Our Tai Chi Adventure to
In March and April 2010, we accompanied
Dr. Paul Lam and 15 others on a private tour
In addition to some of the usual places of
interest, we visited Wudang Mountain, the
area considered the birthplace of Tai Chi,
and several other places of beauty and
The Journey Begins
Thursday, March 24:
Fly from Raleigh-Durham to Newark then from Newark to Beijing, China.
Friday, March 26.
At the end of a a 13 hour 45 minute flight we arrived at
Beijing International Airport at 2:00 PM Friday. March 26.
The airport is the 3rd largest building in the world, but very
efficient. We cleared immigration and customs and
retrieved our checked luggage with hardly any waiting,
and met our Tour Guide just outside of Baggage Claim.
We all boarded our tour bus for the drive into Beijing to our
hotel – The Renaissance Beijing Chaoyang.
After checking in, and a brief rest, we met with some of the
rest of our group for dinner at the hotel.
Saturday, March 27
Following breakfast buffet of Western and
Chinese foods, we headed back to our bus for the
short drive to The Forbidden City.
This historic area had been the home of various
Chinese Emperors over the years, and is
continuously undergoing preservation and
Tour Guide Carol Lu (with Yellow Flag) leads us to the
North Entrance of the Forbidden City.
Saturday, March 27
From Tian An Men Square we walked to a nearby
Restaurant for lunch. Then we met our Bus and drove to
one of the Hutong Districts of Beijing.
These are older areas where the streets are narrow lanes
between buildings that are both residences and shops or
workplaces. At the edge of this district we stopped for tea
and entertainment of a Kongfu demonstration, and a
performance by a sword-swallower.
We then were taken on a bicycle rickshaw ride through the
lanes of the district.
The day ended with dinner at the original Peking Duck
Restaurant in Beijing before returning to our hotel.
Sunday, March 30
We traveled by bus Northwest from Beijing to visit the
Great Wall at Bada Ling
The Great Wall
Winding along the top of the mountain ridge
As this was still part
of the Chinese New
Year Holiday, the
Wall was crowded
visitors, making a
ritual visit to the
Off to the side of the Wall, we found this empty courtyard
and decided it was a great place for our first Tai Chi
practice in China.
Sunday, March 28 – Afternoon
We left the Great Wall and headed back toward Beijing. We stopped
for Lunch near Changping, then went into the area of the Ming Tombs,
about 30 miles Northwest of Beijing. Here are located the tombs of 13
Emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). We visited Chiangling,
the Tomb of Emperor Zhu Di.
Support Pillar and Roof Detail of Ling’En Hall
On the way back to our Hotel, we stopped briefly at the site of the 2008
Olympic Games, and viewed to outside of the “Bird’s Nest” Arena and
Monday, March 29
In the morning, we toured the Summer Palace.
The weather was cloudy and cool.
First constructed in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234 AD), the
area was continuously expanded and used as an area
for rest for the members of the royal families.
Centered on the Tower of Buddhist Incense the Summer
Palace consists of over 3,000 structures including
pavilions, towers, bridges, and corridors. It covers over
700 acres including the lake area.
The entry gate to the Summer Palace. The Center door
was for use only by the Emperor.
Note the incense burners on either side.
The various Emperors used natural rock formations as
display pieces in many of their gardens.
This 2388-foot long gallery provided a covered path from
the entry gate to the Shizhang Pavilion. The underside of
the roof is covered with murals.
At the end of
the Gallery is
Close to the end of the Gallery was a courtyard which
quickly became a Tai Chi location.
A Dragon Boat was our
ferry across the 500 acre
The 17-Arch Bridge, built in 1750, connects
the East Shore of Kunming Lake to Nanhu
Stone Carvings guard the ends of the bridge, and each of
the posts of the railing is topped by one of 500 different
We then returned to our bus, and drove to a restaurant for
After lunch we took our bus to the Temple of Heaven
located on the south side of Beijing’s old central city area.
The weather remained cloudy and cool through the day.
This model, in a
building on the
of the Temple.
No nails or other
used in its
The main pillars
are single tree
main door of
some of the
The Outer Gate to the Temple Grounds. The center door is
closed, as only the Emperor was allowed to pass through it.
After a Dinner stop, we returned to the
Rennaisance Beijing Hotel, to pack for the
next leg of our journey,
a visit to Wudang Mountain,
considered to be the birthplace of Tai Chi.
Tuesday, March 30
Leaving at 8 AM, We flew from Beijing
to Wuhan, then took our tour bus to
We had one Tour Guide who was with us for the entire trip
(up until we were in the waiting area for our return flight).
At each area we visited outside of Beijing, she was
assisted by a local guide who met us at each airport with
the local bus driver.
We stopped for lunch on the way from Wuhan to
Wudangshan, arriving in mid-afternoon.
We checked in to the Wudang Mountain Hotel, relaxed,
and had an early dinner.
As we would only be allowed to take a carry-on bag up
Wudang Mountain, we repacked for the stay up the
Wednesday, March 31
After breakfast at the hotel, we boarded our bus for the
short drive to the entrance of the Wudang Mountain
This Protection Area is roughly equivalent to a National
Park in the United States.
After getting our entry passes, we boarded a smaller bus
(apparently fueled by natural gas to limit emissions) for
the one-hour trip up the hair-pin turn road to our Hotel on
The designation of Mountain refers to not just a single
peak, but to the group of mountain peaks in the area,
which average around 5000 feet high.
More information about the Purple Cloud Temple
can be found at the following website:
the website of the Wudang Taoist Kungfu
As light rain began to fall, we walked back down to our
We had lunch at the Hotel, checked in and took a brief rest
in our rooms.
Next we took a bus up mountain to the Summer Palace
area. The light rain continued as we walked around the
trails in that area.
When the rain got a
little heavier, we
decided to retrace
our steps back to the
bus stop and return
to the Hotel.
Dinner was at the
Thursday, April 1
The day started with Tai Chi in a Courtyard of the Hotel
After lunch we took a park bus down Wudang Mountain to
the Crown Prince Palace.
This was originally built in 1412.
As this is lower down the mountain, the vegetation was
quite different – almost tropical in nature.