Discount Hotels in China : Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Xian, Hainan, Zhejiang, Yunnan, Chengdu, Fujian, Liaoning, Chongqing, Changchun, Changsha, Wuhan, Harbin, Taiyuan, Tianjin, Anhui, Hebei, Xinjiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Henan, Guangxi Zhuang, Jiangxi, Sichuan
Gobbling up the majority of the land mass in Eastern Asia, China is difficult to miss on any atlas or globe. Ranked third in size (total surface area) after Russia and Canada, China is, however, the most populated country in the world. Contained within her borders are every imaginable type of terrain and geographical feature from plateaus and basins to mountain ranges and river deltas. The formidable Yangtze River provides a rough reference from which to divide the northern temperate zone from the southern tropical zone. As one of the oldest living civilizations on the planet, the people of this land have endured the ravages of time through every kind of human drama. Today, China stands poised to reveal to the outside world some of what she has guarded so well in recent decades. A visit to China will open your eyes wide to a force of global significance.
Biking in China
Beijing, located in the North, is the most modern city of China and home to over 10 million people. It is the center of China's political affairs as well as the capital gateway city. As the seat of power for Chinese emperors throughout the centuries, the reigning capital of ancient Imperial China holds plenty of evidence of its royal past, with aristocratic temples, parks, and palaces. These are all open to the visiting public. Beijing is all about tremendous displays of art and historical artefacts, delicious dining in exotic settings, folk traditions that flourish in theatres, and cultural centers with fascinating demonstrations of centuries-old art and craft making. Nowhere else can you get a more concentrated appreciation of the old and new China. Beijing is truly a treasure trove of Chinese culture. A few examples:
The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City is the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world with more than 9,000 rooms contained in 800 buildings on 250 acres. The abode of 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties, it has been transformed into a magnificent museum, where one can see an enormous collection of cultural relics and precious art objects. As you exit, adjacent to the Forbidden City, is the Children's Palace. Here, you can observe talented children tutored in traditional Chinese arts. This is an extremely enjoyable and entertaining complex of classrooms and a delight to observe.
Tiananmen Gate Tower (The Gate of Heavenly Peace), built in 1651, is located in front of the main entrance to the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square, named after the gate, is across the street. It is the largest public square in the world, covering 124 acres (50 hectares). Surrounding the square are many of China's most impressive government buildings, monuments, and museums. Mao Zedong's Mausoleum and the Great Hall of the People legislative building are situated on either side of the square.
The Temple of Heaven (Tiantan) a masterpiece of Ming architecture is one of the most pictured buildings in the world for its exquisite beauty and symmetry. Built in 1420, it was the place where Ming and Qing emperors prayed to heaven for a prosperous harvest. Today, a 660-acre park surrounds the Temple of Heaven. Next to the Imperial Vault of Heaven, within the park complex, are the acoustically perfect Echo Wall and Triple Sounds Stone. Early-mornings visitors can watch young and old practicing T'ai Chi.
Special tours can be set up to view the surviving traditional residential quarters known as hutongs. The hutongs are lanes or alleys that are sided by quadrangle courtyards. The courtyard enclosure is made up of single story houses on the four sides. New buildings have now replaced many of these ancient houses, however, some remain and many of the hutongs are well preserved. Visitors can see how people adapt to life in modern times while living in centuries-old neighbourhoods. Riding in an old-fashioned rickshaw through these neighbourhoods is a unique experience.
T'ai Chi in a public park in Shanghai, China
Today's Shanghai joins the infamous seaport legacy of the past with impressive 21st-century architecture in the form of skyscrapers, grand hotels and shopping complexes. It is a fascinating, fast-paced city, where East meets West. Shanghai is China's largest city with 14 million inhabitants, situated on the east coast midway between the Korean peninsula and the island of Taiwan. Shanghai opens its arms as one of the most exciting cities in the world. Shoppers can bargain with merchants in designer novelty shops day and night along Nanjing Road, the Fifth Avenue of China. Shanghai enjoys an international reputation for excellent food. You have a wide range of dining choices, from the finest restaurants in China to street hawkers. At night, Shanghai comes alive with entertainment, including theatre, opera, acrobats, discos, karaoke clubs, and upscale lounges. The city's pulse equals the exciting rhythms found in New York, London or Paris.
The Bund stretches about a mile along the Huangpu River. Once known as the Wall Street of Asia, China's most famous waterfront is lined with 1930's-era buildings. The water front park along the Bund is a well-known meeting place for Chinese and foreign visitors. Early morning finds young and old practicing T'ai Chi, martial arts, and ballroom dancing. Side streets in the area have charming 20s and 30s style restaurants and shops. Nanjing Road, the all-out shoppers' Mecca and Shanghai's "Fifth Avenue" offers China's greatest variety of retail stores, restaurants, gift boutiques, sweets shops, and cozy night clubs. Nanpu Bridge straddles the Huangpu River, in the southeast of Shanghai city. It is the world's second largest drawbridge, with a length of 8.5 km. At night, the bridge looks even more picturesque under the luminous shower of over 600 lamps. On both sides of the bridge are four 50 meter, fully computerized sightseeing lifts. Two of China's most famous jade Buddha images reside within the walls of the Jade Buddha Temple. Each figure is carved from a single piece of white jade (one in a rarely found reclining position). It is easy to lose yourself in the narrow, serpentine alleys of Shanghai's Old Town. Saunter through the local bazaar, shop for traditional handicrafts, crossover the pond for lunch and tea in Huxinting Teahouse and then rest in the Garden of the Purple Clouds of Autumn, and enjoy its traditional Chinese landscaping. Yuyuan Garden is a 16th-century maze of colourful pavilions, stone dragons, ponds, arching trees, and flowers, surrounding the instantly recognizable zigzag bridge. Yuyuan Garden is one of China's finest illustrations of Ming Dynasty gardens and architecture.
Neighbour to Hong Kong and Macau, Guangzhou (Canton) is the capital of Guangdong Province, and the largest city in South China. Guangzhou has been listed as one of China's 24 historic and cultural cities. The past decade has seen great economic achievements in the city thanks to a policy of reform and acceptance of foreign trade and investment. Swift progress has also been made in the tourism industry. Many restaurants, hotels, and night markets have been opened in the city. A stream of visitors including overseas Chinese, compatriots from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, and foreign travelers come to the city each year. Worthy sights include: The Memorial Hall of Chen Family located on Zhongshan Qilu. Commonly known as the Chen's Academy of Learning, it was built between 1890 and 1894, to serve as the ancestral temple of the Chens in Guangdong in addition to a learning academy for their descendants. Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, located Dongfeng Rd., it was built between 1929-1931, with a fund from overseas Chinese and the local people. Dr. Sun Yat-sen led the overthrow of the last dynasty in 1911 and founded the first republic ever in China in 1912. It encompasses an assembly hall with a seating capacity of 4,700 people. The Flower Pagoda is a striking landmark standing next to the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, founded in AD 479 during China's Southern dynasty. The Mosque, popularly known as Light Tower (because it was once used as a beacon for the boats on the Zhujiang River), is situated on Guangta Rd. It is thought to have been constructed by two Arabian missionaries in 627 in memory of Mohammed. Yuexiu Park is the largest park in Guangzhou, and includes seven hills, three artificial lakes, Conquering the Sea Tower, the Monument to Sun Yat-sen, the Statue of Five Rams, the Seaman's Pavilion, the Jinyin Children's Amusement Ground and a swimming ground. The Orchid Garden is a quaint park featuring orchids, towering trees and flowers and winding paths. The Guangzhou Import and Export Commodities Fair is a twice yearly event, which, usually referred to as the Guangzhou Spring Trade Fair (April 15-30), and the Guangzhou Autumn Trade Fair (October 15-30), brings thousands of traders from around the globe.