Category Archives: Places to visit in China

Sanya Trip: Haitang Bay Waves Photos

Haitang Bay Waves

Some of the more exciting experiences when visiting Haitang Bay in Sanya is to take long walks along the beach and observe the Haitang Bay waves, enjoy and take tons of photos.

Which I did.  Here they are some of the photos… The rest I will keep uploading every so often.

China, Sanya, Hainan Island, Haitang Bai
Haitang Bay, Sanya, Hainan Island, image taken with Nikon

China, Sanya, Hainan Island, Haitang Bai

China, Sanya, Hainan Island, Haitang Bai

China, Sanya, Hainan Island, Haitang Bai
Waves at Haitang Bay, Sanya, Photo taken with NIKON D7100


Ping me for the larger resolution of the images.  Here are more postings on Sanya

Day Trips from Shanghai: First in the Series

Day Trips from Shanghai

Well, folks, I decided to start a series of eBooks on day trips from Shanghai.   Why?  I think those will be convenient to take with you on your smart phone or tablet and explore as you travel in the Shanghai area.

Shanghai is on the list of target and hot destinations for 2018 on many travel specialists lists…But the city by itself while very exciting and interesting to see, the surrounding area offers many options which are considered as the “off the beaten track” destinations.

Here is the first in the list of eBooks – Let’s go see Fengjing

Explore and drop me a line or two with feedback… Thanks!

Sanya Trip: Grand Hyatt Haitang Bay

Grand Hyatt Haitang Bay

I rarely post a review of a hotel.   My views on the various hotels, restaurants, and places to go and see are mostly posted on Trip Advisor.   Having said that, the Grand Hyatt Haitang Bay deserves a posting on my blog.   Why?  Because it is a very nice hotel, and as such I want to both give you visibility to the great service and value it offers as well as give you a visual of the grounds and hotel overall. 

As you can tell from my previous postings, we decided to go to Sanya for a Christmas vacation sort of in the last minute.  Our daughter, visiting from California, was able to snatch a great deal on a 5-day stay at this wonderful hotel.

We had read some of the reviews on Trip Advisor and certainly were very intrigued.  So once we arrived in Sanya and Haitang Bay, our first order of business was to explore the hotel, the grounds, the suite we had booked and get quickly first impressions, which were great!  

Subsequently, while enjoying the great benefits of staying at the hotel we observed the following:

  • The hotel overall has a very pleasant and interesting architectural design.  The lobby, rooms / suite we stayed at, the club lounge – all were very nice, good setup and pleasant implementation
  • The hotel grounds were very nice – lush – as you can tell from the photos below
  • Service:  Well, here the hotel staff really outdid themselves.  We felt truly taken care off.   The club lounge staff, the pool grill staff, all of them were extremely attentive and more than willing to help.   Even the pool attendants were always ready and in place to provide you with cold bottled water and/or towels in order to take advantage of the great swimming pools in the hotel 
  • Rooms: There are multiple options here.   We chose the Suite as it came with club lounge access and space for our family.  There are multiple different room options.  If you go for the suite – in principle there are about 3 options:
    • Suite on the ground floor with its own swimming pool.  A cool option – but we wanted to be on a higher floor
    • large suite – 140~150mm square.  Rather nice and impressive.  Great showers 
    • Smaller suite – approximately 105 mm square.   Probably more than adequate — but we liked the bigger suite 🙂

There are some quirks that the hotel needs to work out – but overall these were minor items on the list of great things the hotel and its staff did well. 

  • The pools would have been nice to be somewhat heated.   In December the weather can be rather chilly….
  • One of the afternoons we decided to relax by the ZEN pool.  Well, we expected somewhat of a silence and tranquility…. Instead we got grand parents spoiling their grandkids and quite a bit of noise…Oh, well…

Some additional information:

  • If you desire to eat outside of the hotel – the shopping mall attached (pretty much to the hotel) offers a large number of restaurants
  • There is also a very large grocery store – fruit, candy, drinks….

Overall, the hotel was great and we will recommend it for sure to friends in the US and China.   Here are some photos from the hotel and premises – day and night views.   Enjoy!

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Grand Hyatt
The Grand Hyatt hotel grounds with the Yan Cun Chinese restaurant

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Grand Hyatt China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Grand Hyatt China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Grand Hyatt China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Grand Hyatt

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Grand Hyatt
Nice hotel grounds

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Grand Hyatt

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Grand Hyatt
View of the Club Lounge – nice balcony
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Grand Hyatt
View of the Grand Hyatt Beach


Sanya Trip: Haitang Bay Beach Photo Summary

Haitang Bay

Haitang Bay beach is very special.   I have visited Sanya now three times – each time about 12-20 years apart — and each time we discover new places to go.   Progress and development is coming fast to Hainan Island and with that the usual impact on places that are desirable to many — crowds and beaches filled with people.  

Haitang Bay is different – take a look at the photos below and hopefully you will see why I say that…

We really enjoyed our trip here – and since we are still at the place, I am posting very fast – mostly photos…More information to come later this and next week.


China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay
Haitang Beach – peaceful and quiet
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay
Haitang Beach – a great beach
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay
Haitang Beach – peaceful and quiet
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay
Haitang Beach – more waves
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay
Haitang Beach – only the waves making noise
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay
Haitang Beach – peaceful and quiet
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay
Happy Holidays Everyone!
China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Bay
Serenity on the beach



Sanya Trip – Series of Postings – Contrarians Views

Sanya Trip

This Christmas holiday our family spent a lot of time thinking about what trip we will take – and the winner turned out to be the Sanya Trip.    How did we come about it?   Well there was a lot of anguish and debates.   We polled a large number of our acquaintances in Shanghai… Where should we go

  • Vietnam?
  • Thailand?
  • Southern China? Sanya?

The unanimous feeling from the crew was that we must escape the close to zero (early in the morning) Celsius temperatures of Shanghai and find a more pleasant (read warm) weather in the southern parts of the Northern hemisphere. 

The condition the family put forward as a very important one was the length and ease of flights to our desired destination…

So, Sanya was a clear winner in that regard.  However, many of our friends told us “you should avoid Sanya….it is overpriced and overrun with tourists…”

 Well, we decided to play the contrarian card – and chose…..wait for it…. Sanya,

In the following few installments on this blog I will share our experiences with summaries and photos.   Here are some of the initial images to give you an idea….

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Beach

China, Hainan Island, Sanya, Haitang Beach
Haitang Beach, Sanya


Fengjing Ancient Water Town – Good Day Trip from Shanghai

Fengjing Ancient Water Town

China, Shanghai, FengjingFengjing ancient water town is one of the ancient water towns within a day trip from Shanghai.  The history of the town is very long – per some of the local people, the town is about 1500 years old.  Some of the references I saw on-line desrcribed it as one of the gate towns to Shanghai.  The streets in the old town criss cross old houses, restaurants and tea shops.  Probably the main attraction that we saw (at least) are the canals that create the old city – the interesting houses being built all around the canals.

Fengjing is certainly much less visited by tourists – while Qibao is much easier to access, Fengjing is significantly larger, and much less over-run by tourists.  Let’s put it this way – during our visit on October 6th, we saw only one obvious foreign tourist in the area.  I am sure there were plenty of tourists overall, but all in all, it is one of the off the beaten track locations.

China, Shanghai, FengjingThe local folks sell tons of food items – it appears frog legs are a major specialty here – we did not dare try, but tons of other folks did not hesitate as far as we can see…

Folks art is a big thing in the area.  I did not care too much for it – but if you like it, there is plenty of it.



In terms of getting to and from the city – here are some instructions – hopefully useful for you to use:


The town is easily reachable via metro and bus.  The town is located approximately 60 kilometers southwest from downtown Shanghai (e.g. Jing’An district).  

Instructions to get to Fengjing Ancient Water Town: 

  • Travel on metro line 1 to Jinjiang Park station
  • Exit either via 1 or 2 North exit 
  • Turn left and walk to the bus terminal – the name is West Meilong Bus Station
  • You need to get to a ticket window and buy a ticket for the FengMeiXian bus line – the ticket is 12RMB and you can use your Shanghai Metro card to purchase it (or use cash)

China, Shanghai, Fengjing, Feng Mei Xian 

  • The bus takes about 55-65 minutes based on how heavy traffic is
  • Once you reach Fengjing, the bus will drop you off infront of the Ancient Town.  You can then walk to the left of where the bus drop you off or to the right and in both cases bypass the visitor center and walk into the Ancient Town

China, Shanghai, Fengjing

  • On the way back, you need to remember to walk back to the same spot and look for a city bus with a sign (unfortunately in Chinese – Jin Mei Xian – this is a local city bus which can transport you to the town main bus terminal (you pay 2RMB as you get on that bus, you can use your Shanghai metro card again) – at the main terminal you will get back on the Feng Mei Xian to travel back to Shanghai.
  • The bus will stop at the Lianhua Road Metro Line 1 stop – or you can stay on the bus all the way back to the main terminal in Shanghai and walk back to the Jinjiang park metro stop

For a photo gallery of our day in Fengjing, please follow this link to the Travel Photo Blog.  

If you want to take on the iPad or your other mobile device a book with more on Fengjing – here is the link to it on


Jing’An Sculpture Park – a Pleasant Place in Shanghai

Jing'An Sculpture Park

If you are going to the Shanghai Natural History Museum, you will very likely stroll through the Jing'An Sculpture Park.  It is a pleasant oasis in the middle of the hussle and bustle of the busy Jing'An area of the city.

China, Shanghai, Jing'An, Sculpture ParkThe park provides a nice setting for both leisure strolls and exercise.  As you walk or run through it, you can admire the interesting sculptures in it — please see the photos in this posting

This park is located at the intersection of Beijing West Road and Shimen 2 Road.  It is also at the Natural History museum stop of the number 13 metro line.

There are tons of trees in the park as well as of course the sculptures of all sort and shapes – some of them pretty whimsical (in my opinion)

This morning, during my morning run, I took a bunch of photos.  Several of them are below in this posting.

One of the big uses of the park is for morning exercises.  Go here around 7, or 7:30am on the weekends, and you will find groups of folks doing all sort of TaiQi.   Then there are the groups of sword dancers – the old grannies are well organized and moving in unison… I come across to do my monring runs as well.

Enough said, here are some photos to give you an idea…

China, Shanghai, Jing'An Sculpture Park
More Art
China, Shanghai, Jing'An Sculpture Park
Lawn with Sculptures

China, Shanghai, Jing'An Sculpture Park


Nanxiang – Old Street and Wrap Up

Nanxiang Old Street

Visit Nanxiang and you will have quite a nice experience.  According to local history, Nanxiang is the birthplace of the famous in Shanghai and all over China, xiaolongbao.  These are the small soup dumplings made with pork or crab filling.  They are great!

Shanghai, Nanxiang, Xiaolongbao Xiaolongbao, Shanghai, Nanxiang

Then there is the Old Street.   Interesting place, of course packed with people, but nevertheless very interesting.  My family and I walked the street and encountered many kids playing and of course all the old China architecture you can absorb.   This town is certainly a good place to visit for multiple reasons

  • Easy access — via metro line 11
  • The main landmarks and places to visit are within easy walking distance from the metro station
  • Great food!  Did I say xiaolongbao?  Of course I did – the dumplings (no matter whether they originated here or not) are extremely tasty…

Here are the next set of photos from the trip here:  

China, Shanghai, Nanxiang China, Shanghai, Nanxiang China, Shanghai, Nanxiang China, Shanghai, Nanxiang China, Shanghai, Nanxiang China, Shanghai, Nanxiang

If you like some of the photos, you can find a whole lot more on the Photo Blog pages here… Enjoy!


Nanxiang – Yunxiang Temple

Yunxiang Temple

China, Shanghai, Nanxiang, Yunxiang TempleYunxiang Temple is also known as Liuyun Buddhist Temple.  It is located at one of the edges of the Nanxiang Old Street.  The temple has a very long history – being originally built in the fourth year of Tianjian during the reign of the Liang of the Southern Dynasty (505). Per recorded history I saw in the temple – during the Kaicheng reign of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 -907), the land area of the temple was expanded to 12 hectares and it had more than 700 monks.

It was renamed apparently in 1700, with an inscription from Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was destroyed in a fire, with only the Double Temple, Shijing Streamer and Shita Temple left. After the original Beihe Nanxiang Temple was burnt, a new temple was built in 2004 near the original site. The new temple, however, is still gorgeous with magnificent buildings – a very rare group of Tang-style buildings in the south of China.

China, Shanghai, Nanxiang, Yunxiang Temple

The temple is located at 100 Renmin Road, Nanxiang Town, Jiading District.  Take Line 11 to Nanxiang Station (if you reach any of the Jiading stations you have gone too far) – then follow the map (see photo of the Google map) – the temple is a short 25-minute walk from the metro station.

China, Shanghai, Nanxiang, Yunxiang Temple  China, Shanghai, Nanxiang, Yunxiang Temple  China, Shanghai, Nanxiang, Yunxiang Temple

China, Shanghai, Nanxiang, Yunxiang TempleThe entrance to the temple requires a ticket – according to the ticket office on every 1st and 15th of the month, the tickets are 2RMB and during the rest of the time 8RMB but yesterday (October 3rd) the tickets were at 2RMB (for adults) as well – score…!

Overall the ticket cost is negligible given the interesting sights and views you will experience.  The temple provides an a good glimpse into how much China has changed over the years.  When I first came to Shanghai (in 1988!) for an extended period – I stayed for 2.5 years – it would have been very difficult to find a place like this temple and see people actually actively participating in various ceremonies…..

Today, this appears to be a normal act for many…. Given the number of people we say doing everything from a simple prayer to burining elaborate offerings (made out of paper of course).  



China, Shanghai, Nanxiang, Yunxiang Temple, PrayerPrayer for Good Fortunes

It also has become the most popular site during the Spring Festival in Nanxiang as people from all over the city come to pray for a prosperous new year. 

Of course, if offering a prayer is not your purpose of visit (as we were) – the temple offers excellent way to just walk around, do some people watching, enjoy the beauty of the architecture and overall find a place to sit down and contemplate….


This posting is a second one in the series about the less traveled part of Shanghai – the town of Nanxiang.  The first posting introduced you to the Ancient Yi Garden..

You can see many more pictures of the Liuyun Buddhst Temple in my photo blog.   Enjoy!


Nanxiang – Ancient Yi Garden – Guyi Garden

Guyi Garden

Guyi Garden (古漪园) – Ancient Yi Garden is a beautiful park located in Nanxiang in North West Shanghai, just before Jiading.  The garden is one of the five classical gardens in Shanghai.  It was built during the reign period of Emperor JiaJing in the Ming Dynasty.

China, Shanghai, Nanxiang, Yi GardenThe park is large – with an approximate area (per signs inside) of approximately nine hectares.  It is divided into six scenic sections based on very different landscapes.  Based on that there are several key halls, lakes and areas – the Hall of Interest of the Wild, the Goose Playing Pond, the Pine and Crane Garden, the Verdant Green Garden, the Mandarin Duck Lake, and the Nanxiang Wall.  The Yi Garden is also famous for its many different types of bamboo – purple bamboo, sturdy bamboo, chopstick bamboo, Japanese bamboo, and big bright bamboo. 


China, Shanghai, Nanxiang, Yi GardenThere are plenty of places to explore while in the Garden – more than 20 halls, pavilions, chambers and verandas.  Then there are the Mid-lake Pavilion, Lacking-one-Corner Pavilion, the Hall of Interest of the Wild, Fragrant Snow Pavilion, Plum Blossom Hall, the Stone House, and some I did not even visit and did not record.   

Then there are the water lilies – there are tons of them in different colors and sizes.  You will really enjoy them.   Additionally, there are great shrubs and trees everywhere – and of course wonderful scenic spots all across the park.

I think the place is an oasis in the city of Shanghai – you can come here and enjoy some time to reflect and enjoy the beautiful scenery.   

How do you get here?   Well, really simple – get on line 11 and look for Nanxiang Station. Once there you can just use Google Maps or Baidu Maps and get to the Gu Yi Garden.   Included below are some more photos – but there is an album you can enjoy at my photo blog – check it out.

China, Shanghai, Nanxiang
Vendor just outside Yi Garden
 China, Shanghai, Nanxiang