Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pingyao a top destination with European visitors

Pingyao in 1997
A recent Global Times article lists Pingyao as one of the top 10 destinations in China for European travelers.

This walled Ming Dynasty city in Shanxi Province was one of my favorites when I lived in Beijing. Oh, how it's changed since then. A picture accompanying the article showed the street filled with people., and foreigners so rare that a couple of toddlers  ran away screaming when they saw me. One little boy was more adventurous and shyly followed me around and a couple of times acted as my "translator", even though he had no English.  He did keep his Chinese simple enough that I could understand it, especially the lecture from an elderly gentleman about being a single foreign woman traveling alone in China.

Back when I visited, Pingyao was just beginning to be discovered as a tourist destination. The streets were dirt, and I enjoyed wandering through them, looking at the old buildings. I then climbed to the top of the wall, walking around it and viewing the city below.

Pingyao is considered the best preserved walled city in China. Many movies, including Raise the Red Lantern, and television shows have been filmed here.

There weren't many surprises on the top 10 list, just the normal tourist destinations, such as Beijing, Shanghai nd Xi'an.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shanghai, Hong Kong: top places to visit in Asia

Shanghai's Nanjing Street at night
Two cities in China have been named to Lonely Planet's list of top 10 places to visit in Asia in 2016.

They are Shanghai, No. 2, and  Hong Kong, No. 5, both major international cities drawing millions of tourists each year.

Shanghai is the financial capital of China and the country's largest city.  It made the list because the first Disney resort in China opened there in June 2016. This metropolis is a bustling city on the Haungpu Rive, so a walk along the Bund is a prime activity for visitors. Shanghai also has some of the most innovative architecture I've ever seen. It's particularly spectacular at night if you're taking a river cruise.

Hong Kong is famous for Victoria Peak and the Star Ferry, but the guidebook publisher picked it because of its great parks in the outlying areas.  The former British colony reverted to Chinese ownership in 1997.