Shaolin Temples in China

February 28th, 2007

The Shaolin Temple was built in 496 AD, and hosted a Buddhist monk named Bada. The temple became known for its teachings of Zen, and the martial art Kung Fu. From 1368 to 1644 the monastery preformed a military role and housed as many as 1000 trained monks. Between 1644 and 1928 the Shaolin Temple was attacked and destroyed three times, yet about 230 tombs and quite a large number of relics have survived.

A visitor to the Shaolin Temple today they find a number of buildings or structures on the site. There is the Bell Tower, and the Drum Tower, both of which are Chinese temples. There is also a building called the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, Mahavira Hall, and the Sutra-Keeping Pavilion.

The Mahavira Hall was restored in 1986 and was the temples main building during the Jin Dynasty. In the late 1980’s tourism to the area became so popular that the temple became a school to some 10,000 students interested in learning the martial art King Fu. Since then however a new abbot took charge and redirected the institution to its former glory and the practice of teaching Zen meditation and beliefs.

The Shaolin Temple is probably one of the most frequently visited tourist areas in the region. The reason for this popularity may have been the result of a popular TV show, or it may have been for some other reason. Either way, the Shaolin temple should be a must see on your list of things to do, during a visit to China.

Xi’an Tourist Attractions

February 27th, 2007

Xi’an is in China’s fertile lowlands. It is most famous for the discovery in 1974 of the Terracotta Warriors, and is one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. This city is home to one of china’s largest mosques and has been inhabited for over 6000 years.

Xi’an is probably the central most important city in Chinese history and so it is most famous for the large number of historic sites, and museums that outline the rich history of the area. Many dynasties both started and fell from this city.

There are five main museums in Xi’an. The Forest of Stele was setup during the Tang Dynasty and in 1090 during the Song Dynasty was turned into a Confucian temple. This museum now holds the oldest collection of steles in china. A stele is a stone that is stood upright and has been inscribed with calligraphy. There is so many of these stele’s that it is referred to as a forest!

Mentioned earlier in this article was the Terracotta Warriors. Well the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and the Museum of the Qin Terracotta Figures display artifacts from the Qin dynasty including the terracotta warriors. The mausoleum was in fact an underground palace and it is said that 700,000 people worked on its construction of 36 years. The vaults where discovered between 1974 and 1976. In 1979 the actual museum was constructed and the artifacts where put on display.

The three remaining museums that are of interest to tourists are the Big Goose Pagoda, The Small Goose Pagoda, and the Banpo Museum. The Big, Goose and Small Goose temples where built around 653 and 707 AD respectively and feature artifacts from the Buddhist monks and their scriptures. The Banpo museum was built in 1954 to cover and protect the site of five excavations and occupying an area of 33,400 square feet.

Needless to say, Xi’an is an ideal place for those interested in the rich history of China to visit. Anyone wishing to plan tours or vacations to Xi’an would be well advised to consult with a travel agent in order to ensure they get the most out of their visit.

Travel to Beijing

February 26th, 2007

Beijing is the capital of China and is one of the most visited cities in Asia. It offers tourists an almost limitless number of places to see and things to do. It is a very busy metropolis that mixes modern living with ancient history unlike any other city in the world.

The cities main attraction is the “Forbidden City”. It contains 800 buildings and was closed to the public for a very long time. Today it is one of the best preserved sections of ancient china. This was the imperial palace and it was constructed in 1406. It took 200,000 workers 14 years to complete and its buildings contain 8700 rooms and halls.

The second most popular site in Beijing is the Tiananmen Square. In contrast to the Forbidden City, it was built in the 20th century under the Mao dynasty. It is a large open area flanked by the Museum of Chinese history, the great hall of the people, and Mao’s mausoleum. This particular place became infamous when a young demonstrator was killed during a pro-democracy demonstration.

Another fascinating place to visit in Beijing is the national Museum of China. This museum was founded in 1926 and it has a collection of some 300,000 historical artifacts of witch about 5,500 are on display at any one time. The displays include painted pottery, bronze ware, and ceramics. Located in the same area as this museum, is the Museum of the Chinese Revolution which focuses on the history of the communist party in china.

One more site of great interest in the Sun Yatsen Park. It was originally the site of the temple and was named after Sun Yatsen, a leader of the 1911 revolution. The park includes a number of cypress trees, and a great marble arch.

Beijing has many things to see and do for tourists wishing to explore the city. The above list is just a small sampling of some of the places to see while in the Beijing area. For a more detailed list please consult your local travel agent.

Suzhou, China

February 23rd, 2007

Suzhou is one of the most beautiful cities in china and probably one of the most historically significant cities in the country. The metro area including the city itself is home to over 6.9 million people. The major language spoken in the city is Wu, a Chinese dialect. The city is very much like Venice where the streets and canals are winding, and intertwined. The city is famous for its vast gardens and offers quite a variety of sites for the tourist to explore.

The gardens alone can be traced back to 6 BC and all these gardens have been beautifully maintained in their original splendor and glory. The four top gardens to see in the city are Canglang Pavilion (Blue Wave Pavilion), Lingering Garden, Humble Administrator’s Garden and Lion Grove Garden. The garden of Master of Nets is one of the best examples of a small to medium size garden and is also well worth a visit.

The water townships of Suzhou are another interesting set of places to visit. The ancient homes and the lovely views are unlike anything a tourist will have ever seen anywhere else. Three of the most beautiful water townships are Zhouzhuang, Tongli Town, and Luzhi. All are beautiful and once again well worth a visit.

Along with the water townships and gardens Suzhou has a number of other tourist attractions. The Panmen Scenic Area, Water and land city gates, Wumen Bridge, and the Suzhou Amusement Park represent just a few of the huge number of sites that may be if interest to the exploring tourist.

The last major items of interest to most tourists are the famous temples located in the Suzhou area. The Temple of Mystery and the Xiyuan Temple are probably the two most popular tourist destinations though there are many others as well.

The Suzhou area has a vast amount to see and do. It is very rich in Chinese history and well worth the time spent visiting the gardens, temples, and water townships that it has to offer. When planning a trip to china do make sure that the Suzhou area is on your list of things to do.

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

February 21st, 2007

One of the most interesting places to visit in Asia is Kuala Lumpur and one of the major attractions there is the Petronas twin towers. These magnificent structures stand 458 meters tall and have 88 floors. The foundation of these towers stretches 120 meters underground. The towers themselves are made primarily of reinforced concrete and steel with a glass façade. Construction on these towers was finished in 1996.

Visitors are allowed to go to the 41st floor to see the sky bridge. From this vantage point you can see the park below and on a clear day all the surrounding cities of Kuala Lumpur. In order to get into the sky bridge it is necessary to get a pass. These passes are given to about 1400 people every day, and usually they are all distributed before noon, so make sure you get there very early to ensure that you manage to get one.

In a building this massive it would seem logical that the elevator system be huge and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. There are 3 groups of elevators that together service all the floors in the building. The elevator cars are two stories, so one story handles the even floors and the other handles the odd floors. These elevators are also specially equipped with a number of safety devices. The one that is the most interested is the way that one elevator can go up beside another elevator and evacuate people from it if it gets stuck or jammed between floors.

The petronas Company is the one and only tenant of tower one. The other tower called Tower 2 is available for rent to other tenants’. Currently Accenture, Bloomberg, Boeing, IBM, Microsoft, Reuters, and a large number of smaller firms all call this tower home.

At the base of the towers there is a shopping plaza called Suria KLCC. It has a large number of shops featuring all kinds of different merchandise. On the 4th floor you will find the petroleum development centre.

Just outside the plaza is the KLCC Park. This park has jogging and walking paths, a wading pool, and a children’s playground. It has a very large water fountain with built in lighting that puts on a fantastic show, as the water blasts high into the air. Getting to the towers is easy. Take the Putra train right to the towers.

Bali Gets The Heat Back

December 2nd, 2006

The local flag carrier Garuda Indonesia operating ten daily services from Jakarta to Bali is fully booked for Christmas – New Year period. They even have added an extra 2,000 seats to meet the high demand. Local private airliner flying Jakarta – Denpasar route confirmed similar situation.

Read the rest of this entry »