Tag Archives: visiting China

Another Trip to China

Yes, we will be travelling to China this year again. We haven’t been there since 2016, the year my father joined us there and we had the awesome City Tour Extreme . We did not visit China last year as Nathalie was just born in summer and we did not feel like travelling anywhere by plane with her (afterall she is the Thundergoat). This holiday in April/ May  is something we have been planning ever since last year. Not only because my father will be once again with us and additionally we will have two kids to entertain but we will be also travelling to Japan!

Soon again at the airport

Okay, Japan is like 90% certain as we are still waiting to get the visa for my wife. Turns out the whole process is a bit annoying for Chinese when travelling not with a tour group. Thankfully we had a wonderful person giving us advice at the embassy on what to do in order to make the application much easier for us. Japan is a country we wanted to visit for so many years as even nearly did so on few occasion. We did not manage to do so as each time something got in the way such as unfriendly embassy staff telling us in Finland it is impossible for Chinese to enter their country without a tour group  in 2014 to being just not healthy enough back in 2015. So right now the only thing stopping us is not to get a visa for my wife (or she just gets too lazy again to travel once we arrive in China).

How much luggage we will have this time?

My wife has been planning the entire trip for the past two months now and has a small folder with all the details! We will be flying from Xi’an to Tokyo spend few days there and then travel to Osaka for another few days before flying from there directly back to Xi’an. Within Tokyo we have not really planned anything yet as we just don’t know what to do there. However while there we will visit the nearby Studio Ghibli Museum and Thomas Land (that idea I got from Eleventh Monkey as little Babel is also a huge Thomas fan as Nathan). We hope that my wife’s cousin will have a bit time to show us around Tokyo as she has been living there for nearly ten years. In Osaka we will be doing standard sightseeing as that city is a must see in Japan according to basically everyone I know. I would have loved to visit the Nature Aquarium as I am a huge fan of the late Takashi Amano and his work but Niigata is just too far away from our two destinations.

No Nature Aquarium for me this time 😦

Except the trip to Japan we do not plan anything big in China itself. We definitely will have a photoshoot for the kids, similar to the one we had 2015 for Nathan. I guess we will be doing our standard sightseeing around Xi’an with my dad and I plan on eating as much different food as possible there! Besides those little things I hope we will have another trip to the Qin Mountains or some other countryside visitation just to get out of the city and all the pollution. I do wonder how well my father will manage this trip as he will turn 77 this year. One thing he told me already, he wants to go to gym during the holidays in China in order to stay in shape for his bicycle competitions during the summer time in Finland. Guess he is the most active person from all of us.

One of the dishes I need to eat!!!

Have you planned your holidays for this year already?

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The Time we saw Pandas

Perhaps you remember from my previous post that we did not see any Pandas in the Qinling Zoological Park in both of our visits. But we actually never went there mainly to see these cute animals as we had the perfect location to see them: Shaanxi Wild Animal Conservation Research Centre

My wife’s godfather invited us to that place back in 2011 when my parents were in China as well. Basically he (the godfather) knows someone who knows somebody who was able to get us access to that place for free as there are usually no visitors except of course some well-paying tour groups. I believe it used to be more like a little zoo before as there were still signs and paths all around that place but in a very poor condition. Furthermore to get there was like a maze as towards the end the mini bus had to drive through very small streets of some village to get into a mountain path in the forest. I guess the village just expanded over the years and swallowed the road leading to this research center.

 

CIMG3123I knew already about this place prior to this visit as my wife had pictures on her Facebook with Pandas before we even started dating. So from her I knew already that there were many Pandas and baby Pandas around at least when she was there. As you know my luck by now there were no cute baby Pandas at this place when we visited. To make it even worse they had only a very limited number of these animals as most were at the Xi’an China International Horticultural Exposition 2011

 

But we did see a few Pandas but sadly they were already too big that we were not allowed to enter the cage to feed them. Usually this would have been already enough for us but godfather had another surprise for us, the only brown coloured Panda in the world! As you can see now that the world already knows about this animal however back then it was still a secret and thus we were not allowed to take any pictures.

 

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Little fluffy fluff fluff!

Besides the Giant Pandas there were many other animals such as one of the rarest birds in the world the crested ibis or other animals such as the red panda, leopards and the golden monkey. All in all I can say it was a very interesting trip no matter if there were only a few Pandas to be seen as we learned many interesting facts about the rare species in that research center. I can just recommend to visit this place if you ever have the chance.

 

Have you ever seen Pandas close up or other rare animals?

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The Tang Paradies in Xi’an

During our first visit to China we went together with MIL and my parents to the Tang Paradies in Xi’an. The Tang Paradies is a huge cultural theme park all about the Tang Dynasty located in the Qujiang Resort in Xi’an with the Big Wild Goose Pagoda very nearby.

TangParadies8

 

Mother-in-law invited us for a full day program in this cultural theme park so we left in early morning to avoid too long queues at the ticket stands. However the entrance area was already filled with people and while MIL tried to get us into a group for the group ticket discount my parents and I became famous with a deaf school children group. Thanks to them the time flew by pretty quickly taking all kind of group pictures and writing down our names and where we are from.

First things first. If you plan to visit this park really make sure to have the whole day time as just walking the main path around will take already several hours. I would even go as far as saying you won’t even manage to visit each little interesting corner of the park in one day!

After going through the entrance gate it really felt like entering another place entirely as the city and the noise vanished and the Tang Paradies was all around us. You might imagine it is boring to walk around a park which is about such a topic but really it was really nice to go around and see the different sections of the park. The only thing which was bothering us was the heat but there is nothing else to expect when traveling in China during July!

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MIL and her best new friend

 

The Park has many scenic areas with different cultural themes. What made it very enjoyable at least for me was the smell! No bad city smell around as the path has every few meters incense burners to fill the air with a nice fragrance. All around the park you can encounter interesting things such as poetry, song and dance or also the most important thing: Food! Why am I emphasizing this? Well, as mentioned before on that day it was incredibly hot and during midday MIL and my wife got hungry so they got themselves some hot and oily noodle soup. Meanwhile my parents and I were just suffocating by the heat and could only eat some ice cream. Even looking at my wife and MIL eating this warm dish made us sweat even more.

All around the park are places with water. In the middle is a lake in which the main Palace is reflecting like a mirror. There are little rivers near the paths which help to survive the heat at least a bit. You like to see some little fishes? There is a section of the main lake filled with hundreds if not thousands of coloured carp fishes. You can also buy some fish food and feed those greedy monsters which will result that the water appears to be boiling by all the movement the fishes are making. I can’t say what was more amusing for me, those monsters fishes or MIL trying to tease them by throwing very little food at a time into the water and laughing at the same time nearly hysterically.

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Interesting performance

 

In the evening there is another very interesting thing, a water movie. It is a movie screened on the water spray created by several fountains. In the end of the movie when people start to leave the park there is still a nice firework display. I am no expert when it comes to fireworks but I think it is a pretty decent one and also worth filming.

I can just recommend visiting this place when you have enough time in Xi’an. It is a wonderful theme park and most importantly it is also clean (at least in 2011) something I often miss in China. But in case you stay till evening time to see the water movie and the fireworks I have to warn you that it will be pretty impossible to get a taxi. There are just too many people trying to get home that there are no taxis or buses free however if you like some risk you can take one of the many “black taxis”. We took one of them and it was surely a crazy car ride back home as the whole vehicle was basically a three-wheeler transformed into a mini bus without any security measurements…

I got the idea to write this post because I found my old camera again with all kind of nice pictures of our first trip to China. So prepare yourself for some more articles about my first trip to China!

 

Have you ever visited the Tang Paradise before or are you planning to travel to Xi’an someday?

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