A Travellerspoint blog

Lhasa

Breath-taking and Exotic

sunny 21 °C

Lhasa is out of this world. After several 4:30am starts we slept in til 8:00 am. Celina has jury rigged her sandals and has been walking for hours around the Bakhor market and the Jokhang Temple. We have had some wonderful experiences in exotic places around the world but nothing beats this. It literally takes your breathe away. The Tibetan Buddhist religion still exists as it has for more than 1300 years, the age of this most holy temple where incense burns continually and where thousands prostrate themselves in front of the temple - some after journeys lasting a year! We also visited a Buddhist Nunnery where the nuns pray continually to Buddha - chanting and chatting at the same time. They are happy for us to be there snapping away. We also visited the printing room where some of the nuns copy thousands of pages of holy scripture. We then had lunch at a local restaurant and visited the braille without Borders school which caters for 32 children with blindness and aged 6-15 years. Celina and Danielle our Tour Director are back at the market for an hour or so while I sneak some time to reply to emails and blog. Tomorrow hopefully we will have acclimated further and take on the Potala Palace. This immense Palace of over 1000 rooms consists of the religious Red palace and the more secular White Palace and is restricted to 1600 visors per day. More on this later.

A few pictures to catch up.

At the Great Wall

At the Great Wall


Sichuan Opera

Sichuan Opera


Pandamonium at Chengdu

Pandamonium at Chengdu


Pandamonium at Chengdu

Pandamonium at Chengdu

Posted by acudoc 00:13 Archived in China Tagged travel china group Comments (1)

Almost Too Much to Take In

Xian to Beijing and Chengdu

overcast

Wow! We finished with Xian and as with everything on this tour loved every moment of our time in this ancient capital of China. We then moved on to the Imperial Northern City of Beijing for our 3 night stay. Beijing is a vast city of high rise buildings surrounding what is left of the ancient City centre. The first evening in beijing evening on 22nd September we were treated to the Kung Fu Spectacular show - one of the top 3 shows in China. This was the story told in wonderful colour and action of the rise of a young boy to become the abbot of the Shaolin Monastery. The music and action defy description - a not to be missed show if it tours again.

On 23rd September we spent hours walking through Tianmen Square and the Forbidden City along with 10's of thousands of local and foreign tourists. The Winter palace as it is also known is vast and impressive even with the teeming throngs. In the afternoon after a local lunch we were taken to the older part of the city and treated to a tea making demonstration and learned how to make the dumplings we had been served on our last night in Xian.

Next day we were taken to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall after first visiting a cloisonee factory where we saw the process of this ancient art form from start to finish. The wall in this section had a setep slope up through crowded market stalls to a cable car which took us to the Wall itself. What a magnificent acheivement! Even though this part of the wall was extensively restored with the help of a German Engineering company it is beautiful and we had perfect weather as we have been blessed throughout this entire trip. We spent over 2 hours waking up the Wall climbing into guard towers and listening to a group of Swiss yodellers performing on this most iconic of Chinese structures. We returned to the hotel - Sofitel Wanda rested and then enjoyed our Peking Duck banquet.

The accommodation has been excellent on this tour with most hotels really being the best available. The food has varied and although it could be warmer has mostly been delicious.

Yesterday we left Beijing and flew to Chengdu in the West of China. Chengdu has been the capital city of Sichuan province for over 2000 years and last night we were treated to a performance of the Sichuan Opera. The cast were all very experienced and described by the pretty MC as masters of Opera, Traditional Music and Face Changing. A good time was had by all of those who were still part of our original group. We are now down from 26 to 17 and tomorrow we will be only 7 going up to Lhasa. Today we visited the Panda Research and Breeding Centre where Celina and I sat next to a year old Panda and had pictures and video taken while were able to stroke and touch one of the World's most endangered creatures. We spent several hours watching and wondering at these magnificent creatures who have survived as a species for 8 million years until the advent of man. We have returned to our hotel for a few hours rest then it its repacking and preparing for a very early start to our last 3 days in Lhasa. We have been told we will need to take it very slowly on our first day and then we have a very busy programme for the last 2 days.

World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle

World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle

Len and Celina plus friends

Len and Celina plus friends

Kung Fu Spectacular, Beijing

Kung Fu Spectacular, Beijing

Posted by acudoc 01:06 Archived in China Tagged travel china group Comments (0)

Wonder after Wonder

Guilin to Xian

overcast 30 °C

Am sitting on the 10th floor of our hotel overlooking the busy streets of Xian - a small city of a mere 7 million when compared to Chongqing which has a population of 32 million souls. Our last day travelling on the Yangtze River was an eye opener with the hundreds of bridges and multiple high rise blocks of appartments which come totally unfitted to those who purchase them. These are found throughout the cities of China whether a free public housing, compensation for displaced farmers or simply to cope with the population demands of an increasing urban population. our last night on board Victoria Jenna was a crew cabaret which we thoroughly enjoyed beacause of the lovely costumes from different regions and their dances. What a versatile crew waiting skills, singing and dancing, face changing and musical skills.

Next day after a brief flight we arrived at Guilin in the south of the country famous for its Hillls which are known as limestone karsts and which decorate many painitings and ink drawings and calligraphy. We started of our touring by visiting the Reed Flute cave which features the usual formations with somewhat garish lighting and enormous spaces with reflecting pools. It was surprisingly cool and very enjoyable. Then we moved on to the South China Pearl Company where we had the opportunity to shop for Freshwater Pearls.

Reed Flute Cave

Reed Flute Cave

The next highlight of this trip of many highlights was the Li River trip. The scenery famous in so much Chiniese Culture is extraordinarily beautiful and we spent the 4 hour journey along the river on the top deck not wanting to miss a moment. Valley after valley and Karsts galore opened up around every corner of the river. Small and large vessels jostle each other for space in the shallow waters as we drift along waving to the other tourists on boats and on the shore. Our hotels have been very comfortable and the food plentiful and delicious. That evening we went with our guide Frank for a walk along the lake to view the multicoloured pavilions and the 7 year old twin Pagodas - one Yin the other Yang.

Li River Guilin China

Li River Guilin China

Li River Guilin China

Li River Guilin China

Celina and the Li River

Celina and the Li River

Yesterday we arrived in Xian and started off with Tang Dynasty welcome to the city of Xian (Chang'an) complete with a Key to the City and official passport handed to us after dancing girls and soldiers and an imperial representative greeted us. Then we took a walk on the ancient city wall which nowadays stretches 16 km around the centre of the city of Xian. Last night one of the highlights of the trip so far - a Tang Dynasty show complete with wonderful musicians, singers and dancers, acrobats and wonderful choreography. A pleasant meal proceeded the show which lasted a blissful hour.

Tang Dynasty Show

Tang Dynasty Show

Tang Dynasty Show

Tang Dynasty Show

This morning yet another must see for China Travellers - the Entombed Warriors. Even though we have seen the videos and pictures nothing matches the ability to see the 3 pits and their contents. What an amazing job China and her people have done in finding and preserving this cultural and National treasure. We returned to our hotel for the best buffet lunch we have had so far and soon we will go out again to see more of the sights of Xian and to enjoy more culinary delights.

Posted by acudoc 00:34 Archived in China Tagged mountains china group luxury_travel Comments (3)

Chongquing to Guilin

Last Day of Yangtze Cruise and Steamy Guilin

sunny 29 °C

Arrived in Guilin today after 4 night Yangtze cruise. Very steamy but beautiful scenery and Reed Flute Cave - a huge limestone cave under one of the limestone Karsts. Celina is loving this holiday and wants to come back to China. We are enjoying the company of our colleagues and look forward to the highlight cruise on the Li River tomorrow morning.

Posted by acudoc 06:43 Archived in China Tagged china holiday group Comments (0)

Yangtse Cruising Day 2

Gorgeous Gorges and Cruising on a not so slow boat.

sunny 28 °C

We are currently on the second day of cruising on the Yangtse and loving it. Am finally using wifi which I did not realise we had access to until today. Our room which is a suite comes with access to decent dining room and these perks. We thoroughly enjoyed Shanghai and Suzhou and when I get the time i will update the Blog. Taking lots of video and photos will attach some in this entry. Celina has added to the local economy by buying a pure silk winter jacket which cost less at the Silk factory than polyester ones at home and we also purchased a silk runner for the hall and silk doona cover and pillows for the master? bedroom. Suzhou was great and we have had wonderful accommodation and food so far. The Yangtse is spectacular as is the 3 Gorges Project and the 3 Gorges themselves and the lesser 3 gorges as well. Today we were treated to a Sampan ride into the 3 lesser gorges and Mum is now enjoying a spa bath in our cabin. Last night we had a Dynasties spectacular featuring Chinese Dynastic costumes sing and modelling of ancient and modern Chinese costumes. Tonight we have a crew Cabaret show and tomorrow we go to the Ghost City of Fengde. Hopefully my chest cold will have settled by then. We have been also informed we will get a chance to cuddle a young Panda in Chengdu.

The Humble Administrators Garden

The Humble Administrators Garden


The Humble Administrators Garden

The Humble Administrators Garden


Old Suzhou

Old Suzhou


Victoria Jenna Entering Lock

Victoria Jenna Entering Lock


Always the centre of attention

Always the centre of attention


Victoria Jenna Entering Lock

Victoria Jenna Entering Lock

Posted by acudoc 01:30 Archived in China Tagged travel cruise china tours scenic group yangtse Comments (1)

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