A Travellerspoint blog

Bei Lin And The Tang Paradise

We spend the morning in the Bei Lin art district then take a bus to The Tang Paradise Theme Park

sunny 75 °F
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This morning we walked to the art district (Bei Lin) to find Sunee’s old teacher, Laoshi Zhang. Unfortunately he was doing an exhibit out of town and would not be available for another week or so. Sunee bought one of his horse painting so she could practice painting horses. We then shopped for a while, picking up a few art items and some tea cups. For lunch we had Lanzhou noodles and headed back to the hotel. On the way, we stopped at a local tea seller and visited for awhile, trying several different teas. We ended up buying the locally grown Zi Yang Mao Jian green tea and a red tea from Fujian, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. This is a lapsong type of tea which was really good. We also picked up some genuine Tieh Guan Yin from Anxi District in Fujian, the home of the original Tieh Guan Yin oolong tea. Not a bad selection of tea, if I do say so.

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Our hotel while in Xian. We actually had a hard time finding it from the bus station. Touts everywhere wanting 50 Yuan to take us to the Xian Hotel. We finally got a van which took us to a five-star hotel called The Xian Hotel outside the city walls. After running around a while looking for this hotel we finally figured out the problem. The name of this hotel is actually Xian City Hotel. Nice to finally find it. The people at the hotel, as always, were very friendly and helpful.

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A nice HDR view from the fifth floor of Xian.

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I also took some pictures of a few workers carrying away some of the debris from the construction area.

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We stopped at this tea shop and bought some local green tea and some Tieh Guan Yin from Fujian. Only in preparing for this trip did I find that Shaanxi Province grows its own green tea. We bought a kilogram worth to take back with us.

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This is the famous Stele Museum which houses steles from most of the dynasties that ruled from Xian. One really interesting one is dedicated to the Nestorian Christians during the Tang Dynasty.

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These were new since our last visit. The area, however, still remains a great place for artists to visit.

We finally got back to the hotel at around 1430, relaxed and then caught Bus 601 to The Tang Paradise Theme Park which I had read a lot about. This trip took about an hour and we arrived to the park at around 1700. We were excited because the Song Dynasty theme park in Kaifeng was absolutely magnificent. This theme park, however, was disappointing. But, since we were there, we figured to make the most of it. We probably spent around four hours at the theme park, taking movies and pictures. I had heard that the lights were worth waiting for and they were not too bad. We took a lot of pictures which you can see. At around 2100, we caught a taxi back to the hotel and found a 24 hour restaurant where we had dinner. It was not cheap but very good food. It had been a long day, so we returned to the hotel for the evening.

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Welcome to the not-so-impressive Tang Dynasty Theme Park. The place was pretty well deserted. Enjoy the pictures but be advised that it does not even come close to the Song Dynasty theme park in Kaifeng, Henan Province.

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Weird as the famous cement boat in Beijing was actually built by the Empress Dowager in the late 19th Centurty. Tang Dynasty Theme Park - NOT!

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Shopping. What else did you expect in a theme park?

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An interesting display with plenty of dry ice (I suspect) for the mist. Not bad but kind of hoaky IMHO.

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This was an interesting stainless steel structure which reflected some interesting view of the lake with the statues near by. There were four of five which were quite nice.

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That is the Tang Dynasty Big Goose Pagoda just on the other side of the lake.

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Here are a series of nice sunsets with the lake and surrounding buildings as foregrounds.

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I always love night shots and this theme park had quite a few to enjoy.

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img=http://photos.travellerspoint.com/153230/large_26PagodaNight.jpg]

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Overall, we thought the theme park was OK but if Sunee had not gotten in free and I had not gotten a half price ticket, we would probably have felt like it was overpriced. It took us a few minutes to catch a taxi back to the hotel. It was late and we were hungry so we went looking for food and found that 24-hour restaurant. A long but interesting day comes to an end.

Posted by inchinahil 01:19 Archived in China Tagged xian shaanxi-province bei_lin_art_district tang_paradise_theme_park Comments (0)

The Xian Botanical Gardens And Muslim Quarter

We visit the local botanical gardens and then go on a night visit to the Muslim Quarter

sunny 78 °F
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This morning we got up early so we could do some maintenance like washing clothes and watch the sunrise over Xian. At 0900 we found an internet cafe to send out some emails and had some noodles for breakfast. We had a nice visit with a very helpful lady who gave us directions to the Botanical Gardens. Figured the flowers should be in bloom this time of year. The Garden was outside the city walls so we caught a taxi. We spent from around 1030 until noon at the Gardens taking lots of movies and pictures.

Friendly local

Friendly local

The Xian Botanical Gardens

The Xian Botanical Gardens

===Enjoy the afternoon and flowers with us.===

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Most Chinese seem to have come to the garden to relax and reflect much as this young lady was doing.

At noon we returned to Bei Lin art district to look for a well-known courtyard house I had just read about. Laoshi Zhang’s wife took us to the building but it was locked up. Everyone around the area said it was a great place to visit. Must remember to visit it next time we are in Xian. We also went to a small temple before finding some Shanxi knife-shaved noodles for lunch. These noodles are called daoxiaomian. I had forgotten just how much I liked these noodles.

Small temple we visited

Small temple we visited

One of the local monks I greeted

One of the local monks I greeted

As we walked around in the area, we came upon a big Walmart so we went inside and did a bit of shopping but did not buy anything. We then returned to our hotel and relaxed until around 1800 when we invited one of the travelers, Supal, to join us on a visit to the Muslim Quarter. We took bus 611 and got off at the Drum Tower. We explored the shops and had some street food until around 2130 when we got a taxi back to our hotel. We were going to fly to Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, tomorrow so we made it a fairly early evening.

The famous Xian Drumtower identifying the Muslim Quarter

The famous Xian Drumtower identifying the Muslim Quarter

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Guess who loves to shop?

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We did not finish shopping until way late and so had just a bit of a problem finding a taxi back to our hotel. We were too tired (and old) to walk back.

Posted by inchinahil 21:54 Archived in China Tagged xian muslim_quarter shaanxi_province xian_botanical_gardens Comments (0)

Our Return To Wutai Mountain

We spend two nights on the mountain.

sunny 48 °F
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11 April 2012

We got up early and checked out of the hotel by 0700 and took our pre-arranged cars to the airport at 0730. We left Xian airport at around 1100, arriving to the Taiyuan airport at around noon. Before we even got out of the airport we were accosted by tour touts who told us that there were no buses going from Taiyuan to Wutai Mountain and we should take them up on their offer. We heard exactly the same thing outside from the many touts hanging around. Paying no attention, we boarded the city bus for the trip to downtown (15 Yuan) where we finally got some taxis to the bus station. We caught the NO BUS TO WUTAI SHAN at 1350 for the three or four hour to to the sacred mountain. At least four different tour guides at the airport informed us that there were no buses and all the taxis told us the same, yet here we were riding on a bus to Wutai Mountain. It simply cannot get any worse/better than this in China!

It was a bit strange on the way to Wutai as the driver asked for 6 Yuan extra from the passengers so he could take the new expressway to the Mountain. Instead of four hours, we could make it in two hours. Not enough passengers were interested so we traveled the four hour way.

We arrived to the entrance of Wutai Mountain at around 1800 and to our hotel about thirty minutes later, paying 100 Yuan for two nights. It was late so we found a place to have dinner and turned in for the night. It was raining as we shut off the lights.

12 April 2012

Got up early this morning (0700) and had a leisure, very Chinese breakfast. We caught the bus to Taihua Temple and spent all day visiting the various temples in the area. We then went back to our hotel and had a shower and relaxed. At around 1700 we got a taxi to go to the Ming Ye temple, Guanyin Cave Temple and the Loong Quan Temple. We then returned to the area of the hotel and walked around for a while and had jaodz for dinner and then visited some small temples before calling it an evening at around 2100. We were both very tired and had no trouble sleeping in our comfortable hotel. The photographs speak for themselves.

A view near Taihua Temple, the main Wutai Mountain temple

A view near Taihua Temple, the main Wutai Mountain temple

Busy day today at all the temples

Busy day today at all the temples

Giant brass bell at Taihua Temple

Giant brass bell at Taihua Temple

Prayers for the camera

Prayers for the camera

An HDR composition

An HDR composition

Tibetan visitors

Tibetan visitors

Small Chinese gazebo on the mountain side

Small Chinese gazebo on the mountain side

Taihua Temple Entrance

Taihua Temple Entrance

Small building sat up above the other temples

Small building sat up above the other temples

The world famous stupa of Taihua Temple

The world famous stupa of Taihua Temple

Tibetan tourists photo ops

Tibetan tourists photo ops

An old but interesting door-locked

An old but interesting door-locked

A friendly ticket taking monk

A friendly ticket taking monk

Only in case of fire

Only in case of fire

Portico of Chinese lanterns

Portico of Chinese lanterns

Golden face image next to the giant prayer wheels

Golden face image next to the giant prayer wheels

Lots and lots of monks

Lots and lots of monks

High hanging Buddha image

High hanging Buddha image

Praying Tibetans

Praying Tibetans

A dangerous kungfu Nun?

A dangerous kungfu Nun?

More high hanging Buddha images

More high hanging Buddha images

Break time

Break time

Our group of tourists

Our group of tourists

An old guardian

An old guardian

The large Taihua Temple complex from the back

The large Taihua Temple complex from the back

View of the snow on the northern mountain

View of the snow on the northern mountain

Impressive small red temple

Impressive small red temple

Our quick lunch - egg roti

Our quick lunch - egg roti

Huge green bell to the east of Taihua Temple

Huge green bell to the east of Taihua Temple

A new temple entrance

A new temple entrance

Small temple among the hills and mountains of Wutaishan

Small temple among the hills and mountains of Wutaishan

A closer look at the small tempe

A closer look at the small tempe

Great view with the snow on the mountains

Great view with the snow on the mountains

Nice view of the white pagoda north of Taihua Temple

Nice view of the white pagoda north of Taihua Temple

A commercial enterprise, maybe

A commercial enterprise, maybe

Fantastic view of temple complex in the valley

Fantastic view of temple complex in the valley

White pagoda complex

White pagoda complex

Guardian General

Guardian General

Fairly new stone carving

Fairly new stone carving

On a small cliff sits another temple

On a small cliff sits another temple

Temple roofing tiles

Temple roofing tiles

Dressed for the cold

Dressed for the cold

A unique door knocker

A unique door knocker

Monk crematorium

Monk crematorium

A more distant view

A more distant view

A monk's rucksack

A monk's rucksack

Waiting for the free bus to another temple

Waiting for the free bus to another temple

An ornate small temple near the Taihua Complex

An ornate small temple near the Taihua Complex

A local laborer

A local laborer

Commercial enterprises in China mean bargaining

Commercial enterprises in China mean bargaining

Enter yet another compound

Enter yet another compound

Tibetan tourists seeking photos

Tibetan tourists seeking photos

The Goldman, a nice place for a break

The Goldman, a nice place for a break

A look down on the Taihua Complex

A look down on the Taihua Complex

Close up of Mr. Goldman

Close up of Mr. Goldman

Too much time on my hands - photoshopping

Too much time on my hands - photoshopping

A closer look at the green bell

A closer look at the green bell

Shopping anyone?

Shopping anyone?

A porcelain Buddha from - can't remember!

A porcelain Buddha from - can't remember!

An older image fronting some paintings

An older image fronting some paintings

Buddhist wall paintings

Buddhist wall paintings

The long corridor of a temple complex

The long corridor of a temple complex

A local monk

A local monk

Newly found friends

Newly found friends

Incense burner with a view

Incense burner with a view

Outside temple complex wall

Outside temple complex wall

Blessings from a Tibetan monk

Blessings from a Tibetan monk

This temple is not ready for visitors

This temple is not ready for visitors

A finished visit

A finished visit

An opened door

An opened door

Guan Yin Cave Temple

Guan Yin Cave Temple

A good luck sign

A good luck sign

Ancient temple well

Ancient temple well

Fortune telling well

Fortune telling well

Inside the well

Inside the well

A portrait

A portrait

Another portrait

Another portrait

With the local monks

With the local monks

A temple on a distant hill

A temple on a distant hill

Fat bBuddha

Fat bBuddha

Another view of Taihua

Another view of Taihua

The mountains to the west or was that east

The mountains to the west or was that east

Dragon porcelain

Dragon porcelain

A brand new temple recently completed

A brand new temple recently completed

The following photos are of this newly opened temple complex.

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Back to the Taihua Complex one last time. More temples in the area.

Another view of Taihua

Another view of Taihua

Another view of the crematorium

Another view of the crematorium

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The Guanyin Cave Complex

The Guanyin Cave Complex

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Posted by inchinahil 20:09 Archived in China Tagged china shanxi_province buddhist_monasteries wutai_mountain Comments (0)

Return To Taiyuan And Flight Back To Chengdu

We return to Taiyuan by bus and eventually decide to return to Chengdu.

sunny 80 °F
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Return to Taiyuan, Food Poisoning And Plans Canceled

We got up early again this morning (0600) had breakfast and got on the bus which would take us to the bus station where we caught the bus to Taiyuan at around 0830. The trip was 75 Yuan. We got back to Taiyuan at 1230 and got to the hotel BHTL at 1330. The hotel was 168 Yuan a night with breakfast. Our fellow travelers then set out to visit Jinci Temple and we decided to do a little shopping in the area of the tea market. It did not take us long to realize that there was really no local tea to be had and so we had an early lunch at a Dicos, a fake KFC we had seen in Emei City as well as Chengdu. This was a big mistake. I ordered the special thinking it was a chicken sandwich but it turned out to be a shrimp patty sandwich. When I first bit into the sandwich, I knew I should not eat it. It probably had been sitting in the display case for several hours. I broke a cardinal rule for traveling in China - never, ever eat anything that has not been cooked in front of you. I spent the rest of that day and all of the next day, sick in bed and very miserable. All I could do was drink lots of liquids and hope for the best. I did get some pictures of our bus trip from Wutai Mountain to Taiyuan.

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We spent one more day in Taiyuan and I immediately trashed the rest of the planned trip for airline tickets (1360 Yuan) back to Chengdu where we planned to spend our time visiting parts of Chengdu then visiting our friends in Emei City. Seems there is something to the concept of - The best laid plans of . . .

Return to Chengdu

Our plane left at 1045 from Taiyuan and arrived back to Chengdu at 1300. We immediately caught taxis to the hotel by the north gate of SWJTU. We then found an internet cafe and then got a massage across the street from the hotel. I was still not over the food poisoning so we retired early.

Posted by inchinahil 07:36 Archived in China Tagged taiyuan shanxi_province wutai_mountain dicos_restaurant Comments (0)

A Day at Dujiangyan Irrigation Project

We travel on a short bus ride to the 2,200 year-old irrigation project and Word Heritage site of Dujiangyan.

overcast 76 °F
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This morning we got up early, had breakfast, went to the bank, and caught taxis to the bus station for our trip to the 2,000 year old irrigation system Du Jiang Yan. We left the station at around 1100 and arrived at the World Heritage Site at around noon. A tout conned us for about fifteen minutes but realized what was going on and caught the city bus to the site. While looking over the entrance area, we came across a lady selling green tea from the local mountain and Sunee negotiated a great price for a pretty good tea - Qingcheng Xue Ya tea(青城雪芽). We then spent the afternoon at Du Jiang Yan taking lots of pictures and movies. It is a great way to spend an afternoon as you can see.

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Had to snap this on the way to the World Heritage Site. This is the place that makes Apple iPads. Don't have one yet but soon, very soon.

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We arrived to the town next to the irrigation project and immediately were targeted by a high pressure tout. Listened, followed her to a van and then listened for another five minutes before we got out of the van and went to the bus station. Caught the Number 7 bus to the site. Most of the time, touts are a waste of time.

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Dujiangyan Entrance

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Sunee gets in for free and I pay half price. Welcome to old age benefits.

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Never mess with a Kungfu Panda.

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A nice fountain near the entrance.

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A museum-like store that sells ebony products. This and the next are close ups of some life-size statues.

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Another ebony carving.

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The ancient lion columns that act as water spouts

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Close up of the lion head water spout

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Macro photography - yellow close up

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Getting closer to the yellow flower

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HDR photo of a temple embedded in rocks

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The row of lion head water spouts

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Pandas for sell

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A beautifully lighted red rose

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Met these beautiful twins and took some pictures

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HDR of the river and local buildings

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Tools for the irrigation project

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Crossing a bridge

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The pagoda among the trees

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A different view

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A Chinese bridge

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Crossing another bridge

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Everyone was shaking the bridge as they crossed, so Sunee was not interested.

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The Dujiangyan Flood Control system over 2000 years old

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A bridge pretty far away

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HDR view of one of the bridges

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A stylized view of the mountains along the river

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A small beautiful temple next to the river

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Portrait

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A colorful buddha in one of the temples along the river

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Portrait with fountain

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HDR photo of temple along the river

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View of the area from a temple roof

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The old downtown bridge across the two rivers of the project

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A huge restaurant sitting between the two rivers

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Anyone hungry for dried and spice meat. I was not.

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HDR side view of one of the bridges downtown

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HDR view of one of the many temples in the area

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Bridge lamps

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View from the side walk on the main street of downtown

We left Du Jiang Yan and got back to Chengdu at around 1730 and caught taxis back to our hotel where we got a light dinner, contacted one of my students and had another massage before calling it a night. By this time, I was completely back to normal and looking forward to spending a leisurely day with Craig, a recent graduate of SWJTU in Emei.

Posted by inchinahil 06:46 Archived in China Tagged china sichuan dujiangyan_irrigation_project qingcheng_mountain Comments (0)

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