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Entries about buddhist-temple

Emei Mountain Area April 4-8

Finishing up our trip with a visit to Southwest Jiaotong University and local friend.


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We got a Hanting Express Hotel just down the road from the Hangzhou airport for convenience. The hotel was in an industrial area and there was absolutely nothing to do or see. We found a small restaurant two blocks from the hotel and had a terrible dinner. What one does for convenience!

On April 4, I got the free breakfast from McDonald's and we took a taxi to the airport, leaving for Chengdu at around 1100. We arrived to the Chengdu airport at 1315 and got a taxi to the hotel next to Southwest Jiaotong University. The taxi cost us 72 Yuan. We checked in and immediately went to a shop that sold Chinese stamps. Afterward we visited the art shops a couple of blocks from the stamp store and picked up more art supplies for Sunee. We then made a quick trip to the big computer stores where I bought a keyboard with large letters. I was having trouble seeing the letters on my Thai keyboards. It works just fine.

We got back to the hotel and then immediately walked the two blocks to the Walmart where we celebrated my birthday with some of the worst pizza we have ever had at Pizza Hut. The service matched the pizza. Sunee promised me better when we reached Emei City!

The next morning we returned to Walmart, shopped and then caught a van to Emei City, leaving Chengdu at around 1300.

01_VantoEmei

01_VantoEmei

For 350 Yuan we got this tiny little van with a very friendly driver. The trip to Emei City was uneventful except for the occasional rain. Upon arriving to Southwest Jiaotong University - Emei, we were adopted by our good friends and fellow teachers, Enliven and Arthur. We stayed with them for our remaining days in China.

02_Brthdaycake

02_Brthdaycake

Another birthday celebration! Sunee did promise to have a better dinner for me and she came through.

03_LightingCandle

03_LightingCandle

Happy Birthday!!!!!

04_HappyBirthday

04_HappyBirthday

More Birthday fun!

05_Socute

05_Socute

Now isn't that cute.

06_Pros

06_Pros

The end to a wonderful evening.

The next few days were spent visiting with old friends and colleagues with dinners and visiting classes. These last four days were great and made us miss our time living and working with all of our good friends Farewell until next time Mount Emei, Southwest Jiaotong University and friends.

07_Visitclass

07_Visitclass

08_Gathering

08_Gathering

09_AnotherDinner

09_AnotherDinner

Posted by inchinahil 05:39 Archived in China Tagged china sichuan tourist_sites emei_city buddhist-temple Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (July 21-23)

Linfen, Shaanxi Province


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Linfeng

July 21, 2009

In the morning, we got up fairly early, checked out of the hotel and with Suzie went to the bus station. Suzie is a very lucky younr lady to have a family like she does.

ByeBye to Susie

ByeBye to Susie

As we traveled toward Linfen, we began to see the remnants of cave houses built into the loess. I also got a picture of a large pagoda in a town called Anzexian that was being renovated.

Quick view of Anzexian Pagoda

Quick view of Anzexian Pagoda

A typical Shanxi CaveHouse

A typical Shanxi CaveHouse

We arrived to the Linfen bus station at around noon and met one of my sophomore students, Sophia. We checked into a decent hotel and had a quick lunch and Sophia took us on a quick tour of downtown Linfen.

City Center Linfen Bell Tower

City Center Linfen Bell Tower

A twenty minute bus ride took us to a huge monument built to honor Emperor Yao 尧 who was a legendary Chinese emperor. He was supposed to have been the perfect sage-king. He is considered to be the proto-type of all Chinese emperors who followed.

This place was huge but expensive to get in. Judging by what we saw from the outside, it was modern with not many interesting ancient Chinese buildings to see. We took some pictures but did not go in. Instead we walked along the huge area just in front of the monument.

The Recently Built  Yao Monument

The Recently Built Yao Monument

Giant Wine Pitcher

Giant Wine Pitcher

Red and Gold Knocker

Red and Gold Knocker

Monument to somebody inside hotel courtyard

Monument to somebody inside hotel courtyard

Smaller Replica of Temple of Heaven

Smaller Replica of Temple of Heaven

Commercial Chinese-style Red Building in the area of the monument

Commercial Chinese-style Red Building in the area of the monument

After getting some snacks from some of the venders in the monument area, we caught a bus back to the downtown area. Sophia took us to a Ming Dynasty pagoda and a temple complex that was being made into a city museum. It was a very good example of classical Ming Pagoda.

A Narrow Street to a Ming Dynasty Pagoda

A Narrow Street to a Ming Dynasty Pagoda

Welcome waves a Mao statue

Welcome waves a Mao statue

Another view of the Pagoda

Another view of the Pagoda

Double Red Door Knockers - I could not resist a photo

Double Red Door Knockers - I could not resist a photo

A closer look at the Big Knocker

A closer look at the Big Knocker

We finished the day doing a little shopping and got back to our hotel at around 5 p.m. We had a early dinner and tired, we had no problem getting to sleep. We were to meet Sophia for breakfast and then return to the Yao Monument to catch a bus to the Dingcun courtyard houses. We were very excited about the next days adventure.

July 22, 2009

Sophia came by at around 0900 and we had a leisurely breakfast before heading out to the Yao Monument where we caught a local bus for 8 Yuan each that took us to the Dingcun village. About an hour from Linfen in Xiangfen County are a bunch of courtyard houses, about forty total which have been renovated for tourists to check out. They are mostly from the Ming and Qing dynasties and are well preserved. Some have been touted as some of earliest example of courtyard houses in China, having been built during Emperor Wanli’s reign of the Ming Dynasty. The newest ones were built during the Republic of Chna between 1912 - 1949. This was why we came to Shanxi Province.

DingCun Entrance

DingCun Entrance

A typical Dingcun courtyard or hsiheyuan

A typical Dingcun courtyard or hsiheyuan

Map of the area

Map of the area

An Old Ming Door

An Old Ming Door

Another Courtyard

Another Courtyard

Yet Another Courtyard

Yet Another Courtyard

House Shrine

House Shrine

An Old Watercolor

An Old Watercolor

Traditional Drum

Traditional Drum

Still another Courtyard

Still another Courtyard

Containers for ...?

Containers for ...?

Genuine Chinese Ming and Qing Stuff

Genuine Chinese Ming and Qing Stuff

Welcome! Come in and get comfortable

Welcome! Come in and get comfortable

Another HouseShrine

Another HouseShrine

Side view of one of the seven courtyards

Side view of one of the seven courtyards

Twin Doors into a main building in one of the courtyards

Twin Doors into a main building in one of the courtyards

And behind the Orange Door

And behind the Orange Door

A Modern Rusty Lock

A Modern Rusty Lock

A seriously Bulky Door

A seriously Bulky Door

Good Luck is behind this Door

Good Luck is behind this Door

Another Old Courtyard

Another Old Courtyard

Qing Carved Doorway

Qing Carved Doorway

Sunee doing some Filming for our upcoming movie

Sunee doing some Filming for our upcoming movie

Cranes

Cranes

A very friendly local Weaver

A very friendly local Weaver

Traditional Red Paper to Guard the Doors

Traditional Red Paper to Guard the Doors

Hey, it is an old wooden Door

Hey, it is an old wooden Door

And here is a brick Oval Door

And here is a brick Oval Door

Posing at the Oval Door frame

Posing at the Oval Door frame

We explored the old buildings for several hours finding the people there to be very friendly and helpful. We are now convinced that courtyard houses tended to come in groups. As the family grew along with their fortune they added more and more courtyards to house the extended family. A courtyard house really tends to be courtyard houses.

Time to get back to the city for some food so we caught the bus back to Yao Monument and another to downtown Linfen near the Bell Tower.

Time for Western-style Ice Cream

Time for Western-style Ice Cream

The lights were turned on in the Bell Tower and at night it was very nice.

The Bell Tower ablaze

The Bell Tower ablaze

Another day another adventure enjoyed. Tomorrow we will be taken around the countryside by Sophia's father. We will also get to visit a cave house still in use by Sophia's aunt in a nearby county. Had no problem with sleep today.

July 23, 2009

It was around 0900 when Sophia and her father picked us up. We first went to visit Sophia's aunt in Fushan County which was famous for Chinese paper cutting. The aunt also lived in a genuine loess cave house. We were not disappointed. Prior to arriving to the cave house, we made a quick stop at a newly built area that had a huge statue of Emperor Yao overlooking the land. Stopped for about an hour before heading to the aunt's cave house.

The Huge Yao Statue - work still in progress

The Huge Yao Statue - work still in progress

Inside a Cave House in Fushan County

Inside a Cave House in Fushan County

Nice Watercolor

Nice Watercolor

Sophie friendly and hospitable Aunt

Sophie friendly and hospitable Aunt

After visiting with the aunt for an hour or so we went to the Gurangsheng Temple about a half hour further down the road. It was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty and was renovated several times up to the Ming Dynasty. The famous and one of China’s most beautiful pagodas, Feihong Pagoda, was last renovated in 1622 with the addition of a corridor on the ground floor. It is spectacular!

Ground floor corridor around the Front of the Pagoda

Ground floor corridor around the Front of the Pagoda

The magnificent Flying Rainbow Pagoda

The magnificent Flying Rainbow Pagoda

An ancient Buddha image on the second floor inside the middle of the structure

An ancient Buddha image on the second floor inside the middle of the structure

In total darkness, looking up at the Buddha image

In total darkness, looking up at the Buddha image

Orange accented Door and Buddha image

Orange accented Door and Buddha image

Working Seated Monk

Working Seated Monk

Inside one of the many niches in the temple area

Inside one of the many niches in the temple area

A Brown Buddha image

A Brown Buddha image

Incense Burner

Incense Burner

A Square Incense Burner - the kind we had been looking for

A Square Incense Burner - the kind we had been looking for

A different view of the pagoda

A different view of the pagoda

It was hot so after a couple of hours exploring all we could at the temple and inside the pagoda (only second floor opened) we decided to head back to Linfen.

In Linfen, Sophia's father let us off downtown to find some dinner. We decided on pizza. At first we thought about an all-you-can-eat place but Sunee said it would be a waste of money since she has never eaten more than one large piece of pizza in her life. We walked across the street and had a regular western style pizza.

The Big Pizza where one can have all the pizza in the world

The Big Pizza where one can have all the pizza in the world

A better and cheaper Pizza Place

A better and cheaper Pizza Place

Ordering a Pizza - the owners English was excellent

Ordering a Pizza - the owners English was excellent

Our Pizza Arrives

Our Pizza Arrives

This is My Pizza

This is My Pizza

Closeup of the Pizza to prove it really was Western-style

Closeup of the Pizza to prove it really was Western-style

After the pizza, Sunee decided she wanted to try some local snacks so we walked around searching for interesting if not weird things to eat.

An After pizza snack

An After pizza snack

More Snacks

More Snacks

With Sunee finally full, we walked back to our hotel and prepared to leave for Pinyao in the morning by train. Sophia had gotten us two tickets for in the mid morning.

Linfen is world famous for being the most polluted city on the planet. We did not feel nor did we see this pollution. Sophia assured us that the pollutions starts mostly in the winter when everyone burns their coal stoves. We did see this coal laying around at every open field and around every corner.

Posted by inchinahil 06:26 Archived in China Tagged china ancient_town courtyard_house buddhist-temple linfen shanxi_province Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (July 26)

First Day in Taiyuan


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Taiyuan

During our exploration of Pingyao, we walked outside the walled city and had a decent dinner at a small restaurant. Found out there were buses going to Taiyuan just about every hour on the hour. We walked over to the bus station and got a schedule, deciding to take an early morning bus to Taiyuan. We went back to our hotel, packed and got ready to leave in the morning around 0800.

The bus trip took around three hours and got us to Taiyuan at around 1300. We got a taxi and started looking for a good hotel to stay during our visit. We saw a Home Inn and tried to check in. All was fine until I walked through the front door. Seems this was a bushiwai hotels that did not allow foreigners. Weird since the hotel signs were all in English outside. We were not happy as we had stayed in a Home Inn in our trip to Guiyang in Guizhou Province. We had to get another taxi and we were not happy.

Funny how things seem to work out. The taxi driver was very understanding and took us to the Hanting Hotel not too far away. An excellent hotel with excellent service at a decent price. The taxi driver was so nice and helpful, I had to take a picture of him. He made us feel extremely welcomed.

The most Helpful Taxi driver we met during the entire adventure

The most Helpful Taxi driver we met during the entire adventure

Got settled into the Hanting Hotel and decided to explore the local sites. I had read about the Twin Pagoda Temple 双塔死 so we got directions, found our bus, and ended up at the temple after a forty minute ride. It was a very nice temple with two great Ming Dynasty Pagodas built around 1608.

The Twin Pagoda Bus Station

The Twin Pagoda Bus Station

View of the Twin Pagodas from the road

View of the Twin Pagodas from the road

Dragon Window

Dragon Window

Chinese Oval Window

Chinese Oval Window

The 13 storied Twin Pagodas

The 13 storied Twin Pagodas

On  the way to check one  of the pagodas out

On the way to check one of the pagodas out

Oval Door into a garden

Oval Door into a garden

Oh, NO! Not another Door Knocker

Oh, NO! Not another Door Knocker

This is the Second Pagoda

This is the Second Pagoda

Here are the Twins from Inside

Here are the Twins from Inside

Can't seem to get enough Ovals

Can't seem to get enough Ovals

Sunee at the Oval

Sunee at the Oval

A Small Buddha in a niche inside the second pagoda

A Small Buddha in a niche inside the second pagoda

Looking up at the center Inside Pagoda number two

Looking up at the center Inside Pagoda number two

View of Pagoda, nicely Framed

View of Pagoda, nicely Framed

Twins with Red accents

Twins with Red accents

Door to a Roof

Door to a Roof

Finally, a resting place

Finally, a resting place

Horse through an Oval

Horse through an Oval

The Big Bell pardons all sins

The Big Bell pardons all sins

Burner at the Front

Burner at the Front

Red Buddha Orange

Red Buddha Orange

Red Buddha Close

Red Buddha Close

A Robed Buddha

A Robed Buddha

Two Red Buddhas

Two Red Buddhas

Time to relax

Time to relax

A nice little temple which was easy to get to and a joy to visit. Got some really good pagoda photos and we picked up a couple of small mementos from the gift shop.

Posted by inchinahil 06:24 Archived in China Tagged china tourist_sites ancient_town buddhist-temple shaanxi_province taiyuan Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (July 27)

Taiyuan and Yuci Ancient Town


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Yuci Ancient Town

Prior to making this trip, I had compiled a list of possible sites to visit along the way. One of these places was the ancient town of Yuci located about an hour from Taiyuan. I could not find a lot about it, just that there was such a place. There might be some courtyard houses there so we decided to find it and afterward go visit the Chang Family Manor which seems to be on every tourist must visit location.

The bus to Yuci was hard to find but eventually after several inquiries we located where to catch it. A true local bus without any amenities at all. The trip was about an hour and it took us to a small suburban area that was rather unimpressive. However, we did see the area which was built up for tourist so that is where we headed. We were not disappointed.

Entrance to the ancient town Yuci

Entrance to the ancient town Yuci

Seems that all over China, if a town has an area that is old and still intact, the locals are trying to take advantage of it by renovation and setting up services. It is a good idea to attract people (mostly Chinese tourists).

A famous Thai Movie Star

A famous Thai Movie Star

A Yuci Ming/Qing Dynasty Street Scene

A Yuci Ming/Qing Dynasty Street Scene

An Ancient doorway awaiting renovation

An Ancient doorway awaiting renovation

The ferocious and photogenic Guard Lion

The ferocious and photogenic Guard Lion

One knows he or she is in an ancient city . . . The Tower Entrance

One knows he or she is in an ancient city . . . The Tower Entrance

Bridge to a local Temple

Bridge to a local Temple

Bridge with Gazebo

Bridge with Gazebo

Some very Friendly local Students

Some very Friendly local Students

Traditional Stone Stairs

Traditional Stone Stairs

Behind the Green Door

Behind the Green Door

How about a Jello Snack

How about a Jello Snack

A well-preserved Ming ancient entrance Door

A well-preserved Ming ancient entrance Door

An Old Wood and Stone Door

An Old Wood and Stone Door

The Center of the ancientTown

The Center of the ancientTown

Almost all of these tourist locations offer photography services where one can dress in period costumes and have your picture taken. For all of five yuan you can pose for as many pictures as you like, as long as a friend owns the camera.

Sunee Posing in Qing Dynasty (or is it Ming Dynasty) costume

Sunee Posing in Qing Dynasty (or is it Ming Dynasty) costume

Local Girls are not shy and take advantage of foreigners for posing purposes

Local Girls are not shy and take advantage of foreigners for posing purposes

Talk about being in deep trouble

Talk about being in deep trouble

Knock, Knock

Knock, Knock

Here are our two Friends enjoying the costumes

Here are our two Friends enjoying the costumes

The bike in the door of a courtyard house

The bike in the door of a courtyard house

Behind the Red GreenDoor

Behind the Red GreenDoor

Picturesque Sago Palm

Picturesque Sago Palm

It was a very pleasant four or five hours we spent exploring the town. The people were friendly and the photo ops were many. We were now interested in visiting one of the biggy tourist attractions in Shanxi - The Chang Family Manor. Big disappointment. The ticket personnel were nasty and refused to allow senior foreigners to enter at half price. Chinese seniors yes. Foreign seniors no. This, even though we were working in China at Chinese wages and paying Chinese taxes. No thank you. We do not do racist sites.

The Chang Racist Manor from a distance

The Chang Racist Manor from a distance

If you have seen one manor, you have probably seen them all. Advertising how great the Chang family was. Yeh, right!

If you have seen one manor, you have probably seen them all. Advertising how great the Chang family was. Yeh, right!

Wasted only a half hour to go and a half hour to come back. Just in time for some good Shanxi noodles.

Noodles for dinner

Noodles for dinner

We took the bus back to Taiyuan and caught a taxi to our hotel. We decided to try to catch a train to Hefei our next stop. After getting the tickets (not cheap), we found that airline tickets were just a little bit more expensive. It cost us 160 yuan to get our money back and buy the tickets to Hefei.

We were close enough to our hotel that we walked About a block from the hotel was a guy showing off his monkeys. When I took a picture one of his stooges attacked me and demanded money. I just smiled and shook my head in utter confusion then walked away. Performing on a street for me is fair game. Anyway, it was obvious that the monkeys were suffering.

Monkey and their anti-PETA handlers

Monkey and their anti-PETA handlers

We had been walking all day so this evening we crashed early in our hotel.

Posted by inchinahil 06:24 Archived in China Tagged architecture buddhism tourist_sites ancient_town courtyard_house buddhist-temple taiyuan yuci shanxi_province Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 2)

Huangshan Area


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Tunxi

This morning we got up fairly early and took a taxi to the south bus station where we caught the bus to Tunxi in the Huangshan area. The trip took about four hours and the scenery was fabulous. Lots of tea plantations along the way.

A relaxed bus trip

A relaxed bus trip

Sunee never relaxes, she is always studying Chinese

Sunee never relaxes, she is always studying Chinese

A nice tea plantation along the road

A nice tea plantation along the road

Tea Plants

Tea Plants

We arrived to Tunxi and got a taxi to a reasonable hotel on the edge of the ancient town. A nice hotel and a nice location. We got checked in then spent the rest of the day exploring the ancient streets and buildings mostly Ming Dynasty style.

Tunxi Ancient Arch

Tunxi Ancient Arch

Ancient street

Ancient street

Tunxi is famous for the four treasures of study: paper, brushes, ink and ink stones. We ended up shopping quite a bit for Sunee to find some nice brushes and ink. She was not interested in the ink stones nor the paper. The paper we could buy in Chengdu and it is the best one can buy.

Buying one of the four treasures:Brushes

Buying one of the four treasures:Brushes

One must always check the brushes before buying

One must always check the brushes before buying

And continue to check them

And continue to check them

A college student on his summer break

A college student on his summer break

More ancient streets

More ancient streets

Tunxi and Anhui are famous for their stinky tofu. Boy was it stinky!

Molded, rotten, stinky dofu

Molded, rotten, stinky dofu

Not Sunee's favorite

Not Sunee's favorite

A unique wooden Street sign

A unique wooden Street sign

Fabulous Ming Dynasty wooden building

Fabulous Ming Dynasty wooden building

Weaving as a tourist attraction

Weaving as a tourist attraction

We never turn down Chinese baked bread

We never turn down Chinese baked bread

Took us most of the day, but we finally came to the end of the ancient streets of Tunxi. Time for dinner and local cuisine. Found a nice restaurant and ordered locally. After dinner we enjoyed the sunset on the local lake.

The local cuisine

The local cuisine

Sunset

Sunset

Posted by inchinahil 06:22 Archived in China Tagged food architecture shopping tea huangshan tunxi ancient_town buddhist-temple anhui-province Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 3)

Traveling around Huangshan Area


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Qimen County

Since I was tasked with the planning for this trip, I made plans to come to the Huangshan 黄山 area south of Hefei. I did this because there were lots of ancient buildings and houses in this area but also because it had some of China's greatest teas.

I told Sunee we would be going to Qimen County about four hours from Tunxi. She had no idea why I wanted to go to this none tourist location. There is a story behind our journey.

About a year before this trip, I discovered and became very interested in Chinese tea. We visited the first tea plantation are in China which was three hours from our apartment at SW Jiaotong University. From that trip, I began to research Chinese tea. After about two months, I started a tea blog and my goal was to taste all the best tea in China.

One day, I came across the famous black tea called Keemun or Qimen 气门茶. Every time we went to Chengdu, we always visited the recently opened Tea City. On one such visit, I asked the dealer for some Qimen tea and he sold me some. I tasted it and was not overly impressed. I blogged this experience on my blog. A month after blogging, a chef from South America informed me that the tea I had said was Qimen was actually a cheap Yunnan black tea. I had gotten ripped off by the dealer in Chengdu.

What to do about this embarrassment? I devised a plan that was fail proof. We would travel to the source of Qimen Tea and thus we found ourselves in the nondescript little town of Qimen. Sunee thought I was crazy. We got a taxi and I told the driver to take us to a local tea seller. What a great time we had buying not only Qimen tea but several other teas unique to the Qimen area. We spent over three hours tasting, visiting and buying their teas.

The Best Qimen tea money can buy

The Best Qimen tea money can buy

Our dear Qimen friends

Our dear Qimen friends

More friends pictures

More friends pictures

Negotiating the sell of their fine teas

Negotiating the sell of their fine teas

And the haggling continues

And the haggling continues

Tasting in between the negotiations

Tasting in between the negotiations

This was one of those highlights we will always remember. What a great time we had with our tea selling friends.

But the adventure was not over. We still had an ancient town to visit. We took the bus back toward Tunxi and stopped at the town closes to the Anxici
ancient town. We found a hotel since it was late afternoon, had dinner and walked around a little. Not much in this town. In the morning, we would catch a taxi to the ancient town.

Anxici Ancient Town

The taxi we got in the morning took us to Anxici Ancient Town. It was a beauty. If one looks carefully, one may be able to see similar architecture as we saw in Shanxi Province. The Huizhou Culture has strong connections to Shanxi Province. The majority of merchants who came to this area, came from Shanxi Province. They were the finest business people in all of China during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These Chinese merchants tended to build really large manors and used identical architecture found in Shanxi. This is one great ancient town.

Entrance to Anxici town

Entrance to Anxici town

If their are Chinese brushes for sell, Sunee will find them

If their are Chinese brushes for sell, Sunee will find them

A typical doorway

A typical doorway

Cooking tea leaves from the local mountains

Cooking tea leaves from the local mountains

A very Chinese Huizhou room

A very Chinese Huizhou room

A Street scene

A Street scene

An Old doorway

An Old doorway

Down an alley through another Oval door

Down an alley through another Oval door

Several tea sellers working out of their homes

Several tea sellers working out of their homes

Roaring Twenties China girl

Roaring Twenties China girl

A pathway along the edge of the town

A pathway along the edge of the town

The girl in the doorway

The girl in the doorway

Buddhas for sell

Buddhas for sell

The exit from the town

The exit from the town

Posted by inchinahil 06:21 Archived in China Tagged tea huangshan ancient_town buddhist-temple anhui-province qimen anxici Comments (0)

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