Quarantine Post #21: Travel Destination Bucket List (China Edition)

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So I am back for another bucket list travel edition. I have given serious thought to the different countries I will be traveling to when we are given the green light to move about the world again. My last post was about traipsing all around Great Britain… well this one will be all about my want to travel to China. There are several touristy things I want to do… and since I have talked my friends ears off about this… I figured I would write it out to the world. So let’s jump into this:

There are a few historical cities that I want to visit. I am camera ready for the wonderful architecture.

  • Luoyang: The 13 Dynasties’ Capital – Evidence of its imperial past include the Longmen Grottoes along the shore of a river where thousands of Buddhist and historical figures were carved.
  • Nanjing: Ancient Capital from 265 AD – Historical attractions include Sun Yatsen’s Mausoleum where the man who is considered the founder of modern China is buried.
  • Zhengzhou: It is considered to be the cradle of China’s civilization. The Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu that has been often portrayed in movies and a TV series, is in the mountains nearby.
  • The 3 Confucius sites: The Kong Family Mansion was where the descendants of Confucius lived. It is huge and designed to reflect Confucian philosophy in its separation of areas for work, reception, and relaxation. The 480 rooms house a treasure of relics including imperial calligraphy. The Cemetery of Confucius has become the graveyard of the Kong family, and more than 100,000 of Confucius’ descendants are buried there. It is called Kong Lin (“Confucius’ Forest”). Qufu Confucius Temple is the second largest scale ancient architectural complex in the world, after the Forbidden City. The temple was originally built as Confucius’ house, and was changed into a temple to worship Confucius in the second year after his death.
  • The Summer Palace: China’s Largest Imperial GardenThe Summer Palace is China’s largest imperial garden. The Summer Palace was a royal summer resort in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), so the architectures and the layout there are awesome. Boat cruises are available on Kunming Lake. There are numerous stores in Suzhou Street, selling souvenirs like antiques, snacks, silk, jewelry, and tea. The shop assistants there are dressed in the costumes of the Qing Dynasty.
  • Xi’an: the First Capital When China Was United – Xi’an is also a world-class historical city that retains more of its ancient character and atmosphere than Beijing. Xi’an was the first imperial capital of China in the brief Qin era (221–206 BC). Historic sites include: the Terracotta Army, thousands of statues of soldiers and a necropolis for the Qin Emperor (more on that later) and the Ancient City Wall.
  •  Hangzhou: A Landscaped Imperial Retreat – Hangzhou is known in history first of all as an imperial landscaped retreat and garden for the emperors of Beijing, but it was also capital of China during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279).
  • Kaifeng: The City of Calligraphy– Kaifeng was an imperial seat of power between 907 and 1127 including the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127). It is known as the “City of Calligraphy” since several styles originated here.

While I am into historical sites… I have several specific things that I want to see. And I am trying to decided how much time I am going to need to take off to see all the things I want. For now, I am looking at 14 days. I doubt very much that my job is going to let me take off 30 days. But for now I am getting my list together and checking it twice. So here is everything I want to see and do in China. Needless to say, I will need plenty of microSD cards for my camera. There will be thousands of pictures.

  • The Great Wall of China in Beijing – One of the iconic symbols of China, the Great Wall is the longest wall in the world, an awe-inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture. It deserves its place among “the New Seven Wonders of the World” and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China.
  • The Terracotta Army in Xi’an – 2,000-Year-Old Underground Army: The Terracotta Army has laid underground for more than 2,000 years. It is significant because the hundreds of detailed life-size models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies in the Warring States Period (475—221 BC), and who were the decisive factor in forming a united China. It raises interesting questions about why it was made.

  • The Bund in Shanghai – Stunning Skyline, Colonial Architecture: The Bund is one of the most recognizable architectural symbols of Shanghai. It showcases the world with its colonial European buildings and skyscrapers the other side of the Huangpu, housing one of the world’s foremost business districts.
  • The Li River in Guilin- China’s Most Celebrated Scenery: The karst landscape along the Li River has captured the heart of artists. Generations of Chinese painters and poets have been inspired by the beauty of nature there, using their pens and brushes to capture the breath-taking natural scenery.Nowadays it’s a popular photography destination. When Chinese travelers seek a place for natural beauty, they first think of Li River and Yangshuo.
  • The Yellow Mountains near Shanghai – Legendary Wonders: In east China, close to Shanghai and Hangzhou, the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area woos travelers with its five wonderssun risesseas of cloudsoddly-shaped rockstwisted pine trees, and hot springs. The Yellow Mountains are the most famous peaks in China, and one of China’s three best national parks — the other two being Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and Jiuzhaigou National Forest Park. 
  • Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong – Mighty Skyscraper Skyline: Victoria Peak is the best spot to have a bird’s eye view of Hong Kong. Viewed from the peak, both day and night scenes are worth taking in. See high-rise buildings round the busy Victoria Harbour stretching out towards Mainland China. At night the scenery is gorgeous, when the Symphony of Lights of various buildings dances in unison.
  •  West Lake in Hangzhou – Paradise on Earth: Hangzhou is renowned as China’s “paradise on earth” owing to its beautifully crafted landscape. West Lake was created after the Chinese love for garden-style parks for recreation. West Lake is a place of tranquility where urbanity becomes a silhouette on the northeast horizon and mountains near and far surround it on the other three sides. The occasional pagoda and Chinese-style arched bridge add atmosphere to the tree-lined walkways, verdant islands, and hills.
  • Tiananmen Square– The square contains the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
  • Walk through Meridian Gate and see the Palace of Heavenly Purity – Passing the Meridian Gate and walking through the Inner Golden River Bridges, I get to see the huge square in front of the spectacular Three Palaces of the Outer Court of the Forbidden City. I can go straight forward to the  Gate of Supreme Harmony (Taihemen).
  • The Imperial Garden – There are some twenty structures, each of a different style, and the ways in which they harmonise with the trees, rockeries, flower beds and sculptural objects such as the bronze incense burners.

  • The Gate of Divine Prowess– The northern gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.
  • Participate in a Tai Chi lesson alongside locals in Temple of Heaven Park
  • Walk down the Long Corridor to enter the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
  • Pass the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower, which marks what was once the center of the city.
  • Visit the Exhibition Hall to see two sets of bronze chariots and horses that were excavated from the archaeological site in 1980
  • Yulong River bamboo raft ride – board a bamboo raft and leisurely float down the scenic Yulong River. Pass by towering limestone peaks, grassy rice paddies, and grazing water buffaloes as you go.
  • Acrobatic Show – gravity-defying acrobatic show this evening, which highlights Chinese traditions dating back to 200 BC. With amazing music, creative stage props, and incredibly talented performers, the impressive acts can only be likened to the world-renowned performances of Cirque du Soleil.
  • Enter the Jade Buddha Temple to see the white jade statues of sitting Buddha  and reclining Buddha.

  • Stroll through the Yuyuan Garden, the “Garden of Happiness”  
  • Visit the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha

I have also learned they have cruises down the Yangtze River. And you guys know I am about that cruise life. (https://www.chinahighlights.com/tour/cht-62/) The Yangtze River is one of the most interesting rivers in the world, with a wide variety of tourist attractions, scenery, and culture along its length. This is an 11 day cruise so I may have to do separate trips which would never be a problem for me. Just thinking about it makes me excited.

There are four Yangtze Cruise routes:

  • From Chongqing to Yichang (downstream) takes three nights and four days.
  • From Yichang to Chongqing (upstream) takes four nights and five days.
  • From Chongqing to Shanghai (downstream) take six nights and seven days.
  • From Shanghai to Chongqing (upstream) takes eight nights and nine days.

As is the case with any of my out of country trips, I have found a few tours that may at least get a few of the things on my list. So I will be posting links to them. I have friends that hate guided tours… I am not sure yet that I feel that way. I haven’t gone on one yet. In most cases, there is a about a 2 or 3 hour tour with the rest of the day to explore myself. Which in theory, I am good with.

There is a lot here to try and cover. I am not sure I would have a person on the whole trip with me but doesn’t that mean I don’t plan to do this. Absolutely not. I see myself heading in with my giant camera. As is my way, I have no more words so for now I am done.

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