China – The Land of Many Faces – Guest Post

China – The Land of Many Faces – Larry Borden

Getting to China

Getting restless and looking for new lands to visit? Lo and behold, China! China provides a unique trip due to the cultural differences Americans don’t typically experience. We traveled to China in early June and were glad it wasn’t later in the summer because of the heat. A river cruise on the Yangtze via Viking Cruises was our choice. The trip included 6 days on land and 6 days on the Yangtze River.  www.vikingrivercruises.com

Viking Empress sailing on the Yangste River

China is the most populated country in the world with 1.4 billion people, four times as many people as the United States, and 20% of the world population. The Chinese are experts in people moving. A good example was the airport in Beijing. There must have been 25 security lines with little delay. While we are seen as the consumers of the world, China is seen as the producers. Factories are producing as fast as we can buy it.

Safety in China

Safety was not a concern during our visit to this exotic country. In the evenings we would walk in the areas that we were staying and felt very safe. One person on our tour, a 95 year old gentleman, walked out of our hotel one evening and then got confused and couldn’t find his way back. He was located and escorted back by a kindly policeman.

Shanghai

Our tour began in Shanghai, and we were amazed by the futuristic, innovative, creative architecture. Our hotel room was on the 82nd floor. We had a spectacular view of the city. The front desk was on the 50th floor and dining was on the 95th floor. Breakfast was above the clouds.

Shanghai is one of the largest cities in China (pop 24.5mil) and one of the worlds most important ports. It began as a tiny fishing village 5000 years ago and is now a world financial center. Don’t miss the old city and Yuyuan garden tour while you’re there. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) artifacts are plentiful in the garden.

Next stop was Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, where we were to board our ship on the Yangtze River. Wuhan is one of the most ancient and populated metropolitan cities in China. While in Wuhan we visited the Wuhan Museum that holds over 100,000 artifacts. After visiting the museum, we headed to the river to board our ship for the Yangtze River cruise.

Yangtze River

The highlight of the trip is the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam. We didn’t realize the importance of the Yangtze to the Peoples Republic of China. A large percentage of commerce is generated along the river delta. We could see barges going up and down the river, many of them loaded with coal. One downside of the dam was that it flooded archaeological and cultural sites and displaced some 1.3 million people. Some of the displaced people return to their farms and still farm them.

The river is lined with factories with smokestacks belching out black smoke. The air is dirty as can be seen in the photos. The Three Gorges Dam is massive. It is the largest hydro-electric power station in the world as far as installed capacity.

Yueyyang school

The cruise stopped at Yueyang where Viking Cruises sponsors a school. The school was a delight to visit and the children were very excited to practice their English on us and show us their projects.

Lost in translation

Some things are lost in translation. We saw some rather curious signs along our journey.

Chongqing and the Panda Bears

Chongqing is an interesting city. Our guide told us that during WWII, the Flying Tigers were based there on an island in the river. We arrived on a rainy day to visit the zoo and its panda bears. It was a short walk through the zoo to visit the panda enclosure. And there they were. Sometimes the giant panda is referred to as a living fossil, since the bear is thought to have been is existence about 19 million years.

Xi’an and The Terra-cotta Soldiers

The custom in China for centuries was that when the emperor died, all his family and possessions were buried with him. Emperor Qin Shi Huang was the first Emperor China. His burial site also included the Terracotta Army, to protect the emperor in his afterlife. Thousands of clay soldiers were discovered in 1984 by local farmers. We met the principle farmer at the museum and he signed our guide book. Each soldier has a unique facial expression. A very fascinating museum to visit outside the city of Xi’an.

Beijing & The Great Wall

Beijing is a fascinating city and the capital of the People’s Republic of China. The city is the third most populous city in the world with a population of almost 22,000,000. What struck me was the city has 6 ring roads and is immense. The sites we visited included the Great Wall, the valley of the Ming Emperors, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace of the Qing Dynasty. In the evening we ate Beijing (formerly Peking) duck and it was outstanding. Another evening we attend the Beijing Opera. One could spend a month here and not see it all.

Go now to China

Recently we’ve seen some great prices for travel to China. From low round-trip airfare (in the $400 – $500 range) to tours ranging less than $100 per day now is the time to go. A China visa fee is US$230 per person.

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65 thoughts on “China – The Land of Many Faces – Guest Post

  1. andreamcopley says:

    China is one of many places I would absolutely love to visit. It just seems so exotic and I would love to see the Great Wall. On my travel bucket list for sure, though I’m not certain I’ll ever get there. It looks like it was a fantastic trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Czjai Reyes-Ocampo says:

    I’ve always been fascinated with those terra cotta soldiers. I would love to see them up close and personal too, someday. 🙂

    Like

  3. Clare Minall says:

    Such a wonderful place to take a wonderful vacation. It’s so really nice ambiance to spend with family and loved ones.

    Like

  4. Preet says:

    It definitely seems worth it to me! What a beautiful place it is! I’d love to visit someday in the future, perhaps when my children are a little older.

    Like

  5. Anna says:

    My husband and I are thinking of stopping in China when we take a trip to the Philippines. I heard so much great things about these places to go to China. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rowena Becker says:

    Oh wow your trip sounds absolutely amazing Katie! Seeing those panda bears must have been quite an experience! You’ve really made me want to experience China now, I’ve never been. How sweet that the elderly gentleman was helped back to the hotel. It sounds like China is a lovely country with lovely people, I’m definitely adding to my travel bucket list!
    I would love to do a blog guest post. I’m from the UK and travel my family (husband and 2 year old son). I’ve just got back from Jersey in the Channel Islands and could write a guest post about Jersey which has a fascinating history. We visited the War Tunnels and got an amazing insight into Jersey during World War 2 which was occupied by the Nazis. Let me know if this sounds of interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kumamonjeng says:

    Wow, look like you have explored quite a bit of China. I have been there several times in different part of China, every province has its own characters. I love Xian the terracotta army a lot, it is really bizarre to see these artifacts built 2 thousand years ago. The cave house near Xian Shaanxi Province was quite good too, I love the cave house’s bed also known as “kang” in Chinese, they used it for daily activities too, such as eating. I have yet to visit Chongqing and love to check out the pandas there and also the hot pot steam boat.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Shane Prather says:

    I don’t know a ton about China having only visited SouthEast Asia so far but have always been intrigued by the culture there. The Great Wall would be an experience unlike any other!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kenneth Clutario Agudo says:

    I’ve never been to China but its a place filled with history. very rich in culture and the food varieties. I would love to explore the cited places you have given here. Majestic travel guide!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rebecca Sanchez says:

    I have never been to China and I can say that this is a perfect destination getaway for my whole family. I will def add this to my bucket list, thanks for your guidelines.

    Like

  11. Preet says:

    It definitely seems worth it to me! What a beautiful place it is! I’d love to visit someday in the future, perhaps when my children are a little older.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Chris Bloomfield says:

    It’s good to hear that you felt safe while visiting. My sister in-law saw a deal the other day for ridiculously cheap flights to China and we are considering going. I have always wanted to see the Great Wall of China. With three kids, the safety concern came up. I love hearing that it was perfectly safe there for tourists.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nandita says:

    The Yangtze river cruise looks like a nice way to experience China…the culture & history is so deep that I think one can only scrape the surface of it with a single visit.
    – Nandita

    Liked by 1 person

  14. blair villanueva says:

    China is a country that is always misunderstood, that is because of the language barrier, and the Chinese attitude of “they don’t need to prove so much for others in order to be acceptable”. It is a beautiful country, that many in the west are missing.

    Liked by 1 person

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