Guoliang Village – China’s Hideaway

PC/Sunday, 22 September 2013

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Guoliang Village, with 350 strong independent people, is situated in Wanxianshan scenic area, Henan Province. A favourite tourists‘ spot, visitors say there are very beautiful mind boggling views of stunning canyon, landscapes, cliffs & mountain ranges.

For access there is a daring road carved into the side of a cliff, though difficult to reach, it’s well worth the trip.

Hidden away in the Taihang Mountains it’s covered by an amazing transportation system.

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guoliang-village-zhengzhou9Guoliang Village was a tiny Chinese village high in the Taihang Mountains in Henan Province. Nobody heard about it. The only way to reach it was via steps cut on the side of a very steep cliff on which their village was built. They called the stairway their “Sky Ladder.” Perhaps the difficult access and a defensible position kept the little village safe when trouble was brewing in the area. But in 1972, the village elders including Shen Mingxin were determined to build a road. They wanted their village connected to the outside world and for people to be able to reach it other than by laboriously climbing stairs. So in 1972, with hand tools, 13 strong villagers started carving a road down the side of the canyon road. It is a single lane road that is about 12 or 13 feet across and about 15 or 16 feet high. Many tourists see their handiwork as a colossal feat. The road was finished in 5 years, and the result is that the village is famed as a tourist attraction.

The road is amazing considering that it is tunnels and levelled cliff face. The road stretches about a mile. It reminds me of a tunnel an ant colony might dig. They carved arches for their tunnel and levelled sections of cliff face so that tourist buses are able to go up. It isn’t wide enough to be a two lane road, but cars can pass each other slowly. The road was opened in 1977.

Along with seeing the road, tourists like visiting the welcoming little village people. They like hiking up the road because the canyon and the mountaintop area have spectacular scenery. The village itself is unusual because the villagers built it of stone. The walls, chairs, tables and even the bowls and some eating utensils were made of stone. The village probably has an interesting history of survival in a harsh land. The canyon below the village is very narrow and deep. There are coloured rock layers, and you can better see the colours of the layers in the tunnel and along the road cut. There is also a beautiful waterfall.

It is said that to pay for the tools to carve the road, the villagers of Guoliang Village 郭亮村 sacrificed a lot and even sold their animals and other necessities of life. What they probably didn’t realise was that the government would later think that this was a prime tourist attraction in central China. When the borders were opened for foreign travel in the last decade, foreigners started to find it and post pictures about it. Even a few years ago, it was a difficult place for foreigners to find and reach, but now the village is getting famous. Hotels have opened in the village, and bridges and walkways have been built for the tourists so that they can walk around in the area. Foreigners say that the hiking and scenery is excellent and there are lots of stairs to climb around on.

In the summer of 2011, there was a dispute between the villagers and officials about access and payment. Access to the village was restricted to foreigners, but some tourists still got in. So if you are planning a trip there, check the internet for the latest news.

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Getting there is still not easy. Here is an address to show people: 河南新乡市辉县万仙山景区.

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The Village of Guoliang is about 120 kilometres or 75 miles north of the city of Zhengzhou in the Wanxianshan Scenic Area. If you want to go there by train, the nearest train station is at Xinxiang at (新乡) that is about 50 miles southeast of the Wanxianshan Scenic Area. From there, you can take buses to the town of Huixian 辉县. Get off at the Huxian Bus Station, and then take another bus to the Wanxianshan Scenic Area. This leg costs about 6 RMB or 1 USD and takes 30 minutes. From there, there are buses that cost 11 RMB that go the the scenic area. This leg takes about two hours though it is only about 40 miles away because the buses make many stops. The bus lets you off at the scenic area at a place where you can hire another ride or hike the 4 kilometres to Guoliangcun or 2.5 kilometres to another village called Nanping. There is an 80 RMB entrance fee if the park is open. The walk through Guoliang Tunnel is breathtaking, but keep an eye out for motorists. The road is steep in some places.

 

 

Jumbo Floating Restaurant – Aberdeen, Hong Kong

A mural in the restaurant
Image via Wikipedia - Ancient Mural

Dine like an emperor with a “six-star” sumptuous dinner at the dragon court of this most famous Hong Kong landmark in Aberdeen.

Make it a memorable occasion & have your photo taken dressed in traditional imperial garments sitting on the emperor’s throne.

Source: Wikipedia - Full View at Night

Jumbo Kingdom (traditional Chinese: 珍寶王國) consists of the Jumbo Floating Restaurant (珍寶海鮮舫) and the Tai Pak Floating Restaurant (太白海鮮舫), renowned tourist attractions in Hong Kong‘s Aberdeen Harbour.

Popular for Weddings & Lavish Functions

Over 30 million visitors have visited Jumbo Kingdom, including Queen Elizabeth II, John Wayne, Tom Cruise, Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li. Jumbo Kingdom is part of Melco International Development Limited (新濠國際發展有限公司), a company listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The Jumbo Kingdom was established in October 1976 by Dr. Stanley Ho. It took four years and over HK$30 million to design and build it. It was originally decorated in the style of an ancient Chinese imperial palace.


Free motor launch transport

The Jumbo Kingdom recently underwent a major multi-million dollar renovation, which transformed it into “a theme park on the sea” including dining, shopping, sightseeing and cultural attractions.

Jumbo Entrance

A Chinese culinary school taught by the chefs

of Jumbo Kingdom has been established.

Visitors can experience the nostalgic Hong Kong dining experience from a bygone era, the Typhoon Shelter seafood meal on a sampan.

The Chinese Tea Garden, Pier Plaza & Bronzew are Exhibition are additional attractions.

Since its opening in 1976 as the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, it has excelled in the preparation of seafood for discerning diners. Designed like a classic Chinese palace, it can accommodate up to 2,300 people. Situated in Aberdeen Harbour, the Jumbo is one of the world’s largest floating restaurants and an iconic tourist landmark of Hong Kong.

Inside Jumbo Floating Restaurant (Hong Kong)
Image via Wikipedia - Interior

The combination of good food & place makes eating all the more pleasurable!

Colours & lights at night add on to the romantic delight!

HK Sunset Cruise By Chinese Junk

A romantic & worthwhile proposition is a Sunset Cruise plus dinner at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant!

Venice – From Sinking To Shrinking


Paul Chong            Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Canals of Venice

That glorious unique exotic paradise with its romantic canals & gondolas, bridges & some of the most exquisite buildings still draws a tourist crowd of some 55,000 visitors per day, that is a staggering 20,000,000 in a year. However, the magic stops there & does not prevent an exodus of its inhabitants.

Gondolas in a Row

There was a time when Venetians were worried about their city sinking & eventually be lost to the surrounding water. Only this time, the threat is not from the rising tides & the subsiding foundations of the island city. The fear of sinking is now switched to shrinking with its population migrating rapidly to the mainland. This is Italian “arrivederci”!

Plazza San Marco

Venice population was 175,000 in 1961 but it has been falling to its present 59,992. This is worrying the City’s administrators as well as the loyal citizens that still remain. Venice though visited & renowned as tourist paradise is not lived in!

One of the Many Bridges

Contrary to popular belief, a popular city that attracts a relentless influx of tourists has generated rising costs in property, food & transport driving out its city’s inhabitants from their ancestral homes. Prices have soared and found to be higher than those in the mainland, so naturally the local Venetians are forced out of this historical city.

Rialto Bridge

A city without vitality or enough lived-in inhabitants could only mean its demise. With a population in decline, something must be done to prevent it from becoming a modern Pompei. This is indeed a far cry from way back in 1960 when we visited the vibrant city. Ladies were then being warned about the Venetians pinching their bottoms! I remember well the great Plazza San Marco (San Marco Square) with its teeming pigeons & Basillica, romantic bridges & canals, gondola rides on the Grand Canal, and endless delightful walking tours among the thousands of tourists.

How do you save a city in decline?