Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian (Tips, Photos & Map)

October 25th, 2021
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Plan your Xian tour? The Terracotta Warriors Museum will be definitely a must-to-see on your Xian travel plan. But one equally important thing to do  and you cannot afford to miss is to have a taste or glimpse of the exotic food on the streets in the Muslim community in Xian. These back streets are full of life with a rich strong feel of Islamic cultural vibe.

The Muslim Community is known as Muslim Quarter in Xian or colloquially called “Huifang (回坊)” in Chinese. 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.

The local snacks on the streets in Xian Muslim Quarter
The local snacks on the streets in Xian Muslim Quarter

The Museum Quarter in Xian is easily accessible, just behind ( north of ) Drum Tower, about 430 meters to the west of Bell Tower in the center of the downtown Xian.

Get off at Zhonglou ( Bell  Tower ) Subway Station of Metro Line 2 and walk from Bell Tower toward the drum tower for about 430 meters, passing by Starbucks (Bell Tower Shop). Soon you will reach the north of Drum Tower, your starting place for further delving into the streets where the Muslim community has had a presence for many generations.

Xi’an Liangpi (cold skin noodles)
Xi’an Liangpi (cold skin noodles)

The Muslim food community is composed of several streets like Beiyuan Men Street, Beiguangji Street, Xiyangshi Street and Dapiyuan Street and all the streets are stone-paved streets flanked with the traditional buildings in Ming and Qing dynasties. All the low level of the buildings  is open daily, hosting food stalls, restaurants and souvenirs stalls.

Tips


1.
Practice your Chinese numbers before you visit the Muslim Quarter as not all vendors speak English. But the good thing is that they all have a calculator on hand.

2. Give yourself about two hours to stroll through the several streets in the area.

3. Put on comfortable walking shoes, take your camera and some money.

4. The food is cheap and most things between 5 yuan and 15 yuan.

5. The food streets come alive around 9:00 am each day till mid-night.

6. A good place for people watch, mixing with the locals and visitors alike. Day in day out, night in night out millions of people flood the Muslim Quarter each year.

7. The best time to come here in a day is after the sunsets when the Muslim quarter sparkles with lights. But It will be very crowded, a bit noisy and a little bit chaotic but a lot of fun.

8. Beside eateries, the food streets also offer a couple of souvenirs stalls selling typical local products like tiger-head shoes, and don’t forget to bargain!

9. Don’t be worried about hygiene, the street sweepers and garbage collectors work hard to constantly keep the whole area clean.

10. Try 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.

11. If you prefer a quiet place for a peaceful mind in this busy Muslim Community, you may go to the Xi’an old mosque known as the Great Mosque,  located right in the middle, behind a maze of small lanes and alleys and worth your visit.

12. If you don’t like the local street vendors, you can go to the  nearby Starbucks, McDonald’s, or KFC in the square.

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 Tour
Xian Day Tour
Xian Tour Packages
Beijing Xian Tour

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.

Tanzhe Temple (Tips, Photos & Map)

October 25th, 2021
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Meaning of “Tanzhe Temple”

“Tanzhe Temple 潭柘寺” literally means “Temple of Pool and Zhe Tree”. There used to be a pool behind the temple and a lot of Zhe trees ( a kind of wild mulberry trees ) on the mountains nearby, hence the name of Tanzhe Temple.

History of Tanzhe Temple

People often use a cliché to describe the long history of Tanzhe Temple – “First came Tanzhe Temple, then Beijing.” Tanxhe Temple was first built in 307 AD in Western Jin Dynasty ( 265 – 316 AD). Its name was changed again and again through Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.

After its repair and expansion in 1692, the temple was renamed “Xiuyun Temple” and has remained till today. But it is popularly referred as Tanzhe Temple due to the dragon pool behind the temple and the Zhe trees on the nearby mountains.

Layout of Tanzhe Temple

More than just a famous Buddhist temple in China, Tanzhe Temple is also well known for its grandeur Chinese architecture and green plants. The temple compound is well arranged along an axis, which is said to have provided a model for the layout of the Forbidden City.

The temple is perched on a hillside surrounded by nine peaks and composed of various prayer halls, pavilions, courtyards and a group of pagodas dating from the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. It was an imperial temple with high status.

How to get to Tanzhe Temple & Tickets

Entrance Fee: RMB 55 per Person
Tel: 010-60862505
Add: Tanzhesi Town mentougou District Beijing 北京市门头沟区潭柘寺镇

Tanzhe Temple is about 30km northwest of Tiananmen Square, Beijing; 10km northeast of Jietai Temple.
Many visitors would put Tanzhe Temple and Jietai Temple for a combo day trip.

Tanzhe Temple Road Map ( Google)

How to get there:
By Public Transport:
Take subway line 1 and get off the most western station – Pingguoyuan, then connect public bus 931 for Tanzhe Temple and Bus runs daily 7am-5:30pm, about every 30 minutes. The bus ride time is about 1 hour

By Car:
Drive along National Highway No. 108 (G108) in the west of Beijing. While on the way, it is advisable to notice the placards pointing to Tanzhe Temple.

Virtual Tour of Tanzhe Temple

Well, now follow us to explore Tanzhe Temple along its axis.

We start our Tanzhe Temple trip from Tanzhe Town under the jurisdiction of Mentougou District, Beijing. Tanzhe Temple is only 4km north of Tanzhe Town.

Incense vendors are standing by the main road selling incense sticks

Several incense vendors are standing by the main road selling incense sticks for people to burn inside. It is said that the incense sticks bought on outside the temple are cheaper than inside.

Pingyuan Village. Most of the households in village are engaged in rural tourism.

Passing by a village on the way from Tznzhe Town to Tanzhe Temple. It is Pingyuan Village. Most of the households in village are engaged in rural tourism offering accommodation and dining for Tanzhe Temple visitors. The food here in the village is much cheaper than in Tanzhe Temple.

The parking area just in front of the south gate at Tanzhe Temple

There are several parking lots around Tanzhe Temple. We choose the parking area just in front of the south gate – the main gate of Tanzhe Temple. If it is peak season , it is quite difficult to park your car in a good place. It is low season. It is very easy to park our van. 

This is the main gate to Tanzhe Temple. People have to buy tickets and go through the ticket collecting. 

The entrance to Tanzhe Temple

The Hall of the Heavenly Kings (Tian Wang Dian or Devaraja Hall). Like other temples, the first hall on the south in the temple complex is the Hall of the Heavenly Kings.

the Hall of the Heavenly Kings

A Mahavira Hall or Hall of Mahavira (大雄寶殿), meaning “Hall of the Great Hero” , is the main building of a traditional Chinese Buddhist temple complex, behind the Hall of the Heavenly Kings.

A Mahavira Hall or Hall of Mahavira

Since it was once an imperial temple, it had enjoyed much higher position among Buddhist temples. Look at the 8 mythical animals on the double-tiered roof,  only one animal less than Forbidden City.

The 8 mythical animals on the double-tiered roof

The carved dragon on the mural above the rooftop.

The carved dragon on the mural above the rooftop.

Three – see through life – living monks at leisure time in front of the Mahavira Hall

The living monks at leisure time
People come here to pray for good health, peaceful mind and smooth life

At the end of the axis is the Vairochana Pavilion. It is a double-floored pavilion as well as highest building along the axis in Tanzhe temple.

The Vairochana Pavilion

Vairocana (also Vairochana or Mahāvairocana) is a celestial Buddha who is often interpreted as the Bliss Body of the historical Gautama Buddha.

A cypress tree and a persimmon tree grow side by side and are said to be 100 years old. People borrow the pronunciation to call it “Everything goes smoothly” tree. Some visitors hug the combo trees, praying for happiness.

A cypress tree and a persimmon tree grow side by side
A group of hanging coiled incenses burning
This is Guanyin Hall. Guan Yin (Avalokitesvara, the Goddess of Mercy)
The Stone Fish Hall
Stone Fish
Overlooking Tanzhe temple from the platform in front of the Stone Fish Hall.
This is Jie Tan Temple (Ordination Terrace Temple Or Altar Temple)

To knock the huge bell for 108 times can bring you good fortune and prosperity.

To knock the huge bell for 108 times

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing 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 guided tours to Beijing:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Best Time to Visit Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Jietai Temple (Tips, Photos & Map)

October 25th, 2021
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Meaning of “Jietai Temple”

“Jietai Temple – 戒台寺” literally means “Ordination Terrace Temple” Or “Altar Temple” for Buddhist discipline and ordination, now popularly known as Jietai Temple, a combined Chinese and English phrase.

It is one of the well known Buddhist temples in Beijing as well as one of the three most important “Ordination Terrace Temples” in China with other two being Zhaoqing Temple in Hangzhou and Kaiyuan Temple in Quanzhou Fujian Province.

If you are a Buddhist temple lover, Jietai Temple should be on your visiting list. The reason is quite simple: this temple has a long history, its importance as an altar temple and its beautiful old pine trees. No matter you are a temple visitor or leisure traveler, Jietai Temple is a bonus to your visit.

History of Jietai Temple

Its long history can be traced back to Sui Dynasty (581 – 600 ) over 1400 years ago when its original name was called “Huiju Temple” ( wisdom accumulation ). Later in Liao Dynasty (1065 – 1074), a monk called Fajun erected an altar here in the temple for religious ordination and Buddhist discipline. In Ming Dynasty ( 1368 -1644), the temple was renamed Wanshou Temple.

As prestigious monks often set up altars here and initiated people into monkshood, people began to call the temple “Jietai Temple”, a temple where people receive Buddhist discipline. Now Jietai Temple is the biggest of the three most famous Altar Temples in China. It is reputed as “First Altar Temple under Heaven”.

If you are not interested in the temple itself, the temple won’t be a let down. The 1400-year old temple has the most beautiful pine trees in Beijing, an even in China for its old age and unique shapes. There are ten most famous pine trees.

They are Sleeping Dragon Pine Tree, Leisure Pine Tree, Pagoda Embracing Pine Tree, Sensitive Pine Tree and so on. Beside pine trees, there are also many other ancient trees, like lilacs, peonies etc.

How to get to Jietai Temple & Tickets

Entrance Fee: RMB 45 Per Person
Tel: 010-69806611/69805942

Opening Hours: Spring and summer: 8:30 — 17:00, autumn and winter: 8:30 — 16:30

Public Transport: Take subway line S1 to Shichang Station, then transfer to Bus No. 948 or M44 and get off at Jietai Temple Station.

Jietai Temple is about 32km by road west of Tiananmen Square, Beijing (google)

Self-drive: Drive from Fushi Road and find the National Highway No.108 (G108), drive according to the placard on the highway which points to Jietai Temple.

Add: JIetai Temple, National Highway G108, Yongding Town, Mentougou District, Beijing 北京市门头沟区永定镇京昆路

Virtual Tour of Jietai Temple

Well, follow us to have a brief trip of Jietai Temple in Mentougou District, west of Beijing.

Drive along the highway G108 and notice the placard on the way pointing to Tanzhe Temple. Jietai Temple and Tanzhe Temple are both located near to G108.

Jietai Temple is 10 km southeast of Tanzhe Temple (google)

Jietai Temple is 10 km southeast of Tanzhe Temple. So we are going first visit Jietai Temple this later afternoon. Tomorrow we continue to visit Tanzhe Temple. Very often people would put them together for a combo day trip.

Soon, we get off the Highway G108 and go to Jietai Temple, about 4 km from the main road. We are approaching Jietai Temple. Since it is later in the afternoon , there are very few people in the temple.

Branch off the Highway 108, approaching Jietai Temple

The entrance to Jietai Temple. Entrance Fee: RMB 45 Per Person. Opening Hours: Spring and summer: 8:30 — 17:00, autumn and winter: 8:30 — 16:30.

The entrance to Jietai Temple
This is Tianhuang Hall – Heavenly King Hall
This is the Altar Hall of Jietai Temple.
The Hall of Sakyamuni
The pagoda and the Pagoda Embracing Pine Tree
The 1400-year old temple has the most beautiful pine trees in Beijing

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing 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 guided tours to Beijing:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Best Time to Visit Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.