Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year


May the Year of the Horse bring all of us good health, great wealth, tons of happiness, abundance of prosperity, and endless amount of luck.

Happy Chinese New Year - Gong Xi Fa Cai !!!

祝大家  :  身体健康,财源广进,心想事成,年年有余,万事如意,马到功成 .

新年快乐 - 恭喜发财 !!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The XXI INCOSAI


INTOSAI (The International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions) was founded in 1953, and it operates as an umbrella organisation for the community of supreme audit institutions (SAI) in countries belonging to the United Nations (UN) and its specialised agencies. INTOSAI is the recognised international body in the field of external public audit.

INCOSAI (International Congress of Surpreme Audit Institutions) is the INTOSAI organ of the highest authority, and is held once every 3 years.

The XXI INCOSAI, hosted by the National Audit Office of China, is held from 21 to 26 Oct 2013 in Beijing.

The China National Philatelic Corporation has issued a set of 2 commemorative stamps titled "The XXI INCOSAI" in conjunction with this event. The Emblem of XXI INCOSAI and the Logo of INTOSAI are being featured in each stamp respectively.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Date of Issue : 22 Oct 2013
Postmark : China
Denomination : 2 x CNY1.20
Stamp Size : 27mm x 38mm
Printing Process : Offset

A LIL' NOTE

A memento that I bought during my last trip to Guangzhou. Got it from the China National Philatelic Outlet in Beijing Lu Pedestrian Mall :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Huacheng Square, Guangzhou


Huacheng Square (花城广场), located in Zhujiang New Town's CBD, is a renowned sightseeing and shopping destination in Guangzhou. Underneath Huacheng Square is a 150,000 square-meter underground shopping mall.

Only during Christmas ...
Also surrounding the square is Guangzhou No. 2 Children's Palace (广州市第二少年宫), Guangzhou Opera House (广州歌剧院), Guangzhou Library (广州图书馆) and Guangdong Museum (广东省博物馆).

Guangzhou Library
Guangzhou Opera House
Walking in the square, one can appreciate the green surroundings as well as the magnificent view of the Canton Tower across the Pearl River. The night view of the Canton Tower, with it's beautiful lights, is even more magnificent.

Guangzhou Library - Night view
Canton Tower - Night view
(Taken using my old iPhone)
Night view of the surrounding area
(Another one using my old iPhone - Not bad, considering it's an old phone)

Getting There

One of the easiest way to get to Huacheng Square is via the APM Line. Get down at either Linhe West Subway Station (Line 3) or Chigang Pagoda / Canton Tower Subway Station (Line 3), and connect to the APM Line.

Shamian Island, Guangzhou

Shamian Island (沙面岛), literally means "sandy surface" in Chinese, is an elliptic sandbank island in the Liwan District of Guangzhou, and is the greatest reminder of the colonial era in Guangzhou.


Shamian used to be a sandbank with White Swan Pond to its south, and Shaji to its north. "Huajie Pavillion" was built during the Ming Dynasty to manage foreign trades, and Xigu Fort was built during the Qing Dynasty to guard the city of Guangzhou.

After the outbreak of the Second Opium War, the territory was divided into two concessions, which were given to France and the British by the Qing government in the 19th century.

The island is now a gazetted historical area that serves as a tranquil reminder of the colonial European period, and is dotted with various historical buildings. Its architectural complex was listed as important Historical Monuments of Guangzhou under Special Preservation in 1996.


Shamian comprises near to 100 buildings, which fully demonstrates the technique and artistry of western buildings, while also incorporates the Lingnan Culture.


Besides these historical buildings, the island also houses hotels, restaurants, park/garden as well as various shops. Shamian is a good place to experience European-style architecture in Guangzhou, which is worth a visit.


Getting There

At Huangsha Subway Station (Line 1), take Exit F. Once you are out from the station, you will see a pedestrian bridge. Cross the bridge, and you are the side of the island.

Chen Clan Academy, Guangzhou


Chen Clan Academy (陈家祠), also known as the Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family, is an important heritage site under the protection of the country.


Located at Zhongshan 7th Road, it is an academic and spiritual temple in Guangzhou built by the Chen families from 72 counties all over Guangdong Province (72 Chen Clans) for their juniors' accommodation and preparation for the imperial examinations in 1894 during the Qing Dynasty.

The temple consists of 19 buildings with nine halls and six courtyards, connected by corridors. It exemplifies traditional Chinese architectural style and has been well preserved.

Bronze Statue - Storytelling
Bronze Statue - Weighing
The temple now serves as the Guangdong Museum of Folk Arts and Crafts (广东民间工艺博物馆), which shows the most characteristic Guangdong architecture. A large collection of southern China art pieces, for example, wood carvings and pottery as well as Guangdong old furniture, can be found in the structure.

Entertaining Guest at the Side Hall
Bed Chamber

Admission

RMB 10

Opening Hours

08:30 to 17:30

Getting There

Take Exit D from Chen Clan Academy Subway Station (Line 1). The main entrance of the temple is at Exit D.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Toy Street, Guangzhou

Looking for toy while in Guangzhou? You might consider paying Toy Street (玩具街) a visit. Toy Street is located along Yide Street.


Wholesale centres, smaller shops and roadside stalls, there are lots of choices for you to choose from - high, medium and low end products are available.


Not only toy, but you can also find stationery and gifts here. During my visit, I can even find Christmas as well as Lunar New Year decorations on sale.


Getting There

Take Exit B2 from Haizhu Square Subway Station (Line 2). Walk west until you reach Yide Lu. You will pass by this street on the way to the Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Guangzhou

The Sacred Heart Cathedral (石室圣心大教堂), or Stone House (石室), is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Guangzhou. It is one of the oldest churches in Guangzhou and is the largest Roman Catholic Church in the Gothic style in China and Southeast Asia.


This Sacred Heart Cathedral is sometimes referred to as Notre-Dame de Paris in the East. Located in the heart of the busy old town, this church was consecrated in 1888 after 25 years of construction.

The cathedral, like most of the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe, is built of solid masonry, and is one of the few churches in the world to be entirely built of granite.

The facade of the cathedral was modeled based on the Basilica of St. Clotilde in Paris. The west tower of the cathedral is a clock tower, while the east tower serves as a bell tower.


Getting There

Take Exit B2 from Haizhu Square Subway Station (Line 2). Walk west for about 10 minutes until you see the towering spires.

Beijing Lu Pedestrian Mall, Guangzhou

Everywhere in Guangzhou is a shopping place. As soon as one steps out the door, one can find shops after shops in the street. There are many pedestrian streets, special commercial streets and shopping blocks.


Although much smaller than Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street, Beijing Lu (北京路步行街) is well worth a visit. It is simultaneously fashionable and traditional. It is lined with the usual assortment of department stores and Chinese brand-name shops.


For philatelic enthusiasts, there's a China Philately shop located along Beijing Lu, and you can purchase philatelic products here. Glad to have found this shop here, and I actually purchased 3 sets of first day covers as memento :)


Towards the top of the street is Beijing Lu’s most interesting feature. Underneath the glass, below ground level, one can see the remains of streets from 3 different dynasties – Song Dynasty (960-1279), Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), with the later dynasty's streets on top of the prior dynasty's.

The streets from the 3 dynasties are underneath the glass (in front of the shop)
I personally prefer here compared to Shangxiajiu, perhaps due to the lesser crowd here. Again, it's pretty much an individual's preference, as some people prefer Shangxiajiu instead.

Getting There

From Gongyuanqian Subway Station (Line 2), take Exit C. Once you are out of the station, walk east along Zhongshanwu Lu for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on the crowd) to reach Beijing Lu.


Western Han Nanyue King's Tomb Museum, Guangzhou


The second Nanyue King Zhao Mo's tomb, discovered in 1983, is the most precious historical cultural heritage of Guangzhou, and is one of the major archaeological discoveries in China.


The Western Han Nanyue King's Tomb Museum (南越王墓博物馆) was built centred on the original tomb site. Permanent exhibitions include the original tomb site, exhibition of the treasures unearthed, as well as a special exhibition of ceramic pillows.

Hidden 20 metres underground, the tomb is the earliest stone tomb with colourful mural paintings in the area of South China.

The original tomb site
Different sections of the tomb as labelled
Inside the tomb
More than one thousand relics were unearthed, and these reflect the development of the Kingdom's politic, economy and culture back in 2,000 years ago. A silk-jade garment made up of 2,291 pieces of jade connected by silk thread is the spotlight of the museum.


The ceramic pillows on display are donated by renowned Hong Kong collector and industrialist, Mr Yeung Wing Tak and his wife Madame Yeung Cheung Shui Ching. The pillows on display dated back from the Tang to Yuan Dynasty, most produced during the Song and Jin Dynasties. The pillows come in various designs and shapes, such as ingot-shaped, rectangular-shaped and lotus leaf-shaped, to name a few.

This is just a picture of the pillows.
We are not allowed to take photos of the real pillows on exhibition.
There's a Gun Fort / Gongji Casenate (供极炮台), located in front of the musuem, with a few cannons on display.


Admission

RMB 12

Opening Hours

09:00 to 17:30
Ticketing stops at 16:45
Open all year round, except 28 Feb and 31 Aug, whereby both days are closed for maintenance.

Getting There

Exit from Exit E of Yuexiu Park Subway Station (Line 2). Once you are out from the station, keep right and walk until you reach the museum on your right.

Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou

Yuexiu Park (越秀公园), named after Yuexiu Mountain, is the largest park in downtown Guangzhou and one of the most famous scenic spots in the city. Yuexiu Park consists of seven hummocks/hills of Yuexiu Mountain and three artificial lakes, hence it is well-known for its beautiful hills and waters.

Main entrance to the park

Besides the splendid natural wonders, other attractions in Yuexiu Park include scenic sites of different historical period, to name a few as follows :

1.  Five-Ram Statue, which is the emblem of Guangzhou City.


2.  Zhenhai Tower, also known as the Five-Storey Tower.


3.  Guangzhou City Museum, situated next to Zhenhai Tower.


4.  The Ancient City Wall of the Ming Dynasty.


5.  Sun Yat-sen Monument, which in the interest of time, I did not managed to visit.

Besides the above historical attractions, there are amusement parks here too - Beixiu Amusement Park and Jinyin Amusement Park.

On top of these attractions, one might bump into the locals practicing dancing and singing in the park. Such a happy and interesting sight to see.


I did quite a lot of walking in the park, and it's pretty tiring, to be frank. So, if you wish to save on some energy, you might wish to pay a little bit and hop on the sightseeing car in the park.


Getting There

There are five entrances to the park - the main entrance is located near Exit B1 of Yuexiu Park Subway Station (Line 2). Once you are out from the station, keep walking until you reach the park's main entrance on your right.

Once you are in the park, follow the numerous signs in the park to get to the relevant attractions you wish to go.