Archive for the ‘China Travel’ Category

Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in China

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
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Plan your China tour in autumn? Autumn leaf peeping time in China varies from north to south, and east to west given the size of China and its diversity of climate and geography. Basically from mid-October to mid-November,  most of China’s landscapes start to transform from their summer shades of green into the reds, oranges and yellows, signs of the colorful autumn.

If you are a leaf peeping fan and happen to visit China during the fall foliage period, you may choose one or two places to comfort your eyes and relax yourself with viewing the autumn leaves. We at Tour Beijing have leafed through the top 10  fall foliage destinations in China that we think are worth your exploration on your China autumn trip.

1. Ejina Qi (Banner), Inner Mongolia 内蒙古额济纳旗
Ejina Banner is in the most west end of  Alashan,  west of Inner Mongolia, adjacent to Alxa Right Banner in the east. Ejina Banner has a drought, extreme arid desert steppe climate with four distinctive seasons. It features rainless, abundant sunshine, and great temperature difference. The annual average temperature is 8.3℃. The number of annual dust storm is up to 14.

Ejina Diversifolius Poplar Forest National Nature Reserve is one of the three largest poplar forests in the world with mesmerizing autumn scenes sought after by numerous tourists and photographers.

Best Visit Time: October
Transport:
Ejina Banner is linked to Hohhot by an overnight train 15 hours. If you’d like to travel to Alxa Left Banner, you may choose first to take your train to Yinchuan, the capital city of Ningxia, then drive 114km up to Bayanhot, the capital of Alashan.
Overland travel is the most popular mode of traveling around Alashan. The three banners (Left, Right and Ejina) are connected by the regional roads. Also the three banners are linked to outside cities or provinces through a few destinations.

Autumn Leaves Ejina Qi (Banner), Inner Mongolia

Autumn Leaves Ejina Qi (Banner), Inner Mongolia

2. Moerdaoga National Forest Park , Inner Mongolia 内蒙古莫尔道嘎国家森林公园
 Moerdaoga National Forest Park ia the first national forest park in the Greater Khingan Range (Greater Xing’an Mountain ) within Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the biggest national forest park of its kind in China.

Moerdaoga” literally means that “set out for flight riding your horses” that was legendarily said by Genghis Khan who tried to integrate the tribes. The forest park is adjacent to the Hulunbuir Grassland on the south, the Erguna River on the north, packed with old and tall trees and numerous streams and rivers. The Moerdaoga turns into a “five-colormountain”, a perfect place to see autumn leaves.

Best Visit Time: Late  September and early October
Transport:
It is quite convenient to travel to Hulunbeier by train with wide train network. Hailar has trains connecting Beijing, Baotou, Hohhot, Harbin, Dalian, Qiqihaer, Boketu, Moerdaoga, Manzhouli, Jiaergeda. So beside Hailaer, many of the cities and banners has railway stations, forming easy train routes within Hulunbuir. Or you may take long-distance buses to Moerdaoga.

 Moerdaoga National Forest Park

Moerdaoga National Forest Park

 

3. Kanas, Xinjiang 新疆喀纳斯
Kanas is located in the northern tip of Xinjiang. The Kanas Lake (Kanasi Hu) means “beautiful, rich and mysterious” in Mongolian. The lake is nestled in the deep forests and mountains of Altay. The lake is 1,374m above sea level and covers an area of 45sqkm (10 times bigger than Tianchi on Bogda Mountain) with the deepest point of 188m.

The long bean-shaped lake reflects the surrounding snowcapped mountains. The Kanas Lake in autumn is at its best with the beautiful foliage. Legend has it that huge monsters live in the lake. They often has take away horses and camels drinking into the water by the lake and later swallow them, a similar story of “Nessie Monster”.

Best Visit Time: Late  September and early October
Transport: Take flights or travel overland to Kanas.

Autumn Leaaves at Kanas, Xinjiang

Autumn Leaaves at Kanas, Xinjiang

4. Miyaluo, Sichuan 四川米亚罗
Miyaluo, literally “Playful Pateau” in Tibetan, is located in Li County, Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, about 263 km north of Chengdu, between Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou.

Miyaluo Scenic Area is the largest red leaves viewing landscape in China, with 3688 square km, 127 km long from east to west, and 29 km wide from north to south,  180 the size of Fragrant Hill Red Leaves Scenic Area in Beijing. When autumn comes, the whole Miyaluo becomes a sea of red leaves, a stunning view of the fall foliage seldom seen elsewhere.

Best Visit Time: Mid- September – Mid-October
Transport: Take buses from Chengdu to Miyaluo.

Fall foliage at Miyaluo, Sichuan

Fall foliage at Miyaluo, Sichuan

5. Daocheng, Sichuan 四川稻城俄初山
Daocheng is a county under  Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, on the most southwestern Sichuan, about 760 km from Chengdu. Daocheng is a mysterious and pure plateau, a place enticing numerous travelers for spiritual fulfillment.The stunning beauty of Dacheng is the autumn colors that bounce off from Echu Mountain (Mt.Echu). “Echu” literally means “glistering mountain”.  It is a high mountain at the altitude of 5140 meters. Hiking up the valleys, you will see the layers of forests coated by myriad colors, red, yellow, orange, green, a mesmerizing spectacle.

Best Visit Time: Mid- September – Mid-October
Transport: Take buses from Chengdu to Daocheng

Fall foliage at Mt.Echushan, Daocheng.

Fall foliage at Mt.Echushan, Daocheng.

6. Jiuzhaigou National Park , Sichuan 四川九寨沟
Jiuzhaigou literally means “Nine Village Valley” in Chinese. Listed as World Cultural Heritage in 1992. Jiuzhaigou is well known for its beautiful water – multi-level waterfalls and colorful lakes, and magnificent autumn scenery. Jiuzhaigou is located in Jiuzhaigou County of the Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, 436km north of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province.Jiuzhaigou has three valleys naturally formed in a Y shape. The Rize Valley 17km long and Zechawa Valley 18km long flow from the south and meet at a confluence where they form the Shuzheng valley 15km long in the middle, continuing to flow north to the mouth of the Shuzheng Valley. All the three valleys are accessible both by shuttle bus and boardwalks.

There are 17 waterfall groups, 47 springs and 114 lakes in the park. People usually first visit Shuzheng Valley, then either visit Rize Valley or Zechawa Valley. People have to spend almost whole day in the three valleys. There is a service center in the confluence where the three valleys meet with a big restaurant providing three kind of buffet lunch. There is also a grocery by the restaurant where you can buy instant noodles, biscuits, fruits, water and mnay more to feed yourself.

Visiting Time: suggested 1-3 day
Entrance Fee:  RMB 220  (peak season ) and RMB 80 ( winter season)
Location:  436km north of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province
Opening Hours: 6:30 – 18:00 (April – Nov.15);  6:30 – 17:00 (Nov.16  - March);
Best Time to Visit: Mid-October to early November
How to Get There
First take flight from Chengdu to Jiuhuang Airport where you connect the local bus for Jiuzhaigou

Fall Foliage at Jiuzhaigou

Fall Foliage at Jiuzhaigou

7. Wulingyuan ( Zhangjiajie )  武陵源(张家界)
Wulingyuan Scenic Area is located about 30 km north of Zhangjiajie’s city center. Wulingyuan Scenic Area was listed with UNESCO World Heritage 1992. This world heritage site is popularly known as “Zhangjiajie Senic Area” rather than “Wulingyuan” mainly because Wulingyuan Scenic Area is under the administration of Zhangjiajie City.

Wulingyuan Scenic Area (Zhangjiajie Scenic Area) includes three main areas: Zhangjiajie National Forest ParkTianzi Mountain Nature Reserve and, Suoxi Valley Natural Resource Reserve (including Baofeng Lake and Yellow Dragon Cave). The American film – Avatar depicted “Hallelujah Mountain” by taking the real view of “South Pillar of the Heaven”, a famous attraction in Wulingyuan Scenic Area.

Wulingyuan Scenic Area are  famous for its unique hills, queer rockss and peaks, tranquil valleys, clear streams, abundant fauna and flora and hospitable climate.

Visiting Time: suggested 2-3 Days
Entrance Fee:  RMB 248 ( a through ticket )
Location: about 30 km north of Zhangjiajie’s city center
Opening Hours: All day
Best Time to Visit: Mid-October to Mid-November
How to Get There
Zhangjiajie is easily accessible by air, train and highway. Then connect local buses going to Wulingyuan Scenic Area.

Fall Foliage at Wulingyuan ( Zhangjiajie )

Fall Foliage at Wulingyuan ( Zhangjiajie )

8. Wushan, Chongqing 重庆巫山红叶
Wushan County is in the northeast of Chongqing with Yangtze River passing through, about 437 km to the northeast of Chongqing’s city center. Wushan’s temperature  provides a perfect condition for the growth of maple  and other red leaf trees.

Every year Wushan entice huge number of visitors to experience the stunning mixed landscape of rivers, mountains and red leaves. The red leaves at Wushan have a longer period of leaf peeping from late September to December.

Visiting Time: suggested 1-2 Day
Location: about 437 km northeast of Chongqing’s city center
Opening Hours: All day
Best Time to Visit: October – November
How to Get There
Buses or boats from Chongqing or Yichang.

Red Leaves at Wushan, Chongqing

Red Leaves at Wushan, Chongqing

9. Qixiashan, Jiansu 江苏南京栖霞山
Qixiashan Scenic Area is located  in Qixiashan District of Nanjing, about 26 km to the northeast of Nanjing’s city center. Qixiashan has three peaks – the main peak is Fengxiang Peak at the altitude of 286 meters; Longshan Peak on the northeast and Hushan Peak on the northwest. Qixiashan is rich in ecological fossils and oft lauded as “Natural Geography Museum”.

Qixiashan is peppered with historical relics and sites. But its biggest draw is its autumn color. Qixiashan is reputed as one of the four most famous maple leaf viewing spots in China. When autumn comes, the while mountain area is blanketed with red leaves of maple trees.

Visiting Time: suggested 2-4 hour
Location: about 26 km northeast of Nanjing’s city center
Best Time to Visit: October – November
How to Get There
Buses or from Nanjing city center

Red Leaves  at Qixiashan, Jiansu

Red Leaves at Qixiashan, Jiansu

10. Fragrant Hill  北京香山
Located in the east part of western hills and 28 kilometers northwest of the Beijing City, Fragrant Hills Park is a large park of hills and forest. It is rich both in natural sceneries and cultural relics. Its highest peak is Xianglu Peak (Incense Burner Peak), 557 meters high.

The hill is dotted with maple trees, smoke trees and persimmon trees. When autumn arrives, fiery red leaves blanket the entire mountain. Every year, a huge number of tourists flock to the park. The cable cars are a great way to hike up the hill and enjoy the spetacular fall scenes at the same time.

Visiting Time: suggested 3-4 hour
Entrance Fee:  RMB 10
Location:  Norrthwest of Beijing
Opening Hours: 6:30 – 19:00
Best Time to Visit: Mid-October to early November
How to Get There
Take public buses

Red Leaves at  Fragrant Hill

Red Leaves at Fragrant Hill

Add-on
Top Place to See Autumn Leaves in Beijing
Top Places to See Autumn Leaves in Xian
Top Places to See Autumn Leaves in Shanghai

Beijing Pingyao High Speed Train

Thursday, March 13th, 2014
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Plan your Pingyao tour? Starting from July 01, 2014,  you are able to get to Pingyao Ancient City by high speed train directly from Beijing!

Taiyuan Xian High Speed Railway ( Part of Datong Xian High Speed Railway ) are opened to the public, significantly shortening the present Beijing and Pingyao train travel time from 10 – 14 hours  to 4 hours.

 

Beijing Pingyao High Speed Train

Beijing Pingyao High Speed Train

Now if you are going to visit Pingyao from Beijing by trains, basically you have three choices – By bullet trains, by normal overnight trains and transiting at Taiyuan.

1.  Beijing – Pingyao by bullet trains
At the time of my writing, there are two daily bullet trains available going between Beijing and Pingyao.

Beijing West Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2001 ( 7:58 – 12:09)
Beijing West Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2005 ( 15: 29 – 19:39)

Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station – Beijing West Railway Station  :  D2002 ( 8: 41 – 12:55)
Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station  - Beijing West Railway Station :  D2006 ( 16: 11 – 20:40)

2. Beijing Pingyao Overnight Train Timetable
Some traveler still prefer to take an overnight train from Beijing to Pingyao and vice versa.

K603 Beijing – Pingyao ( 17:17 – 05 18)
2603 Beijing – Pingyao (23:42 – 14:05)
K609 Beijing – Pingyao (23:51 – 09:35)

K604 Pingyao – Beijing ( 17:03 – 05 37)
2604 Pingyao  - Beijing  (13:11 – 03:36)
K610 Pingyao – Beijing  (20:32 – 06:09)

3.  Transit at Taiyuan
Take the 3 hours high speed trains  from Beijing to Taiyuan where you connect for buses or hiring a private car to van for 1 hour driving from Taiyuan to Pingyao.  Pingyao is located about 80km southeast of Taiyuan’s city center.

Beijing Taiyuan High Speed Train Timetable
Nine Beijing West – Taiyuan high speed trains.
G601     (7:35 – 12:02)
G91       (08:30 – 11:00)
G603    (9:15 – 12:18 )
G605 (10:05 – 13:07)
G607  (11:32 – 14:17 )
G609  (15:08 – 18:03 )
G611  (17:08 – 18:06)
G613  (17:56 – 20:43)
G615 (20:21 – 23:13 )

Note:
You may take the train back to Beijing or extend your trip further to Xian, well known for its Terracotta Warriors.

 

Any questions, drop a  line.

Datong Xian High Speed Train

Sunday, March 9th, 2014
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Datong Pingyao Xian Trip

Datong, Pingyao and Xian are three important tourist destinations in China. Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Temple in Datong, Pingyao Ancient City and Terracotta Warriors in Xian are big draws attracting numerous oversea tourists every year.

If you want to plan your Datong, Pingyao and Xian trip, you are often daunted by the travel  time wasted on this itinerary due to the inconvenient 859km transportation – over 16 hours by train and 8 hours by road. Many time-strapped travelers have to skip Datong or Pingyao.

Your transportation headache has partially alleviated due to the fact that from July, 2014,  Datong and Xian high speed trains has been partially opened to the public, exactly speaking, the finished section is from Taiyuan  (passing by Pingyao) to Xian. The north part – Datong Taiyuan highspeed railway line will be completed in 2015.

So from July, 2014, you are able to visit Pingyao by high speed train directly from Beijing, Taiyuan and extended to Xian, putting Beijing, Pingyao and Xian on a high speed passenger dedicated railway line, fast and comfortable.

1.  Beijing – Pingyao by bullet trains
At the time of my writing, there are two daily bullet trains available going between Beijing and Pingyao.

Beijing West Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2001 ( 7:58 – 12:09)
Beijing West Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2005 ( 15: 29 – 19:39)

Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station – Beijing West Railway Station  :  D2002 ( 8: 41 – 12:55)
Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station  - Beijing West Railway Station :  D2006 ( 16: 11 – 20:40

2. Pingyao – Xian by Bullet Trains
At the time of my writing, there are four daily bullet trains available going between Xian and Pingyao (less than 3 hours).

Xian North Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2504 ( 10:13 – 13:06)
Xian North Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2508 ( 12: 05 – 14:55)
Xian North Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2532 ( 16:510 – 19:08)
Xian North Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2516 ( 19: 08 – 22:07)

Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station – Xian North Railway Station  :  D2531( 8: 41 – 12:55)
Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station  - Xian North Railway Station :  D2507 ( 14: 10 – 16::57)
Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station – Xian North Railway Station  :  D2509 ( 15:33 – 18:21 )
Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station  - Xian North Railway Station :  D2515 ( 19:19 – 22:16)

High Speed Trains

High Speed Trains

Datong Xian Dedicated Highspeed Railway Line
This dedicated railway line is a dual-track, electrified, high-speed rail line. It runs 859 km through Shanxi and Shaanxi Province. The high speed trains will travel at speeds up to 250 km/hr (design speed is 350km/hr).  The Travel time between Datong and Xian will be reduced from 16 hours to about 3 hours.

Its construction started in late 2009 with  RMB96.3 billion investment. The highspeed  line is planned to be finished by 2015. The the south part of the railway line ( from Taiyuan passing by Pingyao to Xian) will be opne June, 2014.

The Train Stations along Datong Xian High Speed Train Line
Datong Xian Highspeed Trains will run along the length of Shanxi Province starting from Datong in the north through Shuozhou, Xinzhou, Taiyuan, Jinzhong (Pingyao),  Linfen and Yuncheng. The it will  enter Shaanxi by crossing the Yellow River at Yongji and get to Xian, totalling the 859km length.

There are totally 29 train stations – 18 new stations and 11 renovated stations. Below is the list of the 29 railway stations along Datong Xian Highspeed trains from north to south.

■ Datong Railway Station (大同站)
A first class train station in China, an essential transportation hub linking Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia.

■Huairen East Train Station (怀仁东站)
Two platforms, 6 tracks

■Yingxian Railway Station(应县站)
Two platforms with 4 tracks

■Shanyin East Train Station (山阴东站)
Two platforms,  6 tracks

Daixian West Railwat Station (代县西站)
Two platforms with 4 tracks

Yuanping West Railway Station (原平西站)
A new station with 2 platforms and 6 tracks

Xinzhou West Station (忻州西站)
A new station, 2 platforms, 5 tracks

Yangqu West Railway Station (阳曲西站)
A new station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

Taiyuan East Station (太原东站)
Also a Shitai railway line, a connected line

Taiyuan Railway Station (太原站)
A starting and arriving station for Shitai Railway, 4 platforms with 10 tracks.

Taiyuan South Railway Station (太原南站)
Still under construction, 10 platforms, 22 tracks,  the convergency of Datong Xian High speed line.

■Jinzhou Railway Station (晋中站)
A new station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

Taigu West Train Station (太谷西站)
A new station, 2 platforms with 4 tracks

Qixian East Railway Station (祁县东站)
A new station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

Pingyao East Railway Station(平遥古城站)
Located Houji Village in Pingyao County, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

■Jiexu East Railway Station (介休东站)
Located in Sanjia Township of Jiexu City, a new station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

Lingshi East Railway Station (灵石东站)
Located in Zhanghao Village of Mahe Township at Lingshi County, a new station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

Huozhou East Railway Station (霍州东站)
Located at Lizaozhen Village, Huozhou, a new station, 2 platforms,  4tracks

Hongtong West Railway Station (洪洞西站)
A new station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

Linfen West Train Station (临汾西站)
Located  in Zhoujiazhuang, Liucun Township, Raodu District of Linfen, a new station, 2 platforms, 5 tracks

Xiangfen West Railway Station (襄汾西站)
Located at Liu Village, Nanjia Township,Xuangfen County, a new station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

Houma West Railway Station 侯马西站
A  new station, 2 platforms,4 tracks

Wenxi West Railway Station (闻喜西站)
A new station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

Yuncheng North Railway Station (运城北站)
A new departing and arriving station, 4 platforms, 8 tracks

Yongji North Railway Station (永济北站)
A new station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks including 2 formal tracks

Dali Railway Station (大荔站)
A new railway station, 2 platforms, 4 tracks

Weinan North Railway Station(渭南北站)
Also a train station for Xian – Zhengzhou Highspeed trains, 2 platforms, 4 tracks郑西客专车站,中间站,既有规模为2站台4股道,其

New Lintong Railway Station (新临潼站)
Also a station for Xian – Zhengzhou trains

Xian North Railway Station (西安北站)
Also a railway station for Xian Zhengzhou Highspeed Railway, 18 platforms, 34 tracks

Datong Xian High Speed Train Timetable
Datong Xian High Speed Trains will be partially open to the public from June ,2014. The opening section will start from Taiyuan to Xian. A for the northern part of Datong Xian High Speed Railway will be completed in the year 2015.

The timetable for the high speed trains from Taiyuan to Xian is still unkown.  We will closely follow up the latest development regarding the new high speed railway line.

Attractions along Datong Xian High Speed Railway Line
Datong Xian High Speed Dedicated Passenger Railway Links Shanxi  and Shaanxi provinces which are teemed with historical sites and scenic areas.

■ Datong:
Yungang Grottoes, Hanging Temple

■ Yingxian:
Yingxiang Wooden Pagoda

■ Taiyuan:
Jinci Temple, Shuangta Temple

■ Jinzhong:
Chang Family Mansion

■ Qixian:
Qiao Family Courtyard

■ Pingyao:
Pingyao Ancient City

■ Jiexu:
Zhangbi Underground Castle

■ Lingshi:
Wang Family Courtyard

■ Yuncheng: 
Guangdi Temple

■ Xian:
Terracotta Warriors

Any questions,  just drop a line.