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Curious what backpackers do in China? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Built in the 1400's, the Temple of Heaven was a religious place for the emperor to pray for good harvests. It was the place where the Olympic torch was received before being taken to the Olympic Park for the start of the games. It was built, as all the palaces we've seen, without nails. They used a peg system.

    Outside the Temple is a park where retired people gather to exercise, play hackey-sack, match-make for their children by laying down papers on the ground with vital information about their child and the type of mate they are seeking. It is considered embarrassing to have a daughter or son over 25 or 30 who is not married- at least by the older generation...a sentiment not necessarily shared by their grown off-spring!

    Men in China retire between age 55-60 and women retire between 50-55. So they have plenty of time to exercise at the park. They also dance, sing and play cards.

    Later in the afternoon we were taken to a four story pearl market. This is the place to buy pearls. In the evening, we went to a very famous Kung Fu show.
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  • The site of the historical uprising between students and police. We saw the picture of the student standing in front of a police tank and it was reported in our news that the police attacked the protesting students. Our chinese guide told us the students attacked and burned a soldier that left no recourse but for the police to disperse the students and several of them were killed.

  • For our first full day in Xi'an we headed ten minutes walk up the road to the city wall. It's a wall that has completely been modernised and maintained so that it is in tact and accessible to the public. There was the option to purchase a combined ticket for the wall and museum that was inside so we opted for this deal. The museum however was a little bit of a disappointment. It's main features which made up 60% of the exhibits were stone tablets with Chinese enscriptjons. Unfortunately they provided no translation or information on what the tablets said or their meaning which limited us to appreciate their significance. There was however a gallery of beautiful Chinese art as well as a large collection of stone carvings including a maze of pillars with characters carved on the tops. After the museum we headed to the wall and entered at the south gate which is nearest to where we are staying. The size of the wall was impressive but it was also incredibly wide so you can see how it provided aged deference barrier. We started walking at about 2.30 and didn't finish the complete circuit until 7.30 so it was quite a long rectangle wall to walk. There was the option to cycle around the top but that was more money so we didn't go for this option. Unfortunately the weather was awful; it was rainy and freezing cold. Xi'an as well seems to have a lot of pollution so that combined with the rain made visibility a views very poor which was a shame. Because the walk took so long we were still on the wall when it went dark and they switched on all the lanterns. They also lit up the turret style buildings so the once very boring samey wall suddenly transformed into something much more beautiful. Although it is impressive I did find it a bit too commercialised and much preferred walking the walls of York with my sister which have such character and interest and haven't been so restored.Read more

  • What an incredible sight! Today we visited the Terracotta Army about an hour away from Xi'an. I was very proud that we managed to get there ourselves based on TripAdvisor reviews and recommendations alone. That in itself felt like such an achievement. We entered pit one when we arrived which was where the site was discovered by farmers digging a well in the 70's. The scale of the hall took you aback and the rows upon rows of hand carved figures staring up at you was so impressive. There is 6000 soldiers and horses in this one site and only 2000 have been uncovered and restored. Seeing the fresh sections that had only just been exposed we caught a glimpse at the challenge they face trying to piece together these broken and worn down figures. This made the site even more phenomenal that not only were these statues hand made once but they have also been hand made again by the current archaeologists. There are two other pits of soldiers as well. One is equally as big but has little work to yet be done on excavating this section yet. It's amazing to think we could return in 50 years time and the whole site would be completely different. We did stop at one point to have a coffee and as a lovely treat were shown the traditional tea making of China and allowed to sample three different teas. This made the expensive coffee far more worth while! Overall a pretty great day indeed.Read more

  • The Great Wall of China is actually called the long wall. It is approximately 4,700 miles long. First built around 300 BC by six of seven warring states in this region to keep each from invading the other. The seventh state who did not build the wall was the strongest militarily and eventually won over the other six states and unified the region also unifying the wall. Initially, to build the wall, raw materials were lacking so they used stone and a combination of sticky rice, sand, dirt and gravel to hold them in place. Later, the wall was reinforced with marble. People in the area, however, stole the marble to build their homes. The wall deteriorated over the years. It has been rebuilt in places with concrete.Read more

  • The Ming Palace has been standing for over 600 years and is the tomb of Emperor Judi. The four pegs over each doorway indicate wealth, the blue color represents heaven, red is for good luck, and green represents the earth. High thresholds keep evil spirits from below out and the odd shape of the roof keeps evil spirits from above out. The theory being that as they descend, they hit the roof, slide down, then the roof sends them back up where they came from.Read more

  • Today we had a very lazy day indeed. We fly to Japan tomorrow morning at 8.10 and our hostel annoyingly would not let us check out earlier than 8am probably because they didn't want to get up! They also wouldn't do the night before and we decided that actually a whole night at the airport was just too much to do. We booked a hotel right by the airport with a free transfer service running 24 hours. So this morning we packed up, did a bit of food shopping, treated ourselves to a shared Starbucks and checked out at the hostel at 12 (the latest time we could). We found out there is a tomb of an emperor that is like a small version of the Terracotta Army near the airport that was actually discovered when they wanted to build a new run away. Our plan was to check in to our hotel and then head there as a last thing to do. Unfortunately it wasn't to be. We got the metro to the nearest point to the airport as it's so cheap then got a taxi to the hotel. Turns out the hotel was further than expected and in a small mini neighbourhood that's a bit rough looking with not much going on. We were certain we wouldn't have any means to the head out again and get a bus or taxi to the tomb. We expected our fate and instead chilled in our massive room planning things for Japan and Australia. We went hunting for a restuarant but were certain the few kebab shop like places we saw wouldn't have English or many pictures so we came back and luckily the woman on reception kindly went and got us some noodles. In a way we were relieved that we didn't witness the style of "restuarant" they came from and we got to eat in the comfort of the room which was a bonus. We had such a chilled day I didn't even take 6 photos! The last photo is of a cute little chap we saw at the supermarket last week carved from some sort of melon style fruit. They have so many weird and wonderful fruits and vegetables here. We're now saying goodbye to China and heading off to Japan bright and early! We didn't see any pandas, our niece will not be impressed.Read more

  • Diesen Monat haben wir richtig viel Besuch. Bettinas Freund ist aus Japan zu uns gekommen für einen Monat, Theresa aus Guilin für ein Wochenende und Nathalies Freundinnen, Valerie und Gina, jeweils für ein paar Wochen. Langweilig wird uns hier also nicht 😉

You might also know this place by the following names:

People’s Republic of China, People's Republic of China, China, Volksrepubliek van Sjina, Kyaena, ቻይና, Cīna, الصين, চীন, República Popular China, Çin, Кітай, Китайска народна република, Siniwajamana, རྒྱ་ནག, Sina, Kina, Xina, Republikang Popular sa Tsina, ᏓᎶᏂᎨᏍᏛ, Čína, Китай Халăх Республики, Gweriniaeth Pobl Tsieina, Folkerepublikken Kina, རྒྱ་མི, Tsaina nutome, Κίνα, Ĉinujo, Hiina, Txina, چین, Siin, Kiinan kansantasavalta, Chine, An tSín, ચીન, Caina, Sin, סין, चीन, Kína, Չինաստան, Republica Popular de China, Republik Rakyat Tiongkok, Chaina, ꍏꇩ, Tsina, Populala Republiko di Chinia, Cina, 中国, jugygue, ჩინეთი, Қытай Халық Республикасы, ចិន, ಚೀನಾ, 중국, Res publica popularis Sinarum, Volleksrepublik China, Cayina, Sinɛ, ຈີນ, Kinija, Shine, Ķīna, Haina, Кина, ചൈന, Хятад улс, Ċina, တရုတ်, Volksrepubliek China, Chinne, Kitai, ଚିନ୍, Китай, Maldang Republika ning Tsina, Chiny, Chunwa, Ubushinwa, Kiinná, Shîna, චීනය, Čínska ľudová republika, Kitajska, Shiinaha, Kinë, சீனா, చైనా, จีน, Hytaý Halk Respublikasy, Siaina, Ol Manmeri Ripablik bilong Saina, Çin Halk Cumhuriyeti, جۇڭخۇا خەلق جۇمھۇرىيىتى, Хитой, Trung Hoa, 中华人民共和国, כינע, Orílẹ́ède ṣáínà, Cunghvaz Yinzminz Gunghozgoz, i-China