Tag Archives: tourism

The Lifeblood of the Chinese People: The Grand Canal

News and Travel Editor

The Grand Canal is quite possibly one of the most impressive man-made constructions on earth. It’s 1,400 years old and throughout that time, not only has it been one of China’s most popular tourist attractions, but it continues to be the lifeblood for many of the people transporting precious goods from north to south.

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As a workplace

The ‘Canal People‘, also known as the ‘Chuanmin’ call the canal their home, staying on their barge for as many as 350 days of the year. One lady is reported to have given birth to two twins on her barge – understandable given she only has 15 days on dry land!  For her, the job is more about making memories than money from working on the canal.

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If farmers rely on the weather for a good harvest, then the canal people rely on economics. Although the chuanmin rarely have to worry about a lack of rainfall, they often have to keep track of the price of their goods. They transport anything from oil and coal to rice and other foods.
It’s a challenging and unpredictable way of life, but one that the chuanmin of the Grand Canal seem to cherish and thrive on.

As a tourist attraction

Do you see yourself as something of an athlete or sportsperson? If so, cycling along the Grand Canal might just be for you. Although the journey will most likely take a hefty 20-25 days, some of the sites you will encounter along the way will be second to none. It’s described as one of the best cycle routes in China, and the 1,700km journey should definitely be on your cycling bucket list (if you have one!)

Since 2014, the Grand Canal has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Many canal people including Zhu Bingren, a co-writer of the proposal to UNESCO, wanted to determine the Canal’s place in history and to ensure future generations understood and looked after what has been one of China’s most important waterways. Today, the Grand Canal continues to be vital to the Chinese economy.

Join us at China Icons as we explore China’s waterways, including China’s Grand Canal, from a very special perspective. Our unique drone footage allows you to soar over some of the most impressive natural and man-made features in China. Experience the mighty roar of the Yangtze and the pure tranquillity of the Xun River at the Longsheng Rice Terraces.

 

Have you visited any of the other World Heritage Sites in China? Or do you plan on visiting the Grand Canal anytime soon? Let us know in the comments below!

Join us next week for celebrations as the first ever London-Yiwu train arrives at its destination after 18 day, 7,500 mile journey.

What can I do in Hangzhou?

News and Travel Editor

There’s one Chinese city that’s been on everyone’s lips over the last weekend, and that’s Hangzhou.

Unless you’ve been off the grid for the last few days, you will have noticed the buzz online about the G20 taking place in China. It’s brought a lot of attention to a city that you may not have heard of before, but you will see a lot more of in the future.

So, what’s there to do in Hangzhou? Here’s a list of top 10 things to do that’ll make you want to add Hangzhou to your travel bucket list.

  1. Hire a bike from the biggest bike share scheme in the world. With over 70,000 bikes available from 2,700 stations you’ll never be without a ride (especially as this number is expected to DOUBLE by 2020).Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 15.48.51
  2. Climb the steps of the Leifang Pagoda for panoramic views of the city. The five-storey tower was originally built in 975AD, but the version we see today dates back to 2002 as the original tower sadly collapsed in the 1920s!
  3. Be sure to make time for a leisurely paddle across the West Lake. The stunning freshwater lake has inspired poets, scholars and artists since the 9th century. It even appears on Chinese money!Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 15.51.46
  4. Grab a cup of tea with a view at the Meijiawu tea plantation, renowned for producing Longjing Tea for over 600 years. (Don’t know your Longjing from your Oolong? Read this)
  5. Take a selfie outside Alibaba, the world’s largest retailer founded in 1999 in Hangzhou by Jack Ma.
  6. Visit a paradise for bookworms and architecture lovers alike at the Zhangshuge bookstore.Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 15.53.11
  7. Give in to temptation and try local Street food at Hangzhou Snack Street. Want to try a local delicacy? Grab a beggar’s chicken, the city’s signature dish. The flavour comes from coating the chicken in MUD before roasting!Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 14.06.06.png
  8. Southern Song Imperial Street was built during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279AD). Back then, it was used only by emperors when offering sacrifices to their ancestors and to heaven. Now, you don’t have to be an emperor to stroll along the street. Visit after dark to enjoy the sights and sounds of the vibrant night market! Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 15.53.58
  9. For a glimpse into old Hangzhou, step into Hefang Old Street to experience Southern Song Dynasty architecture and traditional Chinese crafts, such as sugar-blowing, paper-cutting and hand-made dough figurines. Ctr1.jpg
  10. Lingyin Temple, or ‘Temple of the soul’s retreat’, is perfect for catching your breath after a day spent at bustling markets. The temple dates back to the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317 – 420AD), and it remains one of the largest and most visited Buddhist temples in China. As you enter, an inscription on the door reads:  ‘Let us sit and wait upon the threshold, where we shall see another peak flying from afar. Let us welcome spring with a smile as the snow melts and the brook starts to flow once more.’. 800px-Great_statue_of_Sakyamuni_in_the_Mahavira_Hall_of_Lingyin_Temple,_Hangzhou.JPG

How would you spend a weekend in Hangzhou? Have we missed off something that you’re desperate to try, or a recipe you just have to recommend? Let us know in the comments below!