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Fah Thai Magazine Jan-Feb 2018

HAPPENINGS CHINA CHENGDU

HAPPENINGS CHINA CHENGDU / CHONGQING / GUANGZHOU SHINE ON The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s called in mainland China, is celebrated all over the country with the lighting of lanterns. Chengdu has been doing it since the year 711. While in other parts of the country the festivities last one day, in Chengdu lanterns are lit for a month for the festival. The tradition originated in the Tang Dynasty, and now can be seen at Culture Park and Qingyanggong Park. Also known as Shangyuan, the Spring Festival sees families gather to appreciate the full moon, eat Yuanxiao (glutinous rice balls) and admire the lantern displays. Other main traditions of the festival include guessing lantern-themed riddles, watching fireworks, dragon and lion dances and stilt walking acts. cometochengdu.com ART NOUVEAU IN GUANGDONG The Guangdong Museum is featuring one of the fathers of Art Nouveau, the Czech painter and decorative artist Alphonse Mucha. A leading figure of the Art Nouveau style, he not only produced paintings and artwork but also many commercially used illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs. The exhibition’s collection of Mucha’s finest works shows a variety of materials and forms including metal sculptures, furniture, and posters. He became an instant star with a commissioned lithographed advertising poster for a play featuring actress Sarah Bernhardt in 1894. Mucha’s works are on display until 25 March 2018, 9am - 5pm, 50RMB for adults, 30RMB for children. gdmuseum.com SPOTLIGHT Guangzhou Speakeasy While speakeasies pop up relentlessly in many urban areas, Hope and Sesame distinguishes its cocktails by using high quality spirits for their inventive cocktails, including infusions using a sous vide machine. True to some speakeasies’ attempt at being mysterious and exclusive, getting to it requires walking through an alley in Dongshankou, recognising the hidden door, and passing a brief “interrogation” on the intercom before entering. The establishment is actually “hidden” behind a traditional Cantonese Café. There is a separate room with live jazz every night, the menu changes every 4 months, and each drink has been specially created. A few of the most famous signature cocktails include the Earl Grey Dark & Stormy and Angostura and Chamomile Sour (using a black chamomile from the Tibet / Xingjian region). Beyond just making drinks, the establishment has a cocktail lab, the “Spirits Kitchen,” that conducts video master classes and a tasting of premium spirits in a test kitchen setting. Here’s where customers go beyond sipping and get a chance to educate themselves on various cutting-edge techniques used at Hope & Sesame to create their signature cocktails. 48 Miaoqian Xijie, Yuexiu district, Guangzhou, +86 188 1935 3462 SPOTLIGHT Bridges in Karst Country The wondrous karst landscape of Wulong National Geology Park features a range of stone bridges and deep mountain valleys in Chongqing municipality. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area is famous for the Three Natural Bridges as well, a naturally formed karst structure not found anywhere else in the world. A paved downhill path leads to the three stone archways and to the Tianlong Bridge, featured in the movie ‘Curse of the Golden Flower’ by Zhang Yimou. The best times to visit are in the spring, autumn and winter. Give yourself a day or two to fully explore the area and take in the natural scenery. cnto.org/ unesco-sites/south-china-karst CHENGDU MUSEUMS OFFER DISCOUNTED ADMISSION Chengdu wants to be well known not only for its food, but for its deep cultural heritage. Until 6 March 2018, four museums in Chengdu are offering 50% off the admissions price. The four major museums offer varied takes on Chinese history and culture, and they all occupy scenic settings in Chengdu. The Wuhou Shrine Museum, itself a historical site, celebrates Chengdu’s influence during the Three Kingdoms period of the third century. Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage Museum pays homage to one of China’s most revered poets (712-770). Besides its large collection of Du Fu’s poems and other relics, the 24-acre site with green walking trails and ponds gives you a tranquil experience in honouring Chinese literature. For ancient Chinese history going back 3,000 years, the Jinsha Site Museum, conveniently located in the centre of town, showcases troves of artefacts at an archaeological site unearthed only recently in 2001. The Yongling Museum, built around China’s only above-ground mausoleum of Sichuan ruler Wang Jian (847-918), commemorates the founding of Chengdu as Wang Jian’s capital during his dynastic reign. cometochengdu.com 102 103