KTV, A Great experience

While travelling through China you should not miss to try out a cultural activity called “KTV” better known as “Karaoke”. It is fun to try and it makes you addicted! When my Chinese friends invited me to the KTV for the first time, I felt horrible. Karaoke is also known in my country but it [...]

While travelling through China you should not miss to try out a cultural activity called “KTV” better known as “Karaoke”. It is fun to try and it makes you addicted!

When my Chinese friends invited me to the KTV for the first time, I felt horrible. Karaoke is also known in my country but it is quite different. A huge place like a restaurant or a bar where you have to sing in front of completely strangers whether on stage or on your place. I thought I do not want to be exposed like this, showing to everybody my inability of singing is not my deal pretty much. I took courage and followed my friends to the KTV. Under no circumstances I wanted to sing, I thought but then I was absolutely astonished and relieved both, when I realized that KTV in China is completely different and I started to understand why it is such a famous activity especially among young Chinese people. In China you are not in a big hall, bar or restaurant with other people you do not know. No, you get a room just for you and your friends. You can order food, snacks and drinks as well, which will be served by the waiter. There is a big comfortable couch in the room where you just sit in front of a big TV screen. You can choose songs in various languages as Chinese, English and sometimes even in other languages. You can choose a song you want to sing by yourself or in a group. At the beginning I felt strange to sing but you just have to try it once and I am sure you would like it.

Another day I went to KTV in China with my western friends and they all felt a bit shy at the beginning but as soon as someone started to sing, they warmed up. From then on they were very keen on KTV. A very cheap place for trying out KTV is in “Hothot” where you can spend 3 hours for only around 20 dollars and you even get served fruits and snacks.

Why is KTV that popular? I don’t know. We all sometimes like to sing under the shower or start to sing a popular song among 2 or 3 friends. So the KTV here gives you the perfect environment to sing with your friends. You can be three people, eight or even more.

Besides being cheap I think KTV is a good way to spend your leisure time. And no matter how terrible you sing, your friends will give you applause. And it’s not just about singing it is like socializing. You chat with your friends, discuss things and beside you also get the feeling of being a superstar.

KTV places can be found everywhere in China so don’t miss to try that out. It will make your travel in China a lot more entertaining.

Beautiful China

On March 18, 2013, in China Attractions, Cool Places, Must-sees, Nature Scenery, by Sandy Li

More and more people are attracted to travel in China, a mysterious Asian country with over 5,000 years history. According to statistics, there are 57.72 million inbound visitors who spent at least overnight last year. China is a beautiful country, with plenty of tourist resources. Grap the pretty season and take China flights to explore [...]

More and more people are attracted to travel in China, a mysterious Asian country with over 5,000 years history. According to statistics, there are 57.72 million inbound visitors who spent at least overnight last year.

China is a beautiful country, with plenty of tourist resources. Grap the pretty season and take China flights to explore the beauty of  China.

In general, sightseeings in China can be divided into four parts, the northern part of China, south regions of the Yongtze River, the southern part of China, and Tibet and Xinjiang. You will enjoy various China tours when you start your trips in China.

The northern part of China is often described as crude and masculine. Architectures and scenery there are of exclusively features. In Harbin, there is Ice Engraving Festival every year. Visitors would see themselves in a palace made of ice. To people who is fond of Kongfu, Henan Province shall be a great place to go. Shaolin Monastery is ranked the first Buddhist temple in China, with thick Kongfu atmosphere attracting visitors both domestic and exotic. Beijing, the capital of China, also the ancient capital of two dynasties lasting about 600 years (since 1421), reserves lots of historical sites. Standing in front of those ancient parks, temples and architectures, you would be impressed by the wisdom of people in the past.

Since we compare the nothern part of China as a masculine, then the southern regions of the Yangtze River must be a beautiful and soft girl. Suzhou and Hangzhou are said to be the paradise in real life. Plenty of beautiful and touching fairy tales are originated here. You can relax yourself under the oiled paper umbrella, along the cobble-clear river, and smelling the flowers’ fragrance. Architecture in Anhui Province has its own style, in which you may find the harmony between human and the nature.

The scenery in the region of the Three Gorges is still too great to be neglected. The sublime dam itself is a place worth to visit, not to mention those ecological parks there.

 

The third part of Beautiful China is the southern part of China. Warm in all seasons, flowers are seen everywhere. Yunnan is a place said to be the arcadia for lovers. You may wanna stay there for a couple of days with your love, with nothing to disturb you.

Lijiang and Dali are particularly beautiful and tranquil. Each year, painters, photographers, and bands would go there to find inspiration.

 

The fourth part of Beautiful China is Tibet and Xinjiang, regions with thick atmosphere of religion. You may have a glimpse of the glamourous Potala Palace, but do pay attention to the altitude reaction. The Mountain of Flames, ancient city cites, and Heaven Lake of Tianshan Mount are only instances among numerous places we strongly commend you to go. People who have ever been there are all impressed by the gorgeous and splendid scenery, as well as the special local customs. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Beautiful China is always a nice option for tourism and vacation. No matter which part of China you are interested in, there will always be surprises for you during your activities.

Nice photos of “the hidden” China.

During your China trip you will probably find lots of nice places, but there are places barely visited by tourists that are worth just for it’s pure beauty, as they are from quite isolated places it may be a bit difficult to include them in your Chinese Tour but nothing is impossible! This first photo [...]

During your China trip you will probably find lots of nice places, but there are places barely visited by tourists that are worth just for it’s pure beauty, as they are from quite isolated places it may be a bit difficult to include them in your Chinese Tour but nothing is impossible!

This first photo is from Zhenyuan, in the province of Guizhou, this city is the most beautiful in the province and it has more than 160 spots that you can visit; caves, palaces, temples, rivers… all with its own architecture. A place worth visit that also has the added bonus of the landscape pictured in the photo, every evening the lamps from the houses are lit, creating this nice view.

This photo is a very nice photo of a Ming dynasty bridge covered with grass but still strong like the first day. These bridges are found in some places where the dynasty was present, like the Guyue Bridge in Yiwu, some of them are more than 700 years old. Their amazing structure and the fact that they are still standing so many years later makes them very interesting.  They are worth a visit!

These are the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) in the south-east of Anhui province, they have more than 100 million years old and it has many peaks, most of them surpassing 1000 meters and depending on the high there are one or another kind of vegetation, from small bushes to very tall trees. If you go to the Anhui province a visit to the Yellow Mountains it’s considered mandatory. Some of the mountains are also great for growing tea and in some of them you can observe a curious light phenomenon when the sun rises, so that is the best time to visit them.

The last photo is from the Karst phenomena. It can be seen in the south of China, this forest made of rocks is found in the Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces and its UNESCO protected, this phenomenon is unique in the world, but if you want to find the most beautiful and diverse Karst you have to go to the Shilin part, instead, if you want to see caves and natural bridges the best part is in Wulong.

So, if you want to see things as beautiful as the photos above why don’t you find time of your China Tour to go to places off the beaten track that are free from tourists and full of wonders?

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The Best Western Eats in Beijing

On July 27, 2012, in Beijing, Restaurants, Restaurants & Food, by Brooke

After having my share of delicious Chinese dishes with noodles, dumplings, and plenty of rice, a Western girl like me was starting to crave some familiar foods during my travel in Beijing. Fortunately, there are a number of wonderful restaurants in this city that offer all types of cuisine from Belgian, to Italian, to a [...]

After having my share of delicious Chinese dishes with noodles, dumplings, and plenty of rice, a Western girl like me was starting to crave some familiar foods during my travel in Beijing. Fortunately, there are a number of wonderful restaurants in this city that offer all types of cuisine from Belgian, to Italian, to a good ole American-style cheeseburger. One of my favorite Beijing tours, I must confess, has been the ‘gourmet’ tour I have taken myself on, trying out various eateries in the area. So for any expats coming to Beijing, here are a few places I would like to recommend.

The Tree

For those looking for a mouthwatering pizza and pint of draught beer, make your way to The Tree. A regular stop for Beijing’s European community, this welcoming tavern in Sanlitun is best known for its Belgian whites and assorted stone oven baked pizzas. Decorated to resemble an authentic Belgian inn, it’s a favorite for families looking to grab a good meal come early in the evening, but it is also carries it usual crowd of drinkers who gather along the convivial brick-built bar.

If you have Italian on the mind, Annie’s is the ultimate must-do. The many awards and recognition it has received will not mislead you, this place is incredible. This gem of the Chaoyang district is a casual, cozy and tremendously welcoming bistro. It is a hands-down the best affordable Italian fare in Beijing. I recommend ordering a crisp pizza with thin dough bottom and rich stuffing. Save room for a delectable cannoli for dessert! These little devils are a tempting blend of cottage cheese and dried fruit with a touch of brandy in a fresh shell of fried dough. The staff here is super friendly, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling throughout your entire experience there.

I am the stereotypical American girl. My daily diet favorites center on meat, bread, and cheese, and if it’s fried that’s even better. When I heard about Steak and Eggs, it didn’t take long before my wallet and I were on our way out the door. Offering classic American diner fare, this restaurant is the perfect place to grab an inexpensive Sunday breakfast. It’s also a great place for families! As the regular crowds of expats will confirm, the food here is extremely authentic. In one bite I was transported back to my native roots with my taste buds serving as the vehicle. The menu is chock-full of hearty burgers, apple pie and bottomless cups of coffee. Any American expat feeling homesick can come here for a little taste of comfort.

Element Fresh

The last place on my list today is Element Fresh. After getting my juicy, greasy, cheesy cravings satisfied, it’s equally important to find a place where I can just get a healthy, substantial meal. At Element Fresh, this is exactly what you will find, tons of variety and all delicious. Originally started in Shanghai, this restaurant provides nutritious Western food including salads, smoothies and sandwiches. They have a popular weekend brunch as well as including reasonably priced fare and quality drinks. I hope you get the chance to visit one or all of these places during your Beijing travels. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

 

 

In the Presence of a Giant at Leshan

On July 26, 2012, in Historical Relics, Must-sees, Sichuan, by Brooke

When planning your itinerary for traveling to China, the Sichuan Province holds many cultural, architectural, and historical treasures. One of its most well known is the Leshan Giant Buddha. Within every detail of its form, the Giant Buddha makes a profound impression carved into the side of a cliff, overseeing its three surrounding rivers. When [...]

When planning your itinerary for traveling to China, the Sichuan Province holds many cultural, architectural, and historical treasures. One of its most well known is the Leshan Giant Buddha. Within every detail of its form, the Giant Buddha makes a profound impression carved into the side of a cliff, overseeing its three surrounding rivers. When I went to visit, I could not help but draw a comparison between this structure and one that is famous in my home country, Mount Rushmore. The main differences between these sites however, besides location, is that the Leshan Giant Buddha far surpasses Mount Rushmore in age and close-up viewing access to the public. The Buddha reaches an immense height of 233 ft. and is one of the world’s largest stone statues of the beloved deity. Construction of the Leshan Buddha dates back to the Tang Dynasty  in 713 AD and took nearly ninety years to complete. The location of this grand statue was defined by the convergence of the three neighboring rivers, the Min, Dadu and Qingyi.

Throughout China’s history, the strong currents of these rivers took many lives of those who worked in this watery locale. Due to these losses, the idea was formed to create a Buddha near the waters in hopes of taming their ferocity. Remarkably enough, however, a complex drainage system was also constructed to redirect water away from the Buddha to preserve its form. To see the Buddha, visitors board tour boats that deliver you to just the right locations in order to get close as well as far away views. You also have the option of viewing the great Buddha by entering the park and scaling up the cliff side. This is the best way to get very up close photographs of the Buddha’s features, but you have to put in the work of the ascending and descending climbs in order to get to these perfect observation points. The Leshan Giant Buddha gazes out to the horizon which spans over the meeting of three rivers in the Sichuan Province. Leshan is a must-see China tour for all travelers.

Lend a Helping Hand: Volunteering in Beijing

When traveling to Beijing, the first things on any foreigner’s itinerary are seeing the Great Wall, joining tours of famous sites such as the Temple of Heaven, getting some great deals at the Silk Market, and having their fair share of Peking duck. However, for who feel like doing some good for others while in [...]

When traveling to Beijing, the first things on any foreigner’s itinerary are seeing the Great Wall, joining tours of famous sites such as the Temple of Heaven, getting some great deals at the Silk Market, and having their fair share of Peking duck. However, for who feel like doing some good for others while in town, there are plenty of resources and opportunities to reach out here in the city. As per most countries, China’s population must cope with issues such as poverty, mental illness, environmental disasters, and illiteracy. Luckily, there are many organizations that give the native population as well as expats a chance to help out.

Volunteer teaching is a major resource of aid to the Beijing community. Education is a valuable tool in helping advance the lives of individuals by enabling them to gain the means needed to provide for themselves. If you are an expat in Beijing, you can help provide a major service by offering to teach English as a second language. One NPO called Compassion for Migrant Children, which organizes social and educational programs for the children of migrant workers. For the estimated half a million migrant children living in Beijing, organizations like CMC provide an opportunity for them to receive suitable academic instruction and vocational training. Other organizations to volunteer at are the Lotus Culture Center and China Education Initiative, which help bring enrichment into the lives of underprivileged children.

This past weekend I had a personal experience volunteering at one of the Huiling Community Services facilities. Public Health is another major concern here in Beijing that needs as many helping hands as possible. The Huiling Center helps individuals with disabilities learn life skills as well as arts and crafts, music, and athletics. In order to further improve the quality of life for its members, Huiling offers them opportunities to make money by working with tour groups and making jewelry. My experience there was absolutely amazing.  My colleagues and I were able to meet and spend time with a handful of mentally disabled ‘trainees’ there. We sang songs, danced, and played games together. My favorite part was the teambuilding exercises. Afterward, we got the chance to purchase several pieces of the beautiful handmade jewelry that were made by some of the trainees, from which the proceeds go toward funding the organization.

Poverty and the environment are other causes in Beijing that need lots of attention and provide many volunteering prospects. Wokai provides financial aid to villagers living in rural China in order to support their entrepreneurial projects. Wokai depends almost entirely on volunteers to translate, plan events and provide marketing services in order to advance the organization’s ambitious efforts. Other great organizations include Planet Finance and Rotaract. The latter offers resources to expats interested in starting up clothing and food drives in their areas.  For environmentally focused volunteering, check out the Roots and Shoots Eco-English program, which brings foreign volunteers across Beijing to classrooms where they can learn about  how to improve the environment, be nature-friendly, and get involved in events. This is great way to contribute your own new ideas to the environmental movement.

With so many different causes and organizations across Beijing, feel free to do a little good work during your China travel by volunteering your time. I know my volunteer experience made a deep impression on me, as well as provided memories I will cherish forever.

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Come Hungry, Leave Happy: Adventurous Eating at Wangfujing Snack Street

On July 24, 2012, in Activities, Beijing, Cultural Experience, More Places of Interest, by Brooke

You have to agree that after finishing a long day of Beijing tours, the perfect way to satisfy any hunger is with a big helping of fried and seasoned scorpions. In order to get a real Chinese experience, you cannot miss out on trying the gourmet spread at the Wangfujing Snack Street! When traveling to [...]

You have to agree that after finishing a long day of Beijing tours, the perfect way to satisfy any hunger is with a big helping of fried and seasoned scorpions. In order to get a real Chinese experience, you cannot miss out on trying the gourmet spread at the Wangfujing Snack Street! When traveling to China, you probably expect to be eating your share of noodles, dumplings and rice. Nonetheless, don’t stray away from trying the real street food delicacies that can be found in this area. There are so many different creatures, sweets, and eats; be sure to b ring plenty of cash in case you want to try it all! I thought eating pork skins and bull frog at an upscale restaurant in Beijing was adventurous enough, until I heard about this marvelous food fair and new I had to push my limits even further. My friends and I ventured there in the evening, which provided a great atmosphere as the lights from the kitchens and lanterns above our heads lit up the night. I came with an empty stomach, expecting to grab some McDonald’s on the way home after trying a few things. However, I left the snack street that evening full and satisfied!

My first endeavor was the fried scorpions which seemed to be one of the most popular items available. Skewered on a stick, three very alive scorpions were dunked into a deep fryer, seasoned, and then handed to me ready for tasting. I was amazed! They were similar to eating a great batch of crispy potato chips, only with better spices and a little more substance. I decided to pass on the seahorses and starfish in order to save room for some meatier fare. Next came the snakes; a single long, thin piece of pink meat on a stick, cooked on a grill and dipped in spices. This was another great surprise, because it tasted so good. I could have eaten three or four! Being that is was pre-skinned, it was a lot easier to put the “snake” thing out of mind and just enjoy the flavors. The strangest thing I tried was a grilled bug. It was about the size of my ear and had a hard outer shell. When I crunched into it all the steamy guts kind of squished into my mouth, this sensation threw me off a bit, but I must admit the flavors were good so I just gulped it down all at once. Along the way there were definitely some things I absolutely avoided such as the centipedes, squids, winged insects, lizards, and dog. I was done tasting the creepy crawlers, so in order to get some real sustenance I nibbled on some ostrich and ducklings. I had reached a level of full satiation with no room left for dessert. If there had been room, I would have definitely indulged on a long kabob piled high with candied kiwis, pineapple, and grapes. All in all, this attraction is a ‘must-do’ during your Beijing travels. The pictures you take will be some of the best to share with friends back home, and your stomach will thank you too!

Houhai Lake, the Perfect Beijing Afternoon

On July 23, 2012, in Beijing, Lakes, Parks & Gardens, by Brooke

When you travel to Beijing, dedicate a day to visiting Houhai Lake and its surroundings hutongs. One of the most enjoyable experiences of my trip here so far was over the weekend, strolling along lakeside watching the boaters go by. The Houhai Lake area, located in Beihai park, may just well be the coolest neighborhood [...]

When you travel to Beijing, dedicate a day to visiting Houhai Lake and its surroundings hutongs. One of the most enjoyable experiences of my trip here so far was over the weekend, strolling along lakeside watching the boaters go by. The Houhai Lake area, located in Beihai park, may just well be the coolest neighborhood in town. This is a great place to take a guided Beijing tour; then even better to go back and explore on your own. It has something special for everyone no matter how you enjoy spending the afternoon.

Here’s my recommended itinerary: Start at the opening entrance to Yandai Xiejie and make your way through the treasure trove that is this Hutong marketplace. Walking down this street you may get a feeling such as, “This is exactly what I was looking for in China,” I know I did. Although there are some stores with the average array of souvenirs, there are much more boutiques of unique trinkets, testable teas, handmade crafts and silks, Chinese art, and my personal favorite, plenty of Mao-morabilia. At the end of the street take a left at the Churro stand and make your way towards the lake area. Your first view will be of a quaint bridge with overhanging tree branches, the unspoiled setting for your day. After all that shopping you may need an energy boost, so stop by a number of the lakeside cafes, where you can snuggle up on a plush couch and people watch to your heart’s content. Many venues have live music performers, the perfect finishing touch to any ambiance.

Next, make your way towards the boat rental stand. The views from on land are fantastic, but the experience of Houhai is not complete without getting out on the water. Make sure you steer clear of any exploratory lake swimmers though! Houhai is overflowing with a family oriented atmosphere, night and day. However, as the night comes in Houhai turns into a buzzing, lively nightlife spot. After your boat ride, it’s time for dinner. Take your party to the rooftop or grab a candlelit meal right on the water. This area is abundant with impressive eateries prepared to offer you a great selection of entrees to aperitifs. For those then looking for a good night out, many of the bars offer great deals on drinks as well as live music. The nightlife venues are plentiful and varied, from the relaxing shisha lounges, to those energetically equipped with DJs and dance floors. Don’t forget your camera, because of all that Houhai has to offer, the most important is some of China travel’s greatest views.

At Melody KTV it’s your time to shine!

On July 19, 2012, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Nightlife, by Brooke

Back in the U.S., I had always heard of the massive following karaoke had in China, but never knew I’d one day experience it myself. When I decided to travel to China, trying KTV was a definite priority. After my first week in Beijing, my life was finally blessed with the opportunity to take part [...]

Back in the U.S., I had always heard of the massive following karaoke had in China, but never knew I’d one day experience it myself. When I decided to travel to China, trying KTV was a definite priority. After my first week in Beijing, my life was finally blessed with the opportunity to take part in all the excitement. At the end of a long day full of Beijing tours, I still had KTV to look forward to in the evening. Karaoke serves a much greater purpose to its participants here in China than it does at home. KTV brings groups of people together, allowing participants to express their feelings or just cut loose with friends, old and new. I went with a large group of young interns who had mostly just met the week before, so I was eager to see how well everyone would get along. Honestly, there couldn’t have been a better way to break the ice and make quick friends. As this was my first time, I was not disappointed in the least and Melody KTV was the perfect venue!

The building was absolutely beautiful and the staff was great. We had a large group that rented out one of the front rooms, which had both a downstairs and an upstairs level where you could look over all the fun. Plush couches and chairs lined the room. The glass walls and room décor enhanced the VIP-style nightlife atmosphere. This location offered a large selection of beers and liquors to enjoy, including our group’s particular favorite, Baijiu. The song selections were endlessly varied, from the classics to the latest hits. Some people rapped out their favorite hip-hop beats, and others crooned away to their favorite pop tunes. Regardless of the song genre, everyone was having a great time. If singing was not your expertise, it does not matter as long as you are having a good time. However, if you really intend on staying off the microphone that you can boogie your way onto to the dance floor or just sit back and enjoy the show. If you decide to travel to Beijing, I promise one of your most enjoyable nights will be spent at KTV and I recommend going to Melody!

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Cuandixia Village, A Ming Dynasty Treasure

If you are searching for a Beijing tour that provides an exclusive look into ancient Chinese living, then a trip to Cuandixia is just what you need. This is one of the treasured places in China travel where you can feel as if you have truly gone back in time. Only a short ride away [...]

If you are searching for a Beijing tour that provides an exclusive look into ancient Chinese living, then a trip to Cuandixia is just what you need. This is one of the treasured places in China travel where you can feel as if you have truly gone back in time. Only a short ride away from the downtown Beijing area, there is an ancient village named Cuandixia that appears visually untouched since its formation 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. Nestled amongst a jagged mountain range, Cuandixia is a beautiful respite from the bustling, crowded scenes of Beijing city. The scenery of Cuandixia is filled with hilly landscapes, plush grass and luxurious trees. The charming village homes all consist of both stone and brick carvings, divided by small courtyard areas. With its screened walls and large Chinese character paintings at every corridor, the adored aspects of Chinese architecture from this era are on full display. The Chinese characters throughout the homes represent inscriptions from the Ming and Qing dynasty families that previously lived there.

The name of this site, primarily ‘Cuan,’ stands for “the stove.” This appellation gains its suitability in that it served as a shelter from the cold to its inhabitants, as well as safety from the bane of war. The preservation of this site is incredible, I felt like I was walking back in time as I perused the ancient courtyard homes. Spanning over an area of only 2.5 acres, this hillside mountain city is known to the people of Beijing as ‘Potala Palace.’ In this light, Cuandixia village is an idyllic site. Although only recently has this area gained tourist popularity, the attention continues to trickle in at a steady pace. The natural beauty of this area has made it an attractive place for filmmakers, painters, and photographers to visit and capture the splendor. Many who travel to Beijing already have a list of highly famous sites to see first on their list, but a visit to Cuandixia would be a great addition as you gain a present day look into a very real China past.

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