What to Visit for a China Travel

Want to discover the unique charm of China? Then, what to visit for your China tour? China spans thousands of miles, from the deserts in the west to the ocean on the east. With a written history of over 5,000 years, China boasts rich cultural relics and historical sites. Moreover, its stunning landscape, dynamic metropolis and unique traditional lifestyle of different ethnic groups are also good reasons for tourists exploring the old-and-new land. So take a look at the guided information below, get your ideas in focus.

the Great Wall, Beijing

Fantastic Great Wall, Beijing

For History
Make an in-depth exploration of China’s rich history. Beijing, Xian, Luoyang and Nanjing used to be four great ancient capitals in Chinese history. With numerous historical sites and cultural relics, the four cities are the finest remainder of China’s imperial past. Besides these ancient prosperous metropolises, some small ancient towns like Pingyao, Lijiang, and Dali, give a fascinating glimpse into a real old-time world.

Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses

Marvelous Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses

Top Attractions: the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses, Longmen Grottoes, Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

For Nature & Wildlife
Discover the most natural views of China on a tour dedicated to nature & wildlife. China is a vast country with stunning natural scenery – towering mountains, dense forests, boundless deserts, and turbulent or quiet rivers. Not just a sightseeing tour! There also are many interesting activities as well – mountain climbing, river cruise, hiking, horse riding, biking, and bamboo rafting, etc. Also, it offers a good opportunity to get close to wildlife, a most famous one – the lovely giant panda in Chengdu.

Yangshuo Bamboo Rafting, Guilin

Yangshuo Bamboo Rafting along Yulong River in Guilin

Top attractions: Yellow Mountain, Li River Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo, Giant Panda Breeding Research Base

For Lifestyle
Urban life in China is much different from rural life. Most cities, like Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong, present a diverse mixture of Chinese and Western culture. But, what about the rest of the land? The water towns – Wuzhen andZhouzhuang, feature ancient buildings, stone bridges, and waterways; Hakka people in Fujian province, live in their aged houses – Tulou; And, in some area of Guangxi province, the Zhuang and Yao village high up in the mountains surrounded by spectacular Longji Rice Terraces.

Wuzhen Water Town, Hangzhou

Charming Wuzhen Water Town

Top attractions: Wuzhen, Zhouzhuang, Tulou of Hakka, Longji Rice Terrace

For Religion
Along with history, Buddhism, Taoism, Islamic and other religions in China has exerted great influence on social life, architecture, literature and many other parts. Many religion-related sites are left along history and become sacred destination of pilgrim, from Potala Palace in Lhasa, Dunhuang‘s Mogao Grottos, Buddhist Mount Emei  to Taoist Mt. Qingcheng nearby Chengdu… Combined with beautiful natural surroundings, these sacred places of worship have become popular travel destinations.

Lhasa, Tibet

Tibetan pilgrim at Barkhor Street in Lhasa

Top attractions: Potala Palace, Mogao Grottos, Mount Emei

Yangtze Cruise
Cruising the Yangtze would put you afloat on China’s mightiest river – and the world’s third longest only after Nile and Amazon. The 6,418km Yangtze River surges past some of China’s greatest cities: Chongqing, Wuhan, Nanjing and Shanghai. And, the most impressive section of the river is the Three Gorges (or Sanxia): the Qutang Gorge, Wuxia Gorge and Xiling Gorge. The Yangtze Three Gorges, with a full length of 193km, converges the essence of natural scenery along the Yangtze River.

Shibaozhai, Yangtze Cruise

Shibaozhai along Yangtze River

Top attractions for Yangtze Cruise: Fengdu Ghost City, Shibaozhai, Three Gorges Dam

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China Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival 2012 Tours

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival which is annually launched on January 5, is one of the largest ice-carving festivals in the world, and features a range of ice-related activities including ice swimming, hot air ballooning, ice sculpture competitions, and various winter sports.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Winter outdoor swimming at Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

Blocks of ice chainsawed from the Songhua River provide the material for the sculptures, and competitors use knives and saws to carve the large blocks into animals, mythical figures, buildings, or copies of artworks. Past sculptures have represented such things as castles, towers, the Statue of Liberty, the Great Wall of China, and an onion-domed Russian church. Teams of sculptors come from all over the world and their work – glowing from the neon tubes of purple, pink, blue and green that shine from inside – fills the city square.

Ice and Snow World, Harbin Tours

Large buildings and sculptures made of ice at Harbin Ice and Snow World

The festival includes ice lantern and sculpture exhibitions. Thousands of ice lanterns, ice carvings and snow sculptures turn the city into a dreamlike world of pure whiteness and gleaming crystal. A highlight of the festival is the “Ice and Snow World” – the world’s largest amusement park devoted to ice and snow.

Snow Sculpture at Harbin Sun Island, Harbin tours

Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Fair

Temperature
Harbin is one of China’s coldest cities, located in the northeast province of Heilongjiang, where the mercury in January often drops to minus 20 degrees centigrade (-4F).

Best Time to Visit
Harbin Snow and Ice Sculpture festival begin officially on the second week of January annually till late February. But they are actually open to the visitors right after the Christmas, when ice lanterns are complete and 80% snow sculptures are done. By then, you can see sculptors working on them.

Ice Lantern Show at Zhaolin Park, Harbin Tours

Ice Lantern Show at Zhaolin Park

Getting there
Travelers can fly in to Harbin from over a dozen domestic airports or take trains from some main cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin etc.. There are also international flights to Harbin from Hong Kong, Russia, Niigata, Seoul,  Khabarovsk, Vladivostok and Los Angeles.

The Ice and Snow World opens from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and the Snow Sculpture Expo opens from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Beijing’s Forbidden City to Open Online Ticketing System on September 20

The Palace Museum or Forbidden City in Beijing will run an online ticket reservation trial system starting Sept. 20 to encourage visitors to save time by buying tickets at home, giving them more time to tour the museum, its official website said.

the Forbidden City, Beijing

the Forbidden City or Beijing Imperial Palace Museum

A maximum of 80,000 tickets will be available each day during the upcoming seven-day National Day holiday (from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7) next month, with half of the tickets available online and the other half sold on site, according to its website.

During last year’s National Day holiday, the Palace Museum averaged 90,000 visitors per day, far exceeding its 60,000 visitor limit. Measures to limit visitors have been urged in order to protect cultural relics and historic buildings, according to the museum.

Tickets can be booked online five days in advance.

The Palace Museum, founded in 1925, is in the Forbidden City, which served as the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). For travelers, it is a must-to-visit site on their Beijing tour itinerary.

(Source from Xinhuanet.com)

Xian Dumpling Banquet – Fantastic China Culinary Tours

Jiaozi, Chinese dumplings with meat and vegetable fillings, is a traditional Chinese food with around 2,000-year history. The dumpling can be anything from a quick snack to a delicacy, and eaten at any time of the day – breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is quite popular in China, and also loved by most of foreign tourists. And, the most famous dumpling serving is in Xian – dumpling banquet.

Chinese Dumplings, China Culinary tours

Traditional Chinese Dumplings with meat and vegetable fillings

Development
Xian dumpling banquet is a newly created feast style. It emerged on the basis of the traditional dumpling recipe in Xian Dumpling Restaurant and De Fa Chang Dumpling Restaurant. Later, the dumpling is brought forth new ideas in its color, fragrance, taste and style; meanwhile, is added ancient culture. Cooking methods of the dumpling banquet include steaming, boiling, pan-frying, deep-frying, and roasting. The fillings for dumpling include various meats, vegetables, and seasonings. Many flavors, including salty, sweet, hot, and sour are offered. Concerning the style, they make out various pretty and lovely styles such as flower, bird, grass, and fish, ect.

Xian Dumpling Banquet, China Culinary Tours

Lovely pig-shape dumplings

Specialty
With these new ideas, the dumpling banquet offers over 108 different kinds of Chinese Dumplings. And elegant names are given to different themes of the banquet, such as “Dragon and Phoenix Feast”, “Peony Feast”, “Floral Feast”, “Palatial Feast”  and ” Eight Treasures Feast”, etc. Each themed feast might consist of 15 to 20 different types of dumpling resembling different shapes and fillings. They are served according to the number of guests at the table. Even if you eat fast, you won’t be able to get a second dumpling of the same style.

Xian Dumpling Banquet, Chinese Food & Cuisine

Xian Dumpling Banquet at De Fa Chang Dumpling Restaurant

It is said that to visit Xian without seeing the fantastic Terracotta Army as well as enjoying a dumpling banquet means that you have not really been to Xian at all! And, there is no better way to experience a different culture than to try out the local food, right? Just take a China Culinary tour to Xian for enjoying a dumpling banquet, with 108 different kinds of Chinese Dumplings.

Shanghai Tourism Festival 2011 Opened on September 10

Shanghai welcomed the start of its annual tourism festival on the night of September 10 in Shanghai International Fashion Center with a grand parade. The festival will offer a succession of celebratory activities and special treats for visitors until October 6.

Floats parade on 2011 Shanghai Tourism Festival

Float, sent by Tibet Autonomous Region, on the opening parade.

A total of 21 floats and 30 perform teams from across the world participated in the opening parade, which attracted more than 500,000 tourists. And a fireworks show featuring fireworks from Germany, South Korea, Portugal, Greece and Sweden will be staged on the night of the closing ceremony.

The theme of this year’s festival is discovering the cultural heritage of Shanghai. Special tour routes have been set up to steer visitors into the depths of the city’s historical districts. More than 40 activities will be staged in the following month, including an exhibition on travel souvenirs, a gourmet festival and a photography competition.

Celebration parade on 2011 Shanghai Tourism Festival

A performer from Finland participate in the opening parade

According to the organizing committee, more than 400 scenic spots, hotels and restaurants will sell tickets at discounted prices during the festival.

The Shanghai Tourism Festival was first held in 1990, and lasts nearly one month every autumn. Each year, over eight million visitors flock to the city for sightseeing, leisure, entertainment, culture, sports, conventions, exhibitions, food and shopping.

“Giant Fish” Lantern in HK Welcomes Mid-Autumn Festival 2011

A giant fish lantern was lit at a mid-autumn lantern carnival in Hong Kong on Sept 5, 2011. Hong Kong Tourism Board organized the lantern carnival in Victoria Park to welcome the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival. This year’s festival falls on Sept 12.

Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival in Hong Kong

a giant fish-shaped sculpture, made of more than 2,500 lanterns

 

The giant fish-shaped sculpture, made of more than 2,500 lanterns, is expected to be the world’s largest fish lantern. It measures 37 meters long and 14 meters wide.

In Hong Kong, there are also other activities for celebration, a famous one – Fire Dragon Dance. The event would take three days, 300 performers, 72,000 incense sticks and a 67-metre-long dragon studded with thousands of burning joss sticks.

Fire Dragon Dance at Mid-autumn Festival in Hong Kong

Fire Dragon covered in incense sticks


Mid-Autumn Festival is considered only second to Chinese New Year in importance. It takes place on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Chinese people believe that on that day, the moon is the biggest, roundest and brightest. And the term round implies family reunion in Chinese. So at the festival, families would get together to have dinner for a reunion. Then, they would admire the full moon, taste delicious moon cakes, floating sky lanterns, and other interesting activities.

Contents of celebration varied in different areas of China. Take a Hong Kong tour to admire the Mid-autumn lantern carnival, and experience the colorful living culture.

A Brief Introduction of Chinese Cuisines and Cooking

The Chinese saying “food is heaven for the people” is no exaggeration. Chinese people, at all levels of society, enjoy eating delicious food. And cooking has developed into a very sophisticated art.

Husband and wife lung slices, Sichuan Cuisine, China Culinary Tours

Husband and wife lung slices – pieces of addictively spicy beef offal served cold.

The development and diversity of Chinese cuisine is also representative of China’s long history. With each dynasty, new recipes were created. However, the most significant development in Chinese cuisine took place in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). At the time, a most famous dinner, called “Man Han Quan Xi” (literally Manchu Han Imperial Feast), consists of at least 108 unique dishes from all the very best of Man and Han Cuisines.

China is divided into 34 provinces, each with its own distinct culinary heritage that reflects its unique geography, climate, history and culture. Cooking styles are inspired by fresh, local ingredients and spices. All these factors lead to the evolution of what are called the “Eight Cuisines” and “Four Flavors”.

Eight Cuisines
Chinese cuisine is classified into four schools (the north, south, east, and west), which are further divided into eight main regional cuisines, namely Eight Cuisines.
1. Shandong Cuisine
2. Sichuan Cuisine
3. Cantonese Cuisine
4. Fujian Cuisine
5. Jiangsu Cuisine
6. Zhejiang Cuisine
7. Hunan Cuisine
8. Anhui Cuisine

Buddha jumps over the wall, Fujian Cuisine, China Culinary Tours

Buddha jumps over the wall – a rich stew made from sone of the most expensive ingredients from the land and sea.

Of course, there are many other local cuisines which are famous, such as Beijing Cuisine and Shanghai Cuisine. In addition, China also has imperial dishes, dishes of ethnic minorities, as well as Buddhist and Muslim sub-cuisines within the greater Chinese cuisine.

Four Flavors
Importantly, cuisine in China is always appreciated through all the senses. A dish is first judged for its appearance and aroma, then its taste and texture. And a good-quality dish should have one of the following characteristics or a combination of several.

Lion's head, Jiangsu Cuisine, China Culinary Tours

Lion’s head – Fist-sized meatballs made from three parts meat and seven parts fat.

1. Xian (鲜) – the natural, heightened flavor of ingredients, such as the sweetness of prawns, or the taste of high-quality butter.
2. Xiang (香)– a fragrant aroma found in dishes that combines smell and taste harmoniously.
3. Nong (浓) – the richness of a sauce; a concentration of flavor.
4. you er bu ni (油而不腻) – the taste and texture of fat without greasiness of stodginess or stodginess.

For travelers, there has never been a more exciting time to eat in China. Easy Tour China offers several “China culinary tours” for choice. There would be great opportunities for visitors to try a variety of regional dishes, as well as participate in cooking classes.