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21/05/2013

Where to Enjoy Dragon-boat Racing in Beijing

Dragon Boat Festival is coming. If you happen to visit China at that time, you can visit the following places for Dragon-boat Racing for your last minute China travel deals.

Dragon Boat Festival-goers can catch the action at the following locations:

Qinglonghu Park(Dark-green Dragon Lake)

Yanqing District will host a race on June 16 at Qinglonghu Park, about 20 kilometers from downtown. The park features beautiful ecology with green hills, clear water, lush forests and open lakes.

To get there: Take bus No 917 from Tianqiao to Shihuadong (Stone Flower Cave). Get off at Dougezhuang bus stop. Or, take bus No 917, 922 to Liangxiang, change to No 6 minibus and get off at Qinglonghu. 15 yuan. 6032-1706, 6032-1642, 6032-1456.

Jiulong (Nine Dragons) Amusement Park

The Jiulong Amusement Park is located in the beautiful 13 Ming Tombs' Reservoir, or Shisanling Shuiku, in Changping District. A wonderful underwater dragon palace provides the perfect setting for activities such as the drift, F-1 racing and dragon-boat racing.

To get there: Take bus No 912 from Andingmen to get there directly; or take bus No 345 or its branch line from DeShengmen to Changping, then transfer to No 912. 55 yuan.

Xidu Park

Yanqing District will host a race in Xiadu Park in Beijing (a must-see city for your top China tours).

To get there: Take bus No 919 from Deshengmen to go directly. Get off at the Yanqing Dongguan stop. 6918-7575.

Tonghui River

Chaoyang District holds its first-ever dragon-boat-racing event on June 19 along Tonghui River. To get there: Take Batong subway line, then get off at Baobeidian. 6655-8009.

Village View Resort

Village View Resort is located on the banks of Yanqi Lake, Huairou District. You can take part in various water sports on Yanqi Lake, such as motorboating, speed boating, free floating and dragon boating.

To get there: Drive along Jingshun (Beijing-Shunyi) Lu from Sanyuan Qiao, and continue in the direction of Yanqi Lake in Huairou District. 6066-1166.

Splash and dash

The traditional Dragon Boat Festival - duanwujie in Chinese - has been celebrated in China for thousands of years on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar - June 19, this year. And while the dragon-boat race has traditionally been the highlight of the festival for most other cities in China, this year, Beijing gets onboard with full force, launching several boat racing events in various places, including the first boat race in downtown Beijing.

The festival has a long history in other big, and even small, cities, especially those in eastern and southern China, as well as Taiwan Province, and Hong Kong (a destination for popular China tour package) and Macao SARs. Traditionally, Chinese people celebrate the festival with boat racing, zongzi (glutinous rice dumpling) sampling and yellow wine guzzling.

For expats, munching zongzi could be a sweet treat. But it could prove even more interesting for them to see how modern Chinese observe the traditional dragon-boat race in Beijing's limited number of lakes or rivers.

It has only been in recent years that traditional boat-racing events have been staged in Beijing's suburbs, including Yangqing, Changping and Fengtai districts and counties. And this year, Chaoyang District, which is Beijing's central business district (CBD), will host its first boat-racing bash.

On June 19, eight teams in Chaoyang District would start the district's inaugural dragon-boat race on Tonghui River, which would be downtown Beijing's first such race since 1966.

Four of the eight teams are made up of farmers from Gaobeidian Village, while the other four are made up of employees from domestic and international companies, including The Place and Microsoft, according to organizers with the Beijing CBD Administrative Commission.

For the most part, the teams are less concerned about being the first across the finish line than having fun. And for some teams of foreign employees from Southeast Asian countries, the race is mostly about getting a day off work.

Tonghui River itself also boasts a long history. It served as the northern starting point of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal which now become famous attraction to make contribution to China tourism, which was first built in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). Today, the river provides serene scenery amidst the hustle and bustle of the CBD area.

"It's good to bring traditional culture into modern times," said deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Dragon Boat Association Li Wenyong.

Dragon boats are usually brightly painted and decorated canoes, Li explained. Ranging from 40 to 100 feet long, the boats are carved with an open-maw dragon's head at the bow, colorful scales painted mid-ship and a serpentine tail rising from the stern.

Depending on the craft's length, it could be powered by up to 80 rowers who are led by a drummer and flag-handler who stand at the bow.

Before a dragon boat could be considered seaworthy, it must be ritualistically "brought to life" during a ceremony in which the dragon's eyes are painted on the hull.

Any number of crafts could compete in the event, which is won by the first team to seize the flag planted at the end of the course.

In addition to the race in Chaoyang District, another boat race is scheduled in Yanqing County. This county hosted its first annual Dragon Boat Racing Cultural Festival last year, and this year, its dragon-boat race will run from June 16 to 19 at the spacious Xiadu Park. There will be 11 teams taking part in the race, with about 22 people aboard each vessel.

"Anyone interested is welcome to participate in the boat race," said Huang Liying, a staff member of the local government, which organized the event.

According to Huang, there will also be other activities celebrating the festival, such as zongzi-making and folk art performances.

Located in the northern area of the capital, Yanqing County is a traditional summer resort destination of choice for Beijingers looking to beat the heat. It is known for cooler temperatures, beautiful countryside scenery and dozens of mountainous scenic spots.

You can get more through China tour operator.

09:52 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

20/05/2013

The Hawaii of Asia

Sunrise and the sun sits low on the horizon. The hotel is a neoclassical affair, with marble columns and a troop of elephants lining the path to the foyer. From the entrance a great driveway descends the small hill, sweeping past a marble fountain and a palatial gatehouse. There it joins the road into Hainan's main tourist town, Sanya, home to 500,000 inhabitants. And it is the popular tourist place for China tour deals. At the base of the hill, on the road to town, a woman sits making brooms from palm fronds. Farther toward town, a little yellow food stand bears the slogan "the Hawaii of Asia."

In the resort of Yalong Bay, the Marriot, Sheraton and Hilton sit at the far end of the seven-kilometer stretch of beach. Several attendants in starched white attire are combing the beach with rakes, the golden sands leading down to clean blue water. Walking along the beach, it seems no expense has been spared in creating an oasis of opulence. In one hotel a vaulted wooden ceiling reaches up into the sky. In another a white grand piano sits on a raised stage, while in the foyer of yet another, a roped-off Ferrari receives its morning wax.

In the last decade Hainan has grown to become the country's number two holiday travel destination (in between Jiuzhaigou National Park in Sichuan, and Lijiang in Yunnan, two destination for top 10 China tours), but a large number of people outside of the country have still not heard of this tropical island in the South China Sea. Foreigners made up just 270,000 of Hainan's 15 million tourists last year, led by South Koreans, Russians and Japanese.

The province's history is one of relative isolation, but the culture has long been buffeted by waves from afar – explorers, missionaries, entrepreneurs, colonists, and, lately, the bikini-clad contestants of the Miss World beauty pageant have all left their mark. Han dynasty dissidents were once banished here, to "the ends of the earth," as fatal punishment, and from 1939 it was occupied by the Japanese, leading to the death of many of the island's young men. But, as that memory fades, the place of exile has become a paradise, with sun-seeking tourists flocking here to escape the cold winters of the northern hemisphere.

From March to November the mercury creeps past the 40 degrees Celsius mark, as humidity bastes locals and tourists alike. The rains offer little respite, as in the summer months tropical storms and typhoons buffet the coast. By mid-January though the temperatures are relatively mild – the wet, humid summer giving way to a cooler and drier season. At the butterfly center in Yalong Bay National Resort Yvonne Li sprays sugar water onto a cluster of delicate flowers. Like falling leaves from the canopy above, butterflies descend onto the yellow blooms. "The summer is quiet out here," she says. "It's far too hot. But now things will get a little busier, and during the New Year it will become very crowded."

Close to town, at the resort of Dadonghai (a must-see in Sanya for popular China tours), street stalls dish out fresh seafood while massage parlors blare out cheesy Western pop tunes. Tacky souvenir shops cater largely to Chinese and Russian tourists, reinforcing the image of Sanya as the Hawaii of China by selling a range of fluorescent Hawaiian print shirts, worn dutifully by scores of tourists. The Dadonghai beach area is slightly more jaded than the neighboring resort in Yalong Bay, but it's hard not to get caught up in the spirit of holidaymakers unselfconsciously having fun.

It's easy to lose yourself in both resorts, putting aside thoughts of work and paying the bills. Swimming between the man-made mini islands and water features of the hotel lagoons is an easy way to wile away the hours. The fully-stocked gyms and games rooms offer a diversion if the sight of sparkling blue waters becomes too much, and the softly whirring ceiling fans in the reading room will quieten the most restless soul. A sultry week or two of contemplation, staring up at the hard green leaves of a mango or frangipani tree, makes a welcome break from the city.

Hainan has a great deal to offer away from the beaches, with the Li and Miao minority groups inhabiting the interior of the island in the lush Limuling mountain range. Hainan is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots and one of the few places on the planet that still possesses primeval forest among the extensive monsoon forest that covers 50 percent of the island. Jianfengling Nature Reserve, about 115km west of Sanya, is home to hundreds of species of plants and insects, and gives an idea of what the island probably once looked like, blanketed by tropical jungle.

Northwest of the city sits the statue of A Ma (Tin Hau), a gigantic statue of the Buddha of compassion. Built on a platform in the South China Sea, at 108 meters (and 16 meters taller than the Statue of Liberty), it is said to be the tallest statue in the world. Nearby, tourists make the most of the photo opportunities, posing in front of a large bronze bell and striking a suitable stance on the steps of the Nanshan Temple which can be considered to included in China tour packages. Further west, the Nantian hot spring resort makes for a relaxing side-trip.

Come evening, the sky changes from a dull orange to cobalt blue. Nighttime on the seafront and lights illuminate signs beckoning customers into all-you-can-eat buffets, where fragrantly smoky barbeques entice groups to sample the fresh seafood: crabs, tiger prawns, clams, lobster, squid and various species of fish caught in the waters just off the ragged coast. Moths swirl in the lamplight, and the warm night air is full of whirring and chirpings from the tall grass, the distant beat of a Russian polka audible further down the beach.

The island offers a winter escape and, outside the Spring Festival Golden Week, it is a pleasant experience. The result of this tourist boom is a curious blend of high-end resorts and kitsch, as developers look to capture as large a portion of the global market as possible. To cater to all tastes is a difficult task, but one man's hell will always be another's paradise. You can consider to inlude Sanya in your China travel packages.

09:47 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

17/05/2013

Facts of Dragon Boat Festival

Year:2006

Sort:Folk Custom

Area:Central Government

Serial No.:Ⅹ-3

Declarer:Ministry of Culture

The 5th day of the 5th lunar month is the Duanwu Festival, or the Dragon Boat Festival, which is celebrated everywhere in China. The festival dates back to about 2,000 years ago with a number of legends explaining its origin. The best-known story centers on a great patriotic poet named Qu Yuan. 2013 Dragon Boat Festival is around the corner. If you happen to have China travel dealson June 12, you can experience atmosphere of it.

Ⅰ. Customs

The customs vary a lot in different areas of the country, but most families hang a picture of Zhong Kui (a ghost that can exorcise), calamus and moxa in their houses. People have Dragon Boat Races, eat zongzi (a dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves) and carry a spice bag around with them.

1. Hanging Pictures of Zhong Kui

Zhong Kui was the exorcist par excellence. His picture, a fierce-looking man brandishing a magic sword, used to be hung in Chinese houses in order to scare away evil spirits and demons.

2. Hanging Calamus and Moxa

On this day, most families also hang calamus and moxa (oriental plants) on the front door. This is also to ward off evil.

3. Dragon Boat Race

The main event of the festival is the Dragon Boat Race. These boats are long and thin with dragon heads on the bow of the ships. The boat races are said to represent the search for Qu Yuan's body, with racing boats in a forward rowing motion, to the rhythm of beating drums.

4. Zongzi

Qu Yuan drowned on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month in 277 BC. Since ancient times, Chinese people threw dumplings made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves into the water on that day so the fish would eat the rice rather than the body of Qu Yuan. You should try to taste it during your journey of best tours of China.

5. Realgar Wine

It is a very popular practice to drink this kind of Chinese liquor seasoned with realgar on this day, for protection from evil and disease for the rest of the year.

6. Spice Bag

It's believed that if you carry a small spice bag around with you, it not only drives away evil spirits but also brings fortune and happiness to those who wear it. The small bags are hand-made by local craftsmen. They're made with red, yellow, green and blue silk, fine satin or cotton. Figures of animals, flowers and fruits are often embroidered onto the bags and inside are mixed Chinese herbal medicines.

Ⅱ. Legend

The festival dates back about 2,000 years with a number of legends explaining its origin. The best-known story centers on a great patriotic poet named Qu Yuan.

In the Warring States Period (475-221BC), the State of Qin in the west was bent on annexing the other states, including the state of Chu, home of great poet Qu Yuan. Holding the second highest office in the state, Qu Yuan urged that the Chu State should resist Qin and ally with the State of Qi to the east. This was opposed by Zhang Yi, a minister of the State of Qin who was trying to disrupt any anti-Qin alliances. He seized upon an incident with a jealous court official in Chu to get rid of Qu Yuan. They made up a rumor that Qu Yuan was leaking state secrets and suborned the King of Chu to banish Qu Yuan from the capital in 313 BC.

Neither Qu Yuan's hope of reforming corrupt institutes nor his resolve to resist Qin set well with the King of Chu. Grieving for the condition of his homeland, for years Qu Yuan wandered about south of the Yangtze River. He poured out his feelings of grief and concern for his homeland in the allegorical Li Sao, a long autobiographical poem in which he tells of his political ideal and the corruption and mismanagement of the court.

In 280 BC Qin launched an overall invasion of Chu, and captured the Chu capital in 278 BC. The news reached Qu Yuan while he was near the Miluo River in today's northeastern Hunan Province (a good place for popular China travel package). In frustration at being unable to do anything to save his state, he clasped a big stone to his breast and leaped into the river to end his life.

In memory of him, every year on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, the day he drowned himself, dragon boat races, which are said to represent the search for his body, are held, and the Chinese people eat zongzi, which was originally thrown into the river to keep the fishes from eating the body of Qu Yuan. In addition, it is said that when hearing the news of Qu Yuan's suicide, some doctors poured realgar wine into the Miluo River to anaesthetize the fishes, hence preventing them from eating Qu Yuan's body.

Ⅲ. Main Areas

1. Dragon Boat Festival in Hometown of Qu Yuan Declarer: Zigui County of Yichang City, Hubei Province
2. Xisai Dragon Boat Festival Declarer: Huangshi City, Hubei Province
3. Dragon Boat Festival along the Miluo River Declarer: Miluo City, Hunan Province
4. Dragon Boat Festival in Suzhou

Declarer: Suzhou City (a place to see traditional Chinese gardens for your China travel), Jiangsu Province

09:35 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)