Archive for the ‘Xian Attractions & Tips’ Category

How to use ATM in China

Saturday, June 9th, 2018
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Plan your China tour? Generally speaking, China is a very ATM friendly country, especially in the large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hongkong, Macao and the list can be much longer.

Most of the local ATMs machines accept Visa and Master. CITIBANK card and HSBC are also very popular in China because Citibank and HSBC have an agreement with UnionPay.

For other cards, you may check the ATMs you are going to use and see if they have the logos and signs for your credit cards.

Then how to use ATMs in China?

 

ATMs in China

 1. It is a good idea to get most of cash you are going to use in China through ATMs by using your credit card or debit cards, and dont’ be bothered with great amount of cash before your departure carrying from your home country.

2. Don’t forget to inform your credit card company that you’ll be visiting China or oversea so they don’t block your purchases.

3 Scan your cards (front and back), keep emergency numbers separately in case you lose your credit cards.

4. You should take some home-currency cash with you to exchange at the airport or your hotel upon arrival for taxis or other small expenses, mainly in case that ATMs don’t work or run out of money. Takes one ATM card and possibly a back-up.

5. The major ATMs of the local banks in China include Bank of China, Merchants Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Agriculture Bank.

VISA and MasterCard debit cards work in most Bank of China ATMs. For the ATMs of the other major banks, please look for a network symbol on the machine that matches a network symbol on the back of your card. CITIBANK card and HSBC card can work in most ATM in China because Citibank and HSBC have an agreement with UnionPay.

6. Most Atms distribute the foreign languages including Chinese(simplified), Chinese(traditional), English, French, Spanish, Portuguese…

7. Most Chinese banks distribute 100 yuan note(You can withdraw 100 yuan minimum.). Check out “How to recognize Chinese currency?“.

8. Most ATM cards issued by major networks can be used in China, transaction fees may be different though, most charge around RMB20 or RMB30 for a one time transaction of RMB2500.

If you are using an ATM Debit card, usually the charges are comparable to drawing money in your own country. If you are using a Credit Card, it can be extremely expensive depending on your bank and how long you take to pay back the money.

9. Keep your ATM receipts so you can re-exchange your Chinese currency back for your home currency on your way out.

10. Basically taking cash out of the ATMs in China is very safe.

06611Tip:  Hassle-free China Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to China.

China join-in small group tours.
China Private Tours.
China Train Tours.
China City Tours.
China Provincial Tours.

Further Readings


Top 10 China experiences China’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Mountains
The Top 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in China The most beautiful waterfalls in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Grasslands in China Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in China
Top 10 Old Towns in China The Most Beautiful Rivers in China
Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in China

Any questions, just drop a line

Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian

Friday, April 27th, 2018
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Plan your Xian tour? It is advisable to have a side trip to Huaqing Hot Springs after or before visiting Terracotta Warriors in Xian. You may wonder if the site of the “Hot Springs”is worth your visit or whether you need to bring your bathing suits.

Well, “hot spring” is really a misnomer in this case. Generally speaking Huaqing Hot Springs refer to a huge park sitting below the northern slope of Lishan Mountain, 32km east of Xian Bell Tower, and 8 km west of Terracotta Warriors Museum.

The park is rebuilt on the royal palace in Tang Dynasty ( 618 -907 ), which mainly comprises the royal gardens and the royal hot springs. The royal hot springs are an excavated site, kept original, an artefact without actual springs running and housed in a museum in the park.

Tips
tips-11. Why Visit Huaqing Hot Springs
So why the bother to visit a big park since there are tons of parks in China. Before deciding whether to visit the park,  you may consider the following factors relative to the park:

1) Romantic Love Story
This is the actual site of romance of Emperor Xuanzang (685-762) and Lady Yang (719-756 ) at the Pear gardens in Tang Dynasty ( 618 – 907 ).

The Marble Statue of Lady Yang

The Marble Statue of Lady Yang

There were hot spring pools built for the emperor , concubine for leisure and recreation. It is an interesting insight and perspective into Chinese history and culture.

Crabapple Pool built 747 for Lady Yang

Crabapple Pool built 747 for Lady Yang

2) A Park with Nice Landscape Gardens and Buildings
The park is a history repackage of the former royal gardens with traditional Chinese architectures.

There is a peaceful Nine Dragon Lake, pavilions, palaces, fruit gardens and hot springs with the backdrop of the picturesque Lishan Mountain.

Gardening and Landscaping in Huaqing Hot Springs

Gardening and Landscaping in Huaqing Hot Springs

3 ) Xian Incident
Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek (1887 – 1975) once also frequented this imperial palace. Chiang Kai-shek was a Chinese political and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975.

This was the place where he was “kidnapped” in the famous Xi’an incident of 1936. He was forced to forge the alliance between the KMT and the Communist Party against the Japanese. The incident greatly increased the status of the Communist Party at the time.

Chiang Kai-shek‘s Temporarily Office in Huaqing Hot Springs

Chiang Kai-shek‘s Temporarily Office in Huaqing Hot Springs

4) The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Evening Show
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show is presented on the real-scene in Huaqing Hot Springs with the backdrop of Lishan Mountain and the ponds, pavilions, corridors and palaces in the background.

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show

The performance is adapted on the same name poem written by the famous Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi (772-846) retelling the lament of the court concubine Yang  Yuhuan and  Emperor Xuanzong.

If you are interested in Chinese history, especially Tang Dynasty,  and Chinese landscaping, Huaqing Hot Springs are worth your visit.

2. How to Get There
The park of Huaqing Hot Springs is located about 32 km to the east of Xian Bell Tower and 8 km west of Terracotta Warriors Museum. Basically, people would combine Terracotta Army and Huaqing Hot Spring on the same travel route.

1) Take Tourism Bus No.5 (306) directly from Xian Railway Station to Huaqing Hot Springs Station; or take Tourism Bus No.5 (306) from Terracotta Army.
Bus fare: RMB6
Estimated  Bus Ride Time: 45 minutes ( Railway Station to Huaqing Hot Springs)

2) Take a free shuttle bus from Xian North Railway Station to Huaqing Hot Springs; or from Terracotta Army to Huaqing Hot Springs.

3. Entrance Fees & Opening Hours.
Entrance Fee:
RMB 150 (Mar 1 – Nov 30)
RMB 120 (Dec 01 –  Feb)
Children below 1.2 meters: free of Charge
Opening Hours:
07:00 – 18:00 (Mar 01 – Nov 30)
07:30 – 18:30 (Dec 01 – Feb )
Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours

4. Everlasting Song of Sorrow Evening Show
The performance is presented on the real-scene in Huaqing Hot Springs. It is adapted on the same name poem written by the famous Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi (772-846) retelling the lament of the court concubine Yang  Yuhuan (719-756) and  Emperor Xuanzong (685-762) .

In the story,  Emperor Xuanzong fell deeply in love with his beautiful concubine Yang Yuhuan ( Yang Guifei ). His love diverted his focus on his ruling duties and caused much trouble to his country that led to a military coup.

The ministers and the soldiers around Emperor Xuanzong thought that it was  the concubine Yang  Yuhuan who had caused the chaos. Later under the pressure,  Emperor Xuanzong had his favorite concubine Yang Yuhuan killed to save the country.

The poem-turned drama is presented in four parts with a preclude and 10 scenes. The four parts include “Fall in Love”, “A Sweet Couple”, “Goodbye to Love” and “Meet again on Fairyland”.

Show Time:
Twice performances a day ( Valid from April through October )
20:00 – 21:10; 21:40 – 22:50
Entrance Fees:
RMB 220 ( east or west side area):
RMB 260 ( central area);
VIP area: RMB 988/888/588

5. Combo Tour of Terracotta Army
Both Huaqing Hot Springs and Terracotta Army are on the same eastern travel route from Xian’s city center, which can be combined to have a day trip.

6. Stay Overnight in Lintong
Lintong District is one of nine districts of Xi’an. The Terracotta Army and Huaqing Hot Springs are both located in Lintong. If you have enough  time in Xian, you may stay overnight in Lintong after a heavily scheduled combo tour of Terracotta Army and Huqing Hot Springs.

Alternatively you can separate the comb day tour into two days – first day on Terracotta Army and the second day on Huaqing Hot Spring with the first night on the Everlasting Song of Sorrow Evening Show.

Tip: Hassle-free Xian Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Xian guided tours:

Xian City Day Tour from US$69
Xian Terracotta Warriors Day Tour A from US$85
Terracotta Army and Song of Everlasting Performance from US$135

Xian 2 Day Tour Package from US$170 p/p
Xian 3 Day Tour Package from US$235 p/p

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xian
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.

Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
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Big Wild Goose Pagoda is located inside Daci’en Temple, a holy place in the middle of a vibrant and modern growing city of Xian. It is a good place to learn about the influence of China’s Buddhism and culture.

It is an active Buddhist temple with monks chanting, working and living.  Local Chinese visit the place to worship and burn joss sticks.

The temple and its surrounding area are full of life, people-watch. Its north square is home to the largest musical fountain in Asia; its south square leading to the Great Tang All Day Mall, a 1500-meter sightseeing avenue where you immersed in Tang Dynasty culture while enjoying  shopping, dining, entertaining, sightseeing and business travel.

The temple and the pagoda itself takes 1 or 2 hours to visit while the whole area ( squares, gardens ,etc.) takes much longer time, providing people with wonderful free leisure and entertainment.

Tips
tips-11. Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Daci’en Temple
Actually the pagoda is part of Daci’en Temple, which were both originally built in Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the temple precedes the pagoda.

When we are talking about Big Wild Goose Pagoda, we are in fact talking about the temple as a whole. If you want to see the pagoda at a close distance or even climb up to the top of the pagoda, you first need to enter the temple with its entrance facing the south.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Daci'en Temple

Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Daci’en Temple

Entry fee for Daci’en Temple: RMB 50
Entry fee for Ascending Big Wild Goose Pagoda: RMB 30 ( First pay RMB 50 to enter the temple)
Opening Hours:  Summer (March 16 – December 4): 08:00~17:30
Winter (December 04 – March 15 ): 08:00~17:00
Add: The southern end of Yanta Road, Hepingmenwai, Xian 西安市和平门外雁塔路南端
Tel: 029-85527958

2. Visiting the Pagoda
It is okay to just have an outside look at the pagoda when you enter Daci’en Temple. A distant glimpse gives you a good angle to see the seven-story pagoda.

Paying 30 yuan and you are allowed to walk to the top of the Pagoda for a wonderful view of the city.  The stairs are well organized with banisters.

A close look at Big Goose Pagoda

A close look at Big Goose Pagoda

If you are not interested in entering Daci’en Temple, you are also able to view the Pagoda while standing on the south square outside the temple, and the Pagoda is seen above the buildings in the temple, still a good photogenic spot.

3. The Gardens and Buildings on the Ground Inside the Temple
The 50 yuan entry fee doesn’t only allow to you to see the pagoda, it also gives you the chance to visit the beautiful gardens, valuable artifacts and magnificent buildings on the ground in the temple.

The Bell Tower inside the Temple

The Bell Tower inside the Temple

It is an active temple and many local Chinese visit the place to worship. The Buddhist Monks are chanting and working. Some of the halls displays the artifacts, telling  how Buddhism was brought to China. All this gives you a feel for how life was here in the ancient time. English Signage is seen to guide you in a clear direction.

3. The North Square ( Musical Fountain )
The north square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda ( North of Daci’en Temple ) has the largest music fountain in the world. It is better to come here in the evening when the whole place is lit up.

The construction of the huge cultural square features the Tang culture elements of Big Goose Pagoda and Daci’en Temple, combining the elements of the traditional and the modern.

The Music Fountain

Musical Fountain Opening Hours:
Weekday: 12:00,  20:00
Weekend and Public Holiday:10:00,  12:00,  14:00,  16:00,  18:00,  20:00
Entry fee: 30 RMB ( but actually few people will pay since it is located in an open place)

4. South Square ( the statue of Monk Xuanzang )
The South Square of Big Goose Pagoda is also known as Xuanzhuang Square. Xuanzang (602 – 664) was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveller, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang dynasty.

South Square ( the statue of Monk Xuanzang )

South Square ( the statue of Monk Xuanzang )

In 652 A.D. Xuan Zang made a proposal to the court for a pagoda to be constructed inside the temple, to put the scriptures and statues he had brought back from India. The Emperor happily agreed, and also collected the funds for the building. Xuan Zang was so happy that he took part in the manual labor in the construction of the pagoda. He also took part in the design of the pagoda.

Visit the south square in the evening when the statue and the square are all lit up.  Free entry.

5. Great Tang All Day Mall (a 1500-meter sightseeing avenue)
South of the South Square of Big Goose Pagoda (Xuanzhuang Square) is Great Tang All Day Mall. The Great Tang All Day Mall is the key project to rejuvenate the great Tang Dynasty.

It is more than just a traditional mall, but a sightseeing traffic-free avenue along a 1500-meter axis from the Big Wild Goose Pagoda down to the south, linking three themed squares – Xuan Zhuang Square, Zhenuan Cultural Square and Kaiyuan Ceremony Square based the Tang Dynasty cultural backgrounds and elements.

The illuminated 1500-meters long avenue

The illuminated 1500-meters long avenue

They includes the buildings of Tang architectural style and sculptures devoted to great leaders, monks, artists, writers, poets, scientists and mathematicians of the Tang Dynasty.

Free entry and visit here in the evening when the place is illuminated.

5. Visit in the early Morning and in the Evening
Early in the morning you will see lots of activities like dancing, playing tai chi, etc. a nice taste of the local Xian. Come here in the evening when the whole area is illuminated.

6. Children Friendly
This is a huge complex of squares, temple, parks, pedestrian streets and a lively souvenir market as well. It’s all marvelously illuminated at night and full of local people,  walking, dancing, etc. It has a fantastic atmosphere. Your kids definitely will like the fountain show which is truly spectacular.

7. How to get there
Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the whole area are just located about 6 km south of Bell Tower in the center of the walled Xian city.

By Taxi: About RMB 16 taking a taxi from Bell Tower
By Subway: Taking the subway line 2 and get off at the station of Xiaozhai and exit from Exit C. The walk in the east direction and get to the place ( about 470 meters walking ).
By Bus: Taking Bus 606 and 609 from Bell Tower and get off at the stop of Dayanta ( Big Wild Goose Pagoda).

8. Combo Tour of Shaanxi History Museum
After your visit to Big Wild Goose Pagoda and you still have the time and energy, you can walk to the nearby Shaanxi History Museum, about 15 minutes away. You can cover both of these attractions together in a half day.

Tip: Hassle-free Xian Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Xian guided tours:

Xian City Day Tour from US$69
Xian Terracotta Warriors Day Tour A from US$85
Terracotta Army and Song of Everlasting Performance from US$135

Xian 2 Day Tour Package from US$170 p/p
Xian 3 Day Tour Package from US$235 p/p

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xian
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.