Exploring Asia Overview
Cathay Pacific B777-300ER Business Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge Review: The Cabin at HKG
Cathay Dragon A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Beijing
Lodging Review: Regent Beijing Hotel
Beijing: Dongcheng District
Beijing: The Great Wall
Beijing: Run-ze Jade Garden
Beijing: The Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs
Beijing: The Legend of Kung Fu
Beijing: Tiananmen Square
Beijing: The Forbidden City
Beijing: Hutong Tour via Rickshaw, Tea Tasting, Flying to Xi’an
Lodging Review: Hotel Shangri-La Xi’an
Xi’an: Qing Dynasty Terra Cotta Warriors
Xi’an: Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show
Xi’an Wrap-Up, Flying to Lhasa, Lhasa Home Visit
Lodging Review: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
Lhasa: Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market
Lhasa: Canggu Nunnery and Sera Monastery
Lhasa: Potala Palace
Leaving Lhasa and Flying to Chongqing
Cruising the Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam
Jingzhou City Walls Tour
Wuhan: Hubei Bells Performance and Provincial Museum
Shanghai: Shanghai Museum
Lodging Review: Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai
Shanghai: Old Shanghai and Yuyan Gardens
Lodging Review: The New Otani Tokyo Hotel
Tokyo: City Tour
Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour Returning by Shinkansen
ANA Suites Lounge Review, Tokyo Narita
All Nippon Airways B777-300ER First Class Tokyo Narita to Houston
The final day of the main part of the Roof of the World Tour began bright and early as we walked through sections of Old Shanghai on our way to the Yuyuan Garden. This garden dates back to the Ming Dynasty when it was first built in 1559 as a retirement gift from a son to his father. But before it was completed the son was appointed governor of Sichuan and that postponed further construction until 1577. At the time this was the largest and most prestigious garden in the city though its expense eventually ruined the family that built it.
By the 1700s the gardens had fallen into disrepair and a group of merchants purchased it and in 1780 the West Garden was opened to the general public. During parts of the next two centuries some of the buildings were used as headquarters by invaders or leaders of rebellions and the original structures inside the garden walls had nearly been destroyed. In the late 1950s the government appointed someone to restore the buildings. The gardens were fully opened to the public in 1961 and declared a national monument in 1982.
It’s a very peaceful place in the midst of a bustling city. Lots of greenery, several rockeries and ponds stocked with koi.
Dragons are built along the top of the walls, perhaps to keep out the cares of the day that might disturb the peace found within the walls.
Yuyuan Tourist Mart
Not far from the Yuyuan Gardens is the Yuyuan Tourist Mart, a combination of old-style architecture but new-style mall. Though the buildings were shaped like pagodas, there were modern wares as well as items reminiscent of the past.
And, of course, food, including freshly-made dumplings.
After lunch in a nearby modern mall we were taken to a shop where hand-made carpets and tapestries were created along with artwork. It was nice to see the carpet being made just the same way as I had seen in Istanbul. Too bad I don’t have a need for some of these carpets because they were just beautiful.
That night we got to see the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe perform. These performers are incredible and it’s well worth the ticket price. I didn’t take photos as I was determined to sit back and just enjoy the show.
The Roof of the World Tour was officially over and three of us in our small group said goodbye to the other nine who would be leaving for the US the next day. The three of us and a few more in our larger group would join with about 25 from other groups on the Viking Emerald to take the optional extension to Tokyo.