My vacation in China was great. In 12 days, we traveled all over the country, seeing many noteworthy sites and destinations. Here are a few of the highlights.
Interactive Map and Timeline
Beijing (Shichahai Hutong) (location)
Beijing (Prince Gong’s Mansion) (location)
Beijing (Lama Temple Yonghe Lamasery) (location)
Boarding a bus, we traveled to a Lama Temple that contained an impressive statue of Maitreya that was carved out of a single white sandalwood tree. The Guinness Book of Records states the buddha statue is 26 meters high.
Beijing (Tienanmen Square) (location)
Beijing (Forbidden City) (location)
What I had not expected was the size of the Forbidden City. After passing through several three-story gates, we eventually end up in the inner city where the emperor lived. The scale of this complex was enormous.
Beijing (Temple of Heaven) (location)
Beijing (Changling’s Ming Tomb) (location)
Beijing (Sacred Way of Ming Tombs) (location)
Following Changling’s Tomb, we visited the Sacred Way of Ming Tombs just a few miles away. This was a beautiful one mile walk down a garden that was flanked by large statues of animal and man that have stood guard for hundreds of years.
Beijing (Great Wall of China) (location)
Back on the bus, we traveled just two hours northwest from Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China, one of the Seven Medieval Wonders of the World. If it weren’t for the 97 vendors trying to hawk t-shirts, postcards, and hats along the wall, our visit would have been much more enjoyable.
Beijing (Summer Palace) (location)
Before leaving for Xian, we stopped by the Summer Palace in Beijing. The palace featured the World’s longest outdoor corridor, which was covered with 10,000 unique paintings, and a beautiful lake. We even went on a brief boat ride.
Xian (Terracotta Warriors) (location)
Having arrived to Xian last night, we had only an hour drive northeast to reach the Terracotta Warriors. Discovered in 1974, this is a collection of 8,099 life-size Chinese terra cotta figures of warriors and horses located near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.
Xian (Bell Tower) (location)
Returning to Xian, we headed into the old town and former capital, a walled city, to climb the Bell Tower. Though it no longer contains a bell, it offered nice views of the four main gates to enter the old city.
Chongqing (Zoo) (location)
In the morning, we flew to Chongqing to begin our cruise down the Yangzee River. Before the cruise, we had a tour of this very large city. Stopping by the zoo, we were lucky enough to see three pandas busy feasting on some fresh bamboo.
Chongqing (Begin Cruise) (location)
Fengdu (Ghost City/Palace) (location)
After enjoying lunch on the ship, our only stop for the day was a Ghost Palace across the river from Fengdu. The heat was sweltering, which made the trek up the hill difficult, but the views and historic artifacts were well worth it.
Yangzee (Three Gorges) (location)
All activities for this day were done by boat, which is a good thing since it rained most of the time. Departing our ship to a smaller boat, we diverted up one of the smaller gorges for some scenic views.
Three Gorges Dam (Ship Lock) (location)
Three Gorges Dam (location)
The dam itself is just massive. They are even building a ship elevator that will lift smaller ships over the dam in just 30 minutes — much faster than the three-hours it took us to pass through the locks.
Yichang (Binjiang Park) (location)
Shanghai (View of TV Tower) (location)
Shanghai (Yuyuan Bazaar) (location)
Shanghai (Yuyuan Garden) (location)
Shanghai (Shanghai Museum) (location)
I hope you enjoyed this brief summary of my trip to China. If you want to experience more, I invite you to explore an extensive gallery of photos my brother and I took during the trip.