Hangzhou has long been a famous
tourist attraction. The widely expressed Chinese
proverb, "in heaven there is paradise and
on earth there are Hangzhou and Suzhou" combined
with the words of Marco Polo who described this
place as, "the most beautiful and magnificent
city in the world" have helped to make Hangzhou
one of the biggest tourist attractions in the
Fortunately, while any city would
struggle to live up to a reputation as "paradise",
Hangzhou makes a good stab at it. Despite the
crowds, hoards of tour groups and the idyllic
preconceptions one might have before arrival,
it is hard not to like this city. Even the most
cynical traveler will appreciate the West Lake
for its space and beauty, if nothing else.
Hangzhou is a city with a rich history
and culture, spanning back over 2000 years. The
city first made a name for itself in the sixth
century, when the Grand Canal opened up and linked
the area to other centers of trade such as Suzhou.
The Song dynasty helped to make Hangzhou famous
when they moved the imperial family here in the
12th Century. With its inviting views and outstanding
scenery, the West Lake soon became popular with
numerous artists, poets and painters seeking inspiration
in this little bit of "paradise".
Today, Hangzhou (the capital of Zhejiang
province) has a population of 6.11 million. The
"West Lake" provides the idyllic image
of Hangzhou that most people leave with. This
huge circular fresh water lake, covering 3km from
north to south and 3kms from east to west, is
surrounded by hills on three sides and the city
on the fourth. Two picture- postcard causeways
cross the lake and three islands float in the
middle. There are numerous historical relics and
sights scattered about the Lake, including the
famous Buddhist temple, Lingyin Si. You can see
many of Hangzhou's sights in a couple of days.
However, this is a nice place to relax and do
some good walking and eating so if possible, plan
to spend at least a few days here.
Most visitors to Hangzhou come
from Shanghai, and the stark contrast between
the two cities is incredible. Hangzhou can get
very busy but the sheer size of the area around
the West Lake, means that it is always possible
to find a bit of peace and quiet. The air and
the water feel refreshingly clean here too, and
a day or two spent walking around the lake, the
tea plantations and the surrounding hills should
blow away any cobwebs, leaving you feeling refreshed
Yunnan is a perfect showpiece of China's
many natural wonders, rugged, wild, and unspoiled. The province
is famed for its multitude of ethnic groups, of China's fifty-five
officially recognized ethnic minorities, twenty-five can be
found in Yunnan. Here visitors could find snow-capped mountains,
mysterious deep valleys, peaceful highland lakes, magnificent
Karst hills, tropical rainforests, and torrential rivers.
As the capital of China, Beijing is the
political, cultural, and intellectual center of the country.
Beijing has so much to offer travelers. The celebrated tourist
center is filled with historical highlights, the most well known
ones are: Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple
of Heaven, Ming Tombs...
Tibet Autonomous Region, a mystical land
called "the Roof of the World", more than 50 peaks in this area
are higher than 7,000 meters, and 11 peaks exceed 8,000 meters.
Mt. Everest - the world's highest peak is located in Tibet.
Tibet offers fabulous things to see, including unique Buddhist
monastery, breathtaking high-altitude lakes, stunning views
of the snow mountains and brilliant Tibetan culture.