Train Travel in China, facts and information from someone who is a train traveller in China.
Railway Travel in China is an adventure and can be a real grass-roots experience whether you are travelling between the major Chinese cities, or just from town to town... An adventure it will be.
Train Travel in China has varying levels of rail car standards as well as assorted levels of cleanliness; this is why I say it can be an adventure.
The network coverage is good; most cities and major towns within China are linked, as are the key metropolitan areas. The trains are fast and mostly on time.
Ok ! Let’s start with the tickets.
Train Travel in China is designed to move the masses around the country. Remember, China is vast, huge...; so with enormous numbers of people travelling by train, getting tickets especially over holiday and festival periods can be tough.
Good systems are in place and you can even get the tickets delivered to your hotel or home. However very little or no English is spoken, and this is what makes catching a train difficult.
If you like best tours of China you can go and buy the ticket yourself; this takes a bit of time and you will get your ticket in the end. But the best way is to pay a little bit extra and get someone to do it for you; it actually only works out to be a dollar or two, (US) saving a lot of hassle.
On the city to city trains and the major lines a seat can be reserved; (however you may still have to move someone to claim it!)
Rail Travel or Train Travel in China has 4 travel classes.
Hard Seat - this is the most common and cheapest way to travel; the greatest numbers of Chinese travellers use this class. More tickets than seats are sold, so be very quick if you want a seat and be prepared to stand with the masses if you miss out. This class is not so comfortable; however it's cheap to move around the country.
Soft Seat - this is a better way to travel and most of the time you can reserve a seat. It most likely will be taken, however being a foreigner and insisting, helps to get it back. Stand your ground. The seats are comfortable and the trip can be pleasant and interesting; the people are friendly and the younger generation (sometimes very young) will try to talk to you and practice their English. This mode of transport is fun.
Hard Sleeper - this is tough way to do a long journey. However it is the cheapest method if you want a sleeping berth. Six bunks to a room, no doors, tight, cramped conditions, not so clean, noisy…, not so nice. The bunk is ok, so you can put your head down to sleep…if you can for the noise. A blanket and pillow is supplied. A food trolley comes around with the very basics, so it is best to take your own rations with you. This class is just bearable but very interesting.
I would only recommend this for the seasoned traveller who can cope with less-than-favourable conditions.
Soft Sleeper - this is the way to go, 4 to a room, and it has a door. The beds are comfortable, blanket and pillow are supplied. You will meet some interesting people; many will speak broken English and will wish to chat. A food trolley comes around with the very basics, so again, it is best to take your own rations.
Train Travel in China…my preferred class is definitely Soft Sleeper for a long journey and Soft Seat for a day’s travel.
Train Travel in China – The Toilets
This can and will be the most difficult part of last minute China travel deals , on the trains and buses.
Hard Seat this is a hold-the-nose, come-and-get-me-if-I’m-not-back-in-5-minutes experience. All are squat toilets and you must take you own toilet paper.
Soft Seat …however as the journey progresses, hard seat conditions turn up; most are squat toilets; always bring your own paper.
Hard Sleeper about the same as for soft seat travelling; however you have to put up with it for a longer period of time.
Soft Sleeper this is better and will most likely have a seat-style toilet, still no paper!
A Final Note, Travel in China is Ok, cheap, and you can roam all over the country. The conditions are interesting to say the least; however, a lot of fun if you know what you are getting yourself in to.
Try it. You will have fun and a special adventure.
The average elevation of Qilian Mountain is between 4,000-5,000 meters. The large, wide glacial landforms made by the Alpine snow are magnificent and spectacular. The altitude at 4,000 meters is called the "snow line" for obvious reasons. Generally speaking, it is a world of ice and snow where all else disappears. Natural miracles abound in this winter wonderland. For instance, there is canzhui, mushrooms formed in the layer of shallow snow; and the precious medicinal material, Snow Lotus popular China tours, only found high in the mountains; and xueshancao which only grows under wind-carved rocks. Snow Lotus, canzhui and xueshancao are called the “Three Symbols of Winter”.
Damaying Grassland lies in the basin of Yanzhi Mountain and Qilian Mountain. Between July and August of every year, Qilian Mountain last minute China travel deals connects with the grassland in strips of green and white. Spacious green waves are covered with snow and interspersed horses, cattle and sheep all flock in the snow. When the gentle breeze blows, people get the sense they are recovering from a deep dream-filled slumber. Shandanjun Race Track, the Far East's number one track, with flat terrain, plenty of water and lush grass is built here.
The history of Qilian Grassland is cruel, but the nature of Qilian is absolutely warm and romantic. The name of Qilian Mountain comes from the ancient Hun Language and means “sky mountain”. The Yaoaoer, the direct descendants of nomadic Hun people, still call Qilian Mountain ”Tenggelidaban” which also means “sky mountain”.
At the foot of Qilian Mountain, there are grasslands, with the plumpest waves of grasses around, known as the Summer Tara (it is also called Huangchen Beach best tours of China, Imperial City Beach and Grant Grass Flat). These used to be the pastures of Attila, the pasture of the Uyghurs and the pasture of the King of the Mongols, Kuoduan Khan, in the Yuan Dynasty. Summer Tara is a grassland with four distinct seasons plus a season for crops. The geographical masterpiece Qinibianjinve, Summary of the Border of Qin written by Laing Fenin the Qing Dynasty China guide mentions the grassland: “the luxuriant grass only exists in the interior areas, not in the area north of the Great Wall.” The writer considered this area interior, for at that time the Nomaden and the farmers were fighting for control of the area. The Tibetan epic Geser described it as “Golden Lotus Grassland”. The Yaoaoer and the Mongols both call it “Summer Tara”, which means “golden pasture”.
To the east of Summer Tara Grassland is Damaying Beach which wraps around Yanzhi Mountain. The climate of Yanzhi Mountain is warm and heavily wooded, the hummock overgrows with silvery white Harigana Flowers and the Chuandi Grassland at the foot of Yanzhi Mountain stretches as far as our eyes can see. It is a lovely sight to see the Yaoaoer shepherds, carrying their white and black tents and driving their herds to wander amongst the golden sea of flowers all summer long.
The virgin forests of Qilian Mountain are even morecharming. After the beginning of summer, Qilian Mountain is like a boundless green sea. There are 157,000 hectares and 2,000,000 cubic meters of forest within. It is one of greater forest areas in the Qinghai Province and various trees grow here such as spruce, sabina, and poplar. There are shrubs too: Bianma, Lycium ruthenicum and Pentaclethra macrophylla. In addition to the thick forests and snow-capped peaks of Qilian Mountain, one can enjoy the many roaming deer frolicking about.
There is no "best time to visit" Qilianshan since their isn’t a very clear distinction between the four seasons. Spring does not look like spring, and summer does not look like the summer. It is the so-called "snow in June of the Qilian Mountain”, which truly reflects the majesty and allure of this magical place. July through August is traditionally the best time to visit though, since during this period there are many local activities and festivals.??
?-- It takes a whole day to reach Qilian from Xining (an optional destination for Silk Road tour) by bus and the current price is 36 RMB. (The coach station is located at the north end of Jianguo Road which is about 600 meters from the southern railway station).
-- The cost of a chartered taxi is 2RMB per kilometer. If you wish to hire a taxi, you should charter a vehicle from Xining, because it is difficult to charter one after arriving in Qilian.
-- The hotels in Qilian Mountain are very expensive.
-- In Qinghai Lake, there are numerous hotels with full range of facilities, as well as hotels of all styles.
-- In other major cities and towns in the north and south of Qinghai, hotels of all star classes can be found.
Mushrooms in Qilian are very famous and cooks in the many restaurants make use of this special local product. Tibetan, Mongolian and Hui people are all experts in the art of boiling tea with milk; this kind of tea is sweet, nutritious and delicious. Tibetan food here is all very unique. The most famous local treat is a pastry of sorts called “biscuit snack”" or “tuzi". It is sweet and savory – the perfect compliment to your warm tea.
- Witness the pilgrimage to Jokhang Temple, Tibet's holiest temple
- Trek towards Tampa, seeing nomadic villages, untouched mountain landscape, and beautiful valleys along the journey
- Visit the Pabongka Monastery, said to be perched atop a divine plot of land, stopping to take in the views of Lhasa
With its rich heritage, captivating display of spirituality, and stark evocative landscapes, the diverse attractions of Tibet last minute China travel deals are constantly vying for a travelers' attention. On this journey, we create a memorable highlights-filled tour designed specifically for travelers with only one week in Tibet. With our experienced guides and local experts, we help you get the most out of your visit, with an itinerary that combines the best and most historically important attractions of Lhasa, together with an thrilling 3 day outdoor excursion through a stunning section of the Tibetan countryside (the Dorjeling trek). This is a journey that is equal parts cultural sightseeing and moderately challenging hike, designed for those who want the best of both and within a relatively short span of time.
We begin our journey in Lhasa, where we spend a few days acclimatizing in preparation for our hike ahead. We also take advantage of this time to visit the holy capital's landmark attractions of the Potala Palace best tours of China, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang temple and Barkhor street, as well as a drive out to the nearby countryside to explore the college complex of Sera Monastery and the seldom visited Pabongka monastery (see "Feeling the Pulse" and "Soul of Tibet" packages for further details). On Day 5, we head out to Tsurphu Monastery and what will be the start of our 3 day trek. Setting off, we immediately lose ourselves in the vast and beautiful countryside of bare mountains and rocky valleys. We reach the Lading La pass on our first night, and set camp in the open sky and under Tibetan starlight. The next day, we continue to trek along the path, passing by groups of nomads and yaks, crossing streams and rivers, and catching views of spectacular snow-capped mountain ranges in the distance. After another day of moderate hiking through this wonderfully scenic landscape, we reach our final destination of Dorjeling Nunnery, where we spend the rest of the afternoon exploring its simple but elegant confines and meeting with residents before taking our transport back to Lhasa for the end of our China trip.
Featured Trip Plan:
Day 1: Arrive Lhasa, orientation & acclimatization; optional Barkhor streets and bazaars
Day 2: Potala Palace; Drepung monastery, master lama private meeting; handicrafts & carpet workshop
Day 3: Jokhang temple; local hospital visit, medicine workshop; visit to furniture artisan
Day 4: Drive to Pabongka monastery, hike and views of Lhasa valley; Sera monastery, printing workshop, monk debate courtyard; local family visit; return to Lhasa
Day 5: Drive to Tsurphu monastery; start of hike to Lading; overnight camping
Day 6: Trek to Tampa; summit Lasala Pass (5,300m); overnight camping
Day 7: Trek & arrive at Dorjeling nunnery; drive & overnight in Lhasa.
Day 8: Depart for airport, end of journey
More others via chinatourdotcom such Lhasa travel guide, Beijing attractions, Hong Kong tour...
In your first day you will arrive in Shanghai (the city of 72-hour China visa), and after your good rest you will take your tour to enjoy the charm of The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Yu Garden, the
Bund, and Nanjing Road in your second day and then fly to Sanya in your third day to appreciate the beautiful The End of the Earth and Dadonghai Beach
there; then your 4th day will be an free and enjoyable day as you can take a full day sunshine bath under the warm sun on the beach there and wandering
around the city or the beach to buy some funny and unique souvenir for your family or friends in your 5th day will be a happy thing for you after you
have enjoyed the sun and beach scene there in the former day; your flight to Guangzhou in your sixth day will be a full day with the activity of viewing
the Temple of Six Banyan Trees, Shamian Island and Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall at your seventh day in China and next day (day 8) you will take your
flight to Hong Kong for the sightseeing of Stanley Market, Repulse Bay and Victoria Peak in your ninth day and finally take your departure from Hong Kong
(more via Hong Kong travel guide) at tenth day to
finish your 10-day China tour.
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What do you think about this tour? If you want to have a try to make your winter much more wonderful, just do it!
The homegrown corn, wheat, buckwheat, beans and peas, potatoes and vegetables as well as the flour transported from western Sichuan Plain last minute China travel deals serve as the staple food of the Qiang people. They have three meals a day with staple food such as steamed rice, fried steamed bread, fried steamed bread slice, flour block, hominy, potato glutinous rice cake and distinctive food such as rice wine and red steamed bread. Most people smoke the homegrown Orchid Cigarette. The Qiang people prefer to mill the corn into fine particles and make steamed corn rice, which is also referred to as Mianzhengzheng, or add in some vegetables to make hominy, which is called corn soup.
The way the Qiang people cook is easy and simple. They often add vegetables in the hominy to make the so called “Mailazi”, or steam the half-cooked rice with corn flour. When corn flour is in the majority, they call it “silver in gold”, otherwise “gold in silver”. Fried noodle made of highland barley or wheat is for grazing or taking out. More: China guide
The Qiang people dislike eating fresh pork. When killing pigs, they prefer to cut pork into small pieces hide and hair and hang them on the beams of roof for smoke drying to make preserved pork pieces. The longer preserved and the more yellow the color is, the more delicious is the preserved pork is. Those having been preserved for years look bright yellow and translucent in color, and taste oily but not greasy. Besides, they can also be used as the flavoring for daily fried dishes as well as a wonderful gift for guests.
Located in Sichuan Province China tour deals , Emei Mountain's history has been recorded for over 2,000 years, during which time a rich Buddhist cultural heritage has accumulated. Atop the Golden Summit, which is 3,099 meters high, one can enjoy the sunrise, seas of clouds, the Buddha's halo and the sunset glow.
Within the beamless hall of the Wannian Temple, a hall with outstanding architectural features, towers a bronze statue of Samantabhadra. Cast in 980 in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it is 7.85 meters high, weighs 62 tons and is one of China's important cultural relics. The Baoguo Temple is the site of flourishing Buddhist activities. The Fuhu Temple, the largest temple on the mountain, is surrounded by ancient nanmu trees.
The Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area, which covers 2.5 square kilometers, is famous for its Giant Buddha statue, said to be the biggest Buddha statue in the world. The way in which the cultural features have been integrated with the natural scenery is considered to be a precious legacy. The Giant Buddha statue, carved on the mountain, stands 71 m high, with its back against Jiuding Mountain and facing the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers. There are more than 90 stone carvings and Buddhist shrines on both sides of the Giant Buddha.
Other cultural artifacts include the Lidui (a large rock cut in the center of the river for irrigation purposes by Li Bing of the Qin Dynasty), Wuyou Mountain, Han tombs, Buddha statues of the Tang and Song Dynasties, and pagodas, temples and architectural complexes of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911，China guide).
Biologically, the area hosts some 5,000 plant species and 2,300 animal species. There are a number of threatened species, some being endemic to Emei Mountain.
With a large number of cultural and historic relics, Emei Mountain and the Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area leave rich historic and monumental legacy. They are common heritage of the mankind.
Emei Mountain is blessed with a world-acclaimed natural heritage to make a contribution to China tourism
. Below are details of selected items of landscape, geomorphic features, fauna and flora.
The most varied topography of Emei Mountain includes a range of landscape of high peaks and deep gullies. These landscapes are direct result of special geological structure of Emei Mountain. The majority of the late Precambrian sedimentary strata are well developed. The Emei Mountain basalt of late Permian is of particular stratigraphic significance.
1. Buddha's halo
This is a special physical phenomenon. When the sun projects the shadow of the viewer on the clouds in front of him or her, ice crystals and tiny drops of water in the clouds may reflect the light to form a rainbow around the shadow. Only in few places with appropriate sync of light, landform and clouds could the halo be enjoyed.
2. Holy lights
On evenings when the moon can not be observed (either in the early or late period of a lunar month), and after rain, tourists may see countless shining balls of light rising from the foot of the cliff and floating up in the air. This is the mysterious scene of holy lights.
tags: popular China tours
Ba-shu art is characterized by unique features. Sichuan opera exclusively belongs to the Ba-shu art. It is well known for its lively atmosphere, humorous language and harmonious combination of percussion and singing. Sichuan opera China tour deals with high pitch especially lies in this category. Sichuan people are experts about cuisine. In Sichuan dishes, particular attentions are paid to season in which chili, pepper, broad bean, ginger, onion and garlic are must. Therefore, people say "every dish has its own character; one hundred dished have one hundred flavors". Meanwhile, the sweet-scented and full-bodied Sichuan wines are well complemented with the famous brands of Wuliang ye, Luzhou liaojiao wine and so on.
The Sichuan Basin is "blocked by four sides" geologically, suffering tough transportation in the ancient time. Therefore, the ancient Chinese famous poet exclaimed" It is easier to climb onto the heaven than to the Shu road." The biggest hindrance prevents the Ba-shu culture from communicating with the Qin and Gansu culture is the huge mountain—Qinling Mountains China best tours. However, the ancestors of Ba-shu displayed astounding courage and created high-level technology of building the plank along the cliff, breaking the blockage of the Sichuan Basin and the narrow mind of the people. A legend, which narrated about the Emperor of Shu, sent five Hercules to greet the gold cattle and five beauties given by the Emperor of Qin Dynasty is the vivid embodiment of the cultural exchange through getting through the mountains and roads in the old times. Plank built along the cliff is one of Ba-shu people's big inventions. Sima Qian(about 140 BC~ about 90 BC. China's great historian, writer, ideologist in Western Han Dynasty)) who wrote <<The Book of History>> stated that the confinement of the country, which was "blocked by four sides", are smashed by the plank "which directed to anywhere you want to go". That is exactly the wise perspective.
The mountains of Ba-shu are distinguished for their magnificence, steepness, serenity and elegance: E'mei Mountain is famous for its elegance, Qing city for its serenity, Jiange for its steepness and Kui Gate for its magnificence. Modern exploitation added "miraculous and romantic" flavor to them. The travelers nowadays are charmed by the miracle of Jiuzhaigou landscape, the romance of Huanglong scenery, and the fun of the panda world and the peculiarity of the dinosaur kingdom. Ba-shu tourist sites scatter around the whole area with every single county has something exquisite to provide. In the northwestern itinerary, Jiuzhai, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon), the fourth Daughter Mountain and Gongga Mountain match beauty with others. In the North itinerary, Shu Road and Jian Gate can let the tourists feel the difficulty of transportation in the past. In the Eastern itinerary, the Three Gorges can show you the perfect combination of human project and natural beauty. The bamboo sea landscape and adventure to Lugu Lake in the southern Shu of the southern popular China tours itinerary definitely can delight the tourists.
The most special character of the Ba-shu itinerary lie in that profound culture are imbedded in the magnificent, steep, serene and elegant natural sites. For example, Sword Gate -- Shu Road itinerary has an abundant culture of Sichuan and Han majority during the Three Kingdom period, Wen chang culture in Zitong County (It originated in the Southern China and enjoyed equal status with the Confucianism in the North. It contained six parts, including ethnics, imperial examinations education, and the history of the hometown of China's first woman Emperor—Wuze Tian. The Jiuzhai—Huanglong(Yellow Dragon) itinerary possesses stone blockhouse of Qiang nationality, Xiayu(a legend figure. he successfully led the populace control the flood and therefore is endorsed by offspring) culture, Min Mountain culture during the ancient Shu, Shu and Han nationality culture during the Three Kingdoms culture. Lugu Lake is bestowed by the culture of "maternal kingdom". The Three Gorges line even outshines as the treasure house of the ancient culture. That's the reason why Ba-shu region can attract tourists year in and year out.
The central relic of Shu and Han culture during the Three Kingdoms (more: China guide) is the memorial temple of martial marquis. The memorial temple of martial marquis is originally a combination of the tomb of Liubei (one of the Emperors in the Three Kingdom period), the Hanzhao Lie tomb used to worship Liubei and the marquis tomb of Zhuge Liang. Now, people use the name "memorial temple of martial marquis" to represent these relics. As the embodiment of wisdom, Zhuge Liang get revere from the people at that time and their offspring.
The name "memorial temple of martial marquis" renders us experience the cultural essence and sediment. Setting off from memorial temple and trekking along the road by which Liubei come into Shu state, the tourists can successively pay homage at Zilong(a heroic general served for Liubei) temple in Dayi, Pangtong temple in Deyang, Zhuge temple in Mianzhu, Fule Mountain in Mianyang, Jiangwan tomb, Feiwei temple in Zhaohua, and Cuiyun porch in Jiange. Starting from Hanzhong, the travelers may worship Zhuge Liang tomb on Dingjun Mountain, and memorial temple of martial marquis in Mian county. Along the journey, we can get enlightenment and reflection from the cause of history and the extraordinary life experience of the heroes.
If you want to experience something special and adventurous in your winter time, you may like to go skiing and playing snow outside. So, a good place with amazing snowing scene will attract your attention, just as Harbin in China! If you have never been there before, you really are highly suggested to take your visits there, where you will have memorable China tour deals for your winter this year.
Before your Harbin best tours of China, you need to know more about this city, including your hotel choices, attractions, shopping, foods and nightlife there. Here, just follow me to get more information in detail!
For your hotel choice, you can consider the Bao Feng Hotel, Songhuajiang Gloria Inn Harbin,
Tian Zhi Hotel Harbin, Harbin Friendship Palace Hotel, Holiday Inn City Centre Harbin, Days Hotel Xin Kai Lai Harbin and Shangri-La Hotel Harbin ranging from three stars to five stars; and you are highly suggested to take your visit to St. Sofia Orthodox Church, The Central Street, Sun Island Snow Sculptures and The Ice and Snow World and experience popular China tours the skiing at Yabuli Ski Resort; and if you want to go shopping for something for your friends and families, you can get some Northeastern Tirana, Fangzheng paper-cut and The Harbin knit embroiders at Harbin First Department Store, Yuanda Shopping Center, Songlei International Trade Mansion or Sino-Russian Trade Market. And if you want to have fun at night in Harbin, you can go to The St. Sophia Square and the Music Fountain where you will find crowds of people there and just join them to relax yourself and experience the local life style there. When traveling there, do not forget to taste the local food there which you will find it features hot and dense, strong flavors and you may like it if you have never taste it before.
Harbin's visitors always find themselves first at the city's famous Central Street. The street is considered to be Harbin's most exotic attraction, displaying uniquely European architectural styles and historical significance that distinguishes it within the city. Don't miss it in Harbin for your China vacation deals.
Central Street, originally known as Chinese Street, was first developed in 1898. It didn't adopt its current name until the late 1920's. The street was at first frequented by carts transporting railway supplies until it was paved with square stones at the request of a Russian engineer responsible for the street's design. The stretch of road soon became a magnet for foreign bars, hotels, and shops, selling everything from woven cloth imported from England and French perfumes, to traditional German medicines. The street was closed to vehicular traffic by the city government in 1997, enhancing the charm and accessibility of the popular promenade.
The street stretches approximately 1,450 meters, lined with an array of European style buildings. The structures display a range of architectural techniques including Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern styles of design. You can buy here after China best tours.
The exquisitely preserved street provides a fascinating opportunity to observe the juxtaposition of Harbin's historical past with its modern cultural influences. It is in a sense an illustration of Harbin's cultural development as it has evolved over the past 300 years.
3. Sony ExploraScience
The fascinating Sony ExploraScience museum in Beijing (the must-see city for China vacation deals) is an interactive educational centre encouraging children to take an interest in science. The museum features live science shows and interactive educational exhibits combined with Sony's latest digital technology. The museum is divided into four themed sections, covering illusion, refraction, light and sounds. Attractions include robotic dogs that play soccer, musical sculptures, soap bubble rings and much more. All small enquiring minds will love a trip to the Sony ExploraScience, but it is probably an experience best-suited to the 5 to 12 age group. Buy your ticket from the Sony booth outside the south gate of Chaoyang Park to avoid paying for park admission separately. Profit made from ticket sales goes towards supporting rural education in China, so it is money spent for a good cause. The Sony ExploraScience museum is located in Chaoyang Park, the largest park in Beijing, which boasts multiple attractions including lakes, swimming pools, a bungee jumping tower, sports fields, a wetland area, fountains, and a funfair. It is a beautiful area and a fun place to spend the day, especially if you are travelling with children in Beijing.
Address: Inside Chaoyang Gongyuan (Chaoyang Park), Chaoyang Qul
For more than 20 years, Beijing's Underground City (an optional attraction in Beijing for your top China tours), a bomb shelter just beneath the ancient capital's downtown area, built in case of nuclear attack, has been virtually forgotten by Beijing locals, despite being infamous amongst foreigners since its official opening in 2000. A sign near the entrance announces this rarely visited attraction a 'human fairyland and underground paradise'. Aside from some rather odd recent additions, the Underground City features factories, stores, guesthouses, restaurants, hospitals, schools, theatres, reading-rooms, a roller-skating rink and many other curious features, like a mushroom farm to provide food easily cultivated in darkness. On Mao Zedong's orders, it was built from 1969 to 1979 by more than 300,000 local citizens including school children, mostly by hand. The tunnels were initially intended to accommodate all of Beijing's six million inhabitants upon completion. Winding for over 18 miles (30km) and covering an area of nearly 53 square miles (85 sq km) from eight to eighteen meters under the surface, the underground City includes more than 1,000 anti-air raid structures. It has, unfortunately, been closed since 2008 for renovations but is expected to reopen soon.
Address: Xi Damochang Jie 64
teeped in a mystical and fascinating history, Beijing may not, at first glance, seem suitable for travel with children. But look past the ancient buildings and temples, and you'll find more than enough activities and attractions while on holiday with kids in Beijing.
The Summer Palace is a good place to start sightseeing with the kids for your last minute China travel deals. With magnificent gardens open to visitors, children will have plenty of space to run around. The Happy Valley Amusement Park never fails to entertain and thrill the whole family as moms can wander around the shopping centre while the kids are at play. Milu Park ranks as one of the best places to enjoy a picnic outdoors and do a little milu deer spotting, while spectacular sea life awaits at Beijing Aquarium. Another really entertaining park is Chaoyang, which is the biggest in Beijing.
On rainy or very hot and humid days, take the kids to Le Cool, an indoor ice skating rink, or to one of the many indoor playgrounds around the city, such as Fundazzle. It's a great way to tire them out so you can either pop them in their stroller and carry on with your own sightseeing, or, amidst all the excitement of being in a new city, put them to bed.
1. Beijing World Park
If you are travelling with children in Beijing (must-see for your best tours of China), The Beijing World Park is an entertaining destination. The park features 100 miniature models of some of the world's most famous tourist attractions, from over 50 countries across the globe, and is designed to let visitors experience a trip around the world without ever having to leave Beijing. It is an amusing place to take photographs and, among locals, has become a popular spot for wedding pictures! The sights include Egypt's Great Pyramids, France's Eiffel Tower, India's Taj Mahal, England's Stone Henge, and even New York City's Manhattan island, complete with Empire State Building and World Trade Center. Although the park can be a bit run-down, depending on the season, it is a great place for kids to learn and enjoy naming the attractions as they stroll through the replicas. If you take it all in with a positive attitude, and let the kids' excitement infect you, the park can be a delight for adults too. Summer is the best time to visit Beijing World Park as it is a venue designed for sunny weather.
Address: 158 Dabaotai, Huaxiang Fengbaolu, Fengtai District
If you are looking for things to do with your kids in Beijing, Fundazzle is the venue to remember for a rainy day. This amusement centre delights children (it is open to anybody under 14) and gives parents a welcome rest. The huge indoor play area at Fundazzle features a massive ball pool, trampolines, a two-storey jungle gym, a toddler area with cars, swings, seesaws and houses, and something called a space maze in which children can lose themselves happily for hours. On the weekends there are arts and crafts classes and performances for the kids to enjoy. The centre is completely safe and can even be educational as there are sometimes fun, interactive language and maths classes conducted. After days spent sightseeing this is the perfect attraction for kids that need to blow off some steam and get some play time. Adults can spend the time reading or simply watching the kids cavort in the colourful playground, which can be very amusing.
Address: Gongti Nan Road
3. Happy Valley Amusement Park (Beijing Huanle Gu)
his amusement park, which opened in 2006, is a fantastic place to spend the day with the little ones. Happy Valley (an optional attraction for your popular China tours) features 40 rides, such as the Energy Collector, Trojan Horse and the Crystal Wing Rollercoaster, an IMAX Theatre and even a shopping centre. It is very similar in style and layout to Disneyland, featuring six theme parks: Firth Forest, Atlantis, Ant Kingdom, the Aegean Sea, Lost Maya, and Shangri-La. Atlantis is probably the favorite of these, with a massive palace built in its centre. There is a mini train that circles the outer rim of the park offering scenic tours. Kids of all ages will have a screaming good time at the Happy Valley Amusement Park, and in the right conditions it is a wonderful way to spend a few hours for the whole family. However, Happy Valley gets very crowded on the weekends, with queues of up to 3 hours for rides; during the week, when it is much quieter, not all the rides stay open. Therefore, to avoid disappointment, it is best to find out ahead of time whether the state-of-the-art roller coasters will be running when you visit. Happy Valley is best when it is warm and sunny.
Address: Xiao Wu Ji Bei Lu, Dong Si Huan (East Fourth Ring Road)
1. Regular Customers
It has to be said! In spite of all the bad reports and messages about the Shenzhen shopping district LuoHu/Lo Wu there is some good, too.
When dealing in advanced order there are some wonderful retail shops, too! Working with design clothes for casino dancers my brother found someone who has good products and stuff in his shop in Shenzhen (an option for best tours of China). He became a regular costumer ... for several years already.
They created a wonderful understanding and some good business. And indeed ... the shop has some great glitter and glamour products, and whatever you design in your mind they will produce. In LuoHu Shenzhen ...
2. Azalea - Shenzhen Symbol
As the orchid is the city flower of Singapore the azalea has been selected as the symbol flower of Shenzhen. This flower with strong vitality and named Baojin, too, got so popular because she looks sparkling, bubbling with red, purple, and yellow brilliance.
You can find this flower all over the place. For one moment I thought the azalea has been placed in Shenzhen specially because of Christmas time like we do in Holland.
Wrong idea. Together with the mandarin orange trees and the narcissus the azalea is the main flower. So enjoy the ocean of azalea blossoms, in red, purple and yellow colours ... like the locals do.
3. Chinese Balconies
Continously amazed by the Chinese balconies on television I could see with my own eyes these remarkable sometimes tiny places.
I know when laundry is washed by hand it is the best to dry the laundry on balcony. It will dry by the wind in the fastest way. And throughout Southeast Asia people still do their laundry in this way, no matter regarding washing machines.
Just the enclosing by iron grillwork I do not understand. It looks so under lock and key, so enclosed ... like a tiny jungle.
So many appartments with its own balcony showing the iron grillwork, decorated by several plants with colourful flowers growing in pots. And the ornament of clean linen and coloured washing ...
4. Chinese Tea anyone?
In China as well as anywhere in a Chinese restaurant, tea drinking is the norm.
If you joined a Shenzhen tour (part of China vacation deals), you will be taken "hostage" to a tea shop. As it is part of the reason why your tour price is cheaper, you may as well enjoy your time there.
Someone will demonstrate how to prepare the different kinds of tea and describe the different types of tea and their benefits. So you can sample the different taste. Be careful, it may be hot.
If you feel obliged to buy the tea and beautiful tea packing, there is no need to buy the most expensive type or buy too much if you are not a regular drinker. The best tea can be spoilt if not properly stored over time.
Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware is a professional museum hosted by Hong Kong (learn more via Hong Kong travel guide) City Council, which is also the world’s first museum with the theme of tea set. It began to open to the public from July, 1984. The museum is two storeys high, consisting of 9 exhibition rooms, displaying the treasure of Yixing tea sets in the Ming and Qing dynasties and introducing the productive process of tea sets.
Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware is a branch of Hong Kong Museum of Art (one of famous Hong Kong tourist attractions), whose basic collections are mainly donated by Doctor Luo Guixiang, including the 600 tea wares as well as the related cultural relics from the Western Zhou Dynasty to the 20th century. In 1994, 25 porcelains and more than 600 seals were donated by Luo Guixiang Bund. In 1995, K. S. Lo Gallery was established, which contributes to popularizing Chinese tea art and promoting Chinese ceramics and seals.
The exhibition is composed of two parts, including the exhibition of Yixing red stoneware and ancient Chinese tea culture. From the exhibition of ancient Chinese tea culture, via some diagrams, pictures, models and film slides, visitors can learn about the history of planting tea, making tea and drinking tea, exploring the habits and customs drinking tea in the past dynasties. From the exhibition of Yixing red stoneware, tourists can appreciate 123 purple earthen wares as well as various kinds of teapots and teacups in various dynasties and area, such as various kinds of red stoneware teapots and sculptures from late Ming Dynasty to the modern times.
Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware is located in Hong Kong Park (don't miss for Hong Kong tours) which is an unwonted venue for relaxation and rest. Hong Kong Park abounds with lush trees, various colorful flowers, conservatory garden and a garden for watching over 150 kinds of birds, which can be ranked as an ideal place for avoiding the hustles and bustles of cities. Thus, visitors can also feast their eyes by those natural scenery after appreciating the tea ware museum.
Tags: last minute China travel deals
Dos and Don'ts
Lucky and Unlucky Numbers: The Chinese put store in the power of numbers and have a general dislike for the number four. Some buildings will not have a fourth floor. Lucky numbers are six, eight, and nine.
Business Cards: In a town that thrives on commerce, exchanging business cards is an important formality. Offer your card with both hands, printed side up and facing the receiver for easy reading. Accept someone else's card with both hands and give it due attention before putting it away. Don't write on someone's business card.
Hong Bao: Translated as "red envelope," these packets of cash, usually crisp new bills, are given out at weddings, holidays, and other occasions. For weddings, give an amount equal to what you'd spend on a gift but in a sum involving lucky numbers (6,8,9). Buy the red envelopes at corner newsstands, or for nicer versions that can double as souvenirs, at a stationery store.
Tea and Chopsticks: When dining in company, fill others' teacups before your own. When being served, tap the table lightly with the tips or knuckles of your forefinger and middle finger to wordlessly indicate both "thanks" and "that's enough." Leave your cup more than half full if you don't want it refilled constantly. With chopsticks, more formal restaurants have separate resting places for them; don't rest them on your plate. Avoid spearing food with your chopsticks or pointing them at someone during your Hong Kong tour packages.
Leih hou (pronounced lay hoe): Both words are said with rising tones, and the phrase means both "hello" and "how are you?" When someone says this to you, it is perfectly acceptable to simply say leih hou back to them.
Jou sahn (joe san): "Good morning," and a greeting often said with hearty enthusiasm from across the room or across the street
Mh goi (saai) (mm goy): Meaning "thank you (very much)" this phrase is very useful and nearly all-purpose. It can also mean "please" or "excuse me," for getting the attention of the waiter or waitress in a restaurant or to ask someone to move out of the way. Note that this thank you is for services rendered.
Do jeh (daw je): The "thank you" reserved for when someone gives you a gift
Mh sai (mm sigh): "No need to" or "not necessary." This can be used for when someone is offering you something you don't want, or when someone thanks you and you want to say "you're welcome."
Gwai lou (also spelled gweilo) (guai loe): Once a derogatory term for outsiders, it literally means "ghost fellow." Now, many foreigners use it to refer to themselves.
Gei do chin (gay daw cheen): What is the price?
Maaih daan (my dan): Bill or check. You can say this alone or add "mh goi" when calling for the check in a restaurant.
Dik si (deek see): A transliteration of the English word for taxi
Hai li douh lohk (hi lee doe lock): Meaning you want to "get off here." The first two syllables rise in tone, while the second two fall.
Yam cha (yum cha): Literally to "drink tea," but usually refers to having a dim sum meal
16) It has the most skyscrapers in the world, with 8,000 buildings having more than 14 floors, almost double that of New York.
17) The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) won more than 25 awards and accolades in 2012 from the international media and the travel industry.
18) It consumes triple the world average of tea at a total of 9.8 million kilograms annual. This equates to an average of 1.4 kilograms of tea per person in Hong Kong per year. The world's most expensive tea available in Hong Kong (learn more via guide of travel to Hong Kong) is Iron Buddha at HKD20,000 per kilogram.
19) 'A Symphony of Lights' is recognised by Guinness World
20) The British government colonised Hong Kong in 1841 during the first Opium War (1839-43), establishing a free-enterprise economy and trading centre in Asia, whose capitalist economy, political and social systems will be maintained by China for at least 50 years after the handover in 1997.
21) Its population is predominantly Chinese and Cantonese remains the common language of communication.
22) The number of mainland tourists to the territory has surged from 4.5 million in 2001 to 28 million in 2011, outnumbering visitors from all other countries combined.
23) Street food in Hong Kong is a unique culinary experience with stalls jutting out into pedestrian sidewalks offers skewers of cooked meat, offal, vegetables and cut fresh fruits. Mongkok is one of the most popular street food destinations with locals and visitors. You can eat here after Hong Kong tour.
24) It was one of the stops in French writer Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days" published in 1873.
25) The impact of shortage of land in Hong Kong has forced residents to consider online burial plots as a way of commemorating their loves ones. Traditional burial plots like those at the Chinese Christian Cemetery in Pokfulam can cost more than HKD650,000 if available.
26) It has historically been the world's leading city with the maximum number of Rolls-Royce luxury cars per capita. The largest single order of 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms was by The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong.
27) White truffles seemed to be prized in Hong Kong with USD129,000 paid for 760g used in a 8-course truffle dinner in 2009.
28) It was regarded as the world's best destination for leisure visitors and meetings in 2012. Hong Kong was voted the "Best FIT Destination of the Year" in the China Travel & Meeting Industry Awards 2012 organised by travel magazine Travel Weekly. It was also named the "Best City for MICE Events" in the 2012 Industry Awards organised by CEI Asia Pacific magazine.
29) "Cha Chan Teng" or milk tea (literally translated from the Cantonese language) is an entirely Hong Kong food culture phenomenon that developed in the 1950s when western food cooked were served in Chinese eateries.
30) It has the highest IQ average at 107.
31) Dancing is serious business especially among Hong Kong's rich ladies who are willing to pay for the best teachers in order to rule the city's glitzy charity ball circuit. It was reported in 2006 that one such individual paid HKD62 million for salsa dance lessons.
32) The world's largest fleet of ferries provide the most popular and convenient way to travel between Hong Kong, Macau and other neighbouring Chinese cities.
33) Its 5,000 hectare Hong Kong Global Geopark of China (one of main Hong Kong sightseeings) is listed as part of UNESCO's Global Geoparks Network and lauded as a unique "geopark in the city" as it is location just an hour bus or car ride away from the city centre.
34) It is considered to be the largest metropolis for luxury goods and status symbols in Asia.
35) Hong Kong's Chow Tai Fook Jewellery paid a record price of USD35.5 million for the 19th largest uncut diamond of 507-carat from Petra Diamonds.
36) It is the top retail destination attracting 84 percent of the luxury brands surveyed by Global real estate advisory firm CBRE in 2011.
37) Dim sum or yum cha [飲茶], which originated with the Cantonese in southern China, is now a staple of Chinese dining culture, especially in Hong Kong where many restaurants start serving dim sum as early as 5am.
38) In 2011 alone, 41.92 million visitors arrived in Hong Kong and spend an estimated USD33.7 billion.
39) A USD19 million "Mega Events Fund" was proposed by the Financial Secretary to draw even more large-scale arts, cultural, sports and entertainment events to Hong Kong in 2013.
40) It is actually composed of more than 200 islands.
Hong Kong is undoubtedly one of the busiest confluences between China and the rest of the world for business travellers including myself. Apart from meetings and conferences, it is also a top tourist destination in Asia with its lure of shopping and plethora of dining options. However Asia's global city is more than just meetings, food and shopping. It's geography and unique blend of East and West presents a buffet of Chinese traditions and customs, theme parks, local cuisine and verdant countryside to enthrall the visitor for days. There's so much to do that I often wished had more time during visits. Here are 55 facts I picked up during my visits to Hong Kong (learn more via Hong Kong city guide) to help make yours even more enjoyable and interesting. Might just amaze some locals as well.
1) The Peak Tram became the first cable funicular in Asia in 1888 and remains one of the steepest and oldest cable railroads in the world. An average of over 11,000 people ride the Peak Tram every day or more than 4 million annually.
2) Approximately 3/4 of of Hong Kong is rural, comprising of 24 country parks, scenic hills, woodlands, reservoirs and coastline easily accessible from the city.
3) It is being promoting as the site for Chinese renminbi (RMB) internationalisation with the issuing of Chinese government and RMB-denominated corporate bonds and RMB trade settlements.
4) The 'father of fibre optic communications' and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics is Professor Charles Kao from Hong Kong.
5) The Chinese New Year "Poon Choi" dish consisting of 10 different ingredients cooked separately and assembled into a one-pot meal, popular among Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong, is actually of Hakka origin.
6) The services industry accounts for 92.9 percent of Hong Kong's GDP with 41.4 percent of its labour force employed in wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels.
7) Feng Shui or Chinese geomancy plays a key role in shaping architecture, business and lifestyles in Hong Kong, so much so that the government had to compensate residents living around civil construction projects for disturbing their feng shui.
8) The world's most expensive bottles of wine at USD232,692 per bottle were sold at an auction in Hong Kong.
9) Hong Kong Disneyland (one of main Hong Kong scenic spots), which opened in 2005, is the third Disney theme park outside the US and the first in China.
10) Mongkok has the world's highest population density with an average of 130,000 people per square kilometre.
11) It has the world's most affordable Michelin star rates dishes at less than USD2 per dish.
12) A unique brand of Cantonese popular music called Canton-pop originated and spread from Hong Kong to the rest of Asia.
13) The longest bi-cable aerial ride in Asia is Ngong Ping 360. This 25-minute ride from Tung Chung offers stunning views of Lantau Island including the Ngong Ping Village, Giant Buddha, Po Lin Monastery and Wisdom Path.
14) It boasts one of the world's highest per-capita concentrations of cafes and restaurants at one restaurant for every 600 people.
15) Hong Kong magician Louis Yan set the Guiness World Record for 'The largest magic lesson' by teaching 314 children, surpassing the previous record by David Copperfield.
More: Hong Kong tour packages and China vacation deals
Hong Kong's Ocean Park is located on the southern coast of Hong Kong Island (learn more via Hong Kong city guide), just west of center, with Aberdeen Channel and Aberdeen Island (aka Ap Lei Chau) to the west, and with Deep Water Bay and Middle Island (aka Tong Fo Chau) to the east. Ocean Park, as the name itself suggests, is a theme park with a marine emphasis. It was established in 1977, during the period of British rule, though there have been several improvements since Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule, and there are new developments for the park on the drawing board, as it were. The theme park shares the peninsula on which it is situated with the industrial park area, Wong Chuk Hang, the latter of which is located in the northern part of this small island peninsula.
Ocean Park is a relatively large (870,000 square meters, or 87 hectares) amusement park. It is in fact Southeast Asia's largest amusement park, and - perhaps surprisingly - was ranked by Forbes Magazine in 2008 as the 33rd most visited tourist attraction in the entire world, and the world's 7th most popular amusement park (to be fair, given its proximity to one of the most populous urban areas in the world, one can hardly be surprised at these rankings).
There are two entrances to the park: one in the north that is accessed via Nam Long Shan (literally "Southern Dragon Mountain", but more commonly known in English as Brick Hill) Road, which originates in Wong Chuk Hang industrial park immediately to the north and which skirts westward around Brick Hill; and the other in the west that is accessed via Tai Shue Wan bay, which is located on the western shore of the island peninsula, in the hilly valley that is sutuated south of Brick Hill. All of Ocean Park (one of must-see Hong Kong scenic spots) lies in this lush, hilly valley which slopes from north to south.
The park's main entrance is the Brick Hill Road entrance in the north. Very conveniently, the two entrances are connected via a cable car, making it easy to visit the entire expanse of the park from either entrance, then take the quick route back via cable car to one's point of origin (one can also take the Ocean Express, as will be explained below). The rides typical to most amusement parks are located in the northern, or Highlands, area of Ocean Park. Here are Highlands Rides and Adventure Land, the former of which comprises a large Ferris Wheel and a breathtakingly fast (77 km/h) rollercoaster called The Dragon - as well as 17 other exhilarating rides - while the latter includes a gentler rollercoaster called the Mine Train that runs through sections of tunnel. Adventure Land also includes the world's second-longest escalator, Ocean Park Escalator, at 225 meters in length. (Note that there is also a special ride area reserved for smaller children - see below.)
In the "lowland" area below this main ride area are located the rest of the park's various theme areas. These are Marine Land, Bird Paradise, Lowland Gardens, and a children's ride area, Whisker's Harbor (formerly called Kid's World). Marine Land consists of a number of aquariums displaying over 250 fish species, including many large sharks - over 2000 fish in all - called Atoll Reef; a special Chinese Sturgeon aquarium; an aquarium dedicated to the jelly fish, which, in spite of its name, is a rather gracious swimmer (Sea Jelly Spectacular); a museum devoted to seals and to the Californian sea lion (Pacific Pier), an observation deck offering fantastic views of the South China Sea (Ocean Park Tower), and Ocean Theatre, where one can observe performances several times daily involving sea lions and marine dolphins.
Bird Paradise consists of numerous aviaries as well as a pond where flamingoes wade, while Lowland Gardens houses a Giant Panda habitat and a venue highlighting birds (The Amazing Bird Show), as well as being the hub from which to connect to all of the park's other theme areas, via the Cable Cars (a system of gondolas). Finally, Whisker's Harbor has rides for kids as well as numerous other activities that appeal to, and are safe for, children.
The park also has observatories where those interested in science can learn about whales and dolphins, including China's freshwater dolphin, i.e., the Yangze River Dolphin. Here one can also learn about new breeds of the ubiquitous goldfish. Other attractions at Ocean Park include: the Butterfly House; the Kingdom Garden; two challenging, interactive exhibits: the Trip of Extreme Speed and the Ship Swinging to the Sky; and the Super Dynamic Cinema showing exciting, multimedia presentations on the life of acquatic mammals, fishes and other marine creatures and plant life.
There are several transportation options within the ocean park. These include: a 1 ? kilometer long cable car system; a shuttle bus; the aforementioned 225 meter escalator; and the Ocean Express, an electrical tramway which is a ride in itself, connecting the western waterfront area of Tai Shue Wan bay with the highland, or summit, area at the northern extremity of the park. The very rapid Ocean Express flies along a 1.3 kilometer long tunnel whose walls depict a realistic-looking marine environment, creating the illusion of an underwater ocean trip (part of Hong Kong tour packages), with certain marine life depictions that are designed to - and regularly do - elicit shrieks. The Ocean Express is a microcosm of the experience of a visit to Ocean Park, in the sense that here, there is never a dull moment - and some that will take you by surprise!
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