Category Archives: China

Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan, China


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Yulong Snow Mountain

These towns are in the northern part of Yunnan and were occupied by Bai and Naxi tribes in the past. They retain ancient architecture of buildings and cultural practices. IMG_0954.JPG IMG_0950.JPG IMG_0953.JPG Photos above depict girls in Bai traditional dresses and are performing cultural dances. Er Hai by Dali which was the capital of Bai kingdom in the past. IMG_0952.JPG IMG_0948.JPG IMG_0865.JPG IMG_0862.JPG IMG_0866.JPG IMG_0863.JPG Above photos show what Lijiang ancient town looks like. It was constructed on uneven terrain with many inclines and staircases. The roads consist of cobbled stones or granite slabs that are not level, which make walking difficult This is a classic Chinese garden  scenery. IMG_0874-0.JPG   IMG_0870   SONY DSC Grandmothers dancing and singing to visitors to Jade Water village.

Yulong Snow Mountain

Yulong Snow Mountain

 

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Waterfall over a series of steps

DSCN0137   Impression Lijiang is performed by Naxi tribe in the afternoon. DSCN0138

Tianjin


Happy Buddha in background is Bell Tower of Tianjin

Fly by Scoot to Tianjin and from there take a High Speed Train to Beijing. Train takes half an hour to reach Beijingnan Station. Here take the metro to Tiananmen or Wangfujing.  For a subway map of Beijing please see my blog on Beijing.

Map of Tianjin City

Although the map is in mandarin (can’t find one in English), I shall provide the relevant places worth visiting. All street signs are bilingual, this is helpful. An additional compass will ease your direction.

The main train station at the curve of Hai River should be a landmark and where you can catch a train to Beijing for RMB 55 one way. At all train stations be prepared to put your bags through the X-ray machine and go through a metal detector.

On the map you will see 2 streets in a lopsided pink color T. Those streets are pedestrian shopping streets where you can buy most things. As the streets are pretty long, golf carts are provided for ferrying shoppers @ 3 RMB a flat rate. Binjiang Ave is the main shopping street and is linked to Heping Lu which is another pedestrian street.

Two huge shopping malls (Robbinz and Youyi New World Plaza) are located on Binjiang Ave. If you think have been large malls try these for size, they will wear you out.  Liaoning Street at Binjiang Ave has snack stalls on both sides. Recommend you try lamp or chicken on skewers @ 2 RMB each.

For Antiques enthusiasts visit 121 stalls starting at the junction of Jinzhou and Shantong Lu to Hami Ave.

Isetan is located 100 meters from the junction of Binjiang Ave and Nanjing Lu, here you can find good eats and items.

Ferrying carts at Binjiang Ave

 

For the more adventurous you can get Bell Tower or South City Food Street by walking to the end of Heping Street. At the end you will find Parkson Mall and Walmart. Cross the main street and continue walking on Heping Street until you reach Lotte Mall, turn to the left and walk another 1.2 km. You will come across a X-junction where if you go right you will find Bell Tower. If you turn left and you will find South City Food Street at Shenyi Dajie. It is in a building and is fully airconditioned.

 

 

 

Beijing


Statutes at Chairman Mao Memorial Hall at Tiananmen Square

Zhengyangmen Gate at Qianmen

Tiananmen in background of colorful plants grown as scupltured columns

Axis of Ancient Beijing

 

Wangfujing Street is a short distance from Tiananmen and is where Tourists get to shop and visit its famous food street where exotic food like BBQ scorpions, larvas and other insects are available. See map below for easy navigation.

Layout of Wangfujing and associated street

 

Sugar craft dolls and dolls made from dough

 

Scorpions on skewers

 

Larvas on skewers adjacent lamb skewers

 

Beijing Subway

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Blossoms in Hangzhou


Cherry Blossoms by the creek

Being born and bred in the Tropics where plants are green throughout the year and flowers bloom all year round, experiencing Spring is inspirational and amazing. When I first arrive I notice that all the trees are bare. When the sun gets hotter like 20 degrees C and above, flower buds sprouts from twigs and branches. Within days buds turn to flowers and tiny leaves start to grow.

The most amazing is seeing Cherry Blossoms and red Plum Blossoms. The entire trees have flowers and no leaves. After a few days petals start to fall, while some buds continue to bloom.

cherry blossoms

cherry blossoms

 

leaves sprouting during Spring

Hangzhou and Shanghai – China


30 March 2012

Arrive at Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport by Jetstar at 2330 hours. Taxi wants 150RMB to bring me to Flower Inn at 101-15 Nanshan Road. Bargain for 100 RMB instead. Finally settled for 110 RMB but must share a cab. Throughout the journey the Taxi Driver insists he does not know the address until he asks me what rate I pay. When I mention 150 RMB a night. He suddenly remembers and bring me to the inn. Guess he is trying to get me to accept a hotel of his choice where he gets a commission.

Flower Inn at 101-15 Nanshan Road

Yongjin Park

31 March 2012

Survey reveals that West Lake is 100 meters behind Flower Inn by Yongjin Park. Decided to walk to Hangzhou Railway Station and see if I can get to Shanghai by rail. The crowd fills the entire ticketing hall and everthing is in Chinese.

Anyway I want to see if self ticketing is any better. Surprise to find an adjacent office selling tickets at Foreign Guest Window. When asked if I can buy a ticket to Shanghai, she sells me a ticket for 78 RMB immediately with 20 minutes to spare. Quickly I rush to checkin and am surprised to be in a High Speed Rail Train to Hongqiao Station and Airport.

Foreign Guest Window adjacent to self ticketing hall @ Hangzhou Rail Station

The trip takes one hour with one stop at Jia Xing South Station. On arrival I find that Metro Line 2 will take me to Peoples Square for 5 RMB. Exit at Shanghai Art Museum and find Big Bus – a bus tour of Shanghai for 100 RMB. There are three routes for the same price. The current green route takes me to the old city after which I switch to the red route that covers Bund and sights of Pudong. It is a good introduction.

The same night I check into a Shanghai SOHO International Youth Hostel (1307 South Suzhou Road) that is 2 km away from Shanghai Art Museum. Before that the Big Bus Guide recommends that I get some snacks at Huanghe Street at the corner of Park Hotel, since I miss my lunch.

Yang’s fried dumplings and across the road is a shop selling Xiao Long Pau or steamed dumpling. both are worth trying. Xiao Long Pau starts from 10.5 RMB to 25.5 RMB depending on the type of fillings

The hostel is hidden away but pleasantly costing me 199 RMB. The next day I decide to return to Hangzhou instead of going to Suzhou that is 90 kms away. CCTV News reports that Qing Ming Holidays falls on 2 to 4 April and 5 million people will go through Shanghai Railway Stations to Suzhou, Wuxi and Hangzhou. A word of caution concerning scams after I notice three incidents in Shanghai:

  • A young girl taps my shoulder and says “ni hao ma?” I turn and walk away.
  • At Yang’s restaurant I hear a man talking loudly in English to a Brazilian lady that Brazilian men must like fat girls because their bum is good for rubbing and breasts for pressing. Instantly the lady stands up and walks away. The Chinese guy is only half her height, he immediately scrambles after her.
  • Third I overhears a white guy telling a local lady to lend him some money, he promises to let her have his address.

1 April 2012

Visited Yuyuan (Yu Garden). It was built during the reign of Ming Emperor Jiajing (1559) on 2 hectares. Today the entire in front of the garden is built up with tall buildings in ancient Chinese architectural designs that they hide the location of the garden. Entrance fee is levied.

Huxin Ting Teahouse

Rock Garden at Yuyuan

New commercial businesses in front of Yuyuan

Return to Hongqiao Railway Station and find that counter 81 sells to Travel Pass and Passport Holders. Join the queue and waits for only 15 minutes. Manage to get a ticket for High Speed Rail back to Hangzhou.Surprised to find passengers boarding at Jia Xing South Station who are prepared to stand all the way to Hangzhou because all seats are sold out.

2 April 2012

The full impact of Qing Ming holidays is felt today. The crowd packs Bai Causeway and Gu Shan (Solitary Hill). After that I walk back via Beishan Road thus walking round the Inner North Lake.

Crowds fill Bai Causeway

Bai Causeway by West Lake

Xiling Seal Engravers’ Society on Gu Shan (Solitary Hill)

Dragon Bridge with red Plum Blossoms

3 April 2012

Decided to walk round West Lake by starting from Su Causeway (2,800 meters) and return by Bai Causeway (1,500 meters) The perimeter of the entire lake is much longer than 4,300 meters because there are other parks in between such as Yongjin Park, Zhongshan Park, Scholar Park and Orioles singing in Willows.

Wu Song’s Grave (He kills a tiger with bare hands)

Yue Fei’s Temple
He was a loyal hero but was betrayed by the then Prime Minister

Spring romance by West Lake

Flowers in the woods

4 April 2012 Wulin Women Fashion Area

Wulin Women Fashion Area at Yanan Road comprised of 2 buildings. The first sells only clothes. First floor sells men’s clothes, 2nd and 3rd floor deals with girls and ladies. Fourth floor is for children’s clothes. The next buildings deals with accessories, bras, underwears, comestics, etc.

Getting there, walk along Hubin Road and turn to Pinghai Road or Xueshi Road. Between these roads is Regency Hyatt and in front is a musical foutain. Cross Dongpu Road and continue straight to Yanan Road and turn to the right, you will reach Wulin.

musical fountain in front of Regency Hyatt

5 April 2012 Imperial Street of Southern Song Dynasty

Go along Heifang Street that is opposite Orioles singing in the Willows Park entrance, and walk straight to Wushan Square. This is a bus terminal. Continue through the carpark and you will reach Imperial Street of Southern Song Dynasty.

Signage shows there is another food court at Gaoyin Road. Do not bother to go in that direction. The street is largely empty and there is no food court. The road terminates at Xihu Ave. Spend your time at Datong Lane. The chicken Wuhan Style on a stick is very good and addictive.

Imperial Street of Southern Song Dynasty

Wuhan style deep fried chicken on a stick

Datong Lane where food is sold recommend chicken on a stick and cooked in oil, beggar chicken, etc

Drum Tower

This pagoda is opposite the Drum Tower.

Pagoda at Zhongsan South Road

At night Zhongshan South Road is closed to traffic and food stalls are arranged single row down the street. Unfortunately there are few customers. This is probably due to lack of signage and the single row concept. For night markets to be successful the Chinese must learn from the Taiwanese.

JiuZhaiGou Nature Reserve


Jiu Zhai Gou Nature Reserve is 450 km north of Chengdu and was discovered by timbermen in 1970s. It was added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999. It has pristine scenery and lakes. Jiuzhaigou means 9 Baima Tibetan villages. Today only 1,000 Tibetans from 130 families live within the reserve.

Legend has it that an evil Devil caused Goddess Wunosemo to dropped her mirror on the ground creating 118 lakes. This mirror was a present from her lover God Dage.

Mountain peaks surrounded by clouds

Five Flowers Lake

crystal clear water with reflections in 5 Flowers Lake

fallen trees in lake with new plants growing on portions above water level. Nature invented hydroponics, man gives the process a name

clear water with lush greenery

Wild ducks in nest

our Tibetan Tour Guide Ah Mei

water rushing down a plateau towards its edge to form pearl shoal waterfall

Pearl Shoal Waterfall

Tibetan staff in ethnic fashions

Long Lake at 3,300 meters above sea level

Boardwalk from Long Lake to 5 Colored Pond

5 Colored Pond obtained its water from underground springs and it never freezes in winter

Shuzheng Waterfall

Shuzeng Waterfall in background

waterfall

Shuzheng Mill

Tibetan residence

a string of Tibetan pagodas

Visitors crossing a lake

Water running over a plateau to feed a waterfall

Wide and Narrow Lane


Wide and Narrow Lane in Chengdu is the site where Qing Army were stationed after taking over the city. Before Qing troops arrived in Chengdu, its citizens burnt down the entire city for 3 days and nights. Deprived of dwellings, Qing transported citizens in Guangzhou and Fujian to Chengdu and started a massive rebuilding. Chengdu city was founded in 316 BC and had remain on the same site since. Its cuisine and tea drinking custom were a 1,300 years tradition.

Unfortunately the Qing army quarters and offices were neglected over the years and many of the buildings were in ruins. Kuomintang subsequently took over the city and commenced repairs. Today the buildings are conserved and rented out to upmarket eateries and shops. Street culture have livened up the place.

street scence

roadside cafe

Original door arch

Professional Ear Cleaner at work

rabbit head speciality

thunder drum ball is a flour ball thrown against a tray behind which is a drum emitting a loud drum beat each time a ball strikes, it rolls down the tray and is coated with flavourings

men disguised as bronze statues

roadside stall selling souvenirs