Longqing Gorge Ice Lanterns

On August 24, 2011, in Beijing, Festivals, More Places of Interest, Rivers & Gorges, by Jack Li

The ice lanterns of Longqing Gorge have been famous for many years. Although themes of all previous Ice Lantern Festivals are quite different, the wonderful sight of icefall that is in free fall along reservoir dams remains every year. The huge icefall hangs 70metres high, on a huge dam, decorated with ice flowers and icicles, […]

The ice lanterns of Longqing Gorge have been famous for many years. Although themes of all previous Ice Lantern Festivals are quite different, the wonderful sight of icefall that is in free fall along reservoir dams remains every year. The huge icefall hangs 70metres high, on a huge dam, decorated with ice flowers and icicles, forming a crystal clear ice and snow paradise. The amazing sight of the Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival brings lots of happiness to tourists. The festival is held once a year in Longqing Gorge and has its own oustanding characteristics, as well as unique theme. These groups of corlorful ice lanterns not only contain the rich wisedom and creativity of people, but also bring people the enjoyment of beauty. By adding the artful design of sound, light and electricity, the ice lanterns in Longqing Gorge look much more charming.

Tickets

Winter: 100 yuan/person, tickets for the old: 35yuan/person (need the certificate of the age);

Summer: 40 yuan/person, tickets for the old: 20 yuan/person (need the certificate of the age), Student Prices: 20 yuan/person (need the student’s card).

Longqing Gorge

Fairy Courtyard

On August 24, 2011, in Ancient Houses & Courtyards, Beijing, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

The history of Fairy Courtyard stems as far back as 900 years. During Ming and Qing dynasty, many people visited it and poets left a number of masterpieces. However due to natural disasters and wars, the old temple was destroyed in early years. It was not until 1991, that the Yanqing government decided to repair […]

The history of Fairy Courtyard stems as far back as 900 years. During Ming and Qing dynasty, many people visited it and poets left a number of masterpieces. However due to natural disasters and wars, the old temple was destroyed in early years. It was not until 1991, that the Yanqing government decided to repair it according to the historical materials. It took 7 years and over 10,000,000 yuan to complete the project.

Fairy Basin: there is a stony basin in the left part of Fairy Courtyard, oval-shaped, with the length of 4 meters, width 3.4 meters and depth 1 meters. The water in the basin is full all year round.

Chessboard Stone: there are several chunks of huge square stacks half way up the cliff. The surfaces of the stacks are like a chessboard with indistinct grid and the pebbles like chessmen.

Devil Tree: it is said people who suffer from the pain loins and legs will get rid of the pain immediately after he rub the tree trunk. But so long as you touch the tree, you will fall into the abyss. Therefore, there is no one who dares to have a try at it.

Longqing Gorge

Beijing

On August 23, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Beijing, Cultural Experience, Must-sees, Tours, Transportation, by Jack Li

Beijing, capital of the People’s Republic of China, a city with at least 20 million people and counting, is racing at a lightening speed towards the future and reinventing itself within the 21st Century. Also known as Peking, it is the capital of imperial china; a city with more than 3000 years of history and […]

Beijing, capital of the People’s Republic of China, a city with at least 20 million people and counting, is racing at a lightening speed towards the future and reinventing itself within the 21st Century. Also known as Peking, it is the capital of imperial china; a city with more than 3000 years of history and dominated by cultural heritage, making it a great place to visit. Air China and Beijing Flights offer great deals if you are interested in booking your trips to this magical city.

Upon arrival in Beijing you are awed into appreciation of the civilisation that is adopted in a city that is so densely populated. Beijing is a charming destination for the whole world. Intertwined with its long rich cultural history, stylish modern architecture, folk customs, the Olympic legacy, and Chinese delicacies, the capital city offers endless surprises for all those who visit.

 

When in Beijing you are never short of anything to do, see, or eat. There is a new experience waiting for you at every corner. Depending on what you are interested in there is a whole array of sights to see, cultures to experience, and activities to make the best of your trip. Productively using your time can be a difficult task to master, as the options on what to do are endless.

Beijing in particular offers the largest and most diverse range of attractions. The Great Wall of China is always a popular choice amongst tourists and is definitely one to see if the opportunity arises. Situated roughly 70km from the centre of Beijing cars and busses can be hired to get you to and from the wall. Alternatively a more local and leisurely attraction of the Summer Palace is also an extremely highly regarded tourist location. It’s beautiful lakes, gardens and ancient Chinese architecture makes this site an interesting, relaxing and a great day out for all ages. Similarly Beijing also has many world-renowned heritage sites such as the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven. Both sites are in central Beijing and offer a wealth of experience along with an insight into what the former Beijing used to be like. Beijing’s past has steeped the city in great historical merit, but it is becoming very evident where Beijing, ultimately, wants to be.

An added bonus is that the Beijing system is a very tightly run ship. You can travel anywhere for 2RMB (equivalent to approximately £0.20 or $0.50), however a word of warning is to avoid peak hours as it can become extremely crowded. This alone makes travelling around Beijing very easy and tourists can easily see many different sites within a single day. Alternatively there is the option of using the taxis. These are also very cheap. It is somewhat more difficult to get around due to the language barrier, but by simply asking your hotel staff to write the address in Chinese usually rectifies the situation.

 

The Beijing Olympics in 2008 has significantly put Beijing on the map and since the games were held there has been a rapid increase in tourists in the capital city. The Olympic parks and venues are spectacles to see in themselves.

The infrastructure of Beijing is reaching its limits and plans to build a second airport are well underway, the construction of it may even start as soon as late 2011 according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China. So don’t delay and cash in on your chance to see the beautiful city today by booking your Beijing Hotels.

 

Qi Wang Hall

Facing south and located inside Jingshan Gate of Beijing, Qi Wang Hall is at the base of the sunny face of Jingshan Mountain. This building was built in 1750, the 15th year of Emperor Qianlong’s reign during the Qing Dynasty. With yellow glazed roof tiling and multiple eaves, Qi Wang Hall is five rooms wide […]

Facing south and located inside Jingshan Gate of Beijing, Qi Wang Hall is at the base of the sunny face of Jingshan Mountain. This building was built in 1750, the 15th year of Emperor Qianlong’s reign during the Qing Dynasty. With yellow glazed roof tiling and multiple eaves, Qi Wang Hall is five rooms wide and three rooms deep. The uppermost eave, built in Tou Kung structure, overhangs a plaque with three Chinese characters (Qi Wang Hall) written in Manchu and Han writing style. A porch with a pattern of overlapping circles adds to the design aesthetics, and a white marble guardrail wraps around the building. Confucius memorial tablet, placed within the hall, commemorates the fact that students at Jingshan School once worshipped Confucius. During the Republic of China transition period, exhibitions were held here. For example, on February 25th, 1937, the Palace Museum displayed over 600 photos of Chinese antiques that were plundered by the Great British Empire. There is also a Qi Wang Hall in Emperor Kangxi’s Summer Mountain Resort in Chengde. The inscription on the plaque was written by Qing Emperor Qianlong himself!

Jingshan Park

Wan Chun Pavilion

On August 22, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

Located atop the 45.7-meter middle peak of Jingshan Mountain, Wan Chun Pavilion offers visitors the best observation point on the north-south axis of Beijing. The pavilion boasts beautiful triple eaves with yellow and green glazed roof tiles. Two rounds of pillars stand there, the outside round containing 20 pillars and the inner containing 12, each […]

Located atop the 45.7-meter middle peak of Jingshan Mountain, Wan Chun Pavilion offers visitors the best observation point on the north-south axis of Beijing. The pavilion boasts beautiful triple eaves with yellow and green glazed roof tiles. Two rounds of pillars stand there, the outside round containing 20 pillars and the inner containing 12, each round with four pillars on either side. On August 9th, 1938, Wan Chun Pavilion was struck by lightning, causing the roof, four pillars, four casement windows, and the four Chinese characters inscribed on the plaque hanging in the pavilion to be destroyed. The Chinese government spent 340,000 yuan on restoring the pavilion in 1958 and again in 1973.

Vairocana Buddha is enshrined and worshiped here. The original, golden lacquer statue of Vairocana Buddha sustained a gash to the arm in 1900 and was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in China. The current statue of the Buddha was built in 1998. Standing in Wan Chun Pavilion, visitors can enjoy a splendid view of the Forbidden City to the south, the Bell and Drum Towers to the north and the White Pagoda of Beihai Park to the west.

Jingshan Park

Spiritual Day Out at the Temple of Heaven

On August 17, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Beijing, Cultural Experience, Featured China Stories, by Jack Li

Travel to Beijing this year to witness some of the world’s fascinating sites. One of the most notable ones is the Temple of Heaven (below) or, more specifically, the ‘Altar of Heaven’ is a compound of Taoist buildings in the southeastern part of Beijing. In ancient times, emperors of both the Ming and Qing dynasties […]

Travel to Beijing this year to witness some of the world’s fascinating sites. One of the most notable ones is the Temple of Heaven (below) or, more specifically, the ‘Altar of Heaven’ is a compound of Taoist buildings in the southeastern part of Beijing. In ancient times, emperors of both the Ming and Qing dynasties used it for religious ceremonies, mainly entailing prayer for good harvest. Most Beijing Hotels will be more than happy to assist you in organising such visits.

The temple grounds were built from 1406 and 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor. It was named as the ‘Temple of Heaven’ in the 16th Century, under the rule of Emperor Jiajing who also built three other famous temples in Beijing: The Temple of Sun, Temple of Earth and Temple of Moon. The temple had undergone renovation in the 18th Century. In 1918, it was turned into a park and was finally open to the public. To this day, many locals visit the park to relax and wind-down, because the scenery is simply stunning. Tourists visit the Temple because it is an architectural masterpiece whose design is so special and unique. The whole site is a significant piece of Chinese history.

The temple grounds cover an area of 2.73 kilometers squared, mainly parkland with three distinct buildings: the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Alter (right).

 

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (left) is a circular building- 36 meters in diameter and 38 meters tall. It was built on three levels of marble stone base. It is completely wooden with no nails. The original hall suffered a great fire in 1889, which resulted in destruction of the site. The fire was caused by lightning and was rebuilt only several years later.

The Imperial Vault of Heaven is also another circular building built on one level of marble stone base. Located south of the Hall of Prayer of Good Harvests. It looks very similar to it as well. A smooth wall called the “Echo Wall” surrounds the building. The Vault is connected to the Hall of Prayer via a 360-meter footbridge.

The Circular Mound Altar is the highlight of the area. At the Altars’ centre lies a round slate called “The Heart of Heaven” where the Emperor would pray for preferential weather. The design of the mound compliments the acoustic properties of the altar. It was believed that the sound of prayer would easily project to the Heavens due to the design and layout of the Altar.

The Temple of Heaven, like the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, is a symbol of Chinese culture and history. Chinese people take pride in the stories of their ancient age. So book your flights with China Flights for an experience of a lifetime.

 

Wangfujing Cathedral

On August 17, 2011, in Beijing, Featured China Stories, by Jack Li

Perhaps when you’re in holiday in Europe you would visit the world famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome or the countless sacred sites in Spain, but did you ever imagine yourself visiting a notorious cathedral in China? If you assumed the answer was no, then be prepared for a […]

Perhaps when you’re in holiday in Europe you would visit the world famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome or the countless sacred sites in Spain, but did you ever imagine yourself visiting a notorious cathedral in China? If you assumed the answer was no, then be prepared for a surprised. The Wangfujing Cathedral, also known as the St. Joseph’s Cathedral is a must-see when you travel to Beijing. There are many essential China Tours and Wangjufing Cathedral (pictured below) is worth a visit.

This beautiful piece of old architecture stands tall in Downtown Beijing, near Wangfujing. The church is known by locals as ‘Dongtang’ which means ‘East Cathedral.’ It was first build in 1653 and was officially opened by the Italian Jesuit Father Lodovico Buglio. Over the centuries, several Earthquakes and Wars gradually destroyed the Cathedral. It was then rebuilt in 1904 into a more Romanesque architectural style. The 20th century saw the Cathedral developing into an iconic symbol of Christianity in China. Today, there is a large concrete plaza outside the building, which has become a popular skateboarding location in Beijing.

When it was built, it became the 2nd Catholic Church in Beijing. The mission housed well-recognized members of the Catholic community such as Johann Adam Scholl von Bell. Other missionaries such as Ferdinand Verbiest and Giuseppe Castiglione served in this glorious place of worship for years. You can also see some traditional Catholic art in the Church. Paintings by Giuseppe Castiglione are spread out around the building. After the Cultural Revolution, it was used as a primary school. It progressively became a unique cultural site in the capital.

Religion, like any other country in Asia, is an interesting concept in China. Shenism-Taoism and Buddhism remain the most popular religions in China, representing 30% and 11% of the population respectively. Other religions include Islam (1% of the population) and Christianity (4%). It is estimated that roughly half of the population are either agnostic or atheist. Naturally, theses statistics vary. Nonetheless, Christians are definitely a minority and thus, the Wangfujing Cathedral serves its purpose as a site just as much as a place of worship for local Catholics.

There are three other famous churches in Beijing alone, all known after the region they are situated in. As noted earlier, Wangfujing Cathedral is known as ‘Dontang’, which means ‘East Cathedral.’ Locals know Xizhimen Church as ‘Xintang’, which means ‘West Church.’ The third main Cathedral in Beijing is the Xishiku Cathedral, known as ‘Beitang,’ the North Cathedral. The South Cathedral (Nantang) is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and is the oldest Catholic Cathedral in Beijing, established in 1603; it was later developed into a Baroque styled building.

So when you come to China, of course you’ll want to see the Forbidden City or the Great Wall first, but if you are into architecture, history and religion, you must visit some of the Cathedrals that this city has to offer. Most Beijing Hotels will offer assistance and advice for visits to these sites.

 

The Olympic Park

On August 15, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Beijing, Cool Places, Shopping, by Jack Li

The Olympic Park, also known as the Olympic Green, as we all know was constructed for the Olympic Games in 2008, but since then it has come to represent a lot more than simply a venue that hosted a world-famous sporting feast, becoming one of China’s most popular tourist attractions. Furthermore, it also developed into […]

The Olympic Park, also known as the Olympic Green, as we all know was constructed for the Olympic Games in 2008, but since then it has come to represent a lot more than simply a venue that hosted a world-famous sporting feast, becoming one of China’s most popular tourist attractions. Furthermore, it also developed into a place where locals and tourists alike can come and relax amongst the beautiful scenery in the tranquil form of lakes, gardens and rivers. So get on board Air China and Travel to Beijing now to experience this incredible park.

The Green is home to the prestigious ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium (above) which seats 80,000 spectators (91,000 during the Olympics).  This beautiful piece of modern architecture cost $423million to build there are plans to covert it into a shopping mall in a few years. However, for now, it costs 50RMB to enter the stadium as a visitor. I’d thoroughly recommend walking right to the top of the stadium and simply sit down and admire how stunning this is. It only takes about 5 minutes to walk to the top row. A very popular activity worth having a look at inside the stadium is the Segway PT rides (below). For those who are not familiar, the Segway is a two-wheeled self-balancing electric vehicle. These are very fun for children and adults as well. Simply pay a bargain price of 150RMB for a 20-minute ride around the track. The vehicle will not drive you as fast as Usain Bolt did back in 2008 on that track, but they’re still as enjoyable. When you enter the stadium and look at the big screen, highlights of the Games are showing all day, including the uniquely magnificent opening ceremony.

Another site in the Green, which is a must-see, is the National Aquatics Centre, also known as the ‘Water Cube.’ The building hosted the water-based events during the Games in 2008. It has a maximum capacity of 17,000. Part of the Cube has been converted into a water park, consisting of many slides, rides and a wave pool. This would be a great day out for any family. At night, the view of the Water Cube is simply spectacular (below).

Other places to visit in the Olympic Park include the National Indoor Stadium, the Olympic Green Convention Center, Olympic Green Hockey Field, Olympic Green Archery Field, the Olympic Green Tennis Center and the Ling Long Pagoda, another great piece of modern construction. The whole park houses many restaurants where you can try unique dishes such as ‘fried milk’-very tasty. Shops, basketball courts, other games can be seen around the park.

The Olympics were a proud moment for the Chinese and if your ever in China you should visit the prestigious symbol of China rising as a global economic bastion, the Olympic Green. It is located centrally and your China Hotels will be able to organize transport for you.

 

Giraffe House

On August 15, 2011, in Activities, Beijing, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

The Giraffe House of Beijing Zoo was built in August, 1957. Located in the south of the Longhe river, it is the highest house in the west of the zoo.  The Giraffe House is a tall building but only has one story. It has a steeple, which is very European. The highest part of the […]

The Giraffe House of Beijing Zoo was built in August, 1957. Located in the south of the Longhe river, it is the highest house in the west of the zoo.  The Giraffe House is a tall building but only has one story. It has a steeple, which is very European. The highest part of the building is 8.9 metres.

The central hall is 5 metres wide and 20 metres long. Giraffes live in seven separated rooms which cover an area of over 200 square metres. There is an enclosure near at hand between the visitors and giraffes which enables people to appreciate giraffes safely.

Next to the seven rooms are five outdoor sports grounds, which cover an area of over 3000 square kilometres. The sports grounds are separated by railings. Different animals can be put into different grounds for exercising. The sports grounds are surrounded by a visitor passage of 2.5 metres wide. Besides the railings outside the enclosure, there is a wall of 0.6 metres high to add more security.

Buildings inside the Giraffe House are all big and tall, which were designed especially for the special feature of the Giraffes.

Beijng Zoo (Beijing Dongwu Yuan)

Amphibians and Reptiles House

On August 15, 2011, in Activities, Beijing, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

The Amphibians and Reptiles House is in the southwest part of Beijing zoo. It was built in 1979 with an area of 4345 square metres. It was one of the best houses in Beijing zoo. There are two floors in the house with functional rooms for exhibition, visiting, operations, food making and 90 exhibition rooms […]

The Amphibians and Reptiles House is in the southwest part of Beijing zoo. It was built in 1979 with an area of 4345 square metres. It was one of the best houses in Beijing zoo. There are two floors in the house with functional rooms for exhibition, visiting, operations, food making and 90 exhibition rooms in different sizes according to different animals. Among these rooms, the Yangtze alligator room is of 179 square metres while the one for snakes is less than 1 square metre. On the left side of the hall, the reptiles like crocodiles and turtles are on display. The crocodiles have the largest room. On the right side of the hall is a display hall of 12 metres long, 6.4 metres wide and 11 metres high. The first floor is for the amphibious animals. The Snakes are on the second floor. In the middle of the second floor there is an artificial tree which snakes can climb up and down. The hall has an air-conditioned system and a moisture adjustment system which was very advanced facilities when it was built in 1970s. Outside the Amphibian House are three sports ground, connecting with the crocodile exhibition. The amphibian sports grounds are decorated by the amphibian animal sculptures like crocodiles and frogs. In the east side of the house, there is a lake linked with the building by hanging ladders. The design of the Amphibian and Reptile House is vivid, lively and practical. It is one of the most important and successful architecture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Beijng Zoo (Beijing Dongwu Yuan)

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