Top 4 Most Amazing Caves and Caverns in Beijing

July 28th, 2015
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Plan your Beijing tour?  You’ll definitely cram several Beijing’ UNESCO World Heritage sites on your travel plan including the spectacular Great Wall of China. In addition to its world famous historical sites, Beijing is blessed with a abundance of natural resources including several easy-to-access karst caves.

If you are an cave enthusiast, or you are an outdoor adventurist, your Beijing trip can be added with an interesting day trip to the underground kingdoms of caves and caverns in Beijing’s suburbs. These caves are easy to access and you don’t have to be an avid spelunker or speleologist  to enjoy the cave tour. We compose the top 4 caves based our own criteria and experience in terms of size, formation and location.

1.  Shihua Cave (The Stone Flower Cave) 石花洞
The Stone Flower Cave is located in Fangshan District,  about 50 km southwest of Beijing city center. It was first discovered in 1446, Ming Dynasty by a Buddhist monk, Yuanguang. The structure of the cave is 7-level and multi-branch. Now the 7 levels have been explored while the only the floors from the 1st to the 3rd are opened to the public with a total length of 2.5 km.

Shihua Cave (The Stone Flower Cave)

Shihua Cave (The Stone Flower Cave)

Beijing Stone Flower Cave is one of the 4 most famous caves in China with a superb collection of beautiful sights. At present, only three levels are open to the public. The first level is more than 300 metres long, and contains a corridor, a pool like a lotus flower, three big halls, and a cave with an inner cave. Visitors can enjoy stalactites, stalagmites, cobbles, stone curtains, stone pillars, and stone flowers everywhere inside the cave-an eye-opening experience.

How to get there: First take the subway Fangshan Line and get off at Liangxian Naguan Station (良乡南关站), then connect the local public bus known as Fang 43 (房43) and get off at the final bus stop.
Ticket Price: 70RMB
Tel: 010-60312170

2.  Yinhu Cave ( Silver Fox Cave) 银狐洞
About 14 km to the west of Shihua Cave ( The Stone Flower Cave ) lies the Yinhu Cave ( Silver Fox Cave ), about 60 km to the southwest of Beijing city center.

Silver Fox Cave is such named because there is a fox-shaped snow-white calcite crystal which is very rare and precious, therefore, the cave got the name Yinhu (Silver Fox).

Yinhu Cave ( Silver Fox Cave)

Yinhu Cave ( Silver Fox Cave)

This multi-layer karst cave is luxuriantly a wonderful spectacle. The winding cave is about 4500 meters  long with a water river of 1500 meters long.  In the cave, there are uncommon various stalactites, white stalagmites, grand stone pillars, asbestos, shining stone waterfalls.

The Silver Fox Cave is the largest dry and water karst cave in the northern China. The underground water is clear and never frozen.  The meandering underground rivers penetrate as deep as more than 100 meters (328 feet). Tourists can boat on the clear and winding waters.

How to get there: Take the Bus No.917 (支线3) from Tianqiao Bus Terminal (天桥) and get off at the stop of Hebeizhuang (河北庄), then change for the local bus known as Fang 20 (房20) and get off the intersection leading to the Yinhu Cave.
Ticket Price: 40RMB
Tel:010-60363236

3.  Yunshui Cave in the Shangfangshan Mountain 上方山云水洞
Shangfangshan, as the branch of the Mt. Yan, is located in Fangshan Districe, in the southwest of Beijing’s suburban area.  With its main peak 860 meters, the Shangfangshan Park is characterized by vast area of woods, nine marvelous karst caves, twelve stupendous peaks, seventy-two ancient temples, and the largest stupa group in North China.

Yunshui Cave in the Shangfangshan Mountain

Yunshui Cave in the Shangfangshan Mountain

Yunshui Cave is the most famous spot in the Shangfangshan Park. It is locates about, 42km to the southwest of Shihua Cave and  73 km to the southwest of Beijing city center. It is the largest karst cave in the Northern China. The cave is about 600 meters deep with 6 natural halls. In the cave, there are 12 peaks and 108 natural scenic spots. “Zhongtian Zhizhu” is the tallest peak with a sea-level of 860 meters. It has the tallest stalagmite in China with the height of 37 meters.

Add: Shengshuiyu Village, Hancunhe Town, Fangshan District
Ticket Price:50 RMB
Opening Time: 08:00-18:00
How to get there: Bus No.917 to Fangshan Bus Station, then transfer to No.15 minibus to Shangfangshan National Forest Park

4.  Jingdong Karst Cave 京东大溶洞
Jingdong Karst Cave has existed ever since 1.5 billion years before, hence the name of  “The Oldest Karst Cave in the world”. This karst cave stretches over 25,00m including a 100m boat trip inside the karst cave. The temperature inside the karst cave is stable, warm in winter and cool in summer.

Jingdong Karst Cave

Jingdong Karst Cave

The karst cave is divided into 8 viewing areas named after the unique rock formations, the stalactites, stalagmites, and columns that can be found inside the cave. The formations were created over thousands of years by dripping water. Some of the eight viewing areas are given interesting names like “Fairyland in Penglai”, “Spring Rain in Southern China”, “Water Curtain Cave”, “Heavenly Torch” and so on.

The normal visiting time inside the cave takes about one and half hours. Visitors will be escorted by a karst cave tour guide from beginning to the end. The entrance ticket is RMB65 p/p. After having your ticket checked, you walk through a 140m man-made tunnel which is linked to the cave inside. The stalactites, stalagmites, and columns are lit by lamps of different colors. You have to walk slowly to keep from falling down due to the wet and slippery stone steps.

How to get there?
For public transportation, you take the bus 852 or 918 from Dongzhimen Transport Hub. The bus 852 is faster than the Bus 918. Arriving at Pinggu Bus Terminal, you are required to connect bus 25 passing by Jingdong Big Karst Cave and get off the Jingdong Karst Cave. For self-guide drive, you drive along Jinggu Expressway, then branch off and follow the road sign pointing to Jingdong Big Karst Cave.

Enquiry: 60971708
Tourist complaint: 89991622
Entrance Fee: 65 Yuan
The the stalactites look like icicles.

 

Any questions, just drop a  line.

Top 5 Things to Do in Beijing

July 25th, 2015
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Beijing is a mega-city with populations of more than 20 million, a marvelous mix of modern living and old fashion manners. It is a challenge to decide what to see and what to do in Beijing with so many sightseeing and historical places.   Here is our choice of the top 5 things to do on your Beijing tour.

1.  Forbidden City
The Forbidden City, now also know as Palace Museum, was once the imperial palace for the last two successive dynasties in China – Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644)  and Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) for about 500 years. For many first time visitors to Beijing, this is the first must see attraction in Beijing. With the major artifacts from the former palaces having been shipped to Taiwan in 1949, people mainly come here to look at the massive palace itself and its spectacular architectures.

Just a kind reminder: The Forbidden City is closed every Monday except school  summer vacation ( Jul 01 though Aug 31) and national public holiday.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

People usually visit the Forbidden City after visiting Tiananmen Square since the two sites are connected. If you visit Beijing in a quite limited time, you may also cram the excursion to the Great Wall of China on a day trip following Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City.  Click How to Visit Forbidden City for more detailed information. 

2. Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is located in the heart of Beijing, the largest city square of this kind around the world, 880 meters from north to south, 500 meters from east to west, accommodating about a rally of one million people.

Tiananmen Tower

Tiananmen Tower

It is surrounded by Tiananmen Tower (Heavenly Peace Tower) on its north; the Grand Hall of the People on its
west; the National Museum on its east and the traditional Qianmen Street in its south. After visiting Tiananmen Square, people will go through the underground tunnel to Tiananmen Tower and walk to the north gate to the Forbidden City.  Click How to Visit Tiananmen Square for more detailed information.

3.  Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is the iconic landmark in China. It attracts millions of the Great Wall admirers flocking to Beijing from both home and abroad each year. The Great Wall of China around Beijing are open to visitors all year round with its different sections. The most popular sections include Mutianyu Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall, Jinshanling Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, Gubeikou Great Wall and Jiankou Great Wall.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

You may choose your favorite section to hike or just to feel. Some travelers even spend a few days hiking several sections of the Great Wall around Beijing. Click How to Visit the Great Wall of China for more detailed information.

4.  Summer Palace
The Summer Palace was once a summer park in the later Qing Dynasty where emperors would come here to escape the hot and sticky weather downtown Beijing. It was actually more than a summer resort, it was also a working place where emperors would manage state affairs,  meet officials from other provinces and foreign envoys as well.

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is the largest imperial garden with outstanding traditional architectures and stunning landscapes – long corridors, Taihu rockeries, ponds, bridges, lakes and dykes and the dominating Wansh Wanshou Hill.
Click How to Visit Summer Palace for more detailed information.

5. Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven used to the place where the emperors in Ming and Qing dynasties would come here for a religious ceremony for praying for harvest.  Today the most important legacy of the temple lies its splendid architectures and its century old cypresses.

Temple of Heabven

Temple of Heaven

Now the Temple of Heaven is a huge park rather than a temple as its name suggests. It is a paradise for retirees, doing all kinds of exercises, singing, dancing,  flying kites, playing chess and many more in the morning.

Get up in the early morning and come here for a glimpse of the intriguing activities in the park, adding to your understanding of Beijing and China as well.  Click How to Visit Temple of Heaven.

Our readers also enjoyed these posts:

Top 10 Photo Spots in Beijing
Top 10 Iconic Landmarks in Beijing

Any questions, just drop a line. 

Guangzhou’s Top 10 Iconic Landmarks

July 18th, 2015
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Guangzhou is oft-lauded as the “Southern Gate to China”, one of the three megacities in China and other two are Beijing and Shanghai. The three metropolitan cities are competing for the tallest building and currently Shanghai is the winner with Shanghai Tower the tallest at 632 meters and Guangzhou Tower the second 600 meters.

Of course, speaking of a city’s landmark, we don’t necessarily list all the top tallest buildings in that city.  A city’s landmarks don’t have to be physically tallest, but they should have important impact on people’s minds in terms of their history, culture, intriguing stories behind them and spectacular buildings as well, which reflect the city’s image and charactors. Plan your Guangzhou tour? Below are the top 10 landmarks you shouldn’t miss.

1.  Zhenhai Tower 镇海楼 (1380)
Zhenhai Tower is one of the architectural landmarks in Guangzhou. It stands on the ridge known as “Xiaopanlong Ridge” (literally a small coiled dragon ridge ) on Yuexiu Hill, within now Today’s Yuexiu Park. In the 13th year of Hongwu Period (1380 ) in Ming Dynasty, a massive city reconstruction was carried out in Guangzhou. The northern city wall was expanded to Yuexiu Hill and on the hilltop a 5-story build was built for the purpose of overlooking the surrounding area.

  Zhenhai Tower 镇海楼

Zhenhai Tower 镇海楼

“Zhenhai” literally means “control or suppress the sea”. Here “sea” refers to Pearl River( or Zhujiang River and Zhu River ). Zhenhai Tower is also known as “Wanghai Tower” and here “Wanghai” mens “Overlooking the sea”, viewing Zhujiang River. Historically Zhenhai Tower was reconstructed for 5 times. The present building was rebuilt in 1928, a  reinforced concrete structure transformed from its former wooden building.

In 1950s, the building was turned into a city museum known as ” Guangzhou Museum”, displaying the materials and relics regarding to Guangzhou’s development in the past 2000 years. It was listed as the National Protection Key Unit in March, 2013.

2.   The Cathedral of Sacred Heart 石室圣心大教堂 (1888)
Out from Shamian Island, you just stroll along the Green Path along the northern bank of Zhujiang River to the east direction, soon you reach Renmin South Road ( 人民南路), then walking along Renmin South Road in the north direction and turn left at Yide Road ( 一德路). When you see a big signboard over the street with the two Chinese chinese characters ””石室”, then you turn left and see the towering Church.

The Cathedral of Sacred Heart

The Cathedral of Sacred Heart

The Cathedral is a magnificent construction with walls and columns made of granite. It is well known both in the main land China,and oversea for its gothic architectural style and characteristic features of high towers, clusters of huge columns, pointed arches and stained glass windows.

It was founded 1863 and completed in 1888, date of the Feast of Sacred Heart which become the name of the Cathedral. It covers an area of some 2754 square meters, 35m west to east,78.69m high.

3.  Stone Sculpture of Five Rams 广州五羊石像 (1959)
Yuexiu Park is the biggest park in Guangzhou. It belongs to the ending ranges of Baiyun Mountain, stretching for 3 kilometers from the east to the west with an altitude of over 70 meters.

There are many beautiful views and historical relics in the park. The Five-Ram Sculpture is one of the most famous structures in Yuexiu Park.  If you want to travel around Guangzhou, Yuexiu Park is a good place for you to know about the city.

Stone Sculpture of Five Rams

Stone Sculpture of Five Rams

The Five Ram Statue is one of the emblems and landmarks in Guangzhou.  Legend has it that five celestial immortals riding on rams arrived in town with rice stems which they presented to locals to get rid of poverty and famine as a gift from heaven. The sculpture was completed in 1959, and made of  over 130 blocks of granite, 11 meters tall.

Entrance Fee: free
Opening Hours: 06:00-21:00
How to get there: You can get to the park by taking Bus No. 2, 5, 6, 10, 58, or 101, or taking Subway Line 2 to Yuexiu Gongyuan Station

4. Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Memorial Hall 孙中山纪念堂(1931)
The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is a large octagonal building with a span of 71 meters without pillars, accommodating a big stage and holds 3,240 people. It is one of Guangzhou City’s most well known landmarks. The hall was designed by Lu Yanzhi and was constructed with funds raised by local and overseas Chinese people in memory of Sun Yat-sen. Construction work started in 1929 and completed in 1931.

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

The exterior of the hall contains some gardens, and decorative historical walls. It has many wide open spaces where the people of Guangzhou often go to spend some time relaxing.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours:08:00-18:00
How to get there: take Subway Line 2 to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall; or take Buses No.2, 27, 42, 56, 62, 74, 80, 83, 133, 185, 204, 209, 224, 229, 261, 276, 284, 293, 297, 305, 518 or 543, Guangzhou

5. The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall  陈家祠 (1894)
The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall was originally built by the 72 Chen clans for the accommodation and preparation for the imperial examinations from Chen families in 1894 in Qing Dynasty. Later it was turned to be the Chen Clan’s Industry College, and later middle schools afterward.

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

Now it is home to the Guangdong Folk Art. The Chen clan ancestral hall is famous for the ornate decoration which is presented inside and outside the halls. A large collection of wood carving, stone carving, brick carving, pottery, plaster and iron engraving are seen on the walls,beams, columns, ridges and soon, a trove of Chinese folk arts.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 08:30-17:30
How to get there: take subway Line 1 to Chenjiaci Station

6. Canton Tower  广州塔 (2010)
Canton Tower( or Guangzhou Tower) is the tallest structure in Guangzhou, also known as the Guangzhou TV Astronomical & Sight Seeing Tower. It is a multi-purpose tower – Guangzhou TV, Observation, Recreation and Sightseeing with the height of 600 meters, the second tallest structure in China just after Shanghai Tower. It is the most essential landmark in Guangzhou, upgrading its image around the world.

 Canton Tower  广州塔

Canton Tower 广州塔

The Canton Tower is designed by the Dutch architects Mark Hemel and Barbara Kuit of Information Based Architecture, together with Arup, the international design, engineering and business consulting firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom.  The Canton tower is in a twisted shape or hyperboloid structure.

The Canton Tower is situated on the confluence of the city’s new axis and Zhujiang Sightseeing Axis, about 125 meters south of the Pearl River (Zhujiang River or Zhu River).

7. Guangzhou International Finance Center 广州国际金融中心 (广州西塔)  2010
Guangzhou International Finance Centre, also known as Guangzhou West Tower, is a 438.6-meter high skyscraper with 103 stories, a part of the Guangzhou Twin Towers.

Guangzhou International Finance Center

Guangzhou International Finance Center

This highest building was designed by Wilkinson Eyre. Its construction started in 20015 and was completed in 2010. It is a multi-function building used for conference, hotel and office buildings. It is situated in the financial business center along the city’s new axis.

8. CITIC Plaza 广州中信广场 (1996)
China International Trust and Investment (CITIC) Plaza is a 391 meter skyscraper with an 80-storey  in the Tianhe District of Guangzhou. It is the second tallest building in Guangzhou, one of the most iconic architectural landmarks in Guangzhou.

 CITIC Plaza 广州中信广场

CITIC Plaza 广州中信广场

Its structural height includes two antenna-like spires on the top and completed in 1996. It is located along the city’snew axis, surrounded by other tall buildings, a symbol of Guangzhou’s booming wealth and development.

9. Pazhou International Exhibition Center  琶洲展馆 (2002)
The Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center is located in Pazhou Island in the southeast of the central district of Guangzhou. Panzhou is the future central district of Guangzhou with many commercial and recreational facilities including the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Pazhou International Exhibition Center

Pazhou International Exhibition Center

The Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center has an area of 414000 square meters with the construction area of 395000 square meters. It has 13 exhibition halls with a total exhibition area of 130000 square meters.

It is a ultramodern building completed in 2002 with perfect combination of efficiency, intelligence, humanization and ecology. The main design principle of Exhibition Center is to promote the image of “flowing” of Pearl River. The wave like rooftop just likes the river flowing by. It meets the surrounding environment perfectly. This design principle is unique in all of the exhibition centres around the world.

10. Guangzhou Opera House 广州歌剧院 (2010)
Guangzhou Opera House is an opera house in Guangzhou. Now the theatre has become the biggest performing centre in southern China and is one of the three biggest theatres in China alongside Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts and Shanghai’s Shanghai Grand Theatre.

 Guangzhou Opera House 广州歌剧院

Guangzhou Opera House 广州歌剧院

It was designed by Zaha Hadid with the “Double Pebble”.  Its freestanding concrete auditorium set within an exposed granite and glass-clad steel frame took over five years to build.

 

Any questions, just drop a  line.