Sichuan Teahouses 四川茶馆

Sichuan Teahouses 四川茶馆

There are few pleasures more enjoyable in China, than reclining in a bamboo chair sipping freshly brewed tea from a porcelain cup in an traditional, old teahouse. Whether you are just people-watching, reading a book, planning your next destination or chatting with friends, it’s one of those memories that will stay with you, long after you have left China. Teahouses are commonplace throughout China; Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities all have their own, and many are extremely fashionable, but it is in Sichuan where you will find the genuine article. Many Sichuan teahouses have managed to retain the timeless atmosphere we associate with Ancient China and continue to form part of people’s daily lives.

Teahouses in Sichuan can range from the humblest hovel to a restored Qing mansion, a converted old theatre or a Buddhist or Taoist temple. The simplest teahouses are often set in rickety, old, wooden buildings on the verge of collapse, they…

For more go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

Beijing: Evictions, Hutong Demolition and the 2008 Olympics

COHRE ( COHRE – Centre On Housing Rights and Evictions) claims that the Beijing Municipality has forcefully evicted more than a one and a quarter million Beijing residents to make way for the Olympic Games in 2008.

“The Beijing Municipality and BOCOG have violated the housing rights of over 1.25 million residents of Beijing in pursuit of relentless economic growth, including the hosting of international showpieces such as the Olympic Games. The mass displacements and evictions implemented in Beijing are a clear case of the illegitimate use of evictions as a tool of development by the Beijing Municipality and BOCOG, in a bid to transform the city into a ‘world-class metropolis’ fit to host the ‘best Olympic Games ever.’ Despite courageous protests inside China, and condemnation by many international human rights organisations, the Beijing Municipality and BOCOG have persisted with these evictions and displacements. COHRE’s research has shown how the awarding of the Olympic bid to Beijing by the IOC has been used as a pretext to ride roughshod over rights of affected residents,”.

COHRE – Centre On Housing Rights and Evictions

Some are fighting eviction in Beijing
Apart from the forced evictions it should also be noted that hundreds, if not thousands of Beijing’s historic hutongs (old streets and home to the traditional courtyard houses), palaces and temples that have been reduced to rubble in order to be replaced by wide featureless avenues, souless shopping centres and a an opera house that locals call the Rotten Egg.

The Destruction of beijing's historic Hutongs continues apace before the Olympic Games in 2008

Enjoy The Games!

BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Viewing China From the West and From Within – New York Times

New Material

In the next few weeks we will be putting up the following  new material.

There will be a 3 part special section on the province of Guizhou.

A review of our trip to Tibet.

A trip around Wuyuan in Jiangxi. Famous for having the most beautiful scenery in China.

What to do if Stuck in Shijiazhuang.

Two new gems will include Dazu near Chongqing and Yangmei near Nanning in Guangxi province.

The Dreaded Entrance Ticket: Shitou Zhai:

The dreaded entrance ticket 门票. The expensive surprise you get when you visit a remote village in China

Shitou Zhai 石头寨 The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai  石头寨
Baishui River (白水河 Shitou Zhai 石头寨

Shitou Zhai 石头寨(visited in 2007)

Shitou Zhai 石头寨 The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai  石头寨
 Baishui River (白水河 Shitou Zhai 石头寨

the Dreaded Entrance Ticket or Ménpiào 门票 at Shitou Zhai 石头寨.

‘Menpiao, Menpiao, yinggai mai menpiao门票,门票应该买门票’ (buy an entrance ticket, you need to buy an entrance ticket). When someone from a hidden booth or shack shouts those dreaded words just as you enter what you think is an undiscovered bucolic paradise, you roll yours and ask yourself. “How much is this going to cost?”. In the case of Shitou Zhai; quite a lot.

waterwheel Shitou Zhai 石头寨 The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai  石头寨
Water Wheel Shitou Zhai

The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai 石头寨 , not far from China’s largest waterfall at Huangguoshu   and easily accessible by public transport, is said to have been around for some 500 years, and judging by the condition of some of the houses it could well be true.

Shitou Zhai 石头寨 The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai  石头寨
Stone buildings at Shitou Zhai

The Bouyi build stone houses that resemble dwellings in European medieval villages. Anyone who has visited the remoter parts of the Spanish provinces of Castilla and Leon, or Galicia, will recognise the style immediately.

Shitou Zhai 石头寨 The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai  石头寨
Lazy dogs at Shitou Zhai

The Dreaded Entrance Ticket

These days, visitors are met at the entrance by friendly young women, dressed in traditional clothes, who act as guides – included in the steep 40 Yuan ticket (the dreaded Menpiao: That unexpected expense when you arrive in a village in rural China) – and give you a reasonably interesting demonstration on batik making techniques, provided you can speak Chinese.

rice fields Shitou Zhai 石头寨 The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai  石头寨

They then take you for a walk around the village. Some of the old stone houses are still quite impressive, but many are just ruinous shells with nobody living in them.

Buyi Lady Shitou Zhai 石头寨
A local bouyi at Shitou Zhai 石头寨

Producing Batik In Shitou Zhai

You might catch a glimpse of a few local Bouyi dressed in their dark-blue, dyed and embroidered clothes, but not many.

Batik making Shitou Zhai 石头寨
Making Batic (蜡染 /Làrǎn) Shitou zhai 石头寨

However, you will find plenty of opportunities to purchase batik products (蜡染 /Làrǎn) , your guide will be more than happy to point them out. While you are browsing, you may bump into wholesalers from Anshun 安顺 , many of whom buy their stock in Shitou Zhai.

Batik making Shitou Zhai 石头寨
Making Batic Shitou Zhai 石头寨

It’s a good idea to check out Anshun 安顺 prices first (especially the shops lining Nanhua Lu, near the bus station, specialised in Bouyi batiks (蜡染 / Làrǎn and Miao clothes) and then buy here.  Prices are very reasonable,  as long as you bargain.

Old houses Shitou Zhai 石头寨
Stone toofs at Shitou Zhai 石头寨

Stunning Coutryside Surrounding Shitou Zhai

If Shitou Zhai is a bit of a let down, the surrounding countryside is stunningly idyllic. Slow rivers and water canals meander through rice fields, buffalo and village children swim in inviting pools, and enchanting paths lead off to other stone villages (without ticket) and towards the beautiful karst mountains.

Rice fields Shitou Zhai 石头寨
Water canals and Karst scenery around Shitou Zhai 石头寨

If you continued for another 3 km after Shitou Zhai, through the rice fields, you’d reach the river (  Baishui River (白水河 ) only a few kilometres before it cascades over the rocks and turns into Huangguoshu falls.

children swimming Shitou Zhai 石头寨
 Baishui River (白水河 Shitou Zhai 石头寨

Practicalities:

Getting there and away:

Street scene Shitou Zhai 石头寨
Path along Baishui River (白水河 to Shitou Zhai 石头寨

You should get on a Huangguoshu– bound bus from Anshun 安顺 and ask the driver to drop you at the turn-off for Shitou Zhai, from where it is a pleasant 2- kilometre walk, following a slow winding river (Baishui River 白水河 ) and grazing buffalos to the village.

Bouyi traditional houses
Shitou Zhai 石头寨
Stone houses at Shitou Zhai Scenic area 石头寨

Returning, there are many buses that pass through Shitou Zhai going to the town of Zhenning, from where buses depart every 10 minutes to Anshun 安顺 .

Shitou Zhai 石头寨 The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai  石头寨
 Baishui River 白水河 Shitou Zhai 石头寨

Food:

Not Much! There are (were) no restaurants, but there is a small village shop where you can buy drinks, snacks and sweets.

waterwheel Shitou Zhai 石头寨 The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai  石头寨
 Baishui River (白水河 Shitou Zhai 石头寨
old man Shitou Zhai 石头寨 The stone Bouyi (ethnic group) village of Shitou Zhai  石头寨
Local Bouyi in Shitou Zhai 石头寨

Gansu Travel Insurance: From Our Diary: September 10, 2002.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002, Bus ‘Mafan’, or bloody hassle!

Kongtong Shan Gansu Province / 崆峒山甘肃省

It wasn’t as easy as we had thought. Having paid 200 yuan for the Gansu Travel Insurance, a worthless piece of paper that does nothing for the hapless traveller, but protects the bus company in case you are injured or killed on one of their buses, a possibility that cannot be excluded, given some of the driving and conditions on the roads, we expected to be sold a ticket and board the bus to Pingliang. Our final destination being the Taoist mountain of Kongtong Shan.

Adam had seen on the departures board that a bus was leaving at 11.20, so he strolled over to the window, insurance paper in hand,  to purchase two tickets. To our amazement, he was told by the rude attendant that there were meiyou (no) buses to Pinglian, ever, and that we had to take the train. Disbelieving, we went outside, to the departures area where we identified the actual bus and checked with the driver and conductor, who both confirmed that this was indeed the bus to Pingliang and that it was leaving at 11.20, but that we had to buy a ticket at the ticket office.

Round two: we returned to the office, choosing a different window, and asked for 2 tickets again. The second attendant just waved her hand at us in a dismissive manner and said meiyou baoxian (no insurance). So that was the problem? Triumphantly, Adam pulled out the insurance paper and placed it in front of her. Without even looking at it she just repeated meiyou and turned to the customers behind us.

Though Adam insisted that our insurance was in order, she just blanked us, as if we didn’t exist. And here began one of those episodes that occasionally can drive China travellers to despair: we refused to budge, she refused to look at us, or our insurance. After a stand-off of 2 or 3 minutes, she pulled down the shutter and moved away. We tried two more ticket sellers, but met with the same response.

Kongtong Shan Gansu Province / 崆峒山甘肃省

Eventually, we decided to just board the bus. We took two seats and waited. The conductor wanted to take us and was willing to purchase two tickets on our behalf. Unfortunately, an inspector prevented her from doing so. By now it was 11.20 and the driver was anxious to leave. However, knowing that we were in the right, we refused to get off. It was an uncomfortable situation for all, but we held our ground, locked in a ridiculous battle of wills.

Kongtong Shan Gansu Province / 崆峒山甘肃省

As a last resort, Adam decided to appeal to the PSB, the security police. Leaving me on the bus, he went to the PSB desk inside the bus station. A friendly officer told him that he needed insurance to travel in Gansu province. Patiently, he again produced our insurance papers. Again, without looking at the papers, the officer told Adam to follow him to a travel agent’s next to the bus station. The agent  pulled out some forms for us to fill in and said the insurance would cost 200 Yuan.

Kongtong Shan Gansu Province / 崆峒山甘肃省

Totally exasperated Adam showed our papers again and, at long last, someone actually bothered to look at them! ‘But you already have travel insurance!’  the surprised travel agent exclaimed, comparing the two forms. Back to the station Adam went, victoriously, accompanied by the PSB officer. He marched up to the same ticket seller, who had previously spurned his insurance papers. This time she merely smiled sheepishly and quickly sold him two tickets. Then we were off!

The Ticket
Kongtong Shan Gansu Province / 崆峒山甘肃省

Lake Kanas

This article was previously posted on our Webpage: holachina.com (not blog) in 2002

哈纳斯湖自然保护区 Lake Kanas

Xinjiang 新疆 China
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖
Update: You can no longer stay actually on the lake as we did in 2002. You have to stay at a tourist camp a few kilometers away or in a nearby village. Lake Hanas has in recent years become a huge domestic tourist destination especially in summer.

Getting to Lake Kanas

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖. A slightly more ambitious expedition will take you from Ürümqi to Hanasi Hu, or Lake Hanas, in the Altai region, close to the borders with Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. In fact, the majority of the population in the region is Kazakh.

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

  First, you need to take an overnight sleeper bus from Ürümqi’s main bus station to Bu’erjin, the capital of the region. Most probably, taxi drivers will be waiting for you at the bus station, to arrange further transport up to the lake, as there was no public transport at that time (2002).

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

We got together with two other travellers and hired a jeep for about Y400. Before setting off, our helpful driver first took us to the Public Security Bureau (PSB), as foreigners still need a special permit to visit the area. In spite of what the CITS (China International Travel Service) in Ürümqi had been trying to tell us, this was an extremely painless operation lasting no more than 10 minutes.

Lake Kanas: Need a permit

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

After this, the actual ride to Lake Hanas took another 3 to 4 hours, due to bad road conditions and large scale construction works, meant to improve them.

Building the road to Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖: Now it is much faster to get there.

Arrival at Lake Hanas is at the tourist camp, or settlement, that has developed at the lake front. Accommodation here is quite basic and your best bet is probably a Kazak yurt.

Kazakh Camp
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

In the evenings around the yurts there is singing, dancing, drinking and plenty of barbecued meat on sticks.

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

Anyway, apart from the lack of creature comforts, the lake – which is of an incredible turquoise blue – and its surroundings are stunning.

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖: Hiking

From the village, you can climb a peak near the lake, up to Guanyu Pavillion 观鱼亭 (2030m), from where there are spectacular views over the lake, the mountains, dark pine forests and grasslands。(There now appears to be a rather hastily built and untasteful new structure acting as a look out post). Pity! Sometimes beauty is in simplicity.

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

From the view point you can see the snow capped friendship Peak (Youyi Feng 友谊峰) in the distance. The part that rises up from Mongolian territory makes Friendship peak Mongolia’s hightest mountain. Just two and a half kilometers beyond Friendship Peak is another peak,  Mount Kuitun ( 奎屯山; Kuítún shān), which marks the international boundary between China, Russia and Mongolia.

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

There are plenty of other easy day hikes that you can take through the grasslands, stopping off at some of the yurts that sell refreshments. Or, if you prefer, you can hire a horse for a day or half-day. The common sight of nomads herding flocks of sheep and Bactrian camels provides a genuine pastoral charm that’s difficult to replicate in the rest of China.

Kazakh Camp
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

It is also possible to make excursions to other valleys and villages further afield, but you will have to hire a car and driver.

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

Additionally, you may need a permit for some of these places, so take this into account when applying in Bu’erjin. The scenery in the neighbouring valley of Hemu Hanas 和木, and around the stone village of Bai Kaba is said to be particularly stunning.

Kazakh Camp
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

Hanas practicalities:

Back in 2002 the entrance ticket (men piao 门票) cost a steep 100 yuan and that was when one euro got you 10 yuan. Be assured that the entrance ticket costs a lot more now.

Eating and Sleeping

Kazakh Camp
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

The settlement that has sprung up in the lake area is quite chaotic: it’s a mixture of yurts, tourist hotels, guest houses and cabins, spread around a couple of meadows and muddy lanes. (See above for more recent info).

Kazakh Camp
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

In spite of the increasing influx of tourists, especially since the construction of a nearby landing strip for small planes, facilities for tourists have not really kept up.

Kazakh Camp
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

Accommodation

The yurts and many of the guesthouses don’t have any toilet or washing facilities, and the whole village has one large block of (unlit) public toilets, extremely hard to find your way around in after dark, especially since there are no street lights either. (This has now changed)

Kazakh Camp
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

When we got there, we were told that foreigners were not allowed to stay in yurts (officially) and that we had to find a place with permission to take foreign guests. However, all the decent-looking places were full and we had no other option, but to stay at the actual PSB- run guesthouse! (Nothing unusual about that; in China it is quite normal for members of the armed forces to be involved in business and other lucrative schemes).

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖
View from room Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

There we paid around Y180 – after protracted haggling with a young soldier –  for a bare room, no washing facilities except for a cold tap outside, and an outdoor latrine. We were however, right on the lake.

Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖
Lake Kanas / Ha na si hu 哈纳斯湖

If you prefer a bit more comfort, your best bet is probably to visit either the CITS or a private travel agency in Ürümqi and book a hotel through them, though they will probably want to sell you a complete tour.

Heading back to Bu er jin

Transport

Transport: to get back to Ürümqi, you have to make arrangements with one of the jeeps or taxis (most of them have business cards and mobile phones these days) to pick you up in the morning and take you down to Bu’erjin in time for the sleeper bus. There are several, but most of them leave in the late afternoon.

Roadside Scenery

Circuito: Jiangsu – Un viaje por la gastronomía y el buen gusto

Circuito:Jiangsu – Un viaje por la gastronomía y el buen gusto

4 Dias Tour: Suzhou – Nanjing – Yangzhou

Jiangsu, con su interesante historia de miles de años, una próspera economía y una cultura siempre pujante es una de las provincias más visitadas de China. En su terreno se encuentran tesoros como el Gran Canal, que atraviesa la provincia, bañando sus ciudades. Pero no todo es historia, la cultura y la gastronomía también son reseñables en esta gran provincia.

Itinerario

Día 1  Llegada a Suzhou

Llegada en tren de alta velocidad desde Shanghai, un recorrido de una hora.

Suzhou es la segunda ciudad más grande de Jiangsu y es conocida como la “Venecia del Este”.

En esta nueva ruta recomendamos la visita a uno de sus más hermosos jardines: el del Maestro de las Redes

Los jardines de Suzhou son conocidos en todo el mundo por su cuidado diseño que se basa en principios de jardinería establecidos hace más de 2000 años. El precioso jardín Maestro de Redes es uno de los ejemplos más destacados, tan peculiar el Museo Metropolitano de Nueva York lo tomó como ejemplo para reconstruir un patio tradicional chino en una de las salas de este Museo.

Tras la visita a este jardín, podremos conocer mejor la cultura china tras una visita al Museo Suzhou, donde lo primero que nos sorprenderá es el edificio que lo alberga, diseñado por el famoso arquitecto Bellevue, inspirado en la arquitectura tradicional china, con una ingeniosa estructura de vidrio y acero, que permite la entrada de luz natural.

En este Museo se encuentran obras de caligrafía tradicional, pintura, artesanía y reliquias budistas.

El Museo Suzhou fue diseñado por el mundialmente famoso Bellevue (diseñó la famosa pirámide de cristal a la entrada del Louvre en Francia).

No podemos visitar Suzhou sin hacer una visita al Museo de la Seda de Suzhou. Desde hace más de 2000 años, se vienen haciendo bordados inspirados en la rica naturaleza de la provincia, con hermosos matices de color gracias a la refinada técnica de tratamiento de la seda. En este Museo podemos disfrutar de gran cantidad de obras, se conservan bordados de la dinastía Qing, época cuando este arte tuvo su apogeo

Día 2        Suzhou – Nanjing

Suzhou – Nanjing en el tren con alta velocidad (se tarda 1,5 horas)

Nanjing es una encrucijada de historia y cultura. En esta ciudad que fue la capital de las Seis Dinastías, encontramos restos de la Dinastía Ming (1368-1644) y de  la época de la República de China (1911-1949).

En Nanjing recomendamos una visita a las antiguas murallas de la Dinastía Ming, cuyas ruinas son de las mejor conservadas en todo el mundo, con una extensión de casi 25 kilómetros. Además de su estado de conservación, esta muralla es interesante por el innovador método de construcción, que a diferencia de otras, se adapta al cambiante paisaje de la zona.

Otro importante Museo al que merece la pena dedicar una visita es el Museo Yunjin que alberga importantes restos del patrimonio cultural china.

El Palacio Presidencial fue construido como residencia real en la dinastía Ming (de 1368 a 1644) y hoy en día es el Museo de la Historia de China. La ciudad de Nanjing ha sido el epicentro histórico de China en muchas épocas y en este Museo se pueden conocer muchos de los hitos de la historia del país. 

A lo largo de los años este Palacio ha sido la sede de numerosos gobernantes, hasta los años 90 del pasado siglo cuando se transformó en el  Museo de Historia Moderna de China.

Nanjing también puede presumir de ser la cuna de otra técnica artística, el conocido como Yunjin, un tipo de tejido de brocado, hecho en seda, con un estampado de nubes que es uno de los símbolos de China. Este tipo de tejidos fue desarrollado por los tejedores de la ciudad, durante la Dinastía Ming, con una técnica que permitía realizar complicados diseños en tejidos delicadísimos. Encontramos en Nanjing el único Museo del mundo dedicado al brocado, el Nanjing Yunjin Museo.

Las luces a ambos lados del estrecho son tan deslumbrantes que a primera vista será fascinante.

Y además de sus museos y palacios, paseando por sus calles el viajero descubre la belleza de sus paisajes, disfrutando en infinidad de establecimientos de la variedad de su gastronomía que tiene fama en toda China.

Día 3        Nanjing – Yangzhou

Por la mañana, Visitamos la montaña Niushoushan, un recinto de templos budistas, que se ha diseñado para que la llegada de visitantes altere mínimamente la vida de la Montaña.

Tendremos ocasión de recorrer diferentes monumentos que albergan reliquias budistas y contemplar de primera mano las principales costumbres de esta religión


Traslado a Yangzhou en bus. (duración del viaje: 1,5 horas).

Desde que Marco Polo pasó por Yangzhou en el siglo XIII, la ciudad ha sido relacionada en los libros de viaje y guías turísticas como el paraíso de los comerciantes. La ciudad presume de tener el mejor Lago del Oeste y los jardines de las villas privadas rivalizan con los de la vecina Suzhou.

Ha sido siempre una ciudad próspera, pero entre los siglos XVI y XVIII vivió el máximo esplendor cultural y artístico.

¿qué haremos el primer día?

Llegada a Yangzhou, visita al Jardín He, al Jardín Ge y el Bulevar.

Por la noche, disfrutaremos de la gastronomía de Yangzhou.

Lo primero que vemos al entrar en el jardín Geyuan es el protagonismo del bambú, con una gran variedad de plantas que recrean los diferentes paisajes y estaciones en un único lugar. La belleza de sus edificaciones y la constante presencia del agua hacen que este jardín sea reconocido como uno de los más bellos del mundo.

El jardín He yuan era el jardín privado de un ministro consejero de la dinastía Qing que vivió en Francia, hecho que se refleja en algunas de las características del jardín que mezcla estilos occidentales y orientales.

El Gran Canal confirió una gran prosperidad a esta ciudad, en la que en algún tiempo vivieron algunas de las personas más ricas de China. Podemos ver su influencia en el Bulevar Dongguan que fue el epicentro de la artesanía y el comercio y todavía mantiene la pujanza de su actividad comercial

La gastronomía de Yangzhou:

Esta ciudad fue reconocida como uno de los puntos de mayor interés gastronómico. El viajero que busca conocer la gastronomía puede encontrar aquí restaurantes de todo tipo: desde tabernas o restaurantes callejeros a establecimientos de 5 tenedores. La característica principal de esta cocina es el respeto por el producto, y gracias a la variedad y abundancia de ingredientes, los chefs de Yangzhou pueden elaborar una gran cantidad de platos diferentes.

Día 4        Yangzhou – Fin

Auténtico desayuno local en un restaurante

Visita en barco al templo del oeste y visita el templo Damin y al Museo de la Imprenta sobre bloques de madera de Yangzhou.

Por la tarde, vuelta a Shanghai o a Beijing en tren de alta velocidad.

Desayuno típico de Yangzhou

El desayuno de Yangzhou incluye una gran variedad de platos, muchos de los cuales son bollitos o dimsum rellenos de sabores

El Lago Esbelto de Oeste, representante de los jardines chinos en el lago, tiene el puente más hermoso de China: Puente Wuting.

No es posible una visita a China sin ver el famoso Lago Esbelto del Oeste, que rodeado de hermosa vegetación es la joya de la ciudad.

Yangzhou es el lugar de nacimiento de la impresión en grabado chino, que se produjo al menos 400 años antes que en Europa

Fue a finales del siglo XIV cuando la tecnología china de grabado e impresión se extendió a Europa a través de la Ruta de la Seda, y las primeras impresiones en madera nacieron en Europa.

Para más información, por favor contactarnos.

Email: incoming4@viajesmandarin.com

JIANGSU, LA PROVINCIA QUE ABRAZA LA VIDA

Recorrido de 3 días por Jiangsu

Un viaje a China debe incluir una recorrido por la provincia de Jiangsu, visitando sus ciudades principales  y grandes enclaves. Aquí te ofrecemos una.

Día 1 Suzhou

La antigua ciudad de Suzhou, situada a menos de una hora de Shanghai es conocida popularmente “la Venecia de Oriente” debido a que está salpicada de lagos, y canales que recorren la ciudad, constituyendo un entramado de callejuelas que pueden recorrerse a pie, en bicicleta o en barco. También existe una eficaz red de bicitaxis.

Recorriendo esta ciudad que tiene una historia de más de 2000 años, puedes tener una visión de la evolución del tiempo paseando por sus viejas calles, visitando algunos de los 65 jardines de las grandes villas que se encuentran en su casco antiguo, pasear por Ping Jiang Road, donde se conservan las antiguas casas de ricos comerciantes, para terminar con la visión de los grandes edificios modernos, ya que Suzhou ha experimentado una modernización acelerada y frente a los viejos canales se divisan los enormes rascacielos.

Te recomendamos visitar el conocido “Jardín del humilde administrador”, el mayor jardín de la ciudad, que se puede recorrer también en barco. Déjate impresionar por las intrincadas tallas en raíces de árboles y la amplia colección de bonsáis. Este junto con otros jardines se integran en los Jardines Clásicos de Suzhou, declarados Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO. La ciudad también está salpicada de templos de tipo pagoda, como el templo Montaña Fría, la torre Huqiu y el templo del Misterio, envuelto en una niebla de humo de incienso.

Para completar tu viaje, visita el Museo de Suzhou. Situado en un innovador edificio del conocido I. M. Pei y con una pequeña pero impresionante colección de arte. El famoso arquitecto se inspiró en un patio y jardín tradicionales, para crear este Museo que alberga una interesante colección de arte y artesanía chinas. El museo consta de tres pisos y cuatro salas de exposiciones, y los edificios principales están rodeados de magníficos patios. Encontrarás cerámica prehistórica, vasijas de jade y bronce, reliquias de la pagoda Wu, la exposición Siete obras pictóricas  en tinta sobre. Habitualmente también hay exposiciones temporales.

Jiangsu La provicia que abraza la vida
Suzhou
Jiangsu La provicia que abraza la vida
Canales de Jiangsu

Disfrutar de grandes paisajes en Wuxi

Tras un tranquilo día en Suzhou nos desplazamos a la cercana ciudad de Wuxi para disfrutar de sus bellos paisajes y entornos naturales. Esta ciudad que se fundó  en torno al Lago Taihu que la divide en dos, nos ofrece el contraste con el entorno urbano de la vecina Suzhou. Durante el día de visita podremos dedicar la jornada a visitar el Lago Taihu, cuyas tranquilas aguas ofrecen múltiples lugares de interés para los visitantes, como la isla de la cabeza de tortuga (Yuantou Zhu),  la isla de las divinidades (Taihu Xiandao) y la noria gigante que con un altura de 115 metros y tarda 18 minutos en completar una vuelta entera. Subir a la noria nos permite tener una perspectiva única del paisaje que nos rodea.

En la ciudad, desplazándonos fácilmente en metro, podremos visitar la zona antigua, donde en callejuelas con edificios antiguos, canales, templos budistas y pagodas. También podemos visitar el modernísimo Centro de Alta Tecnología de Wuxi,

Además en Wuxi tendremos ocasión de visitar el Gran Buda de Ling Shan, una zona monumental que se encuentra a una hora y media por carretera de la ciudad. En el parque se encuentra la estatua de Buda, además de otros monumentos; el Buda data de 1996 y es la novena estatua más grande del mundo. Acercarnos a este enclave tendremos ocasión de contemplar los preciosos paisajes que rodean la zona.

Jiangsu La provicia que abraza la vida
Wuxi
Jiangsu La provicia que abraza la vida
Wuxi canales
Jiangsu La provicia que abraza la vida
Turtle Head Wuxi

Día 3 –  día 4

Los tesoros imperiales y modernos de Nanjing

En esta antigua ciudad imperial que se encuentra a las orillas del legendario río Yangtze nos esperan impresionantes tesoros culturales, tanto históricos como contemporáneos. Fue la capital imperial de la dinastía Ming, hace 5 siglos, una época asociada con gran estabilidad y bonanza cultural. Hoy en día la Universidad de la ciudad atrae a numerosos estudiantes. La capital de Jiangsu es una ciudad bulliciosa, próspera con una fabulosa oferta para los visitantes.

La historia de Nanjing, que fue la sede del gobierno imperial te cautivará, pero la vida bulliciosa, el auge del comercio y la educación la convierten en una de los principales destinos turísticos de China. Los desplazamientos por la ciudad son fáciles: metro, taxi, autobuses recorren sus calles y nos llevan fácilmente a todos los destinos.

Una de las visitas más interesantes es el parque de Wuchaomen donde se encuentra el antiguo Palacio Ming y los restos de la muralla, en cuya construcción, que se prolongó 21 años, trabajaron 200 000 obreros. También es visita obligada el mausoleo de Ming Xiaoling, un sorprendente conjunto monumental en la montaña de Zhongshan, donde también puedes visitar el mausoleo de Sun Yat-sen. Para completar las visitas culturales, te proponemos el Museo de Nanjing

En Nanjing también podrías visitar Templo de Confucio, que se construyó para honrar al filósofo pero también era la sede donde los estudiantes imperiales permanecían encerrados en celdas individuales para realizar los difíciles exámenes funcionariales. El templo original se construyó en el siglo XI, durante la dinastía Song y a lo largo de la historia se ha reconstruido varias veces, la última de ellas, en 1984.

El Templo de Confucio es  especialmente bello por la noche, gracias a la iluminación y la mejor vista es la que se obtiene desde el agua. Después de explorar los edificios del templo, da un paseo en barca por el río Qinhuai. Desde allí podrás ver la larga muralla protectora de 110 metros, la mayor de su estilo en China, cubierta con inmensos dragones dorados.

En Nanjing, como en toda la provincia de Jiangsu no podían faltar las atracciones acuáticas: El parque Histórico del lago Xuan Wu con sus bellas y cuidadas islas, los templos, el museo de bonsáis, zonas arboladas salpicadas de recogidos pabellones y pagodas, merece una visita calmada, paseando para recorrer los puentes y visitar las 5 islas. Si te apetece integrarte aún más, alquila uno de los botes para recorrerlo desde el agua.

Como todas las ciudades chinas, Nanjing te ofrece el intenso contraste entre sus zonas históricas con siglos de antigüedad y los modernos barrios industriales donde se agrupan los rascacielos, grandes puentes y modernas zonas comerciales.

Nanjing sin duda merece la pena.

Jiangsu La provicia que abraza la vida

Nanjing

ZhouZhuang

Friday, September 7th 2001 / Nanjing- via Suzhou to ZhouZhuang (Zhejiang Province)

a-canal-bridge.jpg

As planned, we take a taxi straight to the Bank of China- with our luggage. The driver is a bit worried as he can’t seem to understand where we’re going. In the end, it turns out to be a matter of a different tone …… The Bank is air-con, modern and efficient, the clerk speaks English – it’s straight in and out! Another taxi to the train station with a nice chatty driver, who spent a mere 16 years (!) in Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution and thinks some of the changes in China these days are too fast.

However, as we pass a small park where people are practising ballroom dancing in the open air, it is clear that some things haven’t changed at all... Across from the train station there is an enormous lake where you can take out different kinds of boats, including mini-mushroom lookalikes and fake submarines. There is a terrific view of the modern Nanjing skyline. On the traditional side again, breakfast of lots of cold veggies and rice in a Chinese style self-service by the station. There, our luggage is X-rayed as usual, we’re lined up between the gates and marched row after row to the train. Our seats are padded with blue cushions, there are small tables in between and it’s air-con and strictly non-smoking.

Adam immediately strikes up a conversation with two nice ladies from Wuhan ( and their travelling companion). One of them turns out to be a party cadre in a department related to Chinese commerce. They ask him a lot of questions about life in Europe, including the inevitable ‘how much do you earn?’ and a lot about our non-existing haizi’ (or children).

Two and a half hours take us to Suzhou, we only walk from the train station to the bus station, where we are immediately whisked off on the 14.15 bus. There are computers, waiting rooms and gates here too, but the bus is a piece of shit, with those foldable plastic seats in the middle of the aisle. Fortunately only one puking lady who already had her bag prepared.

It takes another hour and a half to cover the 40 kms to Zhouzhuang. Getting out of Suzhou takes ages; what we can see is all modernised, no charm left (NOTE: we actually revisited Suzhou again in 2005 and managed to find a few nice areas still holding out). Once we’re out in the country there’s more life on the lakes and canals and everything is very green. According to Adam, it looks like Holland, but without the cows.

The bus station in Zhouzhuang is not where it is supposed to be and we are assaulted by a barrage of hotel women and cycle rickshaws. One obnoxious one keeps following us until I turn on him and send him packing. I’m quite proud of that, Adam, using his Chinese, is obviously too polite.

m-tea-break-bw.jpg

In the old town, a woman who wants us to stay at her family house leeches on to us, but I’m still determined to find ‘my hotel’. She keeps tagging along, confusing us and making us lose our way. We seem trapped in a maze of tourist shops and can only vaguely appreciate that the place must be pretty.

Continue reading “ZhouZhuang”