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16/07/2013

Best Trip to Turpan Scenic Spot in China's Xinjiang

Turpan has long been the center of a fertile oasis at a basin of the central Xinjiang (must-see for Silk Road tour ). The extreme heat and dryness of the summer allow the land to produce great amounts of high-quality fruit. There is a well-known folk song: "Turpan's grapes are ripe; Anarhan's heart is ecstatic…" Turpan is famous for its fruits, especially grapes, and the best place to enjoy the grapes is the Grape Valley.

Located in the western part of Flaming Mountain, the Grape Valley is a zone of vineyards of 8 kilometers long and 0.5 kilometers wide. The grapes here are crystal and watery: some as green as emeralds; some as red as agates, some as small as pearls, while others look like olives. Its annual production of a dozen types of fresh grapes surpasses 6,000 tons. Creeks, small rivers, springs and various plants and fruits, including peaches, apricots, apples, pears and melons, make the valley even more beautiful and productive. Visitors can take a rest under the grape trees, taste the juicy grapes, or have a stroll in the valley. The best season to visit the valley is summer, when it is cool and ideal to escape from the heat. It has long been a tourist destination attracting visitors from home and abroad for their China travel deals.

Turpan is famous for its fruits, especially grapes, and the best place to enjoy the grapes is the Grape Valley

The Flaming Mountain, the most famous attraction of Turpan, is a barren, eroded, red granite mountain in the north of the Turpan Basin. Nicknamed the "red mountain", it extends over 1,000 km long and is about 500 meters high, with its main peak at an altitude of 831.7 meters. The mountain is the hottest place in China. In the strong summer sun, the sandstones shine and the scorching air flows up, creating a flaming appearance at the mountain at certain times of the day. Because of the unique features of the mountain, there are gullies and trenches growing with green plants, small rivers and fruit trees. The mountain was mentioned in the classic novel Journey to the West, making it even more attractive to visitors.

For more via China guide.

09:36 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

15/07/2013

Things to do in Chengde I

When visiting Chengde in summer for your summer China vacation deals, you can consider the following.

1. Putuo Zongcheng Temple

The Putuo Zongcheng Temple complex was built between 1767 and 1771, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-1796). It is located to the north of the Mountain Resort. Along with the equally famed Puning Temple, it is one of the Eight Outer Temples of Chengde. The temple was modeled after the Potala Palace of Tibet, the old sanctuary of the Dalai Lama built a century earlier. Hence the Putuo Zongcheng has been nicknamed the "Little Potala Palace". Since it was modeled after the Potala palace, the temple represents a fusion of Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. The temple complex covers a surface area of some 220,000 square meters, making it one of the largest in China.

The Putuo Zongcheng Temple was originally dedicated to Qianlong in order to commemorate his birthday, as well as provide Hebei with a temple of equal size and splendor as the Tibetan Potala Palace. It is a must-see-thing when in Chengde.

Open: 8am-5.30pm. Admission: RMB40.

2. Guandi Temple

This small Taoist temple is located just to the west on the other side of the road from the main entrance gate into the Mountain Resort Main Palace. It was first built in 1732 during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng and is dedicated to Guan Yu. It's a delightful little temple and well worth a visit if you have the time.

Admission: 20 RMB (unit for China money).

3. Puning Temple - Mayahana Hall

The Puning Buddhist Temple was built in 1755, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-1796 AD) to show the Qing's respect to the ethnic minorities. It is located to the north-east of the Chengde Mountain Resort, and alongside the equally famed Putuo Zongcheng Temple, is one of the "Eight Outer Temples" of Chengde. Much how the Putuo Zongcheng Temple was modeled after the Tibetan Potala Palace, the Puning Temple was modeled after the Samye Monastery, the sacred Lamaist site in Tibet. The front temple was constructed in the Chinese style, although the temple complex follows both Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. The Puning Temple also houses the world's tallest wooden sculpture of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (22.28 meters high and weighing 110 tons), hence the Puning Temple is often nicknamed the "Big Buddha Temple".

Open: 8am-5.30pm. Admission: RMB50

4. Yongyou Temple

This temple lies on the eastern side of the Mountain Resort with the resort walls. It was built in 1751 and means "Temple of Eternal Happiness and Blessing". The temple is dominated by a 9-storey, 67 metre-high octangonal pagoda which is modelled on the Liuhe Pagoda in Hangzhou (best destination for best tours of China) and Baoen Temple in Nanjing. The Xiexin Hall on the temples western side was where the emperor used to rest and change his clothes when worshipping his ancestors.

5. Mountain Resort Palace

The project of building the Chengde Mountain Resort started in 1703 and finished in 1790. The whole mountain resort covers an area of 5,640,000 square meters and is the largest royal garden in China. The wall of the mountain resort is over 10,000 meters in length. In summers, emperors of Qing Dynasty came to the mountain resort to relax themselves and escape from the high temperature in Beijing.

The whole Resort can be divided into four areas: these are the palace area, lakes area, plains area and mountain area. The Palace Area lies in the south part of the Mountain Resort and is a concentration of palaces where the Qing emperors handled the political affairs and where the royal families lived. It covers an area of 100,000 sq meters (25 acres), consisting of four main complexes: the Main Palace, the Pine-Crane Hall, the East Palace and the Pine Soughing Valley. The lakes area, which includes 8 lakes, covers an area of 496,000 square meters. The plains area covers an area of 607,000 square meters. The emperors held horse races and hunted in the area. The largest area of the four is the mountain area. It covers an area of 4,435,000 square meters. Hundreds of palaces and temples were built on the hills in this area.

Open: 7am-5pm. Admission: RMB90.

For more via China travel guide.

08:52 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

12/07/2013

Pelkor Chode Monastery and Kumbum & The Acropolis of Gyangze

1. At the northeast corner of Gyangze (an option for your China travel deals) is one of China's most beautiful temples. The Kumbum inside Pelkor Chode Monastery (Bai Ju Si) is a unique attraction with its octagon pyramid-like shape. It is 107 feet tall and has 108 doors, most of which lead to small shrines. You can go up to the top level by level using the inside stairs and ladders.

There are literally thousands of different Buddhist images inside the Kumbum, including both murals and statues. I would say that basically the higher you go, the more interesting images you'll find. (See additional photos)

From the top you can get close to the pretty eyes that look out from each of the four directions (north, south, east, and west). You will also enjoy spectacular views of Gyangze.

I spent nearly an hour at the top, just relaxing and enjoying the surrounding scenery after taking several photos. This was one of the main reasons I came to Gyangze, and I think it's definitely worth the tedious trip from Lhasa (top destination for top China tours).

There seems to be a nice kinship among tourists and pilgrims who make it all the way to the top. Since few people make the effort to go up all those stairs, the highest terrace becomes a kind of "Kumbum Club". Only three other folks joined me up top during my visit, so it felt sort of like an exclusive membership.

There is a fee for taking photos inside the Kumbum, (10 yuan in September 2006) and you will definitely take more than 10 photos so I consider it a bargain. Go inside the shrine behind the ticket gate and you will see pictures of the previous and current Panchen Lamas.

Pelkor Chode is a small active monastery located to the right of the Kumbum. You will see some monks chanting sutras and it may be possible to watch a few of them working on sand mandala art. On the ridge at the back of the compound is what looks like a red Great Wall which surrounds the monastery's perimeter.

2. When you arrive in Gyangze, one of the first sights you'll notice is this big old fortress on a hill at the east side of town. The foundations date back to the mid 14th century but the fort sustained considerable damage in 1904 when the British military demonstrated the use of advanced artillery on it during the Younghusband mission to Lhasa from India for your popular China tours in Tibet. Prior to 1904 the fort served as the area's adminstrative center and housed the governor of Gyangze.

After negotiating a treaty in Lhasa, Younghusband returned to England and received an honorary doctorate from Cambridge while Tibet was finally opened up to international tourism. Gyangze remained a British trading post for 40 years and a small garrison of Indian troops was stationed at the fort.

There are some historical displays regarding 1904 near the main entrance showing Tibetan soldiers in heroic poses with their primitive weapons. The fortress is a set of stacked buildings connected by a winding path. You can climb the steep steps to the top of the fortress for splendid views of Tibet's third largest city (Gyangze is really not very big) and the surrounding countryside. When finished, you will be standing at an altitude of approximately 4200 meters.

Admission: 30 yuan (unit for China money )

09:38 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)