In 2023, where was the travel destination you were fortunate to visit?

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The Year-End Summary is here! In 2023, my family and I visited 11 cities/regions:

In March, we went to Chaozhou, where we enjoyed fresh pickled blood clams, sipped bamboo tube milk tea, and even had the bamboo tubes cleaned by the shop owner afterward. It served as both a souvenir of our trip and a pen holder for our child.

“Thank goodness we went,” otherwise our child wouldn’t have this pen holder (facepalm).

In July, we visited Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Jiangmen. Except for Jiangmen, all the other places were not our first visits.

In Guangzhou, the whole family went to take a photo at the Canton Tower. It had been many years since I had seen so many people, and the crowds were overwhelming. Our child, who was not even five years old at the time, was frightened and grumbling the whole time.

“Thank goodness we went,” otherwise our child would think everywhere is as crowded as Xiamen (facepalm, even though Xiamen, where we live, is also a tourist city).

In Jiangmen, we visited relatives and were taken to various popular photo spots after dinner. My cousin gave me a fan with the design of “Kuang Biao” (a popular TV series). Since we had watched the TV series “Kuang Biao” at home during the Spring Festival, our child had seen it too, and now she often plays with the “Kuang Biao” fan.

“Thank goodness we went,” it was my first visit to see my cousin, cousin-in-law, and uncle and aunt, who have settled in Jiangmen for over ten or twenty years. I felt the warmth of a big family!

We have been to Shenzhen many times, but this time we met up with an old friend, strolled around with the kids, and visited the Gong Xida Picture Book Exhibition together. On the last day before leaving, we went to the Shenzhen Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, which was eye-opening. Shenzhen’s extensive use of big data was truly impressive.

“Thank goodness we went,” Shenzhen is really something else. Once you come here, you become a Shenzhener, for real!

In August, we went to Wuhan, my hometown, and had an in-depth tour with our child. It was like a self-designed educational trip, including visits to the Hubei Provincial Museum, Hubei Provincial Science and Technology Museum, Wuhan Museum, Wuhan Science and Technology Museum, Electric Power Museum, and Police Museum. I even wrote an answer about arranging an economical family trip in Wuhan, which received 175 bookmarks!

How to plan an affordable family trip in Wuhan?

“Thank goodness we went,” only then did we realize how much fun museums can be!

In October, we visited Guizhou, Zhangjiajie, and Changsha. Guizhou has become popular in recent years, but we didn’t witness that trend when we went. We followed the classic route, visiting Huangguoshu Waterfall and the Seven Small Arches Miao Village.

I wrote many answers and articles about our trip to Guizhou.

What are some recommended destinations for “traveling with children” in Guizhou? What is the experience of traveling by train? How should you plan a five-day-four-night trip to Guizhou?

In Zhangjiajie, our child celebrated her fifth birthday. Rain or shine, the mountain was quite cold, but our little one managed to walk 20,000 steps a day without complaining or tiring.

“Thank goodness we went,” otherwise we wouldn’t have known our child had such great stamina!

Taking a child to visit Zhangjiajie in autumn - any time-saving and effort-saving tips to share?

In 2023, what seemed like an ordinary and uneventful year turned out to be full of happiness (heart symbol).

Fortunately, I went…

Fortunately, there were so many places to visit.

I always consider every encounter as just right, after all, every encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will never come again.

Springtime in Yunnan, fortunate to visit

It was a journey with my mother.

In the hotel in Lijiang, I saw the moon hiding behind the mountains in the early morning and saw the snow-capped mountains.

The moon hiding behind the mountains seen from the hotel balcony in Lijiang, and the view of the snow-capped mountains from the hotel.

In the ancient city of Lijiang, I felt the gentle spring breeze and gained a tourist perspective of getting to know a city through its waterways. After returning to Chengdu, I also started paying more attention to water systems other than the familiar Jinjiang River and Shahe River, such as Modi River, Xijiao River, and the vanished Jinhe River.

In Shuhe Ancient Town, I encountered a blooming tree. The white cherry blossoms were just right, and I was fortunate to encounter them on a bright spring day.

By Erhai Lake, I truly felt what it means to “go to a windy place.” The wind here is really strong (a pun).

In Kunming’s Zuanxin Vegetable Market, I was amazed by various exotic and aromatic vegetables that I couldn’t even name, realizing the vast and magical wonders of nature while feeling limited in my own knowledge.

I explored the twin pagodas hidden deep in residential buildings and learned that Kunming has many pagoda structures.

Summer in Hongshan, fortunate to visit

I saw a family of koalas, met the celebrity White-Faced Gibbon Doodoo’s family, and encountered various adorable furry friends.

I also noticed various details at the Hongshan Zoo, which reflected respect and care for every life.

Even a piece of wood deeply moved me.

This piece of wood, located in the Chinese Cat Pavilion, has the words written on the paper underneath:

“This is a piece of wood that will soon be put to use. You can sit down and rest. I hope the big cats will like your scent.”

These three short lines represent the consistent humanistic care of the Hongshan Zoo.

Here, humans and animals, and even every blade of grass and tree, are treated equally.

As an adult, when I visited the Hongshan Zoo, I not only enjoyed the cuteness of the animals but also felt the zoo’s commitment to animal conservation and welfare, breaking down the barriers and alienation between species.

The position pointed by the arrow is where the Yangtze alligator sunbathes.

The Yangtze alligator lies motionless by the edge of the pool, and just when I heard a nearby visitor say, “Is this fake?” and lowered my head, I immediately saw the sign that said, “Some people always think we are fake, it’s so ridiculous!”

The zookeepers might have eavesdropped on the visitors here and knew the most common exclamations made by bipeds during their visit.

They also calmly educate everyone, “Respecting the natural state of every creature different from oneself is one of the smallest things that humans can do.”

Many times, human interactions with animals or expectations of animals are carried out and interpreted according to “human will,” but rarely do we truly see and respect the nature of animals.

I highly recommend that when you visit the Hongshan Zoo, in addition to expressing your love for the furry friends in a childish manner, pay attention to the various science education and signs they have prepared.

The mirror on the right of the local monthly report is a highlight!!

Fortunately, I went to Hongshan, fortunately, I went twice. I spent three days in Nanjing, and I went to Hongshan twice. The second time, I directly bought an annual pass. Even if I don’t have a chance to go again, I’ll consider the extra money as buying fruits for the furry friends. Thank you to all the staff at Hongshan Zoo. Although it’s been two years late, I finally “got even.”

Note: “Getting even” is derived from this news:

How do you feel about the director of Nanjing Hongshan Zoo saying, “I’ve been waiting for more than three months, and not many people have come to get even with me. I’m very anxious about how the zoo will survive”?

Autumn in Western Sichuan, fortunate to visit

This autumn, it was a season to embrace the outdoors and embrace nature.

I saw colorful forests in several valleys, each with its unique beauty.

Wearing my Liu Kanshan small speaker and holding a trekking pole, I entered the mountains.

In Erna Gou, Lixian, during the season when the colorful forests were at their best, I carried my small backpack, camera, and Liu Kanshan’s outdoor bracelet speaker. I also brought a book best suited for reading in the mountains, “The Last Season in the Mountains,” and took it out to read during the noon break after finishing my lunch on the road. In the fragrance of the mountains and forests, I read a book about mountains and forests.

Erna Gou Hongshitan

I also took my parents for outdoor hiking.

Autumn scenery in Laojun Gou

Looking up ahead on the road was the most shining tree in Laojun Gou that day.

“Having been in the cage for a long time, I have finally returned to nature.” The greatest consolation that the outdoors can provide.

Every year, I find ways to go to the mountains, whether it’s snowy mountains, Western Sichuan, or even nearby mountains. I love nature and cherish every moment of being embraced by nature.

Self-Proclaimed Lantern Festival, Fortunately Went Twice

The two visits were just one week apart because my friend came from Beijing, so I accompanied her for another trip to Zigong to see the lanterns.

In a short weekend, I took her on a 24-hour salt history lantern tour.

The specific itinerary at that time is posted here for your reference:

Day 1

Main Arrangements: Chengdu-Zigong, Lantern Festival

Chengdu-Zigong-Lantern Festival: Since her flight landed at Chengdu Shuangliu Airport around 3:30 pm on Saturday, we only managed to get tickets for the high-speed train departing from Chengdu East at around 6 pm, arriving in Zigong at 7:30 pm. There is a direct chartered car to the Lantern Festival at the high-speed train station, 40 yuan per car, carrying up to 6 people, and the journey takes about ten minutes.

Lantern Festival: Strolling around and being amazed continues.

Take a taxi back home, order some late-night takeout. Originally, I wanted to eat at Manager Xiao’s barbecue, but I was too tired, so I gave up.

Day 2

Main Arrangements: Salt Culture Tour (Shenhai Well, Salt Industry History Museum) + Food + Return from Zigong to Chengdu

We didn’t leave early, and when we got to Changsheng Noodles (Red Flag Road branch), it was almost 11 o’clock. The two of us ordered three bowls of noodles and two bowls of ice jelly. We walked to Shenhai Well after eating.

The map showed that the distance from Changsheng Noodles to Shenhai Well was only 670

Almost Missed Karuizawa, Giving Me the Most Leisurely Daylight Hours of 2023

In July this year, taking advantage of the opportunity to change jobs, I gave myself a gap week to travel to Tokyo, Japan.

Due to a flight delay, I arrived at the hotel late at night, around 10 PM. The transportation in Shinjuku was still a nightmare, but this time I figured out the exit at the train station. However, I couldn’t find the counter where I needed to exchange my ticket for the Tokyo Wide Area Pass, which would allow unlimited travel to the Tokyo suburbs within three days at a cost-effective price.

The process of exchanging the pass was not very foreigner-friendly, and my flight was delayed. The counter at the airport, where I originally intended to exchange the pass, was already closed. I was forced to go to Shinjuku Station near my hotel to exchange it. This almost caused me to miss my trip to Karuizawa.

Shinjuku’s station exits were complicated, including Shinjuku, Higashi-Shinjuku, and Nishi-Shinjuku. After a long search through the complex exits, I finally found the exchange counter I was looking for, only to see a prominent notice that read: “Business hours from 8 AM to 7 PM,” and the counter I found had moved to a new location. At that moment, tired and exhausted, I decided to give myself a break and try again tomorrow.

The next morning, awakened by my alarm clock, I briefly considered skipping Karuizawa and spending the day in Tokyo as a city boy. However, the determination to make the most of my trip prevailed, and I successfully found the ticket exchange counter I needed to visit Karuizawa.

But to be honest, the efficiency of Japanese staff was quite low. Each person exchanging tickets had to go through a full process of greetings, product introductions, reservation inquiries, ticket confirmation, usage explanations, and patient farewells. This led to a one-hour wait in line for ten people. Nevertheless, I embraced the idea of going with the flow during my trip and embarked on the Shinkansen train to Karuizawa amidst these challenges.

Karuizawa: “Buyer’s Show” vs. “Seller’s Show”

My first knowledge of Karuizawa was through a Japanese reality show called “Duplex Apartment.” In the show, six ordinary participants, three men and three women, lived together in Karuizawa and had some interesting interactions.

Karuizawa was portrayed as a place for escaping the summer heat and enjoying winter sports. At that time, Karuizawa appeared to be a hidden paradise just outside Tokyo. In the summer, it was lush with trees, and in the winter, it was charming under a blanket of white snow. This intrigued me, especially since I was visiting in July when Beijing and Tokyo were both experiencing sweltering heat. Who could resist a pleasant outdoor temperature of 26 degrees Celsius?

Upon arriving in Karuizawa, I was greeted by exceptionally good weather, perfect for leisurely exploration. Following the advice of many, I rented a small bicycle from a local rental shop, taking the opportunity for my first-ever cycling journey in life.

The aging population of Japan was evident, and the rental shop was staffed by elderly locals. They did not speak English, but they could understand your needs through body language. For 1,000 yen, I rented a bicycle and received a free, albeit incomprehensible, Japanese guide to the area.

Upon reflection, Karuizawa became my first cycling experience. It wasn’t a professional-style ride with specialized equipment commonly seen in China. Instead, it had a refreshing feel, much like a scene from a Japanese drama. Along the way, I found reasons to stop at bakeries, convenience stores, Western-style restaurants, bookshops, and more. Riding at a leisurely pace allowed me to discover relaxation amidst the setbacks.

Interestingly, while cycling, I encountered tourists from various countries and regions. I kept running into a Taiwanese family, composed of a father leading the way with his eldest daughter and a mother strolling with her youngest son. With the blue sky above, distant mountains in view, and shrines and arch bridges discovered along the way, I couldn’t help but exclaim how wonderful it all was.

“New Karuizawa” vs. “Old Karuizawa”

Karuizawa can generally be divided into two areas: New Karuizawa and Old Karuizawa. Coming out of Karuizawa Central Station, you can explore both areas without retracing your steps.

New Karuizawa is known for its natural beauty, characterized by stones, light, water, greenery, and trees—the inspiration behind the Karuizawa Stone Church and a symbol of New Karuizawa.

In this area, my favorite spot was Yutsuya Street, just outside the Hoshinoya Resort. Here, you can find specialty foods like Kawakami-an soba noodles and Maruyama Coffee. Buying a cup of coffee and sitting by the stream, there’s nothing else around but the gentle sound of flowing water and the traces left by a mild breeze.

Old Karuizawa, on the other hand, is a gathering place for architecture and commerce. With Western-style buildings and European brick-paved streets, it links various shops along Ginza Shopping Street. Every shop, whether it’s a local product store, restaurant, coffee shop, or general store, seems to have its unique charm, offering something for every tourist to discover.

Of course, Old Karuizawa also boasts its own natural beauty, represented by

Five-Color Prayer Flags

Our time in Lhasa was actually quite short, just a few days filled with work, meeting friends, and various other matters. However, because I really wanted to visit the Zayeba Temple, I managed to squeeze out a day for it.

This is how the Zayeba Temple looks, it’s like a dream temple for me, so when I finally returned to Lhasa, I knew I had to make the trip.

To ensure that the day’s itinerary went smoothly, I worked hard to finish all other tasks, rented a car, and set off towards the long-awaited temple as the sun was just rising.

At the pass leading to the Zayeba Temple, there are vast prayer flags, and luckily, on that day, there were many people there, performing the ritual of burning incense.

White smoke rose through the colorful prayer flags, slowly drifting in the wind, reflecting the morning sunlight. It felt like being lost in a dream of vibrant colors.

Prayer flags are called “Lungta” in Tibetan. They are rectangular colored flags made from materials such as cotton, linen, and silk. There are five colors: blue, white, red, green, and yellow, and their order should not be mixed up. Each color symbolizes the sky, auspicious clouds, fire, rivers, and earth, respectively. Tibetan Buddhism also attributes the five colors to the Five Dhyani Buddhas and the five types of wisdom.[1]

While you can often find prayer flags on mountaintops or by riversides in Tibetan regions, it’s not common to witness the scene where the white smoke rises amidst the morning light.

At that moment, I thought it was fortunate that I made the time for this trip. After all, some extraordinary scenes can’t be anticipated; they’re gifts of serendipity.

108 White Stupas

However, some journeys you can imagine, but they may not happen as planned.

Eager to visit the Zayeba Temple, I learned that due to road construction, it was inaccessible.

Regrettable occurrences sometimes appear to guide us in another direction.

Faced with the choice of returning or continuing to explore, I decided to visit another temple - the Xia Temple.

The Xia Temple, known as “Xia Gongba” in Tibetan, is located in Linzhou County, Lhasa, Tibet. It is a Nyingma nunnery of Tibetan Buddhism with 108 stupas, dating back over 700 years.[2]

The Xia Temple is a lesser-known temple around Lhasa but has gained some fame because of its 108 white stupas.

If you have the chance to visit Lhasa, it’s worth spending a day exploring the smaller temples in the outskirts, sipping a pot of sweet tea in the temple’s teahouse, and enjoying a bowl of Tibetan noodles.

The Xia Temple is the kind of place that captures your imagination just by looking at photos.

Beneath the blue sky and white clouds, in this secluded valley among the wilderness, the red and white stupas are surrounded by evergreen trees. The gentle breeze makes it seem like you can even hear whispers among the stupas.

Wandering through the stupas, exploring scenes you never imagined, time seems to stand still between each breath.

The plateau landscape has its unique charm. While touching the white walls, you can’t help but think, “It’s fortunate that I came.”

Another Nunnery

Naga Temple, a nunnery in Tibet.

The temple is quite small, so small that you can’t even find it on the map.

I saw this temple on the way to Xia Temple, located halfway up the mountain on a separate hill. From a distance, it looked like a book filled with mysterious stories, tempting me to visit.

Compared to Xia Temple, this monastery is even quieter. There were no tourists or worshippers in sight.

Climbing up the mountain and ascending the steep ladders, the winding path and high altitude made this temple journey somewhat challenging.

Wang Anshi once said, “The world’s wonders and marvels are often found in dangerous and remote places, which are seldom visited by people.” As we climbed step by step and looked back, we were even more amazed.

The vast expanse of mountains, rivers, and valleys of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau told tales exclusive to this land, accompanying the green forests and barley fields. It was a moment to savor the beauty of life, brought forth by these small pleasures.

“Fortunately, I went there,” “fortunately, I came here,” “fortunately, I encountered this.”

The wildflowers quietly blooming by the roadside, the forgotten alleyways in the city, a cup of tea in an old restaurant – these moments of fortune all shine brightly.

In 2023, I was fortunate to visit Southern Xinjiang, a region I had not explored in my years of traveling. It was a fulfilling journey, surpassing both expectations and imagination.

The first highlight was the diverse Populus Euphratica forest areas along the Tarim River basin. This trip allowed me to fully experience the autumn colors.

The second was the canyons and Yardang landforms between various Tianshan mountain ranges.

Lastly, I highly recommend the Pamir Plateau. Traveling from Kashgar along the Karakoram Highway to Tashkurgan County in the Pamir Plateau, this region borders Tajikistan to the northwest, connects to Afghanistan through the famous Wakhan Corridor in the central part, and is adjacent to Pakistani-administered Kashmir to the southwest. The landscape here is incredibly diverse, ensuring an unforgettable experience. Although I only spent two or three days, I could see that it was worth the visit. Along the way, there were stunning views of snow-capped mountains and high-altitude lakes. Both BaiSha Lake and Karakul Lake were beautiful, and they were only a two to three-hour drive from the county town.

At Karakul Lake, you can see three extremely high peaks over 7,500 meters, including the main peak, Gongger Peak, as well as Gongger Jiubie Peak and Mustagh Ata Mountain. They are right by the roadside, easy to reach, and easy to appreciate since the elevation at the foot of the mountains is around 4,000 meters, making them more accessible than some of Tibet’s snow-capped peaks.

In the county town, the main attractions are the Stone City and Golden Grasslands. The former is the site of ancient military fortifications, while the latter is a vast grassland in the valley, turning golden in the autumn.

Here, there is also a tourist route called the “Panlong Ancient Road,” which you can drive or hire a car for. Along the way, you can witness some rarely seen high-altitude mountain valley landscapes.

The Tajik people in Taxkorgan County are one of the purer Caucasian ethnic groups within China and lead a peaceful life in this region.

Furthermore, the Tashkurgan Wetland is a great place for observing a sunrise.

Southern Xinjiang boasts a complex terrain and diverse landforms, providing a rich tapestry of landscapes that overwhelms the senses. A journey of over ten days in this region is like savoring a concentrated coffee capsule, something to be slowly savored.

Seeing this question stings a bit because I haven’t traveled far this year.

I carefully searched through my memories, recalling the places I’ve been, and it seems that the farthest place I’ve visited is my hometown.

In previous years, we would plan a trip, but this year is exceptional. After my father-in-law fell ill, we had to set aside one day every weekend to visit him.

I’m a bit of a homebody, and I particularly dislike going out during holidays when there are crowds and long lines.

Usually, the kids have to go to school, and my husband goes to work, so I find myself without the motivation to travel alone.

So, this year, our family’s travels have all been local, but we’ve been enjoying it.

We moved to this area just last year, and we weren’t very familiar with the local environment and attractions. Fortunately, this year’s schedule has been quite fragmented, making it suitable for exploring our surroundings.

Right after the New Year, we took our children to the zoo, and we happened to get in for free.

As soon as we entered the zoo, we discovered natural ice sculptures and a small skiing area.

There wasn’t as much snow as last year, and it wasn’t as heavy as this year. In our community and on the streets, there was no accumulated snow to be found.

Our kids were disappointed that they couldn’t play in the snow, but they got to fulfill their wish at the zoo.

I even took some photos of them at the zoo, and when we got home, my son turned the photos he took at the zoo into drawings.

During the summer, our family visited the botanical garden and saw a large lawn often seen in wedding photos.

The grass was neatly trimmed, and all you could see was green as far as the eye could see.

Some people even brought mats, snacks, and toys to play on the lawn, giving us the feeling of being in a live television scene.

Beyond the lawn, there were swings and benches for resting.

In addition to trees that could be admired for their flowers, there were many fruit-bearing trees, and we saw a lot of papaya trees.

We also came across a pond full of lotus flowers, of course, there were also water lilies. We walked over a small stone bridge, and the water lilies were right at our feet.

At that time, I even thought that there was no need to go to Daming Lake to see lotus flowers; the lotus flowers here were already beautiful.

During the summer vacation, most of the time, I took my children to various museums, libraries, museums, science museums, and dinosaur museums.

We even went to an exploration center and an underwater world, visiting almost all the places my kids wanted to go.

In late autumn, our family went to the nearby mountains to admire the red leaves, brewed tea around a stove, and went to the night market at night.

We strolled and ate our favorite snacks along the way, chatting as a family, and felt that even if we were just strolling around our doorstep, we were still very happy.

Although we couldn’t travel far, fortunately, the places we visited were all places our children liked, places with a festive atmosphere, and places with beautiful memories!

One of the craziest things I’ve done this year, or rather, one of the craziest things I’ve ever done, was to travel to three cities in a single day with my body still recovering from a serious illness, all just to catch a glimpse of the authentic “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains - Remaining Mountain” painting exhibited at the Zhejiang Provincial Museum’s Jiangxin Pavilion for just one month.

I managed to see it as I wished, haha.

Actually, when I received news of this exhibition, I was still in Beijing. Making a round trip between Beijing and Hangzhou over a mere two-day weekend is quite exhausting. Although I really wanted to go at the time, I hadn’t made up my mind. It wasn’t until I received notice of a business trip to Shanghai that I decided to push the limits and squeeze in a visit to Hangzhou during my trip, on my way to see the “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” painting. So, I had a day that started in Shanghai in the morning, had a quick stop in Hangzhou in the afternoon, and ended up in Nanjing in the evening.

In retrospect, I’m really glad I did it, because after visiting the exhibition, I originally planned to have dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel’s Golden Garden Restaurant, but the restaurant informed me that there was traffic control during the Asian Games, and the other restaurant I wanted to go to, Jie Xiang Lou, was also affected. So, I changed my plan and went to Lan Xuan. I didn’t expect to love the surroundings so much. If it wasn’t for this daring move, I wouldn’t have thought of going to the restaurant in the Lawton Hotel, and I wouldn’t have discovered how healing this place could be.

Hangzhou naturally became my “lucky destination” for 2023.

Although the restaurant is right next to the Lingyin Temple, as soon as you turn onto a small road, it suddenly becomes a remote and tranquil place.

At the intersection is an inconspicuous little door, and as you walk along the stone-paved path, the creek is on your right, with the sound of flowing water and a few red Manjushri trees visible.

In a small sink outside the restaurant’s entrance, there are a few small fish playing among the water plants, with their reflections on the eaves adding to the charm.

The most pleasant surprise came after dinner when I stepped outside, and the sky was completely dark. The chirping of insects was all around, and it happened to be the Cold Dew season, so I could even hear the sounds of insects and the creek, truly healing. I couldn’t resist taking out my phone to record the sounds.

A bright and full moon hung among the tall branches, and as I walked, I could see it appearing and disappearing from time to time, like a scene from a poem.

That night, every step I took felt light. Perhaps this is the meaning of travel: to discover unexpected delights that touch the heart, time and time again.

@Zhihu Travel @Where to Travel

The travel destination I must mention for 2023 is Chengdu. I’ve always looked forward to this city, perhaps because of the song by Zhao Lei. Although I didn’t follow the lyrics to “walk to the end of Yulin Road and sit at the entrance of a small tavern,” the Chengdu parent-child tripwith my child was incredibly enjoyable.

I. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

The primary reason for visiting Chengdu was to take my child to see our national treasure, the giant pandas. Although I didn’t witness the true appearance of the famous female panda “Hua Hua,” seeing many adorable pandas brought great joy.

We went during the summer vacation, and luckily, a friend told me to enter from the West Gate. Most people were queuing under the scorching sun at the South Gate, but the West Gate was different, with fewer people. The West Gate has newly built panda pavilions: Shan Yue Pavilion, Qiu Yue Pavilion, Wang Yue Pavilion, Ming Yue Pavilion, Jiang Yue Pavilion, and Lan Yue Pavilion. You can watch giant pandas up close, enjoying their meals through the glass.

II. Dujiangyan Irrigation System

The Dujiangyan Irrigation System was built during the Warring States period by Li Bing and his son, the governor of Shu County in the Qin Dynasty. It is one of the world’s earliest irrigation projects and the first no-dam irrigation system in the world.

Even today, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System retains its original engineering structure and operation methods, creating wealth for the Chengdu Plain. It’s often referred to as a “living water conservancy museum.” Seeing Dujiangyan up close, one can’t help but admire the wisdom of the ancients.

III. Wuhou Shrine

Wuhou Shrine, dating back to 223 AD during the construction of Liu Bei’s mausoleum, is the most famous memorial site for heroes of Shu Han, including Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei, and other Three Kingdoms heroes.

The red walls and gray-tiled roofs lining the paths on both sides of Wuhou Shrine are exceptionally charming. As one of the representatives of Han and Shu culture, it’s a must-visit place.

IV. Kuanzhai Alley

“Do you ask if I love Kuanzhai Alley or Narrow Alley? I love you.”

Kuanzhai Alley consists of Kuan Alley, Zhai Alley, and Jing Alley, all parallel and composed of ancient-style quadrangle courtyards with gray bricks and tiles. Walking in Kuanzhai Alley, you can sit in a teahouse, enjoy tea, listen to singers performing folk songs; it’s genuinely pleasant.

V. Chunxi Road

During our days in Chengdu, we would visit Chunxi Road every night after dinner. My child’s favorite was watching the 3D auto-stereoscopic screen. The live scenes were incredibly vivid, three-dimensional, and truly mesmerizing, making Chengdu feel magical.

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@Zhihu Travel @Where to Travel

Hometown Linhai, Taizhou.

In recent years, due to various reasons, I returned to Taizhou for a short visit during the October holiday in 2020. After that, I rarely visited, and even during Chinese New Year, I usually stayed in Hangzhou.

During the May Day holiday, at Eddy’s request, I took him on a deep dive into Linhai and also arranged a small gathering with old friends from high school. Compared to the crowded scenes in most parts of the country, except for the high-speed rail tickets for the round trip, the streets and lanes were not too crowded, and it still remained the tranquil ancient city in my memory.

⭕️ Ancient City Wall of Jiangnan

Linhai’s Taizhou city wall, also known as Jiangnan Great Wall or Jiangnan Badaling, is over 6,000 meters long, with over 5,000 meters still standing. Starting from Lansheng Gate, it follows the ridge of Beigushan Mountain to Yanxiage, directly to the east bank of Lingjiang River through steep cliffs and extends to the west of Jinshan Mountain. It follows the natural terrain, overlooking the great river…

The ancient city wall was first built during the Eastern Jin Dynasty and went through multiple demolitions, reconstructions, and repairs… During the Qing Dynasty, a wengcheng (barbican) was built, making it a city wall with dual functions of military defense and flood control.

The ancient city wall of Taizhou, Lansheng Gate, the leg-numbing 198 steps

On the first day, I arranged a “leg-numbing” package. Climbing the ancient city wall is a must, and you have to start from Lansheng Gate. This is also the steepest section of Linhai’s ancient city wall.

I remember the ruined walls and remains from the past… **Experiencing history is the best way to remember it.**Experiencing the steepness of the city wall, I couldn’t help but marvel at the difficulties of its construction in the past.

Overlooking from Lansheng Gate, with a view of Donghu Park

Climbing Lansheng Gate allows you to take in the entire city’s scenery.

Adjacent to it is Donghu Park, with distant mountains and Jinshan Twin Towers looming in the distance… It’s spring, and the season when vegetation is flourishing. This small city looks especially beautiful.

I took the opportunity to tell Eddy about Linhai’s rich cultural heritage - the Great Wall, Jinshan, Donghu, Ziyang Street, Guangwen Temple… Those were just ordinary scenic spots back then, but looking at them across time, they carry a different feeling.

⭕️ Donghu Park

Donghu (East Lake) holds many memories of my youth. But due to a reconstruction in the late 1990s, it now has a bit of the charm of a Suzhou garden.

Overlooking Donghu Park

Returning to Donghu, I was also looking for memories from the past.

This public park, called “Xiaoxihu (Little West Lake)” by the literary scholar Yu Yue in the Qing Dynasty, used to be naturally simple.

Bangou Pavilion, Lake Heart Pavilion, Jiuyu Bridge

The Bangou Pavilion in the center of the lake, the Lake Heart Pavilion, and the Jiuyu Bridge that connects them are still the same as in my memory. The stone bridges from the Song Dynasty and the iron railings from the Republic of China are also the most representative beauties of Donghu!

Song-style wedding water performance

I happened to catch a Song-style wedding water performance. It was quite an extraordinary experience.

From a professional perspective, the ingenious location management and landscaping of Donghu Park amazed me…

The restoration of historical relics often involves the construction and demolition of specific phases. I miss the children’s park with a wild version of an airship and bumper cars, and I also miss the lakeside dam that used to connect Qianxuan Road and Donghu Road. The architectural group used to perform various extravagant circus performances, but they are no longer there!

The most surprising thing is the “Golden Book and Iron Voucher” donated by the Qian family, local officials. It seamlessly connects with what I saw in Hangzhou at Qianwang Temple and the Hangzhou Museum, touching on the history of the Wu and Yue Dynasties!

⭕️ Ziyang Street

Of course, there was also plenty of eating and drinking. For example, the bustling Ziyang Street. It’s known as the first old street in Linhai,

Ziyang Street, 1080 meters in length, strings together the daily life of the people of the ancient city…

About Ziyang Street:
There used to be no street name, and it was called by the location of historical sites, names of people, and place names.

At that time, the northern end of the street was Huangfang Bridge, the southern end was Lanshowlou, and the middle section, from north to south, was called Ziyang Palace, Yidongtian, Fengxianfang, Shizijiekou, Yingxianfang, Baita Qiaotou, Fangyiren, Deqingxiangkou, Paimenzhou, Laxiangkou, Anletian, and Tanxing Street, among others.

The White Pagoda Bridge and Sanlou Restaurant here are all flavors I remember from before.

The various snacks on this old street have preserved the old flavor of the ancient city. It’s still very much worth visiting the old shops as a pilgrimage, such as those selling old scales or fans… Although there are more precise electronic scales and exquisite fans now, viewing them as memories of ancient city life or historical souvenirs is quite meaningful. The cigarette paper shop at the corner of the street is a part of the old city life itself.

⭕️ Let’s Count the Snacks That Satisfied Me This Time

Mabing (wheat cake), Maxia (wheat shrimp), and Mayouzhi (wheat oil residue) are a must-try.

Mabing, Maxia, and Mayouzhi

There’s also ginger soup noodles and grilled ginger sauce that’s deeply ingrained in my genes.

Ginger soup noodles and grilled ginger sauce, I won’t tell you I ate them for three days in a row

And the salty meat taro noodles and sausage rolls that I’ve been talking about for a long time.

Taro meat noodles Sausage rolls

The charm of this

Perhaps before Yanji became so popular, I visited Yanji!

For friends who watch various short videos, you must have seen people sharing videos of going to Yanji as “fugitive princesses” (I went as a fugitive “Dae Jang Geum,” haha~).

Yanji is a small city in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, Jilin Province, with a total population of about 500,000, of which Koreans account for 300,000. It has a strong ethnic character and is a place where you can experience Korean culture without going to South Korea!

When I went there at the beginning of this year, there were already signs of its impending popularity. There were many more tourists on the streets! And because it was a last-minute decision to go, we didn’t even book a hotel (only hotels priced over four digits had rooms left). Probably two days after we went, the folk village announced that it would start charging admission!

Fortunately, we caught the last wave of free entry, haha!

Is Yanji worth visiting or not? For friends who want to experience Korean culture and feel the winter in the Northeast, it’s definitely worth it!

For someone like me, a true Northeasterner, Yanji might just be a food trip. That’s why there are no street photos, because it was too cold at the time, and I didn’t get out of the car, haha!

Let me share some tips for visiting Yanji:

Accommodation: Be sure to book in advance; otherwise, not only will you have trouble finding a room at the last minute, but it will also be expensive. We drove an hour to stay in Hunchun at the time, where the room rates were lower, the food was good, and you could also visit the border and buy some Russian specialties!

Food: It’s definitely all kinds of Korean cuisine. You don’t need to go to the internet-famous restaurants recommended online; the lines are too long. We just walked into a random restaurant, and the food was great! Try their specialty cold noodles, stir-fried vegetables, stir-fried rice cakes, and soybean paste soup! Since we often eat these dishes, we didn’t find the taste exceptional, but for friends who haven’t tried them, it’s worth a try!

Before leaving, remember to buy some local specialties at the local market to take back. You don’t need Korean snacks; they are similar to what’s sold in your local international snack section. But you can buy some pickled vegetables like ginseng, spicy cabbage, and pollock roe. You don’t need to buy too much; there are various Jilin specialty shops online where you can buy them!

Don’t forget to try their rice wine; it’s very good!

Sightseeing: Folk village, Maoshan Mountain, there are plenty of online guides! At the entrance of the folk village, you can rent a set of costumes. If you can do your own makeup, you can do it yourself. Their makeup is done like an assembly line, and it all looks the same. If you don’t know how to style your hair, you can pay to have your hair done. Makeup + costume costs a little over a hundred, but there are also more expensive options!

As for taking photos, the place where you rent costumes has photographers, but their reputation is mixed. If you want something unique and outstanding, you can do what I did. Look for a photographer on a certain fish (a reference to a popular Chinese e-commerce platform) a day in advance. I think it was 150 yuan per hour. As a result, I told him to stop after half an hour because it was too cold, and Northeasterners don’t tolerate the cold! (By the way, Korean costumes all have low collars. It’s best to wear a thick low-collar undershirt underneath. Remember to bring a coat.)

In short, I’m glad I went before it became so popular. I still prefer less crowded attractions; the fun of visiting disappears when there are too many people! But the world is so big, you have to go and see it!

(I didn’t leave many scenic photos because it was too cold to get out of the car, and there were people everywhere.)

Dalian, my hometown where I used to visit for only two weeks each year over the past ten years and didn’t go at all during those special three years.

This year’s Spring Festival, though considered a homecoming, was more of a “trip” with the little ones who had never been to Dalian.

The long-lost sea, the long-lost biting cold wind. In the years of growing up here, I rarely went to the seaside in winter. But this time, during the “journey,” I went several times.

A few years ago, I wanted to see seagulls. I used to think they were always there, and I could go anytime, so I didn’t rush to go and kept putting it off… The experiences of the past few years have taught me that when you can, you should cherish the present. Anything you think will always “wait for you” can disappear at any time, including yourself.

So, here we are, to see these cute little creatures that are not afraid of the cold wind.

A few years ago, I also wanted to ride a Ferris wheel, and finally, my wish came true. It’s the Ferris wheel in Dalian Zoo, with leather seats in every carriage, heating, Bluetooth, and charging ports.

Around 2018, I wanted to find a chance to ride it, but I never had the time to go. Luckily, it’s still there, and it operates during the Spring Festival. I finally had the opportunity to sit up there and experience a romantic “fulfillment”: in the freezing cold, I entered the heated carriage, played my favorite music, held the warm can of hot coffee in my hand, and looked at the sea with an additional cross-sea bridge…

Of course, it’s also essential to find the taste of nostalgia. I specifically went to an old-established Dalian restaurant to eat “Three Fresh Braised Tofu”- it was so good!

And after leaving Dalian, I haven’t eaten **“Live Sea Cucumber”**since. That taste instantly transported me back to my childhood. You have to know that even in Chengdu, the hometown of Dalian, this authentic flavor hasn’t been replicated.

In addition to my own palate memories, I also tried some “local specialty flavors” that suddenly became popular on certain platforms a few years ago, like this potsticker…

Well… when you turn it over, it’s shrimp paste potstickers. I haven’t eaten them many times in my life. They are indeed special, but not frequently consumed. I haven’t heard of anyone who really enjoys them. In terms of taste, these potstickers are not as good as eating shrimp paste directly, but they look good.

Apart from these, I also ate the ordinary braised tofu from my favorite old restaurant.

The old restaurant that serves chicken soup and tofu skewers didn’t have time to visit, but luckily, they offered takeout during the Spring Festival. Although it was already cold when it arrived, I still managed to scoop out a bit from the bowl and enjoyed it thoroughly.

There were also some miscellaneous snacks. Unfortunately, many stores were closed during the Spring Festival, but fortunately, many stores stayed open, allowing me to go. Luckily, I went!

These days, I’m thinking about returning to Dalian earlier this year for an in-depth “tour.”


I’m very happy that you can read this far. I am @米饼小猴猴 .

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If I were to talk about the travel destination I was fortunate to visit this year, it would be Ruzhou, Henan. I embarked on a three-day, two-night trip to Henan with my child.

Upon receiving an invitation to a friend’s wedding, I had been pondering whether to attend. Several good friends were going, including our teacher and their family. We hadn’t seen each other in a long time, so I finally decided to go. It was a rare opportunity to reunite, and if I didn’t go this time, I didn’t know when we would all meet again.

It was my first time visiting Henan, and it was during the summer when the scenery along the way was exceptionally beautiful, with lush greenery everywhere, a feast for the eyes.

Ruozhou is not a particularly famous tourist destination, nor does it have well-known tourist attractions. However, every place has its own unique characteristics, such as its cuisine. I went to a restaurant called “Ruozhou’s Eight Big Bowls,” offering authentic Ruozhou cuisine.

I found that its flavors leaned towards the spicy side, so if you prefer very mild flavors, you might not be accustomed to it.

In addition to the Eight Big Bowls, my junior schoolmate introduced me to Henan’s hot and spicy soup, which is an ordinary thing for her as a Henan native but quite new for me as an outsider.

I had tasted hot and spicy soup in Tianjin before, but after trying Henan’s version, I felt that it was more authentic.

I had originally planned to visit the Shaolin Temple after my friend’s wedding. However, these days happened to coincide with heavy rain, so I couldn’t make it. Instead, during the rain-free moments, I went to a nearby amusement park with my child, who was quite happy, playing with many little friends.

I stayed in Henan for three days and took a ride back with a friend’s carpool. We passed through a mountainous area, and I had already forgotten the name of the mountain, but perhaps due to the rain, there was a layer of mist covering the mountains, creating a spectacular scene.

Opportunities like this are rare, and it’s not easy for so many good friends to come together. I don’t know when we’ll meet again next time, so I’m glad we went. Both my child and I had a great time on this trip.

“You Drive a Mazda, No Wonder There’s Traffic!”

The planned visit to the Mazda factory in Hiroshima, which had been in the works for 18 years, was disrupted due to the famous heavy rains in Western Japan, causing a railway interruption that left me stranded in Fukuoka.

I was truly “stuck in traffic.”

At the time, I jokingly thought, “Maybe I’m not qualified to attend this event.” Sitting on the halted Shinkansen (bullet train), I sent an email to Mazda, informing them of the cancellation of today’s reservation with deep regret.

Five years later, when I decided to make up for this regret, the phrase “You’re not qualified to attend this event” from Hong Kong actor Tony Leung’s quote kept lingering in my mind. But thinking about the RX-7 from Initial D and seeing that roundtrip flights from Osaka (afraid of getting “stuck in traffic” again in Fukuoka) cost only 1300 yen, I made up my mind to continue pursuing the dream from five years ago. Although Japanese cars are not as popular in China these days, my obsession with Initial D led me to visit exhibitions and factories of Japanese car brands. It was a regret that I hadn’t visited Mazda.

In 2023, without getting “stuck in traffic,” I finally made it to Mazda.

Mazda’s headquarters are located in the Hiroshima area of Western Japan, just two stops away from Hiroshima Station. Visits need to be scheduled in advance, with reservations typically made three months ahead as slots fill up quickly. Tours are available in both Japanese and English, with different time slots.

After checking in at the front desk, we waited for the shuttle bus to take us to the Mazda Museum. While it’s a museum, it’s unique in that you can actually tour the production line.

During the approximately 10-minute bus ride, the staff also shared some tips for the tour. They explained the layout and structure of the factory outside the window and shared some guidelines.

The Mazda Museum features a distinctive black theme.

The museum consists of 10 exhibition zones where you can learn about the company’s history from its establishment to the past 100 years and its vision for the future.

Photography is allowed during the tour, except in Zone 9, the assembly plant!

The first zone

In addition to documenting Mazda’s history since its inception, it also showcases “three-wheeled trucks” incorporating the technology of that era. The most noteworthy exhibit is the green Mazda, the oldest surviving three-wheeled truck known as the “TCS-type three-wheeled truck.”

Why is there a Mitsubishi logo? It’s probably because Mazda didn’t have a complete sales network in the early days, so they cooperated with Mitsubishi and printed the Mitsubishi logo.

From the second zone to the seventh zone, different classic Mazda models from different eras are displayed.

Mazda’s classics, the RX7 and ROADSTER. As a fan of Initial D, I couldn’t miss capturing every detail! Click, click, click!

Unconsciously, I was pulled back into the memories of the Initial D manga~

In “Initial D,” besides the AE86, the most popular car should be the Mazda RX7.

Since introducing the first-generation RX-7 (SA/FB) in 1978, Mazda has been committed to researching and improving rotary engines. The launch of the first-generation RX-7 (SA/FB) not only succeeded the RX-3 but also marked a significant breakthrough in rotary engine technology.

The second-generation RX-7 (FC3S) was influenced by the North American market in terms of design, adopting a more streamlined appearance, and significantly improving engine performance. In “Initial D,” Takahashi Ryosuke’s FC3S is a classic due to its excellent handling and unique engine sound, leaving a lasting impact on many car enthusiasts.

The third-generation RX-7 (FD3S) emphasized streamlined and lightweight design, featuring the 13B-REW rotary engine with a sequential twin-turbo system, taking performance to a new level. In “Initial D,” Takahashi Keisuke’s FD3S also enjoys high recognition and influence.

While rotary engines have unique advantages in terms of performance, they face challenges in terms of fuel consumption and emissions. Mazda introduced the RX-8 and RX-Vision concept car in the new century.

This Mazda Cosmo has appeared in several Japanese special-effects dramas.

The fourth zone showcases Mazda’s racing cars, including the Mazda 787B, which won the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race in 1991, and other racing cars.

Of course, Mazda’s pride and joy, the “rotary engine,” cannot be missed.

The eighth zone is about Mazda’s craftsmanship and its latest technology in manufacturing, emphasizing the concept of “mass production of artisan techniques.” This philosophy pursues both craftsmanship and productivity. Mazda’s red color is also a relatively complex process.

The ninth zone: Production line

Mazda’s production line is characterized by “mixed production of multiple products.”

Seeing various cars being assembled on the slowly moving conveyor belt is truly amazing!

Seeing the ROADSTER being assembled step by step on the assembly line was so exciting. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take photos to share with everyone.

The tenth zone: Mazda’s vision for the next 100 years

This part introduces Mazda’s efforts under the theme “Soul of Motion.” The exhibition hall feels like an art gallery.

As a car enthusiast who has visited several famous car manufacturers in Japan, Mazda’s ability to visit the assembly line easily outshines other museums in terms of historical views.

In 2023, my visit to Hiroshima, with Mazda as the highlight, finally fulfilled my wish. In late 2023, I also managed to visit Mazda’s headquarters without getting “stuck in traffic.” I hope 2024 goes smoothly as well!

Travel Highlights of 2023: Cherishing Every Journey

1. May Wildlife Park Adventure:

C-sister had been wanting to visit a wildlife park for a long time, and she had been mentioning it since last year. So, for her birthday, I decided to take her there and celebrate her birthday at a hotel.

Ever since we had kids, I’ve aimed to take her on a trip every year for her birthday, offering her a different experience. We had a hotel with tent-themed decorations and cartoon characters. I also prepared balloons and gifts in advance, hoping to give her the biggest surprise and happiness on this special day. I wish every day for her to be extraordinary.

Dad thought the cake provided by the hotel was too simple, so when we got home, he specifically got her an Elsa princess cake. Haha, he’s totally under our daughter’s charm.

As for the itinerary at the wildlife park, I’ve written about it before, so I won’t dwell on it. Here’s a practical tip: The Shenyang Wildlife Park is really vast, with steep slopes. Don’t think about walking around, especially if you have a little one. The park offers sightseeing cars and electric scooters.

The sightseeing car stops at fixed stations and costs 40 RMB per person. The electric scooter costs 200 RMB for two hours and you can drive it yourself. It’s suitable for a family of three.

The sightseeing car covers only a part of the zoo, while the electric scooter can take you to any part of the zoo. It provides more freedom.

Our experience suggests that you can first explore the lower, flat areas of the park with your child. Rest a bit and then rent an electric scooter to visit the higher areas. This way, you can save energy and money.

The tiny electric scooter, with dad driving and mom holding the child, left us with no extra space at all. But despite the effort, our little one had an incredibly happy day. It was indeed something to cherish.

2. Tianjin Trip for the Dragon Boat Festival:

It seems like all of our trips are spontaneous decisions. For example, going to Tianjin for the Dragon Boat Festival. To be honest, Tianjin in the summer is scorching hot. Thanks to various exciting indoor activities, we were able to keep the kids happy while avoiding the heat. So, we embarked on a “stay-at-home” trip to Tianjin, haha.

We spent two days checking in at the popular missdeer indoor playground. Our little one had a blast. For her, the meaning of travel might not be about the sights, scenery, or food. It’s about having fun with mom and dad at each exciting indoor playground: trying out different slides, trampolines, and themed games. Maybe that’s what makes her the happiest.

Of course, there were special moments too, like her first time watching a children’s magic show, her first visit to the Ocean Museum, her first glimpse of dinosaur skeletons from picture books, and even her first time seeing polar animal specimens up close.

3. Summer Water Fun:

How can you not play in the water during the summer? But our city doesn’t have a suitable seaside. So, we had to find a riverside spot with beautiful scenery, calm water, and clear water quality. It would be perfect if there was a beautiful homestay nearby.

A homestay by the water with breathtaking views right outside the window.

The tranquil water surface seems to slow down time…

A vintage-style boat.

Crystal-clear creek water. Every time I see it, it feels refreshing. This is what summer should look like.

If there’s one thing we’re most grateful for on this trip, it’s receiving an orange rainstorm warning before departure. After much hesitation, we decided to go anyway. Even if it rained, it might offer a different kind of beauty. Besides, when we’re with family, anywhere we go is a happy place.

So, we set off without hesitation. Fortunately, we drove for six hours and had a two-day trip without any rain. That’s what we’re happiest and most grateful for.

@Zhihu Travel

Guangzhou: A Journey of Discovery for Our Child

Strictly speaking, our trips to Guangzhou were not solely for the purpose of traveling, but in the end, we did embark on two journeys to this city.

1. Experiencing Various Modes of Transportation

Our child is a little vehicle enthusiast, fascinated by all forms of transportation. This year, we visited Guangzhou twice, choosing different modes of transportation each time. We rode slow trains, soft sleepers, second-class seats on high-speed trains, took the subway, and even hopped on buses with three doors. Our child was thrilled every time, but he particularly loved the buses with three doors. To accompany him, we took these buses several times, even if they were not exactly on our route.

2. Falling in Love with Hotel Stays

Back home, we’ve stayed in hotels before, mainly for enjoying hot springs. These were brief one-night stays with limited experiences. However, during our two trips to Guangzhou, we stayed for more than a week each time. Buffet dining, laundry facilities, complimentary tea breaks in lounges, robot-assisted deliveries, and children’s play zones were all new experiences for our child.

3. Savoring Various Delicacies

Before visiting Guangzhou, we had no idea about the city’s culinary treasures. Just about any local noodle shop near our hotel served incredibly delicious noodles. Despite being clear broths, the meaty flavors were rich, non-fishy, and incredibly comforting. Our child particularly enjoyed them. Unlike our hometown, Guizhou, where spicy food dominates, Guangzhou’s cuisine tends to be mild. Even young children can enjoy it without hesitation. Dining out has never been easier.

4. Getting Close to Animals

Our child had never been to a zoo before, having only visited a small local aquarium. During our trip to Guangzhou, we took him to the Guangzhou Zoo. For a mere 40 RMB entrance fee, he saw a variety of animals and even rode the Ferris wheel and roller coaster inside. He was overjoyed. We also went to Chimelong Penguin Ice World to see penguins. However, what excited him more than the penguins were the indoor ice slides, which he went up and down countless times.

5. Visiting Children’s Parks

Back home, local parks primarily focus on riverside landscapes, offering beautiful scenery but not much space for children to run and play freely. In Guangzhou, we explored several parks, and the most noticeable thing was how they catered to children. Whether it was the children’s section in comprehensive parks or specially designed children’s parks, they all had various entertainment facilities like sandpits, swings, slides, and climbing frames. Children could play for a long time.

Having seen a bigger world, our child’s inner world has also expanded. These experiences have left a profound impression on him, allowing him to appreciate the richness of life and fueling his curiosity and desire to explore the unknown. Even after returning home, he often asks when we can go to Guangzhou again. I believe these precious experiences will be valuable treasures on his journey of growth. In the future, I will continue to accompany him as we explore this beautiful and vast world together.

Kunming Stone Forest

Time flies, and the year is coming to an end. Looking through the photos on my phone, whether it’s playing in the park nearby or traveling far, all that remains are joyful memories. The places we were fortunate to visit were all with our family.

Kunming Stone Forest

I’ve visited many cities before, seeing similar ancient towns and commercialized streets. But when I reached the Stone Forest, it presented a different kind of scenery, and I marveled at the craftsmanship of nature.

The Stone Forest Scenic Area is located in Shilin Yi Autonomous County, Kunming City, Yunnan Province. Here, you’ll find spectacular and unique karst landforms, often referred to as the “natural museum of grotesque stones and breathtaking peaks.” It has been recognized by UNESCO as both a “World Geopark” and a “World Natural Heritage Site.”

When visiting the Stone Forest, I recommend hiring a guide. Since it’s all natural rock formations, without the guide’s explanations, you might miss out on the history and stories behind the stones, and it could end up being, “big rocks from afar, big rocks up close.” Haha, that’s what our guide said the first time we visited.

Yunnan Jiuxiang

Jiuxiang is located within Jiuxiang Yi and Hui Autonomous Township, Yiliang County, Yunnan Province. It boasts typical karst geological wonders, including multi-level caves, rift valleys, tiankengs (sinkholes), cave waterfalls, stone dams, and highland lakes, which have existed for over 500 million years. The numerous caves are magnificent, making one feel incredibly small in the face of nature.

The famous Lion Hall Cave is crowned by a massive rock without any visible support, which is truly magical. The guide mentioned that the movie “The Myth” with Jackie Chan and Kim Hee-sun featured scenes shot here, where they were flying around in a tomb.

Liling, the Capital of Porcelain

For some reason, this year, there was a sudden surge in interest in picking ceramics in Liling. Many ceramic factories set up stalls for passersby to pick and buy at low prices. When my son heard about it, he was eager to give it a try.

Liling is the birthplace of the world-famous underglaze color porcelain, the location of China’s “Imperial Porcelain” - the Red Official Kiln, and the hometown of fireworks master Li Tian. It’s known as the “Capital of Chinese Porcelain” and the “Capital of Chinese Fireworks.”

China Ceramic Valley is the iconic architectural complex of Liling, featuring distinctive buildings that resemble giant bowls, vases, and plates stacked unevenly.

Everywhere in the Ceramic Museum, you can see elements of porcelain. Even the stairs are covered with ceramic tiles. The vast array of ceramic exhibits is exquisitely crafted, and I couldn’t stop taking photos with my phone.

Following the guidance of local friends, we set out from downtown Liling, navigated to “Hua Zhi Ceramics,” and along the way, there are ceramic factories like Legend, Yijia, and Huazhi. If we spotted one that looked suitable, we stopped to explore and pick ceramics.

Many factories even hung banners welcoming everyone to pick ceramics, creating a joyful atmosphere. My son had the most fun. He’s sweet-talking and cute, so the owners were happy to give him extra pieces. By the end of our ceramics-picking adventure, we had quite a haul, and my son got many little bowls, plates, and pots for his playhouse.

@Zhihu Travel

During this year’s summer vacation, I took my family to stay for two days in Songjiang Guangfulin, a suburb of Shanghai.

Why did we choose the suburbs? Apart from budget considerations and a bit of cost-cutting, it was also a great opportunity for my child, who is in the third grade, to learn about Shanghai’s history.

Guangfulin Heritage Site, located in Songjiang District, Shanghai, is a cultural site with a history spanning over a thousand years, holding deep historical and cultural value. It is often referred to as the root of Shanghai, and you can learn about everything related to Shanghai from an underwater museum.

Inside the Guangfulin Heritage Site, we could see ancient cultural relics and natural landscapes.

Here, you can witness relics from the Stone Age thousands of years ago. Taking my child with me allowed us to personally experience the lifestyle and culture of ancient humans. Additionally, the Guangfulin Heritage Site has preserved a large number of ancient buildings from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. The style and structure of these buildings showcase the exquisite craftsmanship of ancient Chinese architecture.

The Fulin Tower is a late Tang-style building and is the tallest structure you can see in the area.

On the day we visited, there happened to be a thunderstorm. After the rain stopped, I captured a scene of the setting sun’s glow combining with this thousand-year-old pagoda, creating a very artistic atmosphere.

My kids were particularly fond of the Guangfulin-themed ice cream, and they each wanted one.

Of course, what my two kids liked most were the popular attractions here, the Duoyun Bookstore and the Hilton Hotel.

A bookstore with a long history, combined with modern elements, where my older child could spend an entire day. Besides the strong air conditioning that attracted her, you could also enjoy ice cream from Duoyun Bookstore and a wide variety of books (my older child has loved reading from a very young age, and she always insists on bringing a book even when going to the hospital).

Every corner of Duoyun Bookstore is picturesque. When you push open the glass door, you can see this tree at the entrance:

Of course, the two kids also enjoyed spending time at the hotel, especially at the Hilton Hotel’s children’s playground.

The hotel’s popular check-in spot, the leisure coffee restaurant:

The original view offers a glimpse of the famous Guangfulin Heritage Park:

There are also many foodie destinations nearby. I recommend visiting Xitaolao Da at Wanda Plaza. The interior design of this restaurant is truly outstanding, and, of course, the barbecue is even more outstanding:

Eating at Xitaolao Da twice in three days, I think I genuinely love it.

I recommend friends visiting Shanghai to take some time to explore the Guangfulin Heritage Site. Even if you don’t buy tickets, you can see about 80% of the worthwhile attractions.

@Zhihu Travel

In 2023, while many were engaging in retaliatory travel post-pandemic, my circumstances were different. Given the post-pandemic situation and the anticipation of a second child, I realized that it would be a long time before I could travel alone with my eldest.

So, in 23, I embarked on many journeys with my growing belly.

2023, Fortunately, I Took My Child to a Family-Friendly Hotel

My daughter’s favorite hotel is the Meixi Lake Jumeirah in Changsha. Each time we stay there, the memories linger. With some free time during the Chinese New Year holiday, I booked the hotel in the morning and checked in at noon. It was a spontaneous trip.

The hotel comes with a cute pet playground where you can feed small animals, walk dogs, and play with rabbits.

There’s also a mini swimming pool suitable for kids, with a depth of only 0.9 meters and comfortably warm water. It’s a certified family-friendly hotel.

2023, Fortunately, I Witnessed a Traditional Craft I Always Wanted to See

This was my wish - I often saw traditional ironwork on TV and in videos, and it always looked so beautiful and romantic.

So I visited Tongguanyao near the city to witness traditional ironwork, which was quite spectacular. There was even a fireworks music fountain, which was delightful.

The place was packed with people, inside and out. My husband had to carry our daughter on his shoulders.

And, of course, we didn’t miss the opportunity to visit the hotel. The hotel has unique, individual courtyard-style rooms, somewhat resembling the style of the Aman Resorts.

It’s located within the Tongguanyao Scenic Area and is a member of the Changsha Family-Friendly Hotel list.

2023, Fortunately, I Checked Out Two Michelin-Starred Restaurants

Coincidentally, my husband had to go to Guangzhou for a trade show, so we decided to tag along for some indulgent dining and pampering.

This hotel had been on my wishlist for years - The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou.

After all these years, it’s still elegant and sophisticated, just as I remembered. The hotel has an open-air pool that’s quite fantastic. Many years ago, my husband and I sunbathed here, and now we brought our daughter for a swim.

We also checked out Bing Sheng Mansion and White Swan Hotel. The barbecue pork from Bing Sheng, White Swan’s pineapple pastry, and chicken feet are still memorable.

2023, Fortunately, We Went to Dalian and Experienced a Northeastern Bathhouse

The whole family went to Dalian for a few days, and we took our daughter to a bathhouse. I must say, I could stay there for a week. It was truly enriching and comfortable!

We took cable cars, enjoyed sea cucumbers, and explored the underwater world. This city is beautiful, even though it was a bit cold for outdoor activities in the spring.

Let me share this delicious meal from Xiding, and of course, the sea cucumbers.

2023, Fortunately, I Didn’t Miss Dandong’s Giant Strawberries and Yalu River Scenery

My cousin got married to a girl from Dandong, so our large family went to Dandong.

We admired the scenery along the Yalu River, gazed at North Korea on the other side, and indulged in plenty of Dandong’s giant strawberries. It was quite an authentic experience.

Dandong’s cuisine, high in protein, even left my husband, who’s a protein enthusiast, quite full…

2023, Fortunately, We Visited Two Luxury Wilderness Hotels and Let Our Child Experience Nature Deeply

Both were located in mountainous areas near the city and offered breathtaking views of the night sky.

There were various activities to intimately connect with nature:

Climbing the mountains at the hotel.

Reading a book in the reading room inside a cave.

2023, Fortunately, I Finally Went to Wuhan, Visited Museums, Science Centers, and the Yellow Crane Tower

We visited the iconic Yellow Crane Tower, sampled creative ice cream, and saw the Sword of Goujian. We didn’t miss the chime bell performance – it was a high-level auditory delight. Be sure to catch a chime bell performance when you visit!

The Science Center was an incredibly fun children’s technology paradise. Not only was it entertaining, but it also taught children many scientific principles, broadening their horizons and knowledge.

Of course, we stayed at a hotel, the Junyi Hotel in Wuhan Optics Valley. The entire hotel exudes a Chu-style and Han-flavored atmosphere. It truly appeals to my aesthetic sense.

Without realizing it, the first half of 2023 took me to so many places - it was indeed a year of retaliatory travel!

Calculating it, the latest trip was to Wuhan during the Dragon Boat Festival. After that, I stayed home peacefully until my little one was born in August.

Now, taking care of a baby who needs feeding and diaper changes every day, and dealing with my elder child’s chlamydia infection, oh my, in 23, I’m so fortunate to have been to so many places!

In 2023, the travel destination I was fortunate to visit was the seaside.

Perhaps, starting from 2024, I might hesitate to take my children to the beach. Even if they eagerly suggest going to the seaside, I might persuade them to consider other places, as there are many more exciting destinations waiting for them!

Although Fujian Province is a coastal province, planning a trip to the seaside in my hometown of Ningde and Putian still requires some effort.

Children always have a special affinity for the sea. The depictions of the ocean in picture books and animated films are always beautiful and captivating. How could children bear to miss any opportunity to frolic by the sea?

So, this summer, I took my children to the immersive experience of playing at the seaside in Pinghai Town, Putian. We deliberately chose the late afternoon for departure. The sun wouldn’t be scorching, and the children could have a great time before sunset.

As soon as we arrived at the beach, my younger brother lingered on the shore. For preschoolers, giving them a pile of sand is enough to keep them busy all day. Building sandcastles, digging channels, pouring sand, or simply stomping on the sand, they find endless joy in it.

The older kids, on the other hand, had no interest in the sand and headed straight for the sea.

At first, they were a bit reserved, tentatively splashing each other and engaging in water fights with water guns.

Once they observed that this area of the sea was designated for tourists to play in and had a relatively high level of safety, the children became enthusiastic. Without hesitation, they rushed into the sea, unconcerned about getting wet. Some even took off their clothes and lay in the water. Playing with sand and water is a natural instinct for children, and it was once again confirmed.

After a while, even my younger brother was drawn to the older children. He abandoned his shovel and bucket, held Mom’s hand, and headed straight for the sea. The seawater only reached his ankles, and it was his first experience of the waves surging and retreating.

Later on, the children’s creativity blossomed. They dug a trench at the intersection of the beach and the sea, and when the waves surged, the trench was filled with water, and when the waves receded, it was empty.

Parents, for once, found themselves with some rare free time. They reminded the children to stay safe while enjoying the pleasant cool breeze blowing from the sea.

Who knows if this scene and these moments will still occur in the future? Fortunately, in 2023, I took my children to the seaside.

@Zhihu Travel

Where to Go for New Year

Early 2023. Many places have just reopened.

The place I most wanted to explore was the “Capella Bangkok,” which was completed in 2020, immediately faced the pandemic, was forced to close, and then, under the difficult conditions of global pandemic control, was ranked second in the world’s best hotel rankings in 2022.

While planning the trip, some domestic media outlets were spreading rumors like “going to Thailand will get kidnapped,” “you will be scammed to go to northern Myanmar,” “you will be knocked out and smuggled to northern Myanmar,” “university professors and company executives were abducted to Bangkok and then sold to Myanmar’s industrial parks for extortion,” “people who have been to Thailand have had their WeChat accounts deleted, their phone cards suspended, and their bank cards frozen,” and other terrifying rumors, which made me hesitate for a while.

However, because I have been to Thailand several times, I have confidence in the tourism industry there. Besides, after the pandemic, I have never experienced the famous business class of Japan Airlines. It’s so affordable that I can’t miss it.

Although Japan Airlines' Sky Suite has slightly lower privacy compared to reverse herringbone seats, it looks almost as good as first class and is very comfortable.

But my favorite part is still Japan Airlines' dining, which is truly top-notch! From appetizers to main courses, they are all splendid.

Even in business class, you can enjoy their famous braised beef tongue. It was a pleasant surprise.

Thailand has been open for over a year now, and everything is as familiar as before.

Seeing the familiar sign at the entrance of Capella Bangkok:

Around the world, hotels with this golden sign (Leading Hotels of the World) are excellent hotels, with higher standards than ordinary five-star hotels. (Of course, you need more money to stay there.) There are a total of 450 luxury hotels under Leading Hotels of the World, many of which are very distinctive luxury hotels.

This comfortable room facing the Chao Phraya River is very satisfying.

The bathroom amenities are in a box, and when put together, they form an old photograph!

Complimentary champagne and snacks upon check-in.

Even the coconut water you drink has the hotel’s name and the “Capella” dual-star system. The big star represents the guest, and the small star represents the service staff.

The spacious interior of the hotel.

Sitting on the balcony of the room, enjoying the Chao Phraya River, and sipping fragrant tea, all worries and stress will be swept away.

Various beautiful desserts.

A corner of the breakfast food station. Breakfast is a combination of ordering and self-service, very comfortable.

Japanese-style rice porridge for breakfast. It feels like Bangkok, Thailand does Japanese cuisine very authentically.

The hotel’s special afternoon tea:

Exquisite pastries and utensils:

Art-like desserts that are too beautiful to eat.

Sunset over the Chao Phraya River.

Coming to Bangkok for about ten days again, it’s more about enjoying the colorful exotic culture here than touristy check-ins.

Take a stroll through the weekend market:

Get lost in front of colorful small goods:

Stare at beautiful lanterns.

Visit Yayoi Kusama’s works, and buy some souvenirs along the way:

Experience dishes that celebrities have eaten at famous restaurants.

Take a stroll through the pedestrian market inside the Iconsiam luxury shopping center on the banks of the Chao Phraya River:

Of course, the Michelin two-star restaurant Côte (Côte by Mauro Colagreco) inside the hotel is a must-visit. After all, it is one of the world’s top 50 restaurants. Chef Davide Garavaglia’s creativity and a wonderful Michelin two-star meal complement each other perfectly, and the disproportionately low price is the icing on the cake.

Appetizer with caviar: The burst of delicious caviar in the mouth integrates organically with other parts of the appetizer, leaving people with endless thoughts.

Pan-seared salmon produces the texture of sashimi, and the salmon roe and samphire complement the deliciousness of the fish meat, making other ingredients pale in comparison.

The pan-seared Wagyu steak melts in the mouth upon entry, with the crispness of shiitake mushrooms and the seasoning of mustard sauce, making a simple steak produce complex flavors.

Many thanks to my own confidence; I didn’t miss this wonderful trip! Food and scenery. Returning, I am refreshed.

During Easter, the hotel thoughtfully sent a basket of Easter egg candies.