East Asia Wonders

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.

Like a gigantic dragon, it winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 21,196 kilometers. With a history of about 2,700 years,  the Great Wall has been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced over various dynasties; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty.

The Badaling section of the Great Wall of China

We visited the Great Wall of China in 1998 and 2010.

The karstic peaks at Guilin & Li river

The Li River is in Guilin, in South China’s Guangxi Province. It is renowned as being one of “the world’s top 10 watery wonders” according to National Geographic. The Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is a popular way to enjoy the most beautiful scenery. Along the 86-kilometer waterway, you will see karst peaks, grazing water buffalo, farmers working in the fields, and traditional villages nestled at the bases of the hills.

Li River cruise

We visited Guilin in 1998.

Emperor Qin’s mausoleum & his Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Warriors are an army of clay sculptures for China’s first emperor. The sculptures were made in 210 BC. Over 8,000 terracotta soldiers and 600 horses have been found.

The purpose of the terracotta warriors was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. The sculptures were discovered in 1974 by Chinese farmers in Shaanxi province near Xian. Ying Zheng became the first emperor of China in 246 BC.  He was only 13 years old at the time. Soon after taking the throne, the emperor ordered the construction of the Terracotta Warriors. The tomb itself remains unexcavated. It lies within an inner wall and beneath a four-sided pyramid mound that was originally landscaped to appear as a low, wooded mountain.

Terracotta Warriors, near Xian

We visited the Xian in 1998.

Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing, China. It once served as the imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1911). It was first built throughout 14 years during the reign of Emperor Chengzu in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

It is now known as the Palace Museum, north of Tiananmen Square.  Rectangular in shape, it is the world’s largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares. Surrounded by a 52-meter-wide moat and a 10-meter-high wall are more than 8,700 rooms. The wall has a gate on each side.

Inside Forbidden City

We visited the Beijing in 1998 and 2010.

Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion

Kinkakuji Temple’s Golden Pavilion is probably Kyoto’s most famous sight. This Zen temple in northern Kyoto, whose top two floors are covered in glittering gold leaf,  dazzles admirers as it shimmers in the sunlight over its mirroring pond. The temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and according to his will, it became a Zen temple of the Rinzaisect after his death in 1408.

The Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion). It is a Zen Buddhist temple, with a Muromachi period garden design.

We visited Kyoto in 2012 as part of the Japan and Korea trip.

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto shrine on the island of Itsukushima, near Miyajima, best known for its “floating” torii gate. At low tide, one can walk right up to its pillars.

The pretty shrine was designed and built on pier-like structures over the bay so that it would appear to be floating on the water, separate from the sacred island, which could be approached by the devout.

We visited Itsukushima Shrine in 2013.

Mount Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp refers to either one of two base camps on opposite sides of Mount Everest. South Base Camp is in Nepal at an altitude of 5,364 m, while North Base Camp is in Tibet at 5,150 m. These camps are rudimentary campsites on Mount Everest that are used by mountain climbers during their ascent and descent. South Base Camp is used when climbing via the southeast ridge, while North Base Camp is used when climbing via the northeast ridge.

We visited Mount Everest Base Camp in 2011 as part of the Tibet & Bhutan trip.

The Potala, Dalai-Lama’s palace

Straddling its huge rock, towering over Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, the Potala Palace is one of the most iconic buildings all over the world and is the symbol of Tibet itself. Standing at an altitude of 3,700 meters above the sea level and with over one thousand rooms on thirteen floors, it is the highest palace in the world. Besides, it is the world’s largest and the most intact ancient castle-style palace. With its base on the southern slope of the Red Hill, the Potala Palace was built along the hill and is about 360,000 square meters.

China was the residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It is now a museum and World Heritage Site.

Potala Palace is erected on top of Red Hill in Lhasa

We visited the Potala in 2011.

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