The delights of Peking Duck

On May 29, 2012, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Restaurants, Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

Duck is without doubt one of my favourite meats, and for this reason it only feels right to attribute an article to a classic Chinese dish, namely Peking Duck. Tke a China travel trip, and you will find duck restaurants nationwide so this dish is definitely a must-try on all China tours. This popular dish […]

Duck is without doubt one of my favourite meats, and for this reason it only feels right to attribute an article to a classic Chinese dish, namely Peking Duck. Tke a China travel trip, and you will find duck restaurants nationwide so this dish is definitely a must-try on all China tours. This popular dish has certainly made itself known worldwide to the extent that the white duck is often seen as symbolic of China. Indeed, one way in which to totally engross oneself in Chinese culture is to sample this savoury dish.

The typical accompaniments to this dish consist of pancakes, trimmings of spring onion and cucumber sticks to give that extra crunch. Even the duck meat only comprises of about fifty percent of each slice with the crispy fat bringing out the flavours. Finally, sweet bean sauce is applied to top off the dish – let me add that (as I was corrected by a waitress) the sauce is for ‘dipping’ as opposed to ‘dripping’ on the pancake. When you bite in to the pancake expect a cool, sweet, slightly salty sensation as the ingredients combine to provide mouth-watering taste.

The beauty of this dish is this that customers can really experience the serving process. For instance, in many Peking Duck restaurants, the carving of the duck will actually be done in front of customers. It sure is a pleasure to see who the chefs, who are normally hidden in the kitchen can show their culinary skill by slicing through the duck ever so finely. The next part is where you come in. In traditional Chinese fashion, you and your friends will dine around a large table with a huge Lazy-Susan and share the dish. The duck per se, is generally presented on a dish which resembles a white Peking Duck. After that, the taste of the dish absolutely depends on how you arrange the ingredients!

In reference to one of my earlier articles, ‘Browsing Beijing’, I mentioned Quanjude restaurant which indeed ranks highly as a duck eatery. This is a well-established restaurant chain (founded in 1864) and serves over 2 million ducks yearly. Alas, prices at this restaurant do not come cheap, but this is quite obvious considering its reputation with many dignitaries having sampled Quanjude’s duck. For a more cost-effective solution, then note that there a surprising amount of local restaurants which serve duck even though it may not be the specialty dish. When all said and done, the next step is to book your China flights and absorb in the culinary delights of the delicious Peking Duck.

Fit for an Emperor

On May 28, 2012, in Historical Relics, Must-sees, Tombs, by Jack Li

Feeling like one of the hottest days this year, a couple of friends and I ventured out to the Ming Tombs (the Tombs) from the location of our Beijing hotels. Our mode of transport was the bus from the Deshengmen Station, (next to the Arrow Tower) and accessible to Jishuitan subway station, Line 2, Exit […]

Feeling like one of the hottest days this year, a couple of friends and I ventured out to the Ming Tombs (the Tombs) from the location of our Beijing hotels. Our mode of transport was the bus from the Deshengmen Station, (next to the Arrow Tower) and accessible to Jishuitan subway station, Line 2, Exit A. Funnily enough, as I have noticed on a couple of occasions, it always surprises me to see how well-prepared locals businesspeople are with the change in weather patterns – on this occasion, wide-brimmed hats were stockpiled and selling fast. To our joy, we discovered that the buses accepted subway cards with and each journey only costing 3RMB (which is considerably cheaper than paying by cash). Approximately one hour’s drive (51 kilometres) north from Beijing the Tombs make for an excellent China travel day trip.

So, what is the justification in visiting the Tombs? Well, firstly, the Tombs are situated in a scenic location straddling the southern slope Tianshou Mountain. Furthermore, the position of the Tombs is no accident, as it follows in accordance with the principles of feng shui to deflect evil. Secondly, the Tombs bare immense historical significance as the place of rest for thirteen Ming Dynasty emperors. Due to the prominence of the Tombs, in 2003, they were subsequently listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is, of course, exhibition halls at the tombs which display some very intriguing sights such as an imposing figure of a seated Emperor Yongle and items such as imperial robes.

Depending on your schedule, it is quite easy to spend a whole day at the tombs by either spend a whole day walking from one site to another. Talking in the 7 kilometre ‘Spirit Walk’ is certainly one way in which to appreciate the reverence of the site. Indeed, here visitors will be able to gaze in wonder at statutes of familiar animals such as camels, elephants, rams and mythical creatures like that of the fearsome ‘bixie’ and ‘qilin’. Needless to say, the Tombs dispersed at the base of the mountain, so using the bus is a viable option from, for instance, the Changling Tomb to that of Dingling. As the name ‘tomb’ suggests, it would be assumed that you can enter underground – this is true for the Dingling Tomb at least. Nevertheless, be prepared to walk up to the top of the tomb and then walk down a considerable amount of stairs into the tomb. Once in the tomb is evident how revered the place is with many tourists donating money.

Compared to other top attractions, like the Forbidden Palace and Temple of Heaven, there does appear to be not the same grandeur – but does there need to be? The Tombs are, after all, a place of respect for the generations of rulers which have gone before. This fact is made evident in light of the money piles donated by tourists making the whole visit rather humbling. Therefore, to discover the very essence of the country’s incredible past, especially if you are going to travel to Beijing, a visit to the Ming Tombs should definitely be in order.

 

 

 

Discovering China by Railway

On May 25, 2012, in Tips & Ideas, Transportation, Travel Info, by Jack Li

Travelling by train in China is often a convenient and fast way to get around on your China Tours and usually train tickets are a lot cheaper than airfare. Not all routes are super quick but if you travel overnight and you can get some rest on the way you don’t really lose time and […]

Travelling by train in China is often a convenient and fast way to get around on your China Tours and usually train tickets are a lot cheaper than airfare. Not all routes are super quick but if you travel overnight and you can get some rest on the way you don’t really lose time and you can even safe one night’s accommodation. Other positive aspect about travelling by train is that you get to see more of the countryside and personally I think it’s an interesting part of any china travel experience.

One thing about train tickets is that you can’t buy them more than ten days in advance, so depending on the length of your stay you might not be able to buy the return ticket before your departure. For popular routes and especially on national holiday weekends tickets sell out quickly, so make sure to get your tickets early enough. You can buy them either directly at the train station or at special train ticket offices where you will be charged an extra 5 RMB service fee per ticket. If you don’t speak any Chinese and want to make sure to get the right ticket you should probably book it thorough a travel agency. They will also charge you a service fee but it makes things easier and safer for yourself. To buy tickets you will have to present the passports of all travelers.

The bigger cities usually have several main railway stations, so make sure you know which one to go to. Some are very modern and in many ways more like an airport than a train station and very big but well-organized. The train rides are announced on the boards and by speaker (most of the time in Chinese) and you have designated waiting areas for your train ride just like on airports. At the railway station and on the train itself you can always get boiling hot water, so you can enjoy a tea at any time of your trip and instant food where you just need to add hot water and stir is very popular. You can get food at the railway stations and usually also on the trains, most have a dining car, but it’s still best to bring your own food, just in case. During the ride you should always keep your ticket with you because you’ll have to present it more than once during your journey, often again when you get out of the train station once you’ve arrived. Before entering the train you will also have to present your passport which you have used to book the ticket.

There are different train ticket categories: hard seats (might sound uncomfortable although they are just like normal train or plane seats), soft seats (first class seats, softer, bigger and with more leg room) and then there are two different ‘bed’ categories, called hard sleeper and soft sleeper. Hard sleeper compartments are open and have six bunks; sheets and pillows are provided. It can be noisy at times but still this way of travelling is very cost effective. The soft sleeper category is more comfortable with only four bunks in separate compartments with a door towards the aisle. Depending on your budget and your need for comfort you can choose which train category is best or if you still prefer the China Flights.

Tagged with:  

Sichuan Style

On May 25, 2012, in Ethnic Group Flavors, Restaurants & Food, Sichuan, by Jack Li

If you haven’t tasted the exotic flavors of Sichuan cuisine, then I insist this is a must for any China travel. The irony is that the mouthwatering dishes can be delightful to taste but the spicy can also be torturous on the tongue. The unique blend of ginger, peanuts and sesame paste give a sweet […]

If you haven’t tasted the exotic flavors of Sichuan cuisine, then I insist this is a must for any China travel. The irony is that the mouthwatering dishes can be delightful to taste but the spicy can also be torturous on the tongue. The unique blend of ginger, peanuts and sesame paste give a sweet zing to the cooking whilst the chilli, garlic and, of course, the special ingredient, the Sichuan peppercorn, enhances the cooking to give a distinct appeal. Anybody who loves to experiment with different foods, then taking a trip one of the many China flights to the country would definitely be a treat for the taste buds.

One particular aspect of the cooking which I noticed when eating Sichuan cuisine is the amount of oil. On a couple of occasions, my friends and I have ordered a huge bowl with a typically Ming-dynasty design. Simply peering in the bowl will allow the imagination to run wild with bold colors and textures presented before you. Specifically, two examples which come to mind include one large whole fish waiting to be dissected in the depths of the bowl. The other, is that of some pieces of white meat which looked like chicken fillets; however, on inspection these turned out to be bullfrog! Even though there were quite a few bones to chew around, I actually rather liked the taste of frog which, although many people who go to France said it ‘tastes like chicken’; I found it to be a mixture of yes chicken, but also fish.

If unusual ingredients don’t take your fancy, then there are plenty of other dishes to select. Beef, for example, is a very common ingredient used in Sichuan cooking. Furthermore, within the Sichuan, there are different styles ranging from a vegetarian Buddhist style to Chongqing, Chengdu, and Zigong styles. While some of the most well-known Chinese dishes the world-over have Sichuan origins. Kung pao chicken (Gongbao), for instance, is an extremely popular dish of nuts, diced chicken and mixed together topped off with a rich, sticky flavor. Paradoxically, in spite of being famous for its fiery flavors, much of Sichuan cuisine is not necessarily spicy such as teas smoked duck. Nevertheless, if you want to embrace the spicy stuff, then consider complementing your meal with rice, beer or milk to combat the heat.

Sometimes you may see the ‘Szechuan’ or ‘Szechwan’ on a menu; but rested assured that despite the spelling variation, the food should still be under the Sichuan cuisine. The Sichuan style of cooking is so valued that in 2011, the city of Chengdu was declared by UNESCO as ‘a city of Gastronomy’. Thus, the popularity of Sichuan cuisine means that finding a restaurant in any major Chinese city should not be a problem; there may even be one near your China hotels.

 

 

 

The Terracotta Army – Attracting the Crowds

On May 24, 2012, in Historical Relics, Must-sees, Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an, by Jack Li

Since the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors in 1974 close to the city of Xi’an it has been one of the main destinations for tourists all over the world and it is the main reason for people to travel to Xi’an. It’s not that the city doesn’t have other interesting sites of historical value to […]

Since the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors in 1974 close to the city of Xi’an it has been one of the main destinations for tourists all over the world and it is the main reason for people to travel to Xi’an. It’s not that the city doesn’t have other interesting sites of historical value to offer but none that can get close to the importance of the warrior and horse statues. For decades it has now been the number one place included in all Xi’an Tours. The warriors, chariots and horses had the purpose of defending the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, in his afterlife. Built in the 3rd century BC the army now counts as the most significant find of the 20th century and was declared a UNESCO World cultural heritage in 1987.

 

To avoid disappointment however, it’s helpful to be prepared to what to expect. It is one of the most visited historical attractions in the world and for that reason very touristy and crowded. In general in high season the place always seems to be packed with groups and individuals. To avoid ‘rush hour’ you can try to get there either early in the morning or late in the evening during the opening hours. A convenient and cheap way to get there is by public bus number 306 for as little as 7 RMB which leaves frequently from the Xi’an Railway Station north of the center. You pay for your ticket on the bus and it takes about an hour to get to the Terracotta Army. This public bus lets the passenger off at a smaller parking lot next to the main one where all the tour coaches park. The bus back to the city leaves at the same place, so remember how to get there.

 

Once you get off the bus you have to walk a little bit to get to the ticket both where you’ll be surrounded by guides offering you a tour and lots of helpful information about the place and its history. It’s up to you to decide if you think it’s worth the money and be careful, some people can get really pushy trying to convince you of their service. After you got your tickets you need to walk up to get to the actual entrance gate. Just follow the crowd or the signs, it’s hard to miss. The way leading towards it is almost built like a small village consisting of countless souvenir shops for all the visitors offering more or less the same articles. For really original souvenirs you might want to go to less visited places where you can get better souvenirs at more reasonable prices.

 

Once you’ve made your way up and have passed the gate you’ll get to the large main area with newly constructed buildings, clean and well taken care of. There are in total four separate pits and a museum in different buildings. Pit no. 1 is the biggest and most popular one with the largest number of well preserved warriors and horses. My personal advice is nevertheless to start with the second pit. It is much smaller than the first one and has a lot less warriors and horses but the building has a lower ceiling and is darker and cooler inside with lesser visitors than the biggest pit. This adds to the magic effect those ancient statues have on visitors. Don’t leave out the first pit, though. Just be prepared to people pushing you around to get a good picture close to the entrance with the warriors in the background. And apart from that, the arched hall constructed to protect the warriors seems like a hangar and takes away the ‘glamour’ or the special atmosphere which you’ll find in the smaller pits.

If you want to eat something before getting on the bus to head back to your Xi’an Hotels there are lots of food stands and smaller restaurants where you can get anything from ice cream, fruit and snacks to full meals. It’s no secret that food is overpriced and generally not very high standard at touristy places like this one. So you could consider bringing food yourself or waiting for dinner until you get back to the city. As mentioned in the beginning, the Terracotta Army is one of the most important historical sites in China, so go ahead and plan your trip, but keep in mind that you’re not the only one who has this idea.

Peking Uni

Prior to this piece, I wrote an article with the name ‘A Confucian Education’ which mentioned Beijing’s ancient Imperial Academy. Shifting away from this, the city is home to the country’s top universities which are renowned for their academic excellence. This is none more true than that of China’s first modern national university; namely, Peking […]

Prior to this piece, I wrote an article with the name ‘A Confucian Education’ which mentioned Beijing’s ancient Imperial Academy. Shifting away from this, the city is home to the country’s top universities which are renowned for their academic excellence. This is none more true than that of China’s first modern national university; namely, Peking University. Students, their families and indeed anybody can visit the university’s campus; so be sure to make room for this when you travel to Beijing. The university has its own subway station, (Peking University), which is perfect for student dashing to class albeit visitors coming from their respective Beijing hotels.  The creative comic sketches along the subway walls certainly send a fond reminder that you are entering university grounds.

Originally called Imperial University of Peking, the university was founded in 1898 to substitute the Imperial Academy. Since then, the university has gone from strength to strength and ranks especially highly in fields such as science and has had many notable figures pass through its gates such as Mao Zedong. To absorb some of the university’s culture, it would be recommended that you visit some of Peking’s fine exhibitions in its many museums. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology, for one, presents some fascinating artifacts from excavations.

To really appreciate what the Peking campus has to offer, take some time to look at some of its magnificent architecture. One good place to enter the campus, therefore, is from the West Gate as here you will be able to experience the grandeur of the university passing through its old crimson royal gates between two might stone lions. Another attraction which (literally) cannot be missed is the Boya Pagoda which towers over Weiming Lake. The pagoda was once used as a water tower but now is simply iconic in the university’s landscape. Further on, is Yannan Garden which was built in 1998 to celebrate Peking’s centenary. This is undoubtedly a must-see section of the campus and complements to prestigious nature of its surroundings.

It is always wonderful to imagine that these universities were the very places that great thinkers also once strolled. Perhaps the very atmosphere will also inspire you in conjuring monumental ideas when wandering around the serene Weiming Lake, for instance. In any case, the campus grounds are peaceful whilst also simultaneously full of life. People can be seen mulling around the lake, families educating their children what a squirrel is (despite it being a chipmunk), whilst others cycle in the most leisurely of fashions. Indeed, if you like the sound of Beijing tours, then why not try a cycle tour to explore one of the quickest and most enjoyable way to get around the campus.

 

 

 

Tagged with:  

Zizhuyuan Park

On May 23, 2012, in Beijing, Nature Scenery, Parks & Gardens, by Jack Li

One very special spot in amongst the busy roads of northwest Beijing is the Zizhuyuan Park (also referred to as ‘purple’ or ‘black’ bamboo park). It is easy to spend a good few hours in this beautiful location enjoying getting lost between its labyrinths of paths which weave in-between the bamboo shoots before heading back […]

One very special spot in amongst the busy roads of northwest Beijing is the Zizhuyuan Park (also referred to as ‘purple’ or ‘black’ bamboo park). It is easy to spend a good few hours in this beautiful location enjoying getting lost between its labyrinths of paths which weave in-between the bamboo shoots before heading back with peace-of-mind to one of the splendid China hotels in the area. Rated as an AAAA tourist attraction means that Zizhuyuan Park is a definite must-see for anyone who decides to travel to Beijing.

Depending on which gate you use to enter the park, depends on the subway station you get off at. Either the National Library station or the Beijing Zoo (although the latter is about a good 15 minute walk from the station) is probably the most convenient means to reach the park. On entrance to the park you will notice that there are no shortcomings on the scenic front, with approximately 50 species of bamboo inhabiting the park and three lakes crossing the 48 hectares of parkland.

As suggested earlier, the park is a welcomed retreat from the fast-paced roads surrounding it. If anything, Zizhuyuan feels like it possesses its own aura with even the normally urban-dwelling pigeons appearing as if they are gossiping casually whilst amassed on the branches dangling over the placid lake. Head towards the lakes and you may well find a few mandarin ducks with mother duck directing her brood. From here, you can sit and watch the tranquil waters as time goes by.

Spanning from the lakes are the various bamboo gardens which skirt through the park whereby you will have the pleasure of reading the tongue-twisting names of bamboo species such as ‘phyllostachys propinqua’ and ‘phyllostachys bambusoides’. A particularly magical section of the park is Yunshi Garden which includes some enchanting spots such as the waterfall at Qinglianyanxiu (Bright Scene of Refreshing Elegance) and the springs of Jiangnanzhuyun (Graceful Bamboos). No trip to this park is, of course, not complete without visiting Banzhu Lane (Lane of Mottled Bamboos). Indeed, the ‘purple’ mottles of the bamboo is where the park gets its name from. The legend states that these mottles represent the tearstains of the sage-king Yao’s daughters, Ehuang and Nuying. Interpretive sculptures of the daughters are an eye-catching sight in the park. The mottled lane is clearly popular insomuch as the odd tent could be seen camouflaged in its foliage.  

Note that this park has more than bamboo – although bamboo is wonderful in its own right. Indeed, Zizhuyuan plays host to a classy store called Royal Bamboo, has a small amusement park, the usual outdoor gym, Mingyuange Teahouse and Zhuyun Restaurant and a Henhuadu (Lotus Ferry Crossing). Youxianshanguan’s (Friendship Garden) name is made evident here after seeing the enthusiastic chess players and marvellous chess-piece sculptures uniting in games of goodwill. Thus the park is multi-faceted and attracts visitors throughout the day (or night as the case may be) and is a welcomed break on any China travel tour.

Art in the Park

On May 23, 2012, in Parks & Gardens, Places of Interest, Shanghai, by Jack Li

If you travel to Shanghai and you want to see a little more than just skyscrapers and the modern and fancy aspect of the city, you should check out some of Shanghai’s parks. The Jing’an Sculpture Park, stretching over an area of 30,000 square meters, is a great place where you can see that the […]

If you travel to Shanghai and you want to see a little more than just skyscrapers and the modern and fancy aspect of the city, you should check out some of Shanghai’s parks. The Jing’an Sculpture Park, stretching over an area of 30,000 square meters, is a great place where you can see that the huge city still has some comparably quiet places. It was opened in 2007 and it is one of the biggest parks of its kind in the region, located in Jing’an district which is west of the center and only a five to ten minute walk from Metro line 2, West Nanjing Road station. It is a good recommendation for the more relaxed part of your Shanghai Tours.

 

The exhibited pieces of art which are integrated into the surroundings add to the atmosphere of this park offering interesting sculptures and statues of different sizes, colors and materials from various artists from all over the world. No matter if you’re interested in art and see the sculptures from that perspective or if you just think they are nice decoration, the park offers great scenery for all visitors. Not only kids will love the huge lying bulls in the south west of the park; a group of bull sculptures is scattered over the lawn just like a herd resting in the afternoon heat. In the contrast to this stands the dynamic complex wooden structure behind it which is weaving through the treetops. The ‘Red Beacon’ is the artwork of the famous Belgian artist, sculptor and designer Arne Quinze.

 

Many sculptures in the park were introduced as part of the Jing’an International Sculpture Project about two years ago during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. This large-scale cultural and art activity was created for the public mainly in the non-core areas of the Expo. Apart from the exhibits numerous fountains throughout the park make it a wonderful place for hot summer days. They are not only great to look at; the view and the quiet sound of splashing water always have a calming effect and when it’s windy it refreshes the air a little.

 

In the mornings this park is a popular place for sports activities especially among the older generation, doing Tai chi, jogging, dancing etc. On the weekends you can see moms with their kids or whole families meeting to spend some time together. Almost every park offers visitors the opportunity to see a little bit of the locals’ life with their customs and habits. Very often you’ll see on journeys that in big cities parks offer an opportunity to get away from the busy city life for locals and visitors just the same. Walking through a park surrounded by trees and seeing the skyscrapers around it will always feel special; the contrast makes it look unnatural and exciting at the same time.

 

In June 2009 another big project started in the Sculpture Park. The Shanghai Natural History Museum will be moved to this new location in late 2012 where a new building is currently being constructed offering a much more convenient location and more modern display space. Numerous exhibits will be moved to the new location which is in many ways more convenient than the existing Natural History Museum. The Jing’an Sculpture Park itself is already worth a visit (there is not even an entrance fee) but with the museum moving there it will be a must see for families coming to Shanghai. Many Shanghai Hotels are located in this area, so if you’re staying close by, don’t miss out on this nice place on your city tours.

The Old Summer Palace

On May 22, 2012, in Beijing, Historical Relics, Nature Scenery, by Jack Li

Many have heard of the Summer Palace, but what of Yuan Ming Yuan or the ‘Old Summer Palace’? In order to truly grasp the history of the Summer Palace, then take some time to travel to Beijing and have a sombre reflection of the once memorising formal Imperial Palace. The palace can be reached from […]

Many have heard of the Summer Palace, but what of Yuan Ming Yuan or the ‘Old Summer Palace’? In order to truly grasp the history of the Summer Palace, then take some time to travel to Beijing and have a sombre reflection of the once memorising formal Imperial Palace. The palace can be reached from exit B at Yuanmingyuan Station, subway Line 4 which means it is quite manageable to access the palace from whichever of the Beijing hotels you decide to stay in.

 

Before entering the palace grounds, expect to be met by a showcase of en tertainment. With performers encouraging you to join in, the atmosphere in the palace courtyard is rather thrilling. The apparatus which the performers use are slightly out of the norm, with diablo
-like contraptions making whirling noises and that projects an almighty bang as if gunpowder has exploded.

In the days of the Second Opium War, the Old Summer Palace was ransacked as retaliation by French and British troops so therefore today, the palace lies in ruins. Some parts of the grounds, have, nonetheless, been restored in the 1990s; such the Jianbiting in 1993, which in turn has made the place a rather attractive location to visit. Compared to the ‘new’ Summer Palace, the grounds have a more natural and raw appearance as opposed to the pristine gardens of its successor. Additionally, in contrast to the ‘new’ palace, the ‘old’ one has (from its remains) a European appearance. Indeed, the ruins can be likened to that of classical Greco-Roman architecture with marble-like white stones.

In its heyday, as indicated by the ruins, the palace would have looked incredible. For example, the largest building at the palace, The Haiyan Hall was adorned with bronze sculptures with symbolic animal heads representing the 12-year cycle of human births would spray water. Whilst the exterior of Haiyan Hall would also have been a radiant sight with towering fountains glistening in the summer heat. Water certainly played a major role in old palace and this is made clear when observing the strange-looking structure called the Haiyantang. At first glance, the Haiyantang appears like a upturned pyramid, however, its original purpose was to act as a 160 cubic meters tin reservoir.

Without doubt, just going for a walk around the palace’s lakes is pleasing in itself. Due to the palace being abandoned most of the grounds, bar the designated ruins area; feels like you are walking in the countryside. The lakes themselves are swamped in reeds and water lilies which subsequently enhances the timeless and ancient effect of the place. As a concluding thought, a traditional boat ride would be a premium choice to finish the day off in the palace grounds on any China travel itinerary to the city. If you’re lucky enough, you may even be able to spot some of the palace’s majestic black swans!

 

Tagged with:  

Beware of the Wild Insects

On May 22, 2012, in Museums, Places of Interest, Shanghai, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

If you travel to Shanghai with kids you certainly don’t want to miss the most popular places the city has to offer like the Bund or Yu Gardens. But on the other hand kids might get bored of too much sightseeing after a while. For a little break in between the Wild Insect Kingdom is […]

If you travel to Shanghai with kids you certainly don’t want to miss the most popular places the city has to offer like the Bund or Yu Gardens. But on the other hand kids might get bored of too much sightseeing after a while. For a little break in between the Wild Insect Kingdom is a great place for families in particular but in general for everyone interested in nature and animals. And museums are always a great option in case the weather is not so great while you’re on your China Tours.

 

There are not only insects but also a large number of reptiles, amphibians and fish as well as other animals you actually wouldn’t expect in an insect museum. This might come as a surprise to parents but for kids it offers just more exciting things to see. The first animals you see when you walk inside are not insects either. Three ferrets and a seal in a very small tank welcome you at the entrance before you get to the ‘rainforest’. While walking across bridges you’ll pass an alligator and chameleons and you can feed the huge koi fish swimming in the water underneath. The path leads you towards an area with snakes and little monkeys before you get to the actual insects with all kinds of bugs, like walking sticks, beetles, centipedes etc.

 

There is no elevator to the basement floor, so be prepared to carry your stroller down or just leave it there for a while if you don’t really need it. The lower floor is partly decorated like a cave showing more animals in their habitat. The selection of turtles and tortoises is pretty extensive and some are really interesting to look at, not only for kids. There is even a section with goats, bunnies, Guinea pigs and other animals kids love to pet. A great place for younger kids is the little water landscape where they can just play or try to catch some fish. You might consider bringing some clothes to change in case they get themselves all wet. There is a rest area right next to the water place but apart from popcorn you can’t really get anything to eat in the museum, so you should bring enough snacks for while you’re there.

 

The Museum is located in Shanghai’s center close to the Oriental Pearl Tower. You can get there via the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel to cross to the other side of Hunagpu River in case your Shanghai Hotel is located west of it. For young kids this tunnel is already an adventure comparable to an amusement park ride with sound and light effects and meanwhile a convenient way to cross from one side of the river to the other. When you get out of the underground pass you follow along the street on your left hand side and at the next street corner you’ll find a sign towards the museum. The Shanghai Aquarium is also not far, so if you want to see both places you can easily do that on the same day.

Page 1 of 41234