Every weekend is an opportunity to travel around China, and Xi’an was next on my list. It was not enough time to see everything the city has to offer or to even try the famous ‘biang’ noodles. Nevertheless we enjoyed every second of it from the morning up until midnight.
On the last day of QingMing break we visited Tianjin, which is located by the coast just south of Beijing. Tianjin is one of the five national central cities of the People’s Republic of China and is the 6th largest city in terms of population. Since we were only here for one day we did not get to see much of the city but we visited the most popular sites (including Walmart, ha).
During the Qing Ming break we escaped from the Beijing windy-weather to a much nicer place in southern China. Guilin was our first stop after a 23 hour train ride, which did not seem that long since I slept most of the time. Sleep-eat-sleep-again-read-a-book-eat is the life in a train, but if you’re curious like me exploring around is another option. Guilin is known for its mountainous scenery and its chili sauce. It’s the best one I’ve ever had in China and it is actually considered one of Guilin’s Three Treasures. The other two are Guilin Sanhua Jiu, a liquor distilled from rice (which I did not get to try); and Guilin pickled tofu.
View from the Seven Star Park Continue Reading
On a beautiful, sunny, blue sky day we visited Tiāntán, the Temple of Heaven. The temple is a prime example of Chinese religious architecture, this is where Emperors of the Qing and Ming dynasties performed annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. The Construction began in the early 15th century under Yongle, who is known as the “architect of Beijing.” Shaped like a semicircle on the northern rim to represent heaven and square on the south for the earth, the grounds were once believed to be the meeting point of the two. So many Chinese believed for so long that this was the center of the world.
Stepping out of Beijing for the first time to visit Harbin was the best decision ever! A couple of Tsinghua friends and I visited the annual Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival which has been held since 1963. It was interrupted for couple of years due to the Cultural Revolution but resumed in 1985. Harbin is located in the Northeast China and is influenced by the cold weather from Siberia. The festival starts in January and lasts for one month, luckily we were able to visit before the end and the weather was bearable (-10 C). The ice is taken from the surface of the Songhua River, then carved by chisels, ice picks and different types of saws to form the sculptures.
There is a famous saying in China, “You are not a hero until you climb the Great Wall,” and I’ve conquered the Great Wall so I am a hero! This site is even nicer than I thought. It was a nice clear day when I went, the only bad thing was the cold wind. I was freezing up there, but walking and climbing lots of steps help you keep warm. Continue Reading
The Forbidden city was once home to a long line of emperors. With its magnificent halls, winding lanes, and stately courtyards that will leave you in awe is Beijing’s treasure. It is now the palace museum of the city and the world’s largest palace complex. The museum has been rebuilt so not all of it’s original, but the architecture it’s the same. It has 800 buildings and more than 8,000 rooms (you might need more than one day to observe each building). Its construction began in 1406, so it has a history of nearly 600 years and 24 emperors ruled the whole country from here for nearly 500 years. Continue Reading