Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ancient Cities of Chengdu

On our 2ND last day in Chengdu, we decided to rent a 12 passenger van for 550 yuan inclusive of petrol and a driver to take us to the two ancient cities.
Huanglongxi is our first destination. an old town with traditional architecture of West Sichuan. It is about 50 kilometers from Chengdu. It is a popular scenic spot in recent years. The Qing Dynasty style buildings here are well preserved and attract many film makers. The typical streets and government court yard from ancient Sichuan are very attractive.

There is a river running across from the town of Huanglongxi, a southern suburb of Chengdu, the capital city of southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. The town, located at the intersection of three counties, is where Gushu (ancient Sichuan) residents and have lived 2,000 years ago.
Luodai Ancient Town - Is smaller or about half the area size of Huanglongxi. It is situated in Longquan of Chengdu City. Luodai Ancient Town is closer to modern city of Chengdu. Luodai was established in years of the Three Kingdoms and is a provincial level ancient town with profound culture. In this town, most of the existing architectures are in the style of the late Qing dynasty. It's Hakka culture is well preserved.
Luodai Ancient Town is about 20 kilometers away from Chengdu. It takes o­nly half an hour from Chengdu to Luodai. And there is no entrance charge to both the ancient cities.
The houses, courtyards and streets in Luodai are all in the ancient style of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) or the Republic period (1912-1949). The Guangdong Guildhall is the landmark of Luodai Ancient Town. Originally named Nanhua Palace, it is the masterpiece among Hakka architecture as well as the best preserved and the biggest guildhalls in China. It was built during the reign of Emperor Qinglong in Qing Dynasty (1746) and consists of three halls, with a total of 3044.75 square meters. It is the place where the Hakka people gather, meet relatives and friends, settle disputes and make sacrifices to ancestors and gods. Several other guildhalls, such as those of Huguang, Jiangxi and Chuanbei also remain in good shape.
There is one 1,000-meter-long main street and seven alleys in the ancient town. The dwelling houses along the main street are all enclosed courtyards with an open area in the middle and a main building decorated with carvings of turtle and flower. The roofs of the houses are all covered with small black colored clay tiles.
We left for our Hotel just before dusk.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mt. Emei, Sichuan, China

Emei town, Sichuan is about 150 km away from Chengdu and about 28 km from Leshan city. After the Leshan Grand Buddha, we leave for Emei Town and put a night at one of the 3 star rating hotel at the base of Mt. Emei which cost us 200 yuan per night before proceeding to Mt. Emei the next day.
In the morning, from the balcony of our hotel, we could see the snow at the tip of the mountains nearby. That was what we were actually hoping for at Mt. Emei. Our driver told us to be prepared with thick clothing when we are up there. He sent us to the local bus station where we took the public mini bus to the entrance of Mt. Emei. Upon reaching one of the hill top, we changed for a cable car for Jinding a.k.a. The Golden Summit.

From the cable car station at the top, we need to walk up the steep stone stairs to the tip of the mountain for another hour depending on our capabilities. The snow makes our walk more difficult and slippery. It was tiring too walking up the steep stairway.
Along the way, we see many pine tress, birds and monkeys. But most amazingly is the beautiful scenery. Emei Shan or Mt. Emei is a UNESCO World-Heritage site featuring many temples, natural wonders and breath taking scenery. Some of the trees are more than 1,000 years old. There are over 30 temples at Emei Shan.
After about an hour walk from the cable car station, we reached the Golden Summit (Jinding). There are two temples here, the Golden and Silver colored.
At 3,099 m or 10,167 ft, Mt. Emei is the highest of the four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China.
Not only that the scenery is amazingly beautiful, the other wonderful thing to see at the top is that the Golden Summit is above the clouds. And I'm glad that I make it to the top of the Golden Summit.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leshan Giant Buddha, Chengdu

After visiting the Chengdu Research Base Of Giant Panda Breeding, we proceed to visit The Leshan Giant Buddha. It took us about 2 hours to reach our destination using the highway. Our driver parked right in front of the restaurant near to the entrance to the Giant Buddha. Seeing that the restaurant is nearby and was recommended by the driver, we took the assumption that the food must be either good or reasonably priced. We ordered something simple but famous in the area, i.e. 2 kind of tofu (bean curb) and 2 types of simple vegetables and a 1500 grammes fresh water fish, some kind of a cat-fish species cooked Chengdu style, hot and spicy.
To our surprise, the bill came to a hefty 1000yuan. We know we had been slaughter by the neck but we have no other choice except to pay for the bill. Some advice to travellers, never eat at the restaurant nearby tourist spot, unless you enquire for the price first before you order.

The entrance fee to the Leshan Giant Buddha is 90 yuan per person. I personally feel that the charges is a bit too high especially when I have to pay for 5 persons, and not forgetting the hefty lunch bill. However, after seeing the amazing size and height of the Giant Buddha, everything is forgotten.At 71 metres (233 feet) tall, the statue of the Buddha with his hands resting on his knees. It's shoulders are 28 metres and it's smallest toenail is large enough to accommodate a seated person.
The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below it's feet. It is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world. The Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It wasn't damaged by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

The Lingyun Temple which was at the same scenic area with the Leshan Giant Buddha was built during the late 7Th century. As an addition to the grand Giant Buddha, the temple is said to be the most magnificent building in the Southwest.
After the Leshan Giant Buddha, we left for Emei county for our overnight stay before going to Mt. Emei.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chengdu Research Base Of Giant Panda Breeding

20Th November - It was never in my mind thinking about going to Chengdu, Sichuan for holiday until airasia launch it's destination there. It was my luck to get the cheap fare then when the ticket was up for the on-line purchase. I bought the tickets 3 months in advance.
The first thing that came into my mind when in Chengdu is to see the giant panda.So I made a earlier arrangement to visit the Chengdu Research Base Of Giant Panda Breeding as soon as we were in Chengdu. The Research Base focuses on the advancement of wildlife conservation in China especially Giant Panda. We arrived Chengdu the night before. The weather was very chilling and quiet when we were at Dreams Travel Youth Hostel. It's almost mid-night and we managed to find the only 24 hours sundry shop nearby for our drinks and snacks while the rest of the shops are already closed.
Our Chinese driver, Mr. Luo who also work as a Chinese tourist guide came in time to fetch us the next day right after our breakfast. We took about half a day at the Research Base before leaving for Leshan Grand Buddha.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winter In Chengdu, China

If you are wondering why I have not updated my blog lately, the reason is because I was away on holiday. This time it's Chengu, Sichuan. And this time, it a family trip. And here I would like to share together my trip itinerary :

Depart Kota Bharu Sultan Ismail Petra Airport for KLCC on 19/11/2009 on AK5283 @ 1220 hours and Return on AK5288 on 25/11/2009 @ 1540 hours.
Total Price for 5 Persons: RM$985.00

Depart On 19/11/2009: Kuala Lumpur (LCC Terminal)- Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport by Airasia Flight D72626 @1800 hours. Arrive: 2240 hours.
Return on 24/11/2009: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport - KLCC by Airasia Flight D72623 @1455 hours. Arrive: 1935 hours.
Total price for 5 persons : RM$1,675.00

2 Rooms booked at for 24/11/2009 for RM$88.94 per night.
Total: RM$177.88

Four-bed room + 1 extra bed with bath room, A/C,TV and Lan.
The price is 210yuan per night for 5 Nights @ DREAMS TRAVEL YOUTH HOSTEL
Total: 1,050 yuan

Rent a pick-up van for RMB70/van for 5 adults at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
on 19th November 2009 and return on 24Th November 2009.
Total: 140 yuan

5 Panda Cards @ 10 yuan per card. Total: 50 yuan

7 seater MPV rental (inclusive petrol, toll, parking and driver service) to visit Giant panda Research Centre, Giant Buddha @ Leshan and to Mt. Emei from 20Th to 21Th November 2009 @ 1,200 yuan
Driver Accommodation + Meal Allowance @ 100 yuan per trip
2 Rooms Hotel at Jinfo Hotel + extra bed for 1 night (200 yuan per room, 80 yuan extra bed)
Total: 480 yuan
Entrance fee to Leshan is Rmb90 per person & Mt.Emei is Rmb340 per person (including entrance fee 150+Sightseeing Bus70+Cable car to Golden summit 120).
Total: 2150 yuan

12 seater Van Rental on 23/11/2009 @ 500 yuan to visit Huanglongxi Ancient Town and Luodai Old Town.

Total Spending excluding shopping and food: about RM$5,445.00 for 5 persons (exchange rate of 1 yuan = RM$0.50, $1USD = RM$3.50)

Well, that's about all.