Cultural Tour Along the Yellow River
Yellow River is the second-longest river in China and the fifth-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km. It has a basin area of about 795,000 km2. Shaped like the Chinese character “几 (Ji)”, it is originated from Maqu of the Yueguzonglie Basin at the northern foot of Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province, and flows through nine provinces and regions from west to east, namely, Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan and Shandong, and finally empties into the Bohai Sea. Mountain land dominates the upper and middle reaches of Yellow River while plains and hills cover most of the lower reaches. It is the river carrying with the most sand in the world as it carries a large amount of mud and sand when it flows through the middle section of Loess Plateau Region of China. In Chinese history, however, Yellow River and river basins along it have exerted huge influence on human civilization, and it is also the main cradle of the Chinese nation, as a result of which it is called by Chinese people as the “Mother River”. There are abundant tourism resources along the Yellow River, and in particular, in four provinces including Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan and Shandong along the Yellow River, which boast rich historical and cultural heritages. Along the river, there are lots of scenic areas such as Yellow River Museum, Huayuankou, Hukou Waterfall, Hougang Site, Liuwan Cemetery, Beishouling Site, Dahe Village Ruins, Ancient City Site at Pingliangtai, Miaodigou Site, Taosi Site, Laoguantai Culture, Jiahu Site, Yangshao Culture, Hualouzi Site, Henan Longshan Culture, Xishuipo Site, Dadiwan Site, Sanmenxia Plank Road Site, Yuanjunmiao Cemetery, Jiangzhai Site, Banpo Site, Peiligang Culture, Fenglingdu, Xizhufeng Cemetery, Dawenkou Culture and Dawenkou Site.
Description of the Itinerary
Day 1: start from Lanzhou. The city is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and its downtown with beautiful views is divided into southern district and northern district by the Yellow River flowing from the west to the east. In the morning, visit the [White Pagoda Hill Park] at the foot of the mountain in the north of Lanzhou; at an altitude of over 1,700 m, it was converted into a park in 1958. As a region dominated by Hui people here, the park is dotted with Islam temples. The white pagoda at the top of the mountain was built in Yuan Dynasty. Along the way up to the mountain top, visitors can find the first-part, second-part and third-part complexes distributed in order after crossing the Iron Bridge of Yellow River, such as squares and buildings, palaces and courts, pavilions and corridors and green cornices shaded by green trees, presenting a spectacular view; standing here, visitors can see the downtown of Lanzhou, the Yellow River flowing rapidly under the mountain foot, clusters of factories and a forest of chimneys; Lanzhou has now grown into an important industrial town. Then go to the [First Bridge over the Yellow River], which is the first iron bridge built on the upstream of the Yellow River, and gains more popularity while adding more glamour to the first iron bridge over Yangzte River in Wuhan though they were built at different times in different places. Then visit the [Waterwheel Park] which displays waterwheels which were built by [Duan Xu], an inventor in Ming Dynasty. The waterwheels looked like huge antique wheels and had been used for irrigation in ancient Lanzhou until the 1940s since Ming Dynasty as it could save energy and time despite simple operation principle and rough surface, hence a famous landmark over Yellow River. Then drop in at [Yellow River Mother Statue] that has nurtured generations of sons and daughters of the Chinese nation and implies the indomitable Yellow River Mother sustaining the Chinese nation and the descendants of the Chinese nation growing up with great happiness. Go to Zhongwei by train in the evening. Day 2: arrive in Zhongwei. Go to the hinterland Tengger Desert which is called the “Garden of Eden in Desert” between Ningxia and Alxa Left Banner of Inner Mongolia, to feel unique way of reception by presenting a hada and “a drink after dismounting from a horse”, and experience the desert, prairie and lake in person. Go to Shapotou Scenic Area, one of ten best scenic areas in China in 2005 and known as the world’s monopolistic tourism resources. Tourists can choose at your own expense whether to sandboard (RMB30/person) or drift on Yellow River by taking a sheepskin raft, an oldest vehicle on Yellow River. Take a train to Yinchuan in the evening. Day 3: arrive in Yinchuan. Visit [Western Xia Imperial Tombs Tourism Area] (Western Xia Museum, Western Xia Historical Narrative Gallery, and Historic Site of Imperial Tombs), which is known as the “Oriental Pyramid”, to explore Dangxiang nationality that disappeared mysteriously and learn about Western Xia Dynasty that flourished at one time. Visit [China West Film Studio 100] (two castles - the old one and the new one are 20 km away from each other, and it takes about 20-minute drive) from which “Chinese films begin to go out” (over 70 excellent films and televisions like “A Chinese Odyssey” were shoot here); China West Film Studio of the northern castle in the town breathes life into the old castle that has collapsed. Visit [Shahu Lake Scenic Area]; Shahu Lake Eco-tourism Area becomes an unparalleled tourist attraction in China with perfect combination of various tourism resources such as its unique lakes, sand dunes, reeds, birds and fish; it also acts as a paradise for birds as, it gathers over 1 million birds in 198 kinds, accounting for 36.14% of the total number of birds in Ningxia; beautiful sceneries are everywhere among reeds where various migrant birds perch, reproduce and live. Before getting to medlar orchard, visit [China Hui Culture Park], a national AAAA scenic area and national culture industry demonstration base, and the only comprehensive scenic area of cultural scenic area displaying and carrying forward advanced culture of Hui nationality and Islam with the approval of the NDRC. Take a train to Baotou in the evening. Day 4: arrive in Baotou. Head for [Xilamuren Prairie] by bus, enjoy the scenery of Daqing Mountain – the main part of Yin Mountains along the way, and go by Wuchuan County, an old revolutionary base. Upon arrival, experience the welcoming ceremony of Mongols - “having a drink after dismounting from a horse”, and taste millet stir-fried in butter and dairy food of Mongols. Activities on the prairie include: riding horse, roaming the prairie, worshiping the altar of Mongols - Aobao Mountain, visiting herdsmen, seeing the sunset on prairie on the back of horses, watching “three skills of men” on the prairie, namely, horse racing, equestrianism and Mongolian-styled wrestling performance, etc. Enjoy wedding dinner of Mongols - roasted whole lamb or roasted leg of lamb, and learn about lofty etiquette at the dinner when Mongolian girls sing, propose a toast or present a hada. Take a bus to Hohhot in the evening. Day 5: arrive in Hohhot. Visit the [General’s Government Office 25], the “first mansion in the south of desert”, which is well-known at home and abroad, located at the Xinhua Street of Xincheng District of Hohhot; it is an ancient five-yard complex of wood and brick structure, and it is divided into two parts - inner part and outer par. The former part has three halls, with open hall in the front and inner chamber at the back. Visit [Inner Mongolia Museum], and then Yixi Mongolian Medicine Culture Center to learn about magical Mongolian medicine. Appreciate the stone of life - turquoise. Then take a bus to [New Scenic Area of Mausoleum of Genghis Khan], the grand cenotaph of “Proud Son of the Heaven” Genghis Khan to learn about the life of this great man who conquered the Eurasia; the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan is located in Ordos Grassland of Inner Mongolia where you are greeted with blue sky, green pines and verdant cypresses, green carpet-like grassland and horses neighing, and herds of cows and sheep; the magnificent and grand building is like three Mongolian yurts with a golden-ceiling hall, and more like an eagle about to fly against the sky. Day 6: Hohhot. Get up early to watch the sunrise over prairie. Visit Yinzhuang of Mongolia. Take the tour bus to [Kubuqi Desert], one of three deserts famous for singing sands of China. Pass Baotou and see the Yellow River. Desert activities include: roam the sea of sand by riding a camel, wear a pair of sandboarding socks for sandboarding, experience the magic of “the sand singing is produced when people move and stops when people come to a halt” in the vast desert, and enjoy the most representative song and dance of Mongols - Ordos wedding ceremony, to experience different sweetness and feeling of love. Take a train to Taiyuan in the afternoon. Day 7: arrive in Taiyuan. Go to [Mount Wutai], a Buddhist sacred land, visit the temporary dwelling palace of Emperor Kangxi - [Bodhisattva Peak], the ancestral chamber of Manjusri Buddisattva - [Shuxiang Temple], the place for Zhangjia Living Buddha to practice - Guanghua Temple, and see the landmark building of Mount Wutai - Great White Tower. Visit [Wuye Temple], the most crowded temple on Mount Wutai; [Dailuo Peak], a temple on mountain slope, which is called the “small worship site on the way to Mount Wutai” and then [Buddhist Medicine Exhibition Center]. Before returning to Taiyuan by bus, visit [Donghu Vinegar Culture Park], an AAAA scenic area by the way to learn about production process flow of mature vinegar and history and culture of mature vinegar. Head for Xi’an in the evening by train. Day 8: arrive in Xi’an. Visit No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 pits and Exhibition Hall of Bronze Chariots and Horses in [Qin Shi Huang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum], the eighth wonder of the world. Go to the former site of Xi’an Incident - [Huaqing Pool], view [City Wall of Ming Dynasty], the defense facilities of the city wall that are best preserved in China, and get to the North Square of Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Drum Tower Square and Snack Street. Take a train to Luoyang in the evening. Day 9: arrive in Luoyang. Take a bus bound for Dengfeng, the hometown of Chinese martial arts. During the journey, enjoy the landscape of “Central Great Mountain”- Mount Song by bus. And visit [Shaolin Temple], the ancestral temple of Zen Buddhism and the cradle of Shaolin martial arts, as well as such scenic spots as Regular Yard and Forest of Dagobas. Then watch Shaolin martial arts performance. After lunch, set out to the ancient capital of thirteen dynasties - Luoyang; visit a world cultural heritage [Longmen Grottoes], the largest stone carving art treasure-house in China, and other sites like Qianxi Temple, three caves of Binyang (South Binyang Cave, Middle Binyang Cave and North Binyang Cave), Wanfo Cave, Fengxian Temple, Xiangshan Temple, and Bai Garden; then appreciate Tang Tricolor-glazed Pottery, one of Three Wonders of Luoyang. In the evening, take a train to Zhengzhou. Day 10: arrive in Zhengzhou. In the morning, go to the Yellow River Scenic Area to witness the magnificent Yellow River; go to Yan-Huang Square to see the colossal statutes of Emperor Yan and Emperor Huang. In the afternoon, return to the downtown, and go to Henan Museum to explore human life in the Stone Age. In the evening, go to Erqi Square to see the landmark building - Erqi Memorial Tower, stroll around stores nearby the square, and feel the prosperity of busy streets. In the evening, take a train to Jinan. Day 11: arrive in Jinan. Visit places of interest: Daming Lake, the pearl of the city of springs (it is said that it was the place where Emperor Qianlong fell in love with Xia Yuhe in the TV series “Princess Pearl”); Baotu Spring, “Number One Spring under the Heaven” (the most beautiful spring of Jinan referred in Laoshe’s essay “The Winter of Jinan”); Spring City Square, the so-called urban living room of Jinan; and Heihu Spring, one of four famous springs of Jinan (about 40 minutes). After lunch, walk around Quancheng Road, the most bustling pedestrian street of Jinan; the former site of Bainiu storytelling according to the book “The Travels of Lao Can”; Water Lily Street, a snack street; and Liberation Pavilion, a historic monument. Take a bus to Taian in the evening. Day 12: arrive in Taian. Reach Mount Tai and take a local mountain bus at Tianwai Village to Zhongtianmen, and walk up the mountain or take a cable car. If you walk up the mountain to Nantianmen, you will have an opportunity to see Zhanyunjian, Yunbu Bridge and welcoming pines and climb the “scaling ladder” - Eighteen Bends. After Assembling at Nantianmen, visit such scenic spots as Heavenly Street, the so-called street in heaven; Bixia Temple; Daguan Peak, where inscriptions are carved on precipices; Wordless Memorial Tablet, a stone tablet erected by Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty; Qingdi Palace; and Jade Emperor Summit. Walk down the mountain or take a cable car. Meet at Zhongtianmen, and take a mountain bus down the mountain. Take a train to Dongying in the evening. Day 13: arrive in Dongying. Take a bus to the mouth of Yellow River, so as to watch the grand scene of Yellow River flowing into the sea, bringing an end to the cultural trip along the Yellow River.