Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Qianling Hill Park (黔灵山公园) @ Guiyang City [Guizhou, China] #qianlingshanpark

In Singapore, i am not exactly a park-goer given the intense heat and humidity in the little red dot. However, it's a different situation when i am in China as the seasons i picked for my tour package would never be in summer! 

The cooler climate coupled with the fresh, crisp cool oxygen from the abundance of trees is something i actually look forward to. This time, on day seven of our guizhou trip, we were brought to park in the provincial capital of Guiyang; Qianling Hill Park (黔灵山公园).

Before you even step foot into the park that's established in 1957, you would first be greeted by the rows of dining establishments flanking the sides of the main road leading to the entrance. 

Which animal would you commonly see in a park? Dogs of course and even though dog-meat is not that uncommon in China, you do have your fair share of dog lovers! 

Entrance of the park, blessed with a humongous parade square! 

Admission fee of RMB 5 per person (about S$1). This is quite an interesting phenomenon as in Singapore, parks are free except for those unique ones like Sungei Buloh Wetland Park.

黔南第一山 - meaning the top ranked hill / mountain in Southern Guizhou. The word 黔 (Qian) is a short form for Guizhou; similar to Guangxi province which is also known as 桂 (Gui).

Going another path as we were given the options of either a visit to the built in 1672 Hongfu temple or free or easy within the park! Some people might resist visiting temples when they are overseas, especially if one is not a Taoist / Buddhist or not particularly religious even if he / she is one. 

Dog again! Despite the popularity of rearing dogs as pets, owners are considerate and i don't see poo around. This is unlike the situation in Singapore where i am constantly worried of stepping into a hot, fresh turd! 

Navigating the 900-step, winding path up the temple; look out for the free roaming monkeys! I actually belong to the rare breed who likes temples; loving the sometimes stark differences in the architectural aspects of religious dwellings.


Check out the temple via here! There's a 9-dragon screen said to be able to grant your wish if you go through a specific process.Click here!  


Back at the foot of the hill where we used our limited time to admire the beautiful, blooming flowers surrounding us! p.s. it's obvious that my dad is a flower fanatic; me think it's a generation thing.


Water calligraphy! How can a person be able to write so spectacularly using such a big brush?! I already have trouble controlling a small brush and even then; my calligraphy is horrendous! 

Pretty isn't it? In addition to Hongfu temple, there's also a zoo in the park and since we were not given a lot of time, some of our tour mates took the cable car up to (and down from) the peak instead! 

Singing in the park! Should this be brought to Singapore, i can guarantee you that complaints about noise would be raised even if the singers sing well. 

People enjoying the performances.

The crowd in the park on a Friday afternoon! Don't they need to work? Back in Singapore, you would likely see more people in shopping centres than in parks.

River with a nice hill as its backdrop. 

Crossing the bridge in case there were to be surprises waiting for us on the other side. When i am travelling, i would prefer to walk alternative routes, if available, so that we can see more things! 


Well, i did mention in case although it's still great to be on a path that's less crowded. 


At the very least, we didn't have to jostle with the crowds waiting to take pictures with the trees heavy with blossoming flowers! 

Older generation playing cards and chess! Not much difference in Singapore even though gambling in public is considered illegal. Go Chinatown, behind Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, if you wish to play chess with the elderly uncles.

Old school haunted house - if i am with Alex, there's a high chance we would pay the tickets and go in for the thrill; provided tickets are not exorbitantly priced! 

Walking out to the main road as our coach wasn't able to come so far in due to regulations set by the authority. Good though as the road wasn't cramped with dozens of tour buses.

Random photos on the nearby stores.

There's supposed to be local specialty known as 丝娃娃 (Si Wa Wa) which is something like a wrap / popiah. Pity i didn't have any time to give it a try. If you read Chinese, you can visit the baidu page here.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Nara Thai Cuisine - Loving the Tom Yum Kung Soup @ ION Orchard Shopping Mall [Singapore] #narathaisg #ionorchard

It's now 2019 and i find it baffling to find a pull-up banner extolling its awards from four years ago! Nonetheless, a friend enjoyed the food from Nara Thai and since he was treating me for a meal and it was my first visit; i honestly didn't see the need to reject his kind offer! 

Here's what we had; p.s. picture quality wasn't optimal as i accidentally changed the mode and it didn't dawn on me that the focus was a bit off until i got home. :(

Stir-Fried Seasonal Vegetables (Phad Pak Ruam) - the cabbage was under-cooked while the rest didn't elicit much surprise; oh well, let's treat it as a necessary dish to balance lunch.  

Thai Fish Cakes (Tord Mun Pla) - i had tried this appetiser in quite a number of Thai restaurants and never thought they were anything beyond our typical fishcakes with an otah twist.

But these were different as they were so addictive! There's bite and you must dip them into the spicy, sweet chilli concoction for that additional kick.

Tom Yum Kung - it's been a long while since i last had such nice tom yum soup; thick with an intense seafood flavour infused with lime and lemongrass! Before it's place on our table, i can already catch whiffs of its piquant spiciness! 

With six good-sized prawns, even my friend was surprised to see beads of sweat rolling down my face! Even so, i was relishing every spoonful. Guess my mom would enjoy this very much.

Red Ruby (Thub Tin Grob) - another reason for bringing my mom; she has a thing for red ruby and for a period of time, that's the dessert she would order if it's on a menu. 

Sadly, even though this was refreshing to have on a hot day and it had strips of jackfruit together with its red-coloured water chestnuts; it felt a bit diluted and i didn't manage to secure the satisfaction i would normally have with great desserts.

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Service could have been more attentive but what i encountered didn't appear to be as bad as those on google reviews. Maybe i was lucky? -shrugs- 

Address
2 Orchard Turn, 
#B3-21, ION Orchard, 
Singapore 238801 

Pricing
Stir-Fried Seasonal Vegetables - S$10.90 
Thai Fish Cakes - S$13.90
Tom Yum Kung - S$19.90 
Red Ruby - S$5.90
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

Monday, July 29, 2019

The 900 Over Steps Up Hongfu Temple (弘福寺) in Qianlingshan Park @ Guiyang [Guizhou, China]

I mentioned climbing more than 900 steps up the Hongfu Temple at Guiyang [Guizhou] yesterday and thought nothing's better than to show you the pictures; it's tiring but not boring. 

There were plenty to see up the mountain and aside from the free roaming monkeys, there's also a commercial store that offered religious / fengshui items like prayer beads / agate stones. 

My limited Chinese assumed the words to refer to the 9-turn path which i guess would mean the path would have a number of twists and turns. 

Fortune teller next to a statue of a Bodhisattva; the notice on the floor claimed he was a living immortal and consultation would be free. Well, he did look pretty ancient.

Plaque stuck to the stone; i frankly how no idea how many names the path has! The plaque clearly stated 菩提路; which is like the road / path to enlightenment. 

第一山 - referring to Qianling mountain, this can mean the first mountain or the most famous one. I am assuming Qianling mountain is likely the most notable one in Guiyang as it's not listed as one of four sacred Buddhism mountains in China.

Continuing our way. 

Said to be one of the oldest relic in the mountain, it's known as the Old Buddha Cave and a Ming dynasty traveller had paid this a visit in Year 1638. With the lack of infrastructure in the past, it's a feat for people to be able to travel from place to place.

Notice the winding paths! 

Photograph of dad with the hillside pavilion. 

Another fortune teller; there were two things that i found strange. One is that the customers of the fortune tellers were all pretty young and second, don't they have to work / study?! 

Notice was straightforward in its message; monkey area, rock falls, no staying. Our tour guide didn't mention anything about rock falls which are likely more prevalent during the raining season. However, we were warned about the thieving monkeys! 

A lot of Buddhist elements found along the way.

We can still spot the skyscrapers of this provincial capital, half peeking from over the mountaintop.

It's only when i looked closer did i notice there's a sketch of a man in ancient clothing. Guess it must be some famous man given the amount of incense sticks in front of it. 

The way down! 

With uneven steps, it's not exactly smooth sailing but i saw old men and women patiently and diligently making their way up! Thanks for the good weather; rain would have made the floor real slippery.

Another fortune teller! 

Last few dozens of steps before our arrival at Hongfu Temple! Maybe due to the congregation of devotees, you could spot more and more monkeys

When you see an empty pavilion, don't rush towards it as this move would have frightened the monkeys who were taking a rest too! The last thing we want is to have a bloodied fight with the primates.

Finally! 

For more information about the Hongfu temple that's built in Year 1672, click here! Quite a nice place to walk about if the weather isn't too hot and if you have time, go check out the luohan hall where you can eventually get a card for RMB 3.00.

Making our way down! 

Imagine that these elderly men and women would have to climb up and down the mountain every day. It may seem rather sad in the first instance when we think about it but don't you think the fresh mountain air and the walk would actually be good for them? Gosh, my thinking is so PAP! 

Last photo! 
p.s. dad loves to walk. 

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