Archive for the ‘Shaanxi Travel’ Category

Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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 120 (all year around)
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 Xian City Wall

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Dear Travelers,

We’d like to have the following quick guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Xian City Wall. If you have any questions or anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

_______________________________________________________________

Xian is home to the most complete and well-preserved ancient city wall in China and one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world as well.

Xian City Wall was initially built in Tang Dynasty (618 -907), based on which, the existing wall was rebuilt in Ming Dynasty during the period between 1374 and 1378. Now the remaining Xian City Wall is 12 meters tall, 18 meters wide at the base, 12-14 meters wide on the top with a perimeter of 13.74 km in length and a deep moat surrounding it.

You can stroll, even cycle or take a buggy around the Wall. Plan your Xian tour? Xian City Wall, not to be missed! The city wall itself is very impressive and ascending the wall allows you to  look out on the new city from an ancient structure, avoiding the crowds and traffic with a better feel of the historical changes in the ancient capital of Xi’an with the fast development in the modern times.

Tips
tips-11. How to get there
Though there are totally 18 gates to the present city wall of Xian, only the four major gates are open to the public, namely South Gate, West Gate, North Gate and East Gate. You may choose any of the four gates to ascend the wall.

Just find out which gate is closer to your hotel and start up your trip to the wall. Many people would like to choose the South Gate, the largest gates of the four. It’s a 10-minute walk down south along the South Avenue from the Bell Tower to the South Gate.

The South Gate

The South Gate to Xian City Wall

Alternatively you can take subway line 2 from Bell Tower in the south direction and get off at the next station of Yongning Gate and exit either from Exit A1 or D1.

2. Entry Fees and Opening Hours
Entrance fee: 40 RMB
Ticketing Offices: at any of the four gates to the Wall
Opening Hour: 08:00 – 20:00
Suggested Travel Time: 1-3 Hours
Tel: 029-87283602, 87286373

Ascending Xian City Wall

Ascending Xian City Wall

3. Best time to visit Xian City Wall
1) Best Months to Visit: March – June, and September – November.  If you visit in July and August, the hottest months in Xian, you’d better choose to visit Wall either in the morning or after sunset to avoid the scorching sun.

2) Best Time in a Day to Ascend the Wall: Morning or later afternoon.  There are parks at the base, below the wall and you can see people doing morning exercise or dancing in the evening. Ascending the Wall in the early morning to control the crowd or come to the Wall late in the evening so that you can see the wall to be lit up or enjoy the sunset over the Wall.

4. Strolling on Xian City Wall
The top surface of the wall is a wonderful promenade. Walking all the way around the wall takes about 2 – 3 hours, depending on how fast you are. Don’t forget bring your hate, bottled water, sunglasses and have sunblock for the stroll.

If you have no time to walk all the wall or you have no fancy for the long walk, you can choose to have a shorter stroll starting from, let’s say the South Gate  and get off from the West or East Gates.

5. Riding Xian City Wall
Renting a bike or return your bike at any of the four gates. Basically you are required to return your bike at 6:00pm. If your riding has surpassed the designated 6:00pm, you can return your bike at 8:00pm at the South Gate.

There are plenty of bikes, single and tandem, that can save a lot of time from your walk. You can rent a single bike at 45 RMB or a tandem  at 90 RMB for 2 hours. The hire stations are located at the access points of the four gates. the bike ride takes about 1 hour.

Biking on Xian City Wall

Biking on Xian City Wall

The bike ride is a little uncomfortable with the surface a bit bumpy due to the cobble stone paved surface, hurting your hands, wrists or buttocks a bit.

6. Taking a buggy around Xian City Wall
As a third choice to go around the wall surface, you can take a battery buggy driven around the entire perimeter. For an ordinary buggy for one circle,  you need to pay RMB 80 or 120 for a luxury buggy.

Taking a buggy around Xian City Wall

Taking a buggy around Xian City Wall

You also can take the buggy section by section, which costs you 20 RMB for an ordinary buggy and RMB 30 for a luxury buggy between two stops.

7. English Signage
There are English signs pointing to the directions and many signs also give you the history of the wall.

8. Toilet
Use the toilets at the entrance, and there are no restrooms once you get onto the surface.

9. Little shops on the Wall
There are small shops on the surface of the wall for drinks, some refreshments or small souvenirs.

10. Vendors below the Wall
There some souvenirs stalls from vendors near the gates.

11. Local Activities below the Wall
Take your camera or iPhone to have some interesting candid photos of the local activities near the gates – dancing, singing, playing chess, etc.

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.

Travel Tips for Taking a High Speed Train from Beijing to Xian

Friday, October 5th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Xian from Beijing by highspeed train. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
_______________________________________________________

Plan your Beijing Xian tour? Basically you may go visiting Xian from Beijing either  by flight or train.  Many travelers choose to take a  5-6 hour high speed train from Beijing to Xian or vice versa. We’ve rounded up some useful tips to plan your Beijing Xian tour by taking high speed trains.

1. Locating the right train station for the trains from Beijing to Xian.
There are 4 major railway stations in Beijing, namely Beijing Railway Station ( the oldest one ), Beijing West Railway Station ( for the trains from Beijing to Xian, Lhasa and Kowloon), Beijing South Railway Station ( for the trains from Beijing to Shanghai and Tianjin) and Beijing North Railway Station ( for the S trains to Badaling Great Wall).

So you should choose Beijing West Railway Station:
Add: Lianhuachi Donglu, Fengtai District ( just south of Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution)Tel: 51826253
The trains departing from Beijing West Railway Station: Xian, Luoyang, Chongqing, Chengdu, Lhasa, Urumqi, Guangzhou and Kowloon.

2. How to get to Beijing West Railway Station from Beijing Capital Airport?
1) Taking the  No.07: Capital Airport Shuttle Bus to Beijing West Train Station

2) Airport Express Train + Subway: Take airport express train and get off at its final station of Dongzhimen (东直门), interchange for Subway line 2 to the south and alight at the second stop of Chaoyangmen (朝阳门), again interchange for subway line 6 to the west and alight at 7th station of Baishiqiao South (白石桥南), then again interchange for Subway Line 9 to the south direction and get off at the second station of Beijing West Railway Station (北京西站)and start your train travel.

3) Taxi fare: about RMB 130( 40km ).

2. How to get to Beijing West Railway Station from the city center?
To leave or go to Beijing West Railway Station, taking subway is the most convenient way of public transportation since the subway line 9 passes by the train station.

With subway line 9, you are linked to other three train station: Beijing Railway Station ( line 2), Beijing South Railway Station ( line 4 ) and Beijing North Railway Station ( line 2 and 4 ). Check Beijing Subway Map for more information.

3. What does the main train building look like?
Beijing West Railway Station is a modern passenger station 90 meters at the highest  in a shape of “品” with an area of 510,000 sq meters constructed with 10 platforms.

The main building faces north and south with two squares – North Square and South Square. There are public buses in each square with the north square having more public transport. Basically we suggest go through the north entrance to the station. If you take a taxi, just ask your taxi driver to go to the north square instead of south square.

The main building

The main building with the north square

Both the first floor and second floor at the north entrance are designed for check-in. If you taxi to the station, your taxi driver will take you directly to the second floor for entry while arriving by public bus you will check through the  first floor.

4. How many daily high speed trains from Beijing to Xian?
Currently there are more than a dozen of daily high-speed trains going between Beijing and Xian. You are supposed to reach the station at least half hour before departure.

The following is part of the train schedule ( subject to change without notice ):

Train No. From Dep time To Arr Time                        First Class / Second Class
G651 Beijing West 06:58 Xian North 12:47                       824.5 / 515.5
G671 Beijing West 08:16 Xian North 14:16                       824.5 /515.5
G655 Beijing West 09:43 Xian North 15:37                       824.5 / 515.5
G673 Beijing West 14:35 Xian North 20:26                          824.5 / 515.5
G669 Beijing West 17:31 Xian North 23:00                          824.5 / 515.5
G25 Beijing West 18:55Xian North 23:21                                824.5 / 515.5
——————————————————————————————————————————–
Train No. From Dep time To Arr Time               First  Class  / Second Class
G652 Xian North 07:53 Beijing West 13:27       824.5          / 515.5
G672 Xian North 09:11 Beijing West 15:11        824.5          / 515.5
G656 Xian North 10:07 Beijing West 15:33       824.5          / 515.5
G88 Xian North 13:30 Beijing West 17:55        824.5          / 515.5
G666 Xian North 16:00 Beijing West 21:31     824.5           / 515.5
G674 Xian North 17:21 Beijing West 23:08      824.5             515.5
G90 Xian North 18:24 Beijing West 22:48      824.5            / 515.5

5. Ticket and Security Check at Beijing West Train Station
Either on the first or second floor there are several booths for ticket and security check.  Passengers are required to line up and go one by one with their tickets and ID cards or passports ready.

So don’t forget to bring your passport with you for the train ride.  Your luggage and bags will be X-rayed for security check.

Line up for ticket and security check

Line up for ticket and security check

5. Which waiting room ( or Platform )  for Beijing Xian High Speed Trains?
After having your luggage X-rayed and enter the main waiting hall,  you will see a huge electronic  train schedule board with real-time information on the trains in and out.   There are 10 platforms in Beijing West Railway Station with 1-5 for common trains and 6-10 for high speed trains.

Just match your train number with the waiting room number. Basically your waiting room leads to the platform for your train to Xian. Normally your waiting room will be numbered “8” for the trains to Xian.  There are 13 waiting rooms inside the station. The waiting room No.8 is normally for passengers taking the trains to Xian.

 you will see a huge electronic train schedule board

you will see a huge electronic train schedule board

Walking through the long corridor and looking for the Waiting Room No.08 for Passengers taking high speed trains for Xian.

6. Any decent restaurants inside the main building?
There are some clean and quality cafes and restaurants available at Beijing Railway Station like KFC and McDonald. Luckily, your waiting room No.8 is close to MacDonald.

Your waiting room No.8 is also close to KFC.

KFC.

KFC.

And Starbucks

Starbucks

Starbucks

7. What about the waiting room and ticket collecting?
Make sure you are on the right waiting room.  The train staffer at the gate (Information Desk)  to your waiting room will double-check your train ticket for the right place.

The Entrancd to Your Waiting Room

The Entrance to Your Waiting Room

Each waiting room is marble-stone paved with air-conditioning  and ventilation system. On the front sides there is food and book stalls as well a cafe.

Each waiting room is marble-stone paved with air-conditioning and ventilation system

Each waiting room is marble-stone paved with air-conditioning and ventilation system

Check the electronic board to seat on the right row for your train.  Basically there are two rows of benches for each high speed train.  If you hold the pink-colored ticket, you seat and line up on the pink side; if you have the blue ticket, you line up on the blue side.

Purchased from a ticketing agent, a pink train ticket needs be checked manually while with a blue ticket bought directly from a train station, you need to have your ticket checked by swiping it on the machine by the gate.

Different passages for pink and blue tickets

Different seating areas for pink and blue ticket holders

You see people are lining up to have their tickets checked and enter the platform for their train.

 people are lining up to have their tickets checked

people are lining up to have their tickets checked

8. Get on the right car, compartment facilities and train speed
Usually it is quite a walk from the ticket check-in gate down to the platform and the  right compartment.  Just take it easy carrying or rolling your luggage down to the platform and locate the right car you are in.

Take an elevator down to the platform

Take an elevator down to the platform

Many passengers would stop and take some pictures of the train.  The train is sleek, thin and long with its head looking like a plane. The train is one of the design of CRH series. It is designed to travel at 350 km per hour.

However, the trains are only allowed to run at 300 km per hour due to the safety factor – keeping a required safe distance between following trains.

The train is sleek, thin and long with its head looking like a plane.

The train is sleek, thin and long with its head looking like a plane.

Manly there are two kinds of seats – 5-seat row ( second class) and 4-seat row (first class).  Some high speed trains have 8 cars and others have 16 cars.  There is a snack car on the train where you may have coffee, snacks and fast food. The inside of the train has a futuristic look as well with comfortable seats, wide windows, smartly dressed attendants and food service better than a plane.

It is easy to get on the train as the train is at a high level platform. And all the stations on route  are built with high level platforms. This males it so easy to handle your heavy suitcases onto the train.

The train is at a high level platform

The train is at a high level platform

A 5-seat row ( second class) car

A 5-seat row ( second class) car

A 5-seat row ( second class) car

Put your large suitcases on the luggage rack by the door in the linkage area.

luggage rack by the door

luggage rack by the door

9.  Train Speed

The train starts so smoothly that you won’t  feel you are moving. But once out of the train station, the train speeds up to around 300 km per hour. If you don’t look at the outside through the window, you won’t realize you are on a moving train. The electronic information board in each end of  each car showing the train speed  and  next station  stop.

All this is due to the elevated track that uses slab construction that holds the continuously welded rail. All the local traffic moves under the elevated track so there are no level crossings or underpasses.

All this is due to the elevated track

All this is due to the elevated track

Lunch can be bought  in the coach car from an attendant who supplies it from an airline type cart.

Lunch can be bought in the coach car

Lunch can be bought in the coach car

The slab non-ballasted tracks for high speed trains make the trains smoother and comfortable different from common trains on ballasted track.

The slab non-ballasted tracks

The slab non-ballasted tracks

Train tracks on a high level viaduct

Train tracks on a high level viaduct

Train tracks on a high level viaduct

9. Arriving at Xian
For the Beijing Xian High Speed Train, the Beijing terminus is Beijing West Railway Station, with the Xian terminus at Xian North Railway Station.  The major calling points are Shijiazhuang, Anyang and Luoyang on route.

Arriving at Xian North Railway Station

Arriving at Xian

Arriving at Xian

10. Go to Xian downtown by subway line 2
Arriving at Xian North Railway Station, it is both money-saving and convenient to take subway line 2 directly from the train station to the downtown Xian ( Bell Tower ).

Go to Xian downtown by subway line 2

Go to Xian downtown by subway line 2

11. Free shuttle Bus to the terracotta warriors from Xian North Railway Station
Once you arrive at Xian North Railway Station by high speed rail, you can take the advantage of the free shuttle going to Terracotta Amy.

For more information on the free shuttle, please check out the link: How to Visit Terracotta Army by Bus.

Note: There are some luggage deposit offices in the station to store your baggage.

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.