China bets in tourism, and the museum of Xi’an is a good sign of it.
Modern and functional building, with merchandising dominating all entrances and meeting points.
The prices… well, the prices… (Follow the example of an English member of our group that bought several things for less than half of the demanded price: show some dollar bills, and… bargain, bargain, bargain…)
One of the worst aspects of many escorted tours is shopping. We are always taken to selected (pricey) places where the guides expect to collect their commissions.
In many cases the time devoted to commission collecting equals the time to all the other planned visits.
Travelchinaguide was good.
They respected the obligation of taking us to see the artisans at work (and that is also important in tourism), but they didn’t exaggerate. The visited places were selected, we covered everything that should be seen, but never felt dragged into shops. This factory in Xi’an was a good example. Several techniques demonstrated, sympathy in all the explanations, but no one was pushed to buy whatsoever.
I know that this will not mean anything to you, but... I'm Portuguese.
While watching the perfect show of "The Tang Dynasty" we are invited for an included drink. The list mentioned "Port wine" which seemed too strange for me, due to the difficulty to find wine in most of the Chinese restaurants.
I decided to risk and... I was presented with a good glass of a REAL Portuguese Port wine.
That, with the splendours of the show in background!
My friend MarioPortugal would feel jealous!
In addition to the Terra Cotta Army, the Muslim Quarter is a must see. We were fortunate to have an outstanding English speaking guide. His name is Allen and his web site is www.xianprivatetours.com. His mobile phone is 8613572901624. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
He is a wonderful person and superb tour guide. I strongly suggest utilizing his services.
Fondest memory: The Terra Cotta Army site and the workshop nearby.
Once you have got settled, take a walk from your hotel and find the nearest hole in the wall local type shop.
You will be able to buy beer, water, general necessities far cheaper here than anywhere else.
Certainly while the mini bar prices for beer are reasonable according to overseas prices, getting your beer here and taking it back to your hotel room will save you a heap.
After visiting the amazing archaelogical site of Shi Huang Ti (First Emperor of China), you may be thinking of wanting your own personal terra cotta army.
It is possible with a few US dollars for you will find being sold are the miniature size soldiers and horses as souvenir. There are different sizes, quality and price.
While where there it seems corny to buy such touristy cheap imitation, when back home, they will transform into priceless memories of a by-gone era of China early history. So do miss out in buying some or more.
Xian has one of the larger and more concentracted Islamic populations in Central China. The local minority Hui population numbers more than 30,000. Their quarter is located just north of the Drum tower. It is a maze of streets that are filled with atmosphereic food stalls and peddlers. There are also some good restaurants here where beef and mutton dishes are quite popular. The most famous attraction in the Islamic Quarter is the Great Mosque. This is one of the most important mosques in China and it well worth a visit. One word of warning about the Islamic Quarter is that it one of the best places in Xian to have your pocket picked so be on guard.
Fondest memory: Wandering the streets of this quarter made the Islamic Quarter my favourite neighborhood in Xian.
1. Hot thick syrup
2. Ice cream stick
3. Marble slab (cooled by the winter weather)
1. Observe one talented Chinese man scoop syrup onto a cool marble slab.
2. Watch while he uses a few practiced wrist flicks, twirls and....
...and voila! thin hard candy in all kinds of shapes!
(of course the chinese zodiac animals are the ever popular feature here). this is really fascinating to see...i could've stayed there for hours just watching this simple street hawker get creative with just some thick syrup, a slab of cold marble and an ice cream stick :)
This is a general tip which is not only adaptable for Xi'An but for China as well.I will tell you something about the point of the compass.
For the emperor of ancient China these terms were very important, you will notice it if you see the construction of the cities,especially of the capitals. Xi'An was the first capital of China and here we have an example of a construction in such a way.
The center of Xi'An is the Bell Tower. Bei Dajie leads to the North Gate. 'Bei' means North, 'Dajie' means Main street. Dong Dajie leads to the East Gate. If you want to go to the South Gate (and you are at the Bell Tower, of course) take the Nan Dajie.Finally, Xi Dajie leads to the West Gate.
It doesnt mean you can't get lost in Xi'An anymore but with this knowledge you know how to get to the center of the city.
As I told you, these terms are omnipresent in China. For me it was easier to remember these vocabulary when I used these mnemonic:
Beijing means Northern capital, Nanjing is the Southern capital, Donjing is the Eastern capital. (you will be surprised when I tell you, Dongjing is not located in China,it means Tokyo in Chinese)
Maybe you noticed there is the term 'Xi' in the name of Xi'An. It means: Western Peace.
I could tell you some more examples but I just wanna repeat...
Bei - North, Dong - East, Nan - South, Xi - West. No, no, I am not a teacher.. ;-)
Chinese use another direction... to the middle, the center. This is called: Zhong. For example, 'Zhong Guo' literally means: Empire of the Middle.
In the Chinese language there are more Bei, Nan, Xi or Dong. Even if these tones are equal they may have different meanings.I think,if you see any steet sign,the meaning should be the point of the compass.But if you remember the chinese caracters... THEY are unique.
Maybe my tip was helpful for you, one of the most important tip: don't forget to take the address of your hotel with you.It should be in Chinese,taxi drivers often don't know the english name.
basically, Xian is the said to be the antique storeroom of China where you can easily pick up a priceless antique at the street. It is true some thirty years ago when the city is not so well-known.
Do visit some shopping arcade for the priceless treasure.
want to be cool,remember to have a PLA's winter train
Fondest memory: there were too much of it,i think the visit to place
the first king in CHINA history called huangde was
details?sent e-mail to me.
Visit the Terracota warriors early before the others get there. We had noone else around for nearly anhour and it was wonderful.
The Great Mosque is very interesting and make sure you buy some trinkets in the little streets - you do not see the same things again, I bought 2 carved walnuts, they are carved with lots of budhas.
Starting from Liujiaxia Dam, Bingling Si is two hours away upstream on the Yellow River. Between June (sometimes as late as July) and October, tourist boats depart daily from the dam to Bingling Si, while during the winter months the water level is too low for boats, and there is no access by road. The river trip to the caves is striking, some cultivation ties along the riverbanks among the otherwise barren, yellow-brown hills and ridges.
Dasi Gou (Big Temple Gully), the entrance to Bingling Si, is surrounded by giant rocks shaped like gnarled fingers. If the time and water lever is permitted, the visitor can climb up the sandy gully through the high yellow rock gorges to the Upper Monastery. In some tiny mud huts, built against the rock-face, a small community of Tibetan lamas is living there. They tend a small, newly reconstructed temple housing early Qing-dynasty sutras. The temple was destroyed three times, and ruins of the lamas' former quarters are scattered about. If you want to travel the caves, any one of the travel agencies in Lanzhou can arrange the route for you. And also, there are inexpensive Chinese tour buses that depart from the bus station in front of the Shengli Hotel early in the morning. It is also possible to take a public bus to Yongjing and then catch one of the tour boats. Take along a lunch-box, as facilities at the site are minimal. A permit to photograph the Bingling Si cave interiors costs RMB 800.
MINGSHA DUNES - DUNHUANG
These dunes are well-known in China. There is a legend that tells of a Chinese general and his army who were heading to the Western Regions when they decided to make camp at the base of the huge dune. The enemy discovered them and attacked the camp in the middle of the night. The army beat its drums to wake the troops, but as soon as the fighting started, a fierce wind came off the mountain and buried both armies alive. It is said that even today one can hear the beating of drums as the wind blows across the dunes. The name Mingshashan
means 'singing sand mountain.' Marco Polo had stopped here and referred to these dunes as the 'rumbling sands.'
Despite the 70 Celsius sand temperature, the extremely steep inclines, and the laboring steps through the sand, it was fun to climb to the top of the dune and walk along the ridge, but a bit exhausting. But the way down was MUCH FASTER: running down fron a huge dune is a big pleasure. I did it again recently in Namibia, in Dune 45, and I loooooove it.
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