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Travel to China Page 1 Beijing Xian Shanghai Wuhan Chongching Guilin Hong Kong with Cruise with Bruce

The People's Republic of China

Travel & Cruise with Bruce Oliver

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Bruce Oliver's Travel Photos for China

and Hong Kong

(Video & Photos Below)

In July 1998, I went on a trip of a lifetime to the People's Republic of China with a group of 34 American citizens and world travelers.  For 21 days we visited Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Hong Kong and Shanghai as well as many towns and cities along the Yangtze River Valley.  Modes of transportation included 10 rides on air planes, a bicycle driven carriage ride through the Hu Tong in Beijing, a five-day cruise up the Yangtze River Valley, a five hour cruise along the Li River, a 25 cent ride from Kawloon to Hong Kong Island on the Star Ferry, hours in multiple buses and walking for many miles.

For centuries, the Yangtze has been China's main thoroughfare for commerce and culture.  Our trip up the river gave us a chance to touch the roots of the ancient and modern Chinese civilization through a blend of land exploration and river cruising.  We visited timeless riverside village's; seeing the people live much as they did hundreds of years ago-and capitals of long ago dynasty's with their lovely pagoda's, imposing walled fortifications and elaborate tombs.

Construction on a Great Wall of China began more than 2,000 years ago, and symbolizes China's determination to keep foreigners out.  In the town of Badling, China, we walked to the pathway on the wall that stretches for miles along the northern border of China.  The isolation of this great nation was nearly complete until very modern history, and Westerners have only just begun to visit the treasures within this country that was a flourishing civilization when most the were asked to the world was just making its way out of the Stone Age.

We visited China at a critical time in its modern history.  Hong Kong reverted to Chinese on July 1, 1997, after 150 years of British rule.  Soon, the Three Gorges Dam will begin filling much of the Yangtze Valley with a 370-mile reservoir.  When complete, this controversial hydroelectric project will displace 1.25 million people, and submerged 13 cities, 140 towns and 1,352 Villages with the 900-foot rise in the water level.

This river valley is home to spectacular landscapes of misty mountains, breathtaking gorges, remarkable canyons, bamboo groves, whirlpools and lagoons.  Along its narrow, cliff bound passages lie some of China's greatest cultural treasures - ancient tombs, shines and walls dating to before the time of Christ.  These cultural and natural wonders of this might be river - the magical landscapes that have graced the watercolors and scroll paintings of China's great artists for thousands of years-will be flooded with the completion of the Three Gorges Dam in 2009.

China and the Yangtze River - A Historical Perspective

For centuries, the Yangtze has been China's main thoroughfare for commerce and culture. Here's your chance to touch the roots of ancient and modern Chinese civilization through a blend of land exploration and river cruising. You'll visit timeless riverside villages; seeing the people live much as they did hundred of years ago - and the capitals of long ago dynasties with their lovely pagodas, imposing walled fortifications and elaborate tombs.


We walked around Tiananmen Square, and enter the Forbidden City.


Here are acres of grandeur - elegant palaces, pavilions, courtyards and gardens - all walled in as a rectangular island within a moat wide enough for naval engagements.

Looking at the Forbidden City from Tian Am Mien Square


The Forbidden City was named because it was off-limits to ordinary people for nearly 500 years.

Emperor's Throne in the Forbidden City  Forbidden City   Emperor's Throne - Hall of Harmony


Forbidden City Wood Carvings on roof



Hutongs are ancient city alleys or lanes. In the past, several thousand lanes, alleys, and quadrangles formed residential areas for ordinary people living in the capital. Surrounding the Forbidden City, many were built during the Yuan (1206 - 1341), Ming (13681628) and Qing (1644-1908) Dynasties. In the prime of these dynasties the emperors, in order to establish supreme power for themselves planned the city and arranged the residential areas.

Elementary School in the Hu Tong    Testing the teachers in the Hu Tong School - Beijing



The new pastime of roaming through Beijing's ancient narrow hutongs by old fashioned pedicab to visit the old quadrangles, and learn about the daily life of ordinary Beijing citizens. Today, as the city develops into an international metropolis, its lanes and alleyways, occupying one third of the city proper, still serve as dwellings for half the total urban population. Cost of this excursion was about $30.

Riding through the Hu Tong


Fragrant Mtns and the Great Wall

Once a year you can see the Fragrant Mountains from the Drum Tower in Beijing's Hu Tong    The Great Wall in the Fragrant Mountains.


a Hu Tong - Quadrangle Housing unit   A student artist painting the Hu Tong   Visiting a Hu Tong home


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1998-2010 Bruce L Oliver, Enfield CT

1994-2015 Bruce L Oliver, Enfield, CT

  @BruceOliverCT @Travel_N_Cruise

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