And so, my journey begins... Arrival Day [Feb 8, 2016] The flight from Kuala Lumpur to the provincial capital of Hunan, Changsha was approximately 4hrs 15mins. The flight arrived at midnight and my tour group of 22 fellows are warmly welcomed by a local tour guide, Siao Tang. We checked-in to a very decent hotel called Ramada Plaza and called it a day. Day 1 [Feb 9, 2016] I woke up to a cool and foggy morning with some sunshine in Changsha. The tour began by taking a coach to the village of Shaoshan.
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Day 1 [Feb 9, 2016] The village of Shaoshan is the early home of the Chinese Communist Revolutionary Leader, Mao Zedong, commonly known as Chairman Mao. Born in 1893, Mao was raised in this mud-brick childhood house. I always find it interesting to visit a former residence of historical figures because I could grasp a sense of daily life of the great figure who once lived there. Since it was Chinese New Year, it is a week-long holiday in China and famous tourist attractions are undoubtedly crowded with both domestic and foreign tourists. You wouldn't believe how crowded the place was until you saw it with your very own eyes. It took me nearly an hour in the queue to get into Mao's former residence! Jeez! Tips: You gotta learn the "art of queuing". DON'T ever leave even a tiny space between you and your friends. Otherwise, people would just squeeze and push their way through, leaving you to fall far behind the line (p/s: It might be unbelievable for some, but it's true)
Day 1 [Feb 9, 2016] I really enjoyed the 5 - 10mins stroll from Mao Zedong Former Residence to the Mao Zedong Statue Square. Along the way, I get to see all sorts of local delicacies/ street food sold by the villagers. I reckon food is a really good way to get to know one's culture more. I saw the locals paying their respect to the golden statue of Chairman Mao with flowers and wreath. There was a granny who asked her grandkid to kneel down and bow before the statue of Chairman Mao as a way of paying his highest form of respect to the great leader of China. Actions do speak louder than words. These all simply showed how highly respectable Chairman Mao is among his citizens.
Day 7 [Feb 15, 2016] The day started off with a visit to the Hunan Embroidery Centre. Originated in Hunan province, Xiang embroidery is known as one of the four great embroidery styles in China. Layers of vibrant-coloured silk threads are embroidered on a transparent chiffon silk to give visual effect (an almost 3D effect) to the work. Animals, people and landscapes are the common subjects used in Xiang embroidery. One of its distinctive characteristic is that the subject usually looks alive and the most famous work is the Tiger. Besides that, the artistic value of Xiang embroidery is definitely lifted by its famous two-sided work where each side of the transparent silk chiffon exhibits a different image. ABSOLUTELY IMPRESSIVE!
Day 7 [Feb 15, 2016] Jiandu Museum is the place that gives you an insight to the life of ancient Chinese society before the invention of paper. Only until the late Eastern Han Period when paper was introduced, the ancient Chinese society recorded information such as politics, economy, military, culture and geography on bamboo slips and wooden tablets. These bamboo slips and wooden tablets date back more than 1,700 years ago. Unearthed since 1996, the Jiandu Museum currently holds approximately 100,000 bamboo slips and wooden tablets. Some of the bamboo slips and wooden tablets were very well-preserved that the words inscribed on it still can be read. Tips: If you are a postcard collector, I would definitely recommend you to buy a postcard from this museum. The material of the postcard is made of wood with some famous Changsha's landmark craved onto it, which is something special to add to your collection ;) It costs 20RMB
Day 1 [Feb 9, 2016] It is free to visit the Mao Zedong Musuem. This is the place where Mao's teacher, Mr. Zou Chunpei resides and also where Mao received his early education - the foundation that shaped him into the founding Father of the People's Republic of China. This well-maintained old building exhibits some of the poems and calligraphies written by Mao.
Day 7 [Feb 15, 2016] The Du Jiang Tower is built to commemorate one of the greatest Chinese poet from Tang Dynasty, Du Fu. The tower serves as a museum to house the works of numerous notable people whose hometown was Changsha, such as the famous Tian Han who is the lyrics author "March of the Volunteers" (the national anthem of the People's Republic of China). The view of the Xijiang River from the top of tower is really gorgeous. The tower offers a 360° view of Changsha city, stretching from the nature side of Changsha (the Xijiang River) to the urbanised city centre with high-rise buildings and to a side of the downtown Changsha with some old buildings.