A Short Escapade To China

6th Mar 2014
Photo of A Short Escapade To China 1/6 by WeSaidGoTravel
Shangri La
Photo of A Short Escapade To China 2/6 by WeSaidGoTravel
Temple of Heaven In Beijing
Photo of A Short Escapade To China 3/6 by WeSaidGoTravel
Ancient city of Langzhong
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Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an
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The Tiger Leaping Gorge
Photo of A Short Escapade To China 6/6 by WeSaidGoTravel
Panda Research Area in Chengdu

I traveled to China with a lot of inhibitions and worries. Would I find anything to eat? Would the bathrooms be clean? Would we be able to find the right bus? I had carried a wordless book with colorful images in hopes that when I could not communicate, I could point. On the street on our first night in Kunming, I was trying to find out what food some men were cooking. Learning about the history and culture in China was a highlight of our year trip away. I loved staying in a 1000-year-old hotel in Lang Zhong and learning about Chinese New Year. The sights in China were truly amazing. I loved our bus trip to Shilin to see the Stone Forest. After a few weeks, we realized there was so much to see and chose to extend our visa and stay six weeks instead of four. During our travels by bus and boat, we saw many famous sights and UNESCO highlights. I highly recommend you visit this amazing country. Plan a trip to China and you are sure to find a lot of adventure. 

We flew to China after our stay in South East Asia (Bangkok to Kunming), China.Traveling in China is really VERY different than South East Asia. The trail is a bit fainter. BUT we can manage with some gestures and a book of pictures to order food and to buy our train tickets!

By the end of the trip we had seen so much and couldn't wait to see more of China. It was an amazing experience  to take a 12 hour night train and realize that on the map you have not moved too far! It is such a BIG country. There were 30 beds in ONE car in hard sleeper on the night train! I felt that we climbed 90 feet up to the TOP bunk–third from the ground.
During our trip to China, we had been lucky to meet and travel with so many great new friends. We can now even speak a few words of Chinese that they actually understand. We have really enjoyed our six weeks in China. People have been so friendly and helpful, even with the tremendous language barrier. I highly recommend you visit China. Here are some places to visit in China. Hope this China itinerary helps! 
We indulged in a little steep hiking in this beautiful Gorge on the Jinsha River, a tributary of the Yangtze River. Staying at Sean’s guest house, we woke up to climb for 5 hours in elevation. We went from 1900 to 2500m and the first hour was a steep straight up! We struggled quite a bit, but it was worth it to see the views and the water below. We walked across a waterfall with FREEZING water! This is a don’t miss a stop in SW China! We saw many families doing the hiking together.
Photo of Tiger Leaping Gorge, China by WeSaidGoTravel
We were told that the Chinese name of Zhong Dian was changed to Shangri-la to increase tourism. The Tibetan name is Gyeltang. It was cold and we were freezing there so we added gloves and coats to our backpacks and went off to the 300 year old monastery. Shane, our friend who had joined us on this trip had seen Potala Palace in Lhasa 2 years ago and told us this was similar. We loved it! Due to many regulations, we decided not to go to Lhasa, Tibet on this trip.
Photo of Shangri-La, Deqen, Yunnan, China by WeSaidGoTravel
From South China, we moved to Chengdu. It was so smoggy it hurt to breathe. I read that more than 1/3 of the air pollution affecting CALIFORNIA originates in CHINA! The best part about this place was the PANDA Research and Breeding Area. We saw about 20 pandas of all ages and sizes. Some were playing, some were eating. We saw RED PANDAS! They were all AMAZING!
Photo of Chengdu, Sichuan, China by WeSaidGoTravel
Our favorite place in China so far is Lang Zhong (about a 6 hour bus ride from Chengdu). It is a real ancient city. It is not like Lijiang and Dali with so many tour groups and no real homes only shops. Here you will find some very warm and welcoming people. We went twice to the tailor and had a great gesturing conversation. We also ate twice at the noodle shop. We watched the chef MAKE the noodles. It was so great that we videotaped him. We stayed in a 1000 year old hotel and communicated with the marketing director through Google Translator!! It is a GREAT place to visit! Put it on your list
Photo of Lang Zhong Nan Ting Che Qu, Nanchong, Sichuan, China by WeSaidGoTravel
I loved Xian. I had always wanted to see the Terracotta soldiers and I was finally there. The visual highlight was pitted 1. Nonetheless, the actual story behind the Terracotta warriors was even more intriguing. Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China, had an army of life-size warriors fabricated to battle with him in the afterlife. These artifacts, produced around 210 BC, were not discovered until 1974; local peasants who were searching for a new well site accidentally unearthed the archaeological site. The terracotta warriors varied in height depending on rank, generals being the tallest. Since the excavations had commenced, warriors, chariots, and horses had been uncovered. The estimated quantity of warriors in the three pits amounts to eight thousand soldiers, one hundred and thirty chariots, and five hundred and twenty horses. Inconceivably, the majority of these estimates still lay below ground. In fact, Pit 1 was impressive because of the massive quantity of warriors that had already been uncovered. Pit 3, in contrast, was relatively small. Pit 2, although massive in size, was only excavated in one small section. Only in Pit 1 were hundreds of terracotta warriors visually lined up and prepared for battle. Apart from this we also visited, the Emperor Jindi’s tomb and museum. The excavations have been glossed over so you can WALK above the items left in the ground. In his tomb, all things are 1/3 size. I loved the layers of pigs, sheep, dogs and goats. We also walked on the wide intact city walls and enjoyed the Big Wild Goose Pagoda with its free water and light show.
Photo of Xi'an, Shaanxi, China by WeSaidGoTravel
There is just so much to do in Beijing. The list is endless. Our first day in Beijing was so smoggy, we thought it would be our last. But a day of rain and one of wind and we were our on the magnificent great wall tour with beautiful sunny weather and blue sky! We really were the only people on our section of the wall which is incredible to be alone in this city! Hiking on the wall with all its history was really a highlight of our trip. We have also loved the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Lama Temple, Hutongs, Sanlitun, Bei Hai Park, the pedestrian shopping streets and the incredibly easy to use public transport…2 Yuen for the subway and we have been all over the many different amazing areas of the enormous city.
Photo of Beijing, China by WeSaidGoTravel