Highlights from China vacation

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

China 2007 Map of Sites Visited

May 24, 2007

Beijing (Shichahai Hutong) (location)

CIMG1453.JPGWithin two hours of arriving to China at 6 a.m., we boarded some rickshaws, explored many narrow winding streets of one of Beijing’s few remaining Hutongs, and visited an elementary school.

Beijing (Prince Gong’s Mansion) (location)

CIMG1500.JPGContinuing to travel by rickshaw, we visited Prince Gong’s Mansion, which included a nice garden, many artificial rocks, and a lesson on Chinese tea.

Beijing (Lama Temple Yonghe Lamasery) (location)

CIMG1540.JPGBoarding 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.

May 25, 2007

Beijing (Tienanmen Square) (location)

CIMG1617.JPGWe joined the rest of our group in the morning, boarded a bus, and began the day in Tienanmen Square, which is just as big as I had imagined.

Beijing (Forbidden City) (location)

CIMG1702.JPGWhat 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)

CIMG1785.JPGJust as we thought things couldn’t get any bigger, we visited the Temple of Heaven, with grounds even larger than that of the Forbidden City.

May 26, 2007

Beijing (Changling’s Ming Tomb) (location)

CIMG1821.JPGAbout an hour outside of Beijing, we visited the Ming Tomb of Changling, the largest of all the Ming tombs.

Beijing (Sacred Way of Ming Tombs) (location)

CIMG1839.JPGFollowing 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)

100_0698.JPGBack 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.

May 27, 2007

Beijing (Summer Palace) (location)

CIMG1943.JPGBefore 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.

May 28, 2007

Xian (Terracotta Warriors) (location)

100_0755.JPGHaving 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)

CIMG2052.JPGReturning 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.

May 29, 2007

Chongqing (Zoo) (location)

100_0862.JPGIn 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)

CIMG2167.JPGUpon disembarking early in the evening, we were treated with a laser light show along the river and millions of lights that make up the city’s skyline.

May 30, 2007

Fengdu (Ghost City/Palace) (location)

CIMG2223.JPGAfter 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.

May 31, 2007

Yangzee (Three Gorges) (location)

CIMG2444.JPGAll 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)

CIMG2486.JPGThat evening, we passed through five ship locks along the Three Gorges Dam, each dropping our vessel about 10 stories. According to our guide, the Three Gorges Dam locks are the largest in the world.

June 1, 2007

Three Gorges Dam (location)

100_1144.JPGThe 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)

100_1159.JPGThe tour of the dam was our final stop. We departed the vessel less than an hour down river in Yichang, where we enjoyed a park and a museum before departing for Shanghai.

June 2, 2007

Shanghai (View of TV Tower) (location)

100_1171.JPGWe began our tour of Shanghai from across the river of the TV Tower. According to our guide, who grew up in Shanghai, everything across the river was built less than 15 years ago.

Shanghai (Yuyuan Bazaar) (location)

CIMG2648The bazaar was filled with people; and also with dumplings. One store had a sign that read, “Dumplings stuffed with ovaries and intestines of crad (sic).” We decided to pass.

Shanghai (Yuyuan Garden) (location)

CIMG2655Next to the bazaar is a nice garden. Filled with goldfish, narrow passages, and several small ponds, this was a fun garden to escape to from the crowds just outside its gates.

Shanghai (Shanghai Museum) (location)

100_1221.JPGOur final destination on our trip was the Shanghai Museum, which featured nice paintings and works of calligraphy, among many other things. We flew home the next day.


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.


  1. Glad you got home safe. That was an excellent travel summary. I viewed a few of your photos that you posted during the trip, which were vey well done.

  2. Hey Jason, very good job with the photos, timeline, and website, in general. I think it’ll take me about 100 million FREAKIN years to view all your photos. Haha, good times. By the way, where’s next year’s trip gonna be? Laters.

  3. Just the photos alone makes you want to visit. Great photo shots!

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