The Chinese chopsticks

On March 10, 2011, in Beijing, Featured China Stories, by Jack Li

During your china travel, you may be interested in Great Wall, The Summer Palace, and The Forbidden City or the delicious food. But I guess you must be confused the chopsticks. Today we will talk about the chopsticks. When the Chinese began to use chopsticks as an eating instrument is anybody’s guess. They were first […]

During your china travel, you may be interested in Great Wall, The Summer Palace, and The Forbidden City or the delicious food. But I guess you must be confused the chopsticks. Today we will talk about the chopsticks. When the Chinese began to use chopsticks as an eating instrument is anybody’s guess. They were first mentioned in writing in Liji (The Book of rites), a work compiled some 2,000 years ago, but certainly they had their initial form in the twigs which the primitive Chinese must have used to pick up a roast after they began to use fire. The twigs then evolved into the wooden, tapering sticks as we know them today.

The correct way to use chopsticks is to hold the pair in the hollow between the thumb and forefinger of your fork hand. The one closest to your body should rest on the first joint of the ring finger and stay relatively immobile. Hold the other one with the forefinger and middle finger, which manipulate it like pincers to pick up the food. The strength applied by the fingers should vary with the things to be taken hold of. The skill to pick up, with speed and dexterity, small things like beans and peanuts and slippery things like slices of preserved eggs can only come from practice and coordinated action of the fingers.

Chopsticks may be made of any of several materials: bamboo, wood, gold, siler, ivory, pewter, and plastics. In cross-section, they may be either round or square. Some of them are engraved with coloured pictures or calligraphy for decoration. Ordinary chopsticks used in Chinese homes are of wood or bamboo; those for banquets are often ivory, whereas gold ones belonged only to the royalty and aristocracy.

Westerners are often impressed with the cleverness of the Chinese hand that makes embroideries and clay sculptures with such consummate skill.

And now for an interesting bit of culture trivia: a set of chopsticks is a common gift for newlyweds, because the Mandarin for chopsticks (筷子 “kuaizi”) is a homophone for “have a son soon” (快子).

So when you are using the chopsticks, you will appreciate the Chinese creation. I believe you will enjoy your China Tours.

English Bookstores in Beijing

On January 6, 2011, in Beijing, Cool Places, Must-sees, by Jack Li

If you are on your Beijing Tours and are looking for a good English book to read during your nights at the hotel, train or bus rides then Beijing is one place where you can find all sorts of English bookstores. Travel to Beijing as there are lots of Bookstores cater for native English speakers […]

If you are on your Beijing Tours and are looking for a good English book to read during your nights at the hotel, train or bus rides then Beijing is one place where you can find all sorts of English bookstores.

Travel to Beijing as there are lots of Bookstores cater for native English speakers and people who want to read all types of English books. There are a lot of bookstores everywhere around Beijing so you would not have a hard time finding the bookstores.

Here are some lists of English Bookstores around Beijing:

1)   The Foreign Languages Bookstore (Waiwen Shudian)

 

Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore

 This bookstore is situated in Wangfujing and it has been a mainstay for foreigners in Beijing for many years. It contains a large collection of books on Chinese art, history, literature, language, medicine economics and art books, post cards are all in English. It also carries some classic western novels and a selection of imported books on Chinese history, religion, philosophy, and a couple of dozen western travel guidebooks.

Opening Hours: 9am to 8.30pm

Tel: 6512 – 6903

2) Haidian Foreign Languages Bookstore

This Foreign Languages bookstore has a wide and interesting selection of books on Chinese culture, economics, literature, standard classic American and British novels and a small selection of older imported books. In addition, the street this bookstore is on has several used bookstores, some of which have small selections of English books. Haidian Foreign Languages Bookstore is just located at the Zhongguo Haidian Tushucheng, just south of Beijing University

Opening Hours: 9am-6:30pm
Tel: 6252-9345

3)      Beijing Books Centre

The Beijing Books Centre at the Xinhua Bookstore is new and simply massive, with a large collection of English books on the second floor dealing with all aspects of Chinese culture and some Western classics. Beijing Books Centre is situated at the Xinhua Bookstore 17 West Changan Ave.

Opening Hours: 9am-8:30pm
Tel: 6607-8477

4)      The Friendship Store English Bookstore

Inside the first floor of the Friendship Store is a small bookstore featuring Western magazines, lots of imported books on Chinese history and culture, current Western novels, and travel books. (A hint about buying books at this store: if you find something here that is published in China, it is better to instead pick it up at the nearby Wangfujing Xinhua Bookstore or the Wangfujing Foreign Languages Bookstore, since the markup at The Friendship Store is at times quite steep). The Friendship Store English Bookstore is situated at 17 Jianguomenwai Dajie.

Opening Hours: 9am-9pm
Tel: 6500-3311

Friendship Bookstore

5)      The Beijing Language and Culture University Press Bookstore

This is the best place in Beijing to buy Chinese language learning books of all levels. There are tapes, dictionaries, phrase and grammar books, slang books, and even famous Western books on linguistics in this bookstore. The Beijing Language and Culture University Press Bookstore is situated next to the south gate of the Beijing Language and Culture University Chengfu Lu, Haidian

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-4pm
Tel: 8230-3653

6)      The China Bookstore

This store has a small collection of English books but it is the place in Beijing to buy Chinese art books, books on calligraphy, post cards, and photography books. The selection is impressive. Alongside both East and West Liulichang Street, which run in front of the main entrance to this bookstore, are several other good art bookstores. This famous area has sold books and art supplies in Beijing for more than 300 years. And while it is now touristy, it is still the place to get some excellent and cheap art books. The China Bookstore is situated in 115 Dongxi Liulichang Jiedao.

Opening Hours: 9am-6:30pm
Tel: 6317-5607

So book your Beijing Flights now and don’t worry about being bored because Beijing has everything to offer for everyone!

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Tea Tasting in Beijing

On December 21, 2010, in Beijing, Featured China Stories, Must-sees, by Jack Li

During your china travel, don’t forget to go for tea tasting at Dr. Tea as part of your Beijing Tours as this is a great way to try out different types of teas and get to know some useful information about certain teas as well. I went for tea tasting at Dr. Tea few days […]

During your china travel, don’t forget to go for tea tasting at Dr. Tea as part of your Beijing Tours as this is a great way to try out different types of teas and get to know some useful information about certain teas as well.

I went for tea tasting at Dr. Tea few days ago and I had lots of fun. The tea hostesses were really helpful and they do provide English tea tasting tours for foreigners.  They speak good English as well so do not worry if you can’t speak mandarin or can’t understand them. The tea hostesss are all professional and very skilled to the point that you will be amaze on the way they make and pour the teas.

Tea Hostess at Dr. Tea

During the tour, I have tasted 4 types of tea and learn how to hold the cup and drink certain types of tea. They also provide tea making instructions for everyone at the end of the tea tasting tour. The place also sells different types of tea cups and pots and the prices are quite reasonable. They also provide student prices for tea sets and you could also bargain for better deals with them.

Tea Set at Dr. Tea

Here are some information that I got during tea tasting at Dr. Tea:

White Tea

– It can dispel the effects of alcohol and nicotine.

– It also  acts on colds, coughs and sore throats.

Golden Green Tea/ Slimming Tea (wild puer tea)

– It can regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol and lose weight.

– Fill tea water with honey and it is good for insomnia.

Oriental Beauty (The king of Oolong Tea)

– It is good for blood circulation and skin.

– It is good for Anemia and enriches blood.

– Add some brown sugar into tea as it can nourishes the stomach.

– It can soften the blood vessels.

Jasmine Tea

– It can drive away summer heat and improve eyesight.

– It can shake off drowsiness and relieve headache.

Litchi Tea (Black Tea)

– It is good for digestion.

Gin-seng Oolong Tea

– It can help to restores your energy.

– Protect liver and kidney.

Address: No.1, Min Zu Yuan Road, Chaoyang District. Beijing, China.

Tel: 0086-010-82083648.

So if you do love drinking teas, then Travel to Beijing and get your Tea touring started. It is an enjoyable experience and you will have lots of fun as well.

Shopping Centres Around Beijing

On December 17, 2010, in Cool Places, Must-sees, Shopping, by Jack Li

There are lots to do during your china travel and shopping is one of them.  Travel to Beijing as there are more than 13,000 retail stores in the city and it is scattered in every corner. The goods that are sold in Beijing markets are branded stuff, special and new products and from various parts […]

There are lots to do during your china travel and shopping is one of them.  Travel to Beijing as there are more than 13,000 retail stores in the city and it is scattered in every corner. The goods that are sold in Beijing markets are branded stuff, special and new products and from various parts of the country.

Today, Beijing has 10 famous shopping streets and some of the more famous stores and bazaar are described here. The famous shopping street includes the Wangfujing, Dongdanbei, Longfusi, Xidanbei, Qianmen and Xiusuhi streets, and Liulichang Cultural Street. These streets boast modern malls and boutiques or special articles shops and they also provide various kinds of services.

Wangfujing Street:

This is the most famous shopping centre in Beijing as it boasts many reputed shops such as New Dong’an Bazaar, Department Store, Arts and Crafts Mansion, Foreign Language Bookstore, Shengxifu Hat Store, Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant and Vegetarian Restaurant. Wangfujin is a fairly long street, so do wear comfortable shoes as it does get tiring. A walk to the end would take you about 30 minutes and that’s only if you don’t look at any shops.

Address: Dongcheng District, Wangfujing Avenue (Wang Fu Jing Da Jie).

Wangfujing Street

Qianmen Shopping Street:

This is an ancient shopping street outside Qianmen Gate. It is sided by various shops and restaurants so you wouldn’t feel bored when walking around the streets.  The Dashilar Tourist and Pedestrian Street have many old shops such as Tongrentang Pharmacy, Neilanshang Shoe Shop, Ruifuxiang Silk and Cotton Fabrics Shop, Quanyechang, Zhang Yiyuan Tea Store and Majuyuan Hat Store.

Address: Qianmen Street, Chongwen District, Beijing.

Qianmen Shopping Street

Liulichang Cultural Street:

This street is lined by shops including Rongbaozhai Studio, Cultural Relics Shop, Yanjiang Calligraphic Work and Painting Studio, Zhenyun Building for selling jewellery, Yide Building for selling ink sticks and red in paste used for seals, Four Treasure of the Study for selling writing brushes, Jigu Building for Duplicating cultural relics and Cuiwen Building for selling seals.

Address: Sou Xin Hua, Beijing, 10051.   Tel: 010-81191011.

Xiushui Silk Street:

Xiushui Silk Street is one of the famous clothing markets in Beijing. It attracts domestic and foreign tourists with various styles, colours and materials and most of the stuffs are cheap in prices. Be ready to bargain too as some vendors might increase the prices of the clothes. Commodities mainly sold in Silk Street are shoes, bags and cases, leather, famous brand, casual wear, fashion clothing, cowboy series, sports leisure attire, knitted dresses and many more. There are also various snacks that are sold there and even Beijing Roast duck can be found there.

Address: No.8, Xiushui Dongjie Chaoyang, Beijing.

The Insides of Beijing Xiushui Silk Street

Ruifuxiang Silk and Cotton Fabrics Shop:

This shop was open in the first year of the reign of the Qing Emperor Tongzhi and has a history of more than 120 years. It has branches in Beijing and Tianjin and the shops handles 10,000 kinds of silk, woollen and cotton textiles. If you are thinking of making and designing your own clothes then there are also tailors in the shop that can make items such as cheongsams and padded silk jackets.

Address: 190 Wangfujinh Dajie Just north of Gongmei Dasha.   Tel: 86-10-63032880

Ruifuxiang Silk Market

Friendship Store:

This store provides services mainly for foreign visitors. It handles silk fabrics, gold and silver jewelry, jade, carved ivory goods, embroidery and cloisonné. Also it has a cafe room, a flower and pot plant selection, a tailor’s shop, a clock and watch repair shop and a shipment consigning and collection section for providing such services as packing, shipping, mall orders, customs declaration and appreciating cultural relics.

Address: No.17, Jianguomenwai Ave.   Tel: 86-10-65003311.

Cultural Relics Shop:

This has 11 selling stores including Baoshizhai, Yunguzhai, Yueyatang and Qingyuntaing studios. It deals with pottery and porcelain from different historical periods, gold and silver jewellery, ancient coins, bamboo, wood and ivory carvings, hard wood furniture, painting and calligraphic works, rubbing from stone inscriptions and seals. Yueyatang Studio sells ancient arts and crafts.

Address: 64 Liulichang E. St.   Tel: 86-10-63017433.

If this has made you excited to shop in Beijing then Check out China Tours and book your flight and start shopping!

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Art Galleries in Beijing

On December 15, 2010, in Cool Places, Must-sees, by Jack Li

While you’re on your china travel and have an interest in the Arts then Beijing would be the place to go to. Beijing has many art galleries to choose from and there would be many China Tours that provides services to certain Art Galleries. Caochangdi which is called the “gallery district” of Beijing and has […]

While you’re on your china travel and have an interest in the Arts then Beijing would be the place to go to. Beijing has many art galleries to choose from and there would be many China Tours that provides services to certain Art Galleries.

Caochangdi which is called the “gallery district” of Beijing and has a wide range of art selection and you can find many art-goers around browsing for art materials and pieces. Even though Caochangdi is considered relatively small, but the diversity of materials and themes available in the galleries is on par with what one would find in a larger, more populous gallery district.

There are three main art galleries in Caochangdi and there are:

Three Shadows Photography Art Centre

 

Three Shadows Photography Art Centre

 This gallery is probably the best point of entry for the Caochangdi galleries as it lies at the centre of the district. The centre itself is an elegant complex which includes an open yard, an older industrial red brick building, and an elegant gray brick gallery complex that unfolds around the yard, which is designed by Ai Weiwei. This gallery was founded by a photography couple Rong Rong and Inri in 2007 and it is to exhibit works by underrepresented and emerging photographers. In addition to the gallery space, the centre also houses a cafe, shop, and an impressive library of photography history, theory, and monographs.

Address: 155 Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing.

Tel: 010-64322663.

Gallerie Urs Meile

Art piece from Gallerie Urs Meile

 

This gallery is situated in the actual village of Caochangdi Cun, easily recognised amidst the run-down white-tile buildings that populate this area. The gallery complex is very unique because of its distinctive height, unusual design, and also for its gray brickwork. Again, like the Three Shadows, Galerie Urs Meile was designed by Ai Weiwei – whom it also represents, along with other well-known experimental artists such as Tracy Snelling or, as with his current controversial and some people would also call it repulsive exhibition which is called “The Wings of Live Art” by He Yunchang. Galerie Urs Meile, which has also a sister gallery in Lucerne, Switzerland, has become known for bold new works from established avant-garde artists in China and the West. In addition to the gallery spaces at the Urs Meile complex, they also play host to an artist-in-residence program, which allows western artists the chance to live and work in Beijing.

 

Address: 104 Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing. Tel: 010-64333393

Boers-Li Gallery

Art Piece from Boers-Li Gallery

This gallery was founded in 2005 and it stands along the edge of Caochangdi, in its warehouse district. It comprised of two large warehouse-galleries and it is also the largest of the three galleries. However, the Boers-Li Gallery doesn’t pack the works in tightly, but rather uses the space to help emphasize the work exhibited – new and experimental work true to the gallery’s purpose. Going to Boers-Li Gallery thus gives one the feeling of a more “underground” gallery, probably due to the stark buildings as to the new (lesser known) work that pushes the boundaries of what art can say. As with Galerie Urs Meile, the Boers-Li Gallery is not media specific, although its focus on lesser-known artists is similar to the Three Shadows and most of the other, smaller galleries in Caochangdi.

Address: A-8 Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing. Tel: 010-64322620

So if you are interested in checking out all these galleries, then Travel to Beijing and get inspired by all these amazing art pieces!

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Relaxing In Beijing

On December 15, 2010, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Cool Places, Cultural Experience, Must-sees, by Jack Li

Whilst on your China Tours you might feel the need to sit down, relax and get pampered for a while. On Beijing Tours this is the perfect place to do this; with its variety of Spa’s and hot springs Beijing is the perfect place to have a little you time. A good soak in one […]

Whilst on your China Tours you might feel the need to sit down, relax and get pampered for a while. On Beijing Tours this is the perfect place to do this; with its variety of Spa’s and hot springs Beijing is the perfect place to have a little you time. A good soak in one of Beijing’s hot springs will help melt away that wintery chill from your bones. The average price of a hot spring is about 100Yuan (£10) per person per day; this includes bathing, a sauna, the use of the hot spring and a buffet meal. Or if you are with someone a standard two bed resort room is 220Yuan (£220). Body and foot massages are also available to release any tension or unknot sore muscles. Most of the hot springs are north of the city within a 60km of the city centre and are easily reached by taxi or car. Unlike in some countries, these spas do not allow nudity in public areas. Most establishments provide private services, sometimes in separate villas. Each villa has a small hot spring to be used by friends and family. Here a just a few of the resorts around Beijing to choose from.

Jiuhua Spa and Resort

One of the most famous resorts, Jiuhua has a long history. Built in 1271 it was used exclusively by the imperial family and is known throughout Beijing for the quality of its hot spring. The water keeps at around 400C. This spa is very relaxing and with a yoga class and some meditation you come out of this resort you feel in balance with your body and rejuvenated.  Costing 68 Yuan per person, you shouldn’t pass this up when you are here.

How to get there: Use the Badaling Expressway, exiting to the Sixth Ring Road at the No 12 exit; exit the Sixth Ring Road at the No 61 exit and go toward Xiaotangshan before arriving at the Daliushu roundabout; ten go eastward for 500 metres.

Longmai Hot Spring Resort

Longmai Resort is a unique hot spring as it has a tropical rain forest style décor, with bamboo forests and vegetation all around you this resort takes you away both physically and mentally from the hustle and bustle of Beijing. It is the first imperial villa village in China and the biggest entertainment palace offering indoor hot springs in Asia.  The temperature of the pools ranges from 28oC to 300C. There is a 50 metre pool that can be used, as well as having a mud bath you can have your dead skin nibbled by fish, a very strange but unique experience. 100 Yuan per person, this facility is a bargain.

How to get there: Using the Badaling Expressway, exit at the No 11 exit; turn right heading east for 25 minutes, then head towards Xiantangshan Town.

So if you are looking for a place to relax on your Beijing Tours after a week of sight-seeing and travelling visit the hot springs. This rare experience you should not miss when you are in Beijing.

Hong Kong Visa Travel Service

Travelling to Hong Kong finding the best deals can be time consuming when planning your china travel because of the confusion of Hong Kong and China.  However, before you plan your trip with China Hotels no need to worry about your visa.  The visa travel system is exactly the same as it was under the […]

Travelling to Hong Kong finding the best deals can be time consuming when planning your china travel because of the confusion of Hong Kong and China.  However, before you plan your trip with China Hotels no need to worry about your visa.  The visa travel system is exactly the same as it was under the British rules 13 years ago and completely separate to the Chinese Visa system.

Hong Kong

Because Hong Kong pride there selves in tremendous tourist attraction and is one of Chinas largest business district the process of finding a visa is made to be as simple as possible.  A Hong Kong tourist visa is not required for citizens of the United States for a stay of up to 90 days.  If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong from the US you need to follow three steps.

Firstly:  Check the current validity of your passport.

All travellers need a valid passport of 90 days before travelling to Hong Kong.  It is recommended that with all your travels you have at least 6 months validity on your passport at all times.  Usually your local Embassy can help you with passport enquiries or local travel agent.

Secondly: It is advisable that your passport pages have blank visa pages.

Most travel destinations require that you have blank visa pages on your passport allowing for necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.  These pages need to be adequate and unused.   It is recommended that you have at least two or three blank pages on your passport before departure from the US.  American passport dealerships can supply extra passport pages within 24 hours of request.

Finally: Confirm if a transit visa is required for any connections.

Make sure that you check with your airline whether you have connection flights before you arrive in Hong Kong.  It may be the case that countries you pass en route separate to your destination may require a separate transit visa.  Check the visa requirements for that country.

For working Visas or relocation you would probably need to make provisions for further research.  Generally speaking if you’re European, Australian or from New Zealand the same rule applies.  For UK nationals this applies for 6 months.  You will need 6 month validity on your passport.

Hong Kong a night

All Hk nationals are all English speaking and the whole process is designed to be as painless as possible.  On arrival to Hong Kong you will need to fill out an entry card which is handed out on the plane.  The entry card once filled out is given to immigration control, who will then hand back the carbon copy.  This copy will need to be kept until you leave Hong Kong as you will need to hand your card to immigration control on departure.  If the copy is lost you will simply need to fill out a new one.

Hong Kong officially state that you need to have a return ticket to enter the city but this is not imperative and not enforced.  To state that you’re travelling to China is proof enough.  Hong Kong also doesn’t evade work immigration control for work purposes.  You can easily spend the day in Macau after ninety days and on your return gain another 90 days there.  This is only if you feel that 90 days is not long enough.  The same applies after 6 months for UK citizens.

If you plan to work or study in the city you’ll need to apply for a visa from your nearest Chinese Embassy or Hong Kong from your nearest Chinese consulate.  So before you travel make sure you’re prepared for your China Flights that you’re understanding that you don’t need a visa to travel to Hong Kong.

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