Archive for the ‘China Travel’ Category

When is the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
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Plan your Jiuzhaigou tour? Jiuzhaigou National Park is a nature reserve in the north of Sichuan Province. Jiuzhaigou is not only famous for its beauty but also its pleasant weather. It belongs to the moisture plateau climate. The rainfall in Jiuzhaigou is very little but concentrating. July and August are the two typical rain seasons.

When is the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou? Most people think autumn gives the most beautiful scenery of Jiuzhaigou Valley.

Best Time to Visit Jiuzhaigou
September through November is the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou.  October 15 through 30 is the golden time for viewing colorful leaves.

In fact, different seasons give Jiuzhaigou different kind of beauty. It all depends on your budget, tolerance for large crowds, your personal interests and, another time of year may suit you better. Check out below to have some information on each season:

Jiuzhaigou in Spring ( March – May)
Jiuzhaigou spring is from March till the end of May. As spring approaches, rivers are swelling. There is strong sunlight in Jiuzhaigou because of the plateau landscape there.

Jiuzhaigou in spring has strong ultraviolet radiation. Bring your sunglasses,  sunblock. Big temperature between day and night, still need to wear winter clothes in the evening.

Late March in Jiuzhaigou is still quite chilly, a big temperature difference between day and night, you still need to wear a winter jacket in the evening. Average temperature: 17 ℃(day ) and 7℃ (night).

It may rain during the day, bringing your rain jacket. Late March is not the best season to visit Jiuzhaigou, a bit cold and the trees are not very much green.

But its advantage is that you can have discounts for entrance fees and less crowded in the scenic area since it is still in low tourist season. After all, it is not bad to visit Jiuzhaigou in late March.

Jiuzhaigou in Spring

Jiuzhaigou in Spring

Jiuzhaigou in Summer (June – August)
Summer in Jiuzhaigou starts from June and ends in August. At that time every where of Jiuzhaigou is green: green mountains, green water and green trees. Jiuzhaigou is not hot in summer except those places blazed down by sun.

Summer is also the rainy season of Jiuzhaigou. There will be suddenly rain there. It will be the best time for taking photos after rains. You should not miss your sunglasses, sunbonnet, sun lotion and umbrella.

Jiuzhaigou in Autumn (September – October )
Jiuzhaigou Valley enjoys its most beautiful appearance in fall. The sky is bright and clear. The colorful leaves and tourists are reflected on the bright and clear lakes and fallen leaves are floating on the surface of water.

Your eyes are filled with the most beautiful view of the natural world. You will be surprising of the masterpiece by nature!

By the way, the difference in temperature between day and night is bigger in autumn, take a thick coat with you.

Jiuzhaigou in Autumn

Jiuzhaigou in Autumn

Foliage Color Coverage in Jiuzhaigou:

Class No.01 (Oct 15 – 18): Foliage color coverage 10%~35%,yellow color, a good time for viewing colorful leaves.
Class No.02(Oct 18 – 22 ): Foliage color coverage 35%~60%,yellow and orange, a very good time for fall foliage.
Class No.03(Oct 22 – Nov.02): Foliage color coverage 60%~95%,red and purple colors, the best time for leaf peeping.

So Mid or the end of October is the best time for viewing colorful leaves.

The temperature in October is average 10℃(night)and 23℃(day). I suggest you still need to bring sweaters or even winter clothes like down jackets. The weather in Jiuzhaigou is changeable and often showers since Jiuzhaigou sits at the sea-level over 3000m

Jiuzhaigou in Winter (November – February)
Jiuzhaigou Nature Park enters into winter from mid-Nov to mid March. In winter, Jiuzhaigou Nature Park is snowy from time to time. Jiuzhaigou is covered by snow and turns into a pure white world. White is the theme color in winter of Jiuzhaigou.

It is a low season to travel Jiuzhaigou, so you can save money if you go there in winter.

Jiuzhaigou in Winter

Jiuzhaigou in Winter

By the way,  be aware of Altitude Sickness at Jiuzhaigou, especially Huanglong is located over  3000 meters above sea level. To avoid possible altitude sickness, you are strongly advised to be prep for the travel at high sea level.

1) Don’t talk too much on the way
2) Don’t take a bath on the first day
3) Don’t drink alcohol
4) Ready for some altitude medicine or  canisters of oxygen

Organized Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong Tour


If you don’t want to plan a do-it-yourself trip, here are some options for guided tours to Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong.

3 Day Huanglong Jiuzhaigou Tour package
4 Day Chengdu Jiuzhaigou Tour
5 Day Chengdu Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Tour

Further Readings


Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport
Drive from Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport to Huanglong
Huanglong Scenic Area
Drive from Huanglong to Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigou Trip

If any questions, please drop a line.

Top 10 Luoyang Attractions, Top 10 Things to Do in Luoyang

Sunday, October 4th, 2020
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Plan your Luoyang tour? Situated on the central plain of China, one of the cradles of the Chinese civilization, Luoyang was one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Luoyang is endowed with countless historical sites and cultural treasures.

With its historic background, you can always find many glorious palaces, temples and caves in Luoyang. Here, you can visit the famous White Horse Temple, the Guanlin Temple, the Longmen Caves and the Wancheng Park. In every April, you can appreciate the beautiful and elegant peony flowers.

No. 01: Longmen Grottoes (How to Visit Longmen Grottoes)
The Longmen Grottoes, which are a treasure house of ancient Buddhist cave art, are located sixteen kilometers south of Luoyang in Henan province, on the banks of the Yi River.

The grottoes and niches of Longmen contain the largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art of the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties.

These works, entirely devoted to the Buddhist religion, represent the high point of Chinese stone carving. On November 30, 2000, the Longmen Grottoes were approved by the 24th UN Heritage Commission to be put on the List of World Cultural Heritage.

Entrance Fee: CNY 120 (Bai Garden and Xiangshan Temple are also included)
Opening Hours: 7:00-18:30 (spring, summer and autumn); 7:30-17:30 (winter)
How to get there: take Bus No. 81 at Luoyang Train Station, or take a taxi to the Longmen Grottoes; you can also take Bus No. 53 and No. 60 from the downtown area.

A close look at Fengxian Temple

No. 02: White Horse Temple ( How to Visit White Horse Temple)
White Horse Templeis, according to tradition, the first Buddhist temple in China, established in 68 AD under the patronage of Emperor Ming in the Eastern Han capital Luoyang.

Shanmen Hall means the entrance to the temple

The White Horse Temple is located 12 kilometers away from the east of Luoyang City. The main temple buildings, a large complex, were reconstructed during the Ming and Qing dynastie.

It has numerous halls divided by several courtyards and manicured gardens, covering an area extending to about 13 hectares. Now the White Horse has become an attraction to domestic and foreign tourists.

Entrance Fee: CNY 50
Opening Hours: 7:30-17:30
How to get there: take Bus No.56 at Luoyang Train Station to the terminal; or take Bus No.58 at Guanlin Temple to the terminal.

No. 03: Guanlin Temple ( How to Visit Guanlin Temple)
Guanlin Temple, the temple and mausoleum of Guan Yu, was built to commemorate the great general Guan Yu who is the blood brother of Liubei in the Three Kingdoms Period.

Guanlin Temple is about 7 kilometers south of Luoyang City. Covering an area of 100 mu, the temple contains halls, tablets, small stone lions and cypress.

The entrance to Guanlin Temple

Despite its military theme, this temple is strikingly beautiful; the elegant Ming buildings are highly carved and richly decorated. It is the divine district for palmers to pilgrimage, attracting more and more person from home and abroad.

Entrance Fee: CNY 40
Opening Hours: 8:00-17:00
How to get there: you can take many buses to get Guanlin Temple from the downtown area, including Buses No. 15, 42, 55, 58, 69, etc.

No. 04: Bai Garden
Bai Garden, situated on the Pipa Peak, refers to the mausoleum of Bai Juyi who a well-known Chinese poet lived during the Tang Dynasty.

Covering an area of 44 mu, Bai Garden consists of four parts: the Green Valley District, the Tomb District, Poem Corridor District, and Administration Region. Bai Garden not only offers us beautiful landscape garden, but also serenades the unusual lifetime of Bai Juyi.

Entrance Fee: Part of the through ticket with the Longmen Grottoes
Opening Hours: 7:30-18:00
How to get there: take Buses No.53, 60, 81 and get off at the terminal Luoyang

Bai Garden

Bai Garden

No. 05: Baiyunshan National Forest Park
Baiyunshan National Forest Park, which covers an area of 168 kilometers, is located at the Funiu Mountain Ridge, Southern Song County, Luoyang.

The national forest park is made up by several parts, including Primitive Forest, Baiyunshan Peak, Yuhuangding Peak, Little Huangshan Mountain ad Jiulong Waterfall Scenic Area. Baiyunshan National Forest Park is regarded as “the most beautiful place” in China. It is also called the “natural museum”.

Entrance Fee: CNY 80
Opening Hours: the whole day
How to get there: There are shuttle buses between Luoyang and Baiyun Mountain. Take the shuttle bus at Luoyang Yiyun Bus Station to the Baiyunshan National Forest Park.

Baiyunshan National Forest Park

Baiyunshan National Forest Park

No. 06: Museum of Luoyang Eastern Zhou Royal Horse and Chariot Pits

How to visit Eastern Zhou Royal Horse and Chariot Pits
The museum’s former English name is quite long while it is colloquially called “Tianzi Jialiu Museum”. “Tianzi” means emperors while “Jialiu” means their chariots driven by 6 horses.

Six Horse pulling the horse.

Tianzi Jialiu Museum covers an area of 1,700 square meters. It is located underground centrally in the Dongzhou Wangcheng Square 王城广场 (Eastern Zhou Emperor City Square). The museum has three sections – One for the brief introduction of Eastern Zhou Dynasty; second for Eastern Dynasty Mausoleum the third for the pit itself.
So the Tianzi Jialiu Museum is located centrally in the city of Luoyang. It is walkable along the axis down south from Luoyang Railway Station. Many buses take you there including buses 6, 41, 50, 52, 56, and 86 and get off at Wangcheng Square (王城广场).
Entrance fees: RMB 30
Opening time:
9:00 – 17:00
Enquiry: 0379 – 6391399 – 8000
Luoyang Tourism Hotline: 0379 – 12301

Entrance Fee: free of charge
Opening Hours: 08:30-17:30
How to get there: take Bus No. 15, 55, 58, 68, 81 and get off at Guanlin Miao Station

No. 07: Luoyang Museum (How to Visit Luoyang Museum)
Luoyang Museum is a local historical museum of China which was first built in Guanlin, the south of Luoyang City, in 1958, and then moved to the north side of Zhongzhou Road in 1973.

Sui And Tang Dynasties 2

The Museum displays 1,700 cultural relics in five exhibition rooms, which is a reflection of five different social development stages such as the Primitive Society, the Slavery Society, and the Feudal Society. Besides the basic displays, the Museum also holds exhibitions of calligraphy and paintings and so on every year.

Entrance Fee: free of charge
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00 (Closed on Monday)
How to get there: take Bus No. 2 in the downtown area of Luoyang

No. 08: Wangcheng Park
Covering an area of 67 hectares, Wangcheng Park is the largest public park in Luoyang. Wangcheng Park is located on the main road of Luoyang. Each April, during the Luoyang Peony Festival, hundreds of thousands of peonies bloom together in a majestic display of natural beauty.

Besides the Peony Garden, another two major attractions in the park are the Historic Area and the Peony Culture Area. The prime time to enjoy the peony flowers is from April 5 to 20.

Entrance Fee: free of charge (CNY 10 in chrysanthemum exhibition, CNY 50 in Luoyang Peony Festival)
Opening Hours: 05:00-20:30
How to get there: you can take many buses to get Wangcheng Park from the downtown area, including Buses No. 9, 11, 15, 40, 101, 102, etc.

Wangcheng Park

Wangcheng Park

No. 09: The National Peony Garden
Luoyang National Peony Garden is the home to more than 1,000 varieties of peony and main gene of peony in the world. It is a major sightseeing zone during the peony festival in Luoyang.

Luoyang National Peony Garden covers an area of 700 mu and is divided into North Garden and South Garden. The peony is highly reputed for its big flower, flamboyant color, full-bodied aroma and lasting florescence.

Entrance Fee: CNY 50
Opening Hours: 5:30-21:30
How to get there: take Bus No.51 from the Train Station to the National Peony Garden

The National Peony Garden

The National Peony Garden

No. 10: Cockscomb Limestone Cave
Cockscomb Limestone Cave, which is located at the small Shuangtang Gouge, was discovered during the reign of Qianlong Emperor in the Qing Dynasty.

The Cockscomb Limestone Cave is 1,800 meters long and the area for sight-seeing is about 23,000 square meters. It is divided into 8 sections respectively named Yuzhu Pond, Yicai Palace, Diewei Palace, Shilin Lane, Cangxiu Pavilion, Dongtian River, Yaochi Palace and Juxian Palace.

Entrance Fee: CNY 70 (CNY 80 during Apr.10 to May.10)
Opening Hours: the whole day
How to get there: take the shuttle bus from bus station to the Cockscomb Limestone Cave; or take a bus to Luanchuan County from Luoyang city, then change the Tourist Bus to Cockscomb Limestone Cave.

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

Luoyang One Day Private Tour  Starting US$ 60 per person
Luoyang- Shaolin One Day Private Tour  Starting US$ 60 per person
Luoyang – Shaolin 2 Day Private Tour Packages  Starting US$ 150 per person

Beijing Luoyang 2 Day Round Trip Tour       Starting US$ 280 per person
Beijing Luoyang Shaolin Temple 2 Day Round Trip Tour  Starting US$ 290
Beijing Luoyang ( Shaolin ) 3 Day Tour – Round Trip by Flight Starting US$ 610 per person

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Luoyang
Where to Stay in Luoyang
Luoyang Museum Guide
Museum of Luoyang Eastern Zhou Royal Horse and Chariot Pits
How to visit White Horse Temple
How to Visit Shaolin Temple
Longmen Grottoes Travel Tips
Kung Fu Show at Shaolin Temple

Any questions,  just drop a line.

 

 

Xiaohekou Great Wall

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020
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Are you interested in a Great Wall Tour? The Great Wall section extended west from Zhuizishan Great Wall is known as Xiaohekou Great Wall. Xiaohekou Great Wall is named after a natural village called “Xiaohekou” which literally means “a small river’s mouth”.

Xiaohekou Village is located within the administrative village known as Xigou Village in Yongan Town of Suizhong County in Liaoning Province.  Keeping on walking to the west from Xiaohekou Great Wall, you will get to Badaling Great Wall in Beijing while to the south, you will get to Shanhaiguan.

Xiaohekou Great Wall on the Great Wall east of Beijing

Escorted by our farmer turned guide – Lao Yang, we drive from Zhuizishan Great Wall westwards along a cement mountain road for about 9km, passing by Xiaohekou village and get to a simple parking lot in front of “the mouth of a dry river”, which is actually a narrow valley with a dry river spanned by a Great Wall pass – Xiaohekou Pass. Now the Great Wall pass  has been broken and damaged.

Now the Great Wall pass  has been broken and damaged.

Now the Great Wall pass (Xiaohekou Pass) has been broken and damaged.

Xiaohekou Great Wall was originally built from the year 1381 in Ming Dynasty with a total length of 8.9km. This section of the Great Wall has 36 watch towers, of which there are 12 towers have stone carvings in decorated design and style on the windows and doors.

Xiaohekou Great Wall was first discovered in July, 2004. Ever since there are more and more people coming to Xiaohekou including photographers, archaeologists, artists and normal travelers.

We walk through the broken Xiaohekou Pass (a small river’s mouth), turn left and climb up on a well built mountains slab paved road. 

Climb up on a well built mountains slab paved road

The wall is built of slabs

The wall is built of slabs

The first fort is over us, the largest on our hike up to the top. 

The first fort is over us, the largest on our hike up to the top.

Its east door is carved with beautiful flower designs.

Its door is carved with beautiful flower designs.

Its west stone door is also carved with decorative relief.

Its west stone door is also carved with decorative relief.

 

Inside the first floor of the bastion

Inside the first floor of the bastion

The officers stayed on the first floor while the soldiers on the second floor. A flight of stairs leading to the second floor of the fort.

A flight of stairs leading to the second floor of the fort.

We see unique battlements made entirely with masonry on the fort.

We see unique battlements made entirely with masonry on the fort.

The hole on the battlement is to hold a crossbow.

The hole on the battlement is to hold a crossbow.

Look down from the fort, we see Xiaohekou Village nestled in the valley by the mouth of a small river – Xiaohejou, hence the name of the village.

Look down from the fort, we see Xiaohekou Village

We continue to trudge up on a treacherous wall ridge up to the second watch tower.

We continue to trudge up on a treacherous wall ridge up to the second watch tower.

Xiao Hao, my colleague, is hiking in an opposite direction to the east instead of to the west where we hike.

Xiao Hao, my colleague, is hiking in an opposite direction

This is the second fort with its stone door also decorated with beautiful carvings.

This is the second fort with its stone door also decorated with beautiful carvings.


Let us have a close look at the decorative relief.

Let us have a close look at the decorative relief.

Standing on the second open floor of the fort, I snap a picture of the great wall ahead of us in the east.

I snap a picture of the great wall ahead of us in the east.

Xiao Hao is sitting on a dilapidated tower on the hill to our west.

Xiao Hao is sitting on a dilapidated tower on the hill to our west.

We don’t move further and turn back along the same mountain road back to the mouth of the small river – Xiaohekou.

back to the mouth of the small river – Xiaohekou

Then we drive to the nearby village – Xiaohekou Village. Most of the villagers are the descendants of the army guiding the Great Wall, who were from Yiwu, a town in southern China, which was the hometown of Qi Jiguan (November 12, 1528 – January 5, 1588).

Qijiguan is was the Wall’s architect in chief responsible for the building of the great wall from Beijing to Shanhaiguan. Qi’s army of guardians, joined by their families made the Wall alive with villages, fields, orchards and many of which survive to this day. Xiaohekou Village is one of them. which still keeps some traces in Ming and Qing dynasties.

 

Xiaohekou Village is one of them. which still keeps some traces in Ming and Qing dynaties

A Ming and Qing style bungalow house

A Ming and Qing style bungalow house