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China Travel Themes: Find the parks, temples, beaches, mountains and best of China attractions | Bamboo Compass

Attraction of the week

Xiling Mountain (Xilǐng Xuěshān, 西岭雪山)—also referred to as "Xiling Snow Mountain," "Xiling Snow-Capped Mountain" or just "Xiling Xueshan"—is a pleasant get-away just about two hours by...

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Situated in the center of Jinan, Daming Lake Park (Dàmíng Hú Gōngyuán, 大明湖公园) is an 860,000 sq m (213 acre) park and home to Daming Lake (Dàmíng Hú, 大明湖) and its famous hectare fountain. This "Lake of Great Light," is a natural body of water comprised of many of the city's natural springs, and contains six small islands, laden with flowers and beautiful shrubbery, a perfect spot for families to enjoy a relaxing day together, rowing boats and strolling the sprawling greens. Near the..

Dating back to the Tang Dynasty, the grottoes and carvings on the foliage-draped Thousand Buddha Cliff (Qiānfó Yá, 千佛崖) outside Ji'nan sit not far from what was once the Shentong Temple (Shéntōng Sì, 神通寺). Shandong guide | Jinan guide | Jinan attractions Jinan flights | Jinan hotels Jinan on the China Travel Blog

The bubbling, clear waters of Baotu Springs Park were famous enough that well-traveled Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty made a stop for a drink and declared it the "number one spring under the heavens." Today, the park remains a popular spot for tourists and locals to stroll along the springs or relax beneath the shade of a willow tree and get away from the hustle and bustle of Shandong's capital city. Pavilions and courtyards in the park are also host to musical performances, stalls selling various wares and locals gathered around a..

A neo-Romanesque Catholic church built by German missionaries in 1934, St. Michael’s Cathedral (Shèng Mígé'ěr Zhǔjiào Zuòtáng, 圣彌格爾主教座堂) sits atop a hill in Qingdao which today finds itself at the end of a road lined with beer stalls. The white walls of the looming church interior are lined with gold trimming, dotted by stained glass windows and decorated by colorful murals. The large pipe organ in the back stands as a reminder of the great pipe organ the church once..

Originally built in 1892 as a wharf, the Zhan Qiao Pier was expanded and repaired twice, once in 1931 and then again in 1985. Made of reinforced concrete and extending some 440 meters, the Zhan Qiao Pier is one of the most popular attractions in Qingdao, its octagonal Ripple Diverging Pavilion, "hui lai ko," the most recognizable structure on the pier. The Zhan Qiao Pier is also famous as the location of the Tsingtao beer sign.

Formerly part of the Qingdao's short-lived German-concession, Xiao Qingdao (Xiǎo Qīngdǎo, 小青岛), or "Little Qingdao," was officially open to the public in 1987, after its previous incarnation as a restricted military area. Originally connected to the mainland via isthumus, Xiao Qingdao now stands alone, after years of rising sea levels. The most recognizable attraction on the island is a white, marble lighthouse that dates back to the German era. There are also marvelous botanical gardens that feature the rare Twilight Lily, also called the..

Formerly ground zero for Qingdao's annual International Beer Festival (Guójì Píjiǔjié, 青岛市国际啤酒节), Qingdao International Beer City (Qīngdǎo Guójì Píjiǔ Chéng, 青岛国际啤酒城) is a large beer garden, designated for the festival's opening and closing ceremonies, various drinking competitions and performances. The big event has been held each August since 1991 and brings in Chinese domestic beer as well as beer from around the world including Becks, Kirin, Corona and, of course, local..

Opened to the public in 1983, Xiao Yu Shan Park offers excellent views of No. 1 Bathing Beach from its hilltop location. Situated on the Xiao Yu Shan Park grounds are Lanchao Ge (Tide Viewing Pavilion), Yongcui Ting (Green Group Embedded Pavilion) and BiboTing (Pavilion for Viewing Blue Ripples), all of which provide stunning, panoramic views of Qingdao.

The somewhat underappreciated Protestant Church (Jīdū Jiàotáng, 基督教堂) is not as large as the towering St. Michael's Cathedral, but it remains a great example of Qingdao's German architecture. The church was designed by German architect Curt Rothkegel, who designed buildings in Beijing, Tianjin and Shenyang as well as the Qingdao Guest House. While the décor inside is rather sparse, the insides of the clock tower are fascinating.

Catch an arctic breeze in Polar Ocean World (Jídì Hǎiyáng Shìjiè, 极地海洋世界), where penguins cavort in the water and white furred bears laze about on the ice. After you’ve seen your share of sea-otter shenanigans, take a stroll about the multitude of aquariums where the manifold shapes and colors of over 10, 000 aquatic species await. Make sure to make some inquiries regarding the Beluga whale show, these gentle creatures put on quite the performance.  If you’re day isn’t complete..

There are few places in the world where you'll find marine shows as tacky as Qingdao Underwater World (Hǎidǐ Shìjiè, 海底世界), and that fact alone is almost worth making the effort to see it. The oldest marine park in Qingdao, the aquarium's got a history that goes back about 70 years. Much more recently, the aquarium has seen major investments and construction and is now host to an impressive array of displays. Among the four underground levels you'll find an inter-tidal zone display, a seabed tunnel, a cabin passage, a marine..

Situated on the southern side of Lao Shan amongst a larger Taoist complex that once housed 9 palaces, 8 temples and seventy-two nunneries, the Taiqing Palace, or Great Purity Palace, is regarded as one of the most sacred Taoist Palaces in history. Originally built in 140 B.C. during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-24 A.D.), Taiqing actually better resembles a Song Dynasty structure (960-1279 A.D.) due to renovation. Comprised of three courts (Sanguan Hall, Sanqing Hall and Sanhuang Hall) and 155 rooms,..

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