Tuesday, November 25, 2008

China Tours - Yangshuo - Paradise For Outdoors Trip

Yangshuo is a famous and beautiful small town set among the limestone pinnacles. It lies in the northeast of Guangxi Province and to the southeast of Guilin. Most visitors reach Yangshuo by taking a cruise down the picturesque Li River. With a long history of 1400 years, Yangshuo has been a dream place for many tourists who want to see the beautiful natural landscape and the real Chinese countryside life.

When everyone comes to Yangshuo, he will be inspired by breathtaking views of peaks and pinnacles, crystal-clear waters, picturesque pastoral views of rice paddies and water buffaloes.

The best way to see the countryside up close is to take a bicycle. Bicycles can be rented from almost every hotel in Yangshuo.

There are many cycling routes around Yangshuo countryside. The most popular route is to head out towards Moon hill on the main road. But after 20 minutes moderate cycling, you can divert off on a local path and explore the picturesque rural scenery sightseeing. Along the way, you can visit the big banyan tree which covers an area of 1000 square meters with a long history of 1,000 years. And you can also pay a visit to the Moon Hill with a hole in its peak in the shape of a half moon, from where you can look through the sky as well as the old village.

On a Yangshuo tour, you also can see many other interesting things besides cycling:

Bamboo boat rafting in Yulong River: Yulong River is the biggest tributaries of Li River in Yangshuo. If you wish to go the relaxing and idyllic retreat, a bamboo raft ride down-stream the Yulong River is the best choice. Sitting in a chair on a raft and floating down the clean and clear Yulong River, you will be impressed by the dramatic scenery along the way.

Hot air ballooning: Taking a hot air ballooning is one of the highlights for a visit to Yanghshuo. You can fly for 15 minutes or one hour. The balloons fly either early in the morning to catch the sunrise approximately at 5:30 am or in the evening to watch the sunset (5:00 pm). On the hot air ballooning tour, you can have a fantastic view of Yangshuo. The scenery in front of you is just nothing short of breathtaking.

Mud bath in Buddha Water Cave: There are many water caves in Yangshuo due to its unique limestone geology. Buddha Water Cave is one of the most exciting natural caves to explore here. The whole cave is about 3km long and runs through 3 mountains. Taking a mud bath inside the cave is a great experience for the most adventurous travelers in Yangshuo. In the cave, you can see different shapes of stalactites and stalagmites. Besides these, you can try out the mud slide and slide into the mud bath. The mud is good for your skin health.

Cormorant fishing: In the evening, you can take a short boat ride to see the cormorant fishing, which is a unique and interesting activity in Yangshuo. The fisherman rows slowly on a simple bamboo raft with several trained cormorant birds. A piece of grass is loosely tied around the bird neck so the bird can't swallow big fish. When the cormorant catches fish and stores fish in its mouth, the fisherman will hook the bird on a stick and empty fish from the bird mouth and then put the bird back in the water to continue fishing. You will be amazed to see this traditional Chinese way for fishing.

By Huiya Chen

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Traveling with Children - Learning Activities for the Road

Traveling with children can be fun as well as very trying. Our family has been traveling with our children since the children were babies. Our children are in their middle school years now, but over the years we have come up with some fun travel activities that keep the children’s attention and teach them something in the process.

While on long trips, it can be very tempting to use the portable DVD player to provide entertainment for your children, and don’t think for a minute that we don’t use that form of entertainment…. for parts of long trips…. but there are so many simple, fun games that you can play with your children that will help make the trip smoother and more enjoyable. Here are some examples of activities that we have used to make travel time smoother.

One of my children’s favorite games is what my husband calls “Toss Ups”. In Toss Ups, my husband simply tosses questions up. For instance, “Who was the first president of the United States of America?” or “If I had 5 apples, and I gave 3 apples to Tom , how many apples do I have now?” Now, as you can see, the questions can be very simple depending on your children’s ages. If you have a larger age span between children, you might toss up general questions to all, but throw in…. Now, this toss up is just for Adam… and then ask a question tailored for the younger child. This game was a huge hit with our children when they were ages two through five, but even now that they are 11 and 13, every now and then we hear – Hey Daddy – give us some toss ups…. Believe me, trying to come up with questions for smart middle-schoolers is tough!!

Lately, we have tailored the game of “Going on a trip” to our family. “Going on a trip” is a fun game where everyone in the car tells that they are going on a trip and bringing something along. That “something” has to begin with the first letter of the person’s name. You keep going along in that fashion until everyone guesses the first letter - first name connection. Now that our children are older, we have adapted that game to a pretty intricate game of logic…. For instance…. “I am going on a trip, and I am bringing an apple, a banana, and a cat.” The next person might then say (if they know the correct connection) “I am going on a trip, and I am bringing a mop, and napkin, and an octopus.” The play continues until everyone gets the connection. In this case, it was that all of the things that I am bringing start with consecutive letters of the alphabet. The person who begins each game selects the connection.

These activities are simple and fun. The idea is for the entire family to be involved and enjoy the thrill of guessing the answers. Each of these activities can be played with just about any age group and best of all, there is no cost involved. Any piece of information can be used in the toss ups game from social studies, science, history, math, or trivia… you name it. The idea here is to have fun with your children and make travel time a little easier.

By Teresa Mills