The traditional non-urban settlements of China, which have to a very large extent disappeared during the twentieth century, are exceptionally well preserved in the villages of Xidi and Hongcun which are the famous tourist destination for popular China tours. The two villages are graphic illustrations of a type of human settlement created during a feudal period and based on a prosperous trading economy. In their buildings and their street patterns, they reflect the socio-economic structure of a long-lived settled period of Chinese history.
Xidi was originally called Xichuan (West River) and is always included in the packages of last minute China travel deals, because of the streams that pass through it. It owes its growth to the Hu family from Wuyuan (Xinan), who adopted a son of the Tang Emperor Zhaozong (888-904) after the Emperor was forced from his throne in 904, naming him Hu Changyi. One of his descendants moved his family from Wuyuan to Xidi in 1047. The construction of a number of important private and public buildings began at around that time. From the mid-17th century until around 1850, the Hu family was influential in both commerce and politics. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, members of the family became imperial officials, while many also became graduates of the Imperial College.
Xidi is located in an area surrounded by mountains. Streams enter from the north and east respectively, converging at the Huiyuan Bridge in the south of the village. The streets are all paved with granite from Yi County. Narrow alleys join the streets and there are small open spaces in front of the main public buildings, such as the Hall of Respect, the Hall of Reminiscence and the Memorial Archway of the Governor. The buildings, which are widely spaced, are timber-framed with brick walls and elegantly carved decoration. Most of them are built alongside the three streams, the Front Stream, the Back Stream and the Golden Stream, which give a special character to the village.
The more grandiose residential buildings, dignified with the title of 'hall', have complex ground plans, but they are all variants of the basic pattern and conform to the characteristic use of materials and decoration. The outer walls have very small windows, for reasons of security, carved out of granite and decorated with floral and geometric motifs. Many have small private gardens, usually in the front courtyard, where ingenious use is made of limited space. Here you can witness the traditional buildings on the south bank of Yangtze River where you can have Yantze River tour.
Hongcun was founded in 1131 by Wang Wen, a Han dynasty general, and his kinsman Wang Yanji, who brought their families from Qisu village to the upper part of the stream near Leigang Mountain and built 13 houses there. The village knew two periods of great prosperity, 1401-1620 and 1796-1908. The Wang family became officials and merchants and accumulated enormous wealth, which they used to endow their home village with many fine buildings. Around 1405, on the advice of geomancers, a channel was dug to bring fresh water to the village from the West Stream. Some 200 years later, the water supply system of the village was completed with the creation of the South Lake. The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the construction of a number of imposing public buildings, such as the South Lake Academy (1814), the Hall of Meritorious Deeds (1888), the Hall of Virtuousness (1890) and the Hall of Aspiration (1855, rebuilt 1911). Somewhat later than Xidi, Hongcun fell into decline with the birth of the Republic, but it still retains many of its fine buildings and its exceptional water system.
Hongcun lies at the foot of Leigang Mountain. The village faces south, with its central part lying at a point central to the flanking mountains and rivers. The open watercourse runs through all the houses in the entire village and forms two ponds, one in the centre (Moon Pond) and the other to the south of the village (South Lake). The chequerboard pattern of streets and lanes follow the watercourse, giving the village a unique overall appearance. Obtain more via China travel guide.
There are many famous mountains in China, among which you may see beauty or steepness. Do you fancy having an exploration to climb up to a steep mountain and feel the pleasure of conquering?
1 Mt. Everest
Mt. Everest is the highest peak in the world and optional tourist destination for China travel deals. As the supreme point of the world, Mt. Everest is also blessed with many extreme wonders. Its greatest charm is once you board on it, it means the world is at the foot of yours. Some mountains will show their brilliance only when you close to them, but Mt. Everest will make you get the opposite feeling.
2 K2 Peak
K2 peak, locally known by the name of “Chogo Ri”, which means "The Great Mountain", 8,611m, is the 2nd highest mountain in the world. K2 is placed on the Pakistan - China border in the mighty Karakoram Range. K2 is a rocky mountain up to 6,000m, beyond which it becomes an ocean of snow. Among 14 high mountains with the elevation reaching over 8000m, K2 is the most difficult one to climb up.
3 Aerjin Mountain
The Aerjin Mountain, located in the west of China, has famous Muzitage Mountain Peak, has about 100 billion sq. glacier which generates 20 and more gold canals and several rivulets to flow into four saltwater lakes which have about one thousand sq. kilometers.
4 Minya Konka
Minya Konka, at the foot of the glacier from the main peak 7,556m, is the highest mountain in Sichuan. Situated in the Daxue Shan mountain range in the southwest of Sichuan (a famous place for your popular China tours), it is a sacred mountain to the Tibetans. There are different trekking routes around the mountain range, the most popular being a trek to the Konka Monastery. Since the 1878 when the Australian people studied it for the first time, many people have been trying to climb up to the mountain, but most of them failed.
5 Meili Snow Mountain
Meili Snow Mountains rise between the Salween River and the Mekong River in the extreme edge of Northwest Yunnan Province (best destination included in top 10 China tour packages). The holy Kawa Karpo (6740M), the highest peak of Meili, is one of the most sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism. It is still a 'virgin peak' for no one has ever reached the top. Thus, Meili Snow Mountain is a challenge for all mountain explorers from home and abroad.
Hong Kong, (Heūng góng in Cantonese, Xiāng gǎng in Mandarin, either way meaning "fragrant harbour") the Oriental Pearl, is simply amazing and must-see for China vacation deals!It would be hard to find a more exciting city than Hong Kong. Set among beautiful natural surroundings it has all the benefits of a thriving and vibrant commercial center. Here you can find the delights of modern living alongside an abundance of reminders of its historic past. Whether you visit the better known highlights like the stunning Ocean Park, the fantastic viewpoint of Victoria Peak or the beautiful Repulse Bay, Hong Kong is certain to exceed your expectations.
Do you know HongKong?
Name: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR)
Population: 6.8 million. 95% are Chinese, the rest are foreigners.
Language: Mostly in Traditional Chinese and English. But Simplified Chinese are increasingly popular as there are more mainland Chinese visitors visiting Hong Kong.
When to visit?
Weather— For those who are seeking warm, dry and sunny weather, the ideal time is October to December.Those who are wanting to escape the humidity of tropical climates will appreciate the cooler months of January to March. The temperature ranges from 9°C to 24°C during winter, and from 26°C to 33°C during summer. The humidity is typically high in the spring and worse in the summer, when high temperatures (usual maximum of 32-34°C) are often recorded.
Events — During Chinese New Year, whilst there are some extra celebratory events such as a lion dances, fireworks, and parades, many shops and restaurants are closed for three to five days. The official public holiday lasts three days.
Culture lovers will be able to feast on a multitude of cultural activities from February to April. The Hong Kong Arts Festival, a month-long festival of international performances, is held in February and March. The Man Literary Festival, a two-week English language festival with international writers as guests, is held in March. The Hong Kong International film festival, a three-week event, is held in late March to early April.Rugby fans, and those wishing to party, should come during the weekend of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens
There is a second round of cultural activities in the autumn lasting till the end of the year.
Christmas is also a nice time to visit as many stores and shopping centres are nicely decorated and the festive mood is apparent across the city.
Hong Kong is the perfect place to pick up a unique bargain or indulge in an unexpected extravagance, if you know exactly where to look. The map below shows the major shopping areas throughout Hong Kong. Hong Kong has a lot of street markets where you can shop after tired but popular China tours. Some of them just selling regular groceries, others clothes, bags or even electronics. Many stores in Hong Kong (even some chain stores) are willing to negotiate on price, particularly for goods such as consumer electronics. Always feel free to ask "is there any discount; and "do I get any free gift; when buying anything in the territory. You can often get an additional discount if you pay cash (since the store can avoid paying the credit card charges).
Hong Kong Disneyland opened on September 12, 2005. It is on Lantau Island, about 12 kilometers east of the Hong Kong International Airport, and may be reached via the MTR Disneyland Resort Line from Sunny Bay Station (note that to get to Disneyland from the airport, you must make two connections, the first at Tsing Yi and the second at Sunny Bay; in this case it probably would make more sense to take a taxi). Though significantly smaller in size than other Disney parks elsewhere, it does offer some great attractions ("Festival of the Lion King" stage show, "Golden Mickey's" stage show, "Mickey's PhilharMagic 4D" show) and very short queues most of the year (except the week of Chinese New Year). Disneyland has not been as successful as anticipated and reports in the South China News indicate that it has failed to reach its visitor numbers by as much as one million people. It's not all bad, though - a second theme park should open next door in the near future.
Ocean Park is on the southern side of Hong Kong island. With roller coasters and large aquariums altogether, it's still packed on weekends with families and tourists after opening to the public for 30 years. The cablecar is an icon and an essential link between the two parts of the park. The views of the South China Sea from the cable car is always terrific. It would be fair to say that many local people would choose Ocean Park if they had to pick a single theme park to attend. For many, the chance to see Hong Kong's pandas would be a deciding factor. Young adults will be attracted to the wider range of rides. You can get to Ocean Park by a direct bus ride from Admiralty MTR station; it will be the first stop after you clear the Aberdeen Tunnel.
Get a stunning view of Hong Kong Island on Victoria Peak with the giant, wok shaped Peak Tower. Within the building are shops, restaurants, museums, and viewing points. The Peak Tram runs from Central to the bottom of the Peak Tower. Although the view of Kowloon and Victoria Harbour can be good, be prepared for the view to be spoilt by air pollution. There is no point in spending the extra money to visit the observation deck of the Peak Tower. There are a number of nice walks around the peak that quickly leave the tourist area behind and offer nice views of all sides of the island. You will be able to catch a laser show at 8pm every day.
You are never far from the sea in Hong Kong and going to a good beach is only a bus-ride away for your popular China tours. However, if you want a really good beach, then it is worth making the effort to travel, possibly on foot, and seek out the beaches of the New Territories. Hong Kong's urban beaches are usually well maintained and have services such as showers and changing rooms. Where beaches are managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Dept. shark nets and life guards are present. Dogs and smoking are not permitted on these beaches.
Perhaps the number one highlight of Hong Kong is the cuisine. Not only is it a showcase of traditional and modern Cantonese cuisine, the various regional cuisines from around China, such as northern Chinese, Chaozhou and Sichuan are all well represented. There are also excellent Asian and some fairly good Western restaurants as well. Residents tend to eat out a lot more than in other countries. Because of this, eating out can be fairly cheap, as long as you stick to local restaurants, and avoid the often overpriced Western counterparts. While dining out, it is easy to find places offering mains for well under $80 offering both local and international food. Fastfood chains such as McDonald's and Café de Coral offer meals in the vicinity of $20. Mid-range restaurants generally charge in excess of $100 for mains, whilst at the top end the city's best restaurants can easily see you leave with a bill in excess of $1200 (including entrées (appetizers), mains, desserts and drinks). Above all, Hong Kong is known for its dim sum (点心), delicately prepared morsels of Cantonese cuisine served from a never ending procession of carts and eaten with tea. Dim sum is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch and is often the focus of family get-togethers on Sundays. An excellent place to go for dim sum is City Hall in Central - just be sure to ask for the dim sum restaurant. If you go to some restaurants in the more local areas ask if they have an English menu. In such restaurants customers are often required to write their requirements on a tick-box sheet and hand them to the waiter.
By the way, you can obtain more details through Hong Kong travel guide.
Located at a gate in the Great Wall of China, Zhangjiakou has historically been a communications and commercial link between Beijing, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia. Zhangjiakou has unique topography. It is located at the juncture of the Hengshan Mountain, Taihang Mountains and Yan Mountains. The Sanggan River flows through the whole area. The city slopes downwards from the northwest to southeast. Energy is the foundation of Zhangjiakou's industry economy. The Zhangjiakou General Power Plant , with an installed capacity of 2.88 million KWh, is one of the largest thermal power plants in north China.
Zhangjiakou is a time-honored city north of the Great Wall inhabited by many ethnic minorities. In the Spring and Autumn Period ), its north part was inhabited by the Huns, while the south part was the territory of the Yan Kingdom . It had been divided into two shires in Sui Dynasty and has brought into the domain of the central regime of China. Zhangjiakou was long known as Kalganto much of the world. The name comes from the Mongolian word for “barrier”, which was an apt description of this key city's importance to Qing Dynasty ( 1644-1911).
Folk Art and Handicraft
Nowadays, paper cutting of Hebei and Shaanxi (whose captital city Xian is the starting point for Silk Road travel) were packaged together to win the bid. In Hebei alone, two types of paper cutting were grouped together to represent the Hebei style of this craft. They are paper cutting of Weixian County and the Fengning Manchu style of paper cutting. The Weixian County is particularly famous for its paper cutting skills in China and throughout the world. A number of the more refined items of paper-cuts have been exhibited in the National Art Museum of China and in a number of exhibitions sponsored by the United Nations. These products have been exported to 40 countries and regions throughout Europe, Asia, and the US to date.
These figures are cut from very thin tissue paper. Note the cut out areas where the background shows through. The originals measure about 4x5 inches. The brilliant colored figures are hand-colored and come from Weixian, a county about 200 miles from Beijing that is famous for this art.
These figures might be displayed alone or used to decorate a wall, and they might also be used as models and templates for the home artist to make other figures. To use them, one would make a rubbing of the template onto another piece of paper and cut it out with a very sharp knife. To make multi-colored figures such as those, one might first do woodblock printing onto the tissue papers, or assemble them from a mosaic of colored bits of paper.
The first three represent characters from Chinese Opera would be familiar to most Chinese. Those opera characters depict characters such as high officials who represent qualities such as justice, nobility or evil. The panda figures are intended for more "fun" projects, or might be used to decorate a child's room. The scenic style would probably be used as a decoration, too.
There are more than 10,000 residents in Buzili Historical Block, with a large elderly population. Walking in the town was like entering a labyrinth. The narrow alleyways are so confusing that you would have got lost without a guide.
Yuhuangge), a Taoist temple to worship the Jade Emperor, the supreme deity of Taoism. After the founding of New China in 1949, the temple became a residential property, until a few years ago, when it was put under state protection. But renovations haven't started yet. The compound was desolate and full of broken bricks and timber. Still, in one of the rooms, visitors can find 400-year-old frescoes, which were discovered accidentally a few years ago. The 6-sq-m colored paintings show the main figures of Taoism, but unfortunately the artworks were defaced. In spite of severe damage, visitors can still see how graceful the paintings must have been.
Wenchangge is located in the town center. It was amazing to see its Roman-style dome above the crossroads. It shows that Zhangjiakou was influenced by Western culture long ago.
Iron-framed windows and doors, which are common in big cities to protect against burglars, can hardly be seen here. On the contrary, most dwellings are open to visitors. The smoke of a coal stove on the roadside and many faded red slogans painted on the walls made visitors feel like they had ventured back into the 1960s.
Buzili shifted from being a military town to a commercial county in the 1700s. Thousands of traders flocked from all over the country to conduct business. Only the richest businessmen could afford to build luxury houses inside the town at that time, while the others had to live outside. This is why Buzili is dotted with various old buildings of different styles, including Beijing traditional quadrangle dwellings, Shanxi-style ones and Anhui)-style houses.
Take Bus NO.2 at Zhangjiakou Bus Station and get off at Binhe Middle Road, then get across the Qinghe Bridge and walk along Qiao West Street and Dongguan West Street, it should be about 750 m away.
Ticket: 25 RMB (unit for China money)
Qingyuan Tower, also named Bell Tower, sits in the center of Xuanhua . It was first constructed in 1482. Unconventionally shaped and ingeniously constructed, Qingyuan Tower has enjoyed the reputation of being “the second Huanghe (or Yellow Crane) Tower)”. The construction of the tower has a distinctive style and the appearance of a three-storey building when actually it has only two stories. Qingyuan Tower, 25 m high, has the appearance of being a three-storey building but actually it is two-storey.
On the first floor there hangs the bell of the prefecture of Xuanhua cast in the 18th year in the period of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty (1539). The bell, 2.5 m in height and 1.7 m in diameter, weighs 9999 jin (jīn 斤). It is set up with four great pillars in the middle of the upper floor, and the mellifluous and sonorous sounds can be heard over 20 kilometers away. The 19th son of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang of the Ming Dynasty once built Shanggu Palace and stationed troops to guard against the foreigners. In 1774, when Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty passed Xuanhua in his inspection tour to the north, he appropriated 100,000 tales of silver for rebuilding Qingyuan Tower.
In 1900, the Eight-power Allied Forces invaded Xuanhua. Da’awu , the leader of Yihetuan sounded the bell to gather his soldiers and laid an ambush in the Yantong Mountain . They made a severe attack upon the enemy and killed their commander, Colonel York. Qingyuan Tower was badly damaged in the period of the Great Cultural Revolution. In 1986, Qingyuan Tower was completely rebuilt under the direction of the Culture Department. The tower now is richly ornamented and in majestic splendor. Everything is magnificent and of classic elegance. In 1988, Qingyuan Tower was designated major historical and cultural site under state protection.
Start from Beijing and drive on Beijing-Zhangjiakou Expressway to Xuanhua Exit. You can find the scenic spot when you come to Xuanhua.
Ticket: RMB 5
Generally, the Bashang Grasslands include four parts: Zhangbei Bashang, Weichang Bashang, Fengning Bashang, and Guyuan Bashang. The four parts are located in four different counties of Hebei Province. Zhangbei County of Zhangjiakou, located north of Emperors of the Qing Dynasty used to be places where hunting patrol. Clean air here, little pollution and is a complete preservation of natural grassland. In summer, the Bashang Grassland is among the favorite retreats of Beijing residents, who often spend weekend riding horses, picking Chinese red wolfberries and staying in Mongolian yurts on the grassland. The weather of the grasslands is cool and flowers are everywhere. Grassland scenery around this time is the best, and you can live in yurts unique style can bring their own tents.
The Bashang Grassland is an ideal place for tourists who join in summer packages of travel to China to escape the heat in summer . Located in Zhangbei County, the grassland is one of the closest summer resorts for the people of Beijing. A five-hour drive on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Expressway brings you to the Bashang Grassland, where temperatures are 5℃ -10℃ lower than in Beijing and Tianjin. The grassland is the very place where Genghis Khan once fought some eight centuries ago. The Mongolian Plateau rises abruptly from the Central Plain except in Zhangbei.
Because of its military importance and beautiful scenery, Zhangbei became the Zhongdu (central capital) of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) in 1307, but was abandoned in1311 due to a financial crisis of the central government. The central capital was built to be the most luxurious city of the Yuan Dynasty and sucked up the national treasury. With all wooden materials transported from southern China, the city was even more fabulous than the Great Capital at the site of Beijing during that period. Besides military functions, the Bashang Grassland also served life in peaceful times. In summer, the Bashang Grassland is among the favorite retreats of Beijing residents, who often spend weekend riding horses, picking Chinese red wolfberries and staying in Mongolian yurts on the grassland.
Ticket: RMB 30
1. Visitors can shuttle between Zhangjiakou and Beijing (very hot tourist city for last minute China travel deals), Datong with about four and five hours by train, and there are also many buses dispatched every 30 minutes from Zhangjiakou to other cities in Hebei or around.
2. Due to the great daily temperature differences in spring and autumn, visitors should wrap up warm at night.
Ba Xian An Monastery, the famous scenic spot of Taoism, is situated in the north of the Changle Fang Street, in the east suburb close to the east city wall of Xi’an City (Xian travel guide). It is the largest Taoist Temple in Xi’an, also the most well-known Taoist building in Northwest Area. It is said that the Ba Xian An Monastery was established during the Song Dynasty to commemorate “the Eight Immortals in Legend”.
Daoism derived from China since the period of Eastern Han (25-220). According to the legend, Daoism has eight immortals known to the world. One day these immortals passed by the site of the temple and stayed for a time. Since some people thought that these immortals appeared to bless them, a temple was built on this site in order to make sacrifices to these immortals. Hence it was named as Ba Xian'an Monastery (namely, Temple of the Eight Immortals).
Ba Xian An Monastery is also called Ba Xian An Palace because when the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded Beijing in 1900, Emperor Guangxu and Empress Dowager Cixi escaped to Xian and lived in Ba Xian An Monastery. Therefore, Empress Dowager Cixi donated taels of silver later to fund the renovation of the monastery and gave it the name Ba Xian An Palace which can be considered to contain in Xian tour packages.
Besides visiting the monastery and burning incenses to pray for felicity, Outside the Monastery, there are two-story ancient buildings all along both sides of the whole street. When you enter any room, you may find that all kinds of curios are on display. The decorations in the rooms are simple. Many old copper mirrors, screens, books, four treasures of the study (four things in Chinese study; they are pen, ink, paper and ink stone), copper swords, ancient falchion, gallipots, china, vases, jade small baubles and folding fans have been put together tightly inside the glass windows and can be bought after tired popular China tours. While walking in the street outside the Ba Xian'an Monastery, you will find the street to be filled with curio shops offering items such as Kwan-yin statues and baubles, small and large. In the street you should not miss the small booths on the ground. You may often find many precious and valuable items there. You may not realize their value because most are dirty and covered with dirt.
Ba Xian An Monastery is a popular and important spot for Taoist celebrations in Shaanxi Province. On the 14th, 15th and 16th day of the fourth lunar month, the annual temple fair will be held. Ceremonious religious activities on the Double Nine Festival (9th day of the 9th lunar month) also attract a lot of adherents and tourists from near and far.
Ticket Price:10 RMB (Chinese currency converter )
Opening Time: 9:00 - 17:30
Bus Routes: 102, 11 and 27, (Get off at Jishi Guai bus stop)
Address: Changle Fang Street in Xian City, Shaanxi Province, China.
The lake can be reached by both bus and train. 3-4 long distance buses leave from the Xining station for a little Tibetan town called Heimahe between 07:30-09:00 for Y20, 5hrs. The return journey is about the same schedule. Buses from Golmud also arrive at Heimahe (about Y50, 11hrs). Unless you are able to hitch, it will then be a taxi, Y50, on to the lake. On the weekend in summer, buses leave from the Dashizi crossroads in Xining (Y40) for Bird Island. Tickets can be bought from the ticket office at the corner of Changjiang lu and Xiguan dajie.
The best train to catch will be the 09:40 train for Ha'ergai, on the northern side of the lake, arriving at 14:32. Buses leave infrequently from here to the Bird Island. Ha'ergai has a few hostels that may be useful for brief stopovers.
There are a few tour agencies in Xining organising tours to the lake. Most tours who come here for China vacation deals are for transport only, excluding dining, accommodation and entrance fees. Most also run daily over the summer, but are limited by tourist numbers out of season.
Accommodation around the lake is a little limited. Many of the travellers here opt to camp rather than stay in one of the less than impressive guesthouses. Bear in mind that the area can get very cold at night, thus warm clothes, sleeping bag and a tent would be wise. The best way to camp is to head off from one of the town's on the southern shore of the lake, and settle wherever you like. If you are not confident in your fishing skills or prefer not to drink highly saline beverages, then a supply of food, cooking utensils and fresh water is worth bringing. Fish can be bought from the locals.
There are basically two options, one in Gonghe and the other on Bird Island. The Qinghai Lake Tent Hotel (Qinghai hu zhangpeng binguan, Tel: 0974-513520) is a two star hotel that lies around 30km from the Sun Moon Mountain (Riyue shan), in Jiangxigou Township, Gonghe. The hotel has about ten cabins and a restaurant. A Mongolian cabin for two costs Y280, a double with bath is Y240, without bath is Y160. The hotel also offers dorm beds for Y30 in a triple. Hot water is available between 20:00 and 23:00.
The Bird Island Hotel (Niao dao binguan) is on the island, a little rough but cheap. Doubles are Y120, dorm beds are Y25. It is also possible to rent tents from the locals around the Bird Island. Generally these are pre-set up, with beds within, and will cost around Y10-20.?
The Chinese like to say that if the Qinghai Lake were a crown on the head of the plateau, then the Bird Island (Niao dao) would be the largest pearl on it. This island, in fact a large rocky peninsular that juts from the lake, is located in the northwest corner of the Qinghai Lake, near to the Buha River.You will have different experience by comparison with that of Yantze River tour.
The island holds its name due to the approximately 10,000 birds that, at different seasons throughout the year, migrate here from all over the world. Of the rarer species that can be found, included are Griffon vultures, Mongolian larks, black-necked cranes, bar-headed geese and giant swans. For those not ornithologically wise, there are more common varieties that can also be found including gulls, cormorants, egrets, sandpipers, skylarks, swans, geese, crows, minivets and many more. Because of the highly saline and cold waters, the huge lake teems with fish and it is this that makes it the perfect breeding ground for many of these species. The island has a number of bird watching pavilions and is nice to simply wander about, with the vivid and contrasting colours that are a part of the lake's scenery.
The optimum time for bird watching is between March and July, when many of the birds migrate here to breed and take their summer holidays. If you can weather the cold and are an intent bird watcher, November to February are the time to catch the famed giant swans. The island also contains the Longbao Black-necked Crane Sanctuary, a conservation project for these protected species.
How to get there: The island can be reached as either a tour or independently as a stopover between Xining and Golmud. Those traveling independently can get off at the Tibetan town Heimahe, and then hitch on from there. It is also possible, in summer, to take a boat to the island from a dock that is found behind the Qinghai Lake Tent Hotel. The journey will take around two hours. For tour information see the Qinghai Transport Overview.
Entrance fee:58 RMB (unit for China money).
In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "Xanadu" means an idyllic, exotic, or luxurious place. Luckily we have a chance to experience it firsthand.
The road leading to the site of Xanadu in Zhenglan Banner, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, is too rugged to enjoy the grasslands outside the window.
However, the unpleasant off-road drive is overshadowed by the excitement of approaching this summer capital of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Inner Mongolia and make contribution to China tourism.
Built in 1259, Xanadu shaped Westerners' perception of a wealthy Oriental land after Marco Polo described the town in flamboyant language in his work: Book of the Marvels of the World (commonly called The Travels of Marco Polo) to describe this remarkable place.
"There is a gorgeous marble palace, which is wholly painted golden with various elegant designs of animals and flowers. You can feel both visually and heartily pleasant when facing it," Marco Polo once wrote.
The Mongol emperors of the Yuan Dynasty spent half the year in Dadu, predecessor of today's Beijing (famous tourist city included in package of last minute China travel deals). They moved to Xanadu during the summer.
Merchants, missionaries, and travelers from the Middle East and Europe gathered to this international hub for business and culture, whose population reached a peak of 14,000 in the 14th century.
Many historians describe Xanadu as the heart of world in that epoch. It also explains why today's standard spoken Mongolian language in Inner Mongolia is based on the dialect of Zhenglan Banner. The two-capital system is probably also a reflection of Mongol's nomadic tradition moving around the grasslands in different seasons.
Many marvelous buildings in Xanadu were burned down in the wars at the end of the Yuan Dynasty. Still, the glory of times past lingers.
The relic of the old city covers an area of 4.2 sq km, and the foundations of more than 1,000 buildings have been unearthed since large-scale archeological studies begun in 1996.
However, a lack of historical records means the history and past purpose of many of the buildings remains a mystery. Surrounding grasslands of 45 sq km have been fenced to stop herding and better protect the relic after it was listed as a World Heritage site in 2012.
The city walls are in disrepair, however the piles of black bricks still look solid. They are glued together by cohesive mix of eggs, sticky rice and lime. An elm tree struggles to grow from a crack in the wall. It is said to have stood there for 500 years. Many locals of the Mongolian ethnic group have donated khatag - a long blessing silk (which is the main commodities in the ancient Silk Road that is now famous Silk Road tour) piece - to this tree, which honors the rebirth of this metropolis' everlasting spirits.
Remains of beacon towers are still erect on the mountains by the city. In the case of an emergency, information could be transferred to Dadu within 20 minutes via a beacon relay.
Da'an Pavilion is the main palace in the city where six of 11 emperors in Yuan Dynasty ascended to their thrones. Marco Polo first met Kublai Khan here in 1275.
The palace, which was said to be 70-meters-high, is embedded in square foundations and scattered stone pillars. One pillar carved with delicate images of dragons was stolen in 2007, but was soon found by police. It is now the one of the most precious remaining pieces at the site.
The rain has started to pour now, preventing further exploration of more sights. The grasslands in this area will be dotted with golden troll flowers from mid-July. It is pity we have come too early to see this stunning scene.
We go back to the seat of Zhenglan Banner to marvel at antiques and architecture discovered at the site but now exhibited in Xanadu Museum.
The pieces reflect the many aspects of life during the booming civilizations of the Yuan Dynasty. It is far beyond our expectations.
Mysteriously, as soon as we finish the journey and look for a restaurant to pause in to meditate on the history we have just encountered, the rain stops.
For more via China travel guide.
Not only did Shaanxi see the beginning of Chinese civilization, but it was also home to the capital of 13 dynasties and cradle of Chinese ideology.
It beheld the advent of the theory of Li, rites governing Chinese life for centuries. It also witnessed the ascendancy of Confucianism, an ideology that has dominated China for more than 2000 years.
The ritual vessels unearthed explicitly exemplify the system of Li established in the Western Zhou Dynasty (About 1100-771 BC), whose capital was Zhouyuan, today’s Fufeng and Qishan counties in Shaanxi.
It’s an elaborate system preaching and institutionalizing a rigidly stratified society where each member of community had his or her own role to play.
Left upperhand: Shi Qiang Pan
Shi Qiang Pan, water vessel, middle Western Zhou Dynasty, unearthed at Zhuangbai, Fufeng, Shaanxi, dimeter 47.3m cm.
On the Shi Qiang Pan was an inscription of 284 characters relating historical events that took place during the reign of the Zhou kings, which is of great importance to the study of the history of the Western Zhou.
Right upperhand: Lai Pan
Lai Pan, water vessel, Western Zhou Dynasty, unearthed at Yangjiacun, Baoji, Shaanxi.
He, wine vessel, late Western Zhou Dynasty, unearthed at Qijiacun, Fufeng, Shaanxi.
Apart from being used in ceremonial ablutions, it also served as a container for water to dilute wine, and thus belongs to the category wine vessels.
Left lowerhand: Lai Ding
Lai Ding, cooking vessels, Western Zhou Dynasty, unearthed at Yangjiacun, Meixian, Shaanxi.
Ding was viewed as a symbol of authority and status. The lower rank a person was, the less Dings he could use. The king could use nine Dings, the dukes seven, the high officials five, and the lower officials three or one.
Right lowerhand: Hu Gui
Hu Gui, food vessel, late Western Zhou Dynasty, unearthed at Qicun, Fufeng, Shaanxi, height 59 cm.
Made by order of Hu, otherwise known as King Li of the Zhou Dynasty, Hu Gui was an important ritual vessel at ancestor worship.
Dressing and music
The use of ritual vessels is unarguably a major part of Li. However,it’s far from the whole picture. The system of Li is nearly all-inclusive in people’s life. Dressing, music, and even archery were all ritualized.
The most amazing of all might be the complicated system of music for ritual occasions, which gave formal ceremonial expression to social hierarchy. There were also rigid rules concerning the size and formation of the band depending on the nature of the ritual ceremonies and the status of the host.You can witness then in Shaanxi Historical Museum (one of famous Xian attractions)
Clad in robes, the two bronze figures are performers at rituals.
A complicated system of dressing codes was set up in the Western Zhou. Wearing upper dress and skirts was the symbol of aristocrats, while the middle and lower class more robes. Music and dance were performed on ritual occasions.
A set of chime bells exclusively used by the Western Zhou nobles.
Chime bells were the musical instruments exclusively used by the Zhou nobles. They comprised a set of bells arranged in order of size. In the early period of the Western Zhou Dynasty, a complete set included just three bells. Later on, the number increased to more than 10.
Archery, an important skill at battlefields, was ritualized in the Western Zhou.
The Zhou rules contended that the formal ceremony, with strict rules on the procedures and the use of bows and arrows, was capable of identifying talented archers.
Where Confucianism came into the limelight
The system of Li largely rises to a peaceful and prosperous Zhou Dynasty where people meticulously observed their social obligations.
Hundreds of years later, Confucius(551-479 BC) made every effort to restore the Zhou social-political culture with his philosophy, but no states found it appealing and he failed to fulfill his political ideal in his lifetime.
Xi’an, the then capital Chang’an and now capital city of Shaanxi (which is an optional destination for China travel deals), was the historic venue where Confucianism came into the limelight.
During the reign of emperor Wudi(156-87 BC), the Han was highly prosperous and had advanced agriculture.
Funerary objects found during the excavation of some Han tombs—pottery replicas of wells,kitchen ranges, storehouses, domestic animals like cattle, sheep, and pigs and iron implements like ploughs—all indicate the profound legacies the Han Dynasty left, which have affected the nation’s farming even to this day.
To consolidate his rule and unify the country in terms of ideology, Emperor Wudi accepted the advice of Dong zhongshu, an ardent Confucian follower, to promote Confucianism as the dominant thought.
The thought was also spread with the opening of Confucian schools nationwide. The unearthed tiles in the Han tombs still bear the inscription focusing on Confucian creeds like “Benevolence and Loyalty”.
For the past 2,000 years, Confucianism has had a far-reaching influence on China and helped determine the course of the nation.
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Getting old isn't something to fear - if you live in the right place.
One such locale is Hainan province's Chengmai county, which was recently recognized by the International Expert Committee on Population Aging and Longevity (IECPAL) as a "world longevity area". So it is an optional destinationf for your China vacation deals.
"Getting old in Chengmai is something to look forward to," says the committee's chairman, professor Joseph Troisi.
The average life expectancy is 77.79 years, the county's deputy head Zheng Fangping says.
Chengmai is home to 215 centenarians - 38 per 100,000 people. That ranks No 1 among all Chinese cities and counties.
Chengmai is in Hainan's northwest, near the capital Haikou. The county is known for high forest coverage and selenium-rich soil.
It's the province's third oldest city, with about 2,100 years of history.
About 18,500 of the county's 565,000 people are older than 80. Among them, 896 are couples.
IECPAL is an NGO established this year by the Northeast Asia Economic Forum. The forum and Hainan's provincial government organized the Second International Conference on Aging Population and Longevity in Chengmai from Sept 5 to 7.
More than 60 experts, scholars and government officials from Japan, South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and the European Union attended, as did representatives from China's most recognized longevity areas.
The conference produced the Chengmai Manifesto that suggests IECPAL should study the world's longevity areas. It also recognizes Hainan (famous destination for China best tours) as a "world longevity island" and Chengmai as "world longevity area".
An IECPAL working group released a report revealing similarities between Chengmai and other areas known for longevity, such as South Korea's Jeju and Japan's Okinawa Island. The report says that while genetic factors exert a 20-30 percent influence, environmental factors account for at least 70 percent of influence over life expectancy.
The report also says these areas are near major rivers or are on islands, and the climates are mild. They're located outside regions where respiratory and cardiovascular problems are common. They aren't polluted, and there aren't histories of regional illnesses.
The group found Chengmai's drinking water is high-quality and mineral-rich. The soil meets national standards.
Locally produced rice, vegetables and fruits are rich in calcium, magnesium and selenium. The county is famous for its excellent coffee and oranges.
Zheng says Chengmai is renowned for clean air, pure water and high-selenium produce.
The region has a maritime climate, with abundant sunshine, high temperatures and copious rain. The county faces the ocean to the north, has plains in its center and is fringed by mountain ranges to the south. Its forest coverage exceeds 51 percent.
Most of Chengmai's elderly are farmers, who grew up working in the fields, and have enjoyed routine eating habits and life styles.
The centenarians are said to be warmhe arted and hospitable, and enjoy outdoor activities.
The county has a longstanding tradition of respecting the aged. Its government gives every centenarian a 600-yuan ($96) monthly subsidy, and everyone older than 60 receives a pension.
In 2005, Chengmai (an alternative place for popular China travel package) was recognized by the Gerontological Society of China as the 10th "longevity area in China".
IECPAL's work group analyzed Chengmai's centenarians' hair and found more zinc, selenium and strontium compared to centenarians in other parts of the country. They also found lower levels of such harmful substances as cadmium and lead.
A survey of the county's centenarians found fewer than 20 percent believe they are not in good health. About 77 percent can take care of themselves. About 69 percent are happy with their sleep quality.
And 80 percent are satisfied with their quality of life.
IECPAL suggests that China's unique traditions of maintaining health and longevity are globally important.
But ensuring their quality of life is challenging, Troisi says.
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Kunming, reputedly the spring city, is not only endowed with enchanting scenery, favorable climate, but also savory dishes. Kunming food are representative of Dian cuisine (Dian is the abbreviation of Yunnan province), which integrates the cooking style of other cities, brimming with distinctive local flavor of Yunnan province. It is agreed that Kunming food is less peppery than that of Guizhou and less spicy than that of Sichuan. To those who prefer light flavored dishes, Kunming food is a bit more peppery, while not enough spicy to those in Sichuan and Hunan province. It is its distinguished taste that makes Kunming food more national-featured and local-flavored. Yunnan has much to offer for gastronomists, Cross Bridge Rice Noodle, Pot Steamed Chicken, Bittern Duck, to name but a few. The mouth-watering Kunming food would be a great feast to the visitors' tasting bud. The must-eat food in Kunming (Kunming travel guide) is listed in the following.
As a representative dish in Yunnan, the tasty Cross Bridge Rice Noodle is well-known in China and no Yunnan trip is complete without tasting it. Cross Bridge Rice Noodle is composed of three essentials, namely chicken soup, shredded meat and vegetables, and rice noodles. Each bowl of chicken soup is no less than 600 gram. The shredded meat is diversified, which mainly covers collop, sliced chicken and fish. Seasoned with chives, Mung bean sprouts, caraway and leek, the rice noodle is much luring and appetizing. Apart from Cross Bridge Rice Noodle, rice noodle could be cooked in other ways, such as marinated rice noodle and casserole-cooked rice noodles and the likes. Each of them enjoys its own flavor and visitors might as well i taste them one by one
The Pot Steamed Chicken is a nutritious dish brimming with distinctive Yunnan (famoust destination for China tour deals) flavor. To make the palatable pot steamed chicken, several procedures are needed. First put pseudo-ginsengs into the belly of chicken and then put the shredded chicken into a boiler. Season the chicken with ginger, a shallot, pepper and salt in the pot, and then interlock the pot into a casserole. Then steam the chicken with soft fire for three or four hours. When the dish is prepared, the flavor of the chicken soup is all-pervading. Since it is steamed in casserole, the original flavor of chicken is maintained, luring in flavor and rich in nutrition.
Yiliang Roasted Duck enjoys a history of more than 600 years, whose reputation could compare with that of Peking Duck. The little duck is featured with fresh meat and palatable taste, while the fat duck, tough but savory. Accompanied with shallot, pepper and sauce, Yiliang Roasted Duck is more mouth-watering and appetizing. Many places are available for tasting Yiliang Roasted Duck, among which the Goujie Roasted Duck is the most famous.
Xuanwu Ham, also referred as Yuntui and Yunnan Ham, is one of the three most famous hams in China which should be tasted after visiting Kunming attractions. It enjoys great reputation in the world and is well-reviewed by customers domestic and abroad. It is featured with delicate shape, strong flavor, fresh meat, high quality and rich nutrition. Seasoned with other ingredients, Xuanwu ham could be kept for a long period. As the main ingredients of Yunnan cuisine, Xuanwu ham is offered in many local restaurants.
Fermented tofu is a popular traditional specialty in Yunnan province. Among numerous ones, fermented tofu in Chenggong County Yunnan is the most famous, which enjoys time-honored history. Dated back to the Kangxi reign of Qing dynasty, fermented tofu in Chenggong was invented by Wangzhong, a villager in Qibuchang Village of Chenggong. Kangxi spoke highly of fermented tofu in Chenggong after tasting it and authorized it the relish of royal food.
The Fabulous Feast Restaurant is characterized by its unique architectures of Ming and Qing style, which is high of historical and cultural value. It is a great getaway for visitors to explore the culture of Yunnan cuisine. Facing the enchanting Cuihu Lake, Fabulous Feast Restaurant enjoys unbeatable location. Guests could view the enticing scenery of Cuihu Lake while tasting the authentic Yunnan dishes in the restaurant. Location: No.5, Cuihu North Road, Kunming
The Pleasant Restaurant is specialized in home-made Yunnan dishes, which is home to the private-cooked dishes of rich families in Ming and Qing dynasties, healthy, nutritious and palatable. The restaurant, three-storied, is perched in the ancient houses built in Qing Dynasty, which used to be the residence of the prestigious commander Cai'E. In the restaurant, the elegant Guzheng performance would be offered while enjoying palatable dishes. How pleasant it is! Location:Jinbi Road, Kunming Phone: 0871-3633555
Built in 1906, the Cross Bridge Noodle Restaurant enjoys time-honored history, which is well-reviewed restaurant specializing in Yunnan Cuisine. The Cross Bridge Rice Noodle, a mouth-watering snack in Yunnan, prepared in the restaurant is the most authentic, which captures numerous patrons home and abroad to have a taste. Brimming with local flavor, the diversified dishes offered in this restaurant are particular about fine ingredient and sophisticated cooking-technics, which is favored by customers greatly.
Location: No.113, Taoyuan Road, Panlong District, Kunming
How to get there: take buses No. 129, No. 84 and No. 71 to get there.
Located in the center of Kunming City, the auspicious cloud food street is home to diversified mouth-watering snacks in Yunnan province, such as cross bridge rice noodles, pot-cooked rice noodles, Chenggong fermented tofu and Yiliang roasted duck and the likes. Apart from the traditional ones, some new-flavored snacks are also available on the street, such as snacks in Taiwan and countries in South Sea. With authentic flavor and various choices, food on the auspicious clouds street captivates uncountable eating-addicts domestic and abroad to pay a visit. Location: Xiangyun Road, Wuhua District, Kunming (Kunming tours)
An abandoned quarry in Shanghai (famous destination for affordable China tours) has been transformed into an award-winning park that celebrates its industrial past. Zhang Yue reveals the people and history behind the huge project.
Zhang Derong, 58, stands on the spot where his old home once stood, where he lived most of his life, and looks out over a quarry garden in Shanghai. "I don't recognize it at all," he says. The only remnant of the past is a 60-meter deep quarry that is now a landscaped feature of Chenshan Botanical Garden in Songjiang district. "It's such a tranquil and beautiful place now," he says, "and it's fantastic that the years of noise and danger caused by mining have simply faded away."
The quarry garden is an approximately two-hour drive from downtown Shanghai and opened up to the public just before the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
Over the past three years it has come to international attention, winning a British Association of Landscape Industries award in 2011. The following year the American Society of Landscape Architects honored the park for being innovative and "restoring the ecology of the quarry, creating a natural and cultural experience in an Oriental style".
"It was my most challenging project ever," says professor Zhu Yufan from the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, who led the design and reconstruction efforts, costing 32.84 million yuan ($5.3 million) over three years. "But I am so glad that we did it. It was totally worth the effort."
The quarry site on the south side of Chenshan Hill had been mined for decades and its igneous rock was used to build the foundations of Shanghai, its roads and buildings. The quarry was closed in the 1980s and the site lay barren, while the quarry itself filled with water.
Zhang Derong, who was born and raised in Chenshan village, just 100 meters from the quarry, recalls riding cows home after school, and rocks falling on his old house because of the quarrying.
"Soldiers and the mining company always helped repair the house, but the mining never stopped despite the dangers," he says. "It was an important source of income for the village."
Zhu, the designer, says incorporating the history of the mine was central to his plans for reconstruction to improve local China tourism.
"The site was formed as a result of industrialization. This is something that had a big impact on me when I first saw the quarry lake, and I wanted visitors to remember this," he says.
Zhu used iron and steel as the principal materials to create the project. "I wanted the place to have an industrial smell rather than mask it with something fragrant."
It was the first time Zhu, who specializes in urban garden design, landscaped a quarry.
"I didn't like the idea of creating a quarry hotel on the site because that would mean a higher density of visitors," Zhu says.
"Reconstructing a quarry was a new and interesting idea to me. It was originally suggested that we should fill in the quarry, which I thought was hilarious. I later learned that this is a common way of dealing with abandoned quarries, but it is too crude and not necessarily safe.
"I think it is wiser for people to think ahead when they exploit nature and think about future use."
He insisted on keeping the quarry lake, making it the centerpiece of the botanical garden.
In addition to creating a waterfall, with water pumped from the lake, Zhu and his design team conceived the idea of constructing a bridge that would allow visitors to walk from the top of the quarry down to the lakeside 30 meters below.
Safety issues were paramount, Zhu says. In the original plan the idea was to build a bridge alongside the hill, but since the rocks would require time to weather and stabilize, a floating bridge across the quarry lake was constructed instead, which also allows visitors to stroll across the water.
For the construction of the double-curved bridge that transports visitors from the viewing deck to the lake to color popular China travel package, the design team worked closely with Beijing's Zhong'ao Environmental Sculpture, which specializes in iron and steel.
It took five months to build the double-curved bridge, which has one side made of rusted iron and the other of burnished steel, says Zhu Yunlei, project manager of the sculpture company.
"It was really difficult for us to put the two sides of the bridge together at the quarry site," Zhu says.
Firstly, the two sides of the bridge were produced in sections, in Beijing, and then transported to the site. "Assembly was difficult and dangerous because the heavy machinery and materials caused rocks to fall."
Since Chenshan Botanical Garden opened in April 2010, it has proven to be a popular destination for sightseers, particularly photographers. In 2012 there were 700,000 visitors.
As for the 500 households of Chenshan village, they were relocated in 2006 to the residential area of Jiangqiu Xinyuan, about 1.5 km from the quarry.
For villagers like Zhang the park is now an inspiring memento of the area's industrial past.
For more via travel China guide.
After visiting Kunming tourist attractions, you can head to Lijiang.
In the morning visit the Black Dragon Pool park, and visit the Dongba Culture Museum inside the park. Next transfer to visit Yuhu Village and the Former Residence of Joesph Rock.
--The Black Dragon Pool is a charming and tranquil park and pool system in the north east of Lijinag on the northern edge of Lijiang’s famous Old Town. The Black Dragon Pool is the head waters of the Yushui River that provides water for the Old Town. If you are visiting Lijiang’s Old Town, the Black Dragon Pool is a must see and a great way to relax and enjoy beautiful natural scenery after the hustle and bustle of the Old Town.
--Yuhu Village is the last village in the Lijiang Basin at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The houses were made of a unique stone called "monkey head" by Naxi people.There is a Yuhe Lake beside the village. Water in this lake comes from he melted snow in the mountains. The holy water from this holy mountain of the Naxi makes this small village very mysterious.
After lunch visit Baisha Village and Baisha Naxi Embroidery Institute, then drive to visit Yufeng Monastery.
--Baisha Village is a small village near Dayan town. It is also one of the first settlements of Naxi ancestors. The ancestors of the Naxi people crossed the Jinshajiang River, came down from Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and finally entered Lijiang Basin. The first place Naxi tribes arrived in Lijiang was Baisha. Here, Naxi Ethnic groups set up the first settlement and created their Dongba culture.
Mysterious Naxi fresco in Baisha village
In the evening you can choose to wander around the old town of Lijiang (famous destination for affordable China tours), which is much more charming when night falls.
A whole day tour of holy Jade Dragon Snow Mountain begins
In the morning visit Ganhaizi Meadow, take the sightseeing bus to visit Baishui(White Water) River, which is a green water river because water from the Glacier Park of Yulong Snow Mountain; After that, take the chairlift to visit the Yak Meadow(3700M) in the Yulong Snow Mountain. You will enjoy Impression Lijiang Ethnic Show in the outdoors theater infront of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Impression Lijiang is directed by Zhang Yimou who is one of the most famous director in the world.Then return to Lijiang city.
You can take a cable to visit the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (famous attraction for China best tours) if you car not good at climbing
--Jade Dragon Snow Mountain stretches a length of 35 kilometers (22 miles) and a width of 20 kilometers (13 miles). Looking from Lijiang Old Town in the south which is 15 kilometers (nine miles) away, the snow-covered and fog-enlaced mountain resembles a jade dragon lying in the clouds, hence, the name Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The highest peak named Fan Peak (Shanzidou in Chinese) which is about 5596 meters above sea level. There are three cable cars in the mountain, the fist to the Glacier Park(4500M),the second to Spruce Meadow(3200M),the third to Yak Meadow(3700M).
In the morning, dive 6 hrs on the spectacle mountain road to visit the mysterious Lugu Lake. On the way, enjoy the beautiful view among the huge mountains and rivers. You can start your walking halfway from Jin’anqiao Bridge to Shudi along the road at the bank of Yangtze River for you will see the beautiful canon and Yi ethnic people’s villages in the steep mountains. After 1 hour walking in the canon, you can continue the driving and stop in many Yi villages.
Late afternoon, take the canoes to visit Liwubi Island and Snake Islet in Lugu Lake.
In the evening, take part in Mosuo Bonfire Party with ethnic dance and singing performance.You will dance and sing with Mosuo boys and girls around a big bonfire in the outdoors theatre.
A full day Luguhu Lake tour.Enjoy the sunset wonder of Luguhu Lake in Luoshui Village. Then drive back to Lijiang.
For more via China travel guide.
1. Dianchi Lake
Perched in Anning City of Yunan Province, the Tianchi Lake (one of must-see Kunming tourist attractions) is nestled on the foot of West Hill, with Daguan Park in north and Jining County in south. It is 5 kilometers far from Kunming City and is the sixth largest inland freshwater lake in China, which is reputed as "pearl on plateau" and has been a favorable scenic spot since ancient times.
Dianchi Lake, also referred as Kunming Lake, is created due to long-time crustal movement, and it is 1886 meters above the sea level. Embraced by tens of peaks and luring waters, Dianchi Lake is just like a sparkling pearl embedded on Kunming. The lake is crescent-shaped, stretching 39 kilometers from north to south and 13.5 kilometers from west to east. Occupying an area of 300 square kilometers, Dianchi Lake is the largest lake in China. More than 20 rivers converge into Dianchi Lake.
Dianchi Scenic Area is quite mesmerizing, where natural scenery and human landscape blend to each other perfectly. It could be divided into two districts, namely west district and east district. What makes Dianchi Lake distinctive is that the color of its water changes with clouds and sunshine of the day. Around Dianchi Lake also lie many places of interest, such as West Hill, Daguan Park, Yunnan Ethnic Village and so on. These featured attractions are all ideal getaway for visitors to get close to nature to relax themselves.
Admission Ticket: Free
Opening Time: 8:00——18:00 Phone: 0871-3164961
Location: At the foot of West Hill, Kunming (Kunming tours)
How to get to: Take the bus No. 24, 44 to get there.
2. Golden Temple
Golden Temple, also referred as Taihe Palace and Bronze Tile Temple, is perched on Mingfeng Hill (Singing Phoenix Hill) in northeast of Kunming City. It is a well-known Taoist temple in Yunnan since Ming dynasty. Since the temple is made of bronze, which glitters like gold under the sun, it is named as "Golden Temple". Golden temple is one of the four largest bronze-made temples in China and it is the best-preserved and most important one among them.
The temple was first built in 1602 during Ming Dynasty, imitating the Taihe Palace in Wudang Mountain in Hubei Province. In 1637, the temple was removed to the top of Jizu Mountain in Binchuan County for political reasons The Golden Temple situated on the Mingfeng Mountain now was rebuilt by Wu Sangui, a satrap in Qing Dynasty.
The magnificent Golden Temple is just a part of Taihe Palace, a Taoist temple in China (an optional attraction for China tour deals). The temple is 6.7 meters in height, 6.2 meters in depth and 250 tons in weight. and it is the largest bronze-made architecture in China. The beam, windows, curtains, Taoist statues, inscribed board and couplet inside the temple are all made of bronze. Inside the temple stands the statue of Zhenwu, a Taoist deity, which is exquisitely in carving, magnificent in spectacle and solemn in appearance. On each side of statue of Zhenwu deity stands a soldier armor-dressed and weapon-held, appearing bold, powerful and vigorous. There are also two swords preserved inside the temple. One is the 20-kilogram sword with Big Dipper engraved, and the other is the 12-kilogram-weight broadsword with a wooden handle. Behind the temple grows a camellia and two crape myrtles planted in Ming dynasty.
Admission Ticket: 30 Yuan
Opening Time: 07:00–19:00
Location: Mingfeng Mountain, Eastern Suburb, Kunming
Recommended Visiting Time: 2 hours
How to get there: Take Bus No. 10, 71, 76 to get there.
There are also coaches launched from train station to Golden Temple Scenic Area.
For more via Kunming travel guide.
When you have Hong Kong travel and buying electronic products, you should know the following traps.
1. suggestions not to buy electronic goods in nathan
I have reached from China Canton fair to Hongkong for Tour. i have a plan to buy a Camera . I visited the Shop which was displaying ,the brands cannon , Nikon etc. After the Visit i started to check different models of the camera . The models what i supposed to chose had a great facilities but the sales person says why you are taking the lower version , and he offered me NIKOn cool Pix L310 model, which seems to be good. I agreed to take the camera. The shop keeper started to me to pay the amount as i sayed i will buy and he forced me with this trick ,that i got confused. At the night when i am back to hotel i checked in net that the price what i have paid him was 30% hike what is available in India . So dear friend my suggestion to you all who is going 2 come to Hongkong for visit , to never buy Electronics Goods in any shop of Nathan Road . The best option to buy the Electronis goods is to by in Fortees .
Go for shopping in Mongkok , the peoples there are good and They dont usually cheat the tourist.
Second thing should be good in bargain in Hongkong . Then should buy the good items in best Rates.
Unique Suggestions: Never sign any Tax Invoice or documents when you have bought any things from Nathan Road shops . In this form they get you agreed that you have read all the terms and conditions and the goods once sold wont be exchanged or return.
Fun Alternatives: better check website about the particular product what you want to buy in Hong Kong in Net
or in the country you are coming from . In the Hong Kong market before buying check atleast 10 shops , compare the rates . take alteast one day to compare the prices what u have got from different shop , then next day decided any buy the goods.
2. electronic store at nathan road shop
i went to Hong Kong (Hong Kong city guide) for a few days, on my last day, i went for a walk and saw the store, got interested in a product they were selling. I didn't see the store nam, only large signages of brands. the displays did not have prices on them and the price i inquired was cheaper than all others i went to. but still i missed the "hints" that this was one of those traps i've read about. when i said i was going to buy the product the guy ordered one of his guys to get a stock. then went on to start writing a receipt, and asked for the money, i gave him the money and he started making small talks, then he offered me a newer product similar to what i was buying offering it cheap, i noticed that the box has no brand. when i noticed that he had put away the receipt he was writing, and that it was taking too long to get the stock, i realized that i'm being ripped off. I tried to squirm my way out and get my money back, when they realized that i've caught on to their scam, the guy i was talking to and another guy started to shout at me saying things like I'm a cheat, why I gave my money but not gonna buy, that was my money was fake etc.. I noticed that they were doing everything to anger me maybe hoping i'd walk out or give them a reason to toss me out of their store, i stayed seated and we were shouting at each other until a Japanese tourist walks in, saw us then walked out again, I then started shouting that they are cheating me just because I'm a tourist. this kinda stopped them both and the guy i was talking to just threw me back my money and told me to get out quick, probably afraid i'd scare off more tourists. i took my time to pick up and count my money before leaving the store, by then the two guys were nowhere to be found in the store. it was a really close call, and a reminder to pay more attention to warning signs.
Fun Alternatives: try Mongkok instead, bought a camera at wing shing, the service was good, the salesman showed me everything about the camera, whats included in the package, and took my money only after giving me the item and the receipt. Fortress seems like a good store too.
3.BEWARE OF WELLTIME AV CENTRE SHOP
Please take heed of these warnings about the shop called WELLTIME AV CENTRE. I wish I had known before I bought from them. I was guaranteed the Nintendo Wii I bought (at an inflated price) was compatible with Uk, it would play copy games and never have to buy a game again as they could be downloaded. It is a USA model and does not play copies. The receipt states "No Returns" so you have been stung. The salesmen are aware you are a tourist and will not be able to return and complain so they are nothing more than con men. Don't be one of their mugs - shop elsewhere and preferably not in Nathan Street where you can buy something after visiting Hong Kong scenic spots.
4. Chain Stores are always honest
Always heard of poor tourists buying overpriced electronic products. Well, as a smart consumer, one should at least check out the price at your home country if he plans for buying a DC or DigitalCam. But what if the shopping spirit suddendly glows? Don't worry. Remember, chain stores don't lie. Fortress, Boardway, Thai Lin, Chung Yuen and Gome are all reliable chain stores, where prices are listed clearly but there are often complimentary cartoon towel or memory cards. And more importantly, they are absolutely honest. Honest on stock availability, actual quality and prices. Moreover, staff speak good English.
And if you are buying cell phones, there is one more reason to go shop in chain stores. Second-hand cell phone trading is very active in Hong Kong and cell phones come in variants in the market--not only imported with or without license, but some might be "recombined"--with parts from different cell phones of the same model. You may expect mysterious accident that can draw from such cell phones...
Unique Suggestions: If you can read Chinese, buy an electronics goods magazine in any convienience stores to check the market prices of the latest products; Avoid any electronics store with no name of the shop; Follow the locals; Never give your credit card to the shopkeeper unless you see the actual operational product to be sold to you.
Fun Alternatives: Chain store and chain store. Smaller stores in major computer malls in Sham Shui Po and Wan Chai are often honest and cheaper than chain stores, though you might need more local knowledge to visit them.
Don't challenge the trap. And the language barrier.
You should consider the above for your affordable China tours in Hong Kong.
When paying a visit to Haikou for China vacation deals, you can do the following.
1. Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden
Not a big collection of animals, in fact, quite a limited exhibition of regular beasts you probably see in any zoos around the world.
One thing they are boasting about is the "Liger" or "Tion", which is a hybrid of tiger and lion, names are depend on which sides they appears more resemble. I view it rather a disaster of human experiment.
The parks has 2 sections: 1) is an open field which must be accessed with vehicle, 2) is like a regular zoo.
This is one of the very few things you can do in Haikou, and not all that bad if you are with kids and old family members.
2. Visiting The Fort
Give it a miss as it is closed. We were wondering why the taxi driver gave us such a quizzical look when we told him we wanted to go there. After all several guidebooks had recommended the place.
When we got there it looked like Brighton in the middle of winter. The parking lot was completely empty, the obligatory hawkers selling overpriced souveniers were not where to be seen, and the ticket booth was shut.
We later found out that lack of business had forced the place to close.
3. Shishan Volcanic Craters
The area around the Leizhou Bandao peninsula and the northern part of Hainan Island (famous destination for top 10 China tours) has seen volcanic activity in geologically recent times. The area is one of four significant volcanic areas in China - the others being Changbeishan in the NorthEast, Wudalianchi in Heilongjiang and Tengchong in Yunnan. Changbeishan is considered a potential threat, being one of the world's largest stratovolcano. Wudlianchi was active in the 18th Century, and Tengchong a little earlier.
The Leishou Bandao's thirty six volcanoes are dormant, but still offer the opportunity to see a real volcano up close.
The reason for the presence of the volcanoes here is considered to be similar to those on Hawaii - it is a volcanic hotspot were the earth's mantle is thinner and the magma below is much closer to the surface. Wherever there are hotspots or deep faults there are hot springs and Hainan has many of them. (Actually there are a number in suburban Beijing as well, because of a huge fault that runs across the city - it doesn't figure much in the tourist literature!)
The Shishan craters are just outside Haikou, to the southwest, and the characteristic cone-shaped hills can be seen from a distance.
A volcanic industry has grown around the base of one, with a fairly good museum and plenty of small restaurants.
The climb up to the volcano is marred somewhat by the creation of monumental steps and botanically insipid gardens. You can walk around the rim of the volcano and then down into the throat: right into base of the volcano. The volcano is smothered in tropical vegetation which, for once, is a bit irritating because it makes it difficult to actually see the rocks!
Another volcano can be seen a kilometre further south from the rim, and there are good views over the coastal plains of Haikou (an optional place for popular China travel package).
4. Mangrove Forest
The first mangrove forest protection zone in China, this has been the base for scientific studies by researchers from around the world and is a favourite tourist spot. The red trees found here account for 90 percent of the species in China. The area has another, more evocative name of "forest under the sea".
5. Five Officials Memorial Temple
Located on the edge of Haikou City and Qiongshan municipality, this complex of ancient buildings includes the Five Officials Memorial Temple and Su Dongpo's Memorial Temple. The Five Officials Memorial Temple is the principal building in the complex and is regarded as a cultural treasure on Hainan. This temple was built in honour of five famous officials - Li Deyu, Ligang, Zhao Ding, and Hu Quan - who were banished to Hainan in the Tang and Song Dynasties.
For more via China guide.
When you have China vacation deals in Shenzhen, you can do the following things.
1. BiJiaShan - BiJia 'Mountain'
The name in Chinese implies a mountain, let's call it a mountain'ish' hill range. It's located in a huge park that caters the common entertainment facilities here in China - a lake with boats for physical exercise, playgrounds, small fishing area, small kiosks.... It even has a small museaum about urban development.
The hills can be climbed from different directions - on a path or stairs. I tend to walk the paths, since they guide you round the mountains. There is two major, publicly accessible hills. When walking the paths you will reach a lookout from where to climb them. I mean climb, as they can only be reached by stairs. Not many, but you will loose some breaths. From one hill you will have a nice view on the Shenzhen Stadium and Swimming Pool of Futian. Otherwise, the view is blocked by trees. On the other hill the view is much better - different directions. You will see the small lake of the park, which looks incredibly far and one wouldnt think so when being down there.
Climbing down all the way to the park can be done via stairs - it is fast, but you will feel the pain in your calves the next day - it's a lot of stairs and not all fit the DIN ;-)
2. Happy Valley
It's also at Nanshan Road, cross street from Window of the World and Chinese Culture Village.
It's a Disney like place. It has been expanded many times. I didn't visit it recently since I don't like to play those risky games at all. I heard some of my friends they really like it and they think it's better than the Disney park in Hong Kong (Hong Kong travel guide).
3. Window of the World
It was also 120 RMB (Chinese currency converter) for the ticket. It's not cheap but you can see different architectures in one day. There are Eiffel tower, Pyramid, White House, Niagara Fall and even a Manhattan Island! I think it's a good place to see and it may give you many surprise.
There should also be a parade and firework show in the night, but I didn't see it for years since I'm always to tired to wait to the night.
4. Chinese Culture Village
Please see more photos in my travelogue.
The ticket price was 120RMB, it's a little pricy however you will be able to see different types archetectures from different Chinese minorities. They also sing and dance in their traditional dressing. They may even ask you to dance with them. It's a good place to know about diversity in China.
The park also merged with the other park, Splendid China. You need only one ticket you can visit both parks now. Splendid China is replica of some famous Chinese architectures in a small form. I don't really like that. I'll recommend you spend more time in the culture village.
For more via China guide.
Shopping is a must for your Hong Kong tour, but you should avoid the following shopping traps.
1. Be careful during shopping
There are some shops in Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok and Causeway Bay. They are operated for the purpose of cheating tourists ! Usually, they sell cameras, electrical appliances and jewellery. Some of them sell goods with an extremely high price. They may not allow you to leave if you do not buy goods from them. Or they sell goods at an extremely low price in order to attract you to buy. But the goods are used, are broken or of not good quality. Some of them are even fake goods.
Don't just evaluate the shops by whether it is big in size or not, whether it is clean, well-operated. Most of them are like the most trustworthy shops in Hong Kong !
Unique Suggestions: If you are not allowed to leave from the shop (although it is rare in Hong Kong now), call the police by dialing 999. Most of them will be afraid and give you a way. But please report to the police for their reference.
If you buy goods that are not of a good quality, take the slip(don't throw it away until you are satisfied with your goods), go back to the shop and ask for an exchange of goods. Customers have the right to get the goods that are of good quality. Don't hasitate to argue with them if they refuse to exchange it with you. Some of the shops refuse to exchange the goods by saying that the goods are out of stock. You may simply ask for refund. Remember, you have the right to do so, unless it is specified in the slip that exchange and refund are not allowed.
Fun Alternatives: There is a logo for good shops in tourist sites. The logo should be shown outside the shop and near the cashier. It is gold in colour, issued by the tourism board of Hong Kong (Hong Kong travel guide). It is suggested to shop in those shops. Please pay more attention when the price of the goods are extermely low, like HKD$99 to get a PS3.
Be a smart shopper in Hong Kong !
2. The Shop you should Avoid In Tsim Sha Tsui!
During my Trip to hong Kong On the Chinese New year Time, I have been to Many Interesting Places and Shopping Malls. While we Was Shopping at Tsim Sha Tsui On the 19.02.2006 at "The Hilton Plaza". As We Walking along in the Plaza, we went Pass a Jewellery Trading Store Named the "Kitty Trading Co.". As I was Checking out the necklaces etc, A Old Saleswomen(Late 50's maybe) appear From No Where? and start Draging me into the Store, so me and My Friends went in and Sat down at the counter. The Old Saleswomen Start to introduce herself, She claims her name is Kitty the Owner of the Store.
After she Introducing herself she start to Convince us to buy the Jewellerys she bought out of the Counter. She Claims All her Jewewllerys areTrade-in(Used) and is has been Renew at the Factory. To Me All Those Jewellerys She Selling is nothing But Scrap, Because all the Jewellery in the Whole Store is very Dull and dirty. After 15mins of Convince, At the End I Told the old saleswomen, We Are No Interest to Buy and about to leave the store. The Salewomen said: STOP! Where are you going? I Reply: We're Leaving to continues Our Shopping. She Reply: After 15minutes Of ****** Bull***, you not Buying anything From Me? Me and My Friends were Shocked for what she Just Said to Us and we leave the Store. And Took an Photo of me outside This Jewellery Trading Store. Tourists Tips! If you not going to Buy at these Trading Store, avoid going into it, otherwise you will get nothing But Insult.
The Shop Located in Tsim Sha Tsui in Hilton Plaza at the End of Nathan Road, cross the Road of the New SOGO Shopping Mall and Tsim Tung KCR Train station enterance.
3. Ladies Street - All fake
Basically everything sold there is marked up in price. Lots of "Ck" underwear, and Ralph Lauren Polo shirts. All fakes of course, so Caveat Emptor. The people will lie to you without thinking twice. You'll hear that it was produced some place else (e.g. Korea) and that they are real (real fake...). Basic items like t-shirts pose no dangers. I bought a pair of shoes for $200 HKD and they broke in 2 days. Just check the quality over before you commit. Bargin, for most things you should be able to at least shave 30% off the price they ask for. You should avoid to buy here after your tired but popular China tour package.
Unique Suggestions: It place is worth seeing, and there are things worth buying. If you are okay with low quality fakes, then buy to your heart's content. Just remember to bargin.
Fun Alternatives: Additional markets like the night market near Jordan. There's another similar market up north closer to Prince Edward.
4. Li Yuen Street
I've been recommended to go to Li Yuen Street (off Central) several times, but when I finally checked it out, I found it to be grossly over-rated.
The street contains several export outlets, but they are not really the big-name stuff. I'm also not too sure about the authenticity of most of the goods, but if you're not particular, you just might find something here.
On weekends, the narrow street is chocked full with foreign workers on their day off, and it's a hassle to navigate through the street.
Unique Suggestions: You can still pick up some surf-y t-shirts at prices from about HKD 20-50 (USD 2.50 - USD 6). But sizes can be limited.
There's also the constant fear of pickpockets due to the heavy human traffic, so hang on to your handbags!
For more via travel China guide.
If you plan to contain Hohhot in your affordable China travel packages, you can do the following things.
1. Horse riding
If you are at Hohhot, do stay over at the Xilamuren Grasslands (about 2 -3 hours drive from Hohhot city itself). The vast grasslands are great for horseriding and it's not expensive at all. About 100 yuan for 2 hours...I went in June...was told by the locals that Auguts would be beautiful as the grass would be flourishing at that time
2. Xilietu Zhao
Xiletu Zhao (also known as Xiao Zhao - 'small temple') is to be found close to Da Zhao and not far from Wutasi.
It's hard to get information about it. It was built in the Ming dynasty, and accoridng to Lonely Planet it burnt down and was rebuilt in the nineteenth century - but other sources just refer to expansion and repair at this time.
The fourth Dalai Lama studied at Xiletu Zhao, and its still an active religious centre - a Living Buddha can sometimes be spotted in the grounds. My Yuquan guidebook has a picture of the Living Buddha Zamasu presenting a 'hada' to Jiang Zemin.
The main hall (Da Dian) is Tibetan, otherwise the architectural style is Chinese.
Perhaps the most interesting feature's the stupa (photo).
The grounds are full of prayer flags; I found the waving colours soothing, as I did the general sense of quiet and seclusion.
Check out the shops: one of them had Buddhist wall hangings so cheap that it was hard to believe we weren't paying the Chinese price, although this is unlikely!
3. Zhao Jun's Tomb
This is not the only 'tomb' of the Han heroine - no-one really has any idea where's she's buried.
To many Chinese people, the phrase 'When Zhao Jun went beyond the Great Wall' is a resonant one. It implies being willing to take risks, to sacrifice comfort to achieve a socially important goal.
In 33BC, Zhao Jun left the security of Chang' an (modern Xian, starting point for Silk Road tours), one of the greatest cities in the world in her time, to marry the Emperor of The Xiongnu a 'barbarian' northern tribe. She was one of the Han Emperor's concubines, and legend has it that she was too honest to bribe the court painter, so he painted an unflattering portrait, and consequently the Emperor, who had far too many women to get round to them all, never saw her and was glad to put her name forward when the request came to provide a bride who would cement Han-Xiongnu relations. But most versions of the story stress that 'she married herself to the grasslands of her own free will'
She became hugely popular with her new people, and helped promote 60 years of Han-Xiongnu peace. All over this memorial complex the written material (plenty in English) draws the moral: co-operation between China's different nationalities benefits all of them.
The small memorial pavilion (photo) is set on top of a hundred foot high mound, and there are gardens, steles, a Zhao Jun cave-shrine, and various other things to do and see. You can, for example, get your photo taken wearing Mongolian costume, standing on a traditional chariot (Ifor some reason I did) or listen to traditional Chinese music (all but one musician refused to play because we were ignorant foreigners - one of our party understood their conversation, which was hardly an example of the internationalist spirit of Zhao Jun!)
But a trip out here (easily accessible by bus from the main station) is a pleasant way of getting to know about a Chinese heroine little known in the West.
4. White Pagoda
This is about 15km out of town. You can hire a taxi - 60 RMB (unit for China money ) would be a fair price for the roundtrip plus waiting time - or get a local bus (buy a tourist map and show the people at the bus station information hut the picture of the pagoda). Don't try to get there by train unless you speak fluent Chinese and can ask for directions when you get to the station (and LP's train info is all wrong).
Also: bring a torch if you can, as the pagoda's dark inside.
The pagoda's considered one of the best remaining examples of the religious architecture of the eleventh century Liao Dynasty. Inscriptions in various languages - including Mongolian, Tibetan and Western Xia - illustrate the way in which Buddhism helped to bring about cultural interaction in the Chinese territory.
It's a white painted, seven storey octagonal building with Buddhist sculptures on the outside of the first two stories. Climb to the top and you'll find a chamber with a small altar, and on it a Guan Yin (Boddhisattva of compassion), a few other figures, and probably some scanty offerings. Legend has it that the pagoda once contained 10,000 volumes of scripture, but there's nothing of that kind here now.
You'll also get views of the grasslands, although really you're only on the edges.
It's worth spending a little time walking in the gardens. Funny thing: every time I looked at the pagoda I thought it was leaning over, but I couldn't decide in which direction!
If you're returning by bus, just wait outside the pagoda and one'll be along
For more via travel China guide.
I visit Zhangjiajie which is a different place by comparison with modern city like Xian (Xian travel guide) and Shanghai. The following is my travelogue in Yuanjiajie, Zhangjiajie.
This is now the prime high-level walk. The cable car to the east in Zhangjiajie broke down in 1997 and cannot, it seems, be fixed. The French company that built it went bankrupt. So the old high level walk is accessible only on foot - a good reason to do it if you can climb 300 metres. Perhaps best left to a season when the temperature is not 38 degrees Celsius with 88% humidity.
So Yuangjiajie (also spelt as Yangjiajie, byt the way) has to soak up the promenading proletariat. It's a fun walk along the very rim of the high plateau, with views westwards over the deep ravine. A long way below you is one of the closed zones where no access is permitted at all - absolutely none, not even for park employees and researchers. It all looks natural and unspoiled, and the difficulty of access means that it is just that. Along the way, the views become increasingly impressive, but there comes a time when you look out over the crags and the unfathomable depths below you and just stop taking photographs; it's all very similar really. There are several highlights on this walk, including (somewhat predictably), the Number One Bridge Under Heaven which is actually almost impossible to fully appreciate because you are so close to it. A natural bridge over a 350m chasm. Further on, a steel bridge crosses - on open grid work - a 150 metre drop: this could be unpleasant if you suffer from vertigo. Just walk briskly across, humming the theme tune to The Great Escape. No, really.It is a happy China tour deals.
An oddity is the Korean Pavilion towards the end where every surface of the pavilion has been plastered with the business cards of Korean visitors. I have absolutely no idea why, but the Koreans have made this place home!
In one or two places, the tourism people have simply runs out of superlatives and have erected signs that say, simply "Amazing View" or "Amazing Scenery". There's something in the Chinese psyche that seems to need to be told how to react to events. Like when Chinese friends say "I'm going to cook you a delicious meal". My inward reaction, because I'm not a nice person, is usually that I am relieved that they are not going to cook me a disgusting meal. Surely I am going to be the judge of whether something is delicious. But I am rambling now, aren't I? Yes. Where were we? Ah, yes, Yuangjiajie. The final part of this visit is a 5 minute bus ride to the Bailong Elevator (separate review)
For more via China guide
For visiting Tianjin for your China travel deals, you should know the following.
1. Olympic Mascots
Favorite thing: As Tianjin also co-hosted the Beijing Olympic Games you can find the Olympic Mascots displayed on walls and on sale on the market. Like the Five Olympic Rings from which they draw their colour and inspiration, Fuwa will serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace and good wishes from China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.
2. Food - Chatang Soup
Favorite thing: Chatang is made of baked millet and glutinous millet flour. The soup is made by pouring boiling water into the flour and then adding sugar. Chatang is served from a big copper pot whose spout is usually fashioned into a dragon's head.
3. Food - Goubuli's Stuffed Buns
Favorite thing: Goubuli's stuffed buns are known for their generous filling, which is succulent but not greasy. This famous snack was created during the late Qing Dynasty by a native of Wuqing County, who had the nickname "Dogy." At the age of 14, Dogy left home and came to Tianjin, where he was apprenticed to a restaurant specializing in stuffed buns. As his stuffed buns tasted better and had a unique flavor, they attracted an increasing number of customers. As time went by, his nickname became known far and wide. Later, people changed "Dogy" to "Goubuli" and his buns were eventually called by the same name.
4. Sitting on the Double Decker Bus
Favorite thing: Enjoyed sitting on the first row of the 2nd floor of the double decker bus going from the Tianjin TV tower, passed the famous universities and main shopping streets of Tianjin.
From up there, you can see the busy roads of taxis, bicycles and pedestrians. The cost is only 2 yuan.
Reminds me of similar double decker bus rides around Piccaddily Cirucs in London and along neon light signs of Nathan Road in Kowloon of Hong Kong (Hong Kong travel guide).
5. Sea of Bikes
Favorite thing: Despite all the pollution in Tianjin there is a suprising number of bicycles. Streets have bike lanes on each side that are just as crowded with bikes as the regular ones are of cars. And just like with vehicles, I've seen lots of nasty bike collisions!
Fondest memory: The first time I arrived in this city all I could think was that everyone must get around by bike. I had never seen so many in my life!
6. Take a break from the tourists
Fondest memory: Everything about Tianjin makes me want to go back. The people are friendly, the food is delicious, and there are NO tourists. It's nice to know that Beijing, infested with tourists, is just a short train ride away while Tianjin is basically untouched by tourists.
7. The hike up Mount Tai is...
Favorite thing: The hike up Mount Tai (top attraction for top 10 China tours) is spectacular. 100's of people of all ages climbing thousands of steps to a place of amazing beauty. You see this little temple at the top and think there is no way I will make it all the way up there but little stops along the way keep drawing you up and suddenly you are in a little city at the top with spectacular views all around. Magic!!
8. General Tip
Fondest memory: We went to a restaurant attached to some hotel for lunch. The food was increadibly cheap, and the service from the waitresses very friendly. After the meal, we asked one of the waitresses for some recommended places to visit in the few hours we had left in Tianjin. Well, she said that she was due to knock off work shortly, and would be happy to show us around! That was it, she took us to see the sights and even arranged a taxi for us driven by one of her friends. He wouldn't accept any money from us.
It was wonderful for her to have done that for us. All she wanted to do was treat us as special guests in her home town, irrespective of the fact that we had merely walked into the restaurant where she happend to be waitressing.
You should consider the above for your Tianjin's popular China travel package.
You can visit the places for the off the beaten path for your affordable China travel packages.
1. Binlang Ethnic Village - Mountain Walk
Walk up the hill path and you are rewarded with a excellent view over the hills.
On the path you pass by a tree covered in red ribbons and adorned with a cow skull. Imagine Indiana Jones and the temple of doom.
Was exhausted after it in the heat of the day. I do not sadvise if you have a heart complaint. Plus I thought the sign on leeches was very amusing for my sadvise!!
2. li, mao aboriginal village
this village is one of the tourist attractions in Sanya but it's hardly to be found out from internet. i was just lucky enough to have a local driver (we rent his can) to show us around and bring us to this village. This village is not all those which having people acting as the inhabitants for showing, but they are REAL inhabitants in the forest. our language, they don't know, their language, we don't know either. all we can do is sign language which taught by the guide to say"hello"and "goodbye".
3. Eating on the Beach
What I call pink chair resturants on the beach of Sanya Bay. Of an evening these pink chairs bloom all up and down the beach. Some of the best and cheapest fresh catch of the day.
For more via China tour guide
When you travel to Luoyang for China travel deals, you should read the following.
1. Pottery Figurine
" Pottery figurine is the result of Chinese funeral cultural developed to the historical period. It mainly refers to the pottery funerary objects in the shape of human beings or animals, however, in ancient documents Yong (literally figurine) refers to those of human beings only. The pottery funerary objects in tombs of ancient China have close relationship with the system of burying people alive with the dead in the slave society. With the development of the society during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, the system of human sacrifices was ended and replaced by the system of pottery funerary figurines. "
2. Tang Sancai
I read an article from the China National Geography Magazine regard this sort of art work being famous not only in this region, but the entire China. The quality production of this art work has been made in this region since Tang Dynasties. The families that continues to work and sell these art works make a huge profits from their business.
" Tang Sancai, tri-colored glazed pottery of Tang Dynasty is a kind of polychrome handicraft created by Tang potters based on the monochrome low-temperature glazed pottery of the Han and Wei Dynasties. It was so named because it has three main colors; red, white, and green, or yellow, green and brown.
Tang Sancai pieces were mostly molded into shape and subjected to biscuit firing before the glaze was applied. During the second firing, the trace metals in the glaze were transmuted, resulting in an effect of bright, mellow and magnificent colors like the sky covered with evening glow. Tang Sancai pottery was mainly popular in Luoyang and Xi'an from the reign of Emperor Gaozong to the reign of Emperor Xuanzong, when it was buried with dead in large quantities. They can be roughly divided into five categories- vessels, figurines, models, toys, and architectural components. They reflect the social life and spiritual belief of the Tang Dynasty during its heyday.
Luoyang is the hometown of Tang Sanchai, and Huangye Kiln in Gongyi was an important place for its production in the Tang Dynasty. In the early 1920, the world was impressed by the first discovery of Tang Sancai in ancient tombs at Mangshan Mountain, Luoyang. Archeological excavations have revealed that Tang Sancai pieces of Luoyang were mainly discovered in Tang tombs at Mangshan Mountain, Longmen and Jianxi District, and most of them date from the period between the reign Wu Zetian and the the reign of Emperor Xuanzong. This was accordance with Luoyang's status as the eastern capital and political, economical and cultural center. "
Note from Signboard, Luoyang Museum (a must-see for top 10 China tours).
3. Kids in daycare
After seing hords of parents waiting for their little ones dressed in colorful outfits every day, I joined the club in 2011 and sent my son to a public daycare. It was the first time that school of 300 pupils had seen a non-Chinese so daddy was standing out quite a bit in the crowd. After a week, my son had made tons of friends and the parents wouldnt even notice me : ) Here's some insider pics of life inside Chinese daycare.
4. Take a bath
Not sure if I should recommend this but i saw some pictures of the interior of the "bath house" and some seem pretty luxury. Its a local custom i guess for business man to go there and relax among men in the sauna, shower, bath, etc...
For more via China tour agents.
When visiting Yumengaun for your Silk Road travel, you should not miss the following things.
1. Xihu Nature Reserve
Some 30km west of Yumenguan, on the road to Sanlongsha Yardan formations, is the Xihu National Nature Reserve, a 6,600 square kilometre reserve that includes the largets area of saline marshalnd and freshwater pools.
The entrance to the reserve can't be missed, because there is a chain across the road. The reserve offices are just a 100 metres to the right...this is the Gobi remember....you'd be able to see the building if it was 12km away!
There are a string of marshes and wetlands alongside much of the route of the Shulehe as it drifts down towards the Kumtag Shamo.
The photos shown are the wetlands at Hecang and Yumenguan to the east.
The insects in this area are ferocious! So consider it for your popular China tours.
Bird species seen in a short time at the Hecang lake include the pied avocet, ruddy shelduck (large numbers), common shelduck,little ringed plover, some kind of lapwing and a spoonbill (perhaps...at a long distance).
Yumenguan - the Jade Gate - lies in a small dip in the land alongside wetlands of the Shulehe River that rises up in the Qilianshan Mountains and empties into the vast sand and gravel pans of the Kumtag Shamo and Lop Nur.
Yumenguan is not particularly strategically located, and it can't be seen from long distances like most Great Wall fortresses as the defensive role here was played by the Great Wall (must-see for top China tours). The Jade Gate was an administrative building, built around 111BC. The Great Wall has largely disappeared at Yumenguan but ran to the north a few hundred metres. There was a very short stretch that curved round to the north for a few kilometres just west of the fortress. The small farmhouse lies on the low ridge with remnants of the wall visible just behind it.
Yumenguan is small - just 630 or so square metres - with thick walls about 10 metres high. Originally there was a double parapet around the top of the walls, and a staircase-cum-ramp in the southeast corner to allow a man on horseback to get up to the top.
There were two gates, one facing west - out of China - and another facing north: it was just too small to fit a spirit wall so this arrangement prevented the bad spirits passing into China.
3. Danggushu Beacon Tower
Although many visitors are content to jump out of the car and have a look at the Han Great Wall at Danggushu, few are prepared to make the 2 minute walk up to the beacon tower to the east. However, it is worth it, not so much because of the beacon tower itself, but because lying on the desrt floor behind the tower are the piles of firewood left behind when the wall fell out of use.
These piles were lit to signal that invaders were coming. For smaller groups, a small pile would be used, and a bigger pile for larger numbers. They would also light some fires on the tower and others on the ground. With the combination of sizes of piles of wood and different locations, they could communicate a variety of messages back down the line.
4. Danggushu Han Great Wall
Although the Han Great Wall extends in fits and starts from near Jiayuguan, it is at its most impressive out here in the Kumtage Shamo part of the Gobi desert. The dry climate has protected the structure and although eons of wind and rain erosion and the feet of many goats and shepherds have taken their toll, their are long stretches of the Han Great Wall still standing.
At a place called Danggushu, some 4.5 km west of Yangguan, a particularly well preserved stretch stands proud on the sand and gravel above the Shuluhe.
Signposted from the track leading to the Xihu Nature Reserve and the Sanlongsha Yardan Formations, Danggushu is a lonely spot where it doesn't take much imagination to picture the soldiers living out here in their isolation, one man on the tower watching for invaders or smoke from the next beacon tower while the others tend to a little patch of vegetables, fish down in the river or watch over a few goats. One or two men probably sleep, waiting for their turn on the night shift.
Emperor Wudi is known to have drafted no less than 660,000 men on building this part of the Great Wall which was designed to protect the Silk Routes that split at Yumenguan. The design was simple: a few layers of tamped earth bricks, with a layer of jarrah reeds every 20 centimetres. Marc Aurel Stein, the Anglo-Hungarian explorer who examined them in 1907 compared them with the Roman 'limes' and many after him have commented on the remarkable similarity between the defensive fortifications of both civilizations.
11km east of Yumenguan, along an excellent road is the place known as Dafangpan, where a huge building sits alongside more marshes of the Shulehe river. Although much has been written down the centuries about the famed Yumenguan, very little was ever recorded about this much bigger complex nearby.
It has been suggested that Hecang was a substantial granary, as grain seeds have been found by archaeologists, but this does seem rather unlikley given its location.
As at Yumenguan, it lies about 500m south of the Han Great Wall, and again is in a dip suggesting it was not intended to see or be seen.
The inner structure is 132 metres long and 17 metres wide, with walls 6.7 metres high and two iner dividing walls. The entrances to the three vast rooms were to the south. Outer walls and structures can be seen but most ave crumbled. Neither it, nor Yumenguan, are built in the same style as the local Han Great Wall which uses reeds for additional strengthening.
Archaeologists do know that the structure was used during the Jin period, but there was still no confirmation of its use.
There is a beacon tower on a stark ridge to the southeast and with binoculars you can see more to the east and north-east, as well as remnants of the Han Great Wall to the north of the marshland. It's an eerie place, but brightened considerably by a large lake to the north-east absolutely teeming with wildlife.
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