Archive for the ‘Shaanxi Travel’ Category

John Paton Davies & Dixie Mission to Yan’an

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Today, 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.

How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

Saturday, March 21st, 2020
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 Terracotta Warriors.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

Important Notice:
The special shuttle bus line ( Bus No.306 or Tourism Bus 5 ) running between  Xian Railway Station and Terra-cotta Army has been moved to the bus station of Fangzhicheng ( metro line 1) about 200 m from exit A (纺织城枢纽站). The relocation of the bus line is due to the reconstruction and expansion of of Xian Railway Station.

____________________________________________________________________

Plan your Xian tour? For many foreign visitors, visiting the excavated Terracotta Army is a must. These Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors were supposed to safeguard Chinese first emperor – Qin Shihuang in his afterlife.

He unified China in 221 BC for the first time in Chinese history and established Qin Dynasty (221–206 B.C.), thus starting China’s over 2000 years’ feudal society

You are kindly reminded that Qin Shihuang’s underground palace is still there and remains intact though some of the burial sites annexing to his mausoleum have been robbed.

Why his own burial site or his underground palace still intact? It is said that his tomb has solid and strict anti-gravedigging system including secret crossbows which may kill people once you are inside the tomb, and a large amount of mercury which will emit much toxic air within the tomb.

Now the entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum – One ticket for two sites. The two sites are 2 km apart connected by free shuttle buses.

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Located  2km east of Qin Shihuang Mausoleum, the Emperor’s afterlife army terracotta soldiers are only part of his mausoleum. These vivid over 2000-year-old soldiers of Terracotta Army were discovered March 24, 1974 by a group of local farmers when they were digging a well.

Now this site of Terracotta army has been turned into a world-famous attraction site, bombarded by tons of tourists visiting this museum. I’ve been to the Terracotta Army Museum for several times.

Below are some of the Terracotta Army travel tips for your reference if you are going to make your maiden trip to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum:

Tip#1: How to get from Xian Xianyang Airport to Terracotta Warriors (TCW)

1. Xian Airport to Lintong Special Bus.
At Xian Xianyang Airport, first take the Airport to Lintong Special Bus. Arriving at Lintong, then change for the local bus for Terracotta Warriors (TCW).
Departure time from Xian Airport: 10:30、12:30、15:30、17:30
Bus fare: 30 yuan ( excluding the local bus from Lintong to TCW)

2. By Taxi
Arriving at Xian Xianyang Airport, line up at the official taxi stand and take taxi for TCW:
Taxi Ride: about one hour and 66 km
Taxi fare: approx. 193 yuan, plus toll fee: 30 yuan

3. Private Transfer
Before getting to Xian Xianyang Airport, you can book a hassle-free private transfer from the airport to TCW. Check out Xian Car Rental with Driver for more information.

Tip#2: How to get from Xian North Railway Station to TCW
If you take high speed train to Xian, you will arrive at Xian North Railway Station.

1.By Subway + Bus
First take subway line 2 and get off at the station of Beidajie (北大街), then interchange for subway line 1 and get off at the station of Fangzhicheng (纺织城枢纽站) . Then take the special bus Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) going to TCW. The bus station is about 200 m from exit A of Fangzhicheng (Subway line 1).

2.By Taxi
Arriving at Xian North Railway Station, line up at the official taxi stand and take taxi for TCW:
Taxi Ride: about one hour and 50 km
Taxi fare: approx. 150 yuan, plus toll fee: 20 yuan

3. Private Transfer
Before getting to Xian North Railway Station, you can book a hassle-free private transfer from the airport to TCW. Check out Xian Car Rental with Driver for more information.

Tip#3: How to get from Xian Railway Station to TCW
The special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum has been moved to Fangzhicheng ( metro line 1) about 200 m from exit A (纺织城枢纽站). The relocation of the bus line is due to the reconstruction and expansion of of Xian Railway Station.

Take subway line 4 from Xian Railway Station and get off the next station of Wulukou (五路口), then interchange for subway line 1, then get off at the station of Fangzhicheng (纺织城枢纽站) . Then take the special bus Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) going TCW. The bus station is about 200 m from exit A of Fangzhicheng (Subway line 1).

Tip#4: Basic information on Tourism Bus 5 ( Bus No.306)
You don’t have to buy the bus ticket in advance. Just jump on the bus and later a bus guide will come to you and collect the money – RMB 7 per person.

Basic Information on the Bus
Bus Line: Tourism Bus 5 (306)
First Bus: 08:00; Last Bus 19:00
Departure Time: Leave when full.
Line Length: 42 Km
Drive Time: 0ne Hour
Bus Stops: Totally 12 stop on route
Bus Stop No.01: Xian Railway Station
Bus Stop No 08: Huanqing Hots pring
Bus Stop No 12: Terracotta Army

Be sure to get off at the last destination – Terracotta Army Museum since the Bus 5 (306) is scheduled to stop at several tourist attractions including Huaqing  Hot spring, Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum.

You don’t need to get off at these stops. The very last stop ( the 12th stop ) of this bus is the Terracotta Warriors. Just stay on the bus until you get to the last stop. Remember where you get off the bus terminal.

After finishing your visiting the museum, come to the same parking lot and take the exact bus No 5 (306) since there are some other “fake” bus 306 which eagerly push you to take their buses.

Tip#5: Basic information about Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum
Located 30km east of Xian, the Army of Terracotta Warriors are undoubtedly the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century. The museum is composed of three pits: Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3.

Pit 1 is most impressive and the highlight of the museum. Pits 2 and 3, though interesting, are not as impressive as the pit 1. If you don’t have sufficient time, PIT 2 and PIT 3 can be avoided.

The movie -360 degrees, the background film, is in English and very cool, which takes about 15 minutes long. It gives some background to what you see with your own eyes. It is worth the 15 minutes. The film ticket is included in your entrance fee.

Tip#6: Don’t expect too much from the Museum
Before you visit the terracotta warriors, if you have already read a lot and seen tons of pictures of the Army of Terracotta warriors, you may feel a little disappointed. So there is much hype which causes your visit to be a letdown.

Tip#07: Rent an audio guide? Hire a tour guide? or Using a guidebook?
How to visit the museum? You have three choices:
1) Rent an audio guide ( recorded guide ). You just pay RMB 40 an audio tour. The voice sounds like an American accent and it is easy to understand and informative.

2) Using a tour guide service. When you are going to buy your tickets at the ticketing office, tons of tour guides will come to you, eager to offer you the guide service.

If you haven’t done much homework before you came to Xian. You are advised to hire a local tour guide to guide or translate for you at the price of about RMB 100-150. You will get more knowledge than from a guidebook or the recordings. Just avoid the shopping sites your local guide may suggest you to go.

3) Using a guidebook to guide your tour in and around the museum.

Tip#8: Walking from Ticketing office to Entrance Gate
It takes 5-10 minutes walking from the ticketing office to the entrance gate. If you pay RMB 5, you take a small tram ride to the entrance gate. In my opinion, if you are in good shape, just avoid using the small tram.

Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

Tip#9: Exit from the museum
After you finish visiting the museum and leave for your bus terminal, or in a word, on the way back, you have to pass through an area with a lot of shops and restaurants. This obviously poses some pressure on you to buy some souvenirs or spend some money here.

If you are tender-hearted, and going to buy something to support China’s economy, please bargain!

Tip#10: Some Restaurants Rip off
There are many restaurants leading up to the museum. Some of them just rip you off. So take great care of your money!

Tip#11: Toilets in the museum are free
For the toilets outside the museum, you have to pay. But once you are inside the museum, you enjoy free toilets. They are the same squatting-style facility like everywhere else in china.

Tip#12: Take a taxi to the Museum
It takes about 160 RMB by taxi from the downtown Xian to Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors. Very often you have to bargain with your taxi driver.

Tip#13: Terracotta Army, not Qin Shihuang Mausoleum
If you take Bus 5(306) from Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum, don’t get off at Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum. Qin Shihuang’s Mausolem is not much worth visiting since it is just a mound, not excavated yet.

So don’t confuse Terracotta Army with Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum. The entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum.

A closer look at soldiers and horses

A closer look at soldiers and horses

Tip#14: Opening time and entrance fees
Ticket Selling Hours:
8:30 – 17:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 16:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Opening Time
8:30 – 18:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 17:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Entrance Fee:
RMB 150 (March 1-November 30);
RMB 120 (December 1-the end of February)
The ticket also includes the entrance to Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum.

Note: There is a cap for the number of visitors ( limited to daily 65000 visitors ). But  basically  you won’t have any problem buying your tickets if you avoid visiting the site during National Holiday ( Oct 01 -07 ).

For booking the tickets online, you use the following two websites ( both in Chinese ):
1) http://piao.ctrip.com/ticket/dest/t1444.html
2) http://order.bmy.com.cn:88/ticket/index.htm

Tip#15: Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

The Terracotta Warriors Museum is open all year round – 365 days every year! Children under the height of 1.2m don’t have to pay.

06611Tip #16: 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

Terracotta Army  Join-in Escorted Bus Tour RMB 480 p/p
Terracotta Army  Escorted Private Tour  US$ $125 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.

Visit Xian in October

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Plan your Xian tour  in October? Generally, October is an ideal month to visit Xian in terms of comfortable weather and autumn hues. But you’d  better avoid visiting Xian during the week-long holiday (October 01 – 07 ) – China National Day.

Like other tourist cities,  Xian is packed with domestic tourists during the most important red-letter day in China.

Terracotta Warriors

Terracotta Warriors

The Weather in October in Xian


Xian’ average temperature in October ranges from 19℃ ~ 10℃. The first half month of October falls above 20℃ and the later half below 20℃, a bit colder and you need to wear warmly if you are going to visit Xian at the end of October.

Though a dry city, Xian in October expects some rain and you need to bring your rain jacket or umbrella. Check out the online daily weather report for your visit in Xian.

Historical Weather Data for October in Xian

This past historical weather data is quite useful for you to plan your trip to Xian well in advance.  You may use the data to decide what to wear and what to see  on your coming trip to Xian.


Date
Average High
Average Low
Extreme High Extreme Low
Oct 01 23℃ 13℃ 34℃(1977) 7℃(1957)
Oct 02 22℃ 13℃ 31℃(2002) 7℃(1969)
Oct 03 21℃ 12℃ 32℃(1977) 6℃(1956)
Oct 04 21℃ 12℃ 31℃(1987) 4℃(1972)
Oct 05 21℃ 12℃ 28℃(2002) 8℃(1963)
Oct 06 21℃ 12℃ 30℃(1987) 6℃(1957)
Oct 07 22℃ 12℃ 31℃(1959) 7℃(1992)
Oct 08 22℃ 11℃ 32℃(1959) 6℃(1969)
Oct 09 20℃ 12℃ 32℃(1959) 1℃(1981)
Oct 10 21℃ 12℃ 29℃(1987) 3℃(1954)
Oct 11 20℃ 11℃ 31℃(1957) 0℃(1952)
Oct 12 20℃ 11℃ 28℃(1957) -1℃(1952)
Oct 13 20℃ 11℃ 29℃(1957) 4℃(1963)
Oct 14 20℃ 10℃ 30℃(1977) 3℃(1965)
Oct 15 19℃ 10℃ 29℃(1951) 3℃(1962)
Oct 16 19℃ 10℃ 33℃(1951) 3℃(1952)
Oct 17 19℃ 9℃ 26℃(2002) 2℃(1963)
Oct 18 19℃ 9℃ 27℃(1982) 2℃(1963)
Oct 19 19℃ 10℃ 27℃(1997) 3℃(1957)
Oct 20 19℃ 9℃ 28℃(1997) 3℃(1953)
Oct 21 19℃ 9℃ 29℃(1959) 2℃(1963)
Oct 22 18℃ 9℃ 27℃(1997) 0℃(1972)
Oct 23 18℃ 8℃ 26℃(1977) 0℃(1981)
Oct 24 18℃ 7℃ 26℃(1977) -1℃(1981)
Oct 25 18℃ 8℃ 26℃(1977) -1℃(1981)
Oct 26 17℃ 7℃ 24℃(2003) 0℃(1951)
Oct 27 17℃ 7℃ 27℃(1979) -1℃(1991)
Oct 28 17℃ 7℃ 28℃(1979) -1℃(1966)
Oct 29 18℃ 7℃ 24℃(1979) -2℃(1978)
Oct 30 17℃ 7℃ 25℃(1979) -1℃(1978)
Oct 31 17℃ 6℃ 26℃(1979) -1℃(1952)

What to Wear


For the first half of October, you may wear T-shirt, thin pants or jeans during daytime; long sleeve shirts thin jackets in the evening. For the later half of October, you may wear long sleeve shirts, pants or jeans during the day; jackets in the evening.

October expects some rain, and you should remember to bring your rain jacket or umbrella. If it rains, the feeling temperature will be much lower and  you should put on more.

Xian is a dry and grey historical city. Wearing brightly, you will make brilliant photos.

Where to Stay


Xian is a very compact and walkable city, so no matter where you are going to stay you will easily get to the major attractions and shopping areas in Xian.

The city layout within Xian City Wall is based on a grid pattern centrally denoted by the grand Bell Tower (钟楼), which levels out four main avenues clockwise: East avenue (Dong Dajie 东大街), South Avenue ( Nan Dajie 南大街), West Avenue (Xi Dajie 西大街) and North Avenue (Bei Dajie 北大街). Xian Railway Station is just located on the northeast corner of Xian city wall while Xian Airport is located 40km northwest of Xian.

The areas near Bell Tower, East Avenue, South Avenue, West Avenue and North Avenue are considered ideal places to stay in Xian.   Check out the link for more information – Where to Stay in Xian.

What to See


Xian is well known for its historical relics, both above ground and underneath. Season or weather changes make no  big difference for sightseeing in Xian though October is a good time for autumn views.

So if you travel Xian in October as a first-time visitor, you may cover the major attractions like Terracotta Warriors, Xian City Wall, Xian Muslim Quarter,  the Great Mosque Bell & Drum Towers and the list could be longer if you stay in Xian for quite a few days.  Check out the Top 10 Attractions in Xian for more information.

The Mid-October through Mid-November is the best time to see autumn colours around Xian. If you are a leaf-peeping enthusiast, Xian does have something to offer. But most of the places for autumn leaves in Xian are out of town.

For the time-strapped visitors, Xingqing Palace Park (兴庆宫公园) is a good alternative. Xingqing Palace Park is located in the eastern suburb of Xian, about 6km to the east of Bell Tower, the city center of Xian. It was built on the former site of the Xingqing Palace of the Tang Dynasty.

Today the relics of the former Xingqing Palace has been turned into a free city park. There are some original relics of the former Xingqing Palace. In addition, some ponds, pavilion, halls and buildings have been rebuilt according to the Tang Dynasty style.

Xingqing Palace Park is an ideal place to view the autumn leaves in Xian. Xingqing Lake built on the former “Dragon Lake” is ringed with dense trees and green lawns, changing into a color wonderland in autumn.

It is very easy for you to take a bus from Bello Tower to Xingqing Palace Park 兴庆宫. Take the buses from the east of Bell Tower – Bus 43, 622 or 203 along the East Avenue and get off at the stop of the North Gate of Xingqing Palace Park 兴庆公园北门站 ( 5 stops and 20 minutes ), then walk 210 meters to the park.

Check out the Top Places for Autumn Views in Xian.

What to Eat


Xian is a haven for eaters. Hitting the foot streets of Muslim Quarter is a must for first-time visitors.

It is said there are over 300 Muslim local snacks on the streets in Xian Muslim Quarter that attract a consistent flow of visitors everyday coming here to savor or just have a glimpse.

Xi’an Liangpi (cold skin noodles)

Xi’an Liangpi (cold skin noodles)

Have a bite of some of the local food: the famous Xi’an Liangpi (cold skin noodles) , the lamb skewers, the cuttlefish, the yogurt, pomegranate juice and the list could be much longer.
Check out Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian  for more information.

October Events, Holidays & Festivals


National Day (October 1 – 07)
It is the most important holiday for marking the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Employees will enjoy a 3-day paid day off. Various  celebration activities will be taken. The official paid day off for the National Day is 3 days. But Chinese government makes it a 7 day holiday by moving the prior weekend and the upcoming one together with these 3 days. This is the Chinese government’s “holiday economy” policy.

Try to avoid visiting Xian during the week-long holiday.

The Chinese Men’s Health Day 中国男性健康日
The Chinese Men’s Health Day falls 28 October which was inaugurated in the year 2008.  A variety of activities will be carried  in the city of Xian to mark the special occasion.

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

Terracotta Army  Join-in Escorted Bus Tour RMB 480 p/p
Terracotta Army  Escorted Private Tour  US$ $125 P/P

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
How to Visit Terracotta Warriors
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.