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CHINA: PHOTOS AND TRIP REPORT
Here below some of the most
fascinating photos from China. Together with the photogallery, you will find a funny
and interesting trip report full of info and anecdotes describing the whole travel itinerary.
If you haven't read them yet, check out all travel info and precise itinerary here: www.wildtrips.net/china.htm.
CHINA TRIP REPORT AND PHOTOS
In 2008 I was sent to
China for a conference that was the ideal opportunity to visit
the country. It was the year of the Beijing Olympics, that my
girlfriend and I, travelling in July, missed just by a few days…
no medals for us, unfortunately. Organizing the trip
wasn't easy. In fact, on the internet everyone was talking about
guided tours, but we really wanted to travel as independently as
possible and it was difficult to get much travel info. We did our best and in the end we booked a
London-Amsterdam-Beijing KLM flight and some internal flights
with China Eastern Airlines. We managed to plan trips to some of
the most attractive destinations in China, but we had to miss
many others. For the visa, we sent
our passports to an agency collaborating with the consulate.
Luckily our passports came back with all the right things
landed in Beijing in the morning of the 20th of July. The airport was all new and shiny. When we got out of
the hall, we were surrounded by thousands of crazy taxis
buzzing around like flies. We hailed one, we showed the
address of our Bamboo Garden Hotel (that we previously printed
in Chinese ideograms) to the driver and we entered the chaotic
traffic of Beijing.
It was hot and humid
and we were sleepy because of the jet lag, but we were brave and
we stuck to our (random) Beijing travel itinerary. We began our walk
from the Lama Temple, fascinating Buddhist complex full
of decorations and incense. The Confucius Temple was not
Then we walked through the Hutongs,
traditional quarters made of small alleys. The other parts of
Beijing were very Chinese too, but in a different way: they
were modern, with big, anonymous buildings built by the
communist party after having destroyed the hutongs. Our walk in the old
center brought us to the Drum and Bell Towers, very simple but
with a nice view on part of the city. In hotel we asked some info and we booked a day trip to the Great Wall
for the following day. Along the road to the Great Wall we
stopped at the Changling tombs. To reach them we walked
along the Sacred Way (a grand avenue with big animal
We stopped also at a
jada fabric and shop, with some beautiful and expensive statues.
We reached the Great
Wall in the Mutyaniu section, less touristic than the
more famous Badaling that is usually included in any China travel itinerary. The van left us in a wooden village
that lived on souvenirs. There were green mountains around. A chairlift
(yes, it sounds weird) brought us to the Great Wall, on which we
began to walk up and down, up and down, up and down, in that amazing scenery, a small part of the 8850 kilometers of the Great Wall.
To descend from the mountain we could take
the chairlift or a long slide (yes, weird). Of course we opted
for the slide. Back from the trip we
stopped in Beijing city center. We noticed a food market.
For dinner we went to a Tibetan restaurant with typical dances. Our last day in
Beijing we visited some of the most beautiful and famous places
of the city. We began from the huge Tiananmen Square.
Then, the Forbidden City, the big complex of golden buildings that was
the Emperor’s residence.
We also visited the relaxing Temple of
Heaven and we relaxed in Beihai park under the shadow of the trees. Beihai Park was a beautiful green area in the
middle of the city, full of small lakes, trees, hills and
panoramic pagodas, which I recommend for your travel itinerary in the Chinese capital.
The following morning
we flew to Shanghai on a China Eastern Airlines plane. The weather was even
hotter and damper than in Beijing. We could barely see the sun
through the dense, polluted air. In a day and a half
we visited Shanghai touristy places. We began our tour by
walking on the Bund along Huangpu River, that crosses the city
center. The Bund is a large, lively road with beautiful colonial
buildings on one side and the brown water of the river on the
The opposite shore of
the Huangpu, instead, is home to some of the most futuristic
skyscrapers of the world. We reached it by the efficient
underground, then we took an elevator to the top terrace on the
Oriental Pearl Tower. The view got as far as Shanghai’s grey
We crossed the river
again and we walked to the old Shanghai, with nice wooden
houses, very typical and very well kept, small alleys and water
channels. We got to the beautiful Yuyuan gardens. The Chinese
definition of “garden” is quite weird, with all those mirrors,
corners, small spaces and strange shapes. The result, however,
In the evening we
walked through Nanjing Road, the most commercial road of
Shanghai, with its shops, restaurants, stores and bars. Walking
together with thousands of people we arrived at People’s Square.
Around us, big buildings and shiny skyscrapers. Later, we were
rapt by the beauty of Shanghai skyline seen by the Bund.
We slept in a 4-star
hotel (40 euros for a double room). We didn’t spend much time in
Shanghai, but it was enough: there are more fascinating places
in China. We happily flew to Guilin, in the Southern part
At the airport, my girlfriend and I were met by a guide that we had
contacted through a website. We were going to have a 3-day tour
with him and a driver. Total cost, 300 euros each, not much
considering hotels, car, fuel, tickets, meals, etc. Compared to the chaotic Beijing and
Shanghai, it was almost cool. Guilin was a paradise surrounded
by wonderful mountains that looked like Rio de Janeiro’s loafs.
From the mountains
our tour began. By car first and by feet then, we arrived at
Longji, a village made of small wooden houses and mule
tracks, positioned on the slope of a hill full of terraced
fields. We really liked that village. We had dinner in a panoramic
restaurant where we ate some delicious rice cooked in the bamboo
and a tofu salad.
The following morning
our guide led us to the mountains that stood over Longji while giving us some interesting cultural info. There
were spectacular terraced rice fields and bamboo woods and farmers' life.
In the afternoon we
left the mountains and we arrived at Guilin, on Li River.
We were shown a cliff with a natural arch that looked like an
then we visited the Reed Flute Cave, a calcareous cave
with stalagmites, stalactites and columns made even more
spectacular by some well-studied artificial lights.
In the evening we
were left at the hotel. Then we went out and walked in the town
center, where we noticed the Sun and the Moon pagodas,
artificially lit in yellow and white respectively, thus creating
nice reflections on the water. On
the 27th of July we lived one of the highlights of our holiday: the
cruise on Li river.
We could admire one of the most spectacular
and original landscapes of the world, a fundamental destination for any China travel itinerary.
When we arrived in
Yangshuo we were enthusiastic. The guide suggested for the
night to go to a “theater” show. Luckily we trusted him, because
it was an amazing performance. The “stage” of the open-air
theater was a large natural lake surrounded by beautiful green
mountains. Hundreds of actors played while standing on a
boat or on a moving footbridge. The day after we had
a bike ride in Yangshuo countryside. There were
cultivated fields, farmers and the “usual” beautiful mountains. It was beautiful and intense.
In the afternoon we
were driven back to the airport and we
flew to Xian where our travel itinerary continued. Here I had to attend a 5-day conference that was
the reason I had come to China, even if what really interested
me was to travel around. Xian, the old Chinese capital,
maybe doesn’t deserve a 5-day stay and we would have preferred
to go to Tibet or somewhere else. Still, we had a good time in
Xian with an extraordinary highlight. For start, we were
accomodated in a nice 5-star hotel with free bowling and
swimming pool – not bad. Moreover, I didn’t really have to
attend all conference sessions, so we had time to visit the
city. Xian city center was
nice with its big market. We also visited a typically Chinese
amusement park. I liked the fact that there were no foreigners.
The park was full of gardens, small lakes, water channels and
reconstructions of old, historical buildings. The main
attractions were paddle boats on the lakes and music and dance
shows, plus the usual water/lights/sounds plays in the evening.
We were impressed especially by the acrobatic moves of a small
Chinese dragon (under which two young boys were hidden)
that did martial arts and somersaults on the top of some 3-meter
We also attended some
activities organised by the conference committee. The main one
was the trip to Xian Terracotta Army. The hundreds
of natural-sized statues of warriors, each different from the
others, are impressive, but they are placed in a big dull depot
(which is necessary to preserve the statues). From a cultural
and historical point of view, anyway, it is extraordinary.
Always at the
conference expenses, that night we had dinner in a nice
restaurant in front of typical music and dance shows.
The last highlight of the
holiday was the visit to Xian ancient city walls. Well, the merit was
not of the walls (still very impressive being between 10 and 20
metres wide), but of the total solar eclipse that we
could admire. The conference had in
fact been organized in the right dates to let participants enjoy
this rare and amazing phenomenon. In the afternoon the sun began
being partially covered by the moon. Then, suddenly, it became, a tiny black ball in
the dark sky surrounded by a subtle, almost invisible yellow
line. We were shocked.
It god dark and cold, but it only lasted a minute or two: the
sun quickly reappeared on the other side of the moon. This experience, the
Li river the Chinese lifestyle are all
memories of one of the best trips you could have.
I hope you you'll use tris travel info and travel itinerary to enjoy a great trip in China too (and if
you manage to add a trip to Tibet and Sichuan... that's perfect!).
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