Hiking Taishan

One of the most sacred mountains in China, Taishan has more recently become a tourist hotspot - attracting visitors from all over China and abroad. I made the last minute decision to move on from the rather expensive city of Chengde and took an overnight train to Taishan, which even has its own train station. … Continue reading Hiking Taishan


The First Pass Under Heaven

The first pass of the Great Wall, this section also forms the city wall of Shanhaiguan. Having just visited the Old Dragon Head section, where the Great Wall meets the sea, this was an opportunity to walk on top of the walls and admire the city from above. Although heavily restored, this section of the … Continue reading The First Pass Under Heaven

Shanhaiguan City Wall – Yingen Tower

Early in my first morning at Shanhaiguan, I wandered to the western portion of the city wall to explore the Yingen Tower. Sadly I was actually too early to climb up the tower (although see below for a sneaky photo through the railings...) but instead enjoyed a lovely walk along the outside of the city … Continue reading Shanhaiguan City Wall – Yingen Tower

Where the Great Wall meets the sea

Top of every traveller to China's bucket list is the Great Wall, and it evokes such strong emotions as you learn about the history, battles (actually not so many of those as it turns out...) and decline of this amazing feat of human engineering. There are various popular sites to visit the wall, from Badaling … Continue reading Where the Great Wall meets the sea

Wang Family Courtyard

This traditional house museum contains several exhibitions on local culture and folklore, housed in a Ming/ Qing Dynasty style family home. Of particular interest was the traditional marriage room, decorated in red with ornate detailing, a small exhibition of shadow puppetry, and the larger artefacts dotted around the buildings - including this beautiful countryside cart. … Continue reading Wang Family Courtyard

Dabei Temple

I stumbled across this small local temple in Shanhaiguan while trying to find my way back to the hotel, and it was a truely lovely discovery. Like many Chinese temples, guests enter from the south, through the “mountain gate”.  This leads you through a small courtyard to the “Hall of the Heavenly Kings”, after which … Continue reading Dabei Temple

Bell and Drum Tower

located in the centre of Shanhaiguan ancient city, the Bell and Drum Tower acts as a focal point for the surrounding old streets and markets. At the top stands the Wenchang Hall, enshrining the Emperor Wenchang, who is particularly in charge of examinations and fates. He is believed to have come down to earth three … Continue reading Bell and Drum Tower