Friday, April 29, 2016

Badaling Great Wall

Where is Badaling located

The Great Wall section of Badaling is located at Yanqing County, more than 70 kilometers northwest from the center of Beijing City. It is a mountain pass of the Jundu Mountain. Badaling is at the highest point of north end of the Guan'gou gorge, in which the Juyongguan Pass lies. In the history,Obama Great Wall Badaling the function of Badaling was to protect the Juyongguan Pass. Along with Guan'gou gorge, there are several interests and historic sites. Badaling is a rare ancient military defense project. The elevation of it is about 1,000 meters.

The wall of Badaling has a total length of 3, 741 meters with an average height of 8 meters. The highest part is 15 meters. The total area for a tour is 19, 000 square meters. The top of the wall can permit five horses to be ridden abreast. There are arched doors at the inner side of the wall with very little distance between each two doors. The arched doors lead you to the top of the wall by stone stairs.

How Was Badaling Built

The wall is narrow on the top and broad on the base making the wall stands firmly rising and falling ridges. The wall was made with huge stones. Inside the Wall are made of mud and stone block. This makes the wall clean, pretty, and firm. Every other 300 to 500 meters, there are fortresses. There are two kinds of fortresses. One is a two-storied fortress used as a fighting tower. Its ground floor was used for living, storing weapons and the top floor was used for watching and shooting. Another kind is fighting terrace or enemy terrace, which was used for patrolling and fighting.

Badaling Open to Tourists - Badaling Tours

Badaling was the earliest section to be open to the tourists among all the parts of the whole Great Wall. 130 million tourists from China and abroad have visited Badaling; 370 foreign leaders and very important persons have come to climb Badaling successively. Great Wall Adventure Club provide convenience to take you to Badaling section for one-day trip.

The portion of the wall at Badaling has undergone heavy restoration, and in 1957 it was the first section of the wall to open to tourists. Now visited annually by millions, the immediate area has seen significant development, including hotels, restaurants, and a cable car. The recently completed Badaling Expressway connects Badaling with Beijing city.

Near Badaling, there is a large-scaled Great-Wall-of-China Museum as well as the Great Wall National Theater from which you can get a full and complete view of the Great Wall. In 1961, the State Council decided that Badaling was a national key protected culture relic unit. In 1987, Badaling Great Wall became World Cultural heritage by the United Nation.

World Leaders on Badaling

U.S. President Barack Obama had a tour to Badaling Great Wall on November 18, 2009 to end his trip to China.

    "It's magical," Obama said when walking along the Great Wall in chilly winter wind. "It reminds you of the sweep of history and our time here on earth is not that long. We better make the best of it." 
    Dressed in a dark winter jacket, a smiling Obama broke away from companions and walked alone along the ramp. "I'm inspired by the majesty of the Great Wall and am grateful for the warmth of the Chinese people," Obama wrote on the visitor's book after his half-hour tour. 

    "I brought back the admiration for the Chinese civilization, I bring here the greetings of American People," Obama said when ascending a watchtower to enjoy a distant view at the Badaling section of the Great Wall.

    Obama is the fifth U.S. president to visit the man-made wonder. Former U.S. President Richard Nixon visited the Great Wall in 1972,Ronald Reagan in 1984 and Bill Clinton in 1998. In 2002, former U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura toured the same section as Obama did.

For more information please go to

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gubeikou Great Wall

According to a Chinese saying, "You are not a man until you've walked the Great Wall." A tourist who visits Beijing without visiting the Great Wall is like traveling to Paris or Egypt without visiting the Eiffel Tower or the pyramids, respectively. After visiting ancient monuments, such as the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven in the city proper of Beijing, a tourist should experience the magnificence and steepness of the Great Wall, zigzagging along the hilltops of Beijing's suburbs.

Starting from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.), there were over 20 states and feudal dynasties which participated in the construction of the Great Wall. It is said that the total original length of the Great Wall, after its completion, adds up to be over 50,000 kilometers.

The sections of the Great Wall on the edge of Beijing proper were constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644A.D). It is 629 kilometers long and has 100 passes and 400 beacon towers. Serving as an important defense in the capital's protection, this section of the wall was built under rigorous supervision, and with strictly selected building materials. Therefore, it is undoubtedly the most magnificent, precipitous, and indestructible section of the Great Wall.

About 600 kilometers of the Great Wall in the Beijing area are virtually untouched. In order to protect the rare historical relic, the municipal government of Beijing recently enacted the Law on the Protection of the Great Wall. Many non-governmental organizations, such as the International Friends of the Great Wall founded by William Lindesay from England, also take an active part in protecting the Great Wall. Their efforts enable this unparalleled wonder to maintain its magnificence.

In the previous issues of China Pictorial Badaling and Huanghuacheng sections of the Great Wall located on the outskirts of western Beijing was introduced. Besides these two sections, there is in fact another well-preserved section of the Great Wall that was built during the Ming Dynasty, called the Gubeikou Great Wall.


Gubeikou, situated in Beijing's Miyun County, is 125 kilometers away from Beijing proper. It has long been a town of military significance and an important passage to the capital city. The Yanshan Range winds from east to west and is cut off at Gubeikou, forming a natural narrow pass here. To the west of the pass are the Chaohe River and the Wohu Mountain, and to the east is the Panlong Mountain. From ancient times, Gubeikou has served as a route of strategic importance, linking the southern and northern areas of the Yanshan Range. As early as 2,500 years ago, a fortification was built here and was constantly reinforced throughout the following dynasties.

The main part of today's Gubeikou Wall was constructed under the supervision of Xu Da, a noted general in the Ming Dynasty. It runs for more than 20 kilometers and consists of four sections: Wohushan, Panlongshan, Jinshanling, and Simatai. It has 143 beacon towers, each positioned at an average interval of 156 meters. The nearest two are only 30 meters apart. The inside of these towers varies in design. While some have a flat ceiling, others either have an arched ceiling, a domed ceiling, or an octagonal, painted ceiling. Each tower has two floors, six archways, and ten arched doors, allowing garrisoned soldiers to advance and retreat freely. The towers are also different in size. The largest one can accommodate a garrison of 100 soldiers, and the smallest one a garrison of 10 soldiers. The towers often have one to six portholes.

The Gubeikou Great Wall was built along the precipitous mountain ranges, rising and falling at various sections. Simatai, built on a cliff, is extremely steep. A famous Great Wall specialist said: "The Great Wall is the best of Chinese architecture, and Simatai is the best of the Great Wall."

There are plenty of legends about the Gubeikou Wall, especially the Simatai section, as well as historical relics. At night, from the Beijing Watchtower, 986 meters above sea level, one can see the lights shimmering in downtown Beijing. West of this tower is the steeply situated Fairy Tower, that looks like a slim fairy standing between shrubs and wild flowers.

Because of its unique architectural characteristics, the Gubeikou section is rare among other sections of the Great Wall that were built during the Ming Dynasty.

Gubeikou was one of the important passes used to repel Japanese in early 1930's. 

For more information please go to

Monday, April 25, 2016

Jiankou Great Wall

If you look carefully at the recent published Great Wall photographic works, you will quickly find that most of the pictures are taken from Jiankou Great Wall. Due to its unique style, steep mountains and beautiful scenery, Jiankou Great Wall has become a photographic hotspot and also a hot travel destination these days. 'Jiankou', is translated as 'Arrow Rock' in English, because the shape of the mountain is like an arrow, with the collapsed ridge opening as its arrow nock. Jiankou Great Wall was built in 1368 during the period of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644).

It connects to Mutianyu Great Wall in the east and joins Huanghuacheng Great Wall in the west. From east to north, the wall zigzags 9.3 miles from 'The Ox Horn Edge Wall' to 'The Nine-Eye Tower' via 'The Beijing Knot'. Compared with Mutianyu Great Wall, the mountain is higher and steeper, while compared with Simatai Great Wall, it is more winding and varied. It was built from the local material - dolomite. The large pieces of white rock make the wall striking to the eye at a distance.

There are many famous sections of Jiankou Great Wall, such as 'The Nine-Eye Tower', an important command post during the ancient wars. It has three layers, and there are nine holes which look like nine eyes on each side. 'The Beijing Knot' is the meeting point for three walls coming from different directions. 'The Sky Stair', is a precipitous stair whose angle of elevation is 70 to 80 degrees. It leads to 'The Eagle Flies Facing Upward', a watch tower built on the lofty peaks. It is so dangerous that even eagles have to fly facing upward to reach the top. 'Zhengbei Tower' (Zhengbeilou) is the right place to appreciate the beauty of the sunrise and the sunset.

The Great Wall at Jiankou retains its original appearance since its construction in 1368. It is wild and uniquely made of large white rocks, and has been out of repair for many years. Jiankou Great Wall is an ideal place for adventurous and experienced hikers and photographers.

Safety Concern:

As long as you are in good physical condition you will be fine. The real dangerous parts of the wall are not on the hike, and the route you will go on during your hike is perfectly safe. Our guests did the hike before and had a great time, and there was no danger whatsoever. The route of the hike is all passable, and other than the usually hiking gear, like boots, sunglasses, and sunscreen, you won't need anything extra.

 For more information please go to

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Great Wall at Jinshanling

Jinshanling is the start of the classic Great Wall hike to Simatai that Great Wall Adventure Club has guided to thousands of international travelers and adventurers. Often this hike is a foreign hiker’s first introduction to the Great Wall, so get off on the right foot with Great Wall Adventure Club.  If you are daring enough to finish the hike, you will earn a spot on our hallowed Hall of Fame!

Jinshanling Great Wall is located in Luanping County of Chengde, Hebei Province, and borders on Miyun County of Beijing Municipality. It is 130 kms away from Beijing. Jinshanling Great Wall was builit in 1567-1586 when Qi Jiguang, a famous general in Ming Dynasty, acted as the head of military force in Ji Town. It is typical in structure and is famous for its broad field of vision, dense guard towers, unique landscape, elegant architecture, complete military defense system and excellent state of preservation. It is an exemplary section of the Great Wall and hence comes the saying that Jinshan section is the most quintessential of the 10,000-li Great Wall.

Jinshangling Great Wall got its name because it was built on the bigger and the smaller Jinshan Mountains. The Wall starts from Longyukou in the west and ends at the Wangjinglou Tower in the east and stretches about 10.5 kms. You can see parapets, kylin screen walls, literal bricks and wall made of literal bricks in Jinshanling.

Jinshanling was listed as one of the world cultural heritage sites in 1987. It is also one of the AAAA-grade national tourist attractions of China. 

For more information please go to

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mutianyu Great Wall

In the northern part of Huairou County some 70 kilometers north-east of Beijing City, the Mutianyu (Mu Tian Yu) section of the Great Wall stretches its way for over 2 kilometers. This section is well preserved and is a good alternative for visitors who would like to avoid crowds along the highly popular Badaling (Ba Da Ling) section during holiday and peak seasons. 

The construction of this section was started in the mid-6th century during China’s Northern Dynasties (386 - 581) and what now remains is the main restoration made during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). It has served as a northern barrier of what is now Beijing through the ages. Connected with Juyongguan Pass in the west and Gubeikou Gateway in the east, this section was built along steep ridges and deep valleys. Differing from that part of the Great Wall more widely visited, this section is renowned for its unique fortifications.

Most parts of the Great Wall have outer defensive parapets to provide cover for the soldiers and a low parapet on the inner side (called Nu Qiang) to prevent soldiers or horses from falling. (See the photos of Badaling, to see the difference) However, in this section, both the outer and inner parapets have melons, indicating its military importance. Also there is a 1000 meter long wall parallel to the main wall to enhance the defenses.

You can mount steps to climb the wall but it is physically demanding, or you can take the cable for a single trip at 35 Yuan or a round trip at 50. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister John Major had taken the Mutianyu Gondola up to the wall.

The surrounding natural environment is most attractive. Here the mountains are densely covered by verdant plants and tall ancient trees. In autumn, the maple leaves with their bright shades are truly amazing. In recent years, a garden party is usually held in autumn. Tourists can enjoy the sights of festive bonfires, performances in ancient costumes and other entertaining programs.

(Photo: 501 Legion occupied the Great Wall at Mutianyu.)

Summary of Mutianyu and Toboggan Ride

To the east of the Great Wall at Badaling and 70 kilometers from the city, Mutianyu is a restored section of the Great Wall. This three- kilometer stretch has 25 beacon towers, watch towers and lodging houses. Historically, the construction here required the largest number of laborers to construct and produced work of extremely high quality. It requires a more rigorous climb than Badaling, but the views are more striking and there are cable cars to take you to the top and even the option of an exhilarating toboggan ride back down.

Fantastic Toboggan Ride

Mutianyu also features a summer toboggan run – open hour:8am-5pm in summer. situated on tower 6, which was built and opened in 1998. The total length of the run is 1580m (5184ft). Mutianyu toboggan ride goes down a series of zigzag bends, with an altitude difference of around 100m (328ft).

Mutianyu toboggan enables riders to sit on a wheeled sled and speed down the long track. The toboggan is a favorite among kids and it is safe as well since there is a hand break for riders to control the speed of the metal toboggan ride. Carts for single and double is available so that adult can keep their child accompany during the toboggan ride. A visit to the great wall is no more tiring and wasting time with the use of Mutianyu toboggan and cable car service.

For more information please go to

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Great Wall of China Hiking & Trekking

The Great Wall is well-known because of its magnificent majestic appearance. Now, in the call of "Loving our China, repairing our Great Wall", many places of The Great Wall have been restored, which makes it more boundless. The Great Wall has become the head key point of interest in China. more and more foreign people is attracted by it. The people who visited are all acclaim as the peak of perfection. According to UNESCO, "the Great Wall became the world's largest military structure. Its historic and strategic importance is matched only by its architectural significance. "
  The Great Wall convolves on the ridges of mountains and desert. It's made up of city gates, circumvallation, enemy towers, signal beacon towers and so on, it was the martial recovery engineering system of the different place and nations in China Long time ago. It was built through several thousands of years by the Chinese people, it's the embodiment of the Great power and strong purpose of Chinese people. It has become the irradiant treasure of our Chinese archaic civilization.
 B.C. Eleven Century, Xi-Zhou, Our country had the recordation that is "The city wall set down in the north". From B.C. Seven Century to B.C. third Century that is called the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, The princes of many little states began to fight and swallow up each other. They all built the long city wall for self-defense, for instance, Chu state built its wall in the Nanyang district firstly, Qi state built its wall in the Shandong province, Zhongshan state, Wei state, Han state, Yan state, Zhao state, Qin state and so on all began to build their city wall. The total of the city wall's length was more than five thousand kilometre, but they were distracted from each other.
 B.C. 221 Year, QinShiHuang consolidated all six states, He pulled down the wall between the states one side, the other side he built the new city wall in the north to protect from the Hun. He command MengTian general and thousands upon thousands people to build the new city wall, it stretch more than five thousand kilometer in an unbroken chain, which is the oldest Great Wall.
 During the West Han state period, The Hun in the north became more and more stronger, So the Han state had to build new city wall, and strengthen the old Qin Great Wall. From the eastern parts of Liaoning province to the YuMen gate, The Great Wall is longer then ten thousand kilometer. Its scale had beyond the Qin Great Wall's by far. During the East Han state period, people built new wall inside of the West Han Great Wall to defense the Serbi and the Qiang nationality, The length of it is more then five kilometers also. The Great Wall which was built in the two Han period, is the biggest project in our history.
 After this, the nations in the north began to come into the north of China, city gate and backland. They built the new North Dynasty kaiserdom, stand face to the North Dynasty kaiserdom. The West Wei state, East Wei state, West Qi state, West Zhou state in the North Dynasty kaiserdom, all built the multiple Great Wall in the northern parts of Yellow River. The Shui Dynasty unified the whole nation, then built the new city wall from the middle-head reaches of the Yellow River to the western parts of Ganshu province, its length is three kilometers, and it forms a new system with the eastern Great Wall.
 During the Tang Dynasty, the power of country is so strong that the all nation in the north have to submit to the authority of Tang, So the archon haven't built any new Great Wall, only built three city to accept surrenders. Here, the eastern Gaoli built more the one thousand kilometers Great wall from the northeast of China to the Datong River estuary to defense Tang.
 In the period of Zhu, Liao and Jin Dynasties, the north parts of Chian was occupied by the Khitan, the west parts of the Yellow River was occupied by West Xia, The North Song Dynasty only repaired the Yan Gate. Since this, Liao and Jin state became more and more stronger, and occupied the whole parts in the north of the Yellow River, so the South Song has no ability to build any new Great Wall. But the Liao-Jin kaiserdom built the new Great Wall in the northeastern parts of Neimenggu province to fight against the other nations in the northern parts. People often call it as "Genghis khan City Wall".
 After the Ming Dynasty was founded, the archons began to build new Great Wall in the northern parts of China to defense the Yuan state come back and Dadan, Waci, Nuzhen etc.And they also built many Great Wall in southeast of China near to the sea to oppugn the foreign enemy. The count of the Ming Great Wall is the best large in our history. The main part of it begins from the the Yalu River to the JiaYu Gate, its length is more than seven thousand kilomitres. Thereunto, the part which from ShanHai Gate to the JiaYu Gate is kept most well.
 At the beginning of Qing Dynasty, in the Liaoning, Jilin Province people built the ShengJing city wall, it extends 2600 kilomitres. And the people also repaired the ShanHai, JuYong, YanMen, JiaYu Gate etc. But from the metaphase of Qing Dynasty, the Great have not been repaired more.
 Now, Under the years run out and the man-made destroy, Many parts of The Great Wall have become very slipshod, even includes the Ming Great Wall. But The Great Wall whose length is more than a hundred thousand kilometers is the huge Chinese dragon, is the best greatness and grandest work in the history of the whole human being. It also materializes the architectural skill. Now the people who bide inside and outside of The Great Wall, through the long time traffics, have unified one big family. The Great Wall is the symbol of China and is China's greatest pride. It will also contribute to promotion the friendship between people who come from the different countries.
   The previous estimate was about 8,850 km. The project in 2012, a joint effort between China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, found the Great Wall stretches through 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. The Great Wall is twice longer!
 For more information please go to

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Prince Gong's Mansion (Gong Wang Fu)

The Prince Gong's Mansion or Gong Wang Fu Museum is located in the western part of central Beijing, China, north of the Shichihai Lake. Consisting of large mansions in the typical siheyuan layout and gardens, Prince Gong's Mansion is known as one of the most ornate and extravagant residence compounds in all of Beijing.Prince Gong's Mansion was constructed in 1777 for minister He Shen during the Qianlong-reign in the late Qing Dynasty. From a young age, He Shen got the trust of Emperor Qianlong, and was able to make large promotion in the imperial administration. In this way he became very wealthy. Because of accusations of corruption, He Shen was executed and the mansion was confiscated in 1799, under the reign of Emperor Jiaqing in favor of Prince Qing Junwang, the 17th and youngest son of Emperor Qianlong.
In 1851, Emperor Xianfeng assigned it to his brother Prince Gong. It is his name that is currently given to the compound.In 1921 Prince Gong's grandson had to hand over the property as a mortgage to the Catholic Church. It was bought by the Furen Catholic University for use as a university buildings, and afterwards for the Beijing Normal University and then for the Chinese Music Academy. During the Cultural Revolution the building was used by the Beijing Airconditioning Factory. In the 1980s it had a new revival. In 1982 it has been declared as one of the Chinese National Cultural Heritages in Beijing. Since November 1996 the buildings and the gardens have become a new publicly open scenic spot for tourists.
Prince Gong's Mansion is one of the most exquisite and best-preserved royal mansions in Beijing and used to house several families, and has a total area of 60,000 square metres. The mansion buildings are located in the south; the gardens are in the north. The buildings include several siheyuan courtyards, two story buildings, and even a grand Peking Opera house. In addition to the mansion, there is a 28,000-square-metre garden, with twenty scenic spots, pavilions, artificial hills including rock originating from the Taihu Lake in Jiangsu, and ponds. 

For more information please go to 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Shanghai Tian Zi Fang

Tian Zi Fang is a warren of alleyways that run off of Taikung in the old French Concession of Shanghai. It is similar to Nanluoguxiang in Beijing in that commerce is used as a basis for architectural preservation. But the vibe is a bit different. The alleyways of Tian Zi Fang are narrower and higher; the surrounding buildings are at least two to three stories high. The construction of a Beijing hutong is generally lower. Tian Zi Fang serves as a sort of creative and bohemian center of Shanghai. In Tian Zi Fang there are artists, especially painters, doing their thing. Thus, it has an element of Beijing's 798 Art District with an active creative-artistic energy, but not nearly as expansive and industrial as that famous Beijing art space. There are many small shops, cafes, and curious stores that hold all sorts of items of interest.

This section of Shanghai is fairly well preserved, given the explosion of property development and building that has happened in the past twenty years.

For more information please go to

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Li River

The Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is the centerpiece of any trip to northeastern Guangxi Province. Gorgeous Karst peaks give you surprises at each bend of the limpid river under the blue sky. Water buffalo patrol the fields, peasants reap rice paddies, school kids and fisherman float by on bamboo rafts. With its breathtaking scenery and taste of a life far removed from the concrete metropolis, the scenery along the Li River become one of China's top tourist destinations.

     The trip starts from the dock south of Liberation Bridge in Guilin downtown area. Otherwise some agencies will transport tourist to by a one-hour bus ride to catch the cruise. The Li river trip is over eighty kilometers (52 miles) long and is estimated to take seven to eight hours. The eye-feasting landscape and country scenery will never disappoint you.

     It is a Chinese tradition to divide the long trip into sections (just as the Three gorges along the Yangtze River) and give each peak an imaginative name. Although some take much of your imagination to see what it is like, listening to tour guide's legendary stories behind them is a delightful experience when you are appreciating the landscapes. Most are mystical fairy and love stories. The writer choose some of the peaks and places to illustrate below. (They are presented in order of location along the Li River. You can also refer to our Li River Map to follow them)

     Now start our impressive Li River trip from section to section. In the first section, which is from Guilin to Ox Gorge, you can enjoy the following scenery: Elephant-Trunk Hill, Rooster Fighting Hill, Pagoda Hill, Forest of Odd Shaped Peaks, Daxu Ancient Town , and Ox Gorge.

     Elephant Trunk Hill:

     Situated majestically on the western bank of Li River, the hill resembles an elephant sucking water from the Li river with its long trunk. It is supposed to be the landmark of Guilin landscape, which you can find on travel brochures or books. The most impressive is said to be the water reflection of a moon-like cave when the moonlight sprinkles over the Li river, hence the name 'Moon over the Water'.

     Pagoda Hill:

     A few minutes down from the Elephant Hill on the west bank is a small hill topped with a pagoda. The hexagonal pagoda is called Longevity Buddha Pagoda (Shoufo Ta) dating from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is said the second floor has stone Buddha figurines on display and the hill is compassed in Chuanshan Park. In autumn, the hill illuminated with red maples is very charming.

     Daxu Town:

     Perching on the northern bank of Li River, the ancient town keeps in its antique style from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). A     flagging street, lined with old residences, shops and stalls, runs two kilometers along the river bank through the town. Some well-preserved residences hidden behind the street door may give you surprises you when you occasionally explore further into a shop. These are quarters for businessmen in the past times. Have a try on various dumping snacks on the stalls or peddle cars along the street. Some will surprise you with both its taste and cheap price. People in the town are very kind to tourists. Further to south, there is a single-arched bridge in the town named Longevity Bridge.

     The town is really a sight off-the-beaten track. Opposite the town on the other side of the Li river, a millstone-like rock with the running waters creates the scene of Grinding Grain.

     In the second section, which is from Ox Gorge to Water-Dropping Village, the charming scenery awaiting you include: Wangfu Rock (Yearning-for-Husband's-Return Rock), Crown Cave, Half-Side Ferry, Yangdi Village, Mural Hill, Yellow Cloth Shoal, and Xingping Landscape.

     Crown Cave (Guanyan):

     A crown-like crag earns the hill its name. What makes the hill a worthy stop for both river cruise tourists and those arrive from Guilin City by bus tour is its twelve kilometer long water-eroded cave. It is a wonderland of various stalactite, stone pillars and rock formations in the cave. Since it is open to tourists in 1995, illuminating lights, sound control tour guide system and escalators are equipped in the scenic area and sightseeing cars and boats enable visitors to tour inside the cave. The government plan to build this site as an all-round tourist area including cave visiting, country sightseeing and ethnic minority exploration. It is estimated to become an important excursion site along the Li River. Tourists can stay in the hotels and villas in the scenic area.

     Half-Side Ferry (Ban Bian Du):

     Not very far from the Crown Cave on the western bank, a huge rock descends into the Li river and cuts off a footpath by the water edge. Villagers have to take a ferry to reach the other side and continue the way. So, this spot gets its name Half-Side Ferry (for usually ferry means to transport people by boat across a body of water and reach the opposite bank)

     From Yangdi to Xingping:

     Down stream from Yangdi to Xingping, the Li river passes an endless procession of distinct peaks and bamboo groves and the stunning landscape. This part is the highlight of the cruise. Pinnacled peaks pop up and surprise visitors at each bend of the river. Water buffalos patrol on the fields; ducks paddle in the waters; peasants reap paddies in front of village houses; fishermen use the cormorants to catch the fish and return them to the boat and kids go home singing songs. All these create an idyllic and beautiful scene of the life removed from concrete cities.

     A reputed attraction is Mural Hill, a 100-meter-high cliff face, which has been weathered and has stratified rock surface in various shades of colors. It is rumored that the colors present nine horses and a person who can identify them out is considered smart. Legendary stories are given to hill rocks and peaks and it is a delightful experience to appreciate the stunning landscape while listening to tour guide's interpretation of the stories behind it.
A stirring moment of mother nature is performed here.

     Fisherman and Cormorants:

     Cormorants are good sized birds who enjoy diving underwater in search of fish. Fishermen use the cormorants to catch the fish and return them to the boat. Usually fishermen seem to be more sun-tanned. The fisherman drive the birds into the water where they dive below the surface in search of fish. When the birds catch a fish they return to the boat and the fisherman removes the fish from their throat and places it in the basket. The secret is that the fisherman places a cord around the bird's neck to keep the bird from swallowing the fish.

You will see buffalos gazing along the river bank or patrolling on the fields. They seem to be indispensable friends of peasants, especially for kids.

     Yellow Cloth Shoal:

     Boating downstream southward from the Mural Hill about 500 meters, peaks become steep and the Li river become wide and quiet. A huge yellow flagstone lying under the limpid waters can easily be seen. It is like a cloth piece and people called it Yellow Cloth Shoal. There are seven green peaks standing nearby. A legend goes that the seven peaks are fairy girls from the heaven who took baths in the river. Enthralled by the charming scene, they stayed here and become into the peaks. With verdant bamboos, the green peaks under the blue sky reflected on the quiet waters create a spectacular scene. Sometimes, people doubt they see boats floating on hill tops. Many Chinese paintings and poems present this charming scene and tourists run out of their films for it.


     The Li river takes a big turn at Xingping and endowed with beautiful and poetic scenery. It has been reproduced in many Chinese landscape paintings. Even the newly-issued 20 RMB note has the scenery on its back. A photographer once said: 'Shots from any perspective for this place turn to be impressive and stunning'.

     A 'village' on the river bank is worthy a visit. Chinese call it a 'village' because of the fact that nowadays it is inhabited by villagers. Actually, it is an age-old castle complex survived from over 500 years ago. Although some courtyard buildings have weathered through ages, the simple but elegant flying-eaves, roofs with colorful paintings, lattice windows and unique timber structures present the folk residence from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The villagers have the same surname of Zhao, so it is rumored that they are descendents of the imperial family in the Song Dynasty. Both Dr. Sun Yet-sun, the pioneer of China's democratic revolution and US president Colinton paid a visit to the village on their visits to Li River.

     The third section goes from Water-Dropping Village to Yangshuo where you can see Snail Hill, Green Lotus Peak (Bilian Peak), and Schoolboy Hill (Shutong Hill). The scenery is equally beautiful.

For more information please go to

Monday, April 11, 2016

Longmen Grottoes

  The Longmen Grottoes are located in the south of Luoyang City. They are between Mount Xiang and Mount Longmen and face Yi River. Longmen Grottoes, Yungang Caves and Mogao Caves are regarded as the three most famous treasure houses of stone inscriptions in China.
     The grottoes were started around the year 493 when Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) moved the capital to Luoyang and were continuously built during the 400 years until the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). The scenery measures 1,000 metres (about 1,094 yards) from north to south where there are over 2,300 holes and niches, 2,800 steles, 40 dagobas, 1,300 caves and 100,000 statues. Most of them are the works of the Northern Wei Dynasty and the flourishing age of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Lots of historical materials concerning art, music, religion, calligraphy, medicine, costume and architecture are kept in Longmen Grottoes.

 For more information please go to

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Zhujiajiao Watertown

Located in a suburb of Shanghai city, Zhujiajiao is an ancient water town well known throughout the country, with a history of more than 1700 years. Covering an area of 47 square kilometers, the little fan-shaped town glimmers like a bright pearl in the landscape of lakes and mountains.

Endowed with another elegant name - 'Pearl Stream' - the little town is the best preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Unique old bridges across bubbling streams, small rivers shaded by willow trees, and houses with courtyards attached all transport people who have been living amidst the bustle and hustle of the modern big city to a brand-new world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquility.

Bridges in the Town:
It is said that to visit Zhujiajaio without seeing the bridges means that you have not really been to Zhujiajiao at all! Bridges in the town are distinctive and old, built during Ming and Qing Dynasties. The old town is thoroughly connected by 36 delicate spans in different shapes and styles, from wooden to stone to marble.

Small bridges are seen very easily there. Fangsheng Bridge (Setting-fish-free Bridge) is the longest, largest and tallest stone bridge, with five openings both in Zhujiajiao and in the Shanghai region. This bridge was built in 1571. On the bridge stands a stone tablet named Dragon Gate Stone, which is engraved with 8 coiling dragons encircling a shining pearl. On top of the bridge are 4 lifelike stone lions.

Lang Bridge (Veranda Bridge), also named Huimin Bridge, is the only wooden bridge and the most featured span in this town. It has wooden bars on the two sides and upturned eaves above, just like a narrow corridor.

North Street - Ancient Street:
In the town, there is an ancient street filled with representative ancient buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, attracting great numbers of domestic and foreign tourists. That is North Street, which is the best-preserved ancient street in this suburb of Shanghai. Only one kilometer long, the whole street is at once primitively simple, yet very elegant. Strolling on this ancient thoroughfare and appreciating the historic buildings, long-established stores, and old bridges as well as the many narrow lanes is another enjoyment.

Zhujiajiao boasts imposing gardens as well as ancient dwellings built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Among the ancient architecture, Ke Zhi Yuan is the largest manorial garden in the town. The garden is commonly named 'Ma Family Garden' after a former host named Ma Wenqin.

Located in Xijin Street in the northern part of town, Ke Zhi Yuan features beautiful sightseeing and quiet and secluded surroundings. It consists mainly of three parts, including a hall area, an artificial hill area and a garden area. In the artificial hill area, there is magnificent symbolic architecture - a foursquare five-story building, on the top of which stands a diametric pavilion named 'Moon View Pavilion.' This building is considered the tallest architecture in the town.

The scenic spots outlined here are just a sampling of the pretty attractions of Zhujiajiao. Old narrow lanes, peculiar stone hawsers on the riverside and old residences also make you enjoy yourself so much as to forget to go home.

For more information please go to

Friday, April 8, 2016

Yulong River (Dragon-meeting River)

The Dragon-Meeting River is the one flowing with rich feelings of the people. Known as “Lesser Lijiang”, full of resourcefulness, it was called “Anle (Peace and Happiness) River” during ancient times. Taking its source in Lingui County, the Dragon-meeting River stretches some 42.5 km with the section between the Dragon-meeting Bridge and Qing’e Ferry Crossing presenting the best scenery, the main spots along which include Rhinoceros Valley, Scenery at Shui’e, Five-fingers Hill, Facing Sun Stockade, Xiangui Bridge, Dragon-meeting Bridge and Ruins of an Ancient City of Returning to Loyalty as well as clusters of Han tombs and Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea, a total of about twenty scenic attractions.

Don’t you want to know how the name of the “Dragon-meeting River” was derived? Legend has it that a long time ago a small dragon from the East China Sea came on patrol all the way up here and he found the place so beautiful that even the scenery of the East China Sea was no match for it. So he didn’t want to leave and instead settled down here in the river. From then on, he got out of the water during the evening to appreciate the scenery while hiding in the river during the daytime. However, as time went on, he got used to it. He not only got out of the water during the evening but also during the daytime to enjoy and play and it is said that many local folks along the river saw it and so the river “Anle” was changed into “Dragon-meeting River”.

The hills along the two banks are of different shapes with dense forests and elegant bamboo groves. Green all the year round, the river has paddies full of life and vitality. The water in the river is so clear that you can see to the bottom and standing by the riverside you’ll get a picturesque scene with a poetic sense to swell up in your mind. What a beautiful picture, a fairyland in the world of human beings! No wonder that Dr. Karl of Harvard University, a world famous expert on the art of gardening, exclaimed, “I’ve seen the most beautiful place in China” when he made a tour on foot here. Whenever a fishing boat or a bamboo raft plies into the water, the reflections by the shoal will turn out a series of pictures presenting an environment for different poetic moods and inspirations. Yuan Mei, a poet of the Qing Dynasty, described it like this, “For certain, I saw tops of the Green Mountain, but strangely over them my boat is sailing.”

For more information please go to

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Longsheng Rice Terrace

 Located approximately 27 kilometers (about 16 miles) southeast of Longsheng County, a vast region of rice terraces stretches layer upon layer, coiling around from the base of Longji (the dragon's backbone) Mountain to its summit. This is the most amazing terrace in China, the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces. Construction of the terraces began in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and continued until the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when construction was completed. The Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces are the culmination of both the profound wisdom and strenuous labor of the Zhuang people.

Now, the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces covers an area of 66 square kilometers (about 16308 acres) and spans an altitude between 300 meters (about 984 feet) and 1100 meters (about 3608 feet). It is said, 'Where there is soil, there is a terrace', be it in the valley, with swift flowing river to the mountains summit with its swirling cloud cover, or from bordering verdant forest to the cliff walls. Even though the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces is large, it is made up of numerous patches no more than 1 mu (it is a traditional unit of area in China, currently call shimu) (about 0.16 acres). The smaller ones like snails while the bigger one like towers. The outline is very smooth with gradients between 26 degrees and 35 degrees.

The Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces is a beautiful natural picture. The linked together rice terraces vary from season to season. In spring, the water is irrigated into the fields and the terraces look like great chains or ribbons hung on the hillsides. With the onset of summer, green waves rush continuously down the mountainside from the heaven. The theme of autumn is the harvest, with the mountainside decorated with the gold of ripened millet. Coming into winter, the whole mountain will be covered with white snow, just like dragons playing with water.

As well as its amazing scenery, Longji is also the area to visit to experience Chinas ethnic minorities' culture. The Zhuang and the Yao nationalities live here, though mainly it is the Zhuang people. The women dress in unique and colorful costumes, singing and dancing. Guests also can join in with them to enjoy the original Zhuang life and culture, and even stay with local families enjoying both the Longji tea and the Longji wine.

For more information please go to

Monday, April 4, 2016

Temple of Confucius

If you have gone to the Lama Temple, you should walk across the street where the Temple of Confucius is located: on Guozijian Street inside Anding Gate. The Temple of Confucius in Beijing is the place where people paid homage to Confucius during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The Temple of Confucius was initially built in 1302 and additions were made during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It has a total area of 22,000 square meters (5.4 acres). It is the second largest temple constructed for Confucius, the greatest thinker and educationalist in ancient China.

This temple consists of four courtyards. The main structures include Xianshi Gate (Gate of the First Teacher), Dacheng Gate (Gate of Great Accomplishment), Dacheng Hall (Hall of Great Accomplishment) and Chongshengci (Worship Hall). Dacheng Hall is the main building in the temple, where the memorial ceremony for Confucius was often held. Inside the temple one can see that 198 stone tablets are positioned on either side of the front courtyard, containing 51,624 names of Jinshi (the advanced scholars) of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Also 14 stone stele pavilions of the Ming and Qing dynasties hold the precious historical information of ancient China.

There is another 189 stone tables in the northwest of the courtyard where they have all 13 Confucian classics carved into them. The main hall has stimulating exhibits of musical and ritual instruments. In warmer months, art students sketch buildings, trees and scenes in the main court. Since it receives relatively few visitors, the Confucius Temple is one of the rare tourist spots in Beijing where one can spend the day reading in peace, and it’s not uncommon to see locals sitting on the courtyard benches, shooting the breeze.

For more information please go to

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuozheng Yuan)

The city of Suzhou is most famous for its elegant classical gardens. Among these, the Humble Administrator's Garden, covering about 52,000 sq. meters (12.85 acres), is the largest and most renowned. Due to its unique designs and ethereal beauty, the garden has garnered many special honors. It is listed as a World Cultural Heritage site and has also been designated as one of the Cultural Relics of National Importance under the Protection of the State as well as a Special Tourist Attraction of China. Along with the Summer Palace in Beijing, the Mountain Resort of Chengde in Hebei Province and the Lingering Garden in Suzhou, it is considered as one of China's four most famous gardens. No other classic garden in the country has been honored more than this one.

The Humble Administrator's Garden was originally built in 1509 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was initially a private garden of a former government servant named Wang Xianchen. It was said he intended to build a garden after retired and just do some gardening work like planting trees and vegetables there, which was said to be the life of a humble man by him. Hence is the name of the garden. The garden was created upon the old relics of a resident and a temple. Water feature is the main background and its natural landscape includes small forests, hills and rock formations. It also has man-made pavilions, halls and parlors. Unlike the Grand View Garden and other famous gardens in Beijing, it is representative of the Ming Dynasty building style.

The garden consists of Eastern, Central and Western sections as well as some residences of the former owners. The resident houses are typical of the style of Suzhou Local Residences, whose feature can be seen in the famous water township Zhouzhuang not far from Suzhou City. The site of the residences has been rebuilt as the Garden Museum now.

Eastern Section
The Eastern Section is dotted with sheer hills, green grasses, dense bamboo and pine forests and winding streams. The main building is the Cymbidium Goeingii Hall (Lanxiang Tang). Its south wall has a panoramic map of the entire garden. Another impressive structure is the Celestial Spring Pavilion (Tianquan Ting), which gets its name from an ancient well inside whose water tastes very sweet.

Central Section
The Central Section is the truly elite part of the garden, with one-third of its area covered by water. It is lined with exuberant trees and elegant parlors. Pavilions and courtyards are clustered throughout. The Hall of Distant Fragrance (Yuanxiang Tang) is the main building that is named after a lotus pool nearby. When the summer comes the pool is filled with lotuses and the heady fragrance wafts into the building. The hall is designed with oversized glass windows on all sides for easy viewing. Nearby is the Small Flying Rainbow Bridge (Xiaofeihong), a rare type of bridge and the only one in the garden you can walk across.

Western Section

A pavilion housing a beautiful natural stoneThe main building in the Western Section is a stately and ornate hall which is divided into two by a massive screen. The south part is 18 Camellias Hall (Shiba Mantuoluohua Guan) and the north part is the 36 Pairs of Mandarin Duck's Hall (Saliu Yuanyang Guan). In a nearby pool where the ducks were fed, stands an octagonal Pagoda Reflection Pavilion (Taying Ting); there is an optical illusion here - it appears as if a pagoda was lifting when all we actually see is the reflection of the pavilion.

In recent years, the Humble Administrator's Garden has been the site of many floral exhibitions. Every spring and summer, the garden hosts the Azalea Festival and the Lotus Festival. There are bonsai shows in the aptly named Bonsai Garden (Penjing Yuan) in the Western Section while precious Chinese stones are shown in the Elegant Stone House (Yashi Zhai) in the Central Section.

After touring the garden, you may want to visit Lion Grove Garden, a famous classical garden of a different style. Also, there are many museums nearby if you want to more deeply explore the gardening techniques and customs of Suzhou.

For more information please go to