An underground Mausoleum of Western Han Dynasty, the tomb of the fourth Han Emperor Jing and Empress Wang located in Xianyang City of Shaanxi Province, China. The tomb was built around 153AD. Each pit was arranged according to the different departments in the palace so that life would be able to continue after death as usual. There is a pit of the kitchen with kitchen utensils and terra-cotta figurines of cooks and workers. All the figurines found were without arms or clothes because the arms were made of wood so they along with the clothes had decayed. There were approximately 50,000 terra cotta figurines found so far along with different artifacts. The burial ground covers an area of 20 square kilometers but only a portion has been excavated and open to the public. The rest will still be preserved underground til a later date. There are figurines of sheep, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, and dogs kept in the pit for food storage. Another contained actual grains and vegetables had all turned to black powder like coal. Picture taking was not allowed so these are only pictures found on the internet to give my reader a visual impression. Below is the pit of the concubine figurines
Below are samples of the different artifacts found
Located in the middle of Guizhou (貴州) and next to Guiyang (貴陽) is the city of Anshun. It is a prefectural city covers 9,256 sq. kilometers and 30% of its populations are of the 55 Chinese ethnic minorities.
There is a museum with collections of different artifacts of the ethnic minorities of China. They demonstrated that the ethnic minorities of China have a rich culture as well and quite skilled in embroideries, silver smith, music and etc.
The drum tower is to summon the Yao’s people that a meeting is required or visitors are coming or danger is approaching. Yao’s woman works in the fields while their husbands go out to work as silversmiths. Each year the husband works as a silversmith, the woman would cut a length of their skirt until a certain length has been reached and then the husband stay home and take care of the family.
Near Anshun, about 40 minutes away, we come to the largest village of Miao ethnic minority. There is about 1250 household settled here. The name is One Thousand Household Miao Village of XiJiang(西江). It is under construction to retain its original structure. To enter, we need to buy an admission ticket. Inside one can find the village winding paths and many stores that offer food, silver trinkets, crafts, and hostels. It has changed to a tourist attraction and the Miaos here has entered into the business of tourism.
Due to lack of flat ground for planting crops, The Miaos learn to step cultivate the side of the mountainside for planting. It is also good for irrigating the crops.
A welcoming performance showed off their traditional dance and gorgeous costumes. Started with greetings by offerings of wine and tea. Also included a world class performance of music by blowing on a piece of leaf.
About an hours away by bus from Anshun is Huanggoushu Waterfall (黃果樹) the translation is Yellow Fruit Tree. Yes, that is because there are a lot of trees around the fall that bears yellow fruits that turn the whole mountain yellow. It is the largest fall in China. It is about 74 meters tall and 81 meters wide. It is special that one can view it from the top, bottom, left, right and behind, on foot. The water falls from Baishui (白水河) River. So one can walk along the trail by the river to see where the fall begins. There is a Pavilion beside the Rhinoceros pool where one can see from the bottom of the fall. Behind the fall is a natural cave named Water Curtain Cave, that have openings where one can experience the waterfall from behind it. While walking up and down the mountain to the Water Curtain Cave, one can get the view of the waterfall from the sides.
Up river from Huanggoushu Waterfall is the Doupotang (陡坡塘) Waterfall. It is about 105 meters wide and 21 meters high.
The Doupotang Park has many picturesque sights. Many scenes were used to shot the movie Journey to the West (西遊記). These scenes may jog some memories.
Our next stop is the Dragons Cave of Gods. It is located within the Huangguoshu Park. It belongs to the Buiyi ethnic minority of China. BuiYi people worship Dragons. This cave used to be their gathering place. It is about 38 sq. meters and length are 4640 meters although only 1600 meters are open to
the public. The average height is about 21 meters. It is connected to the underground water source of Haugguoshu Waterfall. If you look closely and with your imagination you will find lots of dragons hidden, lurking in the background.
Before I leave this page. I must mention that Guizhou is also well known for its wine. It is said that Guizhou has the natural climate for good wine and most noted is Maotai. Maotai is scarce and expensive but try other wine of Guizhou, one will find it to be of good quality also.
Xingyi, a city southwest of Guizhou, China. This a modern city of all amenities and exceptionally clean and orderly. People here are very protective of their environment and happy with their surroundings. The pictures below is the night life of the city plaza.
Southwest of Guizhou has impressive Natural Wonders. One of them is the Malinghe Gorge and Ravine. Along the Gorge were mighty water falls, one more magnificent than the next.
With these same landscapes in mind. We go to our next Scenic Sight, the Wanfeng Lake (萬峰湖)among the peaks. The lake was the result of a dam that holds back the water into the gorge. The dam provides much-needed energy for the Southwest of China. The lake has a surface area of 816 Sq. Kilometer and can stored water of approximately 102 billion cubic meters. The lake is surrounded by peaks and some protruded from the lake surface and formed islands.
One can take a ferry to go on the lake and have a closer view. Some ferries offer delicious fresh fish lunch made from the fishes caught from the lake. If you like fish, then you should not miss this lunch. As it makes its round on the lake we can see a lot of caves on the side of some peaks.
The next scenic sight is Wangfenglin (萬峰林), A peak cluster wonder.
This is a top view of the village of Buyi ethnic minority group of China. One can see their farms and fields. Their fields are of different shape and level because each field is centered on the opening of the underground water that erupts from the ground so they may irrigate the field efficiently.
Among the peaks are the exceptional Twin Breast Peak and the Goddess of Earth. These are Wonder of Nature and Buyi people worship the Goddess of Earth nurturing them with good climate and good harvest.
Xiaoqikong Scenic Area is located in LiBo county in Southern Guizhou Province of China, neighboring Quangxi Province. The name Xiaoqikong is the name of a bridge build in 1835 to cross the Xiangshui River in order for ease of trade. The name Xiaoqikong means seven little holes, formed by seven arches. (See Pictures below)
Xiaoqikong Scenic Area is along the Xiangshui River and is where the Miao ethnic minority of China live. The Yao’s village still maintains their traditional way of life within their autonomous area. The Southern Karst, a UNESCO world heritage site, the landscape created many scenic sights along the way and also many recreational areas for boating, rafting, and caverns to explore.
The first area is the Crouching Tiger Pond (卧龍潭) formed from water spring up from underground. The power generating dam that was built formed a pond and the beautiful waterfall.
Then we come to Yuanyan (Mandarin Duck) Lake
is the only aquatic forest of the Karst landscape at this latitude in the world. Due to the various minerals in the water gives it special color and often gives off many different colors due to reflecting lights. One can rent a boat and have a close-up look and personal experience of the aquatic forest.
Next–Laguane Lake Wetland Area-Shooting place of the TV show Survival Games in Sept. 2015
The lake water is clean and lots of algae grow in it to give off a special color. The reflections from the clear water created colorful picturesque scenes at various angle and lighting. The lake surrounded by water falls and mountain peaks and wetlands as well as a very comfortable and clean hotel.
Next stop Emerald Valley Water Fall
Water falls among the lush green trees a rare scene.
From the Emerald Valley Water Fall to Xiaoqikong Bridge is the Water Forest. Its trail is approximately 2000 meters along the flow of Xiangshui River. Its water bed flows over rocks as if the rocks grew out from the water just as the trees grow from the rocks with its leaves drape over the water. This is a cool refreshing walk. No wonder, legend has it, even the fairies frequently bath in these waters.
Between the border of Canada and the United States is Niagara Falls on the Niagara River that flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The Canadians build a 56km long trail along the banks of Niagara River to form the area of Niagara Park. The Park consists of 3 trails, the Heritage Trail, the Garden Trail, and the Nature Trail for you to explore. There are other attractions as well in the area to keep you busy such as a golf course, casinos, various amusement parks. But the main attraction is the Niagara Falls which is one of the 7 natural wonders of Canada. You will be in awe, which ever way you look at it. Whether it is from the foot looking upwards or behind the fall, or from the top looking down or along side, Niagara Falls demonstrates the power of nature and humbles its spectators. It’s morning mist from the falls refresh and exuberate all living things in its surroundings. The evening illumination on the falls mystifies the night.
There is a wonderful bike trail along the Northeast and Yilan (宜蘭) coastline. One can take the train to Shihcheng(石城) Train Station or Fulong(副隆) Train Station. We took the train to Fulong Station where there were many bike rental shops. They have regular bikes, mountain bikes, for adults and children. They also have bicycles for two or with infant seats, and one may be able to get them in battery-powered as well. In order to rent a bike, one must leave an ID.
We started the trail southward through the 2.16km long Old Caoling Tunnel Bikeway. The tunnel was cool with the air brushing against the face, but the best was coming out of the tunnel and greeted by the welcoming sight of bright daylight and the feeling of the open ocean breeze. There are many rest areas along the trail and the coastline scenery is very special.Lailai Marine Terrace
This marine terrace will be under ocean water at high tide. One can see many fishermen out deep-sea fishing during low tide and others exploring what the sea left behind. Coming up is the Four Square Sightseeing Area where we can see the Turtle Island.
Turtle Island is a volcanic islet off the east coast of Yilan County. Its name is due to its shape similar to a giant turtle. It is an island park open to the public from March to November. It is about 3 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide. It has a 3,000 sq. feet of seafood market where one can enjoy fresh seafood. Bottle nose dolphins and tiger whales appear off its coast frequently. One can experience warm spring water bath as well as water sports including surfing, water skiing, and gliding can be found here.
Going further north on the bike trail we come to the most eastern coast of Taiwan, Cape San Diego (三貂角)and the San Diego Cape lighthouse. It’s been said that when the Spanish first came by in 1626, they named it Cape San Diego because it reminded them of San Diego. Hence the present name is San Diego in Taiwanese phonetics. The San Diego lighthouse is 16.8 feet tall and has a 270-degree view of the ocean. On a good day, one can see Turtle Island. Surrounding the Lighthouse is a nice rest area for visitors to relax.
There is a foot path going down from this rest area to Maoao Fishery Village known for its hundred years stone dwellings, but we cycled back down to the coastline bike path.
walking trail to Maoao Village
We stopped for lunch at Fulian Elementary School’s footsteps sitting and watching the ocean waves while we hungrily wolfing down our lunch which was the famous railroad lunch box that we bought at the Fulong Railroad Station.
Continuing along the bike way, took us back to return the bike, along the way we passed Dongxin Temple and Fulong Coastal Park. Last and final destination, the Fulong Beach.
There will be many water activities in the summer as well as open air concerts. In May, there will be Sand Sculpturing Art Festival here.
Twenty-six kilometer away from Qiqihaer is Zhalong Nature Reserve, an approximately 810 square miles of wetland in Heilongjiang, China. This marshland is a major breeding ground for more than 300 species of birds including the Marsh Grassbird as well as a major migratory route for birds such as the storks, swans, herons, and grebes in the Far East
Zhalong Nature Reserve is protected by the Chinese government. It breeds red crowned crane which is endangered. However the bred cranes will not migrate any more. The easy life kept them in one place. They are well fed and become bigger than the wild crane which still migrate to burn up the stored fat. Everyday the crane keeper let them out to fly before feeding them, so they would get their exercise. The wild crane do not like the fed food, so they would stay wild. This marshland is a very important breeding place for not just the various types of cranes, but also for water fowls, different species of fish, and other marsh dependent animals. This is a terrific place for bird watching, but be sure to put on a lot of mosquito repellent.