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Beijing Visitor Blog

Tourist and travel information for China: Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Last Build Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2018 00:54:15 PST

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Imin Minaret Turpan City Xinjiang Region

Sun, 01 Oct 2017 01:05:42 PDT

苏公塔Front view of the Imin Minaret mosque, TurpanThe Imin Minaret was the highlight of our recent trip to Turpan City in China's western Xinjiang Uyghur "Autonomous" Region. The beautiful geometric simplicity of this mosque's lines reminded us strongly of the ancient ruins we visited a few years ago in Egypt - helped no doubt by the same earthern coloring.Fortunately for us, we were the only ones there when we visited, and we had this magic monument to ourselves for the 30 or so minutes it took us to walk through and around it.Tower of the Imin Minaret, TurpanLooking at the plaque out front, the Imin Minaret (also called the Sugong Minaret) was built by Imin Hoja, head of Turpan prefecture in his 83rd year, and his son, Su Lai Man Gong, in 1777.Imin pledged loyalty to the Qing Dynasty and made great contributions in the struggle against invasion and separation for all his life. In his later years, he built this minaret to express his indebtedness to the Qing Dynasty and his piety to Allah.A courtyard of the Imin Minaret, Turpan, XinjiangThe minaret is the largest Islamic structure in Xinjiang, and was designed and built by the Uygur builder, Iblain and others.It is more brick than wood, which is said to contribute to its elegant lines. The Minaret is 37 m high and 10 m in diameter at its base, and has a spiral staircase of 72 steps inside.Cemetery at the Imin Minaret, Turpan, XinjiangThe big statue out the front is no doubt of Imin Hoja himself.The outside of the Minaret features about a dozen different typical Uygur geometric patterns rendered in brick.I recall the entry fee being in the range of, in USD, about $3 to $5 each, but it was one of the best spent entry fees of anywhere during our time in this fascinating region.Statue of Imin Hoja, the founder of Imin Minaret mosque, Turpan, Xinjiang. [...]

Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival 2017

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:09:13 PDT

哈尔滨国际冰雪节The 2017 Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival began on Thursday and will last into March.Over 7,000 laborers worked around the clock helping the artists produce the hundreds of ice sculptures at Sun Island, Zhaolin Park and "Ice and Snow World".The huge ice sculptures in the "Ice City" were produced using 180,000 cubic meters of ice from the Songhua River and 150,000 cubic meters of snow.The Harbin Ice Festival opened on January 5th and runs until March this year.Other big snow festivals around the world include the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan and Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival. The Shangri-La Hotel in Harbin is the city's most luxurious hotel to stay during the Ice Festival. Hotels in HarbinBooks on China and Beijing [...]

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Gomar Monastery

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 05:28:50 PDT

Gomar Monastery (Gomar Gompa) is a 400-year-old Tibetan monastery in Qinghai in western China.

The chörten (stupa), located outside the monastery walls is a modern affair, dating from the 1980's and can be climbed.

Gomar Monastery is about 1km from Wutun Monastery in the monastic town of Tongren.

The walled monastery has a number of different buildings and is home to over 100 monks. Buddhist paintings, gargoyles and the serene, curving temple roofs are the main sights.

Opening hours at the monastery are 8am-6pm. Women may be denied access at certain times.

Zhangjiajie Skywalk

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 09:06:20 PDT

China's skywalks have been in the news recently. These mega-expensive, architectural wonders are a symbol of the new, confident China. However, the skywalk at Yuntaishan in Hunan Province hit the headlines when the surface panels of glass cracked, leading to frightening scenes for the tourists walking along it at the time.

China is home to the highest and longest glass skywalk in the world, also in Hunan. Zhangjiajie skywalk, designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan, spans a 430-metre gap between two cliffs in Zhangjiajie National Park in Hunan. It is 300m above the ground.

The Zhangjiajie skywalk, which can carry up to 800 people, doubles up as a runway for fashion shows. For those seeking even more of a thrill, the bridge also lays claim to the world's highest bungee jump.

Atmosphere Bar Beijing

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 09:05:47 PDT

The highest bar in Beijing, this exclusive, 80th floor bar affords a view that extends all the way from Tiananmen Square to the nearby mountains.

Sophisticated rather than super trendy, the bar is worthy of its elevated real estate. Revellers sip expertly mixed cocktails (over 300 concoctions available), single malts and fine wines and can puff fine cigars while relaxing to live jazz and gazing out of the huge windows.

Apart from the view, the main pull at Atmosphere is the drinks. Yes, they are expensive, but few other bars can rival the extensive selection of cocktails for sheer quality and choice. There is also a good wine list by expert local sommelier Koen Masschelein.

1 Jianguomenwai, 80F China World Summit Wing
China World Trade Center Phase 3,
Tel: +86 (0)10 8571 6459

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Longgang National Geological Park Skywalk

Fri, 29 Jan 2016 08:06:27 PST

The Longgang National Geological Park Skywalk is world's longest glass-bottomed cantilever skywalk. it opened in 2015 and measures an impressive 26.64 meters (87.4 feet).

Built at a staggering cost of over $5 million, the Longgang National Geological Park Skywalk sits at a height of 1,010 meters (3,314 feet).

Designed to withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake and a level-14 typhoon, the Yuanduan Skywalk is a marvel of engineering. It can support 200 people at a time, but the park has opted to limit that number to 30 to guarantee an enjoyable guest experience. Also included in the development is a see-through mountain pathway.

Cost: tickets are 60 RMB.


Sun, 05 Apr 2015 02:29:55 PDT

Xiaolongbao is the signature dish of Shanghai - a plump dumpling crammed with juicy pork mince and a shot of meaty broth.The name xiaolongbao comes from the bamboo steaming baskets, xiaolong, the buns (bao) are prepared in.Originally from the suburb of Nanxiang in Shanghai, xiaolongbao can be found all over the city. One recommended restaurant to try them is the Taiwanese restaurant chain Din Tai Fung, which has a reputation for serving up some of the most superior buns in town.The buns are usually filled with minced pork though a variety of fillings can now be founded including vegetarian varieties.The buns are tweaked and pinched at the top to give them their distinctive shape. [...]

Oriental Pearl TV Tower Shanghai

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:58:18 PDT


The Oriental Pearl TV Tower in the Pudong financial district of Shanghai is one of this port city's most famous architectural icons.

Though now dwarfed by such monsters as the Shanghai Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower was the tallest building in China from 1994-2007.

Located opposite the historic Bund, the 468m-tall Oriental Pearl TV Tower signaled the reawakening of Shanghai's power as a center of global commerce, finance and trade. The building has a number of observation points with the highest at 350m - the Space Module.

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower is also host to a number of restaurants, including a revolving restaurant at 267m, exhibition space and shops. The structure is illuminated at night by LED.

1 Century Avenue, Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai, China, 200120

Portovelo - Good in Every Purchase

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 07:24:51 PST

By Christopher KL Lau Many well-meaning social and business entrepreneurs are now finding ways in their business models to both run a sustainable business and to give back to society, in their own little way. This is a current trend which is sweeping the world of business; to not only make a profit but to help lift others out of poverty at the sametime. One of these successful social ventures is the Hong Kong based, "Portovelo". The idea is the brainchild of founder Lavina Tien, who was inspired by her love of both travel and charity.Via her journeys throughout the world, she saw much beauty in the different peoples and cultures she encountered yet she also saw much suffering and poverty. This was especially true in off-the-beaten-track developing nations such as Nepal, Cambodia and Tanzania where she witness extreme poverty which hindered the social and economic development of those respective nations. Being empathetic and compassionate, she decided to make a stance and help those in need in her own little way. Tien was also alarmed by the stark and staggering statistics about child poverty, about 600 million children in the world today live on less than a dollar a day and often have to drop out of education to work and support their families.More than 1 billion children are severely deprived of essential needs required to survive, grow and develop. These include needs like basic food and nutrition, access to clean water, healthcare, shelter and education. Touched by what she saw and armed with a Harvard Business Degree, she set up Portovelo which makes simple yet attractive slip on sneakers for sale around the world. Each sale of a shoe will go towards purchasing 15 meals for deprived children. Purchasing one of these shoes is not only a fashion statement, it also will help feed a child and maybe change their circumstances forever. Portovelo also work closely with specific NGOs to help their dream become a reality; hence their partnership with the well known Flourishing Futures NGO in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Everytime a pair of shoes is purchased, the profits will provide 15 meals to a hungry child in their care. This will be of great relief to Flourishing Futures as it provides food assistance to families living below the poverty line. Poverty and hunger are a marked part of everyday life in Mongolia and these children often do not know when their next meal will be. Having regular meals will allow them to have the energy and strength to fully participate in either work and education to the best of their ability. Portovelo also keep their eye on current news affairs and with the recent disasters in the Philippines, Portovelo donated a portion of all their sales proceeds to the World Visions' emergency food relief program in the Philippines, for all purchases at the end of 2013. With Portoveolo, Lavina Tien is making a huge difference, one slip on sneaker at a time! [...]

Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival 2014

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:09:00 PDT

哈尔滨国际冰雪节To celebrate the 30th Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival the event is bigger than ever this year.Over 7,000 laborers worked around the clock helping the artists produce the hundreds of ice sculptures at Sun Island, Zhaolin Park and "Ice and Snow World".The huge ice sculptures in the "Ice City" were produced using 180,000 cubic meters of ice from the Songhua River and 150,000 cubic meters of snow.The Harbin Ice Festival opened on January 5th and runs for several weeks.Other big snow festivals around the world include the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan and Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival. The Shangri-La Hotel in Harbin is the city's most luxurious hotel to stay during the Ice Festival. images © Daniel AllenHotels in Harbin China Job SearchChina Cupid [...]

Mesh Beijing

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 23:18:07 PST

Mesh, one of Beijing's top night spots, is located inside Opposite House, a 99 room hotel which is part of a large high-end shopping development in Sanlitun called The Village.

Mesh has a reputation as one of Beijing's most gay-friendly bars.

The Opposite House is easy to locate right next to 3.3 shopping centre in Sanlitun.

First Floor
The Opposite House
11 Sanlitun Lu
Building 1
Sanlitun Village
Chaoyang district
Tel: 6410 5220

Hotels in Beijing
Books on China and Beijing
China Cupid

Bomb Shelter Bar

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 09:06:38 PDT

The Bomb Shelter Bar in the basement of the Red Capital Residence is a bar with a difference.

Waitresses in People's Liberation Army uniform serve up delicious cocktails and audio visuals consist of Mao era propagandist opera.

This literally hole in the ground bar is a little hard to enter (see image below) but once down the steep stairs you have transcended into another, earlier world.

Red Capital Residence
9 Dongsi Liutiao
Dongcheng District
Telephone: 8403 5308


Dragon Boat Race Season 2013

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:09:31 PDT

端午节It's Dragon Boat Festival (Duānwǔ Jié) season soon (the fifth day of the fifth lunar month).Dragon Boat races will be occurring all over China including a Dragon Boat festival in Shanghai and similar events in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.Some of Hong Kong's popular Dragon boat races are held in Stanley, though the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival takes place off the East Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade in Victoria Harbour from 21st to 23rd June this year.The 2012 event drew over 400,000 spectators who watched 5,000 athletes compete in teams from 21 countries.The big event is the Lee Kum Kee IDBF Club Crew World Championships for men and women's teams including juniors, seniors and even cancer survivors' teams.Dragon Boat races are popular in Hong Kong where there are estimated to be around 50,000 active paddlers.Prior to this, the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng Festival) will take place on 12th June at various locations including Aberdeen, Discovery Bay, Stanley, Sha Tin, Tai O on Lantau, Cheung Chau and Tai Po.Useful LinksHong Kong Extras© align="left" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" style="align: left; height: 245px; padding-right: 10px; padding-top: 5px; width: 131px;">Hotels in Beijing China Job SearchChina Cupid [...]

Centro in the Kerry Hotel Beijing

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:09:42 PDT

Located in the luxury Kerry Hotel in the foreign embassy area of the Chinese capital, Centro is right up there as one of Beijing's top night spots.

Centro's motto is "Beautiful People Serving Beautiful People" and this stylish bar on Level 1 of the hotel draws the city's celebrities for its award-winning cocktails and live jazz acts. Happy hour is between 5 and 8pm though Centro is open 24 hours a day.

No 1 Guanghua Road
Tel: 86 10 6561 8833 ext. 42

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Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:10:11 PDT

Modernista Old Cafe and Tapas bar is quickly earning itself a reputation as on of Beijing's top night spots.

Modernista is an art deco themed live house with DJs, live acts including blues, funk, Dixieland and jazz plus film screenings and open mic comedy events. There have also been photography exhibitions and a mahjong evening.

Wash down your tapas with a fine selection of beer, whiskey and absinthe.

Baochao Hutong 44
Tel: 0136 9142 5744

Haze Nightclub Beijing

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:09:57 PDT

The fairly recent Haze is one of Beijing's top nightclubs. Haze is a trendy duplex: two floors, bar and cafe on top and basement dance floor below.

Haze specializes in techno, nu-disco and house with frequent visits by the world's top DJs plus its own in-house professionals.

Haze is located in the Guomao district of the Chinese capital on Guanghua Lu.

St Joseph Seminary Church Macau

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:10:29 PDT


The baroque St Joseph Seminary Church in Macau was built by the Jesuits on Mato Mofino hill between 1746 and 1758.

After the Jesuits were expelled from Macau in the 18th century by order of the Marquis of Pombal back in Portugal, the building was taken over by the Lazarists (Congregation of the Mission).

The church is approached via a flight of granite steps leading to the central door under a "broken" arch.

The interior of the church is lavishly decorated with the dome reaching 19m.

The church a holy relic of a piece of bone from St. Francis Xavier, who was active as a Jesuit missionary in Goa, Macau and later Japan.

St Joseph Seminary Church
Rua do Seminario, Macau
Tel: 853 8399 6699

Hotels in Macau

Beijing Police

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:10:42 PDT

人民武装警察The Beijing police force has a long history. The Beijing Police Academy was founded in 1901 on the Japanese police model and had Japanese trainers. Before then local, poorly trained police police were paid for out of the public coffers.Nowadays Beijing's police force is under the control of the Ministry of Public Security.The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is China's national police force (with the exception of Hong Kong and Macau) and it operates Public Security Bureaus, akin to police stations in other countries but with many more powers throughout China.Ministry of Public Security police wear blue uniforms and have been armed since 2006 with a locally made 9mm double-action revolver.The People's Armed Police is another arm of China's police force (with the exception of Hong Kong and Macau) and is a paramilitary gendamarie, somewhat on the lines of Italy's Carabinieri, the Guardia Civil in Spain and the Guarda Nacional Republicana in Portugal.PAP policemen wear olive green uniforms and are armed with pistols and carry a whistle (see photograph below).Visitors interested in the history of Beijing's and China's police force should visit the Beijing Police Museum in the Foreign Legation Quarter. [...]

Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2013

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:10:58 PDT

哈尔滨国际冰雪节The 29th Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival opens in Heilongjiang Province with a spectacular opening con Saturday January 5th, 2013 and lasts for around one month.The hundreds of ice sculptures at Sun Island, Zhaolin Park and "Ice and Snow World" are built from blocks of ice taken from the Songhua River by around 15,000 workers and designed by local engineering students and increasingly by artists from around the world.The ice sculptures in the "Ice City" in Harbin are illuminated at night with multi-colored lights embedded in the ice and also by laser shows.Firework displays are also part of the attraction along with swimming contests in pools in the frozen Songhua River, ice climbing contests and ice restaurants where customers eat hotpot in restaurants built from blocks of ice.Nearby Yabuli Ski Resort is another pull for the nearly 1,000,000 visitors expected to arrive for the winter period.Other big snow festivals around the world include the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan and Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival. The Shangri-La Hotel in Harbin is the city's most luxurious hotel to stay during the Ice Festival. images © Daniel AllenHotels in Harbin [...]

Hong Kong Mass Transit Logo

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:11:08 PDT


Hong Kong's Mass Transit has a distinctive logo. The white sign on a red circular background consists of 3 strokes: a vertical line and two semi-circles at the top and bottom.

The MTR logo captures the inter-connectivity of Hong Kong's MTR with subway,  light rail and the Airport Express running out to Hong Kong International Airport.

Hotels in Hong Kong

Long Life Garden Hong Kong

Fri, 07 Nov 2014 18:34:57 PST

Long Life Garden in Kowloon, Hong Kong is a shop specializing in traditional Chinese herbal medicines.

Popular with tours of Japanese tourists, Long Life Garden offers demonstrations of its medicinal products often extracted from various creatures including sea horses (see above) and plants such as ginseng and garlic.

Rows of jars line the wooden shelves of the store which is a delight to wander.

Long Life Garden
308, Canton Road, G/F
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2730 1202

Hong Kong Estate Agents

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:59:06 PDT


Hong Kong has some of the most expensive real estate in the world. A lack of space and a large population has meant Hong Kong has gone vertical and most places to rent in Hong Kong are in high rise blocks of flats.

The Hong Kong property market is highly competitive and a large number of companies are involved in the sale and lease of property in Hong Kong.

Prices of properties to rent in Hong Kong depend on the location and the space of the property. Hong Kong landlords normally require a deposit of 1 or 2 months' rent in advance.

Check your rights on the Hong Kong government website that deals with housing.

Qiongzhu Temple Kunming Yunnan Province China

Sun, 17 Dec 2017 08:34:43 PST

筇竹寺Qiongzhu Temple or Bamboo Temple is located on Yu'an Mountain, 12km north west of the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province.The temple originally dates from the 13th century and is a Chinese Zen temple. The temple and statues you see today mostly date from the reconstruction work of the Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty after a devastating fire destroyed most of the original structures.Qiongzhu Temple is known for its 19th century sculptures of the 500 Buddhist arhats or luohan (Buddhist adepts freed from the cycle of death and re-birth) sculpted by the renown Chinese artist Li Guangxiu and his five disciples. The art work proved too much for the artist's contemporaries and patrons and was his last commission.The clay statues, which took seven years in the making are beautifully painted and capture various personalities and states of human existence: the young and the old, the healthy and the sick, the happy and the sad.Some of the statues ride waves like surfers on one wall of the temple and are particularly grotesque: one has arms longer than his body, another eyebrows reaching down to his chest.Qiongzhu Temple is also known for its fine setting with ancient cypress trees and the grounds also contain a vegetarian restaurant for visitors. The main hall of Qiongzhu Si contains a 14th century stone tablet recording the diplomacy between Imperial China and Yunnan in Chinese and Mongolian script. [...]

Hong Kong Public Light Buses

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:58:52 PDT

香港小型巴士Hong Kong's Public Light Buses are a quick and easy way to get around Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories. Hong Kong's Public Light Buses (PLBs) are also known as Maxicabs or Green Minibuses (GMB) to differentiate them from the red Private Light Buses, which are unregulated and can run on their own routes and charge their own fares.A total of 4350 Public Light Buses are allowed to operate in Hong Kong and they can carry a maximum of 16 passengers. Public Light Buses operate on fixed routes with fixed fares on a timetable. The destination of the bus is shown on the front in both Chinese and English.The Octopus Card, as well as cash, is accepted on all of Hong Kong's Public Light Buses. Many of the buses are now LPG vehicles, with plans to phase in electric buses in future. Most of the buses carry advertising.By law passengers are obliged to wear seat belts on Hong Kong's Public Light Buses. Some of Hong Kong's Public Light Buses run 24 hours. When you want to get off the bus call out to the driver: "Next stop please!"Hotels in Hong Kong [...]

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