We took a day trip out of Kyoto to Nara City. It was an hour train ride from Kyoto and Nara City on the JR train. We were amazed at how easy it was to use the train! The trains were very timely, and ran frequently between all the places we wanted to go; unlike in China, or at airports, there is no security theater before one can board. Nara City is home to numerous UNESCO world heritage sites due to its history as Japan’s capital from 710 to 782; it was called Heijokyo during the time.
In the center of the City is Nara Park. Nara Park is home to 4 of the world heritage sites as well as an estimated 1200 wild deer! Continue reading “Nara Park and Temples “
After the night bus we were unable to check into our hostel until late afternoon. So, we took off to see the city! We started at Nijo-jo castle. This castle was completed in 1603 and was the residence of the head of the Shogunate (samurai government) from completion until 1867.
The castle is surrounded by a moat and to enter you go through the Kara-mon Gate. This gate uses cypress bark as the roof along with brilliantly colored carvings. Continue reading “Our First Day in Kyoto “
Shanghai has a lot of amazing sounding museums, and as everyone knows, we love a good museum. We choose two of the remain museums to spend a few hours in each. Our first choice was Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center.
We choose this museum because we were quite impressed with Shanghai as a city. It is well laid out, thoughtfully planned, and they are planning for more growth in the future. This museum displays the past, present and future of the city plan. We were quite impressed with the public transportation system in the city and how they plan to grow as this city of 24 million people continues to grow. Continue reading “More Museums, Old Street, and YuYuan Gardens in Shanghai “
The Yellow Mountains of China, also known as Huangshan, is known for granite peaks and oddly shaped pine trees. It is a range of 70 peaks that are named for the Yellow Emperor, who loved the imaginative images they display on the sky. The mountains look like the Classical Chinese drawings with jagged cliffs and gnarled pine trees. Continue reading “Huangshan – Yellow Mountains “
The evening we arrived in Guilin, our hostel was hosting a dumpling party. The hostel staff showed us all how to make the dumplings from scratch. Our group made and then ate them. We had a wonderful time and the dumplings were tasty! We ate dinner next to a friendly French family of 6. They were just beginning their 2.5 month trip!
Continue reading “Guilin, China “
Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan province of China. Chengdu is the home of the most popular panda base or sanctuary but it is actually only one of the five sanctuaries in Sichuan region. These five sanctuaries work together to help save, bred and release giant pandas back into the wild. This is the perfect location for the panda bases as it is part of their natural habitat. We were lucky and we were able to spend a full day at Wolong Giant Panda Sanctuary volunteering with these wonderful animals. The volunteer program was our preferred way to spend our time with these animals as it included education, work and close encounters with giant pandas. Continue reading “Panda Volunteers “
On our final day in Lhasa, we walked around the old town and had a relaxing day before our train ride. It was the clearest, sunniest day yet and we had some of the best views of the mountains surrounding the city.
Continue reading “Old Town, Lhasa “