Huangshan Mountain

There are many places in China that are interesting to spend a few days in remote areas.  One of the best ones I know is Huangshan mountain in southeast China.  A cable car is needed to get up on the mountain although avid hikers do climb it.  There are many hiking paths across the top of the mountain and wonderful small hotels scattered here and there.  One of the favorite things people enjoy doing is getting up early in the morning to watch the sun come up as well as a setting sun in the evening.  For those cool nights or mornings many hotels furnish warm jackets for you to wear.  It is a favorite honeymoon spot too.  Note the many locks attached to the chain barrier.  It is the custom for young couples to bring a lock and two keys on their honeymoon.  They make a pact to stay together the rest of their lives, putting the lock onto the chain and then each throws a key over the edge.  A wonderful custom and you will see thousands of locks just like this.

It should be noted however that hotels on the mountain are very expensive as it is a National Park and hotels are owned by the government.  For more interesting places to visit contact us at  interlak@eskimo.com   Our 25 years travel experience can help you find those special places like Huashan mountain near Xian too.  Check our web site at  www.interlakechinatours.com   

Shaoling Temple Monks

For those interested in Kung Fu, the best place to visit is the Shaoling Temple in the countryside between

Luoyang and Zhengzhou.  This is the home of the famous Shaoling Monks known for the ancient art of KungFu.   It has become a bit touristy in the later years since it is so popular and well known, but still it is the Mecca of KungFu.  Besides seeing the Monks at prayer chanting you will be able to visit the several temples there and the building where they have a demonstration of their Kungfu abilities.  Here you see one of the leading monks with a bowl being held by the Monk’s stomach muscle.   He challenges anyone present to try and remove it from him.  As I was the only foreigner that day, everyone wanted me to try and do it.  I observed that he was perspiring a bit so knew that his skin would be moist and that perhaps rather than try to pull it off, I could twist it until his skin actually released it.  That indeed is what happened to the astonishment of the people and the other monks as it had never been done before.  I still have the bowl as he presented it to me in humility and bowing.  Click on the photos for full screen viewing.  

A RED PANDA?

Would you believe a Red Panda?  Yes, there is a very rare Red Panda shown here along with a black and white Panda that we are all familiar with for years.  The Red Panda looks like a raccoon but acts just like the Panda it is with their Panda walk toes pointed inward a bit.  You can see these at the Chengdu Panda Experiment Station just outside of Chengdu in a modern up to date facility.  After the earthquake a few years ago the Panda Preserve was destroyed; however it is being rebuilt and should be ready for visitors in 2013 or early 2014.   Pandas are China and I have many requests from clients to visit the home of Chinese Pandas each year.   I try to coordinate a trip to Chengdu as there are many other interesting sites in Sichuan province too like the Leshan Buddha, Juizhaigou National Park, and what I like to call the Real China with so many interesting villages, towns and mountains with Tibetan people living there.  

Weifang Kite Festival

Many people ask me to try and put one Festival into their itineraries when I help plan their tours.  This isn’t always easy to coordinate dates with a Festival as they sometimes change dates each year.  One of those that doesn’t and I like very much is the International  Weifang Kite Festival held the same days every year at the end of April.  Weifang is south of Beijing and has one flight a day but excellent train service.  Here is a photo of the International Kite Museum in which one of my kites is on display.  I flew my kite on the Flying Field during the Festival and they have it on display at the Museum.   Weifang is where Chinese kites were first flown several hundred years ago.  They still make kites there by hand which you may buy not far from the original Flying Field where kites were first flown.  The Opening to the Festival is held in a stadium with a performance lasting two hours and a closing Fireworks Show like you have never seen before.  The next day Kite enthusiasts from all over the world fly kites on the Flying Field usually hand made by clubs with some as big as a bus and of course a long Dragon Kite as long as a football field.   Among the many festivals in China this is one of my favorites.  You might Google it for more details or contact me at interlak@eskimo.com

Tea Houses of China

I love to visit Chinese Tea Houses especially if they are unique and different than the modern ones.  Here is the 270 year old Tea House on the Crooked Bridge leading into the Yu Garden in Shanghai.   Be sure to stop in and check it out.  Tea is not inexpensive but worth the time to absorb the atmosphere of a traditional old tea house.  For something different you might try the special “Tea Balls” in different flavors.  About the size of a large marble they are dropped into hot water and slowly open up to become a beautiful flower in your glass cup.  The tea is good too.  Another tea house I like is the QianTang Cha Ren in Suzhou outside of Shanghai.   It is very traditional with many antiques and you may sit on the floor in your own private room if you like also.  Many snacks are served with tea that you order yourselves.  The atmosphere is very special as well and you feel like you are in old China.  China is famous for tea and Suzhou is the Tea capital besides Hangzhou.  The say a gift of tea is a “Gift of Life”.   I hope you find a special tea house too when you visit China.  Click on the photo for a full screen size view.

Pandas in China

Wolong Panda Preserve was destroyed by a a very large earthquake 7 years ago.  They are rebuilding it but the latest information has it that it will not be completed until late 2014.  Meanwhile it is fortunate that the Panda Experiment Station was updated just shortly before that and is located just outside of Chengdu in Sichuan province.  The photo here is of me at Wolong just before the earthquake playing with 2 year old Pandas.  At the Experiment Station you can have your photo taken with a young Panda with a donation of about $100. for a few minutes to handle if you are able and to have photos taken with them.  They do have large claws however they are like playing with young children who squirm and have a bounty of Energy.  It is best to visit the Pandas in the mornings as they usually sleep all afternoon and are less active.

For more information on visiting the Pandas, contact me at  interlak@eskimo.com    I own Interlake China Tours Inc. of Seattle and have worked in China for the past 25 years in the tour business doing private personal or private group tours to your specific interests. Our web site is www.interlakechinatours.com
Click on the photo for a full screen view.