Category: China

Whiskey and color inspires artwork in old town Lijiang, China

It was while wandering old town Lijiang with iPad in hand that I became fascinated with the colors and textures of an old restaurant with the word “whiskey” emblazoned over its windows. I am not really sure what street I was on as I had been happily wandering for several hours in this tangled world of artistic inspiration.

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Pray for peace: Riot of colorful prayer flags in Shangri-la

Most tourists end up on the Shangri-la main square where the huge golden Prayer Wheel and glittering Golden temple sit. Amazing, yes. But I had been eyeing a small temple I could not quite make out on a low hill on the edge of town. “What is that?” I kept asking and never quite got a satisfactory reply. Michael and I headed up and out of town on our break, thinking we’d just explore a little bit. And what a fantastic temple it was.

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Monk on a walk at Huating Temple, Kunming, China

On our daylong adventure to get to Dragon Gate, we climbed steep stairs and ventured into caves and small temples – what a worthwhile trek! At our last stop at the end of the day at Huating Temple, I ambled silently around the pond. It was very quiet, I felt peaceful, and no tourists were in sight since it was only minutes before 5 p.m. when the gates would close.

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Stone Forest in Yunnan great day trip from Kunming

A UNESCO World Heritage site in part since 2007, the Stone Forest (“Shilin” in Chinese) in the Yunnan province of China is considered to be a unique natural wonder and represents one of the best examples of karst rock formations in the world. Simply put, it is magical, mystical place where culture, legend, and natural history share the stage with limestone rock formations that will delight visitors of any age.

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Top 6 things to do in Kunming, China

If a visit to China takes you to the Yunnan province, you will most likely end up passing through Kunming, the region’s large and quite bustling metropolitan area. Here are six top things to do in Kunming on a stopover, whether you are traveling there to visit the city itself, or need a few days to acclimatize to jet travel or altitude (Don’t forget that Kunming is 6,200 feet elevation).

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Hong Kong layover: Getting into the city so easy

A good number of flights to and from various Asian cities have a Hong Kong layover — for a few hours or even much longer, like our layover of 17 hours. No need to hunker down in the airport, though. Hong Kong has made a quick trip into town such child’s play. So go ahead, pop in for a meal, a walk, the famous Hong Kong waterfront light show, or even a night’s sleep.

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Spectacular Hong Kong skyline from Victoria Harbor waterfront

While my wife and I were wandering along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade during a 17-hour layover in Hong Kong (we were on our way home to San Francisco following an adventure in mainland China), I became entranced. I, like most others out that night, could not tear my gaze from the colorful and dramatic skyline of Hong Kong Island across the busy waters of Victoria Harbor.

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Visit Dragon Gate in Western Hills Xishan Park outside Kunming

Not every must-see travel destination is so easy to get to. And that can make the journey even more of an adventure. Dragon Gate in the Western Hills Xishan Park on the outskirts of Kunming, China, is one of those. The reasons we can list are many – green hills with forested walking paths, a breather from the sensory chaos of the city, temples and pavilions dating back to the 11th century, views of the region from about 8,200 feet (2,000 feet above the city itself), winding stone staircases, strolling monks…

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Yuantong Temple watercolor inspired by tranquility

Considered one of the most important and famous Buddhist temples in the Yunnan province of China, the grand Yuantong Temple in Kunming delights the senses. It was as I leaned against a wall gazing at the pavilion, mesmerized by the peacefulness and subtle magic that I was inspired to create the watercolor of the Yuantong Temple.

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Shanghai city parks: Dance, exercise, breathe

A few years ago, HI Travel Tales’ female travel pro was in Shanghai, China, and couldn’t stand being stuck in a hotel workout room when the streets were buzzing with activity. So the alarm was set for 5 a.m. and out the door she went, a map clutched in her sweaty hand as she searched for Shanghai city parks.

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