History Lesson – Great Wall (1/2)

On May 9, 2012, in Beijing, Great Wall, Historical Relics, by Jack Li

The Great Wall is the must see for every visitor coming to Beijing and it is therefore an essential part of most Beijing Tours. By bus it takes between two and three hours from the city center depending on the location you want to go to. There are several ones, some more popular than others […]

The Great Wall is the must see for every visitor coming to Beijing and it is therefore an essential part of most Beijing Tours. By bus it takes between two and three hours from the city center depending on the location you want to go to. There are several ones, some more popular than others where you can see the wall in differently well preserved states. But this feeling you experience when you are there makes up for the wait. So, don’t miss this famous site on your China Tours.

Due to geological conditions Asian and western cultures developed almost independently from each other during long periods in history. Until today many details about Chinese history are unknown to visitors from western countries. Everybody knows about the Great Wall but few people are familiar with its long and interesting history so here is a quick overview.

Construction of the Great Wall began even before China’s first imperial dynasty in belligerent times, known as the Spring and Autumn Period and the following Warring States Period. These periods are part of the Eastern Zhou dynasty which was the last dynasty before the reunification of the territory and the first imperial dynasty.

During this time seven rivaling states fought against each other and built individual walls to defend their territory against the attack of the enemy states. Stamping earth, gravel and stones were the main materials of these walls. After more than 200 years of mightily fights the state called Qin became the most powerful one conquering other states and finally destroying them.

Their king, who became known as Shi Huangdi, founded the Qin dynasty (221-207 BC) and by uniting all seven states he became the first emperor of China. He decided to join the existing walls together and added some more sections as a defense against the northern tribes, Mongolian people being the most feared enemy. When this huge project was finished the wall had a total length of over 5,000 kilometers (about 3,100 miles) in an east to west line and its remainders still mark the historical northern border of China.

After the decline of the comparably short Qin dynasty the Han dynasty was founded (206 BC – 220 AD). It became one of China’s early golden ages, a time when the consolidation of the state lead to cultural, economical and technological glory. During this period the existing walls were reinforced and lengthened. At that point in time the Great Wall reached its longest extension with a total length of more than 8,000 kilometers (about 5,000 miles) including branching walls, tranches and natural barriers such as hills and rivers.

Many parts of this ancient man-made architectural masterpiece created in early times with unimaginable efforts has been a destination for many people interested in architecture, ancient sites and old civilization for numerous years. Many planned tours to the Great Wall even offer pick-up services from your Beijing Hotels so you can get there easily by coach.
Read part two for more history about the Great Wall.

Jingshan: The Park on the Hill

On May 9, 2012, in Beijing, Nature Scenery, Parks & Gardens, by Jack Li

At nearly 50 meters, climbing to the top of Jingshan Park (also called ‘Coal Hill’) may be quite a mission; but once there, the views are astounding. Justification for walking up the steep steps to the top, (and perhaps in booking your Beijing flights), is that you will be able to gaze in awe at […]

At nearly 50 meters, climbing to the top of Jingshan Park (also called ‘Coal Hill’) may be quite a mission; but once there, the views are astounding. Justification for walking up the steep steps to the top, (and perhaps in booking your Beijing flights), is that you will be able to gaze in awe at the majestic Forbidden City. Listed as an AAAA scenery spot in Beijing and approximately covering 230,000 square meters the park is unquestionably a China travel must-see attraction. It is remarkable to think that the hill itself was created from the material dug to build the Forbidden City’s moat giving it a deep-rooted connection with the nation’s past.

The Wanchun (Everlasting Spring) Pavilion is the highest point in Beijing, most centrally located and in my opinion the most impressive of the five pavilions. Around this pavilion, merchandise is sold for tourists and there is the opportunity to dress like the Emperor (or Empress depending). Personally, I gave this a miss as the Emperor’s robes looked a bit too much on such a hot day. In light of this, the views are the best bird-eye you will ever get of the Forbidden City on the land. On a clear day, due to the pavilion’s centrality and height, you can peer over the length and breadth of the city from the greenery of Bei Hai to CCTV Tower.

Littered with evergreen foliage, the park is a scenic throughout the year. In the spring, for example, the park host a peony show whilst there is a lotus show in the summer and displays or fruit in the autumn. This park is certainly a national treasure at the very heart of the capital and which is cherished across the generations. It is therefore understandable that there is a small entrance fee to help with the upkeep of this beautiful spot and the Emperors would use the park as a place for recreational pursuits and escape. For those who may have difficulty walking to the top, the parkland surrounding the hill is a hive of activity with people, young and old playing games and singing which is great fun to watch or join in!

Getting to the park can be slight tricky. One option is to take the subway to Dongsi station on line 5 and then either walk or take the 101 bus to the Forbidden City Station. Another option is to take a bus, such as the 111 to the South Gate of Jingshan Park. Note that, if you travel to Beijing, visiting the park in the afternoon might be useful after visiting the Forbidden City in the morning. This is primarily because the exit from the Forbidden City lies on the bus route to the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Exploring The Expo

On May 8, 2012, in Festivals, Modern Architecture, Places of Interest, by Jack Li

Akin to the National Stadium in Beijing, the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (The Expo) instills a strong sense of accomplishment and legacy even after the conclusion of a major event in the country’s history. The Expo’s location means that it is reachble by the Shanghai metro with Madang Road Station and moreover for Shanghai […]

Akin to the National Stadium in Beijing, the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (The Expo) instills a strong sense of accomplishment and legacy even after the conclusion of a major event in the country’s history. The Expo’s location means that it is reachble by the Shanghai metro with Madang Road Station and moreover for Shanghai flights, it is only a few minutes away from Pudong International airport by train. In light of the outstanding recent developments in the city, there is no doubt you will find quality accommodation from Shanghai hotels which are in close proximity to The Expo.

Interestingly, the Expo 2010 venue in Shanghai was the largest venue of its kind ever (covering over 5.28 square kilometres) which comprised of international expositions and fairs. The 2010 ‘Better City – Better Life’ theme reinforced Shanghai’s status as a world city well into the 21st century. Indeed, Expo 2010 has certainly left an impressive legacy with the site welcoming an unprecedented record of 73 million visitors by the end of Expo 2010.

On face value, you may think that the site may have gone the way of the Millennium Dome in London and lapsed straight after its major event.
However, if anything, the project has moved swiftly on by perpetually creating new exhibits and attractions. For this reason, myself and my friends were generally impressed with the site. In spite of not being able to experience the extravaganza of Expo 2010; funnily enough, there were still people selling passports with stamps from all the countries involved lingering around the Expo Park. Even a model of the Expo mascot, Haibao (with the appearance of a blue Chinese character for people) is noticeable with kids flocking to have their photo taken with him.

On our visit to Expo, we were unable to go inside the most recognisable of the buildings, namely The China Pavillion (or ‘Oriental Crown’, due to its iconic shape). There were, nevertheless, other notable buildings to enter such as the Mercades-Benz Arena. Inside, there are swanky cars on display and some smart restaurants which is a marked contrast from its spaceship-looking exterior! Once in the arena, there is platform (we had some difficulty finding the actual access point) which encircles the arena. From here, you can gaze in awe over the city and even cheekily watch what is going on below; such as the Strawberry Festival in our case.

Happening in both Beijing and Shanghai, the Strawberry Festival is a prime example of how Expo has been utilised since 2010. Considering my friends and I were budgeting at the time, we gave the festival a pass with the prices fetching 120RMB or 300RMB for a three-day pass. Having said this, these prices seem decent compared to the many festivals abroad plus it is an excellent way to polish off an awesome stay on a travel to Shanghai.

 

 

 

 

Chill Out in Hou Hai

On May 7, 2012, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

‘What can I do on a sunny day on my travel to Beijing?’ – Here’s a thought, try Hou Hai. The place is popular with tourists which is made more obvious after considering what it has to offer. The spontaneity of creating your own itinerary can be extremely fun and the randomness of the Hou Hai area makes this all […]

‘What can I do on a sunny day on my travel to Beijing?’ – Here’s a thought, try Hou Hai. The place is popular with tourists which is made more obvious after considering what it has to offer. The spontaneity of creating your own itinerary can be extremely fun and the randomness of the Hou Hai area makes this all the more appealing. One suggestion is to go on one of the different Beijing tours to the Drum and Bell Tower in the morning and then mosey down to Hou Hai in the afternoon. Hou Hai is reachable from Gulou Dajie station, subway line 2 and is the perfect area to spend a sunny afternoon, as I discovered on Saturday.

Before reaching the lakes, there is always the chance to explore Hou Hai’s stores. These stores sell a spectrum of products where most people will find something of interest. For one, the shop owners will often welcome you to try out their items. In one shop, for example, you can test out your musical ability by playing various ocarinas. Most probably my favourite, is a store where you can buy satirical postcards and then have the opportunity to write them out downstairs whilst you Hou Hai experience is fresh in the mind.

So now you are probably fatigued from browsing the shops which line Hou Hai. To cool off there are a selection of bars and cafes and some excellent teashops allowing you to sample (taste and smell) some of their finest produce. Even though tea might seems like it should be drunk on a milder day, the tea shops around host and wealth of fruitful iced teas. My personal choice was to opt for a refreshing mango smoothie (as opposed to a friend who went for a more adventurous ‘Yakult’ concoction).

Once you have your iced-drink in your hand, it is time to head towards the lake for some fun! Locals can be seen swimming in the lake, (but personally, considering the congestion on the water, I would prefer not to). Instead, there is the exciting option of hopping on a paddle-boat. This is an activity not to be ignored, especially as the boats can accommodate groups. From here, you can sit back, relax and take a sip of your smoothie – (well, depending who is doing all the work paddling!).

We had a particularly enjoyable time listening to some background music on a friend’s phone and weaving past boats, swimmers and ducks. Alas, no standing is allowed on the boats so any rendition of ‘Rose’ and ‘Jack’ from the film the Titanic was out of the question. In some respects, boating on the lake ironically felt like a driving test with the amount of precise manoeuvres required. The main difference however, was that it was inevitable not to avoid a collision with fellow boaters, especially when meandering under the low-lying bridge.

After parking our boat, we found an eatery for dinner and ordered some cold noodles and cucumber with a spicy sauce which was definitely the perfect finale to warm springtime day in Beijing. Days like this certainly make me reflect as to when I should book my next Beijing flights!

 

 

 

 

 

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Tianzi Fang vs. 798

On May 4, 2012, in China Travel Gossip, Places of Interest, Shanghai, by Jack Li

After having a gander of both the 798 Art Zone, Beijing and Tianzi Fang, Shanghai; it is tempting to draw some significant comparisons. For a more rounded understanding on where I am coming from with this article, I also recommend you to read my previous blog entitled ‘The Inspirational 798’. Compared the potential taxi journey […]

After having a gander of both the 798 Art Zone, Beijing and Tianzi Fang, Shanghai; it is tempting to draw some significant comparisons. For a more rounded understanding on where I am coming from with this article, I also recommend you to read my previous blog entitled ‘The Inspirational 798’. Compared the potential taxi journey to 798; Tianzi Fang is far more accessible by being situated in a prime location, near Dapu Bridge Station, Line 9 on the subway (or ‘metro’ if you travel to Shanghai). Tianzi Fang is also a particular tourist-haven, so for some extra breathing space, best to go to in weekday mornings. The convenient location of Tianzi Fang especially means it is walking distance from many Shanghai hotels such as the Rayfont Hotel.

The atypical layout of both of the places makes for an interesting first point. Tianzi Fang, for one, initially spread from narrow alleys with a distinct Shikumen architectural style (this style is a mixture of Eastern and Western influences with stone archways being at the forefront of the design). In contrast to this, 798 was a straightforward industrial conversion with wide-open spaces to roam the different exhibits. Thus, unlike Tianzi Fang, there is no need to worry in respect to crowds with the 798 Art Zone.

From the outset, these places encompass their own unique qualities, but the most important point of reference is that both places have a bohemian component. Chinese and international entrepreneurs alike have been attracted to the areas because of this factor. However, if you want a more international vibe, then Tianzi Fang is the better choice over 798. Sure, 798 does offer the odd Italian café, but all in all, Tianzi Fang provides a range of international flavours with such as Italian, Japanese, American, Thai food etc., being commonplace. To name a few western places all with their own quirky international themes, there is; Nuzi, Bohemia Café and the Kommune.

Entering 798 definitely feels more specific towards the avant-garde art theme. Tianzi Fang, on the other hand, allows you to explore an assortment of boutiques spanning art exhibits, tea shops and knick-knacks from touristy outlets. Local artists are prominent in 798 with the art zone endorsing artists such as Huang Rui who was instrumental in promoting Chinese contemporary art. Similarly, one particular highlight of the Tianzi Fang art scene is the Ren Weiyin Art Gallery. This gallery hosts the impressionism works of Ren Weiyin (1918-1994) with portrays images of 1960-70s Shanghai. The popularity of the arts is evident in both cities with the recent growth of 798 and Tianzi Fang. In sum, whether you decide to book Beijing or Shanghai flights, spare a thought for the artistic side of each city.

 

Do You Know How To Use Chopsticks?

On May 4, 2012, in China Travel Gossip, Restaurants & Food, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

In many countries in Southeast Asia chopsticks are the most common utensil to eat food. For this reason most Asian restaurants in western countries offer their guests both chopsticks and silverware. So if you’re planning your China Tours and you can’t handle chopsticks yet it is about time that you learn how to use them. […]

In many countries in Southeast Asia chopsticks are the most common utensil to eat food. For this reason most Asian restaurants in western countries offer their guests both chopsticks and silverware. So if you’re planning your China Tours and you can’t handle chopsticks yet it is about time that you learn how to use them. So get yourself a pair of chopsticks and start preparing for your china travel adventure!

First of all it’s not always easy to get western silverware in Chinese restaurants and not having to look for a knife and a fork will save you time and energy. And more than that, with a history of several thousand years chopsticks are an important part of Asian eating culture, so you should try your best to adapt to this way of eating food. You can show that you’re open to the Chinese culture and win the local’s respect by using chopsticks like a pro.

Chopsticks are not only an eating utensil but are also used to prepare food, to pick it up, turn it in the pan, stir etc. Considering their long history it’s only natural that they come in all different materials and designs. The most common materials are wood, bamboo, plastic or metal. The more expensive materials such as silver, gold, bones, jade or ivory were more common among wealthy families in earlier times but they are still used until today.

How to hold your chopsticks

Pick up the first chopstick and place the broad end where your thumb and index finger connect. The narrow end should loosely rest between your ring and middle finger. This chopstick is the steady part. Then take the second chopstick and place the broad end above the first one and hold the narrow side with your thumb and index finger. The upper stick is the one you move towards the lower one. Try to hold both of them rather loose and make sure you don’t cross the ends. Once you got this right you can just start picking up the food, it will need some practice though.

 

What to avoid when using chopsticks

In western countries it is considered bad manners to play with the silverware, to point at people or objects, make noises, tab bowls and plates or dig in the food and these rules are just the same when you use chopsticks in China. Apart from that you should avoid in any case sticking them into a bowl of rice. This reminds of the ritual of incense-burning which are offerings to deceased family members. Moreover, try to avoid pointing the sticks towards other people sitting at the table when you put them down.

Also, try to avoid spearing your food with the chopsticks. Anything that is too difficult to be picked up this way is usually eaten with a spoon, e. g. small slippery foods or those with a round shape such as cherry tomatoes or fish balls. And please don’t hack your food into smaller pieces, just take several bites instead if the piece is too big.

Noodles which are usually served in a soup might come as a challenge. Even though they are long and slippery don’t roll them up with your chopsticks like spaghetti, just bring them to your mouth and then slurp them in. That’s how Chinese people do it and slurping is not considered to be bad manners at all. But don’t worry, there is also a lot of street food which you can eat without using chopsticks like skewered meat and seafood and lots of other tasty snacks. Have you already booked your China Flights? Then why don’t you go to your favorite Chinese restaurant to get ready for your trip?

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Beijing Hot Pot

On May 3, 2012, in Beijing, Restaurants, Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

When travelling to other countries one of the many highlights of every trip are usually the culinary delights of the region. People who travel to Beijing often want to try the famous Beijing Roast Duck and there is a huge choice of restaurants offering exactly that. The other thing you don’t want to miss is […]

When travelling to other countries one of the many highlights of every trip are usually the culinary delights of the region. People who travel to Beijing often want to try the famous Beijing Roast Duck and there is a huge choice of restaurants offering exactly that. The other thing you don’t want to miss is Chinese Hot Pot (huoguo, literally fire pot), a very popular restaurant experience for locals and tourists just the same. Having dinner together is a great way to spend a relaxing evening after exciting daytime activities, such as Beijing Tours, trips to museums and other interesting things. And having dinner in a Hot Pot restaurant are social gatherings rather than simple and quiet dinners and the food is often spicy and full of flavors.

Hot Pot is often eaten in winter but restaurants are in general well frequented all year around. It has a history of over one thousand years in China and the name describes the way the food is prepared. Different kinds of food are cooked in a broth which is kept simmering in a heated brass vessel on the table. The more original pots have a little chimney in the middle and are heated with hot coals whereas the more modern way is often heated with gas or can even be electric. There are two different main styles, Mongolian style und Sichuan style. While Sichuan tends to be very spicy the Mongolian variation uses broths mainly based on vegetables and seafood and is therefore the milder version.

There is a very large choice of ingredients that can be used for this dish. Most common are different kinds of thinly sliced meat, often it’s mutton meat but also beef, pork, chicken, lamb, goat and others can be ordered. Apart from meat slices you can have fish and seafood, small meat or fish balls and dumplings, different kinds of vegetables, such as mushrooms, lettuce, cabbage and other leafy greens, and also tofu, noodles or rice noodles. Cooking time can vary from less than a minute to several minutes and while you’re waiting you can try some little snacks and appetizers. Once the food is cooked to your taste it is dipped into different kinds of sauces, sesame sauce is a very common one.

In restaurants you can either have a big hot pot to share with all people at the table. Very often the big vessels have different sections with some milder and some spicier broths. Or you can order smaller individual ones so that everybody can choose their own broth. This is a great option for people who are allergic to certain foods or for vegetarians because all food can be kept separate. You just have to make sure that the broth doesn’t contain anything you can’t or don’t want to eat.

There is a countless number of Hot Pot restaurants not only in Beijing but also in other cities. Apart from the different flavors the interior of the restaurant and the price categories can also vary a lot. So if you have the time why don’t you try a few restaurants in different regions on your China Tours to find your favorite hot pot place?

Shanghai: On the Bus

On May 3, 2012, in Shanghai, Tours, Transportation, by Jack Li

Travel to Shanghai and you will realize it is not too dissimilar from London or New York in terms of its cosmopolitan charm (and the occasional need to carry an umbrella). The city presents a blend of East and West with its Asian food, modern brands and strong European influence in much of its architectural style. Just […]

Travel to Shanghai and you will realize it is not too dissimilar from London or New York in terms of its cosmopolitan charm (and the occasional need to carry an umbrella). The city presents a blend of East and West with its Asian food, modern brands and strong European influence in much of its architectural style. Just by looking at the trees lining the streets, anyone who has been to France will surely be able to make associations with Shanghai. A bus tour may sound like a cliché activity for any newcomer to a major city, but it can still be an effective way to learn about a destination relatively quickly, especially if your stay is short before departing on your Shanghai flights.

The good things is, most tour buses operate a hop-on-hop-off service which means you can see the whole city at your leisure without the arduous task of feeling obliged to sit there for potentially three hours. The open-topped roofs of the buses are half covered, so the back of the bus is left open. Despite the event of finding a wet seat from the rain; the back of the bus is, arguably, where the best views can be seen as you there is no window to hamper photo-taking. The company you meet on the bus often makes the tours a more memorable experience, for better or for worse. Unfortunately my audio did not work on one seat so, naturally, I moved to another with the result being the person next to me falling asleep on my shoulder – fun!

People’s Square acts as the bus route change-over which is ideal if you want to browse some shops before jumping on your next tour with the buses departing every thirty minutes. However, (from personal experience), it’s useful to remember where you put your (paper-thin) ticket and headphones for the next tour. Without the discomfort of listening to a tour guide throughout the tours, bus rides can be a very relaxing affair. All you need to do is switch on your audio set into the seat in front, select the language of your choice and enjoy the ride.

Overall, Shanghai tours are an convenient way to reach areas which are difficult to see via the subway. The spiralling Nanpu Bridge interchange, for example, is a thrilling section of the city which can best experienced on a tour. I sometimes found that the audio was out of sync with the actual landmarks, but on the whole it is easy to follow the descriptions. Besides the seeing the marvellous sights of The Bund with the Oriental Pearl Tower as the centrepiece; the tours passes lessen known features of the city like the former residence of Sun Yat-sen.

 

 

Phoenix Hill

On May 2, 2012, in Cultural Experience, Monasteries, Nature Scenery, Temples, by Jack Li

When you come to a big city for the first time it’s great to visit the most well-known places for a first overview of the place. Beijing Tours certainly offer a great and comfortable way to include the must sees in China’s capital on a single day trip. But to see some other spots it’s […]

When you come to a big city for the first time it’s great to visit the most well-known places for a first overview of the place. Beijing Tours certainly offer a great and comfortable way to include the must sees in China’s capital on a single day trip. But to see some other spots it’s also great to go to places that are not too popular with tourists. Very often the atmosphere is totally different and locals seem to be a lot more interested and open if they are not used to crowds of foreign tourists coming every day. So if you travel to Beijing and you’re planning to see more than the main attractions you might consider spending a day away from the center.

Phoenix Hill Park (Fenghuangling) for example is a nature park about 20 kilometers northwest of Beijing and a great place to go hiking in the mountains and enjoy natural scenery. Apart from the green hills and mountains and the great view on clear days there are numerous historic spots and cultural sites of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. To explore this area there are different touring routes passing by caves, temples, pagodas and stone carvings on the way.

 

Located at the foot of Phoenix Range is Longquan Monastery which has a very long history. It was originally built in 951 A.D. but was nearly completely destroyed. Only the Golden Dragon Bridge, a single-arch stone bridge, and two one-thousand-year-old trees are remainders of this time. The buildings have been rebuilt after the original with the help of many volunteer workers. The monastery was officially reopened in 2005 and is since then not only an interesting place for visitors but first of all a center for Buddhist education and temple experience. For this reason there is still construction going on to add more space for classrooms.

On holidays you can participate in tea ceremonies and you even get the chance to try an original Buddhist lunch. It is separated by gender and talking is not allowed during the meals. The food is rather simple and strictly vegetarian. Although the free lunch is thought to be for Buddhists visiting the monastery even tourists who come to the area for a hike won’t be excluded from the meals.

To get a closer insight into Buddhism the monastery organizes different multilingual activities, sometimes lasting several days. These assemblies and sessions offer an opportunity to experience Buddhist life including chanting sutras, meditation training, life in the monastery, worshipping Buddha on a mountain road and others. These gatherings bring people together and lead to a spiritual journey.

If you want to go there by public transportation you can take bus no. 346 from Summer Palace with destination to Phoenix Hill (Fenghuangling) which takes about an hour. If you stay at a Beijing Hotel you can certainly ask the staff at the reception desk for directions. They might even be so nice as to write you a note in Chinese as a little help. But in general Chinese people are very helpful and even if they don’t speak English they will try their best to help you find your way.

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Shanghai’s Venice

On May 2, 2012, in Ancient Houses & Courtyards, Cultural Experience, Shanghai, by Jack Li

Dated over 17,000 years, the ancient town of Zhujiajiao is a must-see attraction for those who travel to Shanghai. Known as ‘Shanghai’s Venice’ due to its waterways, the town serves as a top place to experience old China. For those wishing to go to the town, you can catch a bus from Puanlu Station (close […]

Dated over 17,000 years, the ancient town of Zhujiajiao is a must-see attraction for those who travel to Shanghai. Known as ‘Shanghai’s Venice’ due to its waterways, the town serves as a top place to experience old China. For those wishing to go to the town, you can catch a bus from Puanlu Station (close to People’s Square, Shanghai) with the hour-long journey generally costing about 12RMB. Moreover, Zhujiajiao’s great location means that you can experience a large portion of the day in the town and then have the advantage of staying in Shanghai hotels.

Actual entrance to the town is free, but if you want to experience the town from the water this, of course, costs. For cruises, prices range from 80RMB for nine scenic spots; 60RMB for eight, and 30RMB for four. The motion of the boats may be off-putting to some, but viewing the town from the water enhances the authenticity of the experience. With all this in mind, it is still enjoyable to watch the boats from the town’s spectacular kilometre-long North Street. Indeed, it is absolutely memorizing to see how the oarsmen ferry people between the tightest of spaces, navigate under bridges and skilfully meander around corners.

If you decide to purchase the complete admission package, then you can expect to visit; City God Temple, Imperial Academy Stele Museum, Kezhi Garden, Qing Dynasty Post Office, Shanghai Handwork Exhibition Hall, Tongtianhe Medicine Shop, Shanghai Quanhua Art Hall, Yanyi Hall and Yuanjin Meditation Room. Hence after reading this list, you can be assured that you will not get bored in Zhujiajiao. As a piece of advice, it might be best to arrive at the town in the morning to ensure you see everything you want especially as the crowds can pick-up later
in the afternoon.

Cities like Beijing and Shanghai have ancient buildings, but many are often regenerated or render a distinct purpose (such as a temple or palace). What makes Zhujiajiao especially alluring is the fact that it is a reflection of ancient daily life. Tourism is essential to the town’s income, however we should acknowledge that this is a place where people live and it is not merely an attraction for our amusement. Therefore, it is imperative that, as visitors, we remain respectful to the residents and only take photos where appropriate, for instance. The residents of Zhujiajiao are equally very friendly and welcome tourists to buy their goods such as pungent-smelling tofu, sweet bamboo juice and countless handicrafts.

Without doubt, it is wonderful to see the old working life being preserved with the sight of fish being caught and prepared by locals. The traditional architecture of the town is pleasant on the eye with much of the town’s style deriving from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In particular, the five-storey ‘Moon View Pavilion’ in the KeZhi Garden and the Fangsheng Bridge constructed in 1571 are worth viewing. After seeing its waters glisten from a distance, it is understandable that Zhujiajiao is also fondly named the ‘Pearl Stream’ with the ancient town definately being a superb attraction on any Shanghai tours route.

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