If you are looking for a getaway from the hustle of Shenzhen or Guangzhou, like I was, you might want to check out Qingyuan. It’s a city packed with hot springs, eco theme parks and natural attractions. Fast trains from Shenzhen or Guangzhou make it a quick journey, from Shenzhen North Station it takes around 1 hour and from Guangzhou North about 15 minutes and Guangzhou South about 30 minutes. There are trains from GZ that go to Yingde Station which is useful if you are going to the Baojing Palace (a special cave).
The Historic Centre of Macau is probably the number one tourism attraction outside of the casinos and it’s also inscribed on the World Heritage List. Its a collection of buildings and temples that reflect the history of Macau, in particular it reflects the history of east meeting west, with most of the buildings reflecting the citys Portuguese past.
The attractions are spread out around the south-west side of Macau Island, and the easiest way to take all this in is to get a Macau World Heritage brochure or a Whats on Macau map, which most hotels seem to have, and follow the walking route.
The Summer Palace is an imperial garden built by Emperor Qianlong in 1750 to celebrate his mothers birthday, it was later used as a garden where emperors and empresses would escape the heat of Beijing’s summers.
The palace covers a staggering 290 hectares featuring a massive lake, temples, halls, pavilions, corridors, towers which are decorated with fine stone, bronze sculptures and feature paintings, all amongst a garden of ancient pines and cypress trees.
A major feature of the Summer Palace is the man made Kunming Lake covering over 2 square kilometers and having three islands all connected via beautiful stone bridges.
The Forbidden City was once the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties and was originally constructed in early 1400’s. The city was once off limits to the general public and home to 24 successive emperors. Now, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world attracting over 7 million visitors a year.
It’s official name has been changed to the Palace Museum, but most people still refer to it as the Forbidden City.
The complete site occupies an area of over 720,000 square meters featuring nearly 10,000 buildings. It is also the largest collection of ancient buildings in China which are also the best preserved.
Beihai Park in Beijing is over 1000 years old and covers an area of 690,000 square meters featuring a large peaceful lake, ancient temples and an islet featuring a 36m high buddhist shrine in the form of a Tibetan Dagoba.
The ‘White Dagoba’ (also refered to as the White Pagoda) located on Jade Islet towers over the park and can easily be seen from afar. It was originally built in the late 1600’s by a Qing Dynasty Emperor in recognition of the buddhist faith.
Beihai Park is an easy place to spend a lot of time if your keen to relax and unwind. There is plenty of seats around the lake and you can even hire row boats.
Jingshan Park in Beijing is located in front of the north gate of the Forbidden City and is well worth a visit if only for the view city that it offers.
Entry to the park is only 2RMB ($.32AUD) and the site, which covers 230,000 square meters, features a number of pavillions dating back to around 1750 along with native gardens.
The pavillions, which once contained copper casts of Buddhist Deities that were plunded during a civillion uprising in the 1900’s, are specially positioned to each offer a unique experience to the senses. For example, the ‘All Round View Pavillion’ is located such that it offers a 360 degree view of the park and the city outside of the park walls, another of the five pavillions is located such that it recieves all the aromas of the gardens below and named the ‘Pavillion of Gathering Fragrance’.
more photos and words to come…………………….
Mt. Emei, or Emei Shan (Shan meaning mountain) is located in Leshan City of Sichuan Province. It’s one of China’s Sacred Mountains featuring Buddhist temples and amazing scenery. In 1996 it was given World Heritage status by UNESCO.
Standing at over 3000 meters the mountain features four scenic regions being: Baoguo Temple, Wannian Temple, Qingyin Pavilion and Golden Summit. Golden Summit lies at the mountains peak.
Being my first visit to the mountain I went with a tour group, unfortunately it was a really rushed tour. This is easily a place you could spend some time soaking up the natural wonders and the amazing temples. And a place I hope to visit again and spend more time.
Leshan is a city located about two hours drive from Chengdu in Sichuan Province China. The star attraction of the city is the amazing Giant Buddha that’s been carved out from the rock face siding the river. It’s actually where three rivers meet being the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers.
It was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996 and the Giant Buddha, in sitting position, measures in at 71 meters tall and 28 meters wide.
This was part of the tour that went from Chengdu to Leshan and onto Mt Emei. I felt a little sad that having to play follow the leader, I didn’t spend anytime exploring the city. Something for next time!
The Black Dragon Pool is one of the must visit places in Lijiang. The pool (or pond) is located in the Jade Spring Park in Lijiang, which is often referred to as Heilongtan Park, which is located at the foot of Elephant Hill.
The park contains many temples, pavilions and beautiful ancient architecture, including it’s bridges which lead you into the stunning pavilions. It’s an incredibly peaceful place and well worth allowing some time to relax, wander and enjoy.
The photo below is of the Moon Embracing pavillion, on a perfect day the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain can be seen clearly in the distance and the water of the pool shows it’s true jade green color. Even on a not so perfect day, such as when this shot was taken, it is still a stunningly beautiful place to be!
Chengdu, unfortunately, doesn’t make it on to many peoples list of places to visit while in China unless they are visiting Tibet or maybe going to see the Giant Buddha. Thats a bit of a shame as it is a really nice city, with freindly people and a somewhat relaxed enviroment compared to many other major Chinese cities.
Chengdu has plenty to offer including shopping, sight seeing and wonderful food along with it’s major draw card being the Panda bears. Its a place worth hanging around for at least a few of days. Some of the major sights to see in Chengdu are: