Lao Jie Ling
This is one of the locations for the head-waters of the Yellow River, so we went mountain hiking! We met at the foot of the big mountain and rode a shuttle bus upwards a little ways. Then we were given two options ~ hike the mountain yourself or ride a cable car up about half-way for 50 RMB both ways. Some of our group took the cable car, but my family and some of the rest decided to walk it. The stairs were steep, but the scenery was gorgeous. After sitting in a bus for 7 hours (our 2.5 hour trip took a lot longer due to rain and getting incredibly lost about 5 times), you have no idea how nice it was just to stretch our legs. Only a couple people made it to the top, but it was too foggy to see much of a view there. For those of us who went only part way, we got to follow a long hand-directed waterfall railing thing where they channeled water down from the top of the mountain. If you went about 1/3 of the way up the mountain, you could catch a long granite slide that went about 1/2 back downhill again. It made for a ton of laughs :)
Dragon Pool Valley Scenic Area
We just stopped at a random little restaurant on the way from the Dragon Pool Valley Scenic Area. There are a lot of restaurants nearby the entrance to that park, and our tour guide had picked a random one to make a reservation at. It had enough room for us. The food actually wasn't that good. Our table had another chicken head (beak and wobbley chin thing included), while another got a rabbit head. Some of us were a little sick later :(
Nanyang Museum of Han Stone Gravings
This was a really fascinating place. The museum holds hundreds of stones engraved with various pictures and images collected from ancient Han tombs. We were told that they were more than 1000 years old! I was intrigued by the carvings themselves. Naturally, they varied on the subject of their work - dinners, hunting, musicians, kings and counsels. It's always neat to see art demonstrating the use of ancient musical instruments or to watch fashions change as the years go by. But I was really interested to see some of the animals are actually pre-historic. One was clearly a dinosaur (you know the kind that is Sarah on The Land Before Time?). Two were dragons, but only one had wings. You kind of expect the dragons, but the differences in how they were depicted suggests two origins to the dragon legend. One was wingless and quite fat. The other had wings and was longer and thinner. Add in the dinosaur, and it was all really cool!
Not far from the Bund lies Yu Garden, a 450-year-old garden built by an influential government official in the Ming Dynasty. It’s divided into six scenic areas: Three Ears of Corn Hall, Ten Thousand Flower Tower, Heralding Spring Hall, Scene Gathering Tower, Jade Magnificence Hall and Inner Garden. With elegant pavilions, zigzagging bridges and imposing rockeries, Yu Garden is truly a jewel in China’s ancient gardens. Go there early (opening time 8.30am) to avoid the crowds.
Dragon Pool Valley Scenic Area
Dragon Pool Valley Scenic Area is a giant park where you can clime up the mountain and follow a series of waterfalls as they carve their way down to the bottom below. The waterfalls are gorgeous, as are the little pools and creeks in between. Many vendors along the path were selling swimming wear, nets to catch the little minnows, and yummy food. Most people make a day out of it! The hiking was great for exercise, but not as intense as the day before.
Zhenping Jade Market
This is a massive ancient marketplace, with hundreds of shops set up into long rows of buildings along the street. It's known as the Jade Market, but there are actually a ton of other products sold along there as well. This is where a lot of the merchants buy their jade in bulk from the makers, to then re-sell to consumers in jewelry stores. You are supposed to get a pretty good discount here, although I didn't find anything. The history of the place, the small carnival going on nearby, and the sweet people made it worth our while though :)
Kaifeng Daxiangguo Temple
Daxiangguo Temple (大相国寺) / Also known as Xiangguosi Name: Dah Sheeahng Goo Oh. Cost: 30 CNY / $5 Address: 36 Ziyou Rd West Section, Gulou, Kaifeng, Henan, China. Directions: If you come into the Train Station, take Bus 5 or Bus 9 and get off at the Da Xiang Guo stop. This is China, so nothing is in English. That's okay ~ just show the bus driver a picture of the name (DaXiangGuo) and they should point you to the right stop.
Kaifeng Millennium City Park
Kaifeng Millennium City Park (清明上河园) / Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden Name: Qingming Shanghe Yuan (Chung Meeng Shahng Huh Yoo ahn) Cost: 100 CNY Address: No. 5 West Longting Rd, Longting District, Kaifeng, Henan, China. Directions: If you come into the Train Station, take Bus 1, 15, 20, 30, or 38 and get off at the Qingming Shanghe Yuan stop. This is China, so nothing is in English. That's okay ~ just show the bus driver a picture of the name (清明上河园) and they should point you to the right stop.