S: China 2007
FC: CHINA 2007
1: In March of 2007, we traveled to China for a 10 day tour. After a 16 hour flight from LAX, we started our tour in Hong Kong. We then traveled to Xi'an and Beijing. China was quite an experience on many levels!
2: Hong Kong & Kowloon | Victoria Peak
3: Basically as soon as we landed in Hong Kong, we started sightseeing. We were able to stretch our legs at Victoria Peak, but the views of the city were somewhat limited due to all the fog. We really liked Hong Kong as there was so much to see and do during the day and at night. | Hong Kong Days & Nights
4: We visited the famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour. Maybe next time we'll actually get to eat there! Hong Kong was definitely an amazing mix of the traditional and the modern. | Aberdeen Harbor
6: We had a great day touring around the waterfront on our own. The view was dominated by the world's third tallest high-rise Two International Finance Centre (1,362 ft). We took the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island to eat at a restaurant that the tour book recommended. We learned that even restaurants in tour books go out of business! After quite a search, we ended up eating at the first place we found with an English menu: the Giant Foot Restaurant. | Victoria
8: On our own in Kowloon
9: and Hong Kong | While wandering around Kowloon and Hong Kong, we happened upon this pretty little park with a beautiful dragon tile mural.
11: In Hong Kong Park, we found an official countdown to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. It seemed as if all of China was gearing up for the event and we even got to see some of the stadiums being built in Beijing. | 2008 Olympic Games
12: Xi'an | Big Wild Goose Pagoda
13: This Tang-dynasty pagoda, Dayan Ta, was built in AD 652 and is attached to the Ci'en Temple. The monk Xuanzang officiated at the temple and worked to translate hundreds of sutras that he brought back from India. This 210 ft high pagoda was built to store the translations. We climbed the pagoda and explored the grounds which had many beautiful statues of the Buddha and his disciples (Luohans).
14: Statues of The
15: Buddha and Luohans
16: The Army of the
17: Discovered by peasants digging a well in 1974, this amazing site houses more than 7,000 life-size pottery figures of soldiers, archers and horses that were made to guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, the despotic ruler who unified China over 2,200 years ago. Crafted out of yellow clay, originally painted and holding a weapon, each figure has an individually crafted expression. | Terracotta Warriors
18: Hot Spring of Huaqing
19: This beautiful hot spring has been the site of a famous imperial bathing pool and various palace complexes over its 3,000 year history. Its location at the base of Li Mountain is stunning. It was easy to see why the emperors spent their winters here.
20: Built in 1370, Xi'an's City Walls are still intact, forming a 9-mile long rectangle around the city center. We rented a tandem bike and enjoyed seeing the views of the city from the 39-ft tall walls. | Xi'an City Wall Park
22: The Drum and Bell Towers, built in 1380 and 1384, are situated in the center of Xi'an. After viewing the collections of drums and musical instruments inside, we did some shopping in the Muslim Quarter, home of Xi'an's Hui minority community. | Drum & Bell Towers
23: Muslim Quarter
24: Beijing Tian'an Men Square
25: The "Square of the Gate of Heavenly Peace" is a vast, open concrete expanse in the heart of Beijing. Mao's Mausoleum was closed for refurbishment while we were there, but we were able to see the Monument to the People's Heroes and the Ming dynasty gate where Mao proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China on 01Oct1949.
26: The Forbidden City & The Summer Palace
27: The Forbidden City, China's most magnificent architectural complex, was completed in 1420. A lasting monument to the 24 emperors who ruled China for nearly 500 years, the palace was the exclusive domain of the imperial court until the 1920s. The Summer Palace was an imperial retreat. The site is most associated with Empress Dowager Cixi, who rebuilt it twice during her reign (1835-1908)
28: Pandas at the Beijing Zoo
29: We visited the Panda Hall at the zoo and were entertained by the pandas enjoying their morning.
30: Hutong Tour | After we visited the Summer Palace, Amanda came down with severe food poisoning. We weren't able to do some of the planned activities with the tour group, but we had an adventure of our own taking a taxi to the International Hospital, finding a Walmart with affordable apple juice, white bread and noodles, and eating at a Chinese McDonald's (at least Ricky did)! Our first activity back with the tour group again was a bicycle rickshaw tour of a Beijing Hutong. Hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. We were invited into one of these homes and were able to meet people who lived there.
32: After recovering (mostly) from food poisoning, we were able to visit the Great Wall of China on our own. Ricky was able to climb up and enjoy the panoramic views. We were lucky that the visibility was actually much better the day that we went compared to the day the rest of our tour group visited. It's amazing that the wall was first erected in 221-210 BC after Qin Shi Huangdi unified China. While only parts of the wall have been restored, it is still an impressive sight. | The Great Wall of China