Tagged architecture

day trip – kaiping july 6

Come with China Tea Leaves to Kaiping (开平), for a one day getaway to a place with stunning architecture and pleasant villages, not far from Shenzhen. Kaiping is part of the five counties known as the top hometown of overseas Chinese. One in ten people with Chinese heritage living overseas have roots from this region.

It is also the hometown of diaolou (碉楼), a unique building type that acted as a fortress, watchtower, and clan house. Whereas palace and courtyard architecture throughout China expands out as it grows, the diaolou goes up. Thousands of diaolou are sprinkled throughout Kaiping’s districts, often rising seven, eight, or nine stories from low-lying villages. Those that emigrated sent back money they earned abroad, and sometimes brought back Western designs and furnishings adding to the distinction of their diaolou. This building phenomenon put Kaiping on the map as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and makes it a must-see in Guangdong province today.

This is a special offer to see these UNESCO recognized sites in just a one day trip from Shenzhen. Our private shuttle will take us from Shenzhen to Kaiping, taking about three hours.

First we’ll visit the Zili village (自力村). Several diaolou are set amongst the rice paddies, including two maintaining their original furnishings. Go inside and climb to the top for classic views of your surroundings. From Zili village, we will head to Li Garden (立园). Along the way we’ll see village life, women farming the rice paddies, and other diaolou dotting the greenway. Li Yuan is a masterpiece of Qing dynasty design, but it also incorporates western and middle eastern elements into its myriad gardens.

After a picnic lunch, we’ll continue through the rice fields, which with all the watchtowers and arcades might be starting to look like someplace between King’s Landing and Winterfell. Finally we’ll visit Jinjiangli (锦江里) village and its fine diaolou cluster. Their turrets, arches and colorful frescoes will make you feel like you’ve been transported to medieval Italy. On our way out of town we’ll make a stop by Chikan (赤坎) town, whose many western buildings have been used as movie sets for historic Chinese films. The town is preparing for a massive renovation but we can take our chances to see backstage before the refurbishing starts. We will drive back in the evening after an enchanting day in the castles of Kaiping.

Without traveling far from Shenzhen, you can see a world of architecture and revive yourself in the slower-paced villages of Guangdong province.

Saturday, July 6: approximately 7:00 am to 9:00 pm

Price: Adult: 545RMB, 515RMB SWIC or ABNet member.
Child 1.2-1.5m: 295RMB, 275RMB SWIC or ABNet member.

Price includes: Private shuttle from Shenzhen and around Kaiping, entrance tickets, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.
Does not include lunch. Dining options are very limited around the villages, so please pack a picnic lunch.

Minimum 8 people, maximum 14

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Kaiping in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

day trip – kaiping march 30

Come with China Tea Leaves to Kaiping (开平), for a one day getaway to a place with stunning architecture and pleasant villages, not far from Shenzhen. Kaiping is part of the five counties known as the top hometown of overseas Chinese. One in ten people with Chinese heritage living overseas have roots from this region.

It is also the hometown of diaolou (碉楼), a unique building type that acted as a fortress, watchtower, and clan house. Whereas palace and courtyard architecture throughout China expands out as it grows, the diaolou goes up. Thousands of diaolou are sprinkled throughout Kaiping’s districts, often rising seven, eight, or nine stories from low-lying villages. Those that emigrated sent back money they earned abroad, and sometimes brought back Western designs and furnishings adding to the distinction of their diaolou. This building phenomenon put Kaiping on the map as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and makes it a must-see in Guangdong province today.

This is a special offer for the first time with China Tea Leaves, to see these UNESCO recognized sites in just a one day trip from Shenzhen. Our private shuttle will take us from Shenzhen to Kaiping, taking about two and a half to three hours.

First we’ll visit the Zili village (自力村). Several diaolou are set amongst the rice paddies, including two maintaining their original furnishings. Go inside and climb to the top for classic views of your surroundings. From Zili village, we will head to Li Garden (立园). Along the way we’ll see village life, women farming the rice paddies, and other diaolou dotting the greenway. Li Yuan is a masterpiece of Qing dynasty design, but it also incorporates western and middle eastern elements into its myriad gardens.

After a picnic lunch, we’ll continue through the rice fields, which with all the watchtowers and arcades might be starting to look like someplace between King’s Landing and Winterfell. First we’ll visit Jinjiangli (锦江里) village and its fine diaolou cluster. Their turrets, arches and colorful frescoes will make you feel like you’ve been transported to medieval Italy. From here, we’ll move on to Majianglong (马降龙) Village, which is known as the most beautiful village in diaolou country. Towers peek out like Roman villas from primordial forests, and from the roof your view dances across the tops of swaying bamboo branches. We’ll make a stop by Chikan (赤坎) town, whose many western buildings have been used as movie sets for historic Chinese films. We will drive back in the evening after an enchanting day in the castles of Kaiping.

Without traveling far from Shenzhen, you can see a world of architecture and revive yourself in the slower-paced villages of Guangdong province.

Saturday, March 30: approximately 7:00 am to 10:00 pm

Price: Adult: 545RMB, 515RMB SWIC or ABNet member.
Child 1.2-1.5m: 295RMB, 275RMB SWIC or ABNet member.

Price includes: Private shuttle from Shenzhen and around Kaiping, entrance tickets, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.
Does not include lunch. Dining options are very limited around the villages, so please pack a picnic lunch.

Minimum 8 people, maximum 14

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Kaiping in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

the grand tour in kaiping

Come with China Tea Leaves to Kaiping (开平), for a weekend getaway to a place with stunning architecture and pleasant villages, not far from Shenzhen. Kaiping is part of the five counties known as the top hometown of overseas Chinese. One in ten people with Chinese heritage living overseas have roots from this region.

It is also the hometown of diaolou (碉楼), a unique building type that acted as a fortress, watchtower, and clan house. Whereas palace and courtyard architecture throughout China expands out as it grows, the diaolou goes up. Thousands of diaolou are sprinkled throughout Kaiping’s districts, often rising seven, eight, or nine stories from low-lying villages. Those that emigrated sent back money they earned abroad, and sometimes brought back Western designs and furnishings adding to the distinction of their diaolou. This building phenomenon put Kaiping on the map as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and makes it a must-see in Guangdong province today.

On our two day trip to Kaiping, we will see the best of the region. Our private shuttle will take us from Shenzhen to Kaiping, taking about three hours. There, we’ll check into our hotel, the Helen Bergh hotel, one of the best in Kaiping, with a great swimming pool and grand fortress-like design. Then we’ll have lunch at the nearby mall which has lots of options to choose from, including sushi, Western, Cantonese, etc. (just this lunch is not included). After lunch we’ll set out to see the diaolou.

First we’ll visit the Zili village (自力村). Several diaolou are set amongst the rice paddies, including two maintaining their original furnishings. Go inside and climb to the top for classic views of your surroundings. From Zili village, we can go by foot (about 45 minutes walk) to Li Garden (立园). Along the way we’ll see village life, women farming the rice paddies, and other diaolou dotting the greenway. Li Yuan is a masterpiece of Qing dynasty design, but it also incorporates western and middle eastern elements into its myriad gardens. Later we’ll have dinner back in town and have a relaxed evening at the hotel.

The following day, we will head back to the rice fields, which with all the watchtowers and arcades might be starting to look like someplace between King’s Landing and Winterfell. First we’ll visit Jinjiangli (锦江里) village and its fine dialou cluster. Their turrets, arches and colorful frescoes will make you feel like you’ve been transported to medieval Italy. From here, we’ll move on to Majianglong (马降龙) Village, which is known as the most beautiful village in diaolou country. Towers peek out like Roman villas from primordial forests, and from the roof your view dances across the tops of swaying bamboo branches. We’ll make a stop by Chikan (赤坎) town, whose many western buildings have been used as movie sets for historic Chinese films. A late afternoon departure brings you back to Shenzhen by evening.

Without traveling far from Shenzhen, you can see a world of architecture and revive yourself in the slower-paced villages of Guangdong province.

Saturday, September 16: 8:30am pickup in Shekou, travel, visit diaolou
Sunday, September 17: visit diaolou, travel, 7:30pm return to Shekou

Price: Adult: 1600RMB per person (double occupancy), Kids 1.2m+ 1180RMB

Plus – If you book 2 or more people together, receive 50RMB off per person in your group!
For example – book 2 together, 100RMB off for you and your friend. Book 4 together, 200RMB off for each person! Maximum 200RMB off the original price. Ask about kids’ discount.

Price includes: Private shuttle from Shenzhen and ground transportation in Kaiping, 1 night (double occupancy) at Helen Bergh Hotel, meals (except Saturday lunch), entrance tickets, travel insurance, and full service guide by Greta of China Tea Leaves.

Payment: by cash, payment to be made by September 10

Minimum 6 people, maximum 12

Contact Greta on WeChat (lilies-of-the-valley) or by email (chinatealeaves@yahoo.com) to book your spot.

an evening along erhai lake

On one of our last evenings in Yunnan, I took a short walk at dusk around the Xiangyangxi Village (向阳溪村) where we were staying on the Erhai Lake of Dali prefecture. As Yunnan is located relatively well west in the single Beijing Standard Time zone of China, the sun wouldn’t set until well past eight o’clock. This made for very leisurely dinners around the communal table of the guest houses we stayed in, allowing time to chat with the owners and our traveling companions as the blue skies tinged violet, then rose, and then were taken over in a dazzling sunset filling the heavens with a multitude of colors.

erhai

The name of Erhai Lake (洱海) describes it as a sea shaped like an ear (耳), and its north-south elongation makes it look like a Daoist immortal’s drooping earlobes from above. Xiangyangxi Village lies towards the northern tip of the lake, closer to the old Bai market town of Xizhou than to Dali Old Town. Dali prefecture includes the entire region of the lake, with more than a dozen villages circling the famed waters of Erhai.

During the day the lake ring road buzzes with vespas rented by holidaying twenty-somethings. But in the evening, the village streets turn serene again—a few kids goofing off with musical instruments, Bai women in petunia pink kerchiefs chatting on a doorstep, a man finishes his cigarette before returning home. The east gate of Bai homes is traditionally the grandest, decorated with beautiful stenciling and fantastically intricate stone carvings. I admired many of these in the dimming light—blue and ochre paintings against white stucco and grey stone. A temple protruded from the street out into the rice paddies. Since its gates were already locked, I could only admire the wind diverting wall, the 屏风 (pingfeng), an element in feng shui design, across from the main entrance. It was covered in symbols and mythical creatures, some of which I recognized and some of which may only be understood by the Bai people of this very village. Back in the guest house, I watched the last light of the sunset fade to stars behind a tile roof decoration, the clay cat of the Bai house, which absorbs bad energy. A few hours left in Yunnan, to spend between the stars and the quiet lapping of the ink dark lake.

photo of the day

IMG_5484

Dragon relief at the Daci’en Temple in Xi’an, Shaanxi province. The Daci’en Temple (大慈恩寺 Temple of Great Mercy and Kindness) holds the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, an important Tang dynasty Buddhist site in China.

beijing treasures reconstructed

A new series of exhibitions in Beijing features beautiful reconstructions of some of the capital’s landmarks. These impressive scale models are made by the China Red Sandalwood Museum of ebony and red sandalwood, materials that will last for generations. The models shown thus far include the Temple of Heaven, a Ming dynasty gem in beloved Tiantan Park, and the former Andingmen and Yongdingmen gates. The latter two were gates in Beijing’s old city wall, which was torn down in the 1950’s to make way for a new street system. Yongdingmen has since been reconstructed adjacent to its original location at the south central entry into the walled city.

To view the models, visit the National Museum of China, 16 East Chang’an Avenue, before December 29.
http://en.chnmuseum.cn

 

photo of the day

IMG_7792

Yonghegong (雍和宫), Beijing, also known as the Lama Temple, a Lamasery of Tibetan Buddhism.

The yellow roof tiles signify the imperial status granted to the temple by the Qianlong Emperor in the 18th century. The various animals decorating the ridge also lend symbolism to the building. The man riding a chicken on the right is often associated with imperial buildings, while the three sea creatures at the left are meant to protect the wooden building from fire. The number of animals in between the sea creature and the man signify the importance of the building. This temple has five; the grandest hall in the Forbidden City has the maximum of nine animals.