarcity. This generation is now entering its golden years, but is still reaching for these RMB 1 icy lollies, a taste of childhood. The next time you're at a convenience store or your local supermarket, pick up a few of these opaque, sweet-savory, icy old-school treats. They're sublime.
Available at local convenience stores, TESCOs and Carrefours
5. Shaved ice
One of the few joys in these humid Shanghai heatwaves: you'll be able to devour a Mt. Everest of shaved ice without turning into an icicle. Shaved ice is on our list because... well, what could be more cooling than pouring ice with nubs of pudding, swirls of condensed milk and the mother lode of red beans down your throat?
For a different take on shaved ice, try Charmant's antique brown sugar chuan bin. It's an enormous crystal goblet of rough-shaved ice with a deliciously smoky, caramelized brown sugar syrup, yuanzi (glutinous rice balls), grass jelly, mung beans and tapioca pearls. Or, for those looking for classic versions of this dessert, Bellagio never fails.
6. Douhua (tofu pudding)
Locals love a big, chilled bowl of sweet douhua. It's healthier than custard (so you can eat more), and you'll hardly notice the soybean flavor in these clouds of delicate, sweet tofu. Try Bellagio's douhua -- a big bowl of fresh tofu suspended in amber, spicy ginger syrup and sprinkled with peanuts.
Bellagio, multiple locations, 68 Taicang Lu, near Songshan Lu.
7. More than ice cream
A scoop of ice cream is not always enough. Sometimes you just want the drama of a sundae -- but in China, sundaes tend to be either overpriced or look better than they taste (or both). For times like these, head to InPoint Mall on Wujiang Lu. Bon Matin bakery will do you a hot bread pudding topped with a swirl of vanilla soft-serve ice cream (RMB 13). Alternatively, grab a Krispy Kreme from three storefronts down and bring it back to Bon Matin. They'll add ice cream for just RMB 5. Viola! Krispy ice cream. But bring your own chocolate sauce.
8. Mango 'smoothies'
Chunks of flavorful mango, a touch of condensed milk, soft, velvety texture. Mango puddings are summer must-haves, and we'll never get tired of them. For the best mango "smoothie" (it's so thick it borders on sorbet) in town, check out Hong Kong import Hui Lao Shan, a dessert shop with an extensive selection of mango-based desserts.
No other Chinese city boasts the extensive options for gourmet gelato we see in Shanghai. This denser, more flavor-packed cousin of ice cream, gelato is popular with locals and expats alike for summer heat relief. There are many quality gelato shops around town, but we tend to turn to the people from Le Crème Milano for affordable priced gelatos and their changing fridge of seasonal flavors. Don't miss the chocolate flavor. If you're in the Fumin Lu/Xinle Lu/Donghu Lu triangle of good food and drink Voila! Bistro also serves up Le Crème Milano delicious icy treats alongside their crepes and WiFi.
Le Crème Milano, 434 Shanxi Nan Lu, near Yongjia Lu
10. Young coconuts
In the summer, young, green coconuts start peeking out from among the watermelons, bananas and peaches in fruit displays. And since there are fruit sellers at almost every corner, it's hard not to be tempted by these sweet, juice-laden fruits. Buy one from your local fruit guy, stick in a straw and you'll have a healthy, natural fruit drink.
Available at fruit vendor stalls.
You can get more about the above-mentioned via China tour agents.
Surf buffs take note: you’ve got two weeks to pack for Surfing Hainan Open, China’s biggest annual surf competition held on Hainan Island which should be considered for your China vacation deals.
Known as “China’s Hawaii” (or “Russia’s Florida” depending on whom you ask), Hainan Island is probably China’s best-known tropical resort destination.
Golf, tennis, swimming and dining at hotel buffets appear to be the most popular tourist activities, but more and more visitors are also coming to ride waves.
Surfing Hainan Open’s venue Riyuewan is a 90-minute drive from the resort enclave of Sanya and is China’s top surfing destination.
Brendan Sheridan, owner of local surf shop Surfing Hainan and the organizer of the surfing competition, explains why surf riders should come hang ten on the southeast part of the island this winter.
1. Best winter getaway
Hainan is a popular winter retreat for those from colder climes, particularly mainland China and Russia.
Although in summer the south swells do provide ride-able waves, the water is a bit too calm for experienced surfers (though a great time for stand-up paddleboarding or surfing beginners).
The best time to surf Riyuewan is from October to March when the northeast swells deliver the best waves of the year.
The Surfing Hainan Open has been held in the autumn and winter for the past four years and the first Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) event tour in China was also held this past October -- the Swatch Girls Pro China Women's World Longboard Championship, won by Australian Chelsea Williams.
2. Great spot to learn surfing
You don’t need to be a world champion like Chelsea Williams to enjoy Riyuewan’s surf break.
Waves do occasionally reach overhead but are usually comfortably waist-high.
And Riyuewan’s location away from the crowds at Dadonghai , another main beach resort in Hainan for your top China tours, means you don’t have to surf in constant fear of crashing into innocent bathers, as Russian transplant (and novice surfrider) Oxana Solovyeva notes.
3. Easy paddle and fun waves
Born in Taiwan and raised in Hawaii, Sam Lawn knows his way around the waves. He’s competed in the Surfing Hainan Open on several occasions.
Today, as a busy Beijing-based executive at a social media company, he doesn’t get to ride his board as often as he likes.
“I don’t get to surf as often as I’d like to, and when I do, I don’t want to spend all day paddling out,” says Lawn.
“Riyuewan offers an easy paddle that’s good for beginners, but waves that are fun for more experienced riders, too.”
4. Accommodation for all budgets
If you’ve got the desire (and the budget) to be pampered in the lap of luxury after a long day of chasing sets, Le Meridien Shimei Bay Beach Resort & Spa is one of the finest hotels on Hainan Island.
For more moderate budgets, the 21 Hotel offers clean and reasonable accommodation for surfers just 200 meters from Riyuewan -- be sure to ask for the special rate for contestants and spectators of Surfing Hainan Open. (This year’s rate is yet to be announced, but it is usually much lower than the official rate.)
But for true beach bums, there’s only one option -- camping on the beach.
5. Beautiful scenery
Of course we wouldn’t be talking about Riyuewan at all if it weren’t a beautiful destination for popular China travel package.
As Sheridan puts it: “Nature designed the perfect surf spot with Riyuewan -- a tropical surf spot framed by a lush green headland and plenty of coconut trees, with year-round waves suitable for all surfers."
Beyond Sun and Moon Bay
Riyuewan, like much of Hainan, has undergone fairly rapid development in recent years, which included the controversial tearing down of Mama’s Restaurant, a casual open-air dining spot popular with surfers.
The beach’s evolution has its detractors.
“What was once a pristine surf spot offering a tropical island feeling, is now hundreds of square meters of asphalt parking lot, mixed with numerous multi-story cement buildings and apartment blocks,” laments Christian Ras Hafeez, CEO of Gravity Cartel.
“The true origins of this surf spot have been washed away by Chinese commercialization,” Hafeez adds.
In spite of potential shortcomings, with the best amenities for surfers and as the only Hainan beach to hold an international (or any) surf competition, Riyuewan is secure as the top destination for surfriders in China.
For more, you can contact with China travel agents.
Lunar New Year's Eve in China might be all about fireworks, family, and the CCTV Spring Festival Gala. But come New Year's day, locals flock to temples to pray. If you want to have last minute China travel deals during spring festival and learn something about it, you should know the following.
Take Shanghai for example. Here, the venue of choice for many is Longhua temple.
The largest, oldest and most complete ancient temple complex in the city, the 20,000-square-meter Longhua Temple dates back 1,800 years or more.
Like in most temples in China, don't expect to see original buildings in Longhua. Most of the present-day structures dates from later reconstructions (the final one around 1954), but the temple preserves the architectural design of a Song Dynasty monastery of the Buddhist Chan (Zen) sect.
Ensure good luck
Chinese Buddhists go to temples to pray on the first and 15th day of every lunar month. The Lunar New Year praying rush normally starts from Lunar New Year's Eve. So if you are in China during spring festival for themed China tours, you should try to witness the scenery.
The devout line up hours in advance, hoping to ensure their good luck in the coming year by lighting the first incense (touxiang).
Lunar New Year worshipers go to Buddhist temples across China on the night of January 22 or the morning of January 23.
Essential New Year knowledge
Lunar New Year is also called Spring Festival or Nian, a legendary monster in ancient China.
According to legend, Nian was half-dragon half-unicorn, who would descend on villages to devour grain, livestock and people.
The villagers lived in fear during the New Year, not knowing how terrible Nian’s next return would be or how to tame the monster.
One New Year's Eve, a stranger with a long white beard came to a village. While the rest of the villagers went to hide from Nian, the old man stayed to tame the creature.
As night fell, Nian appeared and approached the house where the old man was staying. He stopped as he saw the red paper hanging on the door. At once, the air exploded with firecrackers.
As Nian cowered in fear, the old man stepped from behind the door, dressed in red from head to toe. The monster fled in terror.
When the villagers returned, the old man told them the secret of how to defeat Nian: “He fears the color red, dazzling lights and loud noise. This is how you frighten away Nian.”
From that year on, Chinese villagers followed the wise man's instructions on Lunar New Year and Nian never returned.
If you want to experience the atmosphere of Chinese Spring Festival, you can join popular China travel package to pay a local family.
Shanghai sometimes gets dismissed as a shallow city, a vortex of shopping, snacking and spending, but rewarding cultural explorations do exist in China's commercial center. So it is one of must-sees for your affordable China tours.
Here are six of Shanghai's best museums (in no particular order) to add to your travel itinerary, from a comprehensive state-run establishment to a hidden-in-the-basement private institute.
1. Shanghai Museum
Visitors might be tempted to avoid the Shanghai Museum, the city’s most official temple to Chinese culture. For starters, it’s ugly -- the 1990s construction on People’s Square looks like a massive bathroom sink.
Get over that first impression and you’ll find treasures inside.
One highlight is the ceramics collection and its Tang Dynasty (618-907) tomb guardians, including a ferocious beast that seems part dragon, tiger, horse and goat.
The museum houses galleries for paintings, ancient bronzes, jade sculptures and calligraphy.
Upstairs is an arresting parade of embroidered costumes crafted by the country’s ethnic minorities, as well as painted Tibetan ceremonial masks covered with skulls and feathers.
Admission is free, so you can hit only the galleries that interest you without feeling compelled to spend hours getting worth of China money.
2. Shanghai Science & Technology Museum
Children will adore the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum in Pudong, which features nifty robots, IMAX films and stuffed tigers pouncing on prey. The four-story complex also houses a faux rain forest and jungle gyms. What’s not to love?
The museum is designed to make science seem fun and welcoming. One exhibit features a robot that can solve Rubik’s cube in less than a minute. Another robot challenges visitors to an archery contest, and still another paints visitors’ portraits.
For preschoolers, a gallery called Children’s Rainbow Land offers slides, jungle gyms and crawling tunnels. It’s not all that scientific, but it’s a colorful space for kids to run around in on a rainy day.
3. Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre
For fans of Chinese history and underground culture, the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre fits the bill.
The collection is housed in a basement in an apartment block, and the gallery ceilings are covered with cracks and spider webs.
The tiny museum offers a glimpse into the kitschy Cultural Revolution aesthetic, which foreign visitors find fascinating but the forward-looking contemporary China prefers to brush off.
The posters are filled with ruddy-faced peasants, joyful soldiers and chubby children. Naturally, Chairman Mao’s apple-cheeked face gazes down from every wall. If you are intereisted in the history of cultural revolution, you should not miss it for your popular China travel package.
Some of the most fascinating posters decry U.S. involvement in the region during the Korean War. One 1951 print shows a Chinese soldier stepping on a green-faced, devilish-looking G.I.
Exhibits do a good job of explaining the evolution of propaganda over time -- including the 1979 move to abolish and destroy the posters, which explains why originals are hard to find today.
The gift shop sells original as well as duplicate souvenirs, including posters, maps and Cultural Revolution music records.
4. Shanghai Municipal History Museum
The Shanghai Municipal History Museum is a maze of Old Shanghai scenes peopled with life-size wax dummies. It sounds dated and a bit creepy, and it is. But it’s also surprisingly informative and evocative.
The museum resurrects a lost world where newsboys and nuns roamed the streets, where silk-clad drug addicts lounged on opium beds and where old men trained crickets for fighting.
The museum is housed in the basement of the Oriental Pearl Tower, the iconic skyscraper that looks like it swallowed a few giant golf balls.
After China tours of the Shanghai of yore downstairs, visitors can take the elevator up the tower to see modern Shanghai’s futuristic skyline.
5. Shanghai Museum of Glass
Be forewarned -- the Shanghai Museum of Glass is in a run-down industrial neighborhood some way out of the center. But for architecture fans, it’s worth the trip.
The 6,250-square-meter museum, which opened last year in a former glass factory, is a maze of glittering windows, flashy LED screens and translucent floors.
The downside is that the dazzling architecture and museography overshadow the collections themselves, with their antique glass bead necklaces and snuff bottles. Other exhibits focus on science and innovation, in prisms, fiberglass and bulletproof glass.
Kids will enjoy the glass-blowing demonstrations in a warehouse behind the museum, and the museum’s airy café is a trendy setting for sipping a coffee.
The space is also a quiet respite from Shanghai’s noise and crowds. Visitors are sometimes outnumbered by the cleaners busily wiping down all the shiny windows and display cases.
The best way to reach the museum is to take Metro Line 1 to Tonghe Xincun or Metro Line 3 to Changjiang Nan Lu take a 10-minute taxi ride (around RMB 15).
A taxi ride directly from the city center costs about RMB 60 and will take around 45 minutes.
6. Shikumen Open House Museum
The Shikumen Open House provides a nostalgic vision of historic Shanghai. A stop here is a respite from the skyscrapers that are relentlessly replacing Shanghai’s shikumens, the historic brick family residences with stone gates.
Located in Xintiandi which is a must-see for Shanghai's top 10 China tours, the three-story museum is the place to go if you’re a fan of 1930s Shanghai decor.
It recreates a traditional family home, with cozy displays of club chairs, worn leather suitcases, painted fans, enameled compacts of ladies’ face powder, wicker baskets, retro film magazines and old wedding photos.
Popping into the museum for half an hour will make you feel less guilty about whiling away an afternoon in an aseptic shopping district frequented by tourists, expats and wealthy locals.
Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is among the most popular Chinese tourist destinations for international travelers of China travel deals.
But just 40 kilometers north of the UNESCO World Heritage site, an untapped Anhui water town has recently stolen a substantial slice of limelight from its big brother.
Tangmo, a four-square-kilometer water town whose name means “the model of Tang Dynasty,” saw the opening of Gites de France's first licensed hotel outside Europe last month.
First Gites de France hotel outside Europe
The 10-room establishment, which is the first phase of Tangmo International Countryside Hotel, occupies a restored century-old Huizhou-style residential building, with room types ranging from standard doubles to deluxe suites.
But unlike most gites in France, which are privately owned country houses, the two-story property is a fully serviced hotel owned by the local travel authority, Anhui Tourism Group (ATG).
According to Patrick Farjas, vice president of the National Federation of Gites de France, the company was approached by the Anhui authority for tourism cooperation, and licensing a state-run hotel "was the best choice based on China’s economical and political environment."
“The features of this first guesthouse [in China] correspond to the criteria of the Gites de France,” noted Farjas, who attended TICH’s inauguration ceremony in Tangmo last month.
“Moreover, the village of Tangmo is charming," added Farjas. "I am convinced that it will attract a lot of tourists.”
The second phase of the TICH has already been planned. It will cover approximately 6,000 square meters and is scheduled to break ground in March in adjacent buildings.
Gites de France is a guesthouse rental network that provides travelers with the opportunity to stay in rural cottages for their China best tours.
The booking function and hotel introduction page are expected to go up after the second phase is completed by the end of 2012, according to TICH's marketing director Niu Shouyi.
China-France countryside tourism collaboration
The newly unveiled Tangmo Hotel is part of the government-initiated tourism collaboration between Huangshan city and the French Tourist Office dating back to 2007.
The French authority will not only share their knowledge on restoring and managing historic village attractions, but also promote Huangshan’s countryside tourism to Europe.
In addition, the local hospitality staff will be trained either in Huangshan or France’s Franche-Comté region by French experts.
“Tangmo is a typical Huizhou-style historic village," said Yao Yalan of Huangshan Tourism Bureau. "It’s maintained complete China tourism resources but its tourism is yet to be as mature as [the nearby] Xidi village and Hongcun village.”
In addition to the Tangmo International Countryside Hotel, an international bicycle racing competition is also on the drawing board, which is set to be jointly organized by Union Cycliste Internationale and a Chinese authority.
Dating back 1,800 years, Tangmo water town received a total of 100,000 visitors last year.
Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin praised it as “one of the world’s most beautiful villages” in 2010 during his visit to the area.
Tangmo is 16 kilometers from Huangshan Railway Station and 20 kilometers from Huangshan Airport. A taxi ride from Huangshan city center to Tangmo costs around RMB 30.
You can contact with China travel agents to know more about it.
China is not famous for adventure tourism, but it’s actually one great destination to seek a new adrenaline high.
And here are seven ways (in no particular order) to have China travel with a new heart rate.
1. Kiteboarding, Fujian
If you crave speed, like getting wet, and are willing to tear up your life-insurance, then this full-throttle activity, which fuses sailing, windsurfing and wakeboarding, must be attempted at least once.
The sport only made it to China a few years ago, but the locals have chucked themselves into it (quite literally).
There’s now a kiteboarding epicenter along Xiaman’s sandy enclave -- where ferocious winds create the perfect conditions to pull off spins, flips, loops and mega-jumps, while riders hurtle along at up to 92 kph. Learn the ropes in less than 10 hours.
Price: Kiteboarding courses start from RMB 3,000 (US$445) for eight hours of tuition, including equipment hire.
2. Hiking, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Glaciers thousands of meters high, untamed forests and antelopes, Himalayan black bears and wild yaks -- this land of rocky desert and incredible mountains is as untainted as it is unmissable.
Hikers spend years exploring these unchartered realms, with piercing blue skies, fascinating culture and picture perfect scenes in every direction.
One of the most challenging walk across the "Roof of the World" starts in Lhasa, where you can acclimatize with a gentle climb up the 1,036 steps of the Potala Palace, then watch the solitary monks debate, chant and prey at the Drepung and Sera Monasteries for your China vacation deals.
When your head has stopped pounding from the altitude, venture into the countryside and the Kyi-chu Valley for a view of scattered multi-colored Buddhist prayer flags against serrated rocks -- in this area you’ll also meet lone nomadic families living off the land.
From here the road continues to Tibet’s most iconic scene -- the highest mountain range in the world. Stop, gaze, and try and identify Mount Everest among the fabled peaks.
Price: Package tours start from RMB 16,000 (US$2,545) per person (excluding airfare) for a private tour based on a group of four people. Price includes accommodation, meals, equipment and an Alien's Travel Permit to the region.
3. Diving, Zhejiang
With only a high-powered flashlight to guide you through the murky, dark waters, it’s easy to lose your dive partner and be stranded in the vast abyss of Qiandao Lake (aka Thousand Island Lake) which is listed as one of China best tours
However, intrepid divers will understand the appeal when they descend to 24 meters and bump into a wall that surrounds a giant dormant city.
The 1,300-year-old gated Lion City was evacuated more than 50-years ago due to a deliberate flood started to create a reservoir, yet the eerie and forgotten remains, including detailed pai fangs, houses and intact furniture, still sit under the water waiting to be discovered once again.
Move in the shadows on this fascinating adventure dive and snap away at the gruesome gargoyles guarding the gateway, which pop out of the sinister surroundings, and discover new routes through the remarkable sunken buildings.
Price: Three-day, two-night dive trips to the lake cost from RMB 3,280 (US$525), including equipment, accommodation and meals.
4. Mountain biking, Yunnan
One of the rides of your life consists of a challenging climb up to 1,900 meters on two wheels.
Cycling around 40 kilometers per day on varied terrain, from cobbled streets, tricky dirt tracks and sheer cliff faces, you’ll snake past incredible sights such as the ice-capped Jade Dragon Mountain and one of the world’s deepest river canyons -- Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Along the way you’ll meet the friendly Nakhi people wearing striking tribal costume and find farmers carrying firewood, collecting wild herbs and mushrooms.
Soak your aching muscles and blisters in Shaxi at Bailongtan natural spring, surrounded by lush vegetation where it’s possible to spot mustached laughing thrush and spot-breasted parrotbill.
Price: RMB 13,650 (US$2,150) including a guide and accommodation. RMB 1,000 for bike hire.
5. Parkour, Shanghai
A core group of enthusiasts have turned Shanghai (a destination for popular China travel package) into an urban gymnasium -- flipping, spinning and traversing high towers, walls and obstacles effortlessly. Now you can join them.
If you’ve got the balls, it’s possible to learn how to handstand on the side of the Jin Mao Tower or back flip off of the Oriental Pearl Tower. Shanghai Parkour Center offers the chance to learn these moves, plus how to use your body as effectively as possible to cross our modern and varied landscapes.
They’ll teach a variety of climbing, martial arts and acrobatic techniques. And, while you’re at it, you get to see one of Asia’s most iconic cities from an entirely different perspective.
Details: Contact Martin at Shanghai Parkour Center to train at various spots around the city, including Metro Line 1 Huangpi Nan Lu Station, Metro Line 7 Chuanchang Lu Station (near the Huangpu River) and Yan’an Xi Lu. Call +86 186 2133 7903 to check sessions and lesson timings.
6. Surfing, Hainan
Mellow glassy swells or three-meter peeling rides are available at this untouched teardrop-shaped island.
The surf scene in this laid-back tropical setting is how we imagine Hawaii in the 1960s, with a super-friendly Beach Boys vibe.
Here you can carve uncrowded waves all day.
We recommend the mellow beach break at Houhai Bay (great for longboarders and beginners) or Riyuewan (where the annual Hainan Surf Open is held) for a decent rock-bottomed point break.
Price: Rental from RMB 40 (US$7), surf lessons from RMB 300 (US$50, for two hours).
7. Skiing, Hebei
While this place is no Aspen or Whistler, it’s a lesser-known ski spot meaning the pistes are uncrowded and stress free. There are a 18 powdery slopes at Wanlong, including the resort’s sweet 2,500-meter Jade Dragon piste.
There’s also a good variety of advanced and intermediate runs and a 500-meter baby run where beginners can get a taste of the action.
If you’re a park rider, try the decent immaculately crafted pipes, big air ramps and smooth grinds in the snow park.
Plus, if there’s no guarantee of snowfall at the resort, they’ll blast it with their snow cannons, meaning you’ll always be able to ride. Happy days.
Ski season in Wanlong runs from October-March.
You can get more about these places via China travel agents.
Located about 45 minutes southwest of Shanghai by train, Hangzhou is one of the most attractive cities in China for last minute China travel deals.
With a 4,700-year history, the capital of Zhejiang Province is a metropolis of about 8 million residents. The city is built around the world-renowned West Lake and the Qiantang River.
The city is the southernmost of China’s eight ancient capitals.
This pocketbook guide has all the essentials you need for fun in Hangzhou.
Hangzhou is home to picturesque and expansive lakefronts as well as ages-old winding alleys, giving travelers a taste of authentic residential lifestyle.
A number of parks overlooking West Lake and hills further afield are ideal for hiking.
A walk around West Lake is the essential activity for all Hangzhou visitors.
The lake is divided into three parts by Bai Causeway and Su Causeway. The stretch between the two causeways has the most famed scenery and attractions
Broken Bridge, where legendary Chinese couple Xu Xian and Bai Niangzi met for the first time, is connected to the northern tip of the Bai Causeway. It is one of the most photographed attractions in Hangzhou which is listed as one of top 10 China tour packages.
Make sure you tour Gu Shan, aka Solitary Hill, through Xiling Bridge on Beishan Road.
Northwest of the West Lake, this tiny piece of land looks like a small island and is home to a good number of attractions for first-time visitors, including Zhejiang Museum and Zhongshan Park.
The museum has a 100,000-strong collection of cultural relics (pottery, jade, silk, calligraphy).
Yunqi bamboo-lined path
This is an ancient Buddhist pathway, which offers a spectacular view of centuries-old bamboo, and is generally free of tourist groups and the bustle that marks many other local sites.
Meiwu Lu, Yunxiwu, Wuyun Shan, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
The neighborhood at the foot of Fenghuang Mountain (Fenghuang Shan) was the center of South Song Dynasty's imperial palace around 800 years ago. It is the only imperial palace built on a hillside in the annals of Chinese history.
Overlooked by most Hangzhou guidebooks, the 178-meter "mountain" is a peaceful Xanadu devoid of tourists and urbanization.
Fenghuang Mountain is located southeast of Hangzhou. To get there, take bus no. K102 from the West Long-distance Bus Station.
Hangzhou is renowned as a place to buy fine brocade, umbrellas, folding fans and high-quality silk at cheap prices.
In the southern section of Hangzhou, the ancient-looking shopping street is a major draw in Hangzhou. At Drum Tower it joins Zhongshan Lu, another large shopping street.
An entire afternoon can be spent ducking into numerous stalls to pick up gifts for everyone on your list. The most popular Hangzhou snacks -- such as duck heads and “dragon mustache candy” -- are widely available at street stands.
Street entertainers enthrall crowds with Chinese yo-yo tricks and other small shows.
Crowds get larger and more lively at night.
Hefang Jie, near Wushan Square
Nan Song Yu Jie
Dubbed “Southern Song Imperial Street,” this newly launched pedestrian shopping street is situated on one of Hangzhou’s historic thoroughfares.
Renovated in an architectural style associated with the South Song Dynasty (Hangzhou was the capital) Nan Song Yu Jie is becoming a must-see attraction, with crowds coming to check out its distinctive architecture, shopping opportunities and numerous Chinese and Western restaurants.
Also on Zhongshan Lu near Nan Song Yu Jie, the lakefront area of Hubin Lu is the spot to go for luxury brand shopping in Hangzhou.
Nan Song Yu Jie, on Zhongshan Lu, between Huancheng Bei Lu and Drum Tower
Wushan night market
This thrilling night market is the place to hone bargaining skills.
Packed with stalls, the daily bazaar sells everything from fake antiques and designer purses, to underwear to lousy replicas of the little red book, “Chairman Mao's Quotations.”
Easily the most buzzing night market in Hangzhou, Wushan’s fashion offerings are hugely popular with locals. You can consider Wushan night market for your popular China travel package.
Wushan Night Market, near Renhe Lu and Huixing Lu, 7 p.m.-late
Si Ji Qing clothes and fabric market
This always-busy, 50,000-square-meter indoor bazaar is a nationally famous wholesale market for clothes and fabrics.
It's an ideal place to find inexpensive clothing, as well as tailoring services.
31-59 Hanghai Lu, near Qingtai Overpass, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
China Silk Market
This accessible outdoor pedestrian market sells everything you can think of in silk, from colorful Tang-style garments to qipao, ties, hankies, shawls and table runners.
266 Xinhua Lu, near Jiankang Lu, hours vary
Hangzhou cultural exploration
Numerous Chinese philosophers, politicians and literati have come to Hangzhou to live -- and to die.
Although monuments and former residences of influential Chinese and Western personalities are everywhere to be seen, the beauty of Hangzhou culture is reflected in a cluster of museums and galleries near West Lake.
Hangzhou is also home to several time-honored traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) workshops, such as Huqing Yutang and Zhang Tong Tai, where visitors can purchase top-notch TMC medicines.
Huqing Yutang, 95 Dajing Xiang, near Anrong Xiang, + 86 571 8781 5209, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Zhang Tong Tai, 99 Zhongshan Bei Lu, near Xianlinqiao Zhi Jie, + 86 571 8707 0097, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Hidden away on Gushan Lu, this is the best place to get a full view of the history of Hangzhou and Zhejiang Province.
The museum holds more than 100,000 relics related to the province, from Hemudu site remains (6,000 B.C.) to paintings and calligraphy by Zhejiang-born artists.
The building itself is a showcase of traditional local architecture, featuring gray roof tiles, long corridors and dramatic eaves.
The culture institution is surrounded by a number of other West Lake attractions, such as Lou Wai Lou restaurant and Solitary Hill.
25 Gushan Lu, opposite Zhejiang Art Gallery, free admission, Monday: noon-5 p.m.; Tuesday-Sunday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Hangzhou is a Zen city. On Lingyin Mountain, west of West Lake, Lingyin Temple (Temple of Soul's Retreat) is one of the most important Zen monasteries in China. If you are interested in Zen, you should not miss this temple for your China travel packages
Legend says the temple was built by a monk from India 1,600 years ago. Renovated in 2000, the current compound houses China's largest sitting Sakyamuni Budda statue, which is more than 19 meters tall.
Unless you like bumping shoulders with tour groups, schedule visits early on weekday mornings.
Next to Feilai Peak northwest of West Lake, , 8 a.m.-3 p.m., RMB 45 to enter Feilai Peak, RMB 30 to enter Lingyin Temple.
Hangzhou Buddhist College
Hangzhou Buddhist College is one of the most prestigious institutions for Buddhist education in China.
Thanks to a reputation for academic excellence, and relatively low interference from tourists, local, national and international Buddhist symposiums and ceremonies are often held here.
Together with Fajing Temple, the college offers a rare opportunity for travelers to gain insight into the daily routine of Buddhist disciples.
Hangzhou Buddhist College, 112 Tianzhu Lu, inside Fajing Temple.
Jing-Hang Grand Canal
Dug around 2,500 years ago, the 1,794-kilometer canal is the world's longest canal and may soon be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The best way to experience the charm of this ancient water passage is by cruising. Head to the Wu Lin Men dock and choose from several different canal cruise routes.
208 Huancheng Bei Lu, near Wulin Square, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Hours vary for summer cruises.
Hangzhou tea culture
With its abundant lakeside areas and hills, Hangzhou's tea culture is second to none in China.
Hangzhou is most associated with Longjing, a long-established green tea grown in plantations on lakeside hills. The tea is noted for exceptionally green color and intoxicating fragrance.
Almost all tea plantations in Hangzhou have become popular destinations for locals as well as travelers.
During weekends and on public holidays, Longjing Village and Mei Jia Wu are packed with tea-lovers and leisure seekers.
China Tea Museum
China's only tea museum chronicles the detailed history of China’s tea culture, from its origins to the early-day classic tea literature and the development of tea ceremonies.
The exhibition halls are surrounded by ponds and gardens.
88 Longjing Lu, Shuangfeng Village, Longjing Village, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
This picturesque, rural getaway is ideal for tea-lovers looking to spend a day with a pot of quality Longjing tea while sharpening their knowledge of China's national drink. In Longjing Village, you can learn more tea culture for your China tours.
Bus no. 27 connects Hangzhou downtown to Longjing Village.
He Cha Guan
With its ancient Chinese decor, this high-end teahouse is one of the oldest and finest of its kind in Hangzhou.
In addition to potted tea and tea sets -- Chinese tea paired with fusion-style desserts from cakes made with Chinese dates to red bean puddings -- the teahouse/restaurant promotes an all-you-can-eat tea meal, which mixes leafy tea with all kinds of ingredients in a feast from appetizer to main course.
Shanghai has been everything to a world of directors, from muse to milieu. It’s not surprising that the city’s dramatic alleyways, tree-lined avenues, iconic skyline and grand architecture are fodder for directors and cinephiles alike. These places are right for last minute China travel deals.
In the spirit of the current Shanghai International Film Festival (which runs until June 24), we're celebrating a century of Shanghai in the movies with a quick tour of its most recognizable film locales:
No longer used as a slaughterhouse, 1933, once the largest abattoir in Asia, is now known for its industrial architecture and its cameo in the Chinese propaganda film “Da Li, Xiao Li, Lao Li” (1962).
In the film, 1933 is where abundant food rations and stores were located.
Chosen by Historic Shanghai's president Patrick Cranley as a favorite, it is currently used as a center of creative arts and events: an example of cinematic legacy being passed on to the new generations. If you are a film lover, you should not miss 1933 for your popular China tours.
It also gets bonus film points for looking like the set of the next David Lynch film.
1933, 10 Shajing Lu, near Jiulong Lu
2. Dingxiang Garden
It is a small sea of green now, with a pond and restaurant that hardly betrays its past, but Dingxiang Gardens' grass-strewn grounds used to be a busy Shanghai film studio during the 1920s and 1930s.
Those studios are gone now, but Shanghai-based author and historian Paul French likes the nostalgia.
“I like to stroll around there imagining some of the great old stars of Shanghai film working there,” he says.
Dingxiang Garden, 849 Huashan Lu, nearing Fuxing Xi Lu
3. The Bund
It has been featured in everything from Stephen Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun” (the first Hollywood production to do so post-World War II), to Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution."
Since the city's effort to make the river-side pedestrian avenue wider two years ago, the Western architecture of the Bund is even more spectacular to explore for your China best tours.
“Its even kind of looking like it did during the first heyday,” says Katherine Sima of the Shanghai International Film Club, who has her own favorite movie moment.
“Whenever I look at the Bund I always think about the scene in 'The Spring River Flows East,' when Bai Yang commits suicide by jumping in the Huangpu [River].”
Anywhere on the Bund
4. Zhapu Lu
The corner of Zhapu Lu and Haining Lu is notable for being the former home of the Ramos Hongkew Theater (built in 1908), representative of the first of Shanghai movie theaters run by Spanish showman Antonio Ramos.
With its blinking lights, narrow alleys, and the pungent smell of street food and alcohol, the area also seems like a living, breathing film set straight out of a 1930s mobster flick.
“I think that the chaos and vibrancy of Zhapu Lu at night gives a good idea of Shanghai's spirit,” says Maria Barbieri, of Shanghai International Film Club.
Zhapu Lu, near Haining Lu
5. Pudong Lujiazui Skyline
Tom Cruise shot baseballs off it in "Mission Impossible III," and an asteroid destroyed it in "Armageddon," but Shanghai's iconic skyline keeps coming back for more.
We'll admit adding Lujiazui to this list is a bit of a cheat since it encompasses roughly 20 buildings, but it’s difficult to deny that Pudong has made its cinematic mark, mostly by being destroyed -- although it was featured (no destruction in sight) in David Lynch’s cinematic Dior ad.
Zao Xikang, an avid action film lover, who admires the skyline from the Bund, says this about Pudong’s destructibility: “It looks like blocks ready to knock over.”
Shanghai is a must-see for your China tours and the above-mentioned attractions are indispensable.
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