Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

Zhu Yile
Let's explore the nine additional locations in the Yangtze River Delta region that have been awarded the title of "China natural oxygen bar" and offer tranquil retreats.
Zhu Yile

There are various ways to relax at the weekend, among which reconnecting with nature, heading to the forest to breathe in the fresh air in a serene environment, can serve as an excellent stress-relief method.

Recently, nine additional locations in the Yangtze River Delta region have been awarded the title of "China natural oxygen bar," offering tranquil retreats.

Let's explore these hidden gems together!

1. Chongming District, Shanghai

Chongming District, at the mouth of the Yangtze River, stands as the world's largest estuarine alluvial island and the third-largest island in China, rightfully earning its title as a "natural oxygen bar." Rich in natural resources, Chongming is adorned with wetlands stretching across the entire island.

It proudly hosts two internationally significant wetlands: Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve and the Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Reserve, providing crucial habitat for numerous wildlife species.

Annually, over 330 species of fish are recorded, with more than a million waterbirds. The Chinese sturgeon, often referred to as the "giant panda of the water," and the endangered Yangtze narrow-ridged finless porpoise, inhabit and breed here.

In the future, Chongming will develop scenic spots and tourism routes centered around the "oxygen bar" theme, including captivating nighttime stargazing activities.

Transportation options:

Ferry: Boarding is available from Wusong Pier, Baoyang Pier, and Shidongkou Pier, each with a journey time of approximately 60 minutes. Ticket prices vary, generally ranging from 12 to 16 yuan.

Self-driving: Takes about 1 hour.

Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

Changxing Island wetland park in Chongming.

2. Jianhu County, Jiangsu Province

Jianhu County stands as the nucleus of the Jianghuai Ecological Economic Zone, renowned for its historical opulence and scenic beauty. With an intricate network of water bodies, the region enjoys an excellent ecological environment, maintaining a stable EI (ecological index) index of around 68 percent.

Jianhu experiences well-defined seasons characterized by pleasant weather, abundant rainfall, and ample sunshine. The comfortable climate spans five months, making it an ideal destination for vacations and recuperation. With 356 days categorized as "suitable" for holidays throughout the year, the region boasts a high level of favorable weather.

Transportation options:

High-speed rail: Departing from Shanghai Railway Station, directly reaching Jianhu Station in approximately 2.5 hours with fares starting at 160 yuan per person. Specific departure times can be checked on the official website of China Railway 12306.

Self-driving tour: Approximately 4.5 hours.

Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

At the sunset hour, Shuanghu Park in Jianhu County.

3. Yangxian ecotourism resort in Yixing, Jiangsu Province

The Yangxian Ecotourism Resort in Yixing is situated in the hilly mountainous region of southern Yixing City, Jiangsu Province. It boasts an expansive natural forest area and abundant forest resources, with a forest cover of nearly 60 percent.

Benefiting from a favorable climate, the area enjoys an average annual temperature of 14.8 degrees Celsius and an average precipitation of 1391.3mm. Residents experience comfortable living conditions for approximately 6 months of the year.

At present, the resort features five national 4A-level scenic spots, along with several unique attractions such as Yixing National Forest Park and Longchi Mountain Bicycle Park.

The air quality is excellent, with the proportion of days with good air quality accounting for 85.28 percent of the year, and a consistent presence of over 3,000 negative oxygen ions per cubic centimeter throughout the year.

Transportation options:

Coach bus: There are direct routes from Yixing Bus Station to Shanghai Hongqiao Hub and Pudong International Airport.

1)Departures from Yixing to Hongqiao Airport and Pudong International Airport are at 8:00.

2)Departures from Pudong International Airport to Yixing are at 16:50, priced at 158 yuan per person.

3)Departures from Hongqiao Hub to Yixing are at 17:55 (with stops), priced at 108 yuan per person.

High-speed rail: Takes about 2-2.5 hours, with fares starting at 120 yuan per person.

Self-driving tour: Approximately 3 hours.

Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

Yixing bamboo sea scenic area.

4. Jinhu County, Jiangsu Province

Jinhu County is located at the junction of two provinces and three cities – Huai'an, Yangzhou, and Chuzhou in Anhui Province – boasting exquisite natural beauty and a delightful climate.

With expansive waterways encircled by lengthy embankments and lush foliage, Jinhu presents a captivating countryside charm, adorned with verdant fields, rice paddies, and blooming lotus flowers. Its reputation as the "land of fish and rice" and the "capital of Chinese lotus flowers" precedes its scenic allure.

The average temperature in the area is 15.4 degrees Celsius, with approximately 300 days of excellent air quality a year and an average concentration of negative oxygen ions exceeding 3000/cm³ annually.

Jinhu Water Forest Park boasts the largest artificial eco-forest in northern Jiangsu Province, with thousands of lush forests and a diverse range of bird and animal species. Within the forests lie historic treasures such as the Donglai and Xilai temples, alongside recreational attractions such as fishing ponds and water parks.

Additionally, adhering to the principle of "flowers in three seasons, scenery in four seasons," Jinhu has developed over 20 themed avenues spanning a 300-kilometer greenway, including a gingko avenue and metasequoia avenue, inviting visitors to indulge in an enriching and enjoyable experience.

Transportation options:

Coach bus: Departure at 100 yuan per ticket.

High-speed rail: Takes about 3 hours, with fares starting at 175 yuan pei person.

Self-driving tour: Approximately 5 hours.

Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

Jinhu Water Forest Park.

5. Chun'an County, Zhejiang Province

Chun'an County, in the western part of Zhejiang Province, covers an area of 4,427 square kilometers, making it the province's largest county and the sole designated special ecological zone. The renowned Thousand Island Lake is located here.

Characterized by distinct seasons, moderate temperatures, abundant rainfall, and ample sunshine, the region boasts an average annual temperature ranging from 14.0 to 17.6 degrees Celsius, with yearly precipitation averaging between 1500 to 2000 millimeters.

The complex terrain of mountains, rivers, and lakes contributes to its unique ecological climate. The average concentration of negative oxygen ions in Chun'an County ranges from 3000 to 5000 per cubic centimeter (international standard ≥1200 indicating very fresh air).

The ecological environment quality here ranks among the best in the country, particularly around Thousand Island Lake. The region stands out as one of China's premier reservoirs with superior water quality.

Transportation options:

High-speed rail: Takes about 3 hours, with fares starting at 158 yuan per person.

Self-driving tour: Approximately 4.5-5 hours.

Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

Aerial view of the mountain road circling Thousand Island Lake national forest park.

6. Deqing County, Zhejiang Province

Deqing County is in the northern part of Zhejiang Province. Mogan Mountain, renowned as one of the "four great summer resorts in China," boasts abundant and diverse forest resources, providing a pristine natural environment with fresh and pleasant air. Even during the peak of summer, with temperatures averaging around 24 degrees Celsius in the mountainous areas during July and August, it offers an excellent choice for escaping the heat.

With ample rainfall, Deqing County maintains a comfortable climate year-round, with an average temperature of 16.7 degrees Celsius and an annual precipitation of 1480.4 mm, providing pleasant weather for seven months of the year.

Over the past year, the county has achieved an impressive forest coverage rate of 42.26 percent, resulting in an annual average negative oxygen ion content of 3019 ions per cubic centimeter, contributing to excellent air quality, with a rate over 90.3 percent.

In addition, Deqing boasts the Xiadu Lake Wetland Park, home to diverse bird species and vegetation.

Transportation options:

High-speed rail: Fares start at 87 yuan per person, with a journey time of about 2 hours.

Self-driving tour: Approximately 2.5-3 hours.

Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

Aerial view of the natural scenery of Mogan Mountain.

7. Dinghai District in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province

In Dinghai District, Zhoushan, the yearly average temperature stands at 17.1 degrees Celsius, while the annual precipitation reaches a substantial 1472.5 mm. With its mild winters, cool summers, and a humid yet temperate climate, it is the top choice for both summer escapes and winter retreats, offering ample sunlight throughout the year.

One of the must-visit places in Zhoushan is the "natural oxygen bar," known as Donghai Greenway. Its most striking feature is the extensive cloud corridor stretching over dozens of kilometers. Comprising winding wooden boardwalks and observation platforms, the cloud corridor traverses the mountainside, resembling a giant dragon weaving through the clouds. A stroll along this pathway offers breathtaking views overlooking the vast expanse of the East China Sea.

Transportation options:

Coach bus:

1) From Shanghai South Railway Station (666 Shilong Rd): tickets priced at 150 yuan per ticket (for reference only).

2) From Shanghaidong Railway Station (3843 Pudong Rd S.): tickets priced at 150 yuan per ticket (for reference only).

Flight: Plane tickets start at approximately 1000 yuan per person, with a travel time of about 1 hour.

Self-driving tour: Approximately 4-5 hours.

Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

The view of the "natural oxygen bar," Donghai Greenway.

8. YuHang District in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province

YuHang District in Hangzhou, at the center of the Yangtze River Delta, is characterized by its abundant natural beauty, including mountains, rivers, and fields, with a forest coverage rate of nearly 50 percent. Its diverse landscapes make it an ideal residential area.

Experiencing long summers and winters, and short springs and autumns, the district enjoys distinct four seasons with ample sunlight and abundant rainfall. The climate remains comfortable throughout the year, with a comfortable period lasting for up to eight months, particularly in April and October, which are rated as the "most comfortable" months.

Transportation options:

High-speed rail: Prices ranges from 65.5 yuan to 198.5 yuan per person depending on the seat class.

Self-driving tour: Approximately 2.5 hours.

Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

The dawn scenery of Nanhu Park.

9. Xiuning County, Anhui Province

Xiuning County, at the southernmost tip of Anhui Province and bordering Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces, has a rich history spanning 1800 years since its establishment in the 13th year of the Jian'an period of the Eastern Han Dynasty.

As one of the "one city, six counties" of ancient Huizhou (a regional concept referring to the six counties under the jurisdiction of Huizhou), Xiuning has long been renowned for its picturesque landscapes, abundant forests and tea, bustling commerce, and flourishing culture. It is often hailed as the "dōng nán zōu lǔ" (referring to the cultural and intellectual centers of Zou, the hometown of Mencius, and Lu, the hometown of Confucius).

With plentiful rainfall and distinct four seasons, Xiuning is blessed with the Xin'an River, considered the heart of the region, boasting a forest coverage rate over 80 percent and exceptional air quality, earning it the reputation of a natural oxygen bar.

In Xiuning, adventurers can explore 26 peaks with altitudes exceeding one thousand meters and 237 rivers, including notable attractions such as the Qiyun Mountain and the Huizhou grand canyon, offering captivating experiences for visitors.

Transportation options:

Coach bus: From Shanghai Long-Distance Bus Terminal, it takes about 7 hours, with ticket prices approximately around 133 yuan per person.

High-speed rail: Takes about 3-3.5 hours, with ticket prices around 200 yuan per person.

Self-driving tour: Approximately 5.5 hours.

Award-winning weekend escapes are a breath of fresh air

Qiyun Mountain.

Special Reports