Yangzhou

Yangzhou1Emperor Qian Long(1736- 1795) of the Qing Dynasty visited Yangzhou every time on the way of his six inspection tours to the south of the Yangtze River. As his majesty took delight in the scenery of mountains and waters, the local officials and salt merchants spared no money in recruiting crackajack workmen and going in for large-scale nstruction, excavating ponds and pilling up rockeries. They had built gardens beautiful and tasteful one after another on either bank of the Slender West Lake. Thus a splendid view rises before us from the Slender West Lakc to Pingshan ll. “Peach blossoms and weeping willows on either mbankment are mirrored in the lake, pavilions and towers stand erect all the way to the hill.” Today, it is here that Yangzhou pre-sents”Emperor Qian Long’s Water Itinerary” tour program.Yangzhou2 Cruising has always been a distinctive featurc of Yangzhou travel. The cruise starts from the front of the two quiet and elegant hotels which used to be Qian Long’s imperial garden and temporary palace. Tourists may get on boat at the imperial pier right before the gate of the hotel to sail westward, following the emperor’s footprint to view and admire the pretty scenery of parkland, to listen to the interesting anecdotes about Qian Long, to taste delicacies of imperlal feast after cruising and to expe-rience the style of imperial life!

Suzhou

In the lower reaches of the Yangtze and on the shores of Lake Taihu lies the 2, 500-year-old city of Suzhou,the cradle of Wu culture.

The name “Wu”,often applied to refer to Suzhou, derived from the local tribes who named themselves “Gou Wu” in the late Shang Dynasty about 11th century BC. Later,King Helu of Wu State in 514 BC built his capital here known as the “Great City of Helu”, and since then the city’s site and scale have remained virtually unchanged,making Suzhou a rare city of historical and cultural renown in the world.

Situated on 30. 47-32.02 degrees north latitude and 119.55-121.20 degrees east longitude and bordering on Shanghai in the east, Zhejiang Province in the south,Lake Taihu in the west and the Yangtze in the north,Suzhou enjoys a mild and humid climate and is easily accessible by water,land and air communications.

Talking about Suzhou,people would mention the old saying:”Paradise in Heaven,Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth.” Since there can be places elsewhere compared to paradise, the saying does not specify the things featuring Suzhou. Some say that the style of Suzhou lies in “softness”, like the tone of Wu dialect, which also sums up the character in feminine beauty, tenderness, serenity, subtlety and elegance.
The natural scenery of hills and waters in Suzhou is as charming as a delicate beauty. Of the whole area, 10 per cent is cultivated fields, 30 per cent hills, and the rest covered with water.
Streets and alleys in Suzhou extend side by side with canals. Small bridges and flowing waters, white walls and dark grey roof tiles match one another in tranquil elegance. As a poem describes, “On arriving in Suzhou you behold: Houses are all pillowed on water’s edge.” The gentle waters make the prominent urban scenery.
The poetic and picturesque Suzhou gardens are a typical demonstration of simple elegance,with intriguing scenes found in every season and in all weathers.

Endowed with abundant native produce,the rich and exquisite Suzhou cuisine sets a style of its own on this “land of plenty”.

The traditional performing arts of Suzhou are best represented by the Kunqu Opera, Suzhou Opera and Ballad singing ,reputed both in China and overseas for their minute acting and harmonic melody.

The folks here are honest,good-natured,friendly and hospitable-a tradition from times of yore.

As a major tourist city of wide reputation,Suzhou lives up to all the expectations in food,hotel accommodations, transport, sight-seeing, shopping and recreation.

A metropolis of industry and commerce in the south-eastern coast of China since ancient times, Suzhou has always been a hub for merchants,which as the Tang poet Bai Juyi described over a thousand years ago: “… has a population greater than Yangzhou Prefecture and more than half of the shops in Chang’an, the capital.” The Italian traveller Marco Polo praised Suzhou 600 years ago as a “noble and great city”. The classic novel “Dream of the Red Mansions” written 200 years ago sets the beginning of the story in Changmen, a prosperous area outside the city gate of Suzhou,depicted as a “prime social congregation of the rich and cultured.”

Today’s Suzhou is an open city with developed economy and frequent exchanges with the outside world. It has been officially declared part of “the coastal economic open zone of the Yangtze Delta “. Comprehensive industrial system has taken shape ,and there has been tremendous expansion in foreign trade and international economic co-operation. Currently, Suzhou has sister cities in Italy ,Canada, Japan and the United States.

Zhenjiang Museum

Zhenjiang Museum1The Zhenjiang Museum, constructed in 1958, consists of a group of five East Indian garden style buildings. It houses more than 30,000 Chinese historical relics, from the Neolithic Age to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and over 100,000 ancient books. Among them are one national treasure, and some 70 first class national cultural relics. The museum’s main exhibits are Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 B.C.) bronze wares, celadon from the Six Dynasties (220-589), gold and silver wares from the Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties, and works of calligraphy and paintings from the Ming and Qing dynasties. These exhibits constitute a tribute to the history of this ancient east China town.

Zhenjiang Museum2Plate with polychrome design of phoenix and the eight Buddhist emblems (Qing Dynasty).

Zhenjiang Museum4Celadon jar with modeled acrobatic figures and winged bird (Wu State of Three Kingdoms).

Zhenjiang Museum3Primitive porcelain pot with eggs inside (Spring and Autumn Period).

Zhenjiang Museum5Gilt silver tortoise carrying a candle-shaped tube with inscriptions of “The Analects of Confucius” (Tang Dynasty).

Chinese bronze wares are national and world treasures. Those from different regions each have their distinct characteristics. Zhenjiang bronze wares are small and, with their simple designs and patterns, refined. The museum’s phoenix patterned Zun (a kind of ancient wine vessel) is a national treasure. Its body is imposing and heavy, and the phoenix motif decorating the vessel adds vitality to its stately magnificence.

A bird-lidded cover hu (wine pot) with stylized animal mask design is another of the museum’s treasures. It is 49 cm tall, and its lid is fashioned in the form of a bird in flight, the intention being to attract the attention of the imbiber, and to give this heavy vessel a lighter aspect. It is said that there was still liquid in this vessel when it was unearthed, making it precious beyond measure.

A 5-piece Song Dynasty clay sculpture set depicts five boys. The sculpture was not glazed but subtly painted so as to emphasize the innocence, intelligence, and essential vitality of these children. One boy has fallen to the ground, but seems unworried. The second one lies prone, his rump proudly raised. The third looks to be acting as referee, as the fourth squats comfortably, and the fifth looks on with folded arms. Seals denoting the craftsmen’s name, place and time of production were clearly visible when these sculptures were unearthed, adding further to the set’s historical and cultural value.

The Zhenjiang Museum carries on regular exchange activities. It has held exhibitions in Beijing, such as the Zhenjiang Cultural Relics Exhibition, the Wu Culture Archaeological Discovery Exhibition, the Tang Dynasty Gold and Silver Wares Exhibition, the Zhenjiang Ancient Costume and Silk Exhibition, and the Ancient Yangtze River Treasure Exhibition.It has also been involved in exhibitions held in other cities in China and abroad, thus helping to promote China’s cultural exchanges with other countries.

Address:                      85, Boxian Road, Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province

Admission:                    10 Yuan

Daily opening hours:    8:30 — 12:00

13:30 – 17:00

Introduction

hebei introThis small city in the craggy mountains north of Beijing used to shelter Qing Dynasty notables (including the empress dowager Ci Xi), from Beijing’s summer heat. The inner city is like something fresh out of the mountains, and most of the locals have seldom seen foreigners. But the city is surrounded by things for travelers to see: the Emperor’s Summer Mansion, Buddhist Temples and hills to climb. It’s also, on average, cooler than Beijing in the summer.

INFORMATION

Distance:

About 225 km from Beijing

Location

This 18th century Imperial resort is located northeast of Beijing.

Useful Information

The Bank of China is situated on the north side of Zhonghua Lu. The main Post Office is on Nanyingza Lu.

Transportation options:

Take train 613 from the main Beijing Railway Station (soft bunk recommended), 62 RMB per person. Unlike other overnight trips, the 613 does not pre-sell bunks. So at the gate everyone merges with the rawer, pushier elements of society to glom into the green hard seats. Those who want to upgrade may approach the train attendant with their requests. Sleepers seldom sell out. This train is one of the older specimens and does not offer air conditioning. On return, take train Y226 back to Beijing. Traveling by day affords views of large mountains, river canyons and farms. Soft seats are available. Since this ride is by day, sleeping cars are not necessary.

Suggested Itinerary

Preparation: Allow a budget of between RMB600-700 per person.

Day One

23:40 Depart Beijing main railway station. Take train 613 from the main Beijing Railway

Station (soft bunk recommended), 62 RMB per person.

Day Two

4:40 Arrive Chengde. Spend the pre-dawn hours checking into a hotel and catching up on some sleep. A taxi from the train station to most hotels is between RMB5 and RMB10.

12:00 Lunch. There is a maze of market streets just northeast of the bridge from the railroad station featuring single chamber, cement-floor restaurants serving thick noodles topped a la what you want.

13:00-17:00 Afternoon exploring Chengde’s major attraction, the “Imperial Palace”

18:00 Dinner in one of the city’s small traditional Chinese restaurants.

Day Three

9:00 Set out to explore Chengde’s collection of Buddhist Temples. The easy way to reach the temples is by taxi. You can walk between each temple and admission is between RMB10- RMB15.

11:00-14:00 Investigate Sledgehammer Rock, reached by taxi or bus No. 11 to the rock’s cable car entrance. Admission is RMB15 and the lift ticket is RMB20. Follow this with a quick bite to eat at the tea house at the bottom of the cable car.

14:40 Take train Y226 back to Beijing. the views by day are incredible- large mountains, river canyons and farms. A seat (as opposed to a sleeper cabin) should be sufficient for this trip.

18:40 Arrive at Beijing South Railway Station.

Hotels

A string of decent hotels overlook the river. Among them is the 220-room Yun Shan Fan Dian, where double rooms go for RMB400 per night (Nan Yuan Road No. 6) and the Chengde Guesthouse for Diplomatic Missions, where most of the 93 rooms sell for RMB380 per night (Wulie Lu near the railroad bridge).Inside the emperor’s playground (Chengde’s main attraction), is a Qing-style hotel, the Qiwanglou. The 27 rooms here sell for RMB500 per night. Even though you check in at 5 a.m., most hotels will let you stay until noon the next day for one night’s fare.

Dining

A maze of market streets just northeast of the bridge to the railroad station features single chamber, cement-floor restaurants serving thick noodles topped a la what you want. One example is the “Zhi You” restaurant on No. 2 Hutong. A bowl of noodles costs RMB5. Chengde is full of small traditional Chinese restaurants. They offer standard northern fare and the unusual complementary service of a private dining room — freedom from stares, drunken laughter and cigarette smoke. The Shui Yun Xiang restaurant on Nan Yuan Lu, is a good place to start your culinary explorations. The duck, lamb and vegetable dishes here cost about RMB25 per person.

ATTRACTIONS

The Imperial Summer Villa

Spend an afternoon at Chengde’s major attraction,the “Mountain Manor for Escaping the Summer Heat,” or the Imperial Summer Villa. This place is partly a dynastic relic and partly a park. The relics, mostly made from dark hardwood, include the halls, rooms and breezeways where Ci Xi lived and indulged in clothes and jewelry, which visitors can see. Travelers who have visited Beijing’s Summer Palace will see parallels in the architecture, especially the small sculpted rooftop animals and color schemes on the cross beams. A lake dominates the park portion of the retreat. Lotuses and pines grow around here and extend into the low surrounding hills. Trails also lead into the hills, where explorers can find a welcome respite from lakeside crowds. Hilltops also give way to views of new Chengde, another Chinese city chronically under construction, as well as the contorted mountain peaks outside town. A two-part pagoda and a field of Mongolian yurts — shops selling Mongolian regalia — add to the appeal. Admission is RMB50 per person. Taxis and buses go to the gate from throughout the city.

Sledgehammer Rock

This errant piece of topography is a club-shaped knob, 15 meters in diameter, sticking straight up from a small, windy mesa. The brochure says the rock is 596 meters high, but observations suggest this distance also includes the mesa, which rises from a hilly landscape of forests and row crop fields. The rock itself is probably 50 meters high, but this is no easy feat! The rock can be seen from all over town, and travelers constantly approach the rock to rub the sides (apparently this brings good luck), and to look down on the rest of Chengde as well as various knobs and crags that go out to all horizons. Take a cab or city bus No. 11 to get to the rock’s cable car entrance from the city. A lift ticket is RMB20; taking a foot trail through the farms and forests, a 45-minute walk, costs nothing. Admission, regardless of transportation, is RMB15. Bottled water is sold along the upper stretches of the walk. A restaurant at the bottom of the cable car serves a quick pot of tea, a plate of peaches and lettuce leaves dipped in a salty bean sauce.

The Buddhist Temples

Besides the summer resort, Chengde’s main attractions are Sledgehammer Rock and a strip of Buddhist temples on a forested slope behind the resort. The eight temples are all terraced and banked into a hill. Going back to the master hall may require climbing several outdoor flights of stone steps. The Pu Tuo Zong Sheng Temple, is a brick monolith that looks almost Tibetan. Buddha replicas are small but expressive and colorfully painted. Incense burning is optional. Taxis service the temples, but it’s possible to walk from one temple to the next. Admission to each one costs RMB10 or RMB15. A market on the street outside the temples serves soup, sodas and other snacks.

Chengde Mountain Resort

A Garden-Style Imperial Palace

Even a luxurious imperial palace is still too small a palace compared with the colorful outside world, so all emperors throughout history – usually confined to this small “cage” for most of their lifetime – were keen on inspection tours, thus giving rise to innumerable temporary palaces throughout the country in the past 2000 years. Unfortunately, there are few still in existence today. The palace in Chengde,  Hebei Province, is an exception, however. Well preserved, it still possesses its original glory and is one of the most famous tourist destinations in China today, attracting millions of people every year.

Origin

The Chengde Mountain Resort is 230 kilometers from Beijing. Construction started in 1703 and lasted 89 years. Emperor Kangxi ( reigning from 1662 to 1722 ), who initiated the project, meant to make it more than an ordinary temporary dwelling place like so many others throughout the country. He wanted to make it a palace for extended residency or as a second political center. He inspected many places and decided after careful comparison that Chengde was an ideal location. Firstly, it is close to Beijing – a round trip took only two days then ( now it takes only a little more than three hours by bus ). Secondly, lying near the pass to the central region, it is geographically important. In the vicinity of the resort is a vast hunting area with abundant water and grass, lending itself to not only hunting, but also military exercises. Thirdly, it leads directly to the Manchu people’s native land where the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 ) began its history. Finally, it enjoys a fine natural environment. Emperor Kangxi once described it as “an expansive area with hot springs and rich pastures” which combined the sophistication of southern China and the rustic charm of his native land. In terms of climate, it is an ideal summer resort with an average temperature of 24.5`C in the hottest part of July.

Layout

The palace was built when the Qing Dynasty rose to the peak of its national power during the reign of emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong. Keeping level-headed in spite of prosperity, Emperor Qianlong once commented, ” Since the Han and Tang dynasties, dwelling palaces outside the capital have been constructed to satisfy the desires of the emperor, leading to a waste  of resources, even the ruin of a dynasty. This we should avoid rather than imitate.” Having drawn a lesson from history, he set the tone for the construction of the palace simplicity. The natural conditions of vast area, with lakes and islands in the south, grassland in the north and mountains in the west, made it possible for Kangxi to realize his construction ideals. In 1711, the palace was renamed Summer Mountain Villa, a benevolent gesture indicating that the emperor would share happiness and bitterness with his subjects. Yet the Mountain Villa can by no means be equated with the villas of commoners.

The Mountain Resort occupies an area of 5064 million square meters with its castle-style walls extending for 10 kilometers. In terms of composition, it has two different areas –  the residential area and the garden area.

The residential area, where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty stayed annually from May to September, consists of four building clusters, namely the Central Chamber, Songhe Chamber, Wanhesongfeng and East Chamber. Grand ceremonies were held in Danbojingcheng, or the main hall of the Central Chamber. Yanbozhishuang was the sleeping chamber while Wanhesongfeng was the place where the emperors read books and memorials as well as received officials. In addition, there were special areas for dining and recreation. Wenjinge, the imperial library, houses a great number of books including one of the four copies of the Complete Library of the Four Treasures ( itself a collection of 3500 titles ).

The garden area is composed mainly of a lake and a southern-style landscape. Thirty-two of the 72 scenic spots named personally by emperors Kangxi and Qianlong are located in this area. The lake is divided into 7 parts by small islands which are connected to each other by bridges, dikes, corridors or sluice gates. Ornamenting the islands are pavilions, rocks, trees and flowers.

The vast stretch of plain in this area is covered with grasses and trees, reminding the Qing emperors their nomadic ancestors. There are also Mongolian yurts dotted on the plain, where the emperors used to meet with leaders of other ethnic groups and religious schools who came to pay tribute to the Qing court.

Hills occupy 78 percent of the resort area. A large number of temples and pavilions can be found on the hills.

Characteristics

The entire resort is exquisitely designed and has a harmonious layout. It well deserves its name as a garden-style imperial city.

In general, the residential area is compact in layout while the garden area is characterized by natural touches, well representing the essence of ancient Chinese horticulture.

The buildings in the residential area are completely different in architectural style and layout from those of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Palace building in ancient China are usually symmetrical in layout, with main buildings located on the central axis and other buildings arranged symmetrically on both sides, which can be best exemplified by the design of the Forbidden City. The palace buildings in the Mountain Resort, however, do not follow this style. They are well integrated into the natural topography without adhering rigidly to the principle of symmetry. What’s more, instead of glazed tiles as used in the Forbidden City, gray bricks and tiles and natural wood are employed, adding to the solemnity and elegance of the palace.

The garden area is dotted with 120 scenic spots featuring both southern and northern landscaping arts. It presents both static and dynamic beauty, with flying birds, swimming fish and roaming deer in the garden which is constructed in harmony with nature. Surrounded by the Cheng Lake to the west and facing streams, the Jinshan Hill is an imitation of the typical Zhenjiang-style (in Jiangsu Province ), of which Emperor Kangxi developed an interest during his inspection tour in the south. On the hill spread-out pavilions rise from among the bizarre-shaped rocks. Set on Qinglian Island is the Yanyu Building, an imitation of one in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, bearing the same name. Struck by the beauty of the building during his inspection tour in the south, Emperor Qianlong ordered the drawing of the design and the erecting of the building in the resort. The building clusters such as the Central Chamber and Songhe Chamber exhibit the style of the northern civilian residences, trees towering into clouds, lawns extending to the horizon and Mongolian yurts scattered here and there. Standing between the palace area and the lake area is the Water Pavilion, decorated with three kiosks resembling the Dong-style Wind and Rain bridges in Guizhou Province.

The beauty of the numerous scenic spots of contrasting styles in the Mountain Resort cannot be captured in words. Its unique charm has led to its inclusion among the Top Ten Scenic Sights of China and the 1994 listing of World Cultural Heritage sites.

From: China Today

Qinhuangdao city . Hebei Province

A Rising Industrial Port City

qinhuangdaoSituated at the foot of Yanshan Mountain, facing the Bohai Sea, Qinhuangdao  is famous for its ice-free harbour, the summer resort Beidaihe and the First Pass Under Heaven.Qinhuangdao was approved by the State Council in April 1984 as one of the 14 coastal cities that were opened furth to the outside world. The spring wind of reform and opening changes Qinhuangdao day after day, attracking attention from the people of the world.

Qinhuangdao has a long history. The first emperor of Qin Dynasty once stationed here on his eastern inspection tour in 215 B.C, and sent Lu Sheng of Yan State to seek importals off the sea, hence the place was named after him as Qinhuangdao (island of Emperor Qin). In 1898, the Qing government made Qinhuangdao a commercial port and began to build an ocean shipp ing wharf.

Since then the population had been increasing considerably. Qinyu city was established in Dec. 1948, and then the named changed to Qinhuangdao city in the Marth 1949. In May, 1983, Qinhuangdao became a city under the direct jurisdiction of Hebei Province. Three districts, Haigang, Beidaihe, and Shanhaiguan and four counties, Funing,Changli, Lulong and Qinlong Manchurian Autonomous County are under the jurisdiction of Qinhuangdao. Its total area is 7,523 square kilometers with a population of 2.5996 million.

Qinhuangdao, located at the conjunction area between North China Economic Zone and Northeast China Economic Zone, and at the central part of economic zones around Bohai, is the important seaport for northern,northeastern and northwestern China. The world famous Port of Qinhuangdao is wide in harbour space and deep in water, neither frozen nor silted. The port mainly for energy,sundry goods and containers, is the second largest port in China and the largest port for energy export in the world. The berth, each with a capacity of 5,000 tons in Xinkaihe Port
have been put into operation. The Port of Shanhaiguan is now under construction.Qinhuangdao is a tourist city known both at home and abroad. With the beautiful scenery and pleasant climate, there are dozens of tourist areas with more than 300 scenic spots. The beach in Beidaihe with clear warter, gentle wave and fine sand is the best sea bathing place in northern China.

Shanhaiguan is a important military base since ancient times. From here the Great Wall gones down into the sea. The Old Dragon’s Head, Longevity Hill, the Emperor Qin Seeking Immortals, Nandaihe in Funing,Golden Beach in Changli, etc. attract large groups of tourists. There are about 200 sanatoriums, holiday inns and hotels which receive 6 million people annually.

Qinhuangdao is a newly developed industrial city. There are 1,200 township factories and state-owned plants,among those, 64 are large-and middle-sized, with 1,000 kinds of industrial products:building materials, metallurgy, machinery, garments, food and chemicals, ets.. Yaohua Glass Group Company, Shanhaiguan Steel Frame Factory, Bohai Aluminium Co.. Dicastal Wheel Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Shanhaiguan Ship-yard, Huamei Miceleto Equipment Co. etc. are on the top list of their fields in China both in productive capacity and scales.

Qinhuangdao is one of the 14 coastal cities further opening-up to outside world, with the state-level Qinhuangdao Economic and Technical Development Zone, provincial level Shanhaiguan and Beidaihe Economic and Technical Development Zones, Nandaihe New and High-Tech Industrial Zone and tourism districts in the city.Except for the preferential policies for opening coastal city formulated by the state, the foreign investors also enjoy the preferential policies on land use and taxation from the provincial and municipal governments. Ivestors from 30 ciuntries and regions have made good profits.

Qinhuangdao has a good investment environment with a completed infrastructure. The function of urban supply has been strengthened. Beijing-Shenyang, Beijing-Qinhuangdao and Datong-Qinhuangdao Railway run through the city. Shanhaiguan Station is one of the six big railway marshalling yards. Two national highways 102 and 205 cross the city, the expressway from Beijing to Qinhuangdao is being under construction. With a dozen of flights available, international flights are planned to open. There are 191,000 program controlled telephones, allowing direct dial to 1,000 cities in 200 countries and regions in the world. Water, power and gas supply are gully developed. The standard of urban environment and hygiene is improved.
Qinhuangdao City has been honored as a national cleanest city for three years. In 1992, the city was prized by the state one of the 40 best cities for investment environment.
Qinhuangdao Foreign Investment Administration and Service Center is set up to provide good service for investors.

Looking forward to the further, the city has bright prospects. Following the policy of the Central Goverment on speeding up the development in coastal areas, Qinhuangdao will develop into a mordern industry city. Qinhuangdao will be built into a garden city with the best two civilizations and high-quality people’s life and move into a strong economic and spiritual civilization city.

Welcome friends all over the world to visit, travel and develop economic and trade cooperation in Qinhuangdao.

Beidaihe Scenic Spot

Beidaihe is a famous and scenic summer resort located at the southwest of Qinhuangdao Municipality. An alluring coastal village with a small-town ambience, it provides a welcome break from city life. Its charm lies mostly in the lively inhabitants, bustling night stalls and, of course, the seaside views. From long stretches of pebbled sand to small coves, it is easy for travelers to escape the masses.

The Beidaihe Beach Resort stretches 10km east to west from the Yinjiao Pavillion to the mouth of the Daihe. In Changli, southwest of Beidaihe, there are also plans to convert a local bathing beach into another resort. This naturally pristine beach, like the rest of the Beidaihe Beach Resort, will attract millions of visitors from all over the world each summer.

The environment around Beidaihe is also beautiful. Mt. Lianfeng, which backs onto the beach, has two peaks covered by abundant green pines and cypresses. Lush vegetation, strange caves, decorated pavilions, secluded paths and winding bridges cover the mountain and make it unique and appealing. Looking down from Wanghaiting (Seaside Pavilion) at the top of the hill, one can see the misty sea in all its majesty and feel carefree and joyous. Moreover, Beidaihe is one of nine famous sun-rise watching spots in China. The Yinjiao Pavilion, on the northwest beach of Beidaihe, is the best place to watch the sun rise. Another way to witness this beautiful morning event is out the window of one of the local trains called Lianhuashi (Lotus Stone), named after the several huge rocks standing upright in the shape of a lotus flower. The park also houses the quiet Guanyin Temple in the north, beautifully restored in 1979, and the splendid Zhujia Grave in the east.

Home to vendors, speed boats and school outings, the locals herald the Tiger Rocks as the central attraction of the middle beach. This rock formation is composed of several huge rocks protruding from the sea like crouching tigers. Standing on one of these rocks, one is fascinated by the beating waves beneath and the vast sea in the distance.

The Yinjiao Stone in the east is one of the most popular attractions of Beidaihe. It is a separate rock with the unique shape of an eagle perched upon it. Groups of wild doves once dwelled in the rock caves there, so it is also known as “Dove Nest”. Yinjiao Pavilion is at the peak, where visitors can enjoy watching the powerfully energetic ocean.

Beidaihe Summer Resort and Shanhai Pass

Beidaihe (Peitaiho) is one of the better-known summer resorts on China’s east coast.

As I approach Jieshi Hill from the west.
The boundless sea extends before me.

Above soughs the autumn wind.
The insurmountable waters swell below.

These lines, written by the famous statesman-poet Cao Cao (155-220) to commemorate his visit to Beidaihe, testify that the natural beauty of this seaside resort was appreciated quite early in Chinese history. A number of the principal scenic spots are described below.

Eagle promontory (Yingjiaoyan): On a corner of East Hill is an outcrop of bare rock known as Eagle Promontory. With its pointed tip jutting out into the sea, it resembles an eagle standing on one leg. A pavilion built on the highest point of the promontory provides the best spot in the area from which to observe both the sunrise and the entire panorama along the coast. A natural stone staircase descends to the beach. Looking up at the pavilion from there one gets the feelings that this huge pile of stone may fall down at any moment. A fine view of fishing boats in the misty distance off Qinhuangdao can also be obtained here.

The Pigeonholes: Twenty or thirty meters from Eagle Promontory to the right of the pavilion stands a huge yellowish reef which rises abruptly from the sea and extends nearly to the shoreline. Countless years of pounding waves has scored the rock with cracks and holes, which serve pigeons as ideal nesting places. Visitors in the early morning and late afternoon can see the lively spectacle of the resident birds flying about.

The Tiger Rocks: In the central beach area is a row of huge rocks near the shore, which become visible when the tide ebbs. From a distance, these rocks look very much like a group lively tigers bathing in the sea.

Lianpeng (Lotus) Mountain, also known as Lianfeng Mountain (Mountain of Joined Peaks): The name of this mountain, which stands some 400 meters above sea level, derives from the fact that it consists of an eastern and a western peaks. Densely covered with pines and cypresses, it offers a number of interesting vistas. On the western peak is the Conversation Rock, known also as Lian Rock, which is said to resemble a peach or a crouching lion in shape. Nearby is a tomb reputed to contain the remains of a Korean prince who died on the mountain in a battle with the Tatars. One may also visit the Stone Lotus Park, where beneath the shade of pine trees there is a host of rocks, which resembles lotus flowers floating on the water. In addition, one may visit Tiger Cave, in which crashing waves can be heard; the Southern Gate of Heaven, a natural rock formation; the Fairy Cave, where female fairies who collect medicinal herbs are believed to spend the night; Taoyuan (peach Garden), an imaginary utopia; and Tongtian (Connected with the Sky) Caves. Nearby Yansai Lake is an ideal place for rowing.

Late in the evening, the pleasant echoes of the bell in the Temple of the Goddess of Mercy lull visitors to sleep.

The Old Dragon Head (Laolongtou), the easternmost point of the Great Wall, makes a wonderful day trip from Beidaihe. The colorful name of this site is derived from the traditional description of the Great Wall as huge dragon stretching across northern China. With its body winding its way into the Yanshan Mountains in the north and its head jutting into the Bohai Sea, the stony old dragon presents a magnificent sight.

Four kilometers from the Old Dragon Head is the easternmost pass of the Great Wall, Shanhai Pass (the Pass of Mountains and Sea). Commonly known as the First Pass under Heaven, it was built more than 600 years ago in the early Ming Dynasty to defend the strategic six-kilometer-wide coastal plain, which lies between the Bohai Sea and the Yanshan Mountains.
Near the pass is the Temple of Girl Mengjiang. The touching tale of this woman, known to every Chinese, may be summed up as follows: During the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.), Mengjiang’ s husband was conscripted to work on the construction of the Great Wall. He died during the cold winter and was buried amidst the rubble in the base of the Great Wall. After many years of separation, Mengjiang came to look for him, and when she arrived at the site where he had been assigned to work, discovered that he had died years before. Her crying was so loud that the section of the Great Wall where he was buried collapsed.

Convention credits the Englishman Claude William Kinder with the discovery of Beidaihe as an ideal summer resort at the end of the 19th century. But Kinder was hardly the first person to come here. Actually, ships called here as early as the Han Dynasty, over 2,000 years ago. The Han Emperor Wu Di is reputed to have enjoyed the seaside beauty here and to have built a special observation platform for this purpose. Cao Cao, whose poem we read above, was another early visitor. Due to the development of sea transport, the population of the area increased rapidly during the Ming Dynasty and Beidaihe became quite prosperous. In 1898, the Qing government officially designated Beidaihe as a summer resort. However, in the following 50 years, the region developed very slowly. Except for foreign establishments such as the American and British government estates, there were few other buildings besides the private villas of Qing bureaucrats and warlords, such as Wu Peifu and Duan Qirui. In November 1948, Beidaihe was liberated. Since then, the people’s Government has built highways in both the city proper and along the beach. Besides the restoration and enlargement of five parks, 3,000 new hotels, villas and sanatoriums have been constructed.

From Eagle Promontory in the east to the mouth of the Daihe River in the west, 22 swimming areas have been opened in Beidaihe’ s 10 kilometers of fine sandy beaches. The average annual temperature is approximately 10 degrees Centigrade, 26 degrees in summer. Breezes from the southeast cool the region, and even on the hottest summer days, the warm, calm water is ideal for swimming. Travelers from Beijing can reach Beidaihe conveniently by train.

Great Wall in Hebei-Laolongtou

Four kilometers south of Shanhaiguan, Laolongtou is the easternmost end of the Great Wall, which stretches 23 meters into the sea like a dragon drinking water, hence its name. This part of the Great Wall was built in the 7 th year of Wanli reign in the Ming dynasty (1579) and was mended in the 7 th year of Kangxi reign in the Qing dynasty (1668). Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty would stop here for a visit on their way to Fengtian (Present – day Shenyang) to worship their ancestors, which makes the city even more worthy of its name. Standing at Laolongtou, facing the misty sea, visitors can easily picture Emperor Qin (221-207 BC), the first emperor of China, sending people into the sea here to find a drug that would give him immortality. You can see the Great Wall as it zigzags over the rolling mountains like a giant dragon to the north. Looking to the south you can see the vast expanse of sea stretching far to merge with the sky. At this moment you feel as if you could embrace the whole world.

It consists of the Estuary Stone City, Jinglu Watchtower, Wangshou Watchtower, Nanhaikou Pass, Chenghai Tower, Ninghai City and Binhai City.

The Estuary Stone City

The Stone City lying at the estuary was built by Qijiguang, a famous general of the Ming dynasty. It used to serve as a defense work to resist the aggression of Nuchen and Mongolia. The Stone City was based on natural reefs and constructed with huge rocks, which were rabbet and connected by cast iron chains. With battlements placed on walls the Stone City extends into the sea and is very grandiosity.

Jinglu Watchtower

Connecting with the Stone City in the north, Jinglu Watchtower, was built with granite bars and has a commanding height to block the sea. The straight-cut plane of the watchtower is an equilateral trapezium with a bottoms length of 11.7 meters and a top of 10.7 meters.

Wangshou Watchtower

Wangshou Watchtower and Jinglu Watchtower echo each other at a distance to form defense fortifications that outflank the Old Dragon’s Head Bay. As a close defense work, the protruding tower is 25 meters-wide and 34 meters long, with parapet walls inside and a basement beneath that is over 20-meter-long .

Nanhaikou Pass

Nanhaikou Pass is the only pass of the Ming Great wall established on the seashore. With a height of 5.4 meters, this pass was supposed to be the commanding center of the Laolongtou Great Wall defense system.

Chenghai Tower

Chenghai Tower, 20 meters away from Nanhaikou pass, was built after Nanhaikou Pass was deserted. It functioned as a defensive arrow tower and retired after the Qing dynasty.

Ninghai City

Ninghai City is the city where Chenghai Tower locates. It is about 6.6-meter-high and 500-meter-long in circumference and has 2 gates, one in the west and another in the north. The city wall was built with bricks on a stone basement and was rammed with loess inside the walls. The city has now been rebuilt and is open to tourists.

Great Wall in Hebei-Shanhaiguan Pass

Shanhaiguan is a small, sleepy town and port of the northern section of the Bohai gulf, holding the access between northeast China and north China. Shanhai Pass, 15 kilometers from the tourist city of Qinhuangdao, got its name from being situated between the Yanshan Mountains and the Bohai Sea. Built in 583, it was renovated throughout various dynasties until it was transformed into a formidable military stronghold during the Ming Dynasty. As the strategic passage between the north and northeast China, this pass has been a bone of contention for military strategists since the ancient times. It is also considered the No.1 pass of the Great Wall and the key to the defense of two ancient capitals – Beijing in the east and Chang’an (Xi’an) in the west. Shanhai Pass is a national tourist attraction and the first strategic pass at the eastern end of the Great Wall.

Shanhaiguan Pass consists of a main castle, two supporting castles one in the north and one in the south, and two semicircular protective walls in front of the main castle, the town of Weiyuan and the town of Ninghai. Today most of these structures are still well preserved, while others, such as the wall of Ninghai, the Calm Sea Tower built on the town wall and the Laolongtou Great Wall, where the Great Wall meets the sea, have been restored. The brick wall of the pass, stuffed with earth, is 14 meters high, seven meters wide and four kilometers in circumference. It is connected with the Great Wall which stretches onto the rolling Yanshan Mountains in the north and into the Bohai Sea in the south with parts and battlements that form a strong and powerful defense system. On the east gate of the city wall stands a tower hung with a horizontal inscribed board reading: “The First Pass under the Heaven “. The bold characters written in vigorous strokes make the pass look even more magnificent. The Gate Tower houses an exhibition of ancient military uniforms and weapons including a saber that weighs 83 kilos, the heaviest in the country. Once you ascend the tower and take a broad view afar, the serried battlements and the rising mist will take you back to the ancient battlefields of a thousand years ago.

Beyond the Shanhaiguan Pass, the Great Wall stretches eastward until it dips into the sea at a place called Laolongtou (Old Dragon’s Head) . Tourist attractions in the vicinity include the Jiaoshan Section which has the Great Wall meandering along the mountain ridges, Shanhaiguan Great Wall Museum which has some interesting pictures, relics and clothes depicting the life story of this snaking construction, and a temple dedicated to Meng Jiangnu ,one of China’s devoted heroines.

Hebei Welcomes You

Hebei Province, with its beautiful Capital, Shijiazhuang, is located to the north of the Yellow River, and to the east of the Taihang Mountains. Hebei is somewhat overshadowed by its neighbors, Beijing and Tianjin, whose vastness covers an area of 190,000 square kilometers, and its vibrant population is estimated to be at 67,440,000. Hebei’s long and proud history can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC), which dates from 770 BC to 476 BC. At that time it was called “The Land of Yan and Zhao”, because its northern area was dominated by the Kingdom of Yan, while its southern area was occupied by the Kingdom of Zhao. Today, that same area is home to more than 50 ethnic groups, such as Han, Hui, Manchu, Mongolian and Korean. Hebei is also known for its moderate climate. The four seasons are felt and enjoyed. In spring it is arid and windy, hot and rainy in summer, balmy and fine in autumn and dry and cold in winter. The annual rainfall averages between 300 – 800 millimeters and its corresponding temperature ranges from 0 C to 13 C. So the best time to travel to Hebei is during autumn, when you can enjoy the clear and crisp climate.

The visitor to Hebei has the unequalled opportunity to view many relics that can be found in this beautiful province. The very famous Chengde Mountain Resort used to be the largest royal summer resort of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Outside the surrounding wall of the Mountain Resort of Chengde, the visitor will find a display of several brilliant and glistening temples. They are called “Eight Outer Temples” and are the largest imperial temples in all of China. The Mulan Paddock in Hebei Province was used as the hunting place for the emperors of the Qing Dynasty. At the present time, it is one of the few natural grassland resorts and a very popular destination for those visitors who are after a bit of fresh air and peaceful countryside. Shanhaiguan Pass, also called “The First Pass Under Heaven”, is the easternmost end of the GREAT WALL, which winds its way through the north of Hebei. All these beautiful highlights will make the tourist feel excited about the scenery, history and natural beauty which is in the Hebei Province.

In the tour to Hebei Province, tourists can not only have a long look at all the historical relics, but they also see all the beautiful natural landscapes that you can only dream of. In summer, tourists can enjoy the sunshine, beaches, and all the fresh air that blows in from the Bohai Gulf in the Beidaihe and Nandaihe Scenic Areas; In spring tourists can ride on the vast and magnificent grassland; In autumn, they can explore the fascinating Yesanpo Scenic Area in Baoding City. And in winter, another spectacular destination in Baoding City is the Baiyang Lake. The Baiyang Lake will be a very special attraction, because tourists can see very unique scenery of reeds and snows.

Hebei beckons and welcomes you.

More Ruins of Great Wall Come to Light-Xiefengkou Gateway

Snaking along the meandering mountains for thousands of kilometres from North China’s Hebei Province to Northwest China’s Gansu Province, the Great Wall has remained a symbol of human ingenuity and Chinese civilization.

As highways and roads are built leading deep into the previously inaccessible mountains, people have discovered more ruins of the Great Wall.

For instance, the section of the ruined Great Wall in Tangshan in Hebei Province, about 200 kilometres to the northeast of Beijing, recently opened to visitors.

Linking the Shanhaiguan Pass to the east and the better-known Badaling section in Beijing, the wall stretches about 220 kilometres through Tangshan with 29 passes, 603 watch towers and 82 beacon towers, researchers have concluded after years of hard study.

The Xifengkou Gateway, located in Qianxi County in Tangshan, was an important stronghold in ancient times.

Today, part of this section is submerged in a reservoir built in the early 1970s. The structure looks just like a tired dragon drinking water, with his neck submerged in a lake and tail lifting up at the peak of the mountain.

The name Xifeng, which means ”peak of happiness,” has developed from an earlier meaning “site for a happy reunion.”

Legend has it that a young man yearned to see his father, who had gone to build the Great Wall. He travelled a long distance and finally found his father working there. Overjoyed after a separation which lasted many years, both father and son lived there for the rest of their lives.

The part of the Great Wall along the Jiufeng Mountain is unique in that it is only 70 centimetres wide at its narrowest point. In fact, it is the wall’s narrowest section.

The section of the wall on the Jiufeng Mountain was a typical example of official corruption in ancient times, as local officials stole the building funds.

Ironically, the section built with limited materials has now become a tourist attraction for its unique features.

There is an old tale which has passed from generation to generation that a monk sacrificed himself by jumping over a cliff on the Jiufeng Mountain to become a Buddha. The Xiyun Temple on the peak, constructed in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), was built in memory of the monk.

Apart from the peak and ancient temple, the Jiufeng Mountain also features unusual trees, odd rocks and steep cliffs.

The Gate Tower of Qingshanguan Pass offers a sharp contrast to the slim wall on top of the Jiufeng Mountain. Grandiose in its appearance, it is 6 metres high and has 72 arches with a perimeter of 230 metres.

Nearby is the Marble Great Wall. Around 10 metres high, 5 metres wide and 1,500 metres in length, it was built from marble, which was rare in the history of the Great Wall’s construction.

Paradise for Birds-Beidaihe

At dusk, a small bird with enchanting black eyes, perched on a tiny branch, elegantly and leisurely plumbs its wings.

It did not seem to mind that a little more than 10 metres away, several people were excitedly watching it through telescopes and binoculars.

“This is the band-billed crake, remember the dark red colour of its feathers and the white bands on its belly,” whispered Gerold Dobler, an ornithologist from Austria.

“It’s so rare it is listed in the red data-book of endangered bird species.”

Everyone was so busy catching a glimpse of the rare crake, a fine reward for their hours of waiting, that they almost ignored the black-crowned night herons flying over their heads, or the agile swallows chasing insects above the low bushes.

Just 100 metres east of the woods, the ocean waves roll in and out. More than 10 species of shore birds enjoy the sea breeze and a tasty meal of crab.

“The crake added a new name to my birding checklist,” said Zhong Jia, aged about 50, who came from People’s Daily and started to joined bird watching groups three years ago.

“The number of rare birds I’ve seen has increased to 270 in the past three years and my personal goal is to reach 300 this year,” she said.

The nine-person bird watching team was mostly composed of Chinese journalists who had just finished covering the 23rd World Ornithological Congress in Beijing,which was held two weeks ago.

Happy Island

The peaceful place the avid bird watchers chose for their post-congress adventure is called Happy Island.

Situated in Laoting County of North China’s Hebei Province, it is only a three-hour drive from Beijing and about 80 kilometres south of another famous bird watching place in China – Beidaihe.

Beidaihe won world recognition as a birding haven during the 1999 Sky and Ocean International Bird Watching Race, which attracted nearly 200 Chinese and overseas bird watchers.

Best-known as a summer resort for its beaches, Beidaihe is home to tens of thousands of vacationers between July and September each year.

“Compared to Beidaihe, Happy Island seems much more lucky,” Zhong said, “because it is almost a pure paradise solely for birds and with little disturbance from tourists.”

Happy Island’s name came from Martin Williams, a British man who has been studying birds in the Beidaihe area since 1985.

He chanced upon the island in 1987 and his eyes kept on opening as wide as they could during the whole trip, recalled Xu Xiaohong, director of the Beidaihe Convalescence and Tourism Administration, who accompanied Williams to the island.

Xu said Williams found the island was entirely free human activities, although it is located just a few kilometres from the mainland.

Being a great island for birds, ornithologists and bird watchers, its name was a logical choice.

From then on, international bird watchers flocked in spring and autumn to the tiny island, which is 2 kilometres long and 1 kilometre wide, as it played host to numerous migrating birds, mainly shuttling between Siberia and South China.

The island’s name then spread rapidly among bird watchers worldwide, who gave it the Chinese name of Kuaile Dao.

Only locals still call it by its original Chinese name, Shijiu Tuo.

Situated between Bohai Bay to the east and the Yanshan Mountain Range to the west, the island provides feathered travellers with a resting place.

While there are more than 9,000 species of birds in the world, 1,200 can been seen in China and about 400 have been spotted at Beidaihe. “The number on Happy Island will be about the same due to its proximity to Beidaihe and their similar geographical conditions,” according to Dobler.

“It is one of the best places for bird watching in East Asia.

“The varying geographical conditions and changing weather brings different birds everyday, that is part of the fun for bird watchers.”

Connecting birds

Except for Dobler, Zhong and Yu Haiyan from Guangzhou TV Station, located in South China’s Guangdong Province, most team members were beginners in birding, so a short training course was necessary.

Zhong was appointed as the teacher. She said a telescope, binoculars and an illustrated bird book were all requirements for bird-watching. And to avoid disturbing the birds, bright-colour clothing is not allowed.

“Although it is the hottest days in the area, long-sleeve shirts, long trousers and gallons of insect repellent are strongly recommended because during the whole season, the island is alive with mosquitoes,” Zhong said.

“Early morning is a good time for bird watching, when the birds are busy feeding.”

So the island trip started at 7:30 am with a 5-minute ride on a small speedboat.

The sanctuary is covered with shrubs, reeds and a scattering of bushes, crossed by small tracks. Due to its small size, a bird watcher can easily cover the island on foot.

The welcoming bird was a brown shrike, quietly sitting on top of some bushes. Dobler explained that it was waiting for chances to catch its insect breakfast at lightening speed, after it spotted one.

Having been to the island several times, Zhong suggested that the members go through a small wooded area. It was a shortcut to get to the beach and a good place to find forest birds.

But mosquitoes came before the birds, dozens of them rushed to the intruders’ legs, arms and even faces. Although protected by clothes and insect repellent, no one emerged from the woods unbitten.

But the small group quickly put aside the uncomfortableness caused by the insects after Yu Haiyan spotted a small dark-green bird in the branches of a fir.

Everyone fixed their telescope on the tree and no one spoke.

The silence was broken by a small dispute over the name of the bird until Dobler whispered to the group that it was an arctic warbler, identifiable by its white, long and thin brow lines and distinctive chirping.

To get to the beach before the tide had ebbed too far out, taking all of the shore birds, the team decided to leave the mosquito and spider-web-ridden area and rush to the shore.

But the original shortcut was stopped by noisy human construction.

Workers pointed out the right way and explained that they were repairing an old temple, which was expected to attract more tourists besides bird watchers.

“It shows that the value of the place is obviously unknown to the local people,” Zhong sighed.

Luckily, shore birds such as dunlins, gulls and plovers seemed undaunted by the construction noise.

They peacefully gathered around, catching food or resting.

Dobler explained the difference between various species of dunlins and plovers and how to spot them by distinguishing between the length of their beaks, body size and the colour of their claws.

“Most birds are molting in preparation for winter so it’s harder to identify them than in spring,” Dobler said.

Most of the team were busy checking the guide book after finding a new species, in an effort to find its name and body characteristics.

They were excited to find out they could accurately distinguish between eastern and Eurasian curlews and Asian dowitchers.

Not satisfied with watching birds through telescopes, Ding even took off his shoes to walk into the mud to gain a closer look.

Maybe because he moved so slowly the birds felt he meant no harm – they did not fly away even when he stopped less than 10 metres away.

Yu was pleased to add so many new birds to her watching list, most of which she had no chance of seeing in her hometown in South China’s Guangdong Province.

The joy overcame her weariness after carrying the same heavy equipment as the men, a binocular to search for the animals and a half-metre-long telescope for catching close-ups.

Yu said she began to watch birds in her childhood because one of her neighbours was a university biology teacher.

The neighbour taught Yu how to watch birds in their natural environment, to find differences in their behaviour and most importantly, to love and protect them.

“Birds are friends of humans,” Yu said.

“They are connected with us in nature.”

Join the group

Zhong regretted that although China is one of the countries gifted with a rich bird life, the number of people appreciating its beauty is still small.

There is only about 100 people regularly taking part in birding trips around the country.

“I believe the number will increase rapidly as more and more people recognize the fun of it,”Zhong said.

She said most trips were organized by the Friends of Nature and the Green Earth Volunteers, two environmental non-government organizations based in Beijing. There is also a regular training course given by Zhao Xinru, a biologist from Beijing Normal University, every Wednesday evening at the university.

The bird watchers, most of whom are students and professors who study birds, exchanged their experiences during the breaks.

And through the Internet, bird watchers from Xiamen, in East China’s Fujian Province, South China’s Guangdong Province and the Beijing and Shanghai municipalities share new findings, questions and answers.

“Birds are everywhere around us, in the parks, on the windows, above the antennae,” Zhong said.

“Holding binoculars is no harder than holding a camera. Bird watching offers a good chance to think about ourselves.

“Humans and birds used to be harmonious. It’s humans who destroyed the harmony and we should stop right now.”

Qinhuangdao – Natural Harbor

Qinhuangdao is situated near a section of the Beijing – Shenyang Railway Line in the northeastern part of Hebei Province. It borders the Yanshan Mountains in the north and Bohai Bay in the south. One of north China’s ice-free natural harbors, it abounds in fish, prawns, and other aquatic products. The famous health resort, Beidaihe Beach, lies southwest of the city.

“The First Pass Under Heaven”

This pass, also called Shanhai pass, is located fifteen kilometers northeast of Qinhuangdao at the eastern terminus of the Great Wall. The “pass city” was built during the Ming Dynasty in the fourteenth year of Emperor Hong Wu’s rule (A.D. 1381). It controlled communications between north and northeast China, a strategic location for which wars were often fought.

At the entrance to the pass is a twelve – meter – high rectangular city gate, which connects the Great Wall to the south and north. On top of the gate is a two – storied tower, which is 13 meters high, 20 meters wide, and 11 meters tick and decorated with painted eaves. The tower commands a spectacular view of distant Bohai Bay to the south and the tortuous path of the Great Wall to the north.

Meng Jiangnu Temple

This temple is located in the Shanhai Pass District of Qinhuangdao. Legend says that in the time of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Meng Jaingnu’s husband was conscripted to help build the Great Wall. Missing her husband very much, Meng jiangnu set out on the long journey to see him. When she arrived at eh foot of the wall, she learned that her husband had been worked to death and buried beneath it, and she wept so many tears that a huge section of the Great Wall crumbled away. The sorrowful woman then drowned herself in the sea, and a temple was erected to commemorate her. A clay sculpture of Meng Jaingnnu stands in front of the temple hall. Dressed in a black gown, she gazes out at the sea, her expression revealing her grief and indignation.

Beidaihe Beach

This resort is located fifteen kilometers southwest of Qinhuangdao. It faces Bohai to the south and has the Lianfeng Hills, with their forests of pine and cypress, as a back drop. The beach is two kilometers wide and extends for ten kilometers from Daihekou in the west to Eagle Rock in the east. With its beautiful winding coastline and its pleasant, moderate climate, Beidaihe Beach is a popular spot for summer vacations.

The area is dotted with buildings and villas, some along the beach and others hidden in groves. The main attractions are South Heavenly Gate (Nantianmen), Cave Leading to the Sky (Tongtiandong), Camel Rock (Luotuosi), Tiger Rock (Laohusi), Guanyin Monastery, and Lotus Park.

Since national liberation of 1949, roads in downtown districts and a beachside highway have been built or repaired. Sanatoriums embracing an area of 3,160,000 square meters have been built and five beachside parks restored.

Where the Dragon Meets the Sea

Situated on the coast of Bohai Bay in northeast Hebei Province in North China, Qinhuangdao has long been famous as an ideal summer resort because of its pleasant scenery and culture.

Laolongtou

Qinhuangdao (“Qin Emperor Island”) is where the Great Wall protrudes into the sea like a dragon drinking water.

Laolongtou (“dragon head”), is the place where the wall meets the sea, and is the city’s key attraction.

Standing at Laolongtou, facing the misty sea, visitors can easily picture Emperor Qin (221-207 BC), the first emperor of China , sending people into the sea here to find a drug that would give him immortality. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of grand palaces where the emperor came for short visits, making the city even more worthy of its name.

Shanhaiguan

Both Laolongtou and Shanhaiguan, 15 kilometres away in the east of Qinhuangdao City, were in the country’s first group of national-level tourist sites.

Shanhaiguan, with its 14-metre-high and 7-metre-wide city walls, seems almost to join the Great Wall.

On an enormous plaque at the east gate of Shanhaiguan is written: ‘The first pass on the earth’. The east gate is called “Zhendong Building,” which is 13.7 metres high and boasts 68 arrow slits used to defend the place against attack.

Shanhaiguan is called the country’s gateway, connecting Northeast China and the rest of the country.

Built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as a key military pass, it is now popular as a scenic attraction.

Mengjiang Temple

When people appreciate the grandeur of the Great Wall, many think about those who built it and how they did it.

Numerous people were killed or lost loved ones during this seemingly everlasting project. The story of Mengjiang, a woman famed for her loyalty to her husband, is particularly remembered.

Mengjiang was married in Nanjing of East China’s Jiangsu Province, but soon after the wedding her husband was caught and sent to the north to help build the wall.

As winter drew near, the woman left her hometown with a bundle of clothes, in order to find her husband. She eventually reached the coast, but was told that a great number of people were building the wall in the far distance.

She stood by the seaside, waiting for her husband’s return.

According to the legend, Mengjiang waited so long she turned into a stone. Visitors can still see the woman-shaped stone there. People later built Mengjiang Temple in her memory.

Beidaihe Area

Beidaihe is known as Eden on earth. Its pleasant weather – the average summer temperature is 24.5 degrees centigrade – and fresh air attract many visitors.

Lianfeng Mountain in the west of the area boasts lush vegetation, with strange caves and decorated pavilions scattered across the mountain.

The Daihe River winds along the foot of the mountain and joins the sea.

In the south lies a long, sandy beach along which visitors can enjoy sun and sea bathing.

To the east of this area is Geziwo Park, which is the best place to view the sunrise and watch the changing tides.

Golden Beach

The 52.1-kilometre-long Golden beach is 17 kilometres away in the southwest of the Beidaihe area. Its fine sand and shallow, calm and clear water make it the best place for swimming.

West of the Golden Beach, sand dunes stretch 40 kilometres against a green belt of woodland. Some sand dunes are 30-40 metres high, which is very rare in coastal areas. Sliding down these hills is a popular activity among visitors.

Tourists can enjoy many other entertainment services such as shooting, horse racing or even yacht racing.

Qinhuangdao is a favoured holiday spot for China’s top leaders. Several villas once lived in by major political figures of China are now open to visitors.

Travel tips

The best season to go is between May and October. Remember to bring swimsuits and enough sun-block lotion. There are direct trains between Shanghai and Qinhuangdao City.

Tangshan Hot Springs

The Tangshan Hot Springs are situated about 30 kilometers north of Beijing proper on the road leading to the eastern range of the Western Hills. The springs can be reached by regional bus from downtown area.

Tangshan Mountains are made up of two solitary peaks with screen-covered slopes: Greater Tangshan Mountain, with its needle-like crags; and Tangshan Mountain, with its peculiar rock formations. Both are famed for their hot mineral springs.

To the east of Lesser Tangshan Mountain is a park shaded by luxuriant green and dotted with pavilions. Flowers and plants flourish in this ideal spot for relaxation. To the south of Lesser Tangshan Mountain there are two hot springs. The eastern source bubbles out of the earth at extremely high temperatures and is called Boiling Spring (Feiquan), while the western source, the Warm Spring (Wenquan), is more suitable for bathing. Although the two springs are only three meters apart, their water temperatures vary as greatly as their names suggest. The spring waters are rich in minerals useful in the treatment of skin diseases.

In the Qing Dynasty, during the reign of Emperor Kangxi, a square pool three meters deep surrounded by a carved stone balustrade was built at the spring source. The crystal clear waters of both springs flow into this pool, and small pear-like air bubbles burst continually from the water surface.

To the north of the pool is an imperial lodge built up by Emperor Qianlong. Graceful pavilions, villas, temples and a large lotus pond, all enclosed by a long protective wall, form a haven of tranquility and seclusion at he foot of the mountain. Carved on the cliff face of the northern summit is the inscription, “Sharing the Refinement of Jiuhua Mountain” in Qianlong’s own handwriting.

Behind the imperial lodge is a lake fed from mountain springs. The lake is surrounded by a stone wall and maple trees. The maple leaves turn a rich red in autumn, forming a vivid contrast with the dark green cypresses.

The Temples of Chengde

Outside the walls of the Chengde Imperial Dwelling Palace, temples in the Tibetan, Han and Mongolian styles are found scattered among the nearby hills. Built on a larger scale than any of the temples of Beijing, they are collectively known as the Eight Temples Beyond the Great Wall (Waibamiao); In fact, there were originally 11 temples, of which only seven now remain.

The temples were built between the years 1713 and 1780 under emperors Kangxi and Qianlong, and are clustered along the northern and eastern sides of the Imperial Palace. Apart from the Temple of Universal Benevolence (Purensi) and the Temple of Universal Goodness (Pushansi), built under the Qianlong reign, are so designed that their main gates face the Imperial Dwelling Palace. The significance of this is obvious-the Eight Temples symbolize the various ethnic groups from all parts of China directing their loyalty toward the center of authority. Emperor Qianlong expressed this concept in his poem One Hundred Rhymes from the Mountain Manor for Escaping the Summer Heat: “These buildings embody the successful uniting of the hearts of the people of the inner and outer lands.” Following this belief, the palaces, halls and gardens erected under Qianlong’ s direction stress the use of architecture to embody the theme of national unity.

A climb tot eh Snow-Capped Southern Mountain (Nanshanjixue) Pavilion offers a fine view of the entire temple complex. Here can be found duplicates of the three temples to Maya (the mother of Buddha), the Potala, and the Tashilumpo Temple in Tibet and the Gu’erzha Temple in Xinjiang. These represent China’s northwest and southwest. The Temple of the Image of Manjusri (Shuxiangsi) of Wutai Mountain in Shanxi, and the Hall of the Immortals in the Temple of National Peace (Anguosi) in Haining in Zhejiang have also been duplicated and represent the north and south.

Although each of the buildings has its own individual style, the overall pattern is one of harmony and unity, and whether we view the temples from the angle of overall layout or from that of the structure of the individual buildings, the Eight Temples Beyond the Great Wall are models of architectural excellence. The four principal temples are described below:

1. The Temple of Sumeru Happiness and Longevity (Xumifushoumiao). This temple was built by Emperor Qianlong in 1780 after the model of the Tibetan Tashilunpo Temple at Xigaze, and its name is a direct translation of the Tibetan name “Temple of Complete Happiness and Longevity.” The year 1780 was the 70th birthday of Emperor Qianlong, so the celebrations were held on a larger scale than usual. In addition to the Mongolian nobles and princes, imperial ministers and their retainers, and foreign envoys that attended the celebrations, the Sixth Panchen Lama Erdeni also came from Tibet to pay his respects. To receive his distinguished guest in style. Emperor Qianlong had the temple especially constructed.

The halls and pavilions built on the massive Great Red Terrace (Dahongtai) are the temple’s most important buildings, and are well preserved up to the present day. From the top of the Great Red Terrace, the gilded bronze tile roof of the Main Hall can be viewed from close quarters and the exquisite craftsmanship of the eight gilded dragons standing on the roof ridges can be appreciated in their entire splendor.

The Great Red Terrace is comprised of buildings on three levels with the square-shaped Exalted and Dignified Hall (Miaogaozhuangyandian) in the central position. The Main Hall (Dadian) is constructed in three stories, each decorated with images of the Buddha. Inside the narrow courtyard, which separates the towering buildings, one enters what seems like a new world, and inside the Main Hall the refined atmosphere is most appropriate for the worship of the Buddha. According to tradition, when the Panchen Lama recited scriptures here in 1780, the emperor was present and every single priest and official prostrated himself to avoid setting eyes on the emperor. The Main Hall was absolutely silent save for the quite incantations of the Panchen Lama.

While the Panchen Lama was in Chengdu, Emperor Qianlong treated him with the utmost of politeness and cordiality and the story of their meeting has been handed down through the centuries. In the first month of 1779, the Panchen Lama set out from Lhasa leading a party of three kanhu (high priest-officials) and over 100 priests. Emperor Qianlong sent his sixth son and a Mongolian Living Buddha, Zhang Jia, to meet the Sixth Panchen Lama, who traveled to the imperial Dwelling Palace in a large yellow sedan chair.

Qianlong received the Panchen Lama in the Hall of Rectitude and Sincerity (Danbojingchengdian) and after presenting the emperor with a welcome gift of a silk hada cloth; the Lama knelt down before him. But Qianlong immediately left his feet, and hurried to raise the Buddhist leader to his feet, and in his best newly learned Tibetan, asked the Lama if the long trip had been very arduous for him. The Lama replied that with His Majesty’s grace reaching out to him from afar, his journey had been peaceful and pleasant from beginning to end. After the formal greeting ceremonies, the emperor had a private audience with the Panchen Lama in the Library of the Four “Knows” (Sizhishuwu),and entertained him with a feast of tea and fruits. After the feast Emperor Qianlong once more broke court convention by personally inviting the Panchen Lama into the rear palaces to visit the Hall of Cool Mists and Ripples (Yanbozhishuang)-the emperor’s sleeping quarters, the Hall of the Panorama of Cloud-Covered Mountains (yunshanshengdidian) and so on. Afterwards the Buddhist leader left the palace via the Hill Cloud Gate (Xiuyunmen), and riding in a yellow-topped sedan chair presented to him by the emperor, toured the emperor’s garden, stopping briefly on the Ruyi Islat-an island in the garden lake-before proceeding to his lodging in the Auspicious Hall of the Buddhist Doctrine (Jixiangfaxidian) in the Temple of Sumeru Happiness and Longevity (Xumifushoumiao).

On the emperor’s 70th birthday, the Panchen Lama and the Living Buddha Zhang Jia led the kanbu lamas to the Hall of Rectitude and Sincerity. Here Emperor Qianlong joined hands with the Panchen Lama and they walked together to the throne, where Erdeni presented the emperor with a set of Buddhist sacramental objects and a birthday portrait as well as offered a congratulatory speech. The highlight of the celebration was when the kenbu rose together and sang in praise of the emperor’s long life.

During the Panchen Lama’s stay in Chengde, Emperor Qianlong presented him with a golden book and a golden seal. The seal, carved with Han, Manchu, Mongolian and Tibetan scripts, was inscribed “Seal presented to the Panchen Erdeni.” However, the written character used for the second syllable of Panchen was “chen,” meaning subject or vassal, rather than the character used traditionally. This switch was an expression of the fact that Tibet was under the central political authority of the Qing Dynasty.

2. The Temple of the Potaraka Doctrine (Putuozongshengmiao). Located directly north of the Mountain Manor for Escaping the Summer Heat, it is the largest of the Eight Temples Beyond the Great Wall, occupying an area of 220,000 square meters. Construction was begun in 1767 and completed almost four years later. It is modeled on the great Potala Monastery in Lhasa and is thus also known as the Little Potala. The buildings are a synthesis of Han and Tibetan styles.

The temple has a tall and imposing entrance gate similar in design to a city gate tower. Inside the gate is a pavilion housing three stela, the largest one inscribed with “The Record of the Temple of the Potaraka Doctrine (Putuozongshengmiao)” in Han, Manchu, Mongolian and Tibetan languages. The stela to the east is inscribed with “The Record of Offering Assistance to the Turgot People,” both in the four languages found on the main stela. The stories behind the two smaller stelae are as follows:

The Turgots were a Mongol tribe living in the present area of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. At the beginning of the 17th century, the tribal chieftain came into conflict with the leaders of other tribes, and in the third year of Emperor Chongzhen’ s reign (1630) led his people and herds on a long trek to the Volga River. Before long, the government of tsarist Russia began to oppress the Turgort people by levying burdensome taxes and conscripting their young men until they could no longer suffer the humiliation. Under a young leader, 33,000 households, totaling some 169,000 people, broke through the encirclement of the pursuing tsarist army and in June 1771, after traveling over 5,000 kilometers in eight months, reached their native land. On arriving at Ili; they presented the Qing government with the jade seal, which Emperor Yongle had bestowed on their desire to once more become part of China.

The western stela tells how the Qing government appointed officials to select good land for the Turgot tribe to settle on, and sent them cattle, sheep, grain, clothing and tents worth 200,000 taels of silver. In addition, the newly returned tribesmen were given the right to herd their cattle throughout the Ili River basin.

Just to the north of the stela pavilion is the Five-Pagoda Gate, and beyond this a glazed memorial archway. Dotting the hillside are white terraces and Lamaist pagodas, and behind them, standing on the highest point of the mountain slope, towers the awe-inspiring Great Red Terrace (Dahongtai). From the top pf the terrace, the precipitous mountains take on the appearance of an immense jade screen.

The Great Red Terrace, built on the top of a huge 17-meter-high white terrace, is constructed of granite blocks and bricks, and although from the outside it appears to contain seven stories, inside it is in fact only three stories high. The outer faces of the terrace are painted a plain red and the walls of the middle and top sections are decorated with colored glazed figures of Buddhas seated in arched niches.

In the central section of the Red Terrace there is a square hall known as the “Hall Where Ten Thousand Laws Are Reduced to One” (Wanfaguiyidian)which is roofed with gilded tiles. Inside the hall are large numbers of images of the Amitayus and other Bodhisattvas. Here also is a statue of a goddess riding a demonic beast with the figures of two children, part demon, part human, in front and in back. According to legend, after this beautiful goddess became a Buddha, she heard that the Eastern Sea was being ravaged by a man-eating demon with an insatiable appetite. She volunteered to save the inhabitants of this region, and bewitched the demon with her beauty at their first meeting. She agreed to marry him on two conditions-that he had to stop eating people and ceases plundering their property. The demon agreed and they were married. The couple had two children, but the demon’s behavior did not improve, and although he claimed that he had reformed, he kept on with his evil deeds. The goddess learned the truth, however, and one day made her husband very drunk and killed him with her sword. She then mounted a demonic beast and headed back to the Western Heaven. The demon in face had not died, and when he awoke from his drunken stupor he set out in hot pursuit. His first arrow struck her steed directly, and today the statue of the horse still bears the scar. The goddess’ children, who were following along behind, were struck by his next arrows and transformed into semi-human creatures.

3. The Temple of Universal Peace (Puningsi). The temple, situated on the western bank of the Wulie River, is the most easterly of the northern temples and occupies an area of over 30,000 square meters. It was built in 1755 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong on the model of the Samye Temple, the earliest Buddhist monastery in Tibet.

Inside the first courtyard of the temple is a pavilion containing a stela inscribed with the record of the temple’s construction. The text, written in Han, Manchu, Mongolian and Tibetan, was written by Emperor Qianlong himself. Behind the Mahavira Hall (Daxiongbaodian) on a stone terrace approximately nine meters high, stand a group of halls that make the center of the temple. Here in the Hall of the Great Vehicle (Dashengge), a giant statue 22.3 meters tall towers up through the building’s five stories. Known as the Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin) with a Thousand Hands and a Thousand Eyes, it measures nearly 10 meters around the waist and weighs 110 tons. Each of the fingers on its 42 arms of the statue stands a smaller image, 1.2 meters tall, which according to tradition represents Guanyin’ s teacher Amitabha. His position on top of Guanyin’ s head denotes the high esteem in which he was held.

The Hall of the Great Vehicle is surrounded by a number of smaller halls and white terraces, which have been arranged in a mandala pattern, which symbolizes the structure of the universe. The hall itself symbolizes Mount Sumeru, the center of the Buddhist universe, and surrounding it are the “four greater continents” and the “eight lesser continents” which are described in the Chinese classic novel The Journey to the West (Xiyouji).

INTRODUCTION HEBEI

Probably the most famous of all of China’s mountains is the mystical magic of the peaks of the Yellow Mountain (Huang shan). Immortalized in ancient and modern Chinese art, this area of hanging mists, sharply rising ledges and gnarled pines is of outstanding beauty, and is considered by most Chinese as an essential tourist destination.

The mountain is situated in the south of Anhui Province and is easily accessible from most of China’s major nearby cities. The paths themselves are also, with a bit of effort, easily navigable, being few and with well-constructed steps.

A trip to the Yellow Mountain will make a perfect long weekend, taking in as many of the 72 peaks, the highest at a mere 1864m, and scattered sights as you feel up to. There are two main paths that are followed: a shorter, but less scenic, eastern route and a longer, more taxing, western route.

INFORMATION

Distance:

About 450 kilometers southwest of Shanghai.

Location:

In the far south of Anhui Province, eastern China.

Points for attention:

The Yellow Mountain is often affected by inclement weather that, although sometimes giving the mountain its misty, mysterious charm, can somewhat spoil a visit here. Check the weather reports before you go. Also, the two day walking can be a little taxing on the legs!

TRANSPORTATION

The transport links to and from Huangshan are not the most ideal for those who wish to travel after working on Friday and get back to work on Monday. For those wanting to leave later on Friday, your best bet is either to catch the train or bus from Shanghai to Nanjing, and then catch the train on to Huangshan.

Trains: There are two trains daily to and from Huangshan City and Shanghai:

Train No.K818 leaves Shanghai at 07:43 and arrives in Huangshan City at 19:14. This train only has hardseat tickets (RMB53). Train No.2182 leaves Shanghai at 15:04 and arrives in Huangshan City at 03:45. RMB45 for hardseat and RMB97 for hardsleeper.

Train No.K820 leaves Huangshan City at 07:38 and arrives in Shanghai at 19:24. RMB53 for hardseat. Train No.2184 leaves Huangshan City at 22:07 and arrives in Shanghai at 12:00 the following day. RMB45 for hardseat and RMB97 for hardsleeper.

Via Nanjing: Train No.T706 leaves Shanghai at 17:04 and arrives in Nanjing at 19:52. You can then take the 22:18 train from Nanjing to Huangshan.

Buses: There is one bus daily to Huangshan City from Shanghai, and two daily returns:

The first leaves Shanghai at 16:00 and arrives in Huangshan at 24:00 (RMB111 for a soft seat)

The return buses (Huangshan-Shanghai) leave at 05:40 and 19:10 and take around 10hrs (RMB60). Buses leave from opposite the Huangshan train station, and tickets can be bought from here

Getting There via Nanjing: Although you can leave for the Mountain on Friday morning, the best option is to get in to Nanjing for the 10pm Nanjing-Huangshan train. You can take either bus or train (see above for train times). Buses leave for Nanjing from the Hangzhou Road Bus Station, Shanghai, and take around three and a half hours. We recommend that you take the last bus at 17:30 (Daewoo RMB73, Nissan RMB86). You can then take a taxi (RMB10) to the nearby Nanjing train station (tickets can most easily be bought in the Station Square, through the train station x-ray machines). Take train No.2521 to Huangshan City/Tunxi, leaving at 22:18 (RMB21 hardseat, RMB61 hardsleeper, 8-9 hours)

Flights: You can catch a flight in the morning from Shanghai to Huangshan (China Eastern MU5511, RMB460, 07:35-08:20, Shanghai-Tunxi Airport/Huangshan). On return, China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5584 (RMB460) leaves Tunxi for Shanghai at 20:40 every day and arrives at Shanghai Hongqiao airport at 21:30. A taxi to the airport in Tunxi, 5km away from the center, should cost around RMB25. An airport bus leaves from outside the CAAC office, near the International Hotel, on Huangshan Lu. Tickets for this cost RMB5.

Getting Around: Minibuses will take you from Tunxi/Huangshan City to Tangkou, the town at the foot of the mountain (One and a half hours, a negotiable RMB10-20), then it’s another minibus (RMB 10-15) from Tangkou to either the eastern (Dong xian, Yungu si) or western (Xi xian, Ciguang ge) steps.

Suggested Itinerary

Previous Evening: Pack snacks and lunch (for 2 days since many of the restaurants on the mountain are extremely overpriced), a pair of strong shoes, a camera, 2-3 bottles of drinking water and suncream if it is hot! Itinerary below starts from when you arrive in Tunxi (Huangshan city) on the overnight train from Nanjing (No.521).

Hotels

At present finding good accommodation up the mountain is not often a problem, with a total of around 10 hotels. The problem however can be the prices here that, with their trapped audience, are excessive. Most of the hotels are either good three or two star. In bad weather, hotels can be pretty busy too, so try and book ahead if you think it will rain. The best of the hotels are on the summit area, close to the uppermost entrance of the eastern steps, or at the foot of the mountain near the hot springs. Do not expect to pay less than RMB150.

For decent rooms and great dawn views of the “northern sea of mists”, the Beihai Hotel (Beihai binguan, Tel.0559-5562555) comes recommended, prices are upwards of RMB200, while for pure comfort and some good architecture, the Xihai Hotel (Xihai fandian, Tel:0559-5562132), a joint-venture, has good service, nice restaurants, and good views of the “western sea of mists”. Prices here are in American dollars (cheapest around $100), credit cards are accepted. To get to the Beihai continue around the main path from the eastern entrance for five minutes. The Xihai is up and then down a path that leads from the right-hand side of the Beihai (as you are looking at it).

Dining

Dining up the mountain is easy if you have money to spare, although the restaurants are exclusively within the hotels. Both the Beihai and the Xihai have restaurants that serve both Chinese and Western food. Taking along a few provisions before the trip is recommended, at least for lunch (2 days) and snacks.

In Tunxi and Tangkou restaurants are plentiful and cheap. Tunxi’s main restaurants are centered on the railway station. Tangkou’s best dining is found in the market area under the large bridge.

ROUTES

The Eastern Route and Summit Area

The Eastern Route (Dong xian), although not with the best scenery, is the shortest and best way to ascend the mountain, a 7.5km long, snaking path. The climb should take around 3-4 hours, starting from the Yungusi cable car station. Some of the views here can still be spectacular, with jutting rocks and some beautiful, twisted pines. For those less active, locals can be hired to carry bags (or people) for a negotiable price, or the cable car can be taken. Once at the top you have hit around 1600m above sea-level, the Bai’e Peak (Bai’e feng). At the summit it should take no more than three hours, after booking into a hotel, to circle the peaks and sights. From Bai’e Peak, heading northwards, your first sight is the Beginning to Believe Peak (Shixin feng, 1683m), up a side track to the right. This peak has great views of the land stretched out below, glimpsed through shifting mist. Back on the main path, continuing around, you will come to the Beihai Hotel. In front of this is a path that leads up to two other peaks, one with chains clipped with lovers’ engraved padlocks and another, the popular Fresh Breeze Terrace (Qingliang tai), that at dawn has the best views of the “Northern Sea” mist and peaks. A lot further along the main path, past the Xihai Hotel and Paiyunting Hotel, is the Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion (Paiyun ting), with good views of the rocky valley below. The final sight on the summit area is a little way beyond here, a strangely shaped outcropping rock called the Far Flying Rock (Feilai shi). The path then continues around to the Bright Summit Peak (Guangming ding, 1841m), and on to the Beihai Hotel.

The Western Route

The Western route (Xi xian), best done as a descent, has by far the best of the sights, although it is almost twice as long as its eastern counterpart. The route starts from the Bright Summit Peak and winds up and then down the mountain. There are many peaks and temples here, all a little bizarrely named, among the best being, in order of appearance, the Peacock & Lotus Flower Peaks (Kongque feng & lianhua feng, 1864m), the Jade Screen Pavilion (Yuping lou, 1680m), where the cable car can be caught, the Heavenly Capital Peak (Tiandu feng, 1810m), the Half Mountain Temple (Banshan si), and, the last sight on the path, the Mercy Light Temple (Ciguang ge).

The scenery here is something to behold, with patches of stark, bare rock contrasting sharply against the flanks of the path that are heavily wooded, hiding pools and chirruping crickets. The best of the sights has to be the Heavenly Capital Peak, a little more than half way down, which rises sharply from a valley, with winding steps carved into the sheer sides. This is a slight detour from the main path, but from here you can see some of the best views of Huangshan. On the path up, chain handholds are covered in a shining armor of lover’s padlocks, and nearer the top the Crucian Ridge (Jiyu bei) has ten meters of heart-stopping sheer precipice. Acrophobics’ beware. On reaching the bottom level at the Mercy Light Temple, with shaking legs, you can catch a minibus back to Tangkou, and then another on to Tunxi.

You can, if you have time, either head to the Hot Springs (Wen quan) from the Mercy Light Temple, or spend the period before your flight, train or bus departs, looking around the old town of Tunxi, especially the Old Street (Lao jie), southwest of the railway station.

Guangzhou

guang1Guangzhou has a few beautiful and legendary nick names, Huacheng (the Flower City), Yangcheng (the Goat City) and Suicheng (the Rice-ear City). Guangzhou is a civilized ancient city. It is 2,100 years old, the same ages as the world-renowned ancient cultural city Rome of Italy. A modern city in China, Guang-zhou is the political, economic, edu-cational, cultural as well as scientific and technological center in South China. It is also a tourist city. Being a big city, Guangzhou totals 7475 square kilometers with a popu-lation of some 6.56 million. guang2Under its administration are four county-level cities of Huadu, Conghua, Zengcheng and Panyu and eight districts: Yuexiu, Dongshan, Haizhu, Litchi, Tianhe, Baiyun, Fangcun and Whampu. It is a well-known hometown of the overseas Chinese. About 500,000 countrymen from here are residing in some 90 countries and regions abroad. guang3Guangzhou is situated in the south of China with the Baiyun Hill in the north and the Zhujiang (the Pearl River) Delta Plain in front, Three rivers, the Dong-jiang, Xijiang and Beijiang converge here. The Zhujiang passes through the city. With rivers and mountains,its geological location is very advantageous.

Xiangjiang Wildlife World

Xiangjiang Wildlife WorldXiangjiang Wildlife World: A lively world in Panyu with about 10,000 animals in 300 species introduced from all over the world. Many are rare animals that have never seen before in China. It is divided into vehicle tour area and walking-appreciating area. Here, visitors may stroll in different ecological environments, contacting with the vital nature and wildlife in natural state.

Litai Waterfall

Litai WaterfallLitai Waterfall: Located in Panyu, the waterfall is 138 meters wide with a difference of 28 meters.The scenic area is covered with dense and greed trees. There are sea world, exciting animal performances and a few other amusements.

Conghua Hot Springs Scenic Region

ConghuaConghua Hot Springs Scenic Region: It was first built in Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is the famous Second Radou Spring of the world. The water, colorless and odorless, contains numerous elements good for health. The springs are surrounded by undulating mountains. It is full of idyllic flavor with the green mountains and blue water.

Botanic Garden

Botanic GardenSouth China Botanic Garden: Situated at Longdong in the northeast suburbs of Guangzhou in a beautiful environment, it is one of top ten tourist attractions in Guangzhou and the largest south Asia tropical botanic garden in China as well. The botanic garden has more than 5,000 species of plants introduced from home and abroad. It owns a collection of palm, bamboo, orchid, pteridophyte and shade plants.

Chaozhou: Kongfu Tea, Snacks and Porcelain

Chaozhou City in east Guangdong Province in the lower reaches of the Hanjiang River has a long history and is the home to many celebrities. Apart from legendary scenery, it is most famous for its Kongfu tea, traditional snacks and exquisite pottery.

Take a stroll through the streets and lanes of Chaozhou, and you will be sure to come across people, both young and old, taking a minute to sip Kongfu tea. If you enter any house or office, you will be sure to spot a side table reserved for tea and be invited to stay for a cup of Kongfu tea. So Kongfu tea is an essential ingredient of Chaozhou citizens’ daily life.

Although Kongfu tea is a daily recreation for ordinary citizens, it is not without certain etiquette, and its emphasis on skills qualify its name. As a matter of fact, Chaozhou Kongfu tea is representative of the Chinese tea ceremony. There are special requirements for water, heating, tea leaves, tea sets, the tea-making process and the tea-drinking method.

Tap water or water drawn from a well is not suitable for making tea. Only the sweet spring water qualifies. And the citizens in Chaozhou are blessed with affordable mineral water brought from the Phoenix Hill. Charcoal rather than coal, electricity or wood is the ideal fuel for heating the spring water on a little stove. And only tea leaves that reach the required standard are used for Wulong tea, a semi-fermented baked tea. Unlike the tea sets in other places, the cups used for Kongfu tea are as small as the little wine cups in north China and bear a fine and white texture which enables the drinker to see through the color of the tea. The tea pot is not big either, capable of holding only three to four cups of water. The tray has holes and a tea holder below has the function of holding waste water and tea residues.

Both the tea-making and the tea-drinking methods are worth mentioning. First warm the pot and cups with boiling water, put the tea leaves inside the pot and then pour on the water from a high level to make the tea more tasty and pour the tea into the cups from a low level to preserve the original odor. Cups are arranged in a circle, and the tea is poured in circles around all the cups to ensure the tea in each cup is the same strength. And the last drops in the pot are also equally poured into the cups in turn. The tea-drinking method is no less precise. Pick up the cup and first smell the rich aroma of the tea, then take little sips and allow the liquid to swirl in the mouth. When the tea is finished, again smell the remaining fragrance in the empty cup.

Like most other ancient cities in China, Chaozhou has a great variety of traditional snacks featured with exquisite shapes and divine tastes. In the old lanes of Chaozhou, children used to sing a 10,000-word ballad about the different kinds of snacks in Chaozhou.

A famous old shop specializing in snacks is called Hurongquan. Dough rolls on the brownish red kneeding board with rolling pins pattering. Out of frying pans and ovens come batches of cookies and cakes, all bearing the red seal of “Hurongquan”. The trump card of Hurongquan is Yamunian, a snack the name of which does not give any clues as to what it actually is. In fact it is a kind of dumpling made of glutinous rice flour with four types of filling, black soya bean paste, mung bean paste, taro paste and mashed white gourd. And you can tell which kind of filling by the shape of the dumpling. After boiling in sugar soup, four dumplings, each with a different filling, are put into a bowl together with sugar soup. Some add Chinese dates, lilies, gingkoes, lotus seeds and other nuts to the soup to make it more delicious. A trip for snacks over Chaozhou will be more than rewarding as you sample shrimp-balls, fish dumplings, salt-water highland barley, pot-stewed chickens and ducks and local pickles and appetizers. These, plus all sorts of staples like steamed bread, steamed stuffed bun, cake, noodles, porridge and rice-flour noodles, total more than 100 varieties.

Because both Kongfu tea and snack dishes need containers, the clever Chaozhou natives have achieved much in the art of pottery-and-porcelain making. So another must-see in Chaozhou is Fengxi porcelain. The town of Fengxi is less than 3 km from the city proper of Chaozhou with porcelain shops lining both sides of its main street. Some of the workshops are right behind the shops. Featuring objects like vases, dishes, jugs, portraits, flowers and birds, beasts and insects, cartoons and fairy figures, Fengxi porcelain is famous for its exquisite techniques such as the hollow-out technique. A visit to any workshop will be intriguing as you see how the earth spirals on the round plate, and takes different shapes under the potter’s skillful hands. Visitors are also welcome to try their hand here. If you want to purchase pottery or porcelain, then the workshop is the right place. For 10 yuan, you can buy a tea set consisting of one pot and four cups, a hollowed-out engraved porcelain jug is no more than 20 yuan, and special tea sets for Kongfu tea are a little more expensive starting at 50 yuan.

Of course, you should not overlook the rich cultural heritage of the ancient city of Chaozhou. Major sites of historical interest include the Kaiyuan Temple of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Wenji Bridge of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Memorial Hall of Han Yu and the Phoenix Pagoda. The Chaozhou Tea Culture Tour and the Chaozhou Pottery Culture Tour are two new programs adding new dimensions to tourism in Chaozhou.

Built in 738, the 26th year of Emperor Kaiyuan’s reign of the Tang Dynasty, the Kaiyuan Temple consists of four halls on the north-south axis: the Hall of Buddhist Warriors, the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Hall of Sakyamuni and the Hall of Sutras.

The Memorial Hall of Han Yu, one of the most famous writers of the Tang Dynasty, is to the east of Chaozhou city proper. Through the ages, it has undergone more than 20 renovations. The staircase leading to the main gate of the hall has 53 steps. Several meters higher than the front hall, the back hall has a statue of Han Yu, as well as 36 stone tablets bearing inscriptions by famous literati of different dynasties.

Two km southwest of Chaozhou lies the Phoenix Pagoda that derives its name from the Phoenix Hill opposite the bank of the Hanjiang River. Originally built in 1585 and rebuilt in 1765, the octagonal pagoda has seven stories and a height of 45.8 meters. The foundation has a circumference of 46.6 meters, and the pagoda wall is about 2 meters thick. Along a spiral staircase built between the double walls of the pagoda, one can climb to the top to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the ancient city of Chaozhou.

Sitting astride the wide Hanjiang River outside the eastern gate of Chaozhou is one of the four most famous ancient bridges in China, together with Zhaozhou Bridge in Hebei Province, Luoyang Bridge in Henan Province and Marco Polo Bridge in Beijing.

From the Guangji Gate-Tower, you can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Hanjiang River, the Golden Hill and the Phoenix Pagoda. Spring and summer are the best seasons to view the scene on the Hanjiang River, when the water level is high, and boats shuttle to and from.

Another must-see in Chaozhou is the West Lake Park consisting of the Gourd Hill and the West Lake to the northwest of Chaozhou. Existing from as early as 796, the park now preserves 138 pieces of cliff paintings. Its peaks, the highest at 65 meters above sea level, and the caves scooped into their cliff faces are both of aesthetic and historical value.

Chaozhou is a place endowed with a rich cultural heritage as can be discovered from the ancient streets, houses, wells and gate towers. And the three features of Chaozhou–Kongfu tea, snacks and porcelain–will be a great feast for your senses, your stomach and your heart.

From: www.china.org.cn

Zhujiang River

The Zhujiang (the Pearl) River is the largest river in south China, formed but the confluence of three rivers – the Xijiang, Beijiang and Dongjaing. Its name comes from pearl shells having been found in the section that flows through the city of Guangzhou. The Xijiang, the trunk of the Zhujiang (Pearl River), has its headwaters in the Nanpan River in the Wumeng Mountain Area, Yunnan, and flows past Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi for 2,197 kilometers before emptying into the South China Sea at Modaomen, Guangdong. Seventy-seven percent of Zhujiang (Pearl River) flow comes from the Xijiang. Practically all the rivers of the Beijinga and dongjaing systems are in Guangdong Province. The Beijiang, starting in the southern part of Huanan and Jiangxi, flows 468 kilometers. The Dongjiang has its source in southern Jiangxi and a total length of 523 kilometers. The three rivers meet at the Zhujiang River (Pearl River) Delta formed of the silt deposits at the river mount, where they fan out and flow into the South China Sea through eight outlets, mainly those at Humen, Hongqili, Modaomen and Yamen. The Zhujiang (Pearl River) valley, which covers an area of 452,616 square kilometers, has an annual precipitation of 1,500-2,000 mm. and is the region with the largest rainfall. In length and catchment area, the Zhujiang (Pearl River) ranks fourth among China’s rivers, but its flow, eight times that of the Huanghe, is second only to the Yangtze River and provides it with a power potential of 33 million kilowatts. It is second also to the Yangtze River in the volume of water transport, its trunk and branch rivers being navigable for a total length of 12,000 kilometers. It is navigable by ships of 10,000-ton class downriver form the Hangpu port near Guangzhou, by 1,000-tonners up to Wuzhou and by small steamboats up to Nanning and Liuzhou. Farming is well developed in the Zhujiang (Pearl River) basin. The Zhujiang River (Pearl River) Delta has a network of rivers, fertile soil, abundant natural resources and a sense population.

Purple Horse Hill Park

Purple Horse Hill ParkPurple Horse Hill Park is located in the south of Zhongshan 3rd Road, covering an area of 88.5 hectares. The Municipality of Zhongshan invested 160 thousand RMB yuan in the building of this park in 1992 and it was open to tourists on the National Day of 1993.

Purple Horse Hill is very time-honored and the once famous “Lotuses and Water Caltrops of Celestial Lake,” one of the “Xiangshan Eight Scenic Spots” was situated here. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, many descendants of the rich and noble families used it as a haunt for horse race and entertainment. It is said that a very famous horse was buried here then, from which the name of the hill comes.

Purple Horse Hill Park is characterized by its combination of natural and artificial scenes, providing a place of pleasure for visitors while remaining friendly to ecology. There are altogether 13 gardens and a big zone for birds. During the vacations, holidays, and exhibitions, performances are put on show. Just inside the gate greeting your eyes is the bronze statue of “Galloping Purple Horse,” symbolizing the economic take-off of Zhongshan City, before which is an artificial fountain of 70 meters in length. The fountain takes different colorful forms when evening falls, splashy water columns are in change for various shapes. The giant stainless steel ball shaped like a lotus flower is a good place to take pictures, and the best sight in the whole park.

Walking in the park, you may be led into a different scene by each step. The well-rounded design of this park makes every scene take different form of attraction, keeping your eyes fully occupied. The artificial hills, stone scenes, and stone walls of various forms have been inscribed famous verses and maxims by distinguished poets in the Garden of Inscriptions. In the Garden of Flowers, fragrant scents are drifting in the sky in the four seasons, and the flowers and plants rival to show their beauty to the travelers. In the Chinese New-Year time, a Garden of Peach Blossoms add more touch of verdant spring to the park. Besides the Garden of Peach Blossoms, we have the Garden of Bamboo Grove, the Garden of Pleasant Interests, the Garden of Sculptures and Statues, the Garden for Summer, the Garden for Fall, and the Garden for Winter. You may go sightseeing to the lotus flowers in the Land of Avalokitesvara, take a stroll on the curved bridges, or linger by the ripples of the lake to take in the fragrance of the lotus flowers to refresh yourself. The Children’s Fun Fair of over 40 mu provides a variety of fun facilities for kids. The Viewing Pavilion on the top of the hill enables you to command the whole scenes of the park and even to see the entirety of Zhongshan City.

The Jade garden is a paradise for the ombrophytes, gathering over 200 Chinese and foreign plants, of which many are China’s first-class protected plants such as spinulose tree ferns, begonias, agaves, winebottle lily magnolias, and other precious plants.

The Chirping Valley is a place you have good reason to go to. Chirping Valley is a big bird zone developed by experts who took advantage of the natural environment. Here nearly 8,000 birds of over 100 varieties are kept, including red-crowned cranes, white-necked cranes, white cranes, gray cranes, white swans, white storks, black storks, silver pheasants, peacocks, mandarin ducks, pelicans, and yellow-stomached tragopans. Books of Poems says, “A bird chirps for friends.” The name of this valley originates from this line. Covering 5.1 hectares, the valley is located in the south of Purple Horse Park, composed of “Little Tourist Garden” and “Garden for Human-Bird Pleasures.”

“Little Tourist Garden” is in front of ” Garden for Human-Bird Pleasures”, covering 2 hectares. The garden boasts rivaling flowers and verdant green lands, constituting a background to “Garden for Human-Bird Pleasures” and a good place for a rest.

In the corridor of birds of the garden, you may be lucky enough to watch the natural performances by the rare raptors, and birds with special skills. The mandarin ducks are frolicking, the pheasants strolling, the white storks stretching their wings, the yellow birds singing to one another, the unique stones demonstrating to the passengers, and the clusters of flowers are in vibrant bloom. On the performance stage, the birds are rivaling to perform. The peacocks are opening their beautifully giant wings, the thrushes perching in tress, and the maynahs and the parrots imitating human speeches to demonstrate their skills.

Past “Little Tourist Garden” is “Garden for Human-Bird Pleasures”. This garden is 120 by 70 meters, supported by 19 steel pillars ranging from 15 meters to 20 meters high. Its structure is made up of suspended cables with its top and sides covered with stainless steel networks. In the zone, besides the tourist walks, there are also trestles for tourists to view the birds from different perspectives, high and low.

Xingzhong Road

Xingzhong RoadXingzhong Road is one of the Ten Scenic Spots in Zhongshan, nicknamed “Decorated Brocades of Xingzhong.”

Xingzhong Road is one of the key roads built after the open-door policy, and typical of good quality. It constitutes the features of a garden city, with beautiful grassy areas, and a variety of different buildings, such as the center of politics, culture, publicity, science, and sports for Zhongshan City.

The road is 3.5 kilometers in full length, 50 meters in width, and the road surface is even and smooth. It starts north from the building of the city’s People’s Congress and Political Consultation Conference, and ends south to Sunwen Memorial Park and Philanthropic Hospital. The big grand archway-like building of the People’s Congress stands opposite to the statue of Sun Yat-sen in Sunwen Memorial Park in the south, and the north, signifying that the ambition and undertaking Sun fought for has come into being.

Walking along the road, you see the towering coconut trees standing in the middle of the road, their fluttering long leaves waving to the passers-by. The bright cannas are in angry red blossom bloom, while the whirling mangoes queue the road. Inside the green belt in the center of the road, there are various seasonal flowers contending for beauty. Roses, crape myrtle, kamunings, yellow cicadas, marigolds, impatiens, petunias, short pinks, fish pelargonia, and lantanas add more color to the road. The dainty plastic flowerpots are hung among the trees, making the clusters more splashy and splendid.

The buildings along the road include the TV hexagon building, the radio building, the Museum of Science, Zhongshan Library with its name inscribed by the former Chairman of China Yang Shangkun, and last, the activity center for young people. Set off by the big lawns, borders, and the shady Xingzhong Park of the Municipality, these buildings are left in harmony and peacefulness for the people.

Further to the south, past the fountain of the city statue, we can see the grand Public Security Building, the sports ground, and gymnasium full of vigor (Big evenings and concerts supported by big stars are held here.). Xingzhong Road reaches far to the gate of Sunwen Memorial Park, where the jade corridor ends.

Tour Walking Road

Eastwards from the overpass of Fuhua Road, scores of meters from the Qijiang River Bridge, there is a lifelike sculpture of a rickshaw man with his rickshaw and a passenger leading you into the old Siqi Street more than 50 years ago. This is the entrance to the cutural tourist walking street.

Tour Walking RoadThis street has a history of over a hundred years and its predecessor was the commercial center for the old city with bustling shops and people. There is the oldest medicine shop – Fushou Drugstore. It was created in the first year of Tongzhi Reign of the Qing Dynasty (1862) named “Liang & Li” at first and was changed to this name by its creator, Li Ruiwen. There is the old 5-story Yong’an Company Branch. Yong’an Company was one of the big 4 department stores at the beginning of the 20th century created by the Guo Brothers of Elegant Bamboo Village of Xiangshan County (the predecessor of Zhongshan City) with its base in Hong Kong in 1907, succeeding the former Sydney Yong’an (1897). In February 1929, the Guo Brothers opened their branch here. Along the walk there are many buildings such as Shiqi Hotel (the former Sihao Hotel), and British-style and Southeastern Asian-style buildings, steeped with many legends and stories.

The current walk keeps both the quaint style of China, and catches the modern touch of today. The traditional and ethnic style has been integrated with the characteristics of the Southeastern Asian style to make it more attractive. The protruding buildings stand a big feature of the walk. Going along the whole walk, it shelters the passengers and shoppers from the scorching sun and the heavy rain. All the engraved flowers on the rails have been maintained, and the arched doors and their reliefs have been repainted, keeping with the antiquity of the past. The designs and decorations of the front of each building are different from one another. Strolling along the walk, you may feel that you are admiring a long gallery of a world collection of construction of various artworks. The well-stocked shops here demonstrate their dainty shopping windows to the visitors. The sizeable department stores along the walk provide the tourists and passengers with a big choice of gifts to purchase for friends, and shopping for themselves.

The newly paved walk makes it appear more spacious and even and the colorful bonsai constitutes a big feast for the eyes. If you get tired, you may take a rest on a long bench along the walk. The inlaid photos of black and white in the poles of the protruding buildings are telling the old stories of the past to remind the viewers of the long river of history. When the night falls, the board lamps and neon lights of different colors dot the walk to let you touch the pleasures brought by a new modern civilization.

Piling Jade in Long River Reservoir

Piling JadeIt is said that more than 300 years ago, an uncle and nephew with the family name of Long trekked a long way from Jiangxi Province to this place to clear land. To commemorate their hometown they named the place in which they were to live “Long Range” (They walked up and down a long range when they came here). Later they changed the name to “Long River,” for the two Chinese characters for “range” and “river” have the same pronunciation in Jiangxi dialect, meaning that they had lived in Jiangxi Province since their ancestors. It was how this name originated.

Piling Jade in the Long River Reservoir is one of the “ten scenic spots of Zhongshan City,” a hotspot at Long River Reservoir located 9 kilometers southeast of Shiqi, the center of Zhongshan City, and based on the reservoir north of Five Osmanthus Hill area—once a famous base for fighting the Japanese invaders. The reservoir was built in 1963 and it is made up of 6 big connected pools, 7 hill bridges and saddles, and a dam, with a water area of 36 square kilometers and a water capacity of 50 million cubic meters. The top of the dam measures 20 by 330 meters. Looking far into the reservoir, you can catch sight of the vast ranges of hills and mountains, endless pine forests verdant from their China firs, camphor trees, bead trees, and other trees unnamed. The forests of trees are clearly layered and they are reflected in the lake, greening the water like jade. Hence it is called “Piling Jade.”

Far into the lake, there are minor lakes in the deep valleys locked in bigger ones, which are surrounded by bigger lakes. The deepest part of the water sounds over 30 meters. Into the depths of the crystal clear water, fish are swimming, greeting the viewers up. Among the surrounding hills and mountains there are small, but hot spots, for tourism such as Husband-Expecting Stone, Soaring Duck Pool, Long Dragon Falls, and Outlandish Stones Exhibition. A tourist ship is not able to finish a full tour even in a day. Considering the environmental protection issue, however, this area remains closed to tourists.

This hotspot was an area for guerilla war for many revolutionary periods. The vast hills and mountains in front of the lake were used by the Zhongshan peasants for the battles against the imperialism and feudalism in their uprisings in 1927. During the Anti-Japanese War, Zhongshan Anti-Japanese Volunteers was born here. The famous Pearl River Delta Anti-Japanese Guerilla Army—the Headquarters of Pearl River Column was planted here. The guerillas fought and camped here, cracking down the united “Siege from Ten Sides” and “Siege from Six Sides.” Just before the liberation, the Zhongshan County Government was also established here. In the front of the reservoir, there is a water playground, a swimming pool introducing running water from rivers, a swimming pool like those of grand hotels, water slides, and facilities for water adventures. Long River Playground here is also welcoming you with its well-stocked facilities to make an active doer of you. You can enjoy the pleasure of open-air barbecues, or go to a well-stocked special restaurant to eat your fill and see how delicious the original crusty grass carp is. The comfortable Yijing Holiday Inn and the simple Garden Villa are situated in the north of the dam to provide relaxing services to their customers.

If you like golf, go to the new internationally standard golf course to try your hands. It will not disappoint you.

Zhongshan Hot Spring

Hot SpringZhongshan Hot Spring is located in Yongmo Village, Sanxiang Town, Zhongshan City. It adjoins Hong Kong and Macao and is 26 kilometers away from Zhuhai, 24 kilometers from Shiqi downtown, and 10 kilometers from the Former Residence of Sun Yat-Sen.

The hotel covers an area of 2,200,000 sq.m. Its shadowy greenery and South-China-style architectural layout let you enjoy a spectacular imperial garden. Besides, the harmonious arrangement of artificial curved architecture and the natural view of Luo San Mei Mountain present a dreamland of “numerous gardens and endless scenes”. Mr. Deng Xiaoping once paid his visit to Zhongshan Hot Spring Hotel.

Funded by such celebrities as Mr. Huo Yindong & Mr. He Honghuo, Zhongshan Hot Spring Hotel was established in 1979 and was the first Sino-foreign joint venture funded tourism hotel since the practice of China’s reform & opening-up policy. There are 10 main buildings,15 villas, and one VIP building. The dining hall can seat 1000 people and provide tasteful foodstuff like the renowned Shiqi Tender Pigeon. And there are more than 30 kinds of Hot Spring Shower Room, Tennis Court, Shooting Range, Karaoke Ballroom, Hot Spring Health Care Center, Mahjong Room, Snooker Center, Electronic Entertainment Center, Swimming Pool, Butterfly Museum, Grotesque Stone Gallery and Tea Bar etc.

During the past two decades, the hotel has received high-ranking governmental officials like Mr. Deng Xiaoping, Mr. Jiang Zemin & Mr. Li Peng, and foreign leaders as Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia and millions of tourists from home and abroad. In this new millennium, members of Zhongshan Hot Spring will continue their dedicated services for every visitor.

Great Five Osmanthus Hill

Great Five Osmanthus HillGreat Five Osmanthus Hill is both an old scenic spot and one enlisted in the “New Scenic Spots of Zhongshan City.” There are soaring peaks, unique flowers and exotic plants, the new look of development, touching folk tales, and the most stirring – the moving stories of the revolutionaries fighting the enemies.

The imposing Five Osmanthus Hill is located at the mouth of the Pearl River and stretches far around. It consists of 7 towns and districts and 9 hill ranges such as Nantai Hill in the Nantai Hill Range, the old site of “Nantai Autumn Moon,” one of the Eight Scenic Spots of Xiangshan County. The main peak of Five Osmanthus Hill is 531 meters and so close to sea it is more imposing set off by the sea. The hill was called “Xiangshan Hill.” As recorded in Around the Globe, Xiangshan Hill is in the south of Dongguan County, 150 kilometers from the county seat across the sea. There are many unique flowers and exotic plants so it is called Xiangshan (fragrant) Hill. So here is the roof for Zhongshan and Zhuhai City. According to tales and legends about this place, there are natural beautiful scenes, peculiar stones and rocks, unusual birds, fantastic springs, and falls so its scenery is by no means inferior to the scenery of Xijiao Mountain or Luofu Mountain in Liangnan.

The hinterland of Five Osmanthus Hill includes Shiying Bridge Village and Binlangshan Hill, which are villages of heroes. In early 1942, to meet the requirements of the revolutionary development, a revolutionary base was to be opened. In October 1944, Zhongshan County Democratic Regime Congress was held in Shiying Bridge Village, at which, Zhongshan Administration Supervision and Instruction Department was declared coming active. In January 1945, the First Detachment of Pearl River Column was established at the Gu Pantheon of Binlangshan Village. The headquarters of Pearl River Column, Pearl River Delta People’s Anti-Japanese Guerilla were also created at the Gu Pantheon. The establishment of these military and political organizations contributed greatly to the ultimate victory. Today, the Gu Pantheon has been renovated. In the pantheon there are showcased the documents and actual artifacts of the column and in the front yard flowers and plants are grown. In the front of the village, there stands a monument to the war martyrs for the visitors to commemorate and stimulate nationalism and patriotism.

Across the area of Five Osmanthus Hill, there also goes a story about Brother Zeng Pool. Brother Zeng and his wife lived by a pool. They were hard working clever people and were so inspired by the running force of the river they invented a device for husking rice. They led a happy life. Unfortunately, one time a mountain torrent broke out and washed their husking device into the pool. The husband plunged into the pool to retrieve the device followed by the wife, both ending up dead in each other’s arms. To their memory, people call this pool Brother Zeng Pool…

Five Osmanthus Hill teems with bellflowers, azaleas, orchids, and sandalwoods. At each year’s spring-welcoming flower fair there cannot be a fair without bellflowers. The Zhongshan orchid-lovers take to their Five Osmanthus Orchids very much. Most of the hill area, however, is covered by the pine trees, eucalyptuses, firs and acacia rachiis planted since the liberation of the People’s Republic of China. These trees lushly cover the hill and preserve and protect the water resources of this area and that is why the water here is very fresh and the air, salubrious. The industrial and agricultural development of this are has been on the rise. The smooth highways and newly built buildings give the hilly area a remarkably new look.

If chance permits, just go up to the hilltop to view a major project – a TV rebroadcast station for good communications connecting Zhongshan City with other places in China in a bid to make it more beautiful in culture. On the top when the weather is good you can witness the immensity of South Sea and catch sight of the scenes of Zhuhai and Macao around you. It is quite a spectacle!

The newly built Zhongshan Forest Amusement Manor boasts swimming pools, barbecue places and fishing by making use of its forest resources and beautiful environment, by which the tourists come closer to nature and get refreshed. So just go visit this renowned place for your forest travel and health building!

The Memorial Hall of Sun Yat-sen

Memorial HallThere are many memorial halls in China and that at the foot of Mount Yuexiu in Guangzhou is a world famous shrine of culture in history. Besides that, the other famous ones include those at the Fragrant Hill of Beijing, Wuzhou of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Haikou of Hainan Province, and Meizhou of Guangdong Province. The Memorial Hall of Sun Yat-sen is not only a memorial hall for Sun Yat-sen but the second largest after that in Guangzhou City.This hall is located at Sunwen Middle Road of Zhongshan City, taking a conspicuous place, betraying the local people’s exceptional love for him.

In history this place was called “Renshan,” in honor of the offices of different dynasties. Later it was used for a sports ground and the People’s Square. The memorial hall was built with the 10 million HK dollars donated by Guo Desheng, a Hong Kong celebrity in 1982. The building was started in February 1982 and completed in October 1983. It covers 84,000 square meters and a floorage of 150 thousand square meters, constituting a grand complex.

It is a 3-story palatial standing 36 meters high, and there are 32 3-story-high square stone pillars in front of it. Behind the pillars are cream walls made of bricks shaped like the stones of Mount Tai. Above the gate of the hall is a horizontal plaque with golden inscriptions reading “Memorial Hall of Sun Yat-sen” written by Liao Chengzhi the former Vice Chairman of the People’s Congress. On top of the hall is an 8-gabled pavilion and in the middle of the front outside door hung a vertical plaque reading “The World Is for the Public.” In the middle of the hall stands Sun Yat-sen’s bust of white marble. On both sides of the hall are the exhibition rooms where the revolutionary stories and the achievements of Zhongshan City are on display. The core of the hall is a big modern conference room, a place for city-level major meetings and important activities, which seats 1,484 people and is equipped with a revolving stage and a hoistable music stage. An astounding feature of the hall is that there are 10 kapok trees in front of the hall that are in full blossom at the end of spring, which crimson the sky, symbolizing the fiery and flowering revolutionary undertaking that time. From a bird’s-eye view, this building looks like a square with a line splitting it from the middle while viewed horizontally it is shaped like three hills with the middle one higher than the others.

For the convenience of the tourists and travelers to shop, there are shops for souvenirs, stamps and handicrafts in front of the hall and on the left of it.

In 1984 and 1997, in the campaign of deciding the “10 New Scenic Spots of Zhongshan,” this hall was enlisted and named as “Renshan Celestial Palace” to embody the name characteristic of this place and the grandeur of the building in an effort to highlight Sun Yat-sen’s perserverance, and ambition for a better way of living for the people of China. You cannot come to Zhongshan without visiting this place.

Sun Yat-sen’s Former Residence

Former Residence1In Cuiheng Village, Nanlang Town of Zhongshan City, there is the internationally well known Sun Yat-sen’s Former Residence, a sanctuary appealing to passengers. This village is only 25 kilometers far from the city and 37 kilometers from Macao.

Former Residence2This village is renowned internationally not only for its beautiful landscape, but also for the sake that it has Sun Yat-sen’s birthplace. Here is an ember two-story building characterized by both Chinese and western styles, the former residence of Mr. Sun Yat-sen.

Former Residence3On 12 November 1866, Sun Yat-sen was born here and this house was originally a farm bungalow covering only 30 square meters. In 1982, Sun Yat-sen’s brother Sun Mei, a businessman in Honolulu sent money to his home,and Sun Yat-sen, who was having his studies in Hong Kong Medical School designed and built the current building. On the right hand of the facade outside the wall, there is a stone plaque written by Song Qingling, which reads, “Sun Yat-sen’s Former Residence” in Chinese. Inside the wall, there is a hawthorn planted by Mr. Sun Yat-sen, luxuriant and tough though lying prostrate on the ground due to a typhoon. Guo Moluo, a distinguished Chinese scholar wrote a line of verse “a dragon of hawthorn” at the sight of the unique form of this tree when he toured this place. The bearing of the tree conjures up rich imagination. On both sides of the gate, there is a couplet composed and written by Mr. Sun, which reads “A rafter is enough for my residence/Trees accompany me.” On the right of thehouse, there lies a well, by which Sun Yat-sen was born. The middle room of the first floor is the hall, laid out as it was. Further deep was the bedroom for Mr. Sun’s mother. On the left side of the hall was the bedroom for Lu Muzhen, Sun Yat-sen’s first wife while on the right was the bedroom for Sun Yat-sen’s brother Sun Mei and the latter’s wife. The middle room of the second room has been empty and in the back of it is a shrine, both sides of which are respectively Sun’s study and a guestroom.

Former Residence4It was in the predecessor of this house that Sun Yat-sen spent his boyhood. Between 1892 and 1895, Sun had his pre-career three years when he treated his country folks for their diseases, and read books about history and politics to seek approaches and truth saving the people in a dire crisis. Here he wrote his To Li Hongzhang (a Prime Minister of the Qing Dynasty) to show his patriotic concern for his country and people. Here, he and his close friend Lu Haodong made their “Recovery of China” anti-Qing-Dynasty plan.

Former Residence5In the northwest of the residence, there was built a “Exhibition Hall for Sun Yat-sen’s Former Residence” and “Studio for Speeches Made by Sun Yat-sen,” where precious historical films on him and records about his re-interpretations about the Three Principles of the People in 1924.

After their tours here, the visitors may be impressed with patriotism and understand why tens of thousands of domestic and international tourists frequent this place.

Guangdong’s Vibrant Tourist Trade

Vibrant Tourist Trade1GUANGDONG is contiguous to Hong Kong and Macao, and neighbors Southeast Asia. Its advantageous geographical location makes it the window through which China and the rest of the world communicates.

For thousands of years, the people of Guangdong have made huge contributions to Chinese civilization. In the 19th century, due to its specific geographical and cultural environment, Guangdong became birthplace of the modernization movement initiated by Chinese bourgeois reformists, and was later the cradle for modern Chinese revolution. Many great people whose influence imposed far-reaching effects on Chinese modern history, such as SunVibrant Tourist Trade2 Yet-sen, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Liao Zhongkai, were once active in Guangdong leaving behind many sites of historic and revolutionary significance. In the 1980s, when China entered a new era, it was Guangdong, the pioneer province, that put into practice the reform and opening policy, and once again stunned the world with its great achievements in economic development.

For years, its volume of inbound tourists, total tourism income, and foreign currency earned through tourism has earned Guangdong a national first place. Today, Guangdong has a comprehensive capability of receiving more than 50 million overseas tourists and nearly 100 million domestic tourists, creating over US $3 billion in foreign exchange, and a total tourism income of above 100 billion yuan annually. During the National Day holiday in 2000, Guangdong received 8.3 million tourists — 18.57 percent higher than the Labor Day holiday figure, and realized a tourism income of 4.25 billion yuan — 41.67 percent higher than that achieved during the Labor Day period.

Making full use of its favorable geographical location, travel agencies in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao have now jointly promoted a hot tourist package — the Zhujiang River Delta tour, available at 130 travel agencies in more than 20 countries. Along this tour route is Hong Kong, international metropolis and shopper’s paradise; Macao, where Eastern and Western cultures converge, and also a city whose casinos make for a particularly exciting nightlife; and Guangzhou, the starting point of the ocean Silk Road, and storehouse of historical and cultural relics.

Vibrant Tourist Trade3Guangdong is located along the subtropical belt, giving it a pleasant climate, suitable for tourism all year round. Guangdong has something for everyone who passes through its borders. Those seeking places of historic interest may visit the relics of “Mapa man” and the ancient Nanyue kingdom. The six cities of Guangzhou, Foshan, Chaozhou, Meizhou, Zhaoqing, and Leizhou are also famous for their cultural and historic sites.

Guangdong has numerous beautiful natural scenic spots, most specifically Mt. Danxia, Qixing Rock in Zhaoqing City, unique vistas of karst topography, and glorious coastal beach scenery.

Guangdong is an ideal place for spending a holiday. There are more than 70 golf courses and theme parks; thousands of kilometers of coast line, and plentiful well-equipped seaside holiday resorts. There are also more than 30 hot spring resorts, perfect destinations for winter holidays.

Vibrant Tourist Trade4In recent years, Guangdong has constructed a number of new scenic spots in contemporary style, such as Miniature China, the Chinese Folk Culture Village, the New Yuanming Garden, the Xiangjiang River Wild Animal World, the Changlong Wild Nocturnal Animal World, Baomo Garden, the Huang Feihong Lion Dance Art Gallery, the Green World, and the Yannanfei Tea Garden. These places combine pleasure with knowledge acquisition, and consequently attract countless visitors.

Cities within the Zhujiang River Delta as represented by Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, and Dongguan, all have a developed commerce and cultural life. Every year numerous art, cultural, and food festivals, and international expositions are held in these cities.

To tourists wondering about the Guangdong life style, the best way to find out is to walk through Guangzhou’s pedestrian only business precincts, or the jade markets of Xiguan; to enjoy authentic Guangdong dishes at restaurants, or taste the local delicacies sold on the street. They might also sample the rustic life by spending a few days at one of Guangdong’s small villages or townships. Many local festivals, such as the New Year’s eve flower fair, lion dance performances, the dragon boat race, and the mid-summer litchi festival, display vividly the essence of Guangdong life.

Vibrant Tourist Trade5To make visits to Guangdong via Hong Kong and Macao more convenient for foreigners, in 2000 the Chinese State Council extended the 72 hour transit visa procedure, implemented in 1996, to 144 hours for foreign tourist groups organized in Hong Kong and Macao, and visiting Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Foshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, and Shunde in the Zhujiang River Delta, as well as Shantou City. With its developed communications networks and an ideal environment for travel, Guangdong is doing its best to offer Chinese and overseas tourists the most pleasant, stimulating, and enjoyable holiday possible.

Handwriting of the Fu Hill

fu hillStudy Tower is one of the 10 Scenic Spots in Zhongshan and it had been enlisted as one of the 8 Scenic Spots of Xiangshan in the Reign of Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. It was built on a hilltop in Zhongshan Park and that makes it more typical of its local touch.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of this tower, you have to scramble the 302 steps (Taking the road surrounding the hillsides to the back door is another way). Going up the steps dates back in history.

In 1946, the overseas Chinese, whose hometown is Zhongshan, raised funds to built this park and named it Zhongshan Park revolving around the Yandun Mountain. The two arches at the front and back gates of the park were all built after the liberation. The four Chinese characters meaning “Zhongshan Park” were written by Mr. Ou Chu, a Zhongshan born revolutionary who led the revolution of the Five Osmanthus Hill area and became the secretary of Guangzhou City later.

The Yandun Hill is also called the Fu Hill or the Shiqi Hill. The tale tells us there was an isolated island, and the fishermen around use to be trapped by the bad weather when fishing out before the sunrise and after the sunset. In order to build something to direct them especially at night for their return, they decided to make a signal fire at the hilltop. This hill was hence called Yandun Hill (Hill of Smoke Stump).

Another legend says there was a signal fire beacon for defending the invasion of enemies, and that may be the name’s source of this hill. The park covers about 90 thousand square meters, built with its back against a hill. At the upper end of the 128 stone steps is the hill-surrounding road reaching into a world of shady trees. If you think that it is too tiring to take the steps, you may prefer the hill-surrounding road on foot that spirals to the top. The road and paths here are palisaded with green bamboo, high mallows, towering phoenix trees, banyans and other evergreen trees. The verdant park is dotted by fresh lawns, alcoves, rain shelters, corridors and stone chairs, a tranquil world under a great colorful canopy. In the beginning of a summer, there is the chirping of cicadas, reminding you the famous verse of “Cicada chirping sets off the tranquility of the woods/Bird singing defines what peacefulness is in the mountains.” This is a real summer resort and there are so many people that come here for their morning exercises and walks.

There is the Zhongshan Pavilion of Memory in the park built with the donations by overseas Chinese in the form of 4 sides and 8 pillars, oblong shaped. Between the joints of the upper parts of the pillars and the green glazed tiles are the Chinese characters of “Zhongshan.” In the front of the pavilion are the characters of “Zhongshan Pavilion of Memory” while in the back is a plaque with inscriptions “The World Is for the Public” by Sun Yat-sen. Having witnessed decades of elements, the pavilion stands high for the modern people to relive the great achievements of Sun Yat-sen. Close to the top of the hill, facing you are the 8 Chinese characters “Monument of the Iron City/Landmark of the Country of Lakes and Rivers,” Zhongshan people’s applause of the Study Tower.

Study Tower was built in the 36th year of the Wanli Reign of the Ming Dynasty (1608), more than 300 years back. It is 7-story engraved brick tower with 7 gables and it is said the tower was built to relieve Xiangshan County of the poverty then. It is 24.5 meters high (over 7 zhang in the Chinese measure). The immensity of the tower body does not mean that it lacks its elegant mien with its stone steps spiraling up to the top. Looking out against the rails on the top, your eyes are greeted by the scenes of the whole city and its surroundings, embodying a famous Chinese verse, “A higher stand commands a better view afar.” The tower has witnessed ups and downs since its building. In 1983, the Zhongshan Municipality appropriated special funds to renovate the body and coat it with light decorations. When night falls, the tower shines like a magic tower and it can be discerned from over 10 kilometers from the city.

Each Double Ninth Festival, the old and the young come here to go climbing the hill, and it constitutes a spectacular activity. People go round the tower inside to see the meaning of going up high in life.

Cities in the Zhujiang River Delta

There are nine large and medium-sized economically central cities in the Zhujiang River Delta. They are either rapidly approaching or have already achieved Zhujiang Rivermodernization. These cities are not far apart, and are connected by expressways, so it takes only one hour by air-conditioned bus to travel from one city to another. Inhabitants of Dongguan consequently enjoy spending their weekends in Zhuhai, and compatriots from Hong Kong and Macao come to tour Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Huizhou or Zhaoqing at weekends. Convenient transportation and developed facilities have enhanced the inflow of inhabitants. It is confidently predicted that in the near future the cities of the Zhujiang River Delta will be linked together as a whole.

According to experts, the Asia-Pacific Region has become the most economically active region with the greatest potential for further development, that will in future strengthen international cooperation, and form a city group network with several international cities as the core. The city groups in the Zhujiang River Delta and Hong Kong will combine to form one of the most important networks in the Asian-Pacific Region.

According to Doctor Mao Yanhua, a researcher with the Hong Kong, Macao and Zhujiang River Delta Research Center of Zhongshan University, most international metropolises, such as Tokyo, New York and London, have advantageous locations and a dense network structure. In general, they are located at the mouth of a great river on the coast, and have a close knit city, industrial, transportation and information network, jointed by big, medium-sized and small cities and with coastline, river, railway and highway as axes. The Zhujiang River Delta is just like this, having big cities at the mouth of the Zhujiang River on the coast, and the Zhujiang River system inland. There are trunk railways, such as the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and the Beijing-Kowloon Railway, linking it up with the interior areas. All these aspects provide ideal conditions for the formation of city groups.

To plan and construct the Zhujiang River Delta as a series of city groups, the functions of various cities in the region must be determined, and the departments concerned have started this work. They have selected two centers in the region (Guangzhou and Shenzhen); three metropolitan areas — with the Zhujiang River as the dividing line, to divide the whole region into the east bank area, the west bank area and the central area. In terms of city management, they have divided the whole region into four: an ecologically sensitive area, an open area, a town-intensive area and a metropolitan area. Different standards for public facilities have been worked out in various areas, to promote the modernization of the whole region.

Guangzhou, as central city in the city group, will change function through developing its tertiary industry, such as international finance, trade, scientific research and international business, to become a regional international city.

Zhujiang River2Shenzhen will continue to strengthen its functions in finance, foreign trade, commerce, and transfer of international trade. It will also develop an export-oriented economy featuring capital- and technology-intensive industries, to continue to serve as a window on reform and opening and as an experimental ground. In its functions it will gradually realize mutual complementation with Hong Kong, to develop into an international city of influential importance in the city group of the Zhujiang River Delta, and in the eastern area.

Other economic central cities should concentrate on bringing into full play their advantages and characteristics that have been formed over the years, and to be conscientious and thorough in infrastructure construction and ecological protection, so as to create conditions for their sustainable development.

The city group in the central area includes: Foshan, Zhaoqing and Shunde, with emphasis placed on developing the tertiary industry, such as science and technology, finance, commerce, trade, information consultation and development, and tourism combined with weekend holiday-making. The second industry involves auto manufacture, electronics, machinery, beverages, and petrochemicals. In Zhaoqing one can see many beautiful sights such as groves, lakes, hills and caves. The people of Zhaoqing therefore plan to build their city into a “garden-like scenic tourist city.”

The eastern city group includes Dongguan and Huizhou, mainly developing the tertiary industry with foreign trade as the mainstay, the combination of industrial development and scientific research, communications equipment, electronic instruments, energy and chemicals. The largest Sino-foreign joint-venture petrochemical project in the country — the Zhonghai Shell Petrochemical Project — is located in Huizhou.

The western city group includes Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Jiangmen, which will mainly house developing industries that rely on port shipment, such as energy, heavy chemicals, machinery and high-tech bio-pharmaceuticals, tourism, and port trade, with freight transport as the mainstay. Jiangmen is the ancestral home of many overseas Chinese, with more than 3.6 million people of Jiangmen origin — equivalent to the total population of Jiangmen City, residing in more than 100 countries and regions, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao. Attracting overseas investment through overseas Chinese is one of the forms of inviting in overseas capital. Through the overseas Chinese of Jiangmen origin, the distance between Jiangmen and the outside world has been shortened, and the inhabitants of Jiangmen are especially open. They have instituted many festivals and events to attract outside investment, such as spring tea ceremonies, the dragonboat festival, kinfolk reunions, and honor-award gatherings. At present, Jiangmen has granted titles of “honorific citizen” to 284 overseas Chinese who have invested in their ancestral hometown. Among them, the majority now resides in Hong Kong. Most have each invested 30 million yuan.

The people living in the Zhujiang River Delta are fortunate. Although the per capita GDP in the area is not as high as that of the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, known as “four dragons of Asia,” the living standards in the Zhujiang River Delta are in no way inferior. According to Lu Ruihua, governor of Guangdong Province, “Living standards in the Zhujiang River Delta are almost the same as those in Taiwan.” Yu Youjun commented, “I have visited Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, and I feel our housing conditions are equal. In Shenzhen, the per capita housing area is 14 square meters, no lower than that of Taiwan and Hong Kong. There is little gap in scope of diet, and our prices are much lower. The largest gap is in the proportion of inhabitants who own private cars. Another gap is as regards the environment, such as the city comprehensive environment, and traffic and urban management. But I believe that we have achieved more in our environmental protection and greening than has been accomplished in Hong Kong and Taiwan.”

Golden Petals of the Chrysanthemum City

Chrysanthemum City“Golden Petals of the Chrysanthemum City” is one of the “Ten Scenic Spots” of Zhongshan, referring to the petals in Xiaolan Town, Zhongshan City. Xiaolan people have kept their practice of flower cultivation for several hundred years. From end to end of each street, from the courtyard to the flowerbed, from the balcony to the roof of each household, a wide range of chrysanthemum varieties prevail. Whenever the golden fall comes, the colorful chrysanthemums reign the whole town. The golden petals always take the dominance of their flower folks forming a chrysanthemum city of golden petals living up to its reality.

Behind the name of the “Golden Petals of the Chrysanthemum City,” there is a bitter touching story. In Xianchun Reign of the Song Dynasty, an imperial concubine called Su fled the Imperial Palace by risking her life in pursuit of marriage of happiness, and took refuge in Zhuji Alley of Nanxiong, Guangdong Province. Emperor Duzong dispatched his armies to track her down, killing innocent people all along their way. At the time, in Zhuji Alley, there lived many businessmen seeking shelter from chaos caused by war, and hearing this news, they proceeded with their southward movement to Xiaolan, Xiangshan County (the present-day Zhongshan City). The golden wild chrysanthemums all over the fertile fields and hills, and the moderate climate urged them to settle down there. They cleared land for farming and cultivating chrysanthemums from then on has become the popular practice for the local people.

In the 19th year of Jiaqing Reign of the Qing Dynasty (1814), to commemorate their ancestors’ creation of this town, the Xiaolan people held their first chrysanthemum fair by the joint effort of over 10 local chrysanthemum guilds, and they made it a rule that every 60 years a similar fair should be held. The 1994 one reached its peak ever by showing its more than 500 thousand pots of flowers of over 1,500 varieties during 17 days, and receiving almost 8 million visitors both at home and from abroad. Chrysanthemum has become the medium for them to establish trade routes and friendship for the world to understand Xiaolan. In promoting the economy of Xiaolan, chrysanthemums have contributed tremendously.

The best way to see the grand spectacle of the chrysanthemums is, of course, to view them in person at a fair, but it is indeed once in a blue moon. You are not, however, to feel despondent, for from October to November every year in each fall, a small chrysanthemum exhibition is held along the major streets, and in the parks of Xiaolan. But a “small” one does not mean that it is literally small, for there are about 100 thousand pots of over 1 thousand varieties. Besides, at this time, you not only are lucky enough to enjoy the miens of the illustrious chrysanthemums, but have the fortune to enjoy the chrysanthemum fish balls, chrysanthemum cakes, chrysanthemum meats, chrysanthemum-brewed wine, and other chrysanthemum-related dishes at a chrysanthemum banquet. So a small exhibition can satisfy both your eyes and mouth.

If you have the interest, you may visit the urban and suburban construction in continuous movement here. In the single year of 1994, the city invested 2.6 billion RMB yuan in 112 projects in the new city area. It lives up to its “China’s Star for the City and Countryside Alike,” “One of the 100 Towns of Best Investment Environment,” “National Sanitary Town,” and “Top Civilized Town of Guangdong Province.”

In Xiaolan, there are also the Twin-Beauty Bridge of the Ming Dynasty, the Fresh Water Well of Plum Blossom, He’s Temple (Mr. He, ancestor of the He family in Guangdong Province, and a once major minister of an emperor in the Ming Dynasty), the People’s Park, the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery. Do not miss them!

INTRODUCTION GANSU

Mogao Caves, also called Mogao Grottoes or the Caves of A Thousand Buddhas, are set into a cliff wall of Echoing-sand Mountain about 25km southeast of the oasis city in the Gobi desert, Dunhuang.

The honeycombed caves, enjoying a millennium long construction from the 4th to the 14th centuries and marking the height of Buddhist art, are the world’s richest treasure house of Buddhist sutras, murals and sculptures. At its height, the cave complex had thousands caves. A total of 492 grottoes remain after thousand years vicissitude, covered with 45,000-square-metre fascinating murals. There are also 2,400 painted statues and over 250 residential caves. Almost every grotto exhibits a group of colorful clean-cut paintings of Buddha and Bodhisattvas, and other religious paintings, or social activities of different dynasties.

The caves carved on the cliff wall provide voluminous research materials for the study of all aspects of the social life, such as religion, art, politics, economics, military affairs, culture, literature, language, music, dance, architecture and medical science in mediaeval China. The splendid culture and art unearthed here stimulates worldwide interest and now a new international subject called Dunhuangology forms.

The remaining mural paintings can be divided into seven categories, including the jataka stories depicting beneficence of Sakyamuni in his previous incarnations, sutra stories depicting suffering and transmigration, traditional Chinese mythology and so on. Although the religious scriptures are primarily Buddhist, written in Chinese, Uygur, Tibetan, Turkic and other languages, they are not limited to Buddhist. Taoist, Manichean and Confucian scrolls are also part of the collection.

Unfortunately, due to the corrupt and impotent governments after the later Qing dynasties, Mogao Caves had been plundered of most treasures of the treasure trove by heinous thieves like Aurel Stein, Paul Pelliot, Langdon Warner and Albert von Le Coq by theft, mostly, and unfair transactions. Then they were transported to Britain, Germany and other places.

According to history record, in the year 336, a monk called Le Zun came near Echoing-sand Mountain and suddenly had a vision of golden rays of light shining upon him like thousands Buddhas there. He started to carve the first grotto to memorize the incident and show his respect to the Buddha. Other pilgrims and travelers followed for the next thousand years.

Gulangyu Island

Gulangyu, separated from the main island by the 500-metre-wide Egret River, with an area of 177 square kilometres, enjoys a lauditory title “Garden on the Sea.” The original name of the islet was Yuan Zhou Zi. In the Ming Dynasty it was renamed Gulang, meaning ”drum waves”, because the holes in the southwestern reefs hit by the waves will make sounds like the drum. The Dragon Head Hill, Hoisting Flag Hill and Hen Hill stand in a line in the islet. Overlapping peaks foil the blue water, white clouds, green trees and bright flowers. The air in the islet is fresh. The entire place is free from any sorts of vehicles and is particularly quiet. Gulangyu Island1All these render an atmosphere of a fairyland. The architecture in the islet varies greatly in style, Chinese and foreign. Thus the islet has a laudatory title “the World Architecture Museum” The residents here love music very much, and the number of the pianos possessed is in the leading place in the nation, though there is only a population of 20,000 people. Thus the islet is praised as the “Piano Islet”. Today, Gulangyu is listed as one of the nation’s major scenic spot. The main sites of interest here include the Sunlit Rock, Shuzhuang Park, Gangzihou Bathing Beach and Memorial Hall to Zheng Chenggong, which are visited annually by millions of people from all parts of the country and the world. Sunlight Rock Riguang Rock is also called Yellow Rock. It is the summit of Gulang Islet. On the mountain, huge and precipitous rocks form many caves and gullies. Pavilions are hidden among green trees. If you go up the steps, you will come to the Lotus Flower Convent first, where a huge rock named ”A Piece of Tile”, sitting on the top, forms a hall below. On the large rocks beside the convent are inscribed ”Wonderland of Gulang,” and ”Number One along the Egret River.” Behind the convent are ”the Dragon’s Cave of the Egret River,” ”the Cave of Summer Resort,” and ther scenic spots. Gulangyu Island2Close to the convent is the historical site of Zheng Chenggong’s Dragon Head Mountain Fastness and the platform for directing the raining of his seamen. Coming to the top of the mountain, you can see the beautiful views of the sea nd the mountains, and the Xiamen Island and Gulangyu, Dadan and Erdan are all presented before your eyes. Shuzhuang Park Shuzhuang Park is situated on the seashore to the south of Riguang Rock. In the 21st year of the Guangxu period in the Qing Dynasty (1895), a rich merchant from Tainan came to Gulangyu with his family and made his home there. He hegan building the park in 1913 in memory of his native home in Banqiao, Taiwan, and used Shuzhuang, the homonym of his mother’s name to name the park. Now a bronze statue of the former owner of the park stands in the park. Architecturally the park is very cleverly designed by taking advantage of the mountain and the sea. There you can feel a stillness in things moving, and a movement in things still. It presents such a unique scene that you might find it difficult to tear yourself avay from it. Inside the park there are several beautiful views such as Renqiu Pavilion, the Forty-four Bridge, the Piled-up Rocks, the artificial hills, Danying Veranda and the Insensate Rock Room. No wonder the park ranks first among the famous parks in Xiamen. To its left is Gangzihou bathing beach, which is marked by clear water and sand, and has the capacity of bathing thousands of people at a time. Nearby there is YanPing Park, which was set up in memory of Zheng Chenggong. The Nine-bending Forty-four Bridge is the major view of Shuzhuang Park. This over-one-hundred-metre-long bridge looks like a dragon moving through the water On the bridge there are Watching Fishing Stand, Ferrying-to-theMoon Pavilion, One-thousand-wave Pavilion and so on. If you are strolling about or taking a rest on the bridge when it is at full tide, You might have a feeling of walking on the sea, coming up and down with the waves. On the Piled-up Rocks by the ninding crossing-the-sea bridge are inscribed these words: “Vast Sea and Boundless Sky,” and ”Resting the Head on the Currents,” which are so beautifully written and so vividly blended with the surroundings that you would find them pleasing both to the eye and to the mind!

10,000 Stone Botanical Garden

Tiger Brook Rock and Elephant Trunk Peak. Located on the north Lion Hill of southeast Xiamen urban district Wanshi Botanical Garden is a unique combination of park and botanical garden.With historic remains scatterring about, this place became a scenic spot for tourists since ancient time. Xue Qifeng, a famous scholar of early Qing Dynasty,praised it in one of his poems like this – “Hills and rocks combine all the views and the garden has been claiming unparalleled wonder through the ages.” Wanshi Botanical Garden heads the list of xiamen eight views by holding five of them.There are also nearly 100 stone inscriptions in rocks.

The year of 1952 saw the construction of Wanshi Rock Reservoir around which the Botanical Garden was extented. More than 20 plant plots,flower nurseries and display rooms have been classified. They are specializing in palm, bamboo, orchid, potted landscape and medicinal plants,etc.Tens of thousands of tropical and subtropical plants are cultivated there.It is well-known throughout the world for its fruitful scientific research.

Wanshilian Temple was built during the reign of Emperor Kanxi of late Ming Dynasty and was rebuilt by Hou Shilang of Jinghai .Additional renovations were made in recent years.On the two sides of the mountain gate,there is a pair of antithetical couplets written by a Great Master Honyi for an abbot named Huiquan. Daxiong Treasured Hall,meditation abodes and monks’ rooms form a delightful contrast with those high giant rocks. Quiet and elegant, the temple reminds one of fairyland with the help of gurgling stream below the Haizeng Bridge in front of the temple. In the west part of the garden lies the Tipsy Fairy Rock, Sweet Spring Cave, Tianjie Temple and other sceneries.

Tianjie Temple occupies a high position and descends down. Its famous morning bell can be heard far and near and was listed among the eight views of Xiamen—“Bell Tinkling at dawn from the Heaven Border.” There are numerous stone inscriptions carved in the cliffs behind the temple and among which the one engraved before the Long Howling Cave during the reign of Emperor Wanli of the Ming Dynasty is the most valuable . This piece of Poems Wall has another name of “Smiling Rock in Peace” which is also among the eight views of Xiamen. There has been such a saying as “The things that can make one smile and happy can not be expressed.”It is personified and then spares more room for thought. Here is also the place where Zhen Chenggong used to read. At “Tiger Brook and the Moon Light” – one of the eight views of Xiamen,with rocks densely covering the valley and ancient banyans entrenching everywhere,a naturally marvellous and perilous sight is thus presented. In the evening of the 15th of every lunar month, the grand moon is hanging high above, shining over the arhat clay sculptures and the clay tiger set in the cave. The shadow fluctuates as the light twinkles.

The clay tiger seems to come back to life. When it is the midautumn festival night,visitors exceeding ten thousand strive to be the first to enjoy the sight of the wonderful moon. During the reign of Emperor Wanli, Lin Maoshi, a well-konwn bachelor, cut a hole in the rock and built a stone room named “Lincen Cave” in it. To the north of Wanshilian Temple are such views like “Carp Magic”, “Tiger Teeth Cave”,”Jia Tian Jing”(a path placing the sky in between two huge rocks),”One-line Heaven”and “Flying Whale Rock”. Each of them got their name from their similarity in form. We find another gigantic rock near the river bank, this one is carved with two Chinese characters “Lock Clouds”.It is said that this is the place where Zhen Chenggong killed his second cousin, Zhen Lian!

Xiamen City

Xiamen, China’s cleanest, most beautiful, seaport city, is located on the southeastern coast of Fujian Province.Xiamen City2 Xiamen City, as an adminis-trative unit, can be dated back as far as the Song Dynasty. It has always been an important trading port, but since its establish-ment as one of China’s first four Special Economic Zones in 1981, Xiamen has become a “window city” for China’s opening to the out-side world. Xiamen City1It’s one of the municipalities approved by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, being specially designated under separate state plan and en-joying provincial level of power in economic management. Today, Xia-men is a rapidly growing city, with a vigour-ous economy and a fully-modern in-frastructure. Over the past 10 years, Xiamen has increasingly focused on the cultivation of inter-national trade, education, and tourism. Xiamen City3Ge-ography Xiamen was recently voted China’s cleanest city, and hasmany attractions for the foreign visitor. Xiamen and its surrounding countryside offers spec-tacular scenery and pleasant tree-lined beaches. Gulangyu, also knownas Piano Island, is a popular,peaceful weekend getaway.Xiamen’s Botanical Garden is anature lover’s paradise. And the Buddhist Nanputao Temple, dating back to the Tang Dynasty, is a national treasure.

Nanputuo Temple

Nanputuo Temple South Putuo Temple is situated below the Five Old Gentlemen Peaks in the southern part of the island of Xiamen. It was first built in the Tang Dynasty and is one of the sacred places of Buddhism in Southern Fujian. Inside the temple there are the Heaven King’s Hall, the Daxiong Hall, the Great Compassion Hall, all of which are built in an exquisite and grand style. Enshrined in these halls are the statues of Maitreya, Sanshi Reverend Buddha, Thousand-handed Guanyin (Bodhisattva), Four Kings of Heaven, and the eighteen archats. Nanputuo Temple1Although all are serious and solumn in appearance, each is distinctly different from another. The temple attracts a large number of pilgrims at home and from abroad. The excellent craftsmanship of the Thousand-handed Guanyin is marked by its thousand hands and thousand eyes and glistening golden colour. As to the Pavilion where Buddhist scriptures are kept, it has a rich collection of the historical articles of Buddhism. such as classics, statues of Buddhas, bronze bells from the Song Dynasty, calligraphic works and paintings from the ancient times. Among them, “Intriguing Lotus Scripture” written in blood in the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty and the statue of Guanyin in white porcelain, a masterpiece of He Chaosong, are most valuable. Nanputuo Temple2In the temple are preserved many inscriptions, among which the stone inscriptions written by Chen Di and Sheng Yourong in the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty and the one on a stone stele written by Emperor of the Kangxi period of the Qing Dynasty are most famous. Behind the temple, inscribed on the wall of a rock is a large word “Buddha” which is 4.66 metres in height and 3.33 metres in width. And farther behind, high up on the mountain stands a screen of five peaks coloured by green trees and bamboos and marked by serene valleys and rocks of pleasing shapes. They are called “Five Old Gentlemen Reaching the Clouds,” and are one of the eight grand sights of Xiamen. Coming to the top, you not only have a view of the mountain undulating in the wind, but also the view of the sea surging in the distance.

Jimei

JimeiAs one of the four major scenic spots in Xiamen, Jimei enjoys a long-term fame for its tourists attractions like Turtle Garden ,Returnees Garden and the former residence of Mr. Tan Kah-Kee. Jimei is a small town on the other side of the bank facing notth Xiamen Island. With Gaoji Causeway and Xingji Causeway meeting there, Jimei becomes the sole gateway into Xiamen. Jimei is also the hometown of Mr. Tan Kah-Kee, a famous overseas Chinese leader who devoted homself wholly to the education cause. He had started various schools in the town, including Jimei Normal School, Jimei Navigation Institute, Xiamen Aquatic Products Technical Institute and Agriculture School besides Jimei Kindergarden, Jimei Primary School and Jimei Middle School. Equipped with Science Hall, library and hospital, these schools brought the town the name “Jimei School Village” which is renowned at home and abroad. The Turthe Gardeb was built during Mr. Tan Kah-Kee’s lifetime and later was chosen as the place where his grave was to be laid. Mr. Tan Kah-Kee’s residence was turned into a memorial hall and the Returnees Garden with Mr.Tan Kah-Kee’s bronze statue in it was built in his memory. In Jimei, there is still the relics where Zhen Chenggong had drilled his soldiers and the ruins of old Jimei Village — Yenping Old Fort. The Turtle Garden was constructed in 1950 by Mr. Tan Kah-Kee on the former site of “Turtle Head Palace” from which came its present name.In the centre of the garden is the Jimei Liberation Monument with an inscription by Mao Zedong on the front and a tablet record written by Mr.Tan Kah-Kee on the back.The stone foundation of the monument consists of two stages. The lower stage has eight steps ,signifying the eight-year Anti-Japanese War; the upper stage is composed of three steps, symbolizing the three year Liberation War. They are telling the later generations that victories were hard-won and therefore should be cherished. The foundation of the monument is surrounded by gray jade carvings and relief sculptures polished with great care,embodying a concentrated reflection of exquisite workmanship and a unique style of south Fujian stone carving art. The former residence of Mr.Tan Kah-Kee is situated on Jiageng Road in the town of Jimei.It is still keeping its old looks to be visited and pondered. Mr.Tan Kah-kee was living frugally all his life. No one can keep unmoved when they see how
simple those daily necessities and clothings are.To the west of the residence is an exhibition of Mr.Tan Kah-Kee’s life story.

Wuyi Mountain

The Wuyi mountain scenic spot situated in the middle of the Wuyi mountain range, within the boundary of Wuyishan City, has an area of 60 sqkm. The Nine Twist Stream, a meadering brook running nine kilometers through the mountain, is a beautiful, natural landscape painting.

Well-known for its scholars and poets like Zhuxi, Luyou and Xinqiji who visited and lectured here. As a result, a valuable cultural heritage has been preserved. A 3, 000- year coffin in the shape of a boat, known as a hanging coffin. And many stone and porcelain relics are kept on display. Wuyi Scenic Spot has been designated as a key national scenic spot.

Nine-Twist Stream

wuyi1Originating in the Wuyi Natural Reserve and flowing through mountain valleys. The Nine-Twist Stream runs nine kilometers and has 9 twists in its course. The clean water moving past rocks and cliffs combines with the exotic peaks crowned by green groves presenting a real-life traditional Chinese painting.
It takes about 2 hours to drift down the stream by means of a very old type of bamboo raft. So this experience is unique and memorable. No visitor should miss the chance.

Dawanfeng(Great King Peak)

wuyi2Because this peak is shaped like an ancient Chinese majestic official’s hat, people call it Great King Peak. It sits commandingly at the mouth of the Nine-Twist Stream, southeast of the Wuyi Palace. Standing on the 530-meter peak, it greets tourists as they set out their trip. At top of the peak old trees grow thick, while on the eastern side you can see Immortal-Transformation Cave(shenzhen-dog) . According to Zhuxi, the great Confucianist, King Wuyi lived in this cave. A deep split extending from the top of the peak into its bottom is said to be the place where a special envoy in the Song Dynasty worshiped King Wuyi.

Jade Maiden Peak

wuyi3Located south of the second twist and facing a big deep pool, this peak looks like a girl standing gracefully. The rock in Jade Maiden Peak appears skin-smooth while the dewy-green grass and tree sat the top suggest a girl’s hair. As we look at the peak’s reflection in the water, we can imagine a graceful, deep-in-thought, traditional girl, wishing for a bright future. This peak symbolizes the beauty of Wuyi scenery.

Heavenly Tour Peak(Tianyoufeng)

wuyi4The Tianyouguan Hotel

This peak stands near the middle part of the stream. Made up of three huge rocks, it can be seen from the third, fifth, and sixth twists. You can reach the summit along the path from Tea Plantation Cave(Chadong), if you can go up the 800 steps past the Clothes- Drying Rock(Saibuyan), you will finally reach the top, arriving at Bird’s Eye Lookout(Yilantai). Standing here, you enjoy an panoramic view of the whole peace. The Tianyouguan Hotel, a graceful traditional- style building, has rooms for those guests who want to see the stars of the Milky way and the sun rise. This peak provides the grandest view of Wuyi mountain area.

Taoyuan Cave(Taoyuandong)

wuyi5The Beautiful Scene of Taoyuan Cave

This cave is located north of the sixth twist of the stream. A cool, dark place, it lies at the center of surrouding mountains, an attractive setting. When you enter the cave, you will be plunged into the darkness, but walking another ten metres, you’ll see a shaft of light. Then you will be looking across a peach orchard with a stone gate, a paradise away from turmoil of world. In the old days scholars came here to escape the cares of society. Now the old Kaiyuan hall has been remodeled as a hotel and small shop.

Dazhufeng Snake Garden

In Huanken Village of Jianyang county you cansee an unusual snake garden. The specially-designed garden with an area of 6,000 sqm metres , contains some 10000 snakes of various kind–the country’s largest. The Wuyi snake medicine has become well-known at home and abroad. Facilities of the garden include viewing spots, a guest house, restaurant, and service department. In the souvenir shop you can buy snake wine, snake bile wine and powder, snake- skin articles, dried snake and snake oil.

Wuyi Mountain Nature Reserve

wuyi6This nature reserve is located at the common boundary point of Wuyishan City, Jianyang and Guanze Counties. It extends 52 km. from north to south, and 22km from east to west, enclosing an area of 570 square km and the mountains here are steep and heavily forested. Abundant rainfall and warm, humid weather give it a typical moderate sub-tropical climate, this is one of the five key nature reserves in China.
Forests cover 92% of the area. Bamboo groves number more than 80 and include one-third of the Chinese bamboo species. Among the 3, 000 to 4,000 plants growing here, 149 families and 1,899 species have been identified. This plant diversity led to the nickname “natural plant farm”.

More than 400 kinds of larger wild animals, including more than 100 species of mammals, live in the reserve. Birds also thrive here, some 300 species being found in this wildlife

Guangzhi Mountain

Guangzhi MountainGuangzhi Mountain lies in the east of Liancheng County, Fujian Province, which is 1.5 kilometres far from the county town and stands upright. The scenic areas cover 123 square kilometres in circumference. Its highest peak looks like a crown worn by an ancient judge(in Chinese, the crown is called Guangzhi).

It implies integrity and incorruption. Hense, the name of “Guangzhi Mountain”. In 1986, it was awarded as one of the ten most beautiful tourist spots in Fujian Province for its natural beauty. And in 1994, it was listed in the key scenic spots of national level by the state Council of China.

Guangzhi Mountain belongs to DanXia topography, so the color of the rocks is wine. Exotic flowers, rare herbs, rare bitrds and animals can be seen everywhere. ShiMen(stone door) Lake lies in it is like a jadeite. The water is crystal clear, and no matter how deep the water is, you can see the bottom — the pebbles, sand, and weeds. The mountain is so grand and the water is so clear and beautiful that people say “Guangzhi Mountain Scenic Spot is the only place which couples with yin and yang (hardness with sofeness)”.

The Guangzhi Mountain Scenic Spot was first developed in Song Dynasty. Some great names in history, such as Ji Xiaolan, Lin Zexu, Zhao Puchu and Luo Dang, left many ¬inscriptions here, which present a splendid sight for the scenic spot.

A Glimpse of Anhui Province

With an area of 139,000 square km and a population of 60 million, Anhui Province is richly endowed with tourist resources. The province excels in both natural scenery and human civilization. Among its scenic highlights are the Huangshan Mountain and the Jiuhuashan Mountain. The former is world-renowned for its exotic beauty, and the latter is one of the four famous Buddhist mountains in China. Listed as the Taoist holy land, the Qiyunshan Mountain attracts visitors with its unique terrain and numerous cliff inscriptions. Langyashan Hill’s fame came about from an article written by an eminent writer of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), while the ancient Tianzhushan Mountain features rich botanical and animal resources. Moreover, the province is the origin to many famous rivers such as the picturesque Xin’anjiang River, the compelling Chaohu Lake and the mild Taipinghu Lake.

In addition to its natural scenic beauty, Anhui has a rich cultural heritage as well. It has three historical and cultural cities at the state level and has been the birthplace of countless celebrities over the centuries. The historical places, Buddhist architecture, ancient construction, horticulture and folk ways are all worth seeing.

The first stop recommended in Anhui is Hefei, where you can buy a coach ticket directly to Jiuhuashan Mountain. As the coach may pause in crude places, do remember to buy a bottle of mineral water and some snacks before you board the coach. As the coach departs, tourists can enjoy the rustic scenery with typical southern features. During the coach tour, there are two spots not to be neglected. One is the Tongling Yangtze River Viaduct, which hovers over the river like a white swallow. The other is the ancient tomb of Teng Zijing, a celebrity of the Song Dynasty. The tomb is shrouded in unsullied wilderness, which is hard to find in modern life.

Upon arriving at the foot of Jiuhuashan Mountain, you will soon be captivated by its peculiar rocks and stones, peaks hidden in wandering clouds, waterfalls and springs, and thriving pines and bamboo.

From the Yangtze River, Jiuhuashan Mountain looks like a lotus newly-emerged from the water; from Jiuhuashan Mountain, the Yangtze River turns into a white ribbon.

Known as the Buddhist holy land, the mountain has some 83 temples. A 99-meter bronze Buddha statue is being built near the Dajueqiao Bridge. Few tourists hesitate to spend 30 yuan to buy a bowl indicating longevity at the Longevity Hall. In the twilight, those who are lucky may also see the rare auspicious cloud in the shape of a flying red phoenix.

Jiuhuashan Mountain can be divided into six main parts, and altogether may take a day or two to see. As for souvenirs, little Buddhist sculptures are the first choice. Bamboo shoots and mushrooms are also recommended.

The coach at the foot of the Jiuhuashan Mountain can take you directly to Tunxi, a prototype of the Anhui civilization. With gray tiles, white-painted walls and stone-paved streets, the town of Tunxi has been given the name “Oriental Ancient Rome” by oversea visitors.

Tunxi is where you can purchase ink, ink-slabs, carvings and Maofeng Tea. It takes some effort for you to make up your mind about which to choose among numerous brick, stone, wood and bamboo carvings. Robust tourists may appreciate the night view and folk ways of the town, and taste the various snacks from the booth on the street. As there are more than 300 scenic spots in Tunxi, it is hard to exhaust them all and a little planning is necessary. Among all these scenic spots, Yansi is a must-see. The Scholar’s Gatetower, the ancient lanes of Hongqiao, the Ancient House Pavilion and the Green-winding Pavilion will provide a basic understanding of the ancient architecture in Anhui Province. And remember to reward yourself with delicious Anhui-style dishes.

From Tunxi to the famous Huangshan Mountain, it takes no more than a two-hour ride by bus. The Huangshan Scenic Area has eight scenic spots and covers an area of 154 square km. Its three main peaks, the Lotus Peak, the Brightness Peak and the Tiandu Peak are all above 1,800 meters high. The cable car brings you up to the foot of Lotus Peak within 20 minutes.

Young and vigorous tourists should take a shot at the craggy Tiandu Peak. Despite its extremely perilous terrain, the Jiyubei spot on Tiandu Peak is always cramped with pairs of lovers. Each couple brings a pair of locks and then locks them together on the railings, throwing the keys into the abyss. It is a kind of vow taken by lovers that nothing can separate them.

Other scenic spots include the Welcoming Pine, the Yuping Pavilion, the 100-step ladder and the Paiyun Pavilion. And you should never miss the splendid sunrise over Huangshan Mountain.

Overlooking the Hengjiang River, Qiyunshan Mountain is widely known as the Taoist holy land. Blanketed in thick mist, it looks like a mirage beyond reach, even though its altitude is only 585 meters. As the cable car ascends, the mist disperses, revealing the white ribbon-like Hengjiang River. Skirting the mountain, the river forms an S shape at the foot of the mountain, coinciding with a Taoist pattern. When you step out of the cable car and walk ahead, you will notice another apocalyptic piece of scenery–a stone gate made of a colossal stone held up by a huge slab. Inside the stone gate are cliff inscriptions and stone tablets carved with calligraphy of ancient celebrities.

In the embrace of four peaks, the site of the Taisugong Temple relics is a main scenic spot of Qiyunshan Mountain. The left-side lion-shaped peak and the right-side elephant-shaped peak serve as the guards to the main peak in the middle. The fourth peak looks exactly like an incense burner. On top of the peak grow the nanmu woods; no one knows where their seeds come from. When the nanmu trees come into blossom, the fragrance is carried afar, and the peak turns into a true incense burner.

If time permits, you can also take the bamboo raft down the Hengjiang River. The clear water makes the pebbles and fishes easily seen underwater, and occasionally droves of wild ducks come into your sight. Few tourists can resist the temptation of this rustic scene.

After visiting the Qiyunshan Mountain, tourists may return to the capital, Hefei. Thickly covered with trees and lawns, Hefei was the hometown of Bao Zheng, a judicious official known for his stressing the dignity of law in the Song Dynasty. Tombs and shrines in commemoration of Bao Zheng can be found here. Hefei is also the ancient battlefield of the Three Kingdoms Period (220-265), leaving many places of historical interest. The Dashushan Mountain and the Wild Animal Park won’t disappoint you either. With the speedy economic development, new places of interest, such as the Pearl Square, the Wulidun Viaduct and the High-Tech Zone, emerge before tourists’ eyes.

Chaohu Lake is known for its idyllic scenery and ancient civilization. Apart from its two shoals, three hot springs, four national parks and five famous caves, the lake area also has many other historical spots.

Visitors who are interested in the defense system in ancient China are recommended to visit Shouxian, a county with rough terrain and a magnificent aura. About 10 meters in height, 4 meters in thickness and 7,000 meters in circumference, the ancient city wall in Shouxian is well preserved.

Located in Anqing, Anhui Province, the Tianzhushan (Pivot of the Sky) Mountain derives its name from the high and piercing shape of its main peak. The mountain possesses a great variety of scenic spots like curious rocks, springs and waterfalls, canyons and caves, and precarious passes. Many rare types of botany and animals can be detected here, including the giant salamander and the Chinese larch.

Huangshan Mountain

huangshan mHuangshan (Yellow Mountain) is the name of the 72 peaks range lying in the south of Anhui province and have been designated as a national park and declared a World Natural and Cultural Heritage area by UNESCO.

Huangshan is famous for its spectacular rocky peaks, oddly shaped pines, crystal-clear mountain springs and sea of clouds with the highest peak – Lotus Flower Peak (Lianhua Feng) at 1864m, followed by Bright Summit Peak (Guangming Ding) and Celestial Peak (Tiandu Feng). The unpredictable natural scenery lures countless painters and poets seeking tranquility and inspiration.

North Sea Scenic Area (Beihai Jingqu)

With quite a few attractive sights gather around, North Sea Scenic Area is in the summit area of Mt. Huangshan – an ideal place to view the sunrise and sunset. Scenic spot such as Cloud Dispersing Pavilion (Pai Yun Ting), Beginning-to-Believe Peak (Shi Xin Feng) – the most elegant and refined one of the 72 peaks, Stalagmite Peak (Shi Sun Feng), and Refreshing Terrace (Qing Liang Tai). The Refreshing Terrace, for example, is the best place to view sunrise. The views around the Beginning-to-Believe Peak also feast your eyes.

Beginning-to-Believe Peak (Shi Xin Feng)

Beginning-to-Believe Peak, in the eastern summit area, attracts the greatest number of tourists. The beauty of Huangshan reaches unbelievable till you approach the peak hence the name. The deep chasm below is the home of the Huangshan monkey.

Fallen Rock from Sky (Feilai Shi)

In the western part of the summit area, there is a huge pear-shaped rock, 10 meters high, standing totteringly on top of the peak. The bottom of the rock is so separated from the ground that it looks as if it had fallen from the sky hence the name.

Jade Screen Pavilion Scenic Area

Jade Screen Pavilion

Jade Screen Pavilion, 1,680 meters above sea level, is known as the Jade Screen of the Heaven. A unique experience here is to watch white clouds drift below after rain, when picturesque mountain peaks, fantastic rock formations and green pines are enveloped in mist, with only their tops showing. In front of the pavilion there are the Guest-Greeting and Guest-Goodbye Pines.

Bright Summit Peak

At an elevation of 1,840, it is the second highest peak of Huangshan. Located in the central part of the mountain, it is the best place for seeing sunrise and the sea of clouds.

Lotus Peak

At an elevation of 1,864 meters, it is the highest peak of the mountain. Surrounded by a group of lower peaks, it looks like a lotus flower in full bloom. From the top of the peak, you can have a panoramic view of Huangshan.

Celestial Peak

This southeast peak of Huangshan faces Lotus Peak in the west and borders Boyu Peak in the east. It is 1,829 meters above sea level and is the most precipitous peak of the mountain.

Hot Springs Scenic Area

The Hot Springs in Huangshan of nationwide fame was discovered and tapped more than a thousand years ago. Gushing forth from the foot of Purple Cloud Peak, it has neither run dry during the severe droughts nor over-flooded during excessive rain period. It is of a high-temperature carbonate type, with therapeutic effects for metabolic disorder, cardiovascular disease and malfunctions of digestive, nervous and motorial systems. Its clear waters remain at 42 ¡ãC all the year round and can be used for drinking and bathing. Baths and swimming pools have been built around the springs.

Flying Rain Spring Waterfall

It was known as Flying Rain Spring (Feiyuquan) in ancient times. The present name derives from its shape like a Chinese character “Ren”. Also known as Brush Peak, it is an independent stone pillar in the shape of a writing brush in the Beihai Scenic Zone. The pine tree growing on it looks like a flower.

Cloud Valley Scenic Areas

The frequent-used telpher station and a hotel are located here with secluded setting within the pine and bamboo forest. The relics of Cloud Valley Monastery here attracts quite amount of pilgrims. This area is also used by most of the visitors as jump-off point to climb the mountain trails.

White Cloud Stream Scenic Area

It is a newly developed scenic area for overseas tourists. The major characteristics of this part are the steep cliffs, deep gullies, and gnarled pines on high peaks. Wherever you go, you will find yourself in a fairyland with marvelous scenery around you.

Cloud Dispelling Pavilion The Cloud Dispelling Pavilion attracts daily sunset crowds. Also you can contemplate the peaks thrusting up to the sky and fancy rocks.

Songgu Area

Here peaks are green and water is clear around the year. Beautiful scenic attractions include Old Dragon Pool (Laolong Tan), Green Dragon Pool (Qinglong Tai), Black Dragon Pool (Wulong Tai), White Dragon Pool (Bailong Tai) and Jadeite Pond.

Four Unique Scenes:

Huangshan is best known for its four unique scenes – unique pines, fantastic rocks, the sea of clouds, and hot springs.

Grand Sight of Huangshan Mountain

Huangshan (the Yellow Mountains) in China’s Eastern Anhui Province is like a glittering green leaf viewed from an earth satellite high up in the sky; the Yellow Mountains are like a cluster of large, purple Spring Heralding Flowers in full bloom seen by tourists on the surface of the earth.

They are not only mountains, but also a sea, a sea of mountain peaks, a sea of clouds, a sea of pine trees, a sea of flowers, a sea of light, a sea of poetry. It is a sea of paintings. No wonder, the mountains have also been called the Yellow Sea (Huanghai).

HuangshanBeautiful are the mountains: they constantly change their appearance, graceful, wondrous, forever fresh and unconventional. There stand the towering peaks, but in an instant they will turn into islands above a sea of clouds, and the pine trees growing out of the crevices will look as if they had taken root in the clouds, reminding the tourists of the “jade foliage on golden branches” in the legend. As the year passes from one season to another, as the weather changes from rain to shine, as the sun sets and the moon rises, the mountain changes, continually taking on new looks. Even if you visit The Yellow Mountains a thousand times, each time you will discover new beauties and enjoy new experiences.

Beautiful are the mountains: they combine the real and the unreal. The peaks, rocks, pine trees, waterfalls and springs all bear descriptive names. The peaks are called by such names as Lianhua (Lotus), Tiandu (Celestial Capital), Yuping (Jade Screen) and Jiulong (Nine Dragons); the rocks by such names as “Golden Cock Crowing towards Heavenly Gate”, “Squirrel Skipping to Celestial Capital”, “Monkey Gazing at the Sea” and “Magpie on a Plum Tree”; the pine trees by such names as Yingke (Greeting Guests), Tianhai (Probe the Sea), Heihu (Black Tiger) and Wolong (Recumbent Dragon): and the waterfalls and springs by such names as the Jiulong (Nine Dragons)Waterfall, the Renzi (Inverted-V) Waterfall, the Baizhang (¡§Thousand Feet) Spring and the Mingxian (Ringing String) Spring. If you compare these fancy names with what you see, you may find that they do not really match. But, set off by the mist and tinted by light, these scenic spots, seen from the right angle, will look more real than what their names signify. They will be more lifelike and more fascinating. The Lianhua Peak will be a lotus flower rowing out of the clouds high up in the sky. The golden cock will be ready to fly towards the gate leading to Celestial Capital. The pine tree by the name of “Yingke” will be extending its arms to welcome guests from afar. And the stone lute beneath the Mingxian Spring will send out enchanting melodies.

Beautiful are the mountains: though old, not old, they are eternally youthful. Resulting from cataclysmic crust movement about 100 million years ago and named Yishan in the ancient Qin Dynasty (221-207B.C.), and later renamed the Yellow Mountains in the Tang Dynasty (618-907A.D.), the mountains are very old indeed. Yet they are young and graceful. Not relying on artificial decorations, the scenery is simple and natural, manifesting youthful vigor and heroic  grandeur. The peaks here vie with one another in thrusting into the sky. The rocks here vie with one another in being grotesque. The pine trees here compete with one  another in elegance.  The flying clouds here link up the mountain and the sky. The hot springs here, forever bubbling, give mankind an endless flow of warmth and fervor. Even the Magua trees that have comedown from glacier periods put forth new leaves every spring looking so beautiful and so young.

INTRODUCTION ANHUI

Probably the most famous of all of China’s mountains is the mystical magic of the peaks of the Yellow Mountain (Huang shan). Immortalized in ancient and modern Chinese art, this area of hanging mists, sharply rising ledges and gnarled pines is of outstanding beauty, and is considered by most Chinese as an essential tourist destination.

The mountain is situated in the south of Anhui Province and is easily accessible from most of China’s major nearby cities. The paths themselves are also, with a bit of effort, easily navigable, being few and with well-constructed steps.

A trip to the Yellow Mountain will make a perfect long weekend, taking in as many of the 72 peaks, the highest at a mere 1864m, and scattered sights as you feel up to. There are two main paths that are followed: a shorter, but less scenic, eastern route and a longer, more taxing, western route.

INFORMATION

Distance:

About 450 kilometers southwest of Shanghai.

Location:

In the far south of Anhui Province, eastern China.

Points for attention:

The Yellow Mountain is often affected by inclement weather that, although sometimes giving the mountain its misty, mysterious charm, can somewhat spoil a visit here. Check the weather reports before you go. Also, the two day walking can be a little taxing on the legs!

TRANSPORTATION

The transport links to and from Huangshan are not the most ideal for those who wish to travel after working on Friday and get back to work on Monday. For those wanting to leave later on Friday, your best bet is either to catch the train or bus from Shanghai to Nanjing, and then catch the train on to Huangshan.

Trains: There are two trains daily to and from Huangshan City and Shanghai:

Train No.K818 leaves Shanghai at 07:43 and arrives in Huangshan City at 19:14. This train only has hardseat tickets (RMB53). Train No.2182 leaves Shanghai at 15:04 and arrives in Huangshan City at 03:45. RMB45 for hardseat and RMB97 for hardsleeper.

Train No.K820 leaves Huangshan City at 07:38 and arrives in Shanghai at 19:24. RMB53 for hardseat. Train No.2184 leaves Huangshan City at 22:07 and arrives in Shanghai at 12:00 the following day. RMB45 for hardseat and RMB97 for hardsleeper.

Via Nanjing: Train No.T706 leaves Shanghai at 17:04 and arrives in Nanjing at 19:52. You can then take the 22:18 train from Nanjing to Huangshan.

Buses: There is one bus daily to Huangshan City from Shanghai, and two daily returns:

The first leaves Shanghai at 16:00 and arrives in Huangshan at 24:00 (RMB111 for a soft seat)

The return buses (Huangshan-Shanghai) leave at 05:40 and 19:10 and take around 10hrs (RMB60). Buses leave from opposite the Huangshan train station, and tickets can be bought from here

Getting There via Nanjing: Although you can leave for the Mountain on Friday morning, the best option is to get in to Nanjing for the 10pm Nanjing-Huangshan train. You can take either bus or train (see above for train times). Buses leave for Nanjing from the Hangzhou Road Bus Station, Shanghai, and take around three and a half hours. We recommend that you take the last bus at 17:30 (Daewoo RMB73, Nissan RMB86). You can then take a taxi (RMB10) to the nearby Nanjing train station (tickets can most easily be bought in the Station Square, through the train station x-ray machines). Take train No.2521 to Huangshan City/Tunxi, leaving at 22:18 (RMB21 hardseat, RMB61 hardsleeper, 8-9 hours)

Flights: You can catch a flight in the morning from Shanghai to Huangshan (China Eastern MU5511, RMB460, 07:35-08:20, Shanghai-Tunxi Airport/Huangshan). On return, China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5584 (RMB460) leaves Tunxi for Shanghai at 20:40 every day and arrives at Shanghai Hongqiao airport at 21:30. A taxi to the airport in Tunxi, 5km away from the center, should cost around RMB25. An airport bus leaves from outside the CAAC office, near the International Hotel, on Huangshan Lu. Tickets for this cost RMB5.

Getting Around: Minibuses will take you from Tunxi/Huangshan City to Tangkou, the town at the foot of the mountain (One and a half hours, a negotiable RMB10-20), then it’s another minibus (RMB 10-15) from Tangkou to either the eastern (Dong xian, Yungu si) or western (Xi xian, Ciguang ge) steps.

Suggested Itinerary

Previous Evening: Pack snacks and lunch (for 2 days since many of the restaurants on the mountain are extremely overpriced), a pair of strong shoes, a camera, 2-3 bottles of drinking water and suncream if it is hot! Itinerary below starts from when you arrive in Tunxi (Huangshan city) on the overnight train from Nanjing (No.521).

Hotels

At present finding good accommodation up the mountain is not often a problem, with a total of around 10 hotels. The problem however can be the prices here that, with their trapped audience, are excessive. Most of the hotels are either good three or two star. In bad weather, hotels can be pretty busy too, so try and book ahead if you think it will rain. The best of the hotels are on the summit area, close to the uppermost entrance of the eastern steps, or at the foot of the mountain near the hot springs. Do not expect to pay less than RMB150.

For decent rooms and great dawn views of the “northern sea of mists”, the Beihai Hotel (Beihai binguan, Tel.0559-5562555) comes recommended, prices are upwards of RMB200, while for pure comfort and some good architecture, the Xihai Hotel (Xihai fandian, Tel:0559-5562132), a joint-venture, has good service, nice restaurants, and good views of the “western sea of mists”. Prices here are in American dollars (cheapest around $100), credit cards are accepted. To get to the Beihai continue around the main path from the eastern entrance for five minutes. The Xihai is up and then down a path that leads from the right-hand side of the Beihai (as you are looking at it).

Dining

Dining up the mountain is easy if you have money to spare, although the restaurants are exclusively within the hotels. Both the Beihai and the Xihai have restaurants that serve both Chinese and Western food. Taking along a few provisions before the trip is recommended, at least for lunch (2 days) and snacks.

In Tunxi and Tangkou restaurants are plentiful and cheap. Tunxi’s main restaurants are centered on the railway station. Tangkou’s best dining is found in the market area under the large bridge.

ROUTES

The Eastern Route and Summit Area

The Eastern Route (Dong xian), although not with the best scenery, is the shortest and best way to ascend the mountain, a 7.5km long, snaking path. The climb should take around 3-4 hours, starting from the Yungusi cable car station. Some of the views here can still be spectacular, with jutting rocks and some beautiful, twisted pines. For those less active, locals can be hired to carry bags (or people) for a negotiable price, or the cable car can be taken. Once at the top you have hit around 1600m above sea-level, the Bai’e Peak (Bai’e feng). At the summit it should take no more than three hours, after booking into a hotel, to circle the peaks and sights. From Bai’e Peak, heading northwards, your first sight is the Beginning to Believe Peak (Shixin feng, 1683m), up a side track to the right. This peak has great views of the land stretched out below, glimpsed through shifting mist. Back on the main path, continuing around, you will come to the Beihai Hotel. In front of this is a path that leads up to two other peaks, one with chains clipped with lovers’ engraved padlocks and another, the popular Fresh Breeze Terrace (Qingliang tai), that at dawn has the best views of the “Northern Sea” mist and peaks. A lot further along the main path, past the Xihai Hotel and Paiyunting Hotel, is the Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion (Paiyun ting), with good views of the rocky valley below. The final sight on the summit area is a little way beyond here, a strangely shaped outcropping rock called the Far Flying Rock (Feilai shi). The path then continues around to the Bright Summit Peak (Guangming ding, 1841m), and on to the Beihai Hotel.

The Western Route

The Western route (Xi xian), best done as a descent, has by far the best of the sights, although it is almost twice as long as its eastern counterpart. The route starts from the Bright Summit Peak and winds up and then down the mountain. There are many peaks and temples here, all a little bizarrely named, among the best being, in order of appearance, the Peacock & Lotus Flower Peaks (Kongque feng & lianhua feng, 1864m), the Jade Screen Pavilion (Yuping lou, 1680m), where the cable car can be caught, the Heavenly Capital Peak (Tiandu feng, 1810m), the Half Mountain Temple (Banshan si), and, the last sight on the path, the Mercy Light Temple (Ciguang ge).

The scenery here is something to behold, with patches of stark, bare rock contrasting sharply against the flanks of the path that are heavily wooded, hiding pools and chirruping crickets. The best of the sights has to be the Heavenly Capital Peak, a little more than half way down, which rises sharply from a valley, with winding steps carved into the sheer sides. This is a slight detour from the main path, but from here you can see some of the best views of Huangshan. On the path up, chain handholds are covered in a shining armor of lover’s padlocks, and nearer the top the Crucian Ridge (Jiyu bei) has ten meters of heart-stopping sheer precipice. Acrophobics’ beware. On reaching the bottom level at the Mercy Light Temple, with shaking legs, you can catch a minibus back to Tangkou, and then another on to Tunxi.

You can, if you have time, either head to the Hot Springs (Wen quan) from the Mercy Light Temple, or spend the period before your flight, train or bus departs, looking around the old town of Tunxi, especially the Old Street (Lao jie), southwest of the railway station.

The Fragrant Hill

The Fragrant Hill, as the most beautiful sight in autumn Beijing, wins its fame all over the world with its maple leaves. The park is beautiful in other seasons too. The park has a long history. Palace were built up here for the royal sojourns in Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Fragrant Hill1In the 10th year of the Qianlong Era of the Qing Dynasty, Jingyi Garden was set up here which consists of 28 scenic sports and was known as the famous “three hills and five parks” in the suburbs of the city. In 1956 the Garden first opened to the public. Three best routes are recommended to the tourists to climb the hill for sightseeing and each winds through respectively the northern, the middle, the southern part of the hill. The Fragrant Hill2Touring through the hill takes about 2 hours. The Fragrant Hills boasts of its beautiful landscape and tourists through out the four seasons. The most beautiful sight here is the maple leaves. They grow on the smoke trees and turn red after frosts in late autumn. Then all the hills are attired in these maple leaves which seem to reach the rosy clouds in the sky.


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