Solo Female Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Tag: China

Skyscrapers in Shanghai

Our flight from Xi’an to Shanghai arrived quite late so we headed straight to the hotel to sleep as we knew the following day would be a 7am start!

The first stop was the Shanghai Natural History Museum. Again, very interesting. I always love museums.

We visited the Yuyuan Garden (located beside the ‘City God Temple’) – incredible architecture and of course beautiful flowers. You cannot miss the huge Jade rock centrepiece as you walk through the gardens.  I learnt that it was built around 1500 during the Ming Dynasty.

We were taken to a genuine Silk Factory. In the photos, you’ll see the machines used to make the silk as well as the silkworms! I learnt that it can take around 5000 silkworms to make one piece of clothing (e.g. a kimono)! I treated myself to a traditional Chinese silk dress…only for special occasions of course!

After another delicious à la carte lunch, we enjoyed an hour long cruise along the Huangpu River – incredible views of all the different skyscrapers. Unfortunately, it was really overcast whilst we were in Shanghai, so you’ll see in the photos, some of them are dark in colour as well as being slightly blurry. The pollution also contributed to the grey tint in the photos.  We then headed back to the hotel to say our goodbyes as it was the official end of the tour (although we extended our stay).

The tour was extremely fast-paced so we took the following day at a slower pace! After enjoying yet another buffet breakfast at our hotel, we took a leisurely walk to a nearby mall with a lovely park next door to it and strolled around there for a while. We stopped off at an outdoor café in the park for coffee and cake. We spent the afternoon back at the hotel, making use of the pool etc. In the evening, we ventured out to a nearby restaurant for a quick bite to eat as well as stopping by another fresh juice bar I found!

The following morning, we had our flight from Shanghai to Tokyo so ‘stay tuned’ to find out what I got up to in Tokyo!

 

 

 

48 hours in X’ian

Xi’an is home to the Terracotta Warriors and is also known for being the starting point of the ‘Silk Road’. The Silk Road was a very old network of trade routes that connected the East and West of China. The reason behind why it’s called the Silk Road is quite obvious…it was because of the large amount of Silk trade that was carried out.

 

We arrived in Xi’an quite late and just went straight to the hotel…I find even after a short flight you still feel exhausted! Below, you’ll see a few photos of the hotel. We started off the next day at the Terracotta Factory – it was interesting to see them making the souvenirs etc. We didn’t spend too long here and then headed straight onto the main Terracotta Museum – the most important part of our time in Xi’an!

Our tour guide told us that the best order to view the Terracotta Warriors was starting with pit 1, pit 3 and then finishing with pit 2. So pit 1 is the largest pit with around 6000 soldiers as well as being the 1st of the pits to be discovered (in 1974 by farmers). It’s a large hall/warehouse, it’s a lot lighter than the other pits due to there being quite a few sky lights. Pit 3 – the smallest of the 3 pits (with around 68 soldiers) and the only one that is actually finished. A lot of the warriors were badly destroyed in this pit, with many of them having missing heads etc. There is also a chariot equipped with four horses that was discovered inside the chamber of the pit. Pit 2 has around 1000-2000 soldiers. Most of the roof had caved in so the warriors were extremely damaged.

After an unforgettable trip to see the Terracotta Warriors, we were taken to a nearby hotel in Xi’an for another delicious feast.

In the evening, we were taken to watch the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show as well as enjoying a ‘Dumpling Tasting Dinner’. Dumplings are apparently traditional local food in northern China.

The following day started off at the Ancient City Wall. You can hire bicycles to ride along the wall so my Mom and I bravely decided to hire a tandem bicycle for the first time. As you can imagine, it took us a while to get going (almost crashing into pedestrians as well as the wall itself…all while locals laughed at us!) but we soon got the hang of it and had a lot of fun! Next was the Shaanxi History Museum which was extremely interesting. Items in the museum included coins, jewellery, murals, paintings etc.

The best of Beijing

I had wanted to visit the ‘Far East’ for quite some time now. One day, having a casual conversation with my Mom, I discussed my desire to travel to both China and Japan on a solo trip. My Mom had often talked about wanting to visit China in particular so it we decided to go and make it a mother-daughter trip instead!

5 weeks after our conversation, we were on a flight from London to Beijing. We arrived at our hotel around midday and spent the afternoon relaxing and exploring the hotel. We ventured outside of the hotel in the evening and strolled a few streets down to find somewhere to eat. We were staying in a very touristy part of the city so we ended up eating a rather expensive pizza…it was at least a ‘Peking Duck’ pizza! Below are photos from our hotel. There was well-equipped gym (which we only used once) and an indoor swimming pool. The following day was at a very relaxed pace. As we knew we would be starting our tour the next day, we wanted to just spend a day doing things at our own pace. We had a lovely lie-in(much needed after waking up at different intervals during the night due to the jet-lag!) and a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. In the afternoon, we headed out to explore. We ended up finding a fresh juice bar close to our hotel with lovely outdoor seating. I was very impressed with the juice and the warm, friendly service. In the U.K, you can easily spend £4 on a blended fresh juice, and this was the equivalent to around £1! (photos below) We ended up coming to this juice bar a couple of times whilst in Beijing as I was so impressed!

The next morning, after enjoying the hotel breakfast, we met our tour group. There were 17 of us in total and it didn’t take long for us to start getting to know each other. Many of the travellers being either Canadian or American…very easy people to get along with! The tour was mostly couples/small families but also a few solo travellers.

So our first stop was Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is basically a city square located in the centre of Beijing. The Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”), is a gate in the wall of the Imperial City. I also learnt that it’s used as a government ‘meeting point’. Even though the square is open to the pubic, there’s high security to get through to the square. The square can sometimes be closed due to political reasons. We spent about half an hour at Tiananmen Square taking photos as well as our tour guide feeding us with interesting facts.

We then headed into the Forbidden City (a short but tiring walk as it was a swelteringly hot day!). The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing. The Forbidden City served as the home of emperors as well as being the political centre of Chinese government for many years. The Forbidden City was declared a ‘World Heritage Site’ about 30 years ago as well as being listed as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. The architecture was just unreal…some of the structures have remained untouched and some have been re-painted. So it was interesting to see the difference.

After Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, our tour guide took us to a well-known restaurant in Beijing for a delicious à la carte lunch. It was an absolute feast! Photo shown below.

In the afternoon we visited the Temple of Heaven (The Temple of Heaven is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated close to central Beijing) and after that we went to see a traditional Chinese Kung Fu show! I also learnt that the Temple of Heaven was first built in 1420! I guess that’s one of the main things I love about China, the long and interesting history.

We started off the next day at a genuine Jade factory. The staff gave us a small tour and talked about the Jade and the history. I couldn’t resist buying myself a bracelet. A beautiful piece of jewellery to add to my collection as well as a special memory. One of the other days we were in Beijing, we went to a pearl factory and I bought a lovely pair of freshwater pearl studs.

We then went to see The Great Wall…which doesn’t really need too much of an introduction so I’ll let the photos do most of the talking! We saw the ‘Badaling’ section. Badaling being the site of the most visited section of the Great Wall of China. We were given a glass of red (my favourite) to enjoy before we started climbing…very civilised!

Next, we went to see the ‘Ming Tombs’ or it’s also known as ‘Sacred Way’. I learned that the Ming tombs are basically a collection of mausoleums built by the emperors of the ‘Ming’ dynasty of China. The Sacred Way is a main road leading to all the tombs. The road is about 4 miles long!

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped off to see the Beijing National Stadium (also known as the Bird’s Nest) which was incredible to see, a very striking structure. For those of you who don’t know, it was the main stadium of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, hence why it’s now a big tourist attraction as well as being a venue for important matches.

You’ll also see in the photos below, the lady holding a giant sunflower. That was our tour guide, Candy. She was amazing! Candy constantly told us about the history of China as well as just general facts. She was a real ‘mother hen’. Always looking after us and going above and beyond to ensure we were having a good time. The photos really highlight her fun and bubbly personality!

 

 

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