The Chinese Lantern Festival: The Last Day of the Lunar New Year

Often confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival in the fall, the Chinese Lantern Festival is actually the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations and falls on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. It is supposed to be the first day of the new year when the full moon can be seen. The Lantern Festival is also called the Yuan Xiao Festival in Chinese.

This day marks the last day of the Lunar New Year holiday in early spring (also known as the Spring Festival), and is therefore an occasion for festivities and celebration, before people have to go back to work after the holiday.

Celebrating the Lantern Festival

On the day of the Lantern Festival, people will go out to eat with friends or family, and paper lanterns will be hung outside temples and other buildings. In China, many buildings and even street lights are hung with red lanterns in celebration of the Chinese New Year. People will light fireworks and firecrackers, as well as sky lanterns that, after being lit, float up into the sky like hot air balloons.

Many people who celebrate the Lantern Festival eat the traditional glutinous rice dumplings – known as tang yuan. These round dumplings are filled with sesame-seed paste, peanuts, and other fillings. They are boiled, and then served in a sweet soup flavored with rock sugar and ginger.

In some cities, huge lanterns are built by master craftsmen. Measuring dozens of feet tall and lit by electric lamps from within, these lanterns are shaped like animals, pagodas, and mythical heroes.

Legends of the Chinese Lantern Festival

There are many stories associated with the Chinese Lantern Festival, but one of the most popular of them has to do with the immortal Jade Emperor of Chinese folklore.

According to this legend, the Jade Emperor was angry with a certain village for hunting and killing his favorite goose, which had flown down to earth from heaven. To avenge himself on the villagers, the Jade Emperor planned to destroy the town by fire from heaven. However, the Jade Emperor’s daughter had compassion on the village and told the villagers about her father’s plan.

The villagers, terrified, devised a plan to trick the Jade Emperor into sparing them. On the day of the planned attack, the villagers hung red lanterns up in the village, lit bonfires, and set off firecrackers. When the Jade Emperor’s Imperial Troops arrived at the village, it appeared that the village was already on fire, so they left without harming a single villager. After that, every year on the anniversary of the thwarted attack, the villagers lit lanterns to celebrate their narrow escape from death.

The Best Method Of Importing From China To Australia

The Best Method Of Importing From China To Australia

This is clear that e-commerce is keep on growing everywhere and there are lots of reasons behind this thing including cheap prices for customers. Well, both get the benefits, seller as well as the consumer. Basically, all the imports of such products are done from China at low price and then they are sold at higher prices. This is true that China is manufacturing the good quality product in cheap prices and exporting all over the world. The profit earned with business is much more than anything else and that’s why this business is growing on. There are lots of companies in China but you need to keep this thing in mind that you should choose the best manufacturer to get started. First of all, you need to find the best manufacturer in the china to start doing this work and if you are from Australia then there is a simple process. Importing from China to Australia can be done by a novice but there is a couple of things required including certificates.

Importing From China To Australia – Process

If you are the novice in import business and want to be the part of this business then the first thing you need to know is regarding e-commerce business. Basically, importing from China to Australia business is all about importing goods at cheap prices and then selling at high. Thousands of importers avail the products from China and then sell it on higher prices possible. Well, there are many methods to do this thing like creating own website and then selling it. On the other hand, Amazon and eBay also work well to get started so these are some of the common things to do. Now, it’s the time to import goods that’s why you need to decide that which product is best for import and sale. There are thousands of products buy to try to be selective and this is the time for little brainstorming. As you are done deciding that product then contact any of the manufacturers in China. You can contact a sourcing agent and if you want to meet with the manufacturer directly then use Alibaba or Aliexpress. This is the best B2B platform to find with the top manufacturer in China. After completing this process, importing from China to Australia will be done.

Going Legit And Fulfilling Requirement

In order to never stop in this business, you have to go legit and this is the possible only thing which you need to consider the most otherwise you can get into trouble. Now, it’s the time of importing from China to Australia but hold on! What about taxation? There are many types of taxes you have to pay. The customs value, VAT and many more things will decide that what will be the selling price. There are many calculators available online which can help you know that how much tax, you have to pay. Basically, if you are purchasing plastic toys for commercial purpose then check out the tax on such products. Tax charged for a product varies with the type of product that’s why you should know this thing before importing from China to Australia. There are certificates and permission letters required to complete the process.

Dealing With Manufacturer

You can deal with any manufacturer in China but be careful because chances of fraud are more in China. There are lots of manufacturers which are just for the fraud purpose. As you deal with a contractor then make sure that they have certificates by law and approved. Ask for the sample and inspect it at your own to know more. Now, if you are satisfied with the quality then you can place an order and that’s why you need to pay 30% money in advance. On the other hand, if you are not satisfied then skip this manufacturer and move to another one. When the goods are ready for shipment, you have to pay rest payment. You can deal with any inspection company before importing from china to Australia.  These companies will check out the product quality and defected pieces in it and they will send you a report. If you are thinking that product isn’t fine then you can try another one. This is the reason that you should start from less budget like 1000$. Now, you will lose only 30% amount which was given to placing the order. E-commerce business is not totally safe because chances of risk are more due to getting stuck with the wrong manufacturer.

Four Attractions Visitors to Beijing Must See: Tian’anmen, Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace Lead the List

Four Attractions Visitors to Beijing Must See: Tian’anmen, Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace Lead the List

To return home without seeing all of them is to not have really seen the Chinese capital. Tian’anmen, Forbidden City, Great Wall and the Summer Palace are the heart and soul of Beijing.

Tian’anmen Square

Tian’anmen Square, especially, is the heart and soul of Beijing. When something happens – good or bad – the Chinese flock to the square. Now centuries old, it’s one of the largest squares in the world.

Independent tourists can see Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City on the same day since these attractions are across the street from each other. It’s recommended that tourists start at the south end of Tian’anmen, then walk north toward the Forbidden City. On the way, see the statues memorializing the People’s Liberation Army which flank the mausoleum of Chairman Mao Zedong. Long lines of Chinese surround the mausoleum. They’re waiting to see Mao’s body.

Just north of the mausoleum is an obelisk, the first monument to the People’s heroes. This is where the students erected their Goddess of Democracy during the 1989 Massacre. The Great Hall of the People, where China’s congress meets, is to the west of the square; museums are to the right.

Forbidden City, Home to Emperors

The Forbidden City was home to the imperial family for centuries. It got the nickname Forbidden City because originally only the imperial family and their entourages were allowed inside the gated walls. Its official name today is the Palace Museum. Because it’s so popular, it can be very crowded. Most tour groups go there in the morning. Independent tourists may be able to miss out on some of the crowds by going later in the day. Audio tapes narrated by British actor Roger Moore are available for rent at the south entrance.

The Bernardo Bertolucci film, The Last Emperor, was filmed here. Watching it provides a good introduction to the Forbidden City, with its thousands of rooms and treasures.

Great Wall of China

Walking on the Great Wall of China is a profound experience and the highlight of the trip for many people. Man’s greatest engineering feat which snakes over the mountain tops around Beijing can only be described as “awesome!” Badaling is the closest site to Beijing; it’s where the Chinese government takes visiting leaders from other countries. It can get extremely crowded, but there are ways to avoid this.

Other sites close to Beijing include Huanghua, Mutianyu, Simatai and Jinshanling. Simatai has especially sharp peaks. Seeing the Great Wall arch up and down with them is very impressive. Many people like to spend the day hiking between Simatai and Jinshanling.

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace has won accolades from around the world for its impressive beauty and intricately landscaped gardens. UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site because of its gardens. Focal point of the Summer Palace is the man-made Kunming Lake, a delight to walk around on hot summer days. Other features are the Long Corridor, with its thousands of small paintings, and Suzhou Street, where shops line a canal in the fashion of Ming Dynasty Suzhou, a city near Shanghai.

Tian’anmen Square is open around the clock, and is free. The other sites open at 8:30 a.m., with admission fees of 60 yuan (about US$8) for the Forbidden City and Summer Palace. Admission fees for the Great Wall vary by site, with the Badaling fee usually including admission to the Great Wall Museum.

Modern Chinese Money Isn’t a Puzzle: How to Recognize China’s Currency and Understand Money Changing

Modern Chinese Money Isn’t a Puzzle: How to Recognize China’s Currency and Understand Money Changing

China’s currency is called Renminbi, usually abbreviated RMB or CNY which stands for Chinese yuan. Although the lowest denomination is called fen, it is rarely used because it is worth so little. Ten fen are equal to one jiao, also called mao, which is approximately 1.5 American cents. One, two and five jiao notes are in circulation but, like pennies, not always used. Many business people just round up or down to the nearest jiao. Ten jiao are equal to one yuan. Yuan, or more commonly called kuai, is circulated in notes of one, five, ten, twenty, fifty and one-hundred.

When it Comes to Chinese Currency, Size Matters

Each denomination is a different size with the one being the smallest. Each note in the succession is five centimeters longer than its predecessor with the one-hundred being the largest. There are three different widths. The one and the five are the same and the thinnest. The ten, twenty and fifty are all the same and the one-hundred is the widest.

All of the notes are colorful with subtle patterns on both the front and the back. The bill’s denomination can be identified by the color:

  • 1 – predominantly olive green with a pale orange accent
  • 5 – the main color is purple with some tan, blue and pink details
  • 10 – primarily blue with gray-green and pink bleeding into each other in a center band
  • 20 – orange with accents of turquoise and pink
  • 50 – forest green with a bit of purple
  • 100 – mostly red with some yellow, orange and blue

Chairman Mao Zedong’s picture is on the right hand side of the face of each of the yuan notes. Slightly left of the center of each note, and in the right hand corner, is a number, the value. Under the number each denomination has a different flower.

The reverse sides of the notes each show a different scenic or historical site along with the denominational number in all of the corners except the right bottom one.

Exchange Foreign Money in China With ATM Machines and the Internet

It is against the law to use foreign money in China or to buy Chinese money from a private person. Banks and some hotels are approved to make such transactions. However money changing is not as difficult as it once was. ATMs can be found thoughout China and many accept foreign cards. There’s no limit to the amount of foreign money that can be changed into Chinese money but it is important to keep the receipts. When leaving the country, foreign currency can only be purchased up to the amount exchanged.

Historically, the exchange rate has fluctuated independently. More recently it has stayed within a few cents of an exchange rate of 6.8 yuan for one dollar even though the exchange rates for other countries has changed. Current rates of exchange are available online.

Beijing Zoo Showcases Giant Pandas in Two Houses: Zoo Is Home to 7,000 Animals, But Most People Go to See Rare Bears

Beijing Zoo Showcases Giant Pandas in Two Houses: Zoo Is Home to 7,000 Animals, But Most People Go to See Rare Bears

The Beijing Zoo has two panda houses where the pandas can be seen: the original panda house and an Olympics house built especially for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The original house has bothh inside and outside viewing, while the Olympics house has a balcony overlooking the pandas’ outside play area.

Pandas are originally from south China and eat primarily bamboo. As south China developed, the bamboo fell prey to man’s activities, and the pandas were pushed into the mountains. The panda is on the international endangered species list because so few of them survive in the wild. China is partnering with other countries in breeding programs to ensure the survivability of the giant pandas.

The Panda Is a Symbol of China

Because these black and white bears are perceived as being cute and cuddly, they are replacing fierce fire-spewing dragons as the symbol of China. However, pandas have been known to attack strangers who intrude on their territory.

The Beijing Zoo also has red pandas, which look a lot like raccoons. Zoo visitors rarely give these a glance as they rush to the panda pavilion.

The Beijing Zoo underwent extensive remodeling for the 2008 Olympics. It now resembles a park with wide walkways, meandering canals, lakes and large shade trees. Animal living conditions have been improved but are still not up to par with zoos of other major international cities such as Seattle where Woodland Park Zoo provides plenty of room for animals to roam in re-created native habitat.

Zoo Has 7,000 Animals

Still, zoo conditions are a lot better than they were a few decades ago. In 1949, the zoo had only 12 monkeys, two parrots and an emu. Now it has the usual complement of lions, tigers, elephants and hippos, birds and reptiles. It has more than 7,000 animals belonging to about 600 species.

The zoo has much more than pandas. In addition to the other animals, it’s possible to catch a canal boat for a ride to the Summer Palace. But the biggest non-panda draw is the Beijing Aquarium which is the world’s largest inland aquarium. It’s located in the northwest corner of the zoo and, like the panda house, requires a separate admission. However, it’s possible to buy a combination ticket which admits visitors to all attractions, except the canal boat ride. The combination ticket costs about $21 per person.

The Beijing Zoo is located at 137 Xizhemenwai Dajie, a few minutes walk west of the Xizhemen subway transfer station. It is open year ‘round daily from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the summer months, closing at 5 p.m. in the winter months.

Beijing’s Summer Palace Remains a Playground: Boating, Ice Skating Take Place Where Imperial Family Once Played

Beijing’s Summer Palace Remains a Playground: Boating, Ice Skating Take Place Where Imperial Family Once Played

The Summer Palace is probably the most beautiful park in Beijing. It is known throughout the world for its landscaping and architecture. Its gardens are especially impressive, and are the primary reason UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site in 1998.

The focal point for the Summer Palace is Kunming Lake. In the summer months, tourists rent boats to paddle around the lake. In the winter, the lake freezes over, and is popular with Beijing’s ice skaters. Kunming Lake is manmade, with the dirt dredged up used to build Longevity Hill

Visitors who like to walk may enjoy a walk around Kunming Lake. This takes a couple of hours, but provides a respite from the crowds at the north end of the park. It also provides a different perspective on the Tower of Buddhist Incense which sits at the top of Longevity Hill.

Summer Palace Is a Top Beijing Attraction

The Summer Palace is one of the top four tourist attractions in Beijing. This means it can be extremely crowded. However, putting up with the crowds is worth it. Various halls are located at the north end of the Summer Palace. Tourists are not allowed in most of them, and must be content with looking through door ways and windows. There are intimate courtyards with benches to provide places to rest.

The Long Corridor is a highlight of the Summer Palace. It is the most famous walkway in China. The Long Corridor is almost 2,400 feet long, and is covered with thousands of hand-painted scenes.

The Marble Boat is a short distance from the west end of the Long Corridor. It’s really wood, but painted to look like marble. It’s famous because the Dowager Empress Cixi diverted naval funds to rebuild the boat, which was destroyed by British and French armies in the Second Opium War in 1860. The Summer Palace was heavily damaged during at this time. It was destroyed again 40 years later by foreign armies during the Boxer Rebellion. Little trace of the destruction remains today.

Suzhou Street Features Old-Style Shopping

Suzhou Street is another must-see at the Summer Palace. Suzhou Street is a shopping street built along a canal to resemble a Qing Dynasty street in the town of Suzhou near Shanghai. It was originally built as a place where emperors and their concubines could walk without interference. It is a good place to buy special souvenirs or rest over a cup of tea.

In China, the Summer Palace is known as Yiheyuan, and this is how directional signs read. Visitors arriving by subway should get off at the Yiheyuan stop on Line 4. The Summer Palace opens daily at 8:30 a.m.

Chinese Chops Make Memorable Souvenirs of Trip: Hand-Engraved Stone Seals Represent Person’s Official Signature

Chinese Chops Make Memorable Souvenirs of Trip: Hand-Engraved Stone Seals Represent Person’s Official Signature

Everyone brings home souvenirs from their travels: postcards, toys, pictures, clothing, folk art, etc. A chop from China makes a special souvenir since it bears the owner’s name. Travelers to China will likely find no one else in the neighborhood has a chop.

And chops are so Chinese. Documents and artwork are not considered official in China until they’ve been “signed” with a person’s seal. This engraved seal, or “chop,” is unique to each person.

Chops date back to ancient times in China. They’re used on every document imaginable. Artists use them on paintings instead of handwritten signatures. While important documents are signed by hand today in China, they’re not considered official until the red seals have been affixed.

A Chop Is Like a Rubber Stamp

Think of the chop as a rubber stamp. Only instead of rubber put to a cloth stamp pad, think of a stone engraving being dipped into a pot of gooey red glue. Then both are “stamped” on a piece of paper. Same result, just a different way to achieve it.

Because the chop is a person’s “signature” for life, the Chinese give much thought as to what characters they will have engraved on their chop.

Visitors to China don’t have to worry about that. They can just have their first or last names translated into characters put on their chops. Chop makers almost always have books of first names translated into Chinese characters available for shoppers to look through. Travelers can also pick out their Chinese names online before they leave home. Mandarin Tools allows users to enter their first and last names, and indicate what characteristic they’d like their name to represent. A few seconds later, up pops the name translated into Chinese. This page should be printed out to show to the chop maker in China.

Chops Widely Available in China

Chops are widely available in China, from department stores to flea markets to tourist attractions. They come in all sizes and shapes. Chops start at a couple of dollars, then go up in price depending on the size of the chop and what it represents. For example, a chop representing a Terra Cotta Warrior makes a good souvenir to remember Xi’an by. Some chops depict an animal in the Chinese zodiac; others, a pretty woman in traditional garb.

Shoppers who get chops outside of a department store like Beijing’s Friendship Store, should be sure to bargain for the best price.

Chops are usually made of soapstone, and always hand-engraved. It only takes an experienced chop maker a few minutes to do the engraving. Watching them put a complex character on a small surface is fun.

Use Care with the Red Paste

Chops usually come with a small pot of very thick red ink. It has the consistency of paste, and is sometimes made from cinnabar. Be careful using this ink, as it stains absorbent materials and can be difficult to remove. Wipe the chop with a tissue after using it to get the remaining red ink out of the engraved areas. A tissue moistened with nail polish remover works well on stubborn stains.

Chinese Lanterns, Lotus Flower and Lucky Charms: Sky Paper Lanterns, Chinese Celebrations and Home Decoration

Chinese Lanterns, Lotus Flower and Lucky Charms: Sky Paper Lanterns, Chinese Celebrations and Home Decoration

Chinese lanterns have many claims to fame from symbols of traditional culture to works of art, lucky charms or first man made portable lighting device. Through foreign trade, they spread across Asia and the rest of the world but they remain an integral part of all Chinese celebrations. Sky lanterns or ornaments shaped like a lotus flower, they express creativity and a touch of magic beyond the material world.

Sky Lanterns and Chinese Celebrations

Made of rice paper held by a bamboo frame, lit by a candle, sky lanterns are a beautiful sight as they take to the air. The flame heats the air inside the lantern, density drops and the lantern rises, floating through the night sky as long as the candle keeps burning.

Traditionally, sky lanterns are released on the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations, most spectacular of all at the Lantern Festival in Taipei. In China and Chinatowns around the world, the first full moon of the year is honoured in similar ways, but lanterns appear in many festivals. There are sky lanterns and paper lanterns carried through the streets in all shapes and sizes, some inscribed with puzzles to be joyfully unravelled, while families eat glutinous rice according to tradition.

Chinese Lanterns, Lotus Flower and Lucky Charms

Some say the Lantern Festival celebrates the Taoist god of good fortune and Chinese lanterns act as lucky charms year round. Traditional paper lanterns are red, often with a touch of gold, both favourite Feng Shui colours attracting good luck, wealth and positive energy. It’s no wonder they adorn businesses, restaurants and private homes.

Most highly prized is the Chinese lotus lantern, originally made from mother of pearl shells from Capiz, arranged in a flower pattern. Today lotus lanterns come in many guises but as a Buddhist sign of purity, the flower remains the perfect complement to the Chinese lantern. Lotus flower lanterns play a major role on special occasions, such as weddings or anniversaries, to ensure good fortune and a long and healthy life.


Paper Lanterns for Home Decoration

Chinese paper lanterns range from simple devices to intricate artwork, as seen in palace lanterns decorated with dragons and stained glass, tassels and rosewood lacquer. There are miniature lanterns, known as Baby’s Bottom, cylindrical Rolling Paper, round Big Heads, Crystal Magic, sporting geometrical designs, and largest of all, temple and festival lanterns.

All can be used for home decoration to attract good luck and add a little colour and exotic touch to any interior. Chinese lanterns are widely available but with little more than paper and ribbon, making a paper lantern is easy and cheap.

Beijing Nightlife: Going Out at Night in Beijing

Beijing Nightlife: Going Out at Night in Beijing

There are quite a few unique bars, clubs and lounges in Beijing, along with a few districts that have sprung up as nightlife zones in various areas. Here’s a basic overview of where to go for a night out in Beijing.

Student Hangouts in Wudaokou

Located in the northwest corner of Beijing and often called simply “The Wu”, this is the student zone of Beijing. The international student population makes the area a hotbed of drinking, dancing and all-around partying. Popular hangouts in the Wu include Lush, Propaganda, Pyro Pizza, BlaBla Bar, and D-22.

The International Nightlife of Sanlitun

The Sanlitun area is close to both the embassy district and many of the higher-end hotels in town, so it attracts many western patrons to its bars, clubs and other attractions. Skip the bars on the main Sanlitun strip, where touts encourage passers-by to come in for overpriced cocktails and second-rate Chinese singers covering classic tunes. Instead, head to the “Nan Sanlitun” area- a cluster of venues just south of the main strip where bars like Rickshaw offer pub fare and pool tables and clubs like Tun and Salsa Caribe let visitors dance the night away.

Another cluster of clubs and bars lies in the other direction on Sanlitun, behind the 3.3 Mall at the north end of the strip. The Saddle and Lugas offer Mexican-style drinking and music, while Kai’s crowds come for the cheap shots and buzzing dance floor.

Bars and Clubs in the Houhai Area

This lake in central Beijing is so beautiful at night that visitors often don’t want to duck into one of the many clubs or restaurants along its shores and miss out on the view.


Lotus Lane is the most well-known area of the lakeshore, but exploring around the area is a great way to find other interesting places to hang out. In general, the Houhai area is more relaxed and casual than some of the other nightlife districts in Beijing. Popular nightspots in the area include No Name Bar, Lotus and La Baie des Anges.

Nightlife and Dancing Around The Workers Stadium (Gongti)

Many of the Workers Stadium clubs and bars were closed during the 2008 Olympics, due to security concerns over their proximity some of to the sporting venues. Post- Olympics, however, places like Kro’s Nest Pizza, Coco Banana and Mix are once again fill the Gongti area to capacity.

Unique Nightlife Venues in Beijing

The well-established nightlife districts aren’t the only place to find great clubs and bars in Beijing. In fact, some of the most unique places are the hidden gems scattered throughout the city. A few of the best are:

  • Bed Bar – Located deep within a hutong, down a long winding alley and through an ancient doorway, Bed bar’s big feature is its kang-style beds that patrons use as seating. Curl up among the cushions and have a cocktail while light electronic music streams from an adjoining room.
  • Obiwan- North of Houhai alongside the adjoining Xihai lake, Obiwan is a popular place for local expats to dance, drink, and enjoy the many events arranged by the management. Previous events have included film festival showings, capoeira demonstrations and a retro-themed dance party.
  • What Bar – Situated next to the Forbidden City, this small club hosts the best local bands every weekend. Insiders say What Bar is the best place to discover up-and-coming Chinese rock talent.