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26/07/2013

Trace along Marco Polo's Silk Road

  • Journey to the past as you visit the Xinjiang Regional Museum, seeing treasures and artifacts from the Silk Road
  • Explore the oasis towns that dot the Taklamakan Desert, visiting local family workshops that make carpets, silk items, and other exquisite handicrafts
  • Visit the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves, containing impressive Buddhist grottoes and carvings, dating back to the third century AD

 

Over a period of eight days we retrace a section of the legendary Silk Road (also very famous today and attracts tourists for Silk Road tour), traveling along dusty desert roads and visiting ancient towns immortalized in the accounts of the great Italian traveler, Marco Polo. On our journey, we get a taste of the harsh conditions faced by early merchants and monks who depended on the Silk Road for trade and communication between Europe and Asia. We also gain an appreciation for the oasis settlements that sprung up across the desert, providing a vital backbone for trade and the spread of religion, science, and technology to China and the rest of the region. All the while, we take in the glorious scents and flavors of the vibrant Central Asian culture that lies at the heart of Xinjiang.

 

 

We begin our journey in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi, where we visit the Xinjiang Regional Museum (an optional attraction for travel to China) before flying to Kashgar, the final settlement in China before the Silk Road crosses into Central Asia. Kashgar's ancient alleys and colorful markets still bustle with activity, a reminder of the city's role as an important trade center on the Silk Road. In between perusing the markets, we visit the Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in all of China, where more than 10,000 worshippers gather during Friday prayers. From Kashgar, we start the long road trip to Khotan, a key oasis town known throughout Central Asia for its beautifully handcrafted silks. Along the way, we take time to appreciate the surrounding desert scenery by riding camel and enjoying a pleasant evening dinner amidst the sand dunes. Our journey slowly comes to an end as we arrive in Khotan. This city has historically been regarded for its high quality jade, silk, and carpets. We take an opportunity to visit the local handicraft workshops that produce these prized treasures, and afterwards begin our journey into the Taklamakan.

 

For an entire day, we submerse ourselves in the awesome and relentless isolation of the desert. Weather permitting, in the evening we setup camp under the desert night sky, and, as we warm ourselves around a campfire, experience the vast and uncompromising wilderness around us. After this brief night of desert living, we journey on to the remote town of Kucha, a seldom visited oasis town that was formerly the center of Buddhist civilization in the Tarim Basin. Here we visit the ruins of an ancient capital and the resplendent Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves (Although it is not as famous as Mogao Cave, Yungang Gottoes and Longmen Grottoes, it is the earliese grottoes in China and worth your top China tours), an impressive collection of priceless religious artifacts that bears testament to the once dominant role Buddhism played on the Silk Road.

 

 

Featured Trip Plan:

 

Day 1: Arrive in Urumqi; Xinjiang Regional Museum; fly to and overnight in Kashgar

 

Day 2: Sunday livestock bazaar, Id Kah mosque, evening Uighur/Tajik dance performance

 

Day 3: Drive to Khotan, visit oasis towns en route; camel ride and desert dinner; overnight in Khotan

 

Day 4: Carpet and silk workshops; drive to Tazhong; overnight camp in desert (summer only)

 

Day 5: Drive to Kucha; overnight in Kucha

 

Day 6: Kucha bazaar; Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves; free-roam nearby countryside

 

Day 7: Drive to Subashi ruins (old Kucha); fly to and overnight Urumqi

 

Day 8: Depart for airport, end of journey.

 

Although the Silk Road is wane now, attractions along the route still make contribution to top China tours.

 

10:00 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

25/07/2013

Let's enjoy the mountains(Mt.Hua)

China's spectacular mountain landscapes attract the professional climber and wide-eyed adventurer alike. Serious climbers are drawn to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to scale the challenging summit of Mt. Everest (attracts adventure-lovers for top 10 China tours) -known as Mt. Qomolongma in China- the tallest peak in the world. And others naturally gravitate to China's Five Sacred Mountain Peaks, which Han Emperor Wu Di declared sacred in the 2nd century BC.
Given the weather, May is one of the best seasons for climbing up the mountains. So do not hesitate, follow us and let’s enjoy the mountain.

Mount Hua
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Mount Hua is located in the Shaanxi Province, about 100 kilometers east of the city of Xi'an, near the city Huayin. Mt. Hua is known as “The Number One Precipitous Mountain under Heaven”. It is one of the five sacred mountains in China.
It is famous for its natural vistas of steep and narrow paths, precipitous crags, and a high mountain range. It is home to several influential Taoist temples where emperors of past dynasties made pilgrimages, making Mt. Huashan the holy land of Taoism.

How to get Mt.Hua

By Bus
You can take Tourist Buses No.1 (Apr.-Oct: 7:00-14:00, Nov.-Mar: 8:30-12:00) which are available at the east square) of Xi’an Railway Station and it will directly take you to the Mt. Hua.(Fee: RMB22)
Or you can choose to take the coach to Huayin City at Tangdu Bus Station located at No.17 of Changle Zhonglu east of Xi’an from 6:00-19:00,and then transfer a taxi to the Mt.Hua.

By Train
You can take trains at Xian Railway Station and get to Huashan Railway Station. Then you can take the autobus to reach Mt. Huashan(Fee: RMB3).

By Air
When you get off from the plain at Yanliang International Airport of Xian (Xian travel), you can take a direct bus which is available at the airport to Mt. Hua

How to climb up Mt.Hua
The Routes to Climb up Mt.Hua can be divided into three Parts: the way below North Peak, the way between North Peak and Jinsuo Guan (Gold Lock Pass), and the way above Jinsuo Guan.

Three route ascent to North Peak

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The fastest way
In the east side of Yuquan Temple (East Gate) there is an about 8-kilometer-long cement road leading up to Wamiaogou where you can take the cable car directly to the North Peak of Mt. Hua. And the top station of the ropeway is located on the east cliff of North Peak. The whole ropeway is more than 1,500 meters (about 4,921 feet) long and it takes you seven or eight minutes to reach the top.

Ropeway

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The most exciting way

First you get to Wamiaogou by bus from the East Gate, and then get to the North Peak of Mt.Hua through the Road of Circumventing Hua shan,which is a two-kilometers ascending way consisted of 3999 steps.

The traditional way
It is a 30-kilometer path which start from Yuquan Temple, and in this route, you enjoy lots of spots. So if you are able to finish this route, we strongly recommend t the main spots in this way are as follows for your easy but China vacation deals:

Yuquan Yuan (Jade Spring Temple)
Yuquan Yuan (Jade Spring Temple), one of the main Taoist temples in China located at the foot of Mt. Huashan. It has the architectural style of the classical gardens in south China.

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Wuli Guan
It is considered as one of the steepest passes of Mt.Hua.

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Shaluo ping
Shaluo is equal to bodhi tree, which is introduced into Mt.Hua from India. Shaluo Ping is a 10-mu flat area, in which there are lots of bodhi trees. And because of its location, it is a good place to see the various unique mountaintops and cliffs.

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Qianchi Zhuang
It is also considered as one of the steepest passes of Mt.Hua. The path is built on the margin of the mountain, so if you wan to pass this path, you have to climb up it with the help of the icon chain.

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Laojun Furrow

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North Peak (Cloud Terrace Peak)
There are precipitous cliffs on all sides of North Peak, making it look like a flat terrace in the clouds, hence the name Cloud Terrace Peak. It is 1,614 meters (about 5,295 feet) high. Three sides are cliffs and one side is to the 'Ca'er Cliff' which is a precipitous path where tourists can climb up only by pressing an ear close to the cliff. In the waist of North Peak trees are luxuriantly green, creating a good rest spot.

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The way between North Peak and Jinsuo Guan (Gold Lock Pass)
No matter what way you choose before, at last you will reach North Peak from which you have to climb up the most difficult route in Mt.Hua.

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Ca'er Cliff(擦耳崖)

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Ladder in the Cloud

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Blue Dragon Cliff

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Jinsuo Guan (Gold Lock Pass)
Gold Lock Pass is the throat to Middle Peak, East Peak, South Peak and West Peak.
In the Gold Lock Pass you can see thousands of golden locks in the iron chains. As it is customary for visitors to buy a golden lock, and then lock it in the iron chains on both sides of the Gold Lock Pass for families and friends to pray for their safety and health. Within the mountain gate of Gold Lock Pass, a huge golden lock of about 4 meters (about 4.37 yards) long and 1 .5 meters (about 1.64 yards) high stands in a big rock. It is made of pure copper and forged by 9,999 locks left by visitors.

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The way above Jinsuo Guan
After passing the Jinsuo Guan, you enter into the key part of Mt Hua, as you begin to “wander” among the five peaks of Mt.Hua. Here we suggest that you can visit the five peaks in the following way: Jinsuo Guan—Middle Peak— East Peak—South Heaven Gate—South Peak—The West Peak —Jinsuo Guan

Middle Peak (Jade Maiden Peak)
Middle Peak clings to East peak and is in the center of East, South and West Peaks. There is a Taoist temple in the peak named 'Jade Maiden Temple'. Legend has it that the daughter of Qin Mugong (569 B.C.-621 B.C.) loved a man who was good at playing Chinese tung-hsiao (vertical flute) and she gave up the royal life to become a hermit who cultivated her spirituality here, hence the name Jade Maiden Peak. Today Jade Maiden Temple and Jade Maiden Basin for Shampooing can be found on the peak.

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East Peak (Facing Sun Peak)
East Peak has an altitude of 2,090 meters forming a platform for visitors to view the sunrise. An astronomical telescope is provided here. So it is the best place to enjoy the sunrise.

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South Heaven Gate
In the South Heaven Gate, if you are brave enough, you can attempt to experience the “Changkong Zhandao” (a plank path built along the surface of a vertical cliff) which is about 4 meters long and about 0.33 meters wide. Below is the bottomless gulf which makes tourists shake with fear.

Changkong Zhandao

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South Peak (Landing Wild Geese Peak)
South Peak is the highest peak of Mt. Hua and also the highest peak among the Five Sacred Mountains of China. Looking around when standing at the peak, surrounding mountains are luxuriantly green; the Yellow River wanders far below and everything seems small. At the top of South Peak, the Yangtian Pool at the summit and the Greeting Pines on the southwestern cliff are two attractive resorts. The most dangerous place is called 'Changkong Zhandao'

 
Yangtian Pool
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Greeting Pines
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The West Peak (Lotus Flower Peak)
West Peak has very high cliffs standing erect with an altitude of 2,086.6 meters. There is a Taoist temple called Cuiyun Palace before which a huge rock looking like a lotus flower comes into view, hence the name Lotus Flower Peak.
There are another seven rocks beside Cuiyun Palace, which is said to be the place where Chenxiang (a main character in the movie Lotus Lantern) ripped the mountain to save his mother (The Heavenly Goddess San Sheng Mu). After visiting the five peaks, tourists can go down the mountain from the path on the east side of West Peak.
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Special: Xi Yue Temple
If you have time on your way home, and you are interested in the Taoist culture, you can not miss Xi Yue Temple.The Xi Yue Temple is 5 kilometers north of the foot of Mt. Hua and it is one of the earliest temples in ancient China. Palaces and gardens are its main features, resembling the style of the Forbidden City in Beijing; thus the Xi Yue Temple gained fame as the 'Forbidden City of Shaanxi Province'. Admission to Xi Yue Temple is RMB 20. Mount Hua has made contribution to local China tourism.
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Tip:
1. Preparation for your travel
Enough food. The price of food in Mt.Hua is expensive, but the water is cheap, so you have only to take a bottle of water, and when you drink out the water, you can ask the vendor to fill your bottle with drinking water, which only charge you RMB1.
Map. Before you enter into the Mt.Hua, you can buy a map of Mt.Hua, as there are so many spots scattering in the mountain, you can choose what you like according to your own condition
Raincoat.
A pair of glove.
In the process of climbing, sometimes you have to hold the iron chain, so you can wear the glove in order to protect your hands.
Medicine. According to your own conditions.

2. Fee
Entrance Charge:
RMB 100 (Apr. 1st-Nov. 30th), RMB 50 (Dec. 1st-Mar. 31st);
Cable Car:
RMB 110 (round-trip), RMB 60 (one-way)

3. Safety is the most important thing. Some pathes of Mt.Hua is a little bit dangerous, so think twice before you go.

09:59 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

24/07/2013

Top 10 domestic destinations for rich Chinese travellers II

6. Xinjiang

Known as the home of singing and dancing, the land of fruits, and the place of gold and jade stones, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China boasts for its vast expanse, beautiful landscape and unique folk customs. There are in total over 1,100 registered scenic areas in Xinjiang, ranking first in the country.

In a selection of the best scenic areas in Xinjiang (must-see for Silk Road tour) by Tourism Bureau of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the follow 10 won the highest scores in public appraisal and professional evaluation.

7. Macao

Macao, located on the southeast coast of China at the mouth of the Pearl River downstream from Guangzhou, is a perfect crossroad for the meeting of Eastern and Western cultures. It is also best known as Asia's largest destination for gambling.

During ancient times, Macao, a port city, was part of the Silk Road with ships loading here with silk bound for Rome. Today, Macao is a major intermediate port for trade between China, Japan, India and Europe.

Macao's charm rests in the contrast between old and new, antiques and fashion, traditional and modern.

8. Xiamen



Located at the southeast coast of China, Xiamen is a tourist city in Fujian province. It's famous for its attractive seascape and delicious snacks. It has been an important port for centuries and became one of China's earliest Special Economic Zones in the 1980s. Apart from Shanghai and Hong Kong (Hong Kong travel guide), comparing to other cities in China, Xiamen is definitely a very vibrant, affluent and modern place.

9. Sichuan

10. Qingdao

Qingdao, located in the southeast part of Shandong Province, is a beautiful seaside city, bordered on either side by the Yellow Sea. Qingdao is a major seaport and industrial centre. To the east, a short distance across the Yellow Sea, lie Korea and Japan, making Qingdao an important port for international trade. In 1984, Qingdao (an optional destination for China tour deals) was among 14 coastal cities which China opened to the outside world.

09:54 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)