Thursday, January 29, 2015

Five Chinese cities among world's most popular with tourists

Five cities in China were among the most popular cities for international tourism in 2013. CNN recently published a list of the top 25 cities in the world that received the most international tourists.

Hong Kong was the world's most visited city, with 25.6 million travelers going there in 2013. The former British Colony reverted to Chinese rule in lavish handover ceremonies in 1997. It's a shopper's paradise. with golden sand beaches and a harbor teeming with traffic.

Macau took sixth place behind London, #4, and Paris, #5, for most visitors. The former Portuguese colony, which also has reverted to Chinese governance, received 14.3 international visitors in 2013. Macau has opulent casinos that are only a short boat ride away from Hong Kong, making it popular with day-trippers.

Shenzhen, a special economic zone just across the border from Hong Kong, took eighth place with 11.7 international visitors.

Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton in  Guangdong Province, landed in 16th place on the list of the top 25 cities getting the most visitors. Famous for its trade fairs, Guangzhou welcomed 7.6 million international visitors.

Shanghai,, the biggest city in China, received 6.1 million international tourists to occupy 22nd place. Shanghai, famous for its riverfront, the Bund, is the financial capital of China.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Two Chinese cities make NYT's annual list

Two places on China made the New York Time's annual list of places to visit in the coming year.  Chengdu, in southwest China, made the list at No. 44, and Shanghai, the country's largest city, was No. 46 on the paper's annual list, which featured 52 places to go in 2015.

I've been to both cities before. I spent almost a week in Chengdu in 1997, and loved it. I visited Shanghai on my first trip to China in 1984, and have been back twice since then, most recently in 2008, when we spent 10 days there. The changes between the first and last trips have been mind-boggling. We're contemplating a return trip in 2015.


Pandas are popular in Chengdu
Chengdu is well known for its pandas, so any visit there should include a trip to the panda breeding center. Besides the pandas, the paper picked Chengdu because of its firey food scene and new sophisticated boutique hotels.

I can attest to the spiciness of the food. Generally, if cooks in small neighborhood restaurants, like we favor, know they're cooking for foreigners, they'll tone the food down.  Apparently the waitress at one restaurant forgot to tell the chef the gungbaojiding (chicken cubes in a spicy peanut sauce) was for me. The dish was loaded with chili peppers. I screamed for more water with every mouthful. It was the best gungbaojiding I've ever eaten!


An exhibit at Shanghai Museum
The paper picked Shanghai because of the new art museums that have opened recently in the financial capital of China. The museums are the Long Museum, located on the west Bend; the Yuz Museum, which opened in a remodeled airport hanger, and the 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum, which is housed in the former French pavillion at the 2010 World Expo site.

One of the best museums in China is located in Shanghai: the Shanghai Museum. It's not totally full of fine art, as are the above museum, but contains artifacts and art from thousands of years of Chinese history.  I've been there twice and each time come away fascinated by the museum's wide variety of contents.  The museum is so popular, it limits the number of people who visit daily to 8,000 people, so go early. Admission is free.

Are you going to China?

If a trip to China is in your plans, check out my website, Cheryl's China, and feel free to email me if you have any questions about travel in China.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Four spots in China among world's most colorful landscapes

Four scenic spots in China made the list of the 15 most colorful landscapes in the world. The list was compiled by CNN.

The spectacular landscapes can be found in China at:
  • Danxia Landform in Gansu Province. The colorful hills look almost surreal, as if they were a modern art painting, rather than the world of Mother Nature. Sandstone and minerals created the colors millions of years ago.
  •  Rice fields in Yunnan Province. Located in Yuanyuang County, the terraced rice fields are separated by dikes of earth in geometric patterns. The Hani minority people created the terraced paddies more than 1,000 years ago for growing red rice. When the paddies are flooded, the water is like a reflection pool, mirroring the blue sky, clouds and a red sunset. Later, they’ll turn to green as the rice shoots up.
  • Luoping Basin, Qujing Prefecture. Each March, the fields, which are punctuated with conical mounds, glow yellow when canola plants bloom.
  • Red Beach, Panjin, Liaoning Province. Seaweed in the Liahe River delta turns a bright red in the fall, thus giving the beach its name.
Are you going to China?

If a trip to China is in your plans, please check out my website, Cheryl's China, for tips and suggestions. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.