S: China - June, 2010
FC: China - June, 2010
1: Land area: 3,600,927 sq mi (9,326,411 sq km); total area: 3,705,407 sq mi (9,596,960 sq km) Population (2010 est.): 1,330,141,295 . Life expectancy: 74.5; density per sq mi: 142 Capital (2003 est.): Beijing, 10,849,000 (metro. area), 8,689,000 (city proper) Largest cities: Shanghai, 12,665,000 (metro. area), 10,996,500 (city proper) | CHINA
2: Our Journey for China started at 8:25am on 6/18/2010 from RDU to JFK then from JFK to Tokyo from AA airline. The flight from JFK to Tokyo was awful long, almost 14 hours. Then on top of that we had 3 hours delayed at Narita - Tokyo. We arrived in Beijing on Sunday night 6/19. We were very impressed with the huge modern airport which was just built right before the Olympic in 2008. It took us only 10 minutes to get through immigration, even though there were a lot of people. The Immigration officers were very friendly and got things done quickly. We had to use the train to get to the baggage claim area. It took us only another 10 minutes to get all of our luggages out. We didn't have to go through the custom. Our tour guide -Jeffry was already there waiting for us . It took us less than 30 minutes from the time of landing to the time we were greeted by our tour guide. The Jade Palace hotel looked new and beautiful. The room was big and clean. Customer service were very good , responding to our requests in no time. The only thing I had to complain was the beds were so hard, I felt like I was sleeping on the box spring , but Vivian had no any problem with the bed. Probably the ages made the different (!) We began our third day in China by visiting The Forbidden City. It was the Chinese Imperial Palace from the mid-Ming Dynasty to the end of the Quing Dynasty. It now houses the Palace Museum. Our local guide Kelly was very nice | BEIJING
4: Forbidden City
5: Built from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 square meters. | Animal figures on roof ridges of palaces, temples and other old buildings are an important part of traditional Chinese architecture, which are not only zoomorphic ornaments of the building, but also represent the owner's status in the feudal hierarchy. | Longevity | Money Beauty Children
7: For the Royal Wedding
9: Tiananmen Tower & Square, Beijing - Initially built in 1417 during the Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D. - 1644 A.D.) the square was the front door to the Forbidden City. Until 1911, when the last feudal kingdom was over, no one could enter the Tower except for the Royal Family and aristocrats. The square covers 100 acres making it the largest open-urban square in the world.
11: Next stop on our tour of Beijing was The Temple of Heaven. This is a complex of Taoist buildings visited by the emperors of the Ming and Quing Dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvests.
12: Temple of Heaven
13: Our third day in Beijing ended with a typical Chinese dinner with 10 different dishes, followed by an evening at an opera which featured musicians, a singer (using the term "singer" very liberally here!), and an impressive fight dance. LEGEND OF KUNGFU
14: Great Wall
15: Day 4 in Beijing began with a visit to the Great Wall of China on a beautiful sunny day! The steps are high and steep. It's also narrow, just enough room for 1 line up and 1 line down. We had to use the rail which wasn't a part of the original Great wall, they juts attached for the tourist. Climbing up was hard but going down was even harder. If we were not carefully we might end up at bottom real quick which we didn't want it happened . Oh well, we climbed enough to get some good exercise!
17: Following our tour, shopping, and lunch at the Cloisonne Factory, we visited the Ming Tombs, the burial place of 13 emperors in a complex that spreads over some 15 square miles. Visitors approach the tombs through The Great Red Gate . Like the Forbidden City, the Tombs have yellow roof tiles, symbolic color of the imperial family.
19: We started our 5th day in Beijing by visiting a factory / retail outlet for silk rugs. We left the silk rug store to visit the Summer Palace. As its name implies, the Summer Palace was used as a summer residence by China's imperial rulers - as a retreat from the Forbidden City. This place is a virtual museum of traditional Chinese gardening using rocks, plants, pavilions, ponds, cobble paths, and other garden styles. Above photo is the Tower of Buddhist Fragrance overlooking Kunming Lake.
21: To the left is a photo of the Marble Boat the Empress Dowager CiXi built during her reign in 1889. We then walked through the covered walkway to view more of the beautiful gardens. The Summer Palace was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990. | The dragon boat we used to cross Kunming Lake | On The Dragon boat | One of many beautiful gates in the gardens.
22: We stopped by for visiting "The Birds Nest" (Beijing National Stadium), site of the 2008 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies. | 7 Stars Hotel . Own by the Goverment
23: A hutong is an ancient city alley or lane typical in Beijing, where hutongs run into the several thousand. Surrounding the Forbidden City, many were built during the Yuan (1206-1341), Ming(1368-1628) and Qing(1644-1908) dynasties. | Hutong area | Visiting a local family who had practiced Kungfu for 5 generations. The master is Liu Jin Ming - center | Asian BMW | Very narrow road | Our group.
24: On our 6th day in China we flew from Beijing to the ancient city of Xi'an. This city served as capital city to some of China's most important dynasties, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang dynasties. It is also the Eastern terminus of the famous Silk Road, a fact which accounts for the city's long history of prosperity and exceptional cultural production. Our local guide Rose was very good, she gave us a lot of information. | Xi'an
26: Xian Big Wild Goose Pagoda | After a long day, specially under the summer heat in China, we all were exhausted. Rose took us to Grand New World Hotel - a beautiful 4 stars hotel. Then she took us to the spa just cross the street from the hotel for Acupuncture Massage. We all enjoyed very much. A whole hour relaxing cost only 120 yuan , equal 20 USD
27: We had a banquet dumplings for dinner with 20 different kinds of dumpling. It was super delicious, following by the excellent Tang Dynasty show.
28: On day 7 of our China adventure we visited the Terracotta Army Museum just outside the city of Xi'an. The museum consists of four buildings. | The Terracotta Army is a form of funerary art buried with the Emperor Qin (Qin Shi Huang) in 209-210 B.C. Their purpose was to help rule another empire with Shi Huang Di in the afterlife. Emperor Qin was the first to not be buried with live subjects. The Terracotta Dynasty was also important for its introduction of a currency and calligraphy.
29: The Terracotta Army was discovered by accident in 1974 at Xi'an, China, when local farmers digging a well broke into a pit containing 6,000 life-size terracotta figures. Discoveries have continued to be made and today the remains of nearly 8,000 terracotta figures have been recovered. | The figures vary in height (184 to 197 cm, or roughly from 6.0ft to 6.5 ft tall) according to their role, the tallest being the Generals.
30: Excavation work continues today to recover & repair as many of the Terracotta Warriors as possible.
31: GUILIN | Following our delicious lunch with Xi'An famous noodles, we flew to Guilin .Our flight was delayed. We arrived to Guilin late and exhausted. We all decided to skip dinner . Our local guide Oscar took us straight to Bravo Guilin hotel. The next morning, , we got on the bus, headed to Yangshou for a cruise on the beautiful Li River.
32: The pointed limestone mountains really gave the river a gorgeous and mysterious look. The journey downstream to Yangshuo offers 30 miles of breathtaking scenery.
33: Our 8th day - Li River boat tour
34: After got off the boat, we took the sightseeing car to explore the beautiful Yangshou Local Village. | Water Buffalo | Rice field
35: We also visited a local farmer family | Making flour
36: Open market | Fresh Seafood | Famous Local Food
37: Night Market - Restaurants - Night clubs . They open from 7PM to 3 AM
38: We paid $100 yuan/person to get on the boat at dark to see the Comorant Fishing show. The Comorant plunge into the river to catch fish and bring back fish to their owner
39: The 9th day was spent at the Reed Flute Cave, a beautiful cavern located in the city of Guilin. | The landscaping of this place was as beautiful as the cavern itself.
40: Reed Flute caves
42: Elephant Trunk Hill
43: Our tour guides Oscar and Jeffry
44: Chongqing On the 10th day of our China Adventure we flew to Chongqing, the "Mountain City" with population of approximately 32 milions people. A only city in China with no bicycle . Chongqing is surround by 2 rivers Yangling and Yangtze . Yangtze is the 3rd biggest river in the world. We had a quick lunch and went to the zoo to visit the giant Pandas with our local guide name Daisy
45: The giant pandas were certainly the stars of the zoo! There were many panda exhibit areas where you could easily watch these giant teddy bears sit and munch the stalks of bamboo. | Chongqing Zoo
48: YANGTZE RIVER CRUISE | We boarded The Sunshine China cruise ship for Yangzi river
49: Day 11 of our trip started with us sailing along the Yangtze River and enjoying the beautiful scenery around us.
50: Visiting Fengdu - the "Ghost City" famous for its gardens, temples, and statues of ghosts. A series of temples have been built here. Each is representing different aspect of hell according to Taoist belief | Fengdu became known as the "Ghost City" when two officials from the Imperial court married and settled on Mt. Minshan just outside the city. Combined, their surnames, Yin and Wang, sound like King of Hell in Chinese.
51: A few of the many ghostly statues found in the "Ghost City".
54: We had the rest of the day to relax after visiting Fengdu. We spent much of the remainder of the day enjoying the view from the top deck of the boat as we sailed toward Three Gorges Dam
55: Water level of Yangtze river
56: Day 12 of our China Adventure! Transfer to smaller boat to see the Shennongxi Stream.
58: Later in the morning we took a ride on a sampan through the Lesser Gorges. The scenery was even more beautiful with steeper mountains and lush vegetation.
60: The Lesser Gorges | Famous hanging coffins of the ancient Ba people,
61: Model of Three Gorges Dam layout in the visitor center. | - Three Gorges Dam is the largest in the world and provides flood control and 10% of all China's energy needs., measuring 606 feet high, 6,500 feet long. | Our boat approaches the first of five ship locks.
62: Three Gorges Dam
64: Day 13 : The cruise ship arrived in Yichang city. Our local guide Amanda took us to the restaurant for a delicious lunch. After that, we went to the tiny airport in Yichang to catch the flight to Shanghai. | SHANGHAI
65: The next day we visited the Bund, Shanghai's famed waterfront promenade. Built along the Huangpu River, the Bund features beautiful architecture and an active street life. The tallest structure in the photo is the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. | It was nice to find out Jeffry was our tour guide again . Our group were separate when only 3 of us took the cruise, the rest had different journeys. We stayed in a brand new 5 stars hotel -Wyndham Grand Plaza Royal Oriental Shanghai Hotel which was built right before The Shanghai expos in June 2010
66: Picking trash on Huangpu River
67: Perhaps the most crowded place on Earth, Old Town Shanghai. Originally the walled city, it is now a bazaar filled with small shops and many hawkers trying to get you to buy "Watch?", "Bag?", "Louis Vuitton?", but it's still a treasure trove for photos and people watching. Fun to go there once.
68: The heat was unbearable, then Vivian called " Mom, Starbucks Coffee ! " . We were so excited like we didn't have Starbucks coffee for years. Of course we had to get our favorite blended coffee frapucino
69: Yuyuan Garden is located in the center of the Old Shanghai City with a few blocks south of the Bund, considered as one of the most lavish and finest Chinese gardens in the region. With a history of more than 400 years, the garden covers a significant space and includes a few halls and other buildings of interest
70: T | Holy Koi fish
71: Shanghai Museum
73: The 15th day of our China adventure is our final day. We left China with mixed feelings. We were sad to see our trip of discoveries come to an end, but were also excited to get back home to our families and friends. We will forever remember the incredible sites we saw, the history we learned, the experiences we had, and the great people we met on this trip. We also will always remember how friendly the Chinese people were to us in every part of China we visited. We were so Blessed to have been able to take this trip! This tour is a memory we will cherish forever .
74: Dancing in the park on Sunday - Beijing | Play game in the park - Chongqing | Chinese People | Vivian and a Chinese girl - Guilin | Morning exercise at the park - Xi'an
75: Just a random corner - Shanghai | Chinese people love our President | Karaoke & Dancing on the cruise | Doing laudry - Lesser Gorge | Texting when crossing the street - Shanghai