WRITER'S DIARY by Roger Allnutt
Chongqing And Yichang
One of the most popular activities in China is a Yangtze River cruise. Although some cruises start or end at Shanghai the most common cruise is from Yichang to Chongqing. Upstream starts from Yichang and downstream from Chongqing.
There are a number of different cruise companies that operate this sector with the season running from mid March to late November. The main cruise companies are Victoria Cruises, President and Century Star and some of these offer cruises in combination with visits to other major tourist places such as Xian, Kunming and Beijing..more
Yangtze River Cruise, China
For many years a cruise on the Yangtze River has been a highlight of any tour of China.
The most popular section of the river has always been through the narrow gorges between Yichang and Chongqing which provided dramatic scenery, towering cliffs above the valley floor, small fishing villages and often difficult conditions for the captain at the helm.more
Guangzhou, Guangdong Province
After Beijing and Shanghai the southern city of Guangzhou is probably the best known city in China. Situated in the northern part of the Pearl River delta, the city is the capital of Guangdong Province and one of the country’s best-known historic and cultural cities as well as a large industrial and commercial centre and port. It is close to Hong Kong and Macau which makes it an easy city to visit.
After the incredible traffic and frantic bustle of Beijing and Shanghai I found Guangzhou (for years known to westerners as Canton) relatively relaxed and slower paced. Its location is subtropical and the weather can get very humid in summer but this means that everything is green and flowers bloom throughout the year.more
Sichuan International Cultural Tourism Festival, Sichuan, CHINA
At 2.28pm on 12 May 2008 a 8.0 Richter scale earthquake caused massive damage in the Tibetan/Qiang ethnic area of Sichuan province to the north and west of the capital city Chengdu in western China. Buildings collapsed, hillsides fell into valleys and the death toll from the quake was staggering.
TV coverage of the devastation focussed on two specific images; the collapse of a junior high school at Yinxin and the fall of a huge hillside boulder onto a primary school at Beichuan and the many deaths that these caused. However the loss of life was very large throughout the area affected.more
Jiuzhai Valley National Park and Huanglong
In the northern part of Sichuan province the Aba prefecture with its Tibetan heritage is home to some of the best-known scenery within China. This ranges from the beautiful valleys of the Jiuzhai Valley National Park and the stunning lakes of Huanglong to the wild prairie grassland country of Hongyuan-Ruoergai.
For Chinese tourists the Jiuzhai Valley and the nearby mountainous area of Huanglong are a mecca drawing thousands of visitors daily especially during the key season from April to November. To cater for these large numbers (up to 10,000 to 12,000 a day) the organisation is immaculate with tourists being moved around by fleets of buses after paying the entrance fee of 220 yuan (about $30). Incredibly I didn't feel overwhelmed by the numbers although at certain key vantage points it was hard to get a clear view of the sights through the milling crowds.more
Chengdu, Sichuan, CHINA
The western Chinese province of Sichuan is a most attractive destination for visitors from Australia offering a variety of attractions, wonderful scenery, and spicy Sichuan cuisine to tempt the palate.
Many different ethnic groups live within its borders including Tibetan and Qiang people with their colourful traditional costumes and use of dance and musical instruments in their festivals. Embroidery is a favourite pastime of women, young and old, and they produce marvellous articles.more
Giant Pandas At Chengdu
The cute white face with large black-ringed eyes peeps coyly between the branches of a tree. Nearby I can see the body of a large animal balanced precariously on another branch – it is fast asleep. Cameras click and children talk excitedly as this is their first glimpse of a Giant Panda.
One of the best known and loved attractions in China is undoubtedly the Giant Pandas....more
#CNTO Sydney invited Australian Travel Writer Roger Allnutt to attend 2011 China Sichuan International Cultural Tourism Festival and he did FAM trips in Sichuan province. Above 4 features were written by Roger Allnutt, especially for CNTO Sydney Website.
Along the Bund, Shanghai
Every time I visit Shanghai I am drawn to The Bund, one of the most recognisable symbols of this vibrant city.
For the financial capital of booming China with its towering office blocks and frenetic pace, the Bund along the Huangpu River represents an oasis of peace and calm where you can see ordinary residents relaxing, perhaps indulging in a little tai chi, shadow boxing or even a colourful fan dance, while wide eyed visitors from the outer provinces of China have themselves photographed as they wander along the promenade in their groups...more
Impressions from China
I have been travelling to China over a number of years and am always surprised by the changes that have occurred. The improvement in the infrastructure of roads and transport hubs and new hotels is quite amazing and the number of cars is now staggering – unfortunately the driving skills leave a lot to be desired. On a recent trip to Shanghai and Hainan Island, a tropical holiday island, I noted various impressions.
One of the pleasures of visit China is the vast selection of food and dining experiences. Each region has its own specialties and can range from spicy (Sichuan) to bland (Cantonese)...more
Haikou, Hainan Island
While Sanya on the south coast is the tourist centre for Hainan Island, the capital city Haikou in the north also offers plenty of attractions and has some excellent 5 star hotels.
As the capital Haikou is the administrative centre and the burgeoning modern city centre is crammed with tall buildings including office blocks, residential apartments, department stores and specialty boutiques...more
Sanya And Southern Part Of Hainan Island
Hainan Island off the south coast of China has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past fifteen years or so.
As the Chinese economy booms and the number of affluent Chinese increases the demand for alternative places to invest money continues to grow. With its tropical climate (Hainan is on the same latitude as Florida) people living in the colder northern parts of the country are looking for properties where they can holiday; in addition retirees are drawn to Hainan as a place to retire with a pleasant climate. In the past few years prices of apartments have escalated quickly meaning this may no longer be an option for retirees...more
China International Travel Mart 2010 A Huge Event
Having just completed the very successful World Expo 2010 in Shanghai at the end of October where over 70 million people attended, Shanghai was straight into another major event with the China International Travel Mart (CITM) 2010 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.
Held over two days on 18 and 19 November for exhibitors and buyers and with two extra days for the general public to also learn more about available new tourism products CITM drew participants from all over the world....more
Wuzhen Is Delightful Historic Water Town
The early morning mist swirls along the waterway creating mysterious angles and shapes. Residents are starting to go about their daily business; a man pulls up a basket from the murky water and takes out a couple of fish that have been kept fresh overnight; small punts are paddled along the canals taking fresh produce and other goods to homes and small shops.
This early morning activity is taking place at Wuzhen, one of the most famous of the small water towns that can be found along the Grand Canal that stretches from Beijing to Hangzhou in eastern China. The best known include Wuxi, Suzhou, Tongli and Zhouzhuang and are found in a smallish radius from Shanghai and are a must for visitors to the bustling financial capital of China....more
#CNTO Sydney invited Australian Travel Writer Roger Allnutt to visit China International Travel Mart 2010 and do FAM trips in Wuzhen and Hainan Island, above 5 features were written by Roger Allnutt, especially for CNTO Sydney Website.
Shanghai Offers Many Attractions
While World Expo 2010 has been the focus of attention in Shanghai for the past six months (it ends at the end of October) the city is well worth exploring to see its many other attractions.
As the financial capital of China it bursts with energy and clearly there are a lot of people making lots of money. The roads are crammed with cars, many of the luxury variety, but for the tourist the best way the get around the city is by the excellent metro system...more
Still Time to Visit World Expo in Shanghai
There is still time to go to World Expo 2010 in Shanghai which comes to a close on 31 October. Following on from the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008 the Chinese have staged another blockbuster event showcasing not only their own achievements but also featuring pavilions from over 200 other countries from around the world.
A former run down site on the banks of the Huangpu River that runs through central Shanghai has been transformed into the massive World Expo site complete with incredible infrastructure to make it easy for patrons to attend. As an addition to the already superb Shanghai metro system a dedicated railway line connects a central (Madang Rd) station to the centre of the expo area. Security is tight with bag checks and no liquids can be brought through the entrance gates - free water stations are spread throughout the area...more
Historic Wuxi Dazzles The Senses
The Grand Canal stretching nearly 18ookm from Beijing to Hangzhou is the world’s longest and oldest canal and is still a major lifeblood in the eastern part of China. The man-made canal was started in 486BC with the major construction taking place from 605-610AD...more
#CNTO Sydney invited Australian Travel Writer Roger Allnutt to visit Shanghai World Expo 2010 and Wuxi, above 3 features were written by Roger Allnutt, especially for CNTO Sydney Website.
China Expands Her Tourist Horizons
Following the brilliant success of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics China is now turning its attention to the next ‘blockbuster’ with the 2010 World Expo scheduled for Shanghai from 1 May to 31 October. The amazing developments on the site on the banks of the Hangpu River augur well for an equally impressive event...more
Shanghai Continues to Expand
The Chinese economy might be suffering a mild downturn in the current global economic crisis but you would hardly notice it when visiting the financial capital of Shanghai...more
It is a bit off-putting when a family of Chinese ranging from a small child to granny skip effortlessly past you as you climb the steep steps of the Great Wall of China to the north of Beijing...more
BEIJING AFTER THE OLYMPICS
With the 2008 summer Olympics now a happy memory life is returning to some sort of normality in the Chinese capital. The legacy of the games is a potent reminder of the benefits of hosting such a major international event...more
Guangdong Province China
Back in the days leading up to the Cultural Revolution and when China was a country that was very difficult to visit, names of two of the largest cities were Peking and Canton...more
Hakka Village Fujian Province China
In the 1980s western spy satellites circling the earth sent back images from a mountainous area of eastern China that showed buildings that were interpreted as the possible location of Chinese missile launching bases...more
Kunming Yunnan Province China
The southwest China province of Yunnan borders Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos and is a region of great scenic diversity ranging from dramatic mountains up to 6700m bordering Tibet to tropical lands only 70m above sea level...more
Suzhou, Canal Towns and Hangzhou China
The Great Wall of China is regarded as one of the wonders of the world. Equally amazing is the Grand Canal that stretches nearly 1800km from Beijing to Hangzhou...more
The small brightly lit booth is adorned with Chinese calligraphy and signs of the stars. The ‘Master’ sits at his table deep in concentration while a young couple wait anxiously. Softly stroking the long strands of his wispy beard he tells their ‘fortune’ perhaps good prospects or whether their decision to buy a house is a good one...more
For over 400 years, before becoming part of China again in 1999, the tiny Portuguese enclave of Macau on the southern coast of China provided a small measure of 'European' influence in an oriental setting...more
Mount Wuyi Dazzling Mountain Scenery in China
Cruising down the Nine-Bend Stream on a traditional bamboo raft, safely ensconced in comfortable bamboo chairs while two polers steer the craft in the placidly flowing river, is the perfect way to admire the wonderful mountain scenery prevalent in the Mount Wuyi Scenic Area the south-eastern Chinese province of Fujian...more
Xiamen is Great Example of Booming China
Located on the south east coast of China opposite Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait is the island port city of Xiamen, (pronounced Charmen) one of the five original special economic zones of China. It is connected to mainland China by a number of bridges and an underwater tunnel is due for completion by 2010. Due to the number of egrets found on the island it is often called Egret Island...more
Ancient Rice Terraces At Yuanyang China
Rice is the staple food of China and for centuries the Chinese have utilised any suitable land to grow the crop. For over a thousand years the farmers in southeast Yunnan province have developed huge terraced fields on the steep terrain that seems to literally climb up the sides of mountains...more
Yunnan Province Expands Its Tourist Destinations
One of the first regions of China outside the major cities to open up to international tourism was Yunnan province in the south west of the country. The successful World Horticultural Expo held in the capital city Kunming in 1999 attracted visitors from all round the world who then ventured to other attractions such as the towns like Lijiang and Dali and also the amazing Shilin Stone Forest...more
Good Fortune in Lijiang
The Naxi are one of the twenty six (of a total of fifty six) ethnic nationalities in China who live in the large south western province of Yunnan bordering Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam (in area it is as big as Italy) and they believe that if you can see their sacred Jade Dragon Snow Mountain when you first approach it then you will be lucky...more
Age is a relative concept in China. The city of Hangzhou, only 180km south of Shanghai, has a history of more than 2200 years. One of China’s six ancient capital cities (it was the capital of southern China from 1127 until the Mongol conquest in 1276) it is now capital of Zhejiang Province...more
New Hotels Continue to Open in China
As the global economy shows it is starting to come out of the financial crisis of the last couple of years there is no shortage of new properties opening across China. Among recent openings are:...more
New Ritz-Carlton Property Opens in Beijing
The 305-room Ritz-Carlton, Beijing opened in late 2007...more
Shanghai Hosts World Expo 2010
Fresh from its dazzling success at the recent Summer Olympics in Beijing China has again been stunning the world with its next blockbuster event, the 2010 World Expo, running for 184 days to 31 October...more
Sofitel Wanda Beijing Brings French-Style Luxury to Beijing
Sofitel is the luxury brand of the Accor group and the Sofitel Wanda Beijing has been constructed to meet China’s exacting 5 star Platinum standards and boasts a bold interior design that blends the opulence of Tang Dynasty China with modern French style and features...more