Tag Archives: china

Tourism: Chinese. +4 must-sees.

In my Top-100 Must-See Places in the World, there’s a special section on China. So why does this single country get a section all of its own (as Russia does) unlike most other countries? Simple: it’s packed full of touristic wonders; it’s only they’re hardly known about outside the country. China is in many ways a self-sufficient country, and that includes in terms of its domestic tourism. China has no real need for foreign tourists: it has plenty to be getting on with from inside the country ).

Anyway, I regularly (but quietly) add new places to the China sub-list of my Top-100 list, based on my travels around the country. So here’s my latest update adding new data and recommendations to the list…

1. The Longyou Caves.

The Longyou Caves – meaning Dragon Caves – were discovered in 1992 when some locals were pumping water from a pond. You can image their surprise when they came across this lot! It turned out to be ancient man-made caverns – ‘secret’ (unrecorded) ones at that; MASSIVE ones at that (they scooped out a whopping MILLION cubic meters of bedrock to make them!). I mean, how do you (rather, you and, say, an army of laborers) keep that undertaking (which clearly lasted decades) quiet so no one at all knows about it/writes about it? All a mystery. And, accordingly – very must-see!

Here’s some detail on the caves; here too (photos are from here).

Read on: Longyou Caves, Dunhuang, and Lugu and Kanas Lakes…

XIA – PEK – SVO – LHR – NAS – LHR – PHEW.

I’ve been getting about quite a bit this fall, and practically every day I’ve been as busy as a bee. It’s that slightly disorienting routine I get into every few months or so: each day something new – starting with the hotel room I wake up in.

But the other day it wasn’t a hotel room. Upon waking, my first question to myself was the usual ‘Where am I?’, but the answer this time came ‘in an Airbus!’ Indeed I was, flying Xi-an – Beijing – Moscow – London – the Bahamas – London over several days.

Such continent hopping in a short time with lots on the work agenda forces my happy-snapping habit into its minimalist regime. This isn’t so bad, as the pics that do manage to get taken are normally very much ‘greatest  hits’ and no padding. Thus, this post: ‘Greatest Hits of the Last Several Days’!

First, here’s a masterpiece from Petrovich taken at dawn at Danxia:

Before you ask about the fly, let me make the introductions: please meet our pet fly, whom we carry around the world with us in a jar and sometimes let him out for a walk fly :).

And now for a brief rundown of my recent continent hopping…

Read on: Asia > Europe > North America > Europe…

Xi’an, pt. 3: imperial hot springs and a giant wild goose pagoda.

There are many reasons to visit the city of Xi’an and environs. But if those given, and exhibited by way of photos in my previous two posts (Terracotta Army and the old city walls) haven’t convinced you yet, just keep reading…

Between 10 and 15 kilometers from the city there’s a totally ace place called 华清池, aka Huaqing Pool, aka Huaqing Hot Springs. This is a real pretty spot, but at night… more about that in a bit…

Straight away at the entrance you’re knocked off your feet by the sight of some Victoria amazonica – a native plant from, as the name suggests, the Amazon River basin; yep – that Amazon: the one that runs through South America. So what they doing here? I never did get to find out, but it doesn’t really matter… in fact it adds to the mysteriously pioneering spirit of this perfectly peerless plant!

Read on…

Wall riding in Xi’an.

Nihao folks!

The Chinese city of Xi’an is 100%, mandatorily, necessarily, must-visit. Why am I being so emphatic? Because of just one of its tourist attractions…

The most awesome tourist attraction of the city, to me, has to be the city’s fortifications, which are kind of like Xi’an’s Kremlin. The bonus for us was that we got to ride some cool bikes there. These were just perfect for tourists already pretty tired of all the walking before we even got there. Before the bikes appeared though, we got in some of the regular ‘walk and snapping’ first. Just as well – snapping ain’t easy on a bicycle; and there was plenty to snap:

Read on: Ancient walls, funky bikes, and remarkable contrasts…

Old Model Army.

Nihao folks!

Onwards we fly on our China-2017 tour… Next stop: the city of Xi’an – pronounced Si-an – meaning ‘western peace’.

It was a nice day, which is just as well, as there’s plenty to do and see in and near the city. Our itinerary went so: city walls and the old town; ancient pagodas; and (not far from the city) Mount Hua – one of the Sacred Mountains of China. Anyway, more on those later. For now, the Terracotta Army, no less!

You may have heard of this UNESCO World Heritage Site of funerary art; yes, it is quite famous. But the unexpectedly fine detail and massive scale of the mausoleum are only really grasped when you see it in the flesh. A truly grandiose historical site.

Read on…

The mysterious grottos of Huashan.

Onwards we travel around China. Next up: grottos…

Specifically, the Huashan Mysterious Grottos, officially called ‘Flower Mountain’ (花山), here.

Nothing grotty about these underground wonders:

There’s practically zero info about these here caverns. They were discovered accidentally only in the year 2000 by a farmer who for some reason was digging there with a shovel. (He was lucky – what if he’d have fallen in?) Anyway, a while later the authorities cleaned them all up, signposted them up, and added multicolored lights to make them nice and touristy.

Read on…

Lijiang: few words, many photos – pt. 2.

The Li River basin provides that much extraordinarily exquisite scenery to behold that just one ‘few words, many photos’ post is far from sufficient. Therefore, logically, herewith – Lijiang, part 2…

For example, check out this natural AAAArch (an AAAA rating is a particularly high one in the Chinese national rankings of places of interest for tourists). I mean, it looks AAAAmazing from down here; but the views from atop it are arguably even more AAAAwesome, so we were told. So that was that: we had to get up it. And it’s not so daunting a climb as it seems at first: a mere 15 to 30 minutes depending on how sporty or lazy you are.

Read on…

Elephant Trunk Hill – it fits the bill.

Elephant Trunk Hill – it fits the bill.

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve written about elephants. No, not those red, white and blue ones with the three stars. And this time – not real ones either. This time – a stone one!

Elephant? What elephant, where? – I thought at first; then I saw the resemblance: the trunk to the left, body to the right, face, I guess, hidden behind those trees up top :).

More stone elephants than you can shake a bamboo stick at…