Why I always miss one of the loveliest autumns of Liaoning? ……..

Liaoning (辽宁; Liáoníng) is a province in the North East of China. To the west lies Hebei Province and Beijing, to the north is Inner Mongolia, in the north east the province borders with Jilin and the south east, along the Yalu River, is the border with North Korea. The South of the Province forms a peninsula jutting out into the Bohai Sea. This is one of the most interesting places in Asia, a unique fusion of many different culture heritages. The most dominating culture is however the Manchurian in the countryside and Han in the big cities. Also the Korean, Japanese and Russian cultures establish themselves firmly in the mix.


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Colorful, wonderful and playful autumn.. Of course with holidays!!

Autumn in China is by far the best time to be here. The temperatures throughout the country are milder without the extremes you can experience in winter and summer, and without the wetn ess you’ll experience in the spring. While the days are getting shorter, you can have warmish daytime weather right into November in the north and central parts of China and in the south, you’ll find it can still be quite warm.



Excellent Xiamen and it’s cool night life…

Xiamen is a coastal city in Fujian Province in China. It has been an important port for centuries and became one of China’s earliest Special Economic Zones in the 1980s. The name Xiamen means “door to the house”, referring to the city’s centuries-old role as a gateway to China.

It is not Taipei or Hong Kong, but compared to most other cities in the region, Xiamen is definitely a very vibrant, affluent and modern place. It got an international award in a contest for most livable cities in 2002; neighboring Quanzhou won the following year.

The most important tourist area is GulangyuIsland, a small island which contains some beautiful colonial buildings and is car free.

You can enjoy Xiamen’s unique scenery not only in the day but also in the night. Take a breather and walk beside Yundang Lake in the evening and you can see how Xiamen transforms into a different setting: lighted artistic sculptures, scent of the sea, and romantic lovers by the lake. Enjoy your stroll and notice that some buildings even have a light show at night, simple laser/light shows that attract attention, which is some form of an advertisement mostly done by newly opened commercial buildings and some residential complexes to draw attention to their business.

  • Zhongshan Road Pedestrian Street (中山路步行街), off Liujiang Road near the Gulangyu ferry terminalSee the yearly facelifts and notice that older buildings are becoming extinct and being replaced by modern ones.  edit
  • Night markets (夜市). See how smaller businesses trade in the night.  edit
  • Yundang Lake (筼筜湖), (from Hubin bus station, turn left, then turn left on Bailuzhou Road). See how the egrets flock in the day and fly home in the night.  edit
  • Bailuzhou Park (白鹭洲公园). A large and beautiful park. Go around 8:30PM and enjoy the vendors, music, and dancing.  edit
  • Xiamen University (厦门大学). Beautiful campus with old traditional buildings and a tranquil lake outside the foreign language department. Nowadays the University is open for anyone, some registration may needed on peak holidays. To avoid long registration procedure, you may enter the university from three smaller gates which are across the Baicheng beach.  edit
  • Jiageng Park (嘉庚公园). A beautiful park in memory of Tan Kah Kee (Chen Jiageng), founder of Xiamen University.  edit
  • Nanputuo Temple (南普陀寺). A big Buddhist temple outside Xiamen University at Xiada (short for Xiamen University) Street. Visitors can climb the mountain behind the temple for beautiful views of Xiamen and surrounding nature. The mountain is also littered with small enclaves with hundreds of Buddhist statuettes. Entrance to the temples is ¥3, but you can walk around the lotus pond and eat in the vegetarian restaurant on the east end without paying admission.  edit
  • Music Square (音乐广场). A park-like area along the boardwalk with sculptures of/about many famous composers and musicians, both Western and Chinese. Look for the public toilets with the musical notes on the wall, or a large red sculpture that looks somewhat like an open fan.  edit
  • Xiamen Shinegood Culture Gallery (厦门文化馆). It is located in the Culture Exhibition Centre near the beach and a yacht dock. It is the biggest private gallery in China with the main theme being ancient jade. Hundreds of ancient jade objects are not only historically valuable but also pleasant for an eye. Open the door of history, enter the ancient times and afterwards enjoy yourself admiring the picturesque scenery surrounding the museum.  edit
  • Hulishan Fortress (湖里的堡垒, Hulishan Canon Platform), (on the south-eastern headland of Xiamen and near Xiamen University). Built in 1894 it is a relic of the Westernization Movement. The architectural of the canon platform is in a Ming and Qing dynasty style. On the front of the platform there are “Wanggui platform” and “Pangui platform”, on which you can see the Dadan and Xiaodan islands through a telescope. In the yard of canon platform there is a gorgeous wall sculpture named “the Soul of Nation”, and a water fountain from the left side of the wall. Entrance is ¥25.  edit
  • Water Garden Expo Park (水花园世博园). Water Garden Expo Park has a planning area of about 6.76 square kilometers (land area of 3.03 square kilometers), which consists of five exhibition park islands, four ecological landscapes islands and two peninsulas, including the main pavilion, Chinese Education Park, Marine Culture Island, Spa Island and other functional areas and related facilities.  edit
  • Sunlight Rock (日光岩). Chinese say the 92.7m high Sunlight Rock, known as Dragon Head Hill by Chinese and Camel Rock by foreigners, faces Tiger Head Hill across the bay on Xiamen Island, and that the dragon and tiger team up to guard Xiamen Harbor’s entrance.  edit
  • Gulangyu(鼓浪屿) A visit to Xiamen would not be complete without setting foot on Gulangyu, the island just across the harbour. A walk around, especially on tourist infested days is exciting. All sorts of food vendors, handicraft hawkers, and cute little cafes and restaurants beckon. To sum up, Gulangyu may just represent what a Chinese version of a Bohemian-like enclave can be. Lots and lots of colourful portrait artists in every nook and corner. A day’s trip is just fine. Unless you are really into a spell of peace and quiet, the island may be a little boring once the sun sets except maybe you are into seafood dining and the upmarket cafes and restaurant for drinks. Not cheap though. Gulangyu business people cater for tourists and tourists only. All in all, don’t miss visiting this relaxing, quiet and yes “European themed” old buildings island. The Chinese tourists flock all over just for this trip down nostalgia lane.
  • Shapowei (沙坡尾). The gritty Shapowei sheltered dock area, just a short taxi ride away from Zhongshan Rd, is in the process of being rejuvenated. Several hip cafes have opened in the past few years, and there’s even a new Shapowei Art Zone located inside an old fish processing factory. The area’s still not very well known, even among locals, so go there now before it’s completely gentrified.  edit

Winsome Wuxi!! 

Wuxi is in the south of Jiangsu Province, approximately half way between the cities of Shanghai and Nanjing, the former 128 km (80 mi) to its east, the latter 183 km (113 mi) to its west. Along with nearby city Suzhou, Wuxi is a popular travel destination for visitors to Shanghai and being less than an hour away by train, busy weekend retreat area for locals in the area. In its south is Lake Taihu and its northern border is the Yangtse River.

With rich natural and cultural heritage, Wuxi is one of the top ten tourist cities in China. The typical features of the area is that of the regions of rivers and lakes. Wuxi occupies the most scenic part of Lake Taihu and enjoys the beautiful scenery. Theme parks like the Tang City, the Three Kingdoms City, the Water Margin City which feature daily live shows are new tourist attractions. The 88-meter tall bronze Buddha statue (Linshan Dafuo) and the holiday resorts add more appeal to the visitors.

  • Garden of Ecstasy (Ji Chang Yuan) one of the leading gardens in SE China and Emperor Qianlong, who made seven visits, had a copy made of the garden at the Summer Palace in Beijing.
  • Grand Buddha at Lingshan (灵山大佛) – One of China’s largest Buddha statues at over 80m tall. The whole Lingshan area is a tourist attraction, with a musical fountain which plays out the story of the birth of the Buddha, as well as the Brahma palace (梵宫), a very grand palace with the pillars made of sandalwood, built to host the 2009 Buddhist conference.
  • Taihu (太湖) – A very large lake with many scenic spots, famous for its fish and freshwater pearls.
  • Donglin Academy (东林书院). Kept by the stone arch, with pool, Dong Lin monastery, Lize Hall, by Yong Tang, Oscillation Temple, three Temple, things promenade, to re-vegetarian, Road South Temple, Donglin Temple and other major construction work report, remain Ming and Qing Dynasty style layout shape and history. There are relegated name associated Gu Xian: “Reading the wind rain and the sound of ears; family affairs world are concerned about everything.”  edit
  • Wuxi Zoo (无锡动物园) This is a combination zoo and amusement park, and can get crowded on the weekends.

Xiamen cuisine and its mouth watering delicacies 

Xiamen cuisine is the main representative of Fujian cuisine which is famous throughout China. Besides local dishes, food of other parts of the country also can be found here, making this city a good destination for gastronomes. Being fresh, light, crispy and slightly spicy in taste, Xiamen cuisine is characterized by the following dishes:

Seafood is famous for its extreme freshness. The location of Xiamen on the southeast coast of China provides it with abundant sea products. Dating from the Qing Dynasty, the seafood locally is always a traditional delicacy make from fresh local fish, prawns, crabs and more, with the flavor depending on the various seasonings.

Herbal Meal has a long history in China and is celebrated at the Lujiang Restaurant in Xiamen. Here, the herbal meal is delicately made according to the seasons and the various effects of the herbs. It is delicious in flavor and very nourishing.

Vegetable Dishes in the Nanputuo Temple are made of vegetable oil, flour, beans, vegetables and fruits. In accordance with the disciplines of the traditional Buddhist diet, the vegetable dishes made here mainly depict the Buddhist ideas and topics, attracting many tourists from both home and abroad.

Local snacks should not be missed during your trip as they are great in variety and reasonably priced.  Snacks have distinct flavors and some of them are listed below:

Tu Sun Dong is made from a sea product called ‘Xing Chong’ and is eaten with the seasonings including sauce, vinegar, chili, catsup, mustard and garlic. It is now becoming one of the most important cold dishes in any banquets.

Peanut Soup is simply made from peanuts but with very complicated production process. It has a sugary flavor and is best eaten with some dim sum dishes such as deep-fried twisted dough sticks, steamed stuffed buns and similar. Many believe the best Peanut Soup is served at Huangzehe Restaurant in Zhongshang Road.

Spring Roll is a fried rolled pancake filled with slices of various vegetables, meats and seafood. The local people like to have Spring Rolls as traditional snacks during festivals.

There are plenty of snacks that are not only well-known but also truly delicious including the Xiamen Pie, Oyster Pancake, Rice Dumplings and Shacha Noodles.

Flame over the evening sky… Nature’s color cocktail!!

If you have ever noticed, the horizon appears awesome with the multicolored shadows on the sky.

As the sun is biding Good Bye, it emanates a lovely cocktail of colors ranging from yellow, golden yellow, red, purple, blue and many more

But this happens for a very small time during the dusk, its prominently seen over the mountains or the sea

I had tried to capture such lovely natural colors which the

 horizon reflects.

i always loved the brilliance of these colors which disappears soon once the sun is set.


Weishan Town, ancient and interesting!! 

There are four city gate in four directions in Weishan Old Town, which is shaped like a square seal. As the remarkable building in Weishan Old Town, the Xinggong Tower is built in the center in Ming Dynasty. At a height of 11 meters, it consists of timberwork tower and brick foundation support. 

The north city tower of Weishan Old Town is called Gongchen Tower with a height of 23.5 meters. The whole building was supported by 28 large pillars. Climbing up from the east or west gate and overlooking

, travelers can clearly see the four main streets extending to different directions and the dignified residences.

Majestically standing in the Weishan Old Town, the Xinggong Tower and Gongchen Tower has been the remarkable building. Inside the old town, the folk residences basically remain the traditional Chinese construction style of Ming and Qing Dynasty. Some are ‘Three Square with a Screen Wall’ and some are ‘Quadrangle Dwellings with Five Courtyards’. There are also many ancient buildings existed inside or outside Weishan Old Town, such as Confucius Temple, Wenhua Academy and Yuhuang Pavillion. Some exports praise highly after investigation of Weishan Old Town because of the intact preservation of Ancient Town.

Rewinding Suzhou, the ancient city, Venice of China 🇨🇳 

 Suzhou is located in southern Jiangsu Province in the center of the Yangtze Delta. Shanghai lies to the east, Zhejiang Province to the south, Wuxi City to the west and the Yangtze River to the north. The city is divided by the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal from north to south. Since 42% area of the city is covered by water, including a vast number of ponds and streams, it is praised as the ‘Venice of the Orient’. Built in 514 BC, this is an ancient city with over 2,500 years of history. 

The unique characteristics of the past are still retained today. The double-chessboard layout of the city, with ‘the streets and rivers going side by side while the water and l

and routes running in parallel’, is preserved intact.

The mild climate makes the city a desirable destination all year round. Touring the wonderful ancient water towns in the vicinity or lingering in the exquisite classical gardens in the downtown area, you will truly know the charm of a ‘paradise on earth’.
As the saying goes – ‘Gardens to the south of the Yangtze River are the best in the world, and Suzhou gardens are the best among them’. These gardens attain their high reputation not only for their vast numbers, but also for their charming natural beauty and harmonious construction. At present more than 60 gardens are kept intact in the city, and some of them have been listed in the World Heritage List.

Gift from the Forest: A life spent amongst tea

The world of Chinese tea is at once easily accessible and nearly impossible to fully grasp. Even when choosing one specific variety — such as southwest China’s famous Pu’er tea (普洱茶) — the permutations, growing conditions and serving methods appear endless. For more than three generation, the Shi family has sought to find a subtle balance between obsessive connoisseurs and the newly initiated while sourcing the finest leaves from the prefectures of southern Yunnan.

Tea has been drunk in China for a few thousand years, although no one knows explicitly when the practice began. Chinese myth points to the demigod Shennong (神农) as the godfather of tea drinking, while DNA analysis suggests the first strain ever to be cultivated — Camellia sinensis — was endemic to portions of modern-day Myanmar, Yunnan and Sichuan provinces and put into cultivation about 3,000 years ago.

Over time, of course, tea became China’s drink of choice — as ubiquitous as water, steeped in history and available in a dazzling array of flavors. For families such as the Shis, tea is as much a philosophy as it is a product. Without being too trite, it influences the quality and tenor of their lives. This is a fact borne out not only monetarily, but on a daily and seasonal basis.

“Tea can become a discipline that fosters an unhurried temperament while encouraging psychological introspection,” says Ms Shi. She is the head a family tea business in southern Yunnan called Gift from the Forest Teas (森之馈). The origin of the business grew out of her experiences more than 20 years ago, when an adolescent Ms Shi and her grandfather would hike through the rainforests of Xishuangbanna (西双版纳) in search of wild tea trees — some of them centuries old. After collecting enough leaves, they would return home and carefully prepare the forest-gathered tea.

While this preparation process is at least a few centuries old — varying from village to village and sometimes house to house — today everyone in China knows the end result is one of the country’s most sought-after tea varieties, Pu’er. The method Shi learned from her grandfather, at its most basic, is fairly simple — pick, sort, clean, sun-dry, hand-rub, dry by roasting, shape into a desired shape, wrap in banana leaves and allow to ferment in the sun.

For Shi this process is by now ingrained and intuitive. But the science of making high-quality Pu’er tea involves careful temperature modulation, the precise stimulation of enzymes and perfect timing. “To me,” she explains, “the procedure involves going through the required and proper motions, but also necessitates personal ethics and aesthetics. You have to use your hands. This is paramount.”

And so each spring and autumn, Ms Shi can be found traveling the Yunnan countryside in search of small-hold, forest-based farms that live up to her expectations. She focuses almost entirely on areas in Lincang (临沧), Pu’er, Yiwu (易武) and the slopes of Bulang Mountain.

Local weather conditions — temperature, humidity, sunlight and rainfall 

levels — factor into the job of selection, as do soil quality, elevation, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers. “All of these considerations affect the taste and quality of tea,” she says. “You cannot violate the basic laws of nature. Ecosystems need to be left in as much of a natural state as possible, and the most important thing is that the plants are free from pollution.”