Archive for the ‘Shaanxi Travel’ Category

Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian

Sunday, June 21st, 2020
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When you are planning your Xian tour, your focus will be definitely on Terracotta Warriors Museum. But the other equally interesting and important subterranean archaeological museum may slip under your radar, namely, Hanyang Tombs (Hanyangling), the Tomb of Tomb of Emperor Jingdi Jindi (188BC—141BC), the fourth emperor of Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.) which follows Qin Dynasty ( 221–206 BC).

This is a wonderful cultural site, more interesting and engaging than the Terracotta Warriors. The well-structured site comprises the emperor’s tomb, empress’ tomb, the south and north accompanying burial pits, and human sacrifice graveyard.

With the emperor’s tomb laid out in the center, the site tells the strict hierarchical social structure. A must see!
Note: The Emperor’s Tomb is still intact, not excavated yet.

Tips
tips-11. How to Get There
Han Yang Ling Mausoleum (Hanyang Tomb) is located about 25 km north of Bell Tower in the city center of Xian and about 24 km to the east of Xian Xianyang International Airport.

To get there is a little bit tricky. You may take Tourism Bus No.04 starting from Xian Library to Hanyang Tomb.
Bus Timetable:
Xian Library to Hanyang Tomb: 09:30, 10:30; 13:30 and 13:30
Hanyang Tomb to Xian Library: 15: 00, 16:00,17:00 and 18:00

Or you may take a taxi either from Xian city center or Xian Xianyang International Airport. Taxi fare about 80-100 yuan.

2. Entry Fee and Opening Hours
Admission: 90 yuan ( March – November ) and 65 yuan ( December – February )

Opening Hours: 08: 30 – 19:00 ( March – November ) and 08:30 – 18:00 yuan ( December – February )

Tel:029-86031470

3. Visiting the Protection Hall of Burial Pits
The Protection Hall of Burial Pits is popularly known as the underground museum or on site subterranean museum. This is the place worth most of your visit time in Hanyang Tomb.

It is awesome to walk on the glass floors to view the terracotta smaller scale people, more engaging and interesting than Terracotta Warrior Museum,

The Protection Hall of Burial Pits

The Protection Hall of Burial Pits

The underground museum is built on the excavation sites above which glass floors are built for people to have a close look at the artifacts underneath. You will see small-sized terracotta figures. Not only terracotta soldiers, but various animals and household items were buried as well.

It gives you a feel of  the Emperor’s attempt to create his daily life in miniature in the tomb accompanying him for eternity.

4. Visiting Hanyang Tomb Archaeological Exhibition Hall
The above-ground museum is a bit far from the underground museum mentioned above. There are buggies shuttling between the two sites.

Visiting Hanyang Tomb Archaeological Exhibition Hall

Visiting Hanyang Tomb Archaeological Exhibition Hall

Han Yang Ling Archaeological Exhibition Hall is a modern comprehensive museum. It has a unique style and advanced exhibition area. About 1700 exquisite artifacts unearthed in the past 30 years are on display in the two-storey building.

5. How to Schedule Your Visit
A side trip to Hanyang Tomb can be arranged either after you arrive at Xian Airport or before you go to Xian airport since the site is easily accessible on the highway linking the airport, the tomb and the downtown of Xian.

Alternatively, you may visit Hanyang Tomb for one or two hours before you are heading to the Terracotta Army Museum.

6. A Nice Gift Store
A nice store to buy art crafts.

A Nice Gift Store

A Nice Gift Store

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.

Taking High Speed Train from Beijing to Xian

Saturday, April 18th, 2020
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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 high-speed 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. 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 high speed trains from Beijing to Xian, and regular trains to Lhasa and Kowloon), Beijing South Railway Station ( for the trains from Beijing to Shanghai and Tianjin) and Beijing North Railway Station ( for the trains to Zhangiakou)

So you should choose Beijing West Railway Station for your train going to Xian from Beijing and back.

Beijing West Railway Station
Add: Lianhuachi Donglu, Fengtai District ( just south of Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution)
Tel: 51826253, 51824231
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  Airport Shuttle No.07: Capital Airport Shuttle Bus to Beijing West Train Station

2) Beijing Capital 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 ).

3. 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  Beijing West Railway 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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

7. 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.

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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.

Mainly 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

11.  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

12. 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

13. 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

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.

Chinese version of the travel guide:

从北京乘坐高铁到西安

John Paton Davies & Dixie Mission to Yan’an

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby featherToday, April 4 is Qingming Festival, a traditional Chinese festival that is an opportunity for people to remember those who passed away ( relatives, friends, important personages…). On this special day, I’d like to dedicate my today’s humble blog post to John Paton Davies, Jr (6 Apr. 1908 – 23 Dec. 1999).

Why John Paton Davies? Actually two days ago I knew little about him. But today I’m all John Paton Davies! Empowered by internet, I’ve read plentiful articles and documents regarding John Paton Davies, a leading American diplomat who was among the “old China hands” driven from the State Department after Senator Joseph McCarthy questioned their loyalty and labeled them Communist sympathizers in the 1950’s.

My great interest in John Paton Davies was aroused by an email sent by Tiki Davies, John Paton Davies’s daughter. In her email, Tiki Davies kindly pointed out the wrong picture of her father I had posted in my blog titled Wangjiaping, a former revolutionary site in Yan’an. She went on to say she could send me the original picture of her father with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. And she did! Below is the precious photo she has sent to me!

This is the photo sent by Tiki Davies (Left to Right – Zhou Enlai, Zude, JPD, Mao Zedong and Ye Jianying).

This is the photo sent by Tiki Davies (Left to Right – Zhou Enlai, Zude, JPD, Mao Zedong and Ye Jianying).

This is the photo sent by Tiki Davies (Left to Right – Zhou Enlai, Zude, JPD, Mao Zedong and Ye Jianying).

John Paton Davies was born born in Kiating ( now Leshan city), Sichuan Province, China. He was the son of John Paton Davies and Helen MacNeil Davies, who were Baptist missionaries. He learned at missionary schools in China, including the Shanghai Missionary School. He then studied successively at the University of Wisconsin Experimental College, at Yenching University in Beijing, and at Columbia University. He graduated from Columbia in 1931 and a year later joined the U.S. Foreign Service.

Early in 1942, Davies was appointed as diplomatic aide and political adviser to U.S. army general Joseph W. Stilwell, who was named commander of the allied China-Burma-India theater of war. When Stilwell was recalled by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Davies was reassigned as a senior adviser on the staff of Patrick J. Hurley, the U.S. ambassador to China who had also been named a special presidential envoy.

From the years he had lived and worked in China, he recognized the strength of Mao Zedong’s forces and their call to the Chinese people. He also predicted that the Chinese communist forces would eventually win over the corruption-ridden Kuomintang. He advocated US relations with Communist China to forestall a Soviet takeover.

On 15, 1944, in his memo Davies proposed the idea of establishing an observers’ mission in Chinese Communist territory. Davies argued that: the Chinese communists offered attractive strategic benefits in the fight against Japan; and that the more the U.S. ignored the communists, the closer Yan’an would move to Moscow. His memorandum successfully convinced the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt to put the plan into motion.

So Davies was instrumental in facilitating the United States Army Observation Group, commonly known as the Dixie Mission, the first U.S. effort to establish official relations with the Communist Party of China and the People’s Liberation Army, then headquartered in the mountainous city of Yan’an.

The Dixie Mission was launched on 22 July 1944 during World War II, and lasted until 11 March 1947, almost 30 years earlier than Dr. Henry A. Kissinger’s secret mission that led to the deplomatic relationship between People’s Republic of China and US in 1972.

Davies made several trips to Yan’an and passed along two offers from Mao Zedong, one to visit the United States to discuss further ties and the other to cooperate with a contemplated American landing on the Japanese-held coast.

In 1950s, Davies and about a dozen of the country’s most eminent China scholars and diplomats found themselves accused of having “lost China” after Mao’s Communist forces defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists, supported by the American government in 1949. He was one of the China Hands, whose careers in the Foreign Service were destroyed by McCarthyism.

After a protracted battle, Davies was finally exonerated and regained his government clearance in 1969.  He passed away at his home in Asheville, N.C. on 23 Dec. 1999 at the age of 91.

In China, the Dixie Mission is remembered as a positive time between the two nations, and a symbol of Sino-American cooperation. And John Paton Davies, the great man behind the Dixie Mission is to be remembered for ever.

For more about John Paton Davies, you are advised to read his posthumous autobiography “China Hand”, published on March 1, 2012 with the forward by Vanity Fair’s Todd S. Purdum and epilogue by the University of Chicago’s Dr. Bruce Cumings.