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19/11/2013

A tour along the Tea Horse Trade Route

The over 1,800 year old Tea Horse Trade Route starts from Simao, a place that has been famous for its Pu'er tea, in southwest China's Yunnan province affordable China travel packages. The Tea Horse Trade Route, or simply Tea Horse Road, goes from its southern end to Southeast Asia, connects Beijing from its north and zigzags to Tibet from its West.

The road had long been an important trade route in history, along which the local rich Pu'er tea was carried out of the country for border trade, together with China's culture.
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Pu'er tea, in fact, is everywhere in the air in and around Simao. Thus if you have the chance to travel to Simao then a visit to the Tea Horse Road is a must.

The Banjiu ( meaning 'turtle dove') slope section is a key part of the Tea Horse Road top China tours from its south to north. It's also the best preserved section that contains the richest part of the ancient tea horse road's culture. It's called a "living fossil in Chinese, even world, transportation history."

It was a rainy day when we arrived at Pojiao village in Simao to recall what the horse caravan in the past must have gone through, though we were without horses or heavy load of bags, but with just empty hands and good sports shoes.

Walking on the zigzagging narrow stone road, I saw parents saying goodbye to their children with tears in eyes, girls waiting for their beloved one's return on Shi Pinghe Bridge and horses and cows moving slowly toward the north. I could also hear the sound of small bells on a horse lingering in the valley.


It was along the Tea Horse Trade Route that tribute tea was sent to Beijing (must-see for popular China tours) long ago. On the distant journey, the tea inevitably became wet and hot due to the rain fall and the sun. Accidentally, the post-fermentation of Pu'er tea was discovered and made the tea well-known. Countless stories occurred along the Tea Horse Road.

In rain, the road became slippery and we walked slowly and carefully. Some people asked how long we would have to walk and after walking about three kilometres along the road we decided to go back. I couldn't help myself thinking about those ancient times. Facing challenges from the weather, bad roads, bandits and homesickness, these horse caravans had to have been strong-minded, brave and persistent. I couldn't help but admire their courage that we often failed to have today.
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Even though nowadays it takes only a matter of hours to travel from Beijing to New York or South Africa, and we have far more transportation options, it's still good to re-walk the ancient Tea Horse Road, not just for the brilliant scenery and fresh air but also to re-connect with the history.

More: China travel guide

08:09 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

15/11/2013

Steep Mountain Climbing Experience: Huashan Mountain

Huashan Mountain China vacation deals is located in Huayin County, Shaanxi province. It is the Western Mountain of the Five Sacred Mountains. It is second highest to the Northern Mountain -- Hengshan Mountain and praised as "the First Odd Mountain in the World". Its craggedness is superior to the other four sacred mountains.

Huashan Mountain boasts five imposing peaks with sheer precipices and overhanging rocks: the east one is called the Peak of the Rising Sun which is the best location to view sunrising; the north one, the Peak of Cloud Terrace which is famous for cliffs on its three sides; the west one, the peak of Lotus; the south one, the Peak of Wild Geese which is the main peak and also the steepest of Huashan Mountain with an elevation of 2,083 meters; and the Central one, the Peak of the Jade Maiden, which links the east, west and south peaks. Each presents a unique scenic beauty, surrounded by over 70 minor peaks.

Places of historical interest and scenic spots: towers, caves, stone steps, temples and pavilions can be found everywhere. The cloud-enshrouded cliff path, the sculptured rocky cliff, the floating-in-the-air Somersault Cliff, the cliff-excavated Thousand-Foot Precipice with 370-odd stone steps, the Hundred-Foot Valley, the Laojun's Furrow with 570-odd stone steps, the Ear-Touching Cliff best tours of China, the Up-the-Heaven's Ladder and so on, are all marvelous views of precipitous and perilous cliff paths.

In ancient times, many emperors came here to make sacrifices to their ancestors, and celebrities visited Huashan Mountain leaving quite a lot of stone inscriptions of poems. Huashan Mountain has many places of historic interest and scenic beauty, as well as many fantastic and legendary stories. Its fascination lasts forever.

Cultural Heritage

1、South Peak: Taoism Temples

The south peak is the main peak and also the steepest of Huashan Mountain. Legend has it that Laozi, the originator of Taoism, used to missionize here. Among the many temples, the Jintian Palace, the Zhenyue Palace and the Chunyang Temple are the listed among the state-level Taoist structures.

2. West Peak: Green Cloud Temple

The Green Cloud Temple is also called the Holy Mother Temple popular China travel package. It enshrines statues of three holy mothers. There is a large stone cut into three parts outside. It is the well-known "Ax Cutting Stone" for it looks as if it is being cut by an ax. Beside the stone, there is a huge ax. According to legend Baolian Deng (The Lotus Lamp), it was used by Chen Xiang to save his mother.

3. Central Peak: Jade Maiden Shrine

It is on the central peak of Huashan Mountain and stands on a natural stone tortoise. The Jade maiden was said to be Nong Yu -- daughter of Duke Mu of the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC). The story took place in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC): A young man named Xiao Shi was good at playing bamboo flute. Nong Yu, who fell deeply in love with the poor young man, gave up all her nabobism to marry Xiao. The lovers came to Huashan Mountain and lived here for the rest of their life. To commemorate the couple, people built the Jade Maiden Shrine.

 

 

Tags: travel to China

03:49 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

14/11/2013

The China Great Wall of Xian - an Ancient City Wall to see!

A Chinese friend of mine said - "go see the China Great Wall".

I thought she meant the Great Wall of China!

But no - she meant the city wall of Xian. This ancient city wall of Xian is the only remaining chinese wall still intact.

And it is great to visit!

The city wall of Xian is still standing as good as ever and is a defining part of Xian where you can start your Silk Road travel.

This Chinese Wall was first built during the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD) and extended to its modern structure during the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD - 1644 AD).

The four Chinese walls form the sides of roughly a square surrounding the ancient city of Xian.

This ancient city wall (or the China Great Wall as my friend said) is still a defining functional part of Xian.

So what is so special about this Xian city wall apart from its uniqueness?

Well you can marvel at the construction!

It is tall (about 12 meters) and wide (about 14 meters).

It is very symetrical with 4 entrances (North gate, East gate, South gate, West gate) that are still the only way in.

There are ramparts every 120 meters.

Why 120 meters?

Because each archer could shoot an arrow 60 meters - so archers on each rampart could cover every part of the Xian Wall.

So if you have a feeling for history, you can easily appreciate the work and engineering feats to build the Xian city wall.

Riding Bike on Xian City Wall

The wall is a fun place to be.

You can easily climb the stairs onto this ancient city wall (must-see for Xian tours).

On top it is spacious and you can easily walk around or ride a bike - it is not crowded like a Chinese city street.

So you have an open space right in the heart of Xian!

Note in the picture that the high rise buildings are on the outside of the Xian city wall.

The Xian wall acts as a boundary for development. Modern high rise development occurs outside the Xian Wall.

Inside the city wall of Xian, the history of Xian is preserved as much as possible.

There are fun things to do on the Xian city wall.

Families (adults and children) were flying kites - a popular Chinese pastime.

Walk around the wall. The Xian wall is nearly 14 kilometers long.

Enjoy and savour the sights of Xian from the Wall.

Or do as I did - hire a bicycle and cycle around the Wall.

On bike on Xian city wall

You can hire a bike at the East gate of the Xian city wall for your Xian travel.

It cost about 40 yuan plus a returnable deposit of 200 yuan.

The bike is not the most modern bike I have had but it went well.

The surface of the Xian Wall is fairly smooth so the ride is fairly comfortable.

It takes about 90 minutes to ride around the "China Great Wall".

I found it quite exhilirating riding a bicycle on this ancient city wall.

And it was quite peaceful as well - because it was quite spacious amongst the hustle and bustle of Xian city.

Xian dancing seen from the city wall

And there is lots to see - and some unexpected things as well.

Peering over the Xian city wall, I could see a busy street market.

I could hear music from a brass band that was playing in the park below.

And below I could see people dancing in the park.

Dancing in public areas is a popular pastime all over China.

When I came to Xian in 2007 - I said to myself I would come back to ride a bike around the ancient city wall.

In 2009 I did that.

Then I said to myself I will come back one day and walk around the Xian city wall.

That is my next venture on the "china great wall".

Learn more others about Xian via Xian attractions.

04:16 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)