Melinda Allen


Melinda Allen

Love to travel!

Asia » China November 20th 2010

Today we drove the one and half ours back to Guilin (not as scenic as the Li River). Guilin is a nice city although it isn't huge when comparing it to other cities. It has restrictions on the height of the buildings at the moment which is not such a bad thing. We travelled to the Reed Flute Caves. It is funny that they have two entrances to the caves - one for tourists and one for the Chinese. This is to stop any fights in line as the locals tend to just push in and the tourists don't like to stand for that. The caves were amazing although they were quite crowded (and this is low season - I would have hated to be in there when it was truly crowded.) Some people took the ... read more

Asia » China November 14th 2010

We had an early start for our cruise up the Li River. This involved about 20 odd boats all travelling up the river at the same time (although the views were well worth it and you didn't even notice the other boats after a while). It is currently dry season and there has been very little rain. This meant that the river was quite low in many places- it would have been amazing to see the river in full flight. Everywhere you looked there was an amazing view. There was no bad spot to stand on the boat - the only downside was that it was still quite foggy and the viewing wasn't absolutely perfect. We struggled to see what the chinese had named some of the hills - the nine horses??? I could only see ... read more

Asia » China November 12th 2010

We checked out of our noisy hotel this morning - we hopped on the bus while our luggage was taken to the airport for us. Today's highlight: The Giant Panda Reserve! What an amazing place and well worth a visit. They try to replicate the natural habitat of the Panda's as much as possible while still giving the public a great view of these beautiful animals. Apparently it is extremely hard to find a panda in the wild as they have a brilliant sense of smell. National Geographic were determined to photograph panda's in the wild but after a week the only sign of a panda was some panda poo. Luckily the Panda's in the reserve weren't so shy. While most of the giant panda's are solitary animals and had their own enclosures, some of the ... read more

Asia » China November 10th 2010

Our boat docked at Chongqing (a city of over 80 million people) this morning - we said goodbye to the Yangtze River and said hello to a 5 hour bus ride to Chengdu (home of the Giant Panda). The long bus rides are a little boring but the scenery was interesting. We arrived in Chengdu and checked into our hotel - the rooms were lovely but very noisy as they overlooked a busy street (as we found out in the early hours of the morning). Chengdu is in the Schezwan province and we were looking forward to trying the spicier food. The next day turned out to be a very long and busy one. We drove about 2 hours to the town of Leshan to go and see the Giant Budda. The only thing was that ... read more

Asia » China » Yangtze River » Shennong Stream November 10th 2010

I was awake before the birds this morning. We had a later breakfast as our shore excursion today was not until the afternoon. I planned to sit on my balcony taking some great pictures as the world went by but it was too misty (apparently this is normal this time of year). I still sat on the balcony anyway and watched the world went by. We docked and hopped off the boat at Fengdu - 'the City of Ghosts'. This is where heaven and hell are apparently located. This was very touristy and not like the other places we had been before. Apparently they are building some kind of tourist park and there was a lot of construction going on. There were some really cool statues depicting different ghosts. I wouldn't but this high on my ... read more
ghost city2
ghost city3

Asia » China » Yangtze River » Shennong Stream November 9th 2010

Another early morning wake up call by those pesky birds chiring along in unison. Today was a highlight - a trip up the Shennong Stream. We had to disembark the boat and hop on to some smaller ferry boats to take us up the stream - the scenery is absolutely amazing but as with everything progress is encroaching and buildings and bridge works are beginning to dot the landscape. It was freezing cold and we needed every layer that we had on, although we did brave standing out on the deck to capture some beautiful pictures of the misty mountains and granite landscapes. We were on the lookout for the hanging coffin - a coffin suspended in a crevice - I couldn't see it the first time round and decided that I would keep a look ... read more

Asia » China » Yangtze River » Shennong Stream November 7th 2010

It's funny how one person coming onto a tour bus with a nasty flu can affect the 26 other people. Slowly over the days people started coming down with the lurgy - sore throat, high fever, nasty cough... We were all just waiting to catch it. Our guide Ding told us to go to the Chemist to stock up on cold and flu medicine as we were going to be on the cruise for the next couple of days. It was quite funny seeing groups of foreigners walking to the chemist (who by the way did not speak ANY English) and try to mime their symptoms. It was hilarious. We got by though and came away with an assortment of things to try and keep the flu away. We got to the airport around half eleven, ... read more
three gorges dam
three gorges dam lock

Asia » China November 6th 2010

Another dream came true today - the Terracotta Warriors! Again words can't describe the sheer enormity of the treasures that have been unearthed here. The first Terracotta Warrior was discovered by four farmers in 1974 who were digging a well on their farmland. They discovered fragments of artifacts which was reported to the officials and the rest is history and the Eighth wonder of the world. Emperor Qin ruled for 37 years and squashed a lot of rebellions and tried to unify the differing regions (often by brute force). He finally succeeded but wasn't very popular. Shortly after becoming emperor in his own right at the age of 22 he ordered the construction of his tomb. It took 38 years and over 700 000 workers to construct the vast tomb. Life sized terracotta warriors of different ... read more

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an November 5th 2010

An early morning wake up call greated us at 4.45am. A quick change and sorting of luggage and we were off to get our flight to Xian. The plane was absolutely crowded but it was a good flight. We arrived in Xian and were again blessed with the weather - about 20 degrees and fine (we haven't had a bad day yet). Xian is amazing. It used to be the capital city before Beijing took on that role. Now it is a city of 8 million people going full steam ahead - every where you look there is construction going on. We queried the layer of what we thought was smog covering the city but we were told by our local guide Durbin that it was actually mist coming down from the nearby mountains - we ... read more
banquet show2
banquet show3

Asia » China » Beijing » Summer Palace November 4th 2010

Today's highlight - the Summer Palace. This is where the royal family went to escape the heat of summer. In the Forbidden City there are no trees (so that no one can hide and plan a surprise attack. The summer palace had no such problems. It is a truly beautiful place but quite crowded with tourists (and this isn't the busy season). Our first glimpse of the Summer Palace was over a huge man made lake. This was built by one of the Emperors for his mother's 60th birthday. It is amazing but is only about a metre deep. Take away the modern day speed boat and small boats and it would have been a very tranquil place in which to relax. From across the lake you could see the Summer Palace and the beautiful temple ... read more
huong lunch
marble boat

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