China is a massive country which I had the pleasure of visting in 2009 for the longest eclipse of the century. So far, I've only been to China once - but hope to return. This is a small summary of what I'd like to do again and what I hope to do in future.
Hangzhou - Hangzhou is often billed as one of the Chinas most beautiful cities. And it's difficult to disagree. Where other Chinese cities seemed very built up, the green of the parks and the openess of the West Lake were a welcome relief from, what appeared to me as, sprawling urbanisation.
Chengdu - Chengdu was the most pleasantly surprising of the cities I've visted in China. Perhaps because it was our first encounter with China or perhaps it was the lack of other Westerners. One of my most abiding memories of Chengdu is the afternoon we spent at the Wenshu Temple with its very enjoyable vegetarian restaurant and even better tea rooms.
Lhasa - Lhasa was definately one of the highlights of our trip through China and Tibet. In spite of the slight headaches and affects of altitude, just getting into Tibet was a fine achievement. With regulations toughened up and a very visible security presence, visiting the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple - two of the most important buildings in Tibetan Buddhism - was a privilege.
Grand Buddha at Leshan - It's hard to describe the monumental size of the Grand Buddha at Leshan but standing at the statues feet, cricking your neckd to see his face makes the trip down the narrow stairs worth every minute. It really is, errr, monumental. Take the boat ride as well - that really gives the scale to compare the statue against people.
There are several things I'd like to do in China. This is a short list of the most important sites and places I'd like to go experience.
Shanghai - The Bund is famous for it's numerous colonial era buildings which. Sadly, On our last trip to China we didn't get to walk along The Bund in Shanghai as the Bund had been closed off in preparation for the 2010 Expo.
X'ian - Home to the Terracotta Army - one of the worlds most amazing burial monuments - I've only glimpsed the Terracotta Army once at and exhibition at the British Museum. One wonders what it's like in real life.
Great Wall of China - One of the most photographed of the worlds iconic buildings. It's a bit like going to Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower - probably has to be done but it is a marvel of engineering.
Dazu Rock Carvings - A series of Chinese religious sculptures and carvings depicting and influenced by Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist belief systems, some from as far back as 7th century A.D.
Chengdu - trip to the Wenshu Temple - Travelogue from our afternoon in the Wenshu Temple in Chengdu
Chengdu - three day stay in Chengdu - Travelogue from Chengdu, including the Wenshu Temple during our 18 day trip to China
Visit to Chongqing - Travelogue from our time in Chongqing during an 18 day trip to China
2008 eclipse in Nunavut, Canada - Information on and about the 2008 total solar eclipse section in Nunavut, Canada
2008 Solar Eclipse Path - Path information for the 2008 total solar eclipse, including an orthographic view
2008 Total Solar Eclipse - the post-mortem - Total Solar Eclipse in 2008 - post-mortem
2008 Total Solar Eclipse travel information - Travel ideas for the Total Solar Eclipse in 2008
Barnaul - Getting to and from Barnaul
Nadym - Getting to and from Nadym
Nizhnevartovsk - Getting to and from Nizhnevartovsk
Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook