Alice’s Tour Journal: Enjoy Quietness in Scenic Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie

What impresses me most of this Zhangjiajie tour is Baofeng Lake. It is so tranquil that I felt my mind got totally relaxed. I forgot the busy working days and the disturbing city scenes, when I finally reached these water and mountains, and got into this beautiful landscape painting.

Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Zhangjiajie city

Baofeng Lake with graceful mountains and charming waterway

It is a lake hidden and surrounded by a succession of mountains. We climbed on the steep road, went through the narrow lane, and then saw it. We arrived there late in the afternoon, and there were very few people there, so that we could really enjoy the quietness.

Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Zhangjiajie city

Boating excursion on Baofeng Lake

We were sitting in a boat, imaging sailing for a fairy world. We listened to the Tujia minority girl and boy singing folk songs, watched mandarin ducks swimming in pairs. We also saw a beautiful stone statue, and were told a fairy tale. A girl waited for her boyfriend, who had collected medicinal herbs and disappeared in the mountains. Years and years, she turned into a stone statue.

Silvia’s Hiking along Golden Whip Stream, Zhangjiajie

Before I came to Zhangjiajie city, I have been told that by one of my prior clients Golden Whip Stream was her most favorite place in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Wondering what is the attraction to her.

Golden Whip Stream, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Beautiful scenery along Golden Whip Stream

Actually it’s different with my imagination. What I expected was “hiking”, which means the road along a stream is bumpy like mountain road. When I came to there, I found that the road is built very well, not too wide but enough for pedestrians. There’s also something interesting on road to please tourists such as short piles, wood suspension bridge and little monkeys. Certainly the views on both sides are amazing.

Golden Whip Stream, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

High and straight trees along the road

Even if it took around 2.5hrs by walking, but we didn’t feel tired. It’s a kind of leisure.

I like those high and straight trees along the road very much. Our guide told us, Golden Whip Stream locates on valley so it’s not easy to meet sunshine. Trees need to grow harder and harder to be tall for more time to enjoy the sunshine each day. Wow, how motivational these trees are.

Cathy’s Travel Stories: Plank Road alongside Guigu Cliff on Tianmen Mountain

Can you image a path suspends on a cliff more than 1,400m above sea level? We took a short trip to experience the road in the sky at the end of February, 2012. The road in the sky is also called the Plank Road along side Guigu Cliffs. It is located on the Shifou Mountain (also called Tianmen Mountain), Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province. Tianmen is the highest peak in the Wulingyuan Mountains and is regarded as the “soul” of Zhangjiajie city.

Here our hearts were agitated by the extreme shock and stimulation. The walk is totally awesome. We like actions slithered along the cliff wall and when we spotted someone coming in the opposite direction. And we hadn’t seen them in hope that they would be the ones to risk their life with polite offering of allowing the other to pass. It was an adventurous experience!

Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie city

Kilometres of paths was built alongside the Cliff on Tianmen Mountain.

Tianmen mountain literally means Heavenly Gate Mountain, standing at 1,500 meters above sea level. Tianmen cave is a natural hole half way up the mountain of a height of 131.5 metres. It is just like a gate to the heaven. Also, the mountain got its name “Tianmen Mountain”. The cableway from Zhangjiajie downtown towards Tianmen Mountain is considered to be the longest cableway in the world, covering a distance of 7,455 meters and with a height of 1,279 meters. An 11km road with 99 bends also reaches the top of the mountain and takes visitors to Tianmen cave.

 Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie city

Cable car, Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie city

Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie City

In 1999, in an acrobatic show, three airplanes flew through Tianmen Cave.

Impressively, a 60-metre-long glass path has been built 4700ft high on the western side of Tianmen Mountain. The walkway is so high up that it allows visitors to looking down at the peaks of smaller mountains below.

Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie City

Visitors tread nervously over the see-through "sky walk".

Find Peace in Idyllic Huangyao Ancient Town

Huangyao ancient town is situated in the northest of Zhaoping County, Guangxi, some 200 km away from Guilin and 90 km from Yangshuo. The town is just like a shy maiden, standing quietly by the low reaches of Li River. It has been relatively unknown until Hollywood filmed The Painted Veil a few years ago.

Huangyao Ancient Town nearby Yangshuo, Guilin

The idyllic Huangyao presents a typical Chinese scene - "small bridge over the flowing stream".

The history of Huangyao town can be traced back to Song Dynasty (960-1279). It was constructed again during the Wanli Period (1573-1620) of the Ming Dynasty, and boomed during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) of the Qing Dynasty. The family names of the townspeople were mainly Huang and Yao, hence the town got the name “Huangyao”.

Huangyao, with an area of 3.6 sq km, has long been known as a mini-Guilin for its typical karst landform. A river named Yaojiang passes through it, and the whole town is embraced by flows of winding water. So, according to Chinese fengshui, Huangyao is an ideal place for people to live. There are over 300 houses of Ming and Qing style, built in an array of Nine-Palaces and Eight-Diagrams. All the eight streets in Huangyao are paved with flagstone, and it is said that there are 99,999 flagstones altogether. Those houses along the streets have a functional design combining business and living into one unit. They are more than 20 small temples to visit, a number of pavilions and an old stage.

Huangyao Ancient Town nearby Yangshuo, Guilin

Ancient residences, with wooden doorways and tiled rooftops, along street in Huangyao

This gorgeous 900-year-old Huangyao, with its laid back lifestyle, can’t fail to wow visitors with its bucolic rhythms. Two 500-year-old banyan trees wind their way up from the river’s edge to the side of the town. Mountains go with water, water goes with bridge, bridge goes without pavilion, pavilion goes without couplet, and couplet can not go without stele, which forms a unique scene of the ancient town. Impressively, the local live as they did in old times –the old people sit gossiping on their doorsteps; young women wash vegetables or clothes by the riverside; children play games…

Huangyao Ancient Town nearby Yangshuo, Guilin

The locals wash vegetables or clothes by the ancient Well.

Huangyao Ancient Town nearby Yangshuo, Guilin, China

Home-made wines are sold along the street, and free for tasting.

Owing to its isolated location – surrounded by mountains and the inconvenient transportation, Huangyao always keep its half-closed condition. Thus, it makes the ancient house and cultural relics are well-preserved. With tourism development, more and more people from home and abroad visit Huangyao. And, the town, along with West Street in Yangshuo, famed as one of most valuable 50 places for foreign tourists in China.

Beijing Impression

“…the city remains an epicenter of tradition with the treasures of nearly 2,000 years as the imperial capital still on view—in the famed Forbidden City and in the city’s lush pavilions and gardens…”

                                                       — National Geographic

Beijing is the capital of China, and also the nation’s political, educational and cultural centre. Its history can dates back several thousand years. Stop-start capital since the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1271 – 1368), it has been the heart of China’s history for centuries. The city name, from the Chinese characters 北 for north and 京 for capital, means literally the “Northern Capital”. For travelers, Beijing is truly awe-inspiring with its epic imperial grandeur.

The Forbidden City – Fourteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644) and ten emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) lived and ruled China in this palace for as long as 490 years from 1421 to 1911.

The Great Wall, one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, is 3,333 miles long and was built, section by section, between the 5th century BC and 16th century AD.

Temple of Heaven, literally the Altar of Heaven, served as a vast stage for solemn rites performed by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, who prayed here for good harvests, and sought divine clearance and atonement.

Summer Palace – the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China. it was once a summer retreat for Empress Dowager Cixi, combining palace temples, gardens, pavilions, hill and lakes.

Beihai Park is the capital’s oldest imperial garden, with an 800-year history. It’s a relaxing place to stroll around, or go boating on the lake.

Yonghe Lamasery – the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It was converted to a lamasery in 1744 after serving as the former residence of Emperor Yong Zheng.

Prince Gong’s Mansion – one of Beijing’s largest private residential compounds. It shows how the upper class lived during the Qing Dynasty.

Ming Tombs are the final resting place of 13 of the 16 Ming Emperors. At the gate of the tomb area stands a marble archway which leads to the Sacred Road linced by 12 pairs of stone animals followed by 6 pairs of stone civil and military officials on both sides of the way.

Old Summer Palace, known in China as Yuan Ming Yuan, was an extremely large complex of palaces and gardens next to Summer Palace. After it was torched by invading British and French forces in 1860, a melancholic array of broken columns and marbel chunks remain.

Importantly, a journey into the city’s Hutong – the traditional living quarters of the locals; and pay a family visit to the old walled Siheyuan (a compound with houses around a courtyard). From spring to autumn, Beijing residents collect outside their gates, drinking beer, playing chess, and… After a hutong tour, it is the time for you to enjoy local flavour snacks. Some of the cheapest and most delicious meals can be had on the streets. Whatever you taste, a Peking roast duck dinner is an essential part of your visit to Beijing – another one is climbing the Great Wall. Peking duck has the reputation of being the most delicious Beijing food. It is mostly prized for the thin, crispy skin, though the meat is fat, it is tender and tasty, not greasy. In the evening, a Peking Opera show would be a good choice to entertain you. The show combines singing, musical dialogue, martial arts and fantastic coustumes. It is widely regarded as the highest expressionof the Chinese culture.

Confucius museum to be built in E China

With an investment of 500 million yuan (79.4 million U.S. dollars), the museum, located in Confucius’ hometown, the county-level city of Qufu, which is administered by the city of Jining, will cover 56,135 square meters, according to the Jining Tourist Information Center.

Qufu - the hometown of Confucious

Qufu's South Gate

Construction on a Confucius museum recently began in east China’s Shandong province, local authorities said Feb. 28, 2012.

A total of 110,000 pieces of cultural relics and 260,000 archived materials about Confucius and his families will be showcased when the museum is completed in three years.

Qufu - the hometown of Confucious

Confucius was giving lecture.

Confucius (551-479 BC), an educator and philosopher, founded a school of thought called Confucianism that deeply influenced later generations. He was also the first Chinese person to set up private schools and enroll students from all walks of life.

Qufu is the hometown of the great sage – Confucious, and his ancestors – the Kong clan. The city contains numerous historic palaces, temples and cemeteries. Collectively, the principal sights – the Confucius Temple, the Confucius Mansion and the Confucius Cemetery – are now known as the ‘San Kong’ (Three Confuciuses). Together, these three sites have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. Overall, Qufu is a testament to just how important Confucian thought once was in imperial China.

Qufu - the hometown of Confucious

Courtyard of Confucius Mansion (Kong Fu), Qufu, China

Qufu - the hometown of Confucious

Confucius Temple (Kong Miao),Qufu, China

Qufu - the hometown of Confucious

Confucian Cemetery(Kong Lin) - the graveyard of Confucius and his decedents.

(Source from Xinhuanet.com)