Qinghai Lake – Exploring the Seas of Canola Flowers in Summer

One of China’s less-touristy places, northeast of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Qinghai Lake is a real treasure-trove of natural beauty. If you’re looking for a couple of days of a cool summer vacation with adventures and flower festival, consider making a romantic approach to Qinghai Lake area – it’s also worth taking a train in from neighboring Tibet by Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

10-day Qinghai & Gansu Expedition

Qinghai Lake in China

When talking about canola flower festival in China, most think of that in Luoping, Yunan Province or Wuyuan, Jiangxi Province. And yet it is hard to imagine a place better than Qinghai Lake in summer, with seas of canola flowers blending into the stunning views of pure plateau lake (3000 m above sea level) and heads of sheep and cows. It’ll be a great pleasure to camp by the Qinghai Lake in summer.

Qinghai Lake with Rape Flowers

Though the rape flowers last from late June to early October, the best time to visit Qinghai Lake is between July 10th and 20th (average daily temperature around 15℃), when all canola flowers are in full blossom, coupled with the dramatic ever-changing sky and sacred blue lake, and featuring a magnificent display of golden yellow color. It is also the time when Tour de Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race is held.

China Qinghai Lake adventures

Qinghai Lake bike tours

The best place to appreciate the rape flower fields

1. On the way from Xining to Qinghai Lake

2. Riyue Mountain (日月山) – on the east mountainside, there are sloping rape flower terraced fields, while on the west mountainside, a vast canola flower land extend with Qinghai Lake to as far as your eye can reach.

The flower festivels in China

3. Menyuan (门源) – 150 km north of Xining, the place is most famous for the over 600,000-mu canola flower fields with Haomen River flowing through.

Tibet Qinghai Lake vacations

4. Zhuo’er Mountain (卓尔山) – of typical Danxia Landform, made up of red sandstone and gravel rock, the mountain becomes a palette in July with the canola flower blossoms. It is also a great place for watching sunrise.

Trip to Qinghai Lake and Tibet

Luodai: Honorable Hakka Ancient Town in Chengdu

Ancient Chinese architecture

Located approximately 20 km (12.4 miles) east of Chengdu city center, one of the many old towns around Chengdu, Sichuan Province, the more than 1800-year-old Luodai Town (洛带古镇) has been carefully rebuilt and is full of the charm of ancient culture, showcased in the enticing Hakka museums, century-old Hakka dwellings, and beautiful old streets.

3-day Xiamen Tulou Discovery Tour

Read more about Hakka Tulou building in Fujian Province

Old towns around Chengdu

Ancient Hakka tulou buiding in Chengdu

Said to be initially founded by Emperor Liuchan during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), Luodai has been a settlement for Hakka people from all over the country (mostly from Guangdong and Fujian provinces). Today, nearly 90% of the residents totaled 20,000 are Hakka, who still follow their ancient practices and traditions, and preserve the Hakka culture. Thus it is famed as ‘the no.1 Hakka town in West China’.

Ancient towns in Sichuan China

Chinese ancient architecture tour

With a long history and well-kept ancient Hakka culture, Luodai Town has a lot to offer – stroll on the old streets and alleys of Ming and Qing style to admire at the old Hakka courtyards and theaters with delicate and vivid carvings of images of dragons, phoenix, flowers and birds. There are four guide halls named Guangdong Guidehall, Jiangxi Guidehall, Huguang Guidehall and Chuanbei Guidehall, a Hakka Museum and a park, which constitute a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture.

China ancient towns exploration

The nearby attractions include Yudai Lake, Jinlong Temple and Jinlong Great Wall that is the biggest imitation Great Wall in China.

Luodai Town Chengdu

Best time to visit with the traditional festivals:

With an annual average temperature at 16 -17℃, without cold winter or hot summer, Luodai is nice for traveling all year round. However, spring till summer is considered the best time to visit, when you can expect the fruit harvest, peach blossoms festival, and the magnificent Fire Dragon Festival and Water Dragon Festival.

Best China Chengdu ancient town tours

How to go to Luodai Old Town from Chengdu

30min By Taxi or private vehicle

40 min by regular bus (departures every five minutes) from Wugui Bridge Bus Station (五桂桥汽车站) with price at RMB3

The bus to Luodai Old Town

What to eat in Luodai Old Town

The local food is of typical Hakka style, featuring spicy and crispy flavor, with famous snacks and dishes such as sad bean jelly, ‘swan eggs’, Hakka stuffed tofu etc.

The most famous Hakka snacks

The 16 Best Chinese Noodle Restaurants in Shanghai

Where the East meets the West, the vibrant metropolis Shanghai is famed for a diverse mix of culture and cuisine, and teemed with excellent cafes, Western restaurants, Chinese restaurants and noodle shops that cater to all tastes. We’ve filtered through recommendations from thousands of foodies to dig up the top Chinese noodle restaurants in Shanghai.

8 Famous Noodles to Try in China

Recommended China Gourmet Tour

For Spicy Meat Noodles (辣肉面)

1. 220 Noodle Restaurant, Shanghai (220辣肉面馆)

For local Shanghainese, 220 Noodle Restaurant is the first choice of spicy meat noodles. The red chili oil mixed with minced meat offers you a best flavor possible of spicy noodles.

Price: around RMB13yuan per person

Address: 2-1 Songhuajiang Road, Yangpu District (close to Jungong Road) (杨浦区 松花江路2-1号, 近军工路)

Top noodle restaurants in Shanghai

2. Yongxing Noodle Restaurant (永兴面馆)

Most famous for its duck leg noodles, Yongxing also has excellent spicy meat noodles, with spicy meat of authentic Shanghahi flavor.

Price: around RMB15yuan per person

Address: 448-454 Guangxi North Road, Huangpu District (黄浦区 广西北路448-454号, 宁波路口)

what to eat in Shanghai

3. Chunhe Noodle Restaurant (春和面馆)

You’ll have to queue up at lunch time for their noodles. The soup is cooked by cow bones.

Price: around RMB17yuan per person

Address: 1081 Changde Road, Jing’an District (next to Anyuan Road) (静安区 常德路1081号, 近安远路)

For Chitterlings Noodles (大肠面)

4. Dayan Noodle Restaurant (大眼面馆)

Developed from a steamed bun shop, Dayan noodles are favored by local people with fresh toppings, full-bodied soup and soft, good-smelled chitterlings.

Price: around RMB17yuan per person

Address: 105 Luban Road, Luwan District (next to Liyuan Road) (卢湾区鲁班路105号, 近丽园路)

Shanghai noodles

5. Xianggeli Noodle Restaurant (香阁丽面馆)

The noodles look spicy and greasy, with lots of chili oil and seasonings, but are the foodies’ favorite, especially in winter.

Price: around RMB23yuan per person

Address: 501 Liyuan Road, Luwan District (close to Jumen Road) (卢湾区 丽园路501号, 近局门路)

For Yellow Croaker Noodles (黄鱼面)

6. Aniangmian Noodle Restaurant (阿娘面)

The most renowned Lane Noodles (弄堂面) of the Old Shanghai, A Niang Noodles are full of memories. Yellow croaker noodles are the specialty.

Price: around RMB29yuan per person

Address: 36 Sinan Road, Luwan District (close to Nanchang Road) (卢湾区 思南路36号, 近南昌路)

best Shanghai noodles 

7. Youxin Shanghai Dessert (有心上海点心)

The noodles are handmade, without any additive, and taste absolutely smooth. The yellow croakers are the best of its kind and cooked within 12 hours after caught.

Price: around RMB60yuan per person

Address:

1378, Huamu Rd, ShiJi GongYuan, Pudong (花木路1378号浦东嘉里城商场)

179, Maotai Rd, Changning (金光绿庭商场)

For Seafood Noodles (海鲜面)

8. Shi Mian Huan Teng Noodle Restaurant (十面欢腾)

The green crab noodles (with soup or without soup) are the most recommended.

Price: around RMB60yuan per person

Address: 795 Dingxi Rd, Changning District (长宁区定西路795号)/352 Changle Rd, Luwan District (卢湾区长乐路352号)

seafood noodles in Shanghai

9. A Li Jia Noodle Restaurant (阿莉家的面)

The only noodle shop in Shanghai that offers Antarctic crayfish noodles, it combines the Japanese flavor with local Shanghai flavor. Enjoy the fresh seafood and delicious seasonings.

Price: around RMB59yuan per person

Address: 394 Zaoyang Road, Putuo District (普陀区 枣阳路394号)

For Pork Liver Noodles (猪肝面)

10. Baotai Noodle Restaurant (宝泰面馆)

One of the top four noodle restaurants in Luwan District, Shanghai, it is an after-hours restaurant.

Price: around RMB29yuan per person

Address: Lane 1, 1072 Quxi Road, Luwan District (卢湾区 瞿溪路1072弄1号)

Chinese noodles in Shanghai

11. Kingkong Wonton & Noodle Restaurant (金刚馄饨还有面)

As the name indicates, this restaurant is famous for offering Shanghai’s best wontons, as well as the pork liver noodles.

Price: around RMB44yuan per person

Address: Room 001, Building 11, 207 Mengzi Road(蒙自路207号11号楼001)

For Bullfrog Noodles (牛蛙面)

12. Haling Noodle Restaurant (哈灵面馆)

The good reputation has brought it numerous customers every day. A bowl of bullfrog noodles includes two or three bullfrogs, and can be shared by two girls.

Price: around RMB26yuan per person

Address: 8 Guangxi South Road, Huangpu District (黄浦区 广西南路8号)

Chinese noodle shops in Shanghai China

For Sliced Eel Noodles (鳝丝面)

13. Fuhai Noodle Restaurant (福海面馆)

Another one of the top four noodle restaurants in Luwan District, Shanghai

Price: around RMB15yuan per person

Address: 332 Xietu Road, Luwan District (卢湾区 斜土路332号)

the most famous noodle shop in Shanghai

14. Xiaoguan Noodle Restaurant (小管面馆)

The noodles with the ingredients are of typical Shanghai cuisine flavor and retain the old Luwan taste.

Price: around RMB18yuan per person

Address: 1230 Quxi Road, Luwan District (卢湾区 瞿溪路1230号)

For Noodles Mixed with Scallion (葱油拌面)

15. Weiman Noodle Restaurant (味满)

Here the noodles recall local people’s childhood memory…

Price: around RMB100yuan per person

Address: 97-1 Xiangyang North Road, Xuhui District, close to Xiangyang Building (徐汇区襄阳北路97号-1临襄阳大楼)

Chinese Noodles Mixed with Scallion

16. Laodifang Noodle Restaurant (老地方面馆)

A very small noodle shop, but with very high popularity!

Price: around RMB22yuan per person

Address: 233 Xiangyang South Road, Xuhui District (徐汇区 襄阳南路233号)

Chinese Phrasebook for International Travelers

To break the language barrier is the first and foremost thing when travelling in China, especially when you are backpacking in China. Despite the fact that Chinese kids are learning English from primary school onwards, it is still a barrier that most overseas travelers may come across. Therefore, you’re encouraged to bring with a Chinese Phrasebook or learn a few words and phrases in advance.

Here we offer you some of the most commonly used Chinese words and phrases, with simplified Chinese characters, pinyin (pronunciation), and the English translation.

Tips for First-time Travelers to China

Chinese Pinyin English
你好 Nǐ hǎo Hello/Hi
你好吗? Nǐ hǎo ma? How are you?
shì Yes
不是 bù shì No
hǎo Good/ok
不好 bù hǎo not good
谢谢 xiè xie thank you
不客气 bù kè qì You are welcome
对不起 Duì bù qǐ I’m sorry
没关系 Méi guan xi It’s okay. (polite response to “I’m sorry”)
Qǐng Please
请问 qǐng wèn Excuse me
早上好 zǎo shàng hǎo Good morning
下午好 xià wǔ hǎo Good afternoon
晚上好 Wǎn shàng hǎo Good evening
晚安 Wǎn ‘ān Good night
很高兴认识你 Hěn gāo xìng rèn shì nǐ Nice to meet you
再见 Zài jiàn Goodbye/ Bye-bye
你叫什么名字? Nǐ jiào shén me míng zi? What is your name?
我叫… Wǒ jiào … My name is…
我不会讲中文 Wǒ bú huì jiáng zhōng wén I can’t speak Chinese
你会说英语吗? Nǐ huì shuō Yīng yǔ ma? Do you speak English?
我听不懂 Wǒ tīng bù dǒng I don’t understand
这是什么? zhè shì shén me? What is this?
这是… zhè shì… This is …
我想要… Wǒ xiǎng yào… I want…
我不想要… Wǒ bù xiǎng yào… I don’t want…
多少钱 duō shǎo qián How much is it?
几点钟 Jǐ diǎn zhōng What’s the time?
我喜欢… Wǒ Xǐ huān… I like…
我不喜欢… Wǒ bù Xǐ huān… I don’t like …
duì Right/correct
不对 bù duì Wrong/incorrect

When You Need Help

洗手间在那里 Xǐ shǒu jiān zài nǎ li? Where is the bathroom/toilet?
我饿了 Wǒ è le I’m hungry
我渴了 Wǒ kè le I’m thirsty
我累了 Wǒ lèi le I’m tired
我迷路了 wǒ mí lù le I’m lost
请帮助我 Qǐng bāng zhù wǒ Please help me
我生病了 wǒ sheng bìng le I’m sick
我受伤了 wǒ shòu shāng le I’ve been injured
我需要医生 wǒ xū yào yīshēng I need a doctor
我可以用您的电话吗? wǒ kě yǐ yòng nín de dian huà ma? Can I use your phone?

Numbers in Chinese

0 líng  
1 One
2 èr Two
3 sān Three
4 Four
5 Five
6 liù Six
7 Seven
8 Eight
9 jiǔ Nine
10 shí Ten
100 yībǎi One hundred
1000 Yī qiān One thousand

 

The 10 Most Famous Hutongs in Beijing

Distinctive yet diverse; traditional yet stylish: Beijing has the mixing of the new and something very old. When it comes to Beijing’s fascinating cultural and historic relics, you should never miss the numerous crisscross hutongs. Walking through the narrow alleys of quadrangle dwellings, one cannot fail to appreciate the city’s pristine, intoxicating atmosphere, and discover the old Beijingers’ lifestyle.

1-day day Beijing Hutong Walking Tour

3-day Featured Beijing Shopping Tour

17-day China Ancient Architecture Tour

1. Nanluogu Xiang (南锣鼓巷)

Initially built in Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368), Nanluogu Xiang (South Gong and Drum Lane) runs approximately 1000 meters (3280 feet) from Di’anmen Dong Avenue on the south to Gulou East Avenue on the north. It connects eight east-west hutongs, and resembles a huge centipede, thus another name Wugong Xiang (Centipede Alley). Several alleys are teeming with restaurants, cafes, bars and boutique shops, while the others retain a relatively pristine look of the Old Beijing.

Beijing hutong tours

Visit Beijing Hutongs

2. Yandai Xiejie (烟袋斜街)

Another best-known hutong in Beijing, Yandai Xiejie (Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street) is about 300 meter (984 feet) long, connecting Di’anmen Street at the east end and Qianhai of Shichahai at the west end. On this tobacco-pouch-shaped street, the Manchu people used to be found of smoking, which gives its name – the Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street.

What to see in Beijing

best-known Beijing hutongs

3. Mao’er Hutong (帽儿胡同)

The east-west Mao’er Hutong connects Nanluogu Xiang and Di’anmen Wai Street. There are many well-kept quadrangle courtyards, of which, some are traditional private gardens and celebrities’ former residences. Keyuan Garden in Mao’er Hutong built during Qing Dynasty imitates the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Lion Grove of Suzhou.

Must-visit Beijing hutongs

Beijing hutong pedicab tour

4. Guozijian Street (国子监街)

One of the oldest streets in Beijing, the quint Guozijian Street is located between Andingmen Inner Avenue and Yonghegong (Lama Temple) Avenue, Dongcheng District. It is famous for housing Guo Zi Jian (the highest Imperial Academy during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties) and the Confucius Temple, apart from the ancient archways, ancient pagoda trees and courtyard dwellings.

Beijing ancient architecture tour Best China Beijing tours

5. Liulichang Cultural Street (琉璃厂)

Located in the Heping Gate of Xuanwu District, 1 km away from Tian’anmen Square, the 800-meter-long Liulichang Cultural Street starts at Nanbeiliu Xiang (west) and ends at Yanshou Street (East). Through the years it has been known as one of the largest antique markets in China and a great place to appreciate the traditional Chinese culture and buy ancient Chinese books, ceramics, carving works, calligraphies, as well as the “four treasures of the study”: Chinese brushes, ink, paper and ink stones.

Cultural Beijing China tour

what to buy in Beijing China

6. Jinyu Hutong (金鱼胡同)

Jinyu Hutong (Goldfish Hutong) is 567 meters long, and connects the bustling Wangfujing Street in Dongcheng District. It is home to the Xianliang Temple (now Auspice Theatre), one of the eight Buddhist temples constructed during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is a pity that Jinyu Hutong has turned to be a spacious street, where many of ancient dwellings and buildings do no longer exist.

Most famous hutongs in Beijing

top hutongs in Beijing

7. Dongjiaomin Xiang or Legation Quarter (东交民巷)

Xijiaomin Xiang and Dongjiaomin Xiang was linked together as one in Yuan Dynasty, and named Jiangmi Xiang (River Rice Alley) as it was an import distribution center for rice and grains to the north. With a length of approximately 3km, Dongjiaomin Xiang is the longest hutong in Beijing. It was named Legation Quarter in 1901 and managed by eleven foreign legations, where they built banks, churches and hospitals. As a result, there are still many old Western-style buildings on Dongjiaomin Xiang.

top ten Beijing hutongs

should-not-miss hutong in Beijing

8. Xijiaomin Xiang (西交民巷)

Running from Tian’anmen Square to Beixinhua Street, interacting with several small hutongs, Xijiaomin Xiang is 1080m long, and famous as a bankers’ land. There were many international and domestic banks. Founded in 1905, the Daqing Bank was the most famous Chinese-funded bank, and the predecessor of the Bank of China.

ten most popular hutongs in Beijing

what to see in Beijing Hutong

9. Ju’er Hutong (菊儿胡同)

Next to Nanluogu Xiang, Ju’er Hutong retains the original appearance, and arouses people’s wide concern on the protection of old Beijing’s Hutong and courtyards. No. 3, No.5 and No.7 of Ju’er Hutong are the former residence of Rong Lu (1836-1903), a minister of the late Qing Dynasty. In 1988, No. 3 and No.5 were listed as officially protected monuments and sites. No.7 was used as the Afghan embassy. No.41 was a temple.

top five Beijing hutong

the history of Beijing hutongs

10. Bada Hutong or The Eight Great Hutongs (八大胡同)

There are actually at least 15 hutongs, which comprised the Old Beijing’s famous red light district. The most renowned eight hutongs include Baishun Hutong, Yanzhi Hutong, Hanjiatan (now Hanjia Hutong), Shaanxi Xiang, Stone Hutong (Shitou Hutong), Wangguangfuxie Street (now Sago Palm Street), Zhujia Hutong, and Lishamao Hutong (now Dali Hutong and Xiaoli Hutong). It is particularly gratifying that The Eight Great Hutongs have been well preserved, in spite of the massive changes in Beijing.

Beijing hutong trips

Beijing hutong travel