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China - The Internet Travel Guide (FAQ) (part 1/3)

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CHINA - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide


China is a superb tourist destination with a rich history and an
enormous number of sights. Home to numerous different ethnic groups,
it offers a cultural variety that is not found elsewhere. China's
major cities Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Guangzhou are all worth a
trip alone.


Check out these exciting China tour packages at
http://www.chinahighlights.com/cgi-bin/a.pl?chinahi&1009&tours/index.htm
or plan your own China trip at
http://www.chinahighlights.com/cgi-bin/a.pl?chinahi&1009&forms/tripplanner.htm


But China is not only a giant of tourism, it is in the middle of an
economic boom that makes China one of the leading nations in the
world.


Places
 Beijing
 Chang Cheng (Great Wall)
 Chang Jiang (Yangtse)
 Changzhou
 Chengde
 Chengdu
 Chongqing
 Dali
 Dalian
 Dong Guan
 Dunhuang
 Emei
 Forbidden City
 Guangzhou (Canton)
 Guilin
 Haikou (Hainan Island)
 Hangzhou
 Hefei
 Hekou
 Huang Shan
 Jinan
 Jiuzhaigou
 Kashgar
 Khotan
 Kunming
 Lijiang
 Luoyang
 Nanjing
 Qingdao
 Shanghai
 Shaolin Monastery
 Shenzhen
 Suzhou
 Tianjin
 Urumqi
 Wuhan
 Xian
 Xiamen
 Yangshuo
 Zhengzhou


General Information
 Border Crossing
 Climate
 Embassies
 Events
 Food
 Geographical Information
 Health
 History
 Hotels
 Internet Access
 Mail
 Money
 People
 Safety
 Telephone
 Visa


Transportation
 Bicycle
 Boat
 Bus
 Flying
 Train
 
**************************************************************************

CHINA - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1995 - 2005, Peter M. Geiser

http://www.pmgeiser.ch
http://www.pmgeiser.com
http://www.mineralwaters.org
http://www.dussy.ch

**************************************************************************

INTERNET HOTEL AND TRAVEL GUIDES

New series by Peter M. Geiser and Sibylle Dussy, with many photos:
 HONG KONG        http://www.pmgeiser.ch/hongkong
 JAPAN            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/japan
 MACAU            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/macau
 SWITZERLAND      http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz

"Classics", FAQ of rec.travel.asia
 CAMBODIA         http://www.pmgeiser.ch/cambodia
 CHINA            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china
 LAOS             http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos
 MYANMAR (BURMA)  http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar
 TIBET            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/tibet
 VIETNAM          http://www.pmgeiser.ch/vietnam

Hotel guides
 INDIA            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/india
 INDONESIA        http://www.pmgeiser.ch/indonesia
 MALAYSIA         http://www.pmgeiser.ch/malaysia
 NEPAL            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/nepal
 SINGAPORE        http://www.pmgeiser.ch/singapore
 THAILAND         http://www.pmgeiser.ch/thailand

**************************************************************************

BEIJING

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/beijing.htm


Beijing, a city of more than 10 million people, has been the capital
of China for over 800 years. The first records of the city date back
over 3000 years.

At the web-version of this travel guide at
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/beijing.htm
is an interactive map, and another, very large map of Beijing.


Sights

Beijing offers such a wide array of attractions that one can easily
spend weeks without getting bored. Some of the main attractions are
listed below.

Tiananmen Square
'The Square of the Gate of Heavenly Peace' is reportedly the largest
square of the world, with 1 km2. It is framed by the 'Great Hall of
the People' on its west side and the 'Museum of Chinese History' and
'Museum of the Chinese Revolution' on the east. On the south part is
'Chairman Mao's Mausoleum'.
At the north side is the entrance to the

Forbidden City

Jinshan Park
Just behind the Imperial Palace is the Jinshan Park. On top of the
hill is a pagoda where you get a good view over the Imperial Palace
and the city.

Bei Hai Park
Located just west of the Forbidden City, this park is set on the
shores of a nice lake. Its bright white pagoda on top of a hill is
visible quite far and dominates the park.

Temple of Heaven (Tian Tan)
The best time to see this park is when it opens at 6:30. It is a good
place to see Chinese people doing their numerous morning activities
like Taiqi, martial arts, ballroom dancing, playing musical
instruments, Mahjiang and Chinese Chess.
The entrance is CNY 30.

Tibetan Lama Temple (Yong He Gong)
Located in the north of the city is the Tibetan Lama Temple.

Summer Palace (Yu He Yuan)
The summer palace has been built be the mother of the last emperor, Xi
Qi. It is a pleasant garden with numerous imperial buildings on the
shore of a lake. The whole garden has been built out of taxes raised
for building a marine for China. o that nobody could accuse her of not
building any ships, the Emperor Dowager built one marble ship at a
jetty.
It takes about an hour from the center to the Summer Palace. The
entrance is CNY 35.



Recommended Books
 

Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     -5   -2    5   12   20   25   26   25   20   13    4   -2
        F     23   28   41   54   68   77   79   77   68   55   39   28

  max   C      1    4   11   20   26   30   31   29   26   19   10    3
  min   C    -10   -7   -1    7   13   18   22   20   14    7   -1   -7

 Rain  mm     76   76   76  102  152  203  305  254  178  152  102   76
       in      3    3    3    4    6    8   12   10    7    6    4    3

 days rain     2    3    4    5    6   10   14   13    7    5    4    2



Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/beijing.htm.

Restaurants

Most big hotels have international style restaurants.

Near the budget hotels are many cheap and quite nice restaurants.

There are many vendors selling excellent pancakes on their bicycle
kitchens.


Bars

Around the Sanlitun diplomatic area there are numerous bars and
nightclubs.

Jazz is big in Beijing. Many bars feature live Jazz music. Some places
are:

CD Cafe Jazzbar, East Third Ring Road, south of the Agriculture
Exhibition Center. Tel 6501-8877 ext. 6156. Fr - Sa, 9:30 pm -1:30 am,
free entry. Featuring the Liu Yuan Quintet, the quintessential Beijing
lineup.

Great Wall Sheraton Atrium, 10 East Third Ring Road North.
Tel 6500-5566. Sunday brunch only, free. Live jazz.

Guys-Shadow Cafe, 31 Kexueyuan Nanlu, Haidian District.
Tel 6261-8587. Th, Fr, Sa, 10 pm, free entry. Some of Beijing's top
musicians offer traditional jazz with Chinese elements.

Moon Shanghai (Shanghai Nights), 4 Gongti Beilu.
Tel 6506-9988. Th to Sa, 9 pm - 12:00 pm. Main room free. The house
band of retired music professors offers jazz from the 1920s and '30s.

San Wei Bookstore, 60 Fuxingmennei Dajie. Tel 6601-3204.
Fr 8:30 pm - 10:30 pm, 30 renminbi ($3.60). The Wide Angle Jazz Band
starring Liu Xiaosong, one of Beijing's top drummers.

**************************************************************************

CHANG CHENG (GREAT WALL)

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/changcheng.htm


The Chinese Wall or Great wall was built as a protection against the
Mongols from the north. It has been built in several stages and was at
its prime time more than 8000 km long. Today, most of it is in a state
of bad disrepair, and at some stretches even nearly invisible.
However, the Chinese government has recognised its value as a tourist
attraction and a place of historical significance, so it's starting to
restore at least part of it. There are several spots to visit it.

Ba Da Ling
The most famous and best known is Ba Da Ling. It is located 70 km
northwest from Beijing and easily reachable by tours. The wall is well
restored, but also extremely crowded.

There is a cable car going up on the wall, close to Hao Han Po.

Ming Ling
Less impressive than Ba Da Ling, but also less crowded.

Mu Tian Yu
Less crowded than Ba Da Ling, this place is very scenic.


Tours and Transport

There are several tours from Beijing to the Great Wall (mostly
Badaling). CITS charges USD 30 for transport, tickets to both the
Great Wall and the Ming Tombs, Lunch and Shopping (they will bring you
to a tourist shop where you are supposed to buy overpriced goods, so
that the driver gets a commission.) It should be possible to get
cheaper tours. Check out the ticket stands on Tienanmen Square or the
small restaurants near the Qiao Yuan Hotel in Beijing.
Several hotels offer tours for USD 30 to 50, which is still not
exactly cheap.
Another possibility is to go by subway to Xizhimen station and then by
train to Badaling. This should cost about USD 2. Going by train you'll
miss the Ming Tombs but you will have more time at the Great Wall.
The cheapest possibility is of course to take the public bus.

It is possible to walk along parts of the wall. You have to get permission
if you want to go astray the usual tourist spots. If you bring a
sleeping bag with you, you can even sleep on the wall. In theory you'd
have to get permission to camp outside (but you're probably better off
not mentioning your plans.)

One possibility to experience the Great Wall is to ride a mountain bike
over at least part of it. Getting permission requires a _lot_ of red tape
with the government. Since the wall is not too well preserved for most of
its lenght you will have to bring more than enough repair material with
you. Your tires are likely to get punctured more than 20 or 30 times a
day.

**************************************************************************

CHANG JIANG (YANGTSE)

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/changjiang.htm


The Chang Jiang is Chinas longest river. The new dam has now finally
been completed 40 km upstream of Yichang, at Xiling Gorge. This dam will
put the Three Gorges between Yichang and Chongqing under water. But you
still can enjoy the wonderful view of all the breathtakingly sheer
cliffs. One wonders who built the houses on long stilts trying to
hold on to the shore as well as possible.

There are four classes on the regular boats: second to fifth. In
communist China there is no first class, as this is considered
bourgeois. Second class is a double room and public showers and
toilets that are lockable (in contrast to the other showers and
toilets that are in one big room with everybody watching everybody
else.) Third class is in an eight berth room, while fourth class is in
14 berth rooms. Fifth class is no berth at all and probably not quite
official.
When I took the boat I was bold enough to use the second class shower
and toilet and most of the time stayed in the second class part
anyway. Since I was a foreigner nobody dared to say something (or they
didn't know that I stayed in third class.)

The more touristy boats are run by companies such as Regal China
Cruises. They take four days from Chongqing to Wuhan, and are thus not
only much slower than regular boats, but more expensive as well. For
all that extra money you get all-day Chinese music blaring from
loudspeakers. The 130 m long ships hold 258 passengers,
air-conditioning, private bathrooms, television, refrigerator and
24-hour service. There are shows every evening and a lot of on board
entertainment, so that the trip resembles the average cruise through
the Caribbean Sea.


**************************************************************************

CHENGDE

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/chengde.htm


Located some 250 km northeast of Beijing, this mountain city offers a
nice, cool alternative to the summer heat of the capital.


Sights

Bihushanzhuang
In 1703 the Qing emperor Kang Xi built a summer palace and gardens,
calling his summer residence Bihushanzhuang (fleeing-the-heat mountain
hamlet). Under his grandson Qianlong it had grown to the size of
Beijing's Forbidden City and Summer Palace combined, and was
surrounded by a 10 km long wall and covering 590 hectares. Qianlong
built many pieces of minorities architectures, especially Tibetan.

Putuozongsheng (Potala) Palace
The largest and most impressive of the Chengde palaces was built in
1790 by Qianlong for his 60th birthday.

Xumifushou Temple
This temple was built in 1781 in honour of the sixth Panchen Lama. It
is an imitation of a temple in Shigatse and combines Tibetan and Han
architecture. The highest point features a hall with eight copper
dragons, giving the roof an impressive look.

Pule Temple
Built in 1776 for visits of minorities, among them Kazaks, this temple
features an unusual Round Pavillion that resembles Beijing's Temple of
Heaven.

Puning Temple
The Puning Temple was built by Qianlong to commemorate his victory
over the Mongols. A stele describes the events in Chinese, Manchu,
Tibetan and Mongol. The temple itself is modeled on a Tibetan temple.
It features a 22 m high Buddha, Avalokitesvara, with 42 arms and an
eye on each palm.


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     -5   -2    5   14   20   25   26   25   20   13    4    3
        F     24   29   41   57   68   77   79   77   68   55   39   37

 Rain  mm     76   76   76  102  152  203  305  254  178  152  102   76
       in      3    3    3    4    6    7   12   10    7    6    4    3


**************************************************************************

CHENGDU

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/chengdu.htm


The capital of Sichuan is a beautiful city with some wide streets and
many nice old houses and streets. There are several markets worth
visiting.

In the western outskirts of the city is the Thatched Hut of Du Fu, a
famous Tang dynasty poet. It is set in a large, beautiful park with
bamboo grooves, tea houses, and many relaxing places to sit down and
enjoy the scenery.


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/chengdu.htm.


Restaurants

Between the main road Renmin Nanlu and the bus station there is a nice
footpath along the Nanhe River with many cheap restaurants. These
restaurants also offer excursions to various attractions all over
Chengdu, like visiting factories, a traditional Chinese hospital and
Sichuan Opera (where you can dress up like an actor and sometimes even
take part) in the opera.


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C      7   10   15   20   23   26   29   30   25   19   14   11
        F     45   50   58   67   73   78   84   86   77   66   57   51

 Rain  mm     15   20   38   99  142  180  142  122  150  112   48   20
       in     .6   .8  1.5  3.9  5.6  7.1  5.6  4.8  5.9  4.4  1.9   .8



**************************************************************************

CHONGQING

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/chongqing.htm


Chongqing is one of the biggest cities in China and also one of the
most polluted cities in the world (it made the top ten!). It is one of
four administrative cities in China.

It is situated on a hill at the confluence of the Chang Jiang and the
Jialing Jiang. To get a beautiful view you can take the cable car
across the Jialing river.


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C      7   10   15   20   23   26   29   30   25   19   14   11
        F     45   50   58   67   73   78   84   86   77   66   57   51

 Rain  mm     15   20   38   99  142  180  142  122  150  112   48   20
       in     .6   .8  1.5  3.9  5.6  7.1  5.6  4.8  5.9  4.4  1.9   .8


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/chongqing.htm.

**************************************************************************

DALI

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/dali.htm


Wedged between the Erhai Lake and the Cang Shan Mountains at an
altitude of 1975 m above sea level, Dali is one of the main tourist
hangouts in China. Dali has a mild climate, with an annual mean
temperature of 15 C and only about 56 days of frost and an average
annual rainfall or 1100 mm.

Already inhabited during neolithic times, Dali became an important
market place just off the Burma road during the time of the Han
dynasty. As early as 109 BC, the Han Emperor Wu Di set up
administrative institutions. The King of the Menshe tribe founded the
state of Nanzhao (Southern Princedom) in 739. Nearly two centuries
later, in 937, Duan Siping, chief of the Bai, overthrew Nanzhao and
founded the Dali kingdom, which lasted until Kublai Khan conquered it
in 1253 and integrated it into Yunnan province.

In the region of Dali live mostly Bai. Especially the women dress in a
very colourful style. A good time to visit is when one of the many
festivals is due.


Festivals

The San Yue Jie (Third Moon Street Fair) is held between the 15th and
21st day of the third lunar month (usually April.) Originally a
Buddhist festival, nowadays there are dances, races and singing, and a
big market with many goods to trade or buy.

During the Rao Shan Lin (Walkabout Festival), from the 23rd to the
25th day of the fourth lunar month, people dance and sing from one
temple to another.

In the height of the summer, on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month,
the Huo Ba Jie (Torch Festival) is held. There are dragon-boat races,
and in the evening fireworks are displayed and people carry blazing
torches around the town and its surroundings.


Sights

Zong Sheng San Ta (Three Pagodas)
Built in the 9th century, these three pagodas are just outside Dali.

Guanyin Tang (Temple of the Goddess of Mercy)
Five km south of the city, the Guanyin Temple is built on top of a
huge boulder. Legend has it that the Lady Guanyin has placed it there
to protect Dali from an invading army.


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     10   11   14   18   19   20   20   20   18   16   13   10
        F     49   52   58   64   67   67   68   68   65   60   55   50

 Rain  mm      8   18   28   41  127  132  196  198   97   51   56   15
       in     .3   .7  1.1  1.6  5.0  5.6  7.7  7.8  3.8  2.0  2.2   .6


Transportation

There are excellent mountainbikes for rent at the Red Camelia Hotel
for CNY 10 per day.

On Mondays, tourbusses depart for the Shapin Market for CNY 13. The
public bus is CNY 6 one way.

The taxi to the airport is CNY 80 and the ride takes about 40
minutes.


Hotels

The Red Camelia Hotel, also known as the No 2 Guesthouse has double
rooms for CNY 30 and CNY 90 with showers and CNY 180 for the luxury
suites. Dormitory beds are CNY 10.

The No 1 Guesthouse has rooms for CNY 110, CNY 200 and CNY 240.

**************************************************************************

DALIAN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/dalian.htm


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/dalian.htm.

**************************************************************************

DONG GUAN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/dongguan.htm


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/dongguan.htm.

**************************************************************************

DUNHUANG

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/dunhuang.htm


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/dunhuang.htm.

**************************************************************************

EMEI

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/emeishan.htm


South of Chengdu, this is one of the four sacred mountains of China.
You can be sure that there are scores of tourists, mostly Chinese. The
typical tour is to get up one day, spend the night at the monastery on
top, view the sun rise on top of the mountain and then get back down
again.

There are several cheap hotels. You can also try your luck at one of
the monasteries, usually the cheapest places, but also the most
crowded.


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C      7   10   15   20   23   26   29   30   25   19   14   11
        F     45   50   58   67   73   78   84   86   77   66   57   51

 Rain  mm     15   20   38   99  142  180  142  122  150  112   48   20
       in     .6   .8  1.5  3.9  5.6  7.1  5.6  4.8  5.9  4.4  1.9   .8


**************************************************************************

FORBIDDEN CITY

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/forbidden.htm


The imperial palace of the former emperors of the Ming and the Qing
dynasty is commonly known under the name 'Forbidden City'. This name
is derived from the fact that nobody was allowed inside the city,
except the emperor himself, his wifes and concubines and the eunuchs.
The official name is now "Gu gong bo wu yuan" (Palace Museum) or short
just Gu gong.

Construction started in 1406 when emperor Yang Le dispached officials
to the provinces to orgranise building materials. The first palace was
completed in 1420, only to have the three main halls destroyed by fire
the next year. Fire soon became somewhat common. Every couple of years
some building or other burnt down, but as you can see, it was always
rebuilt. Many of the buildings have changed name over time. In this
guide I shall use the name that was last used and is still the one
that is commonly known.

The complex is huge, covering 961 m from north to south and 753 m from
east to west. It is surrounded by a moat, called the "Tube River".
Just inside are  very impressive walls that are 7.9 m high, 8.62 m
thick at the base and 6.66 m wide at the top. The walls are formed by
three layers of bricks on both the inside as well as the outside of an
earthen core. To complete the wall, more than 12 million bricks
measuring 48 cm x 24 cm x 12 cm and weighing 24 kg were needed.


Map of the Forbidden City
In the Web-version of the Internet Travel Guide at
http://www.pmgeiser.ch there would be a map right here.


Descriptions of Selected Buildings

The main entrance is the Meridian Gate, a forbidding structure
enclosing three sides of a rectangle with 12 m high walls with a huge
hall on top of these walls. Just beyond the Meridien Gate is a
courtyard covering 26'000 m². It is divided by the beautifully curved
Inner Golden River, which can be crossed by five bridges.

The Gate of Supreme Harmony leads to the center of the Forbidden
City, consisting of the three main Palaces elevated on a three-tired
terrace 8.13 m high. The first and largest (60 m wide and 33.33 m
deep), the Hall of Supreme Harmony, towers 35.05 m high. In the
middle of the hall is the ornately carver imperial throne. During the
Ming and Quing dynasties it was the centre of the court activities.
All the important ceremonies such as cownings, imperial birthdays,
royal weddings, etc. held place.

Just behind the Hall of Supreme Harmony is the Hall of Complete
Harmony. It was used by the empreror to acknowledge respects of
various court officials and to read memorials. Its square shape with
24 m side length is dwarved by the other two halls.

The third hall, the Hall of Preserving Harmony was used to hold the
imperial examinations, the highest ranking civil service examinations.
It houses another throne, but not as intricately carved as the
imperial throne. Leading from the Hall of Preserving Harmony down into
the courtyard is a huge slab of marble (16.57 m long, 3.07 m wide, and
1.7 m thick), weighing more than 250 tons! It displays beautifully
carved dragons.

Behind that courtyard is the Inner Court. This was the residential
area of the emperor and the imperial household. Its main structures in
order are Gate of Heavenly Purity, Palace of Heavenly Purity,
Hall of Union, Palace of Earthly Tranquility, and Gate of Earthly
Tranquility. Beyond that gate is the Imperial Garden. Both, the
Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Hall of Union house other
thrones. Beside the one in the Hall of Union is a beautiful water
clock.


Practicalities

The entrance fee is CNY 60.

There are tapes with an audio tour, available in about 30 languages.
With witty texts and spoken by people native to the respective
language, it is easy to understand and certainly worth the CHY 20 that
is costs. This tape guides you through a very narrow strip of the
Imperial Palace, and if you are not careful you find yourself suddenly
at the back and outside the Place, and there is no way back in except
buy another ticket. If you would like to explore the more hidden
places, make sure you quit the tour (i.e. stop the tape) before the
end.


Guidebooks

Order the selected books at
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/forbidden.htm
to get more information about the Forbidden City as well as many
beautiful pictures.


**************************************************************************

GUANGZHOU (CANTON)

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/guangzhou.htm


In former times the foreigners were confined to their trading outpost
on Shamian Island where they hung up plates stating that dogs and
Chinese were not allowed on it. Nowadays, everything is Chinese and
foreigners are welcome everywhere as long as they bring money.


Sights

Market
Cantons market is an experience in itself. There is a saying about the
Cantonese that they eat everything that flies, except a plane,
everything that swims, except a ship and everything with four legs,
except a car. So you'll be likely to find every imaginable kind of
food somewhere around.
If you consider buying a pet, the market is the place to get it. But
do make sure you get it alive. There is a story (nobody knows if it is
really true, but it's a nice story anyway.) of a British student who
was thinking of buying a puppy to keep her company. After finally
agreeing on a price, the Chinese selling it wanted to be nice and
helpful and, to the horror of the student, started to prepare it!

Liurong Temple
The 'Temple of the Six Banyan Trees' was built in 537. Originally
known as Baozhangyan Temple, it received its present name from the
famous Song dynasty poet Su Dongpo who was strukc by the presence of
six banyan trees on the temple ground. There is nine-storey pagoda.

Yuexiu Park
Guangzhou's largest park covers 93 hectares. It includes the Sun
Yatsen Memorial Hall, the Zhenhai Tower and the Sculpture of the Five
Rams.

Orchid Garden
This pleasant garden, constructed in 1957, shows over 100 variants of
orchids.


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     13   14   18   22   26   27   28   28   27   24   20   15
        F     55   57   64   71   78   81   83   83   81   75   68   59

 Rain  mm    152  203  254  279  381  508  457  406  330  203  152  127
       in      6    8   10   11   15   20   18   16   13    8    6    5
 Rainy days    8   11   14   15   19   20   16   16   13    7    6    6


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/guangzhou.htm.

Restaurants

A speciality of Guangzhou are its Dim Sum, little snacks eaten
whenever one feels like it. A good place to sample a wide variety is
the Taotaoju (Abode of Tao Tao) restaurant. On its three (or were it
four?) floors you select the Dim Sums directly from trolleys wheeled
about as you are going on with your meal.

On Shamian Island there are many small restaurants where you can eat
well and quite cheap.

**************************************************************************

GUILIN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/guilin.htm


Guilin is in the middle of one of the world's most stunning
landscapes. There are innumerable hills jutting out of the flat earth
at random.


Sights

Duxiu Peak (Solitary Beauty)
Located right in the middle of Guilin, this steep pinnacle offers
stunning views over Guilin and nearby Lijiang River. The top can be
reached by 306 steps.

Elephant Trunk Hill
One of the mountains in the center of the town is aptly named
'Elephant Trunk Hill' (or just Elephant Rock). It indeed resembles an
elephant with its big trunk hanging over a small part of the river. It
is at the confluence of Lijinag River and Taohua (Peach Flower) River.
On the northern side is a Ming dynasty built pagoda.

Ludi (Reed Flute) Cave
One of Guilin's main tourist spots, the Reed Flute Cave appeals
perfectly to the Asian taste of kitsch. It is lit by neon lights in
all possible colours. However, it is still worth a visit. There is a
500 m long trail laid out for tourists.

Night Market
The night market is colourful indeed and an attraction that shouldn't
be missed. It can be combined with a pleasant stroll along the
tree-lined bank of the Li River.


Tours

There are tours on the Li River to Yangshuo where you can admire the
beautiful landscape. Apart from being not too cheap, these tours are
very touristy and a general hassle. People on the boat are walking
money bags to the local population, so the motto is: beg or sell as
good as possible in the short time the money is close.


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C      9   10   13   19   24   24   28   28   27   22   16   11
        F     49   49   56   66   75   75   83   82   80   72   60   52

 Rain  mm     33   56   97  160  206  193  160  178   84   43   38   38
       in    1.3  2.2  3.8  6.3  8.1  7.6  6.3  7.0  3.3  1.7  1.5  1.5



Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/guilin.htm.

**************************************************************************

HAIKOU (HAINAN ISLAND)

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/haikou.htm


This beautiful sub-tropical island in the South-China sea has
beautiful beaches, and offers excellent swimming facilites. It makes
an ideal place to relax after a cultural tour through the bustling
China.


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/haikou.htm.

**************************************************************************

HANGZHOU

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/hangzhou.htm


Hangzhou is a pleasant town with many parks lying at the shore of the
beautiful West Lake. Within the lake there are some island connected
by causeways.

Founded in 589, was Huangzhou one of the six old capitals of China.
It was capital of the Wuyuw state from 907 until 978 and then again
from 1129 and 1279 of the Southern Song dynasty.

In old China Hangzhou was famous for the beauty of its women.


Sights

West Lake
The West Lake is Hangzhou's main attraction. Covering an area of 5.6 km²
(3.3 km x 2.8 km), it is beautifully surrounded by green hills. In its
middle are three artificial islands, Xiaoyingzhou, Huxinting, and
Yuangongdun. The largest is accessible over two bridges and a causeway
crosses the lake from north to south.

Longjing
A short bus ride away from Hangzhou is the tea village Longjing
(Dragon Well). When I was there, a nice woman was showing me the tea
plantation and how she processed tea in her own house. Of course there
was a higher motive to this tour: she wanted to sell me some of her
tea. Since the tea was very good and fresh, and the price was ok, this
was a good deal.


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C      4    5    9   15   21   24   29   28   24   18   12    6
        F     38   40   49   59   69   75   84   83   75   64   54   43

 Rain  mm    254  254  330  330  305  356  279  279  305  254  203  178
       in     10   10   13   13   12   14   11   11   12   10    8    7



Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/hangzhou.htm.

**************************************************************************

HEFEI

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/hefei.htm


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/hefei.htm.

**************************************************************************

HEKOU

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/hekou.htm


Hekou is situated at the border to Vietnam, in the south of Yunnan.


Hotels

The hotel just opposite the bridge at the border costs CNY 240 for a
single and CNY 360 for a double room.

The Hekou hotel, reached by walking to the left from the bridge and
taking the first turn right, has rooms for CNY 50, 60, 100 and 150.
The later have aircon and hot water.

**************************************************************************

Huang Shan

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/huangshan.htm


Huang Shan, the "Yellow Mountain", designates a vast area in South
Anhui, covering more than 1200 m². The region consists of 72
mountains, the highest being 1860 m high.

Main Mountains of Huang Shan

Above-the-Clouds Peak
Arhat Peak
Ascending Peak
Beginning to Believe Peak
Bookcase Peak
Boyu peak
Bright Top Peak
Candle Peak
Celestial Capital Peak
Cloud Gate Peak
Cock Peak
Cuiwei Peak
Eyebrow Peak
Fairy Capital Peak
Fairy Maiden Peak
Floating Mound Peak
Flying Dragon Peak
Flying Over Rock

Frog Peak
Immortal Peak
Incense Burner Peak
Lion Peak
Lotus Peak
Lotus Staments Peak
Millstone Peak
Nine-Dragons Peak
Pagoda Peak
Peach Blossom Peak
Pen Rack Peak
Pillow Peak
Purple Cloud Peak
Purple Stone Peak
Red Cloud Peak
Rong Cheng Peak
Rose Peak

Sheng Quan Peak
Stalactite Peak
Standing Horse Peak
Stone Column Peak
Stone Figure Peak
Taoist Priest Peak
Terraced Screen Peak
The Eighteen Arhats Worshipping at South Sea
The Flower Grown out of a Writing Brush Rock
The Immortal Pointing the Way
Threading Needle Peak
Toad Peak
Turtle Peak
Watching Fairy Peak
Wo Yun Peak
Xuanyuan Peak
Yunji Peak


Famous pictures show Huang Shan from the top of a mountain with the
valley covered in mist.

At the southern end is a hot spring area.


Climate

Huangshan is in the northern part of the sub-tropical zone and has a
mild, wet climate. Temperatures vary greatly between mountain top and
valleys.

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     -3   -2    3    8   12   15   18   17   14    9    4   -1


Transport

Huang Shan is connected by flight and train with all the major cities
in China.

There are many beautiful walks in throughout the region. 

There are three funiculars, to Red Cloud Peak, to White Goose Range,
and to the Jade Screen Hotel.

**************************************************************************

JINAN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/jinan.htm


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/jinan.htm.

**************************************************************************

JIUZHAIGOU

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/jiuzhaigou.htm


This beautiful nature resort in northern Sichuan closest resembles
Alpine regions with snow covered mountains, beautiful lakes and many
waterfalls. There are many Tibetan settlements. The altitude is about
3000 m warranting cold nights and temperatures could drop below zero
degrees. Bring along warm clothes!

To make the trip, count at least five days, better a week or more. If
you have more money than time, you might also consider flying with a
helicopter from Chengdu.

There is an entrance fee of several USD. Inside the park, cheap
accommodation is available. Make sure you bargain!

**************************************************************************

KASHGAR

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/kashgar.htm


Long time ago the center of the silk road and an important trading
point, Kashgar nowadays is a moderate center with some 120000
inhabitants. It makes an excellent starting point for trekking.

The bus to Khotan is CNY 54 and can be purchased half an hour before
departure of the bus. Take some water with you, this is desert land
with 60 km and more without a drop of water!


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     -4   -1    8   15   21   25   27   26   21   14    5   -3
        F     25   31   46   60   70   77   80   78   70   57   42   28

 Rain  mm     15    3   13    5    8    5   10    8    3    3    5    8
       in     .6   .1   .5   .2   .3   .2   .4   .3   .1   .1   .2   .3


**************************************************************************

KHOTAN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/khotan.htm


In Khotan there are still many Uigurs. It certainly is one of the more
off-the-beaten track towns.

**************************************************************************

KUNMING

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/kunming.htm


Situated at an altitude of 1890 meters near the pleasant Lake Dian,
the capital of Yunnan offers a mild climate all year round. Yunnan is
the sister town of Zuerich in Switzerland.

There have been nice, old buildings around the Wucheng Lu market
street, but they are currently torn down. However, the market remains
and is still worth a visit. Old style houses can still be seen around
Dongsi Jie.

Stone Forest
Some way outside Kunming is the Stone Forest, a collection of stone
pillars remotely resembling trees. It is a bit touristy, but if you
walk past the masses of Chinese group tourists that mingle in the
northern part, you will be able to enjoy a bit of what it must have
been a long time ago when nobody came here.
There are daily tours leaving Kunming sometime around 7 to 8 am. The
bus takes about 3 hours one way. The bus costs CNY 40, and the
entrance to the Stone Forest is another CNY 33.

Bamboo Temple
This Tang Dynasty temple is twelve km north-west of the city. The
current structure is not that old, however. After burning down in the
15th century it had to be rebuilt. During a major renovation between
1833 and 1850 some 500 life-size figures. Entrance is CNY 10. There
are direct busses to the temple.


Climate

Kunming is also called the town of eternal spring. The climate is mild
all year round.

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     10   11   14   18   19   20   20   20   18   16   13   10
        F     49   52   58   64   67   67   68   68   65   60   55   50

 Rain  mm      8   18   28   41  127  132  196  198   97   51   56   15
       in     .3   .7  1.1  1.6  5.0  5.6  7.7  7.8  3.8  2.0  2.2   .6


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/kunming.htm.

Restaurants

Excellent Sichuan pork is available in the Yunnan Typical Food
restaurant. Between it and the Camelia hotel are several nice cafes
that sell beer. The draft beer is more expensive than the bottle.

The Nanlaisheng Coffee Shop at Jinbi Lu is recommended for its
excellent coffee and for its real bread.

**************************************************************************

LIJIANG

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/lijiang.htm


Located among spectacular scenery near the border to Tibet, this city
is the center of the Naxi minority. The Naxi are descendants of
Tibetan nomads and until recently lived in a matriarchal society.


Transportation

It is possible to rent bikes for CNY 12 per day.


Hotels

Since the earthquake at the beginning of 1996 rooms have become very
scarce, because all the hotels are under reconstruction.

The Funshan still has some rooms left for CNY 170. There is hot water,
but only in the evening from 7 pm to 11 pm.


Restaurants

Recommended are Mama Fu's and the Old Market Cafe (who does not accept
Diners Card even though there are stickers.)

Just opposite Mao's statue is a food stand selling excellent steamed
dumplings.

**************************************************************************

LUOYANG

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/luoyang.htm


Founded in 1200 BC, Luoyang is one of the oldest Chinese cities. It
was home to 10 dynasties, until the Jin moved their capital to
Kaifeng. After being destroyed by Jurchen invaders from the north, it
sunk into insignificance. Nowadays, it is a rather glum industrial
center.

Baima Si (White Horse Temple)
13 km north of the city is the Baima Si. It was founded after two
monks sent as early as 67 to India to fetch holy scriptures returned.
It is the first Buddhist temple in China, and the first translations
of the Holy scripts from Sanskrit into Chinese were don here.


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/luoyang.htm.


Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C      0    2    8   15   21   26   28   25   21   15    8    2
        F     32   35   46   58   71   80   82   79   69   59   46   35

 Rain  mm     13   18   18   23   51  102  178   76   25   18   15   13
       in     .4   .7   .7   .9    2    4    7    3    1   .7   .6   .4


**************************************************************************

NANJING

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/nanjing.htm


Nanjing was the old capital in the south (hence its name which means
'South Capital'). It is one of the most beautiful cities in China,
with wide tree lined avenues.


Sights

Ming City Wall
During the Ming dynasty, Nanjing was in its prime and numerous
reminders of that time can be found in and around the city. The most
impressive is probably the remains of the Ming city wall. Once having
measured 33 km, it was the longest city wall in the world. It took
over 200'000 people to build it during 1366 - 1386. Bricks from five
provinces were used and each brick has been stamped with the origin,
the overseer's name and rank, the bricklayer's name, and sometimes the
date. If a brick broke, it had to be replaced. The average height is
12 m and the top is about 7 m wide. Today, about 20 km is still
standing.

Ming City Gates
Of the 13 city gates that originally gave access to the city, only
some remain. The most impressive, the Zhonghua Gate in the south once
garrisoned 3'000 soldiers who lived in the vaults. The northern gate,
the Heping Gate is used as military barracks.

Ming Palace
Except for the Five Dragon Bridges, made of marble, and the Wu Men
gate, nearly nothing remains. The palace was destroyed by bombardment
during the Taiping rebellion.

Chang Jiang (Yangtse) River Bridge
When the Chinese wanted to build a bridge in the fifties, they
naturally looked for help towards the Sowjet Union. But it was about
the time that relations became increasingly distorted, so that China
instead turned to the Americans. After some studies, they declared it
impossible to build a bridge over the Chang Jiang. So the Chinese,
stubborn as they were, started to build by themselves. Finally, after
many years of constructions, the bridge could be opened on 23 December
1968. It is a double-decker, with a 4500 m long road on the upper
floor and a 6700 m long railway below. In one of the bridgeposts is a
museum, depicting this triumph of Chinese communism over American
capitalism.

Nanjing Museum
The Nanjing Museum, although not big, houses a beautiful collection of
artefacts from Neolithic times until the Communist period. There is a
wonderful burial suit, made of small, rectangular jade pieces held
together with silver thread. It dates from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25
- 220 AD).

Taiping Museum
Nanjing was the center of the Taiping rebellion. Its leader, Hong
Xiquan, had built a palace, which was destroyed during the
bombardement of the city in 1864. The only remaining piece is a stone
boat in an ornamental lake.

Tomb of Hong Wu
This Ming emperor tomb lies east of the city on the southern slope of
Zijin Mountain. It was built between 1381 and 1383 but was unused
until the emperor died in 1398 at the age of 71. As with the Ming
tombs near Beijing, the alley leading to the tomb is lined by stone
statues of animals (lions, camels, elephants, horses) and officials.
In the inner of two courtyard is the "Soul Tower" or "Altar Tower"
which can be climbed. Behind the courtyards, the 350 m mound of Hong
Wu's grave can be seen.

Sun Yatsen Memorial
A short way further is the memorial to the father of the modern China.
A huge stairway that is 323 m long and 70 m wide leads up to the Ming
style burial temple. The temple itself is divided into two chambers,
the memorial ceremony chamber and the coffin chamber. There are
ruomours that state that the body of Dr. Sun Yatsen is no longer in
his grave, but has been carted off to Taiwan be the Guomindang.

Linggu (Soul Valley) Park)
Further east is the Linggu Park, host to various sights of different
quality. One of the most interesting building, the Beamless Hall,
is the remains of a temple that was moved from the site of Hong Wu's
tomb when the emperor needed the place to build his grave in 1381. The
building is made entirely of bricks with a vaulted ceiling. The
Linggu Temple has a memorial hall to Xuan Zhang, a Buddhist
monk that travelled to India and brought back the scriptures (which is
"commemorated" in the story of the Monkey King. See section on
Classics). Nearby is the Linggu Pagoda, with 60 m / 9 storeys
offering a nice view over the surrounding area. It was built in the
1930s by an American architect as a memorial to Guomindang members who
died in the 1926-1928 revolution.

Nanjing tower is a 310 m high television tower.


History

The area of Nanjing has been inhabited for more than 5000 years, and
many preshistoric sotes have been discovered. During the Warring
States Period (475 - 221 BC), Nanjing was host to numerous battles,
which came to an end when the State of Qin (221 - 207 BC) finally
united the nation. From this time, Nanjing grew as the administrative
and cultural centre of the region.

In 220 AD, after the collapse of the Eastern Han, Nanjing became the
capital of the state of Wu when the emperor moved his court here.

The 6th century brough many desasters to the city, floods in 507 and
533, a great fire in 521, a pestilence in 529 and several pesant
rebellions in 533, 541, 542, and 544. In 548, the army of General Hou
Jing planned to overthrow the southern emperor and sacked the city,
only to be victime of yet another palace intrigue.

In 589, the first emperor of the Sui Dynasty, Wen Di, destroyed
Nanjing nearly completely. During the Tang dynasty, it enjoyed a
period of prosperity, but graudally faded into obscurity.

Yet another peasant rebellion, led by Zhu Yuanzahng, restored Nanjing
to its former glory as the capital. After having captured Nanjing in
1356 and Beijing in 1368 and overthrowing the Yuan Dynasty, Zhu took
the name Hong Wu and established Nanjing as the new capital of the new
Ming Dynasty. Huge city walls, that still can be seen, an enormous
palace and other important buildings were built. The city grew to the
administrative, cultural, and economic metropolis of the country. In
1420, the next Ming emperor, Yong Le, moved the capital north again to
Beijing while Nanjing declined once again.

In 1842, Nanjing became world famous when some 80 Brithish war ships
threatened to bomb the city. The resulting "Treaty of Nanjing", the
first of the "Unequal Treaties" opened several Chinese ports to the
West and established the colony of Hong Kong.

From 1851 until 1864, the Taiping rebellion had its centre in Nanjing.
A Quing army helped by British and American forces finally managed to
supress this Chinese Cristian army after heavy bombardment of Nanjing
for seven months.

In 1922, Dr. Sun Yatsen established the Chinese republic, first with
the capital in Bejing, and later in Nanjing. The city was captured by
the Japanese in 1937, and nearly exterminated the population. The real
figure of dead during the "Rape of Nanjing" is unknown, but official
numbers are around 300'000 to 400'000. After the defeat of the
Japanese in 1945, the Guomindang moved their capital back to Nanjing
and in the two following years peace talks between them and the
Communists were held.


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china/places/nanjing.htm.

Climate

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C      5    6   11   17   23   25   30   30   25   19   13    7
        F     41   43   52   63   73   78   85   85   78   67   56   45

 Rain  mm    152  152  203  279  304  381  254  203  178  178  152  127
       in      6    6    8   11   12   15   10    8    7    7    6    5

**************************************************************************

CHINA - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1995 - 2005, Peter M. Geiser

http://www.pmgeiser.ch
http://www.pmgeiser.com
http://www.mineralwaters.org
http://www.dussy.ch

**************************************************************************

INTERNET HOTEL AND TRAVEL GUIDES

New series by Peter M. Geiser and Sibylle Dussy, with many photos:
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 JAPAN            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/japan
 MACAU            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/macau
 SWITZERLAND      http://www.pmgeiser.ch/schweiz

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 CAMBODIA         http://www.pmgeiser.ch/cambodia
 CHINA            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china
 LAOS             http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos
 MYANMAR (BURMA)  http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar
 TIBET            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/tibet
 VIETNAM          http://www.pmgeiser.ch/vietnam

Hotel guides
 INDIA            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/india
 INDONESIA        http://www.pmgeiser.ch/indonesia
 MALAYSIA         http://www.pmgeiser.ch/malaysia
 NEPAL            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/nepal
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