Idyllic retreats away from the concrete jungle
In a bid to enrich students’ summer vacation and revive the local tourism industry, scenic areas in Hangzhou are offering incentives to encourage weekend excursions.
In gratitude to medical staff for their contribution to the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, some scenic spots are open to medical professionals free of charge.
Shanghai Daily takes a look at three places just outside the downtown area where you can cool down in sizzling hot summer and immerse yourself in local lifestyles.
Gaoting Hill in northeast Hangzhou is ablaze with vibrant flowers all year around. It has been noted for its peach blossoms for centuries in spring. During the summer, people can view the undulating lotus flowers.
Throughout history, the hill’s picturesque scenery drew poets and writers here, including Su Shi, Bai Juyi, Lu You and contemporary author Yu Dafu.
Gaoting Hill consists of five peaks and is crisscrossed with watercourses. Through August 31, the scenic area’s management committee is offering a 50-percent discount for boat tickets, priced at 35 yuan (US$5) per person.
Gaoting Hill is also home to Hangzhou’s filial piety culture. During the summer vacation, the Filial Piety Hall presents a 30-minute free lecture geared toward parents and children every day at 2pm, introducing the city’s long history of filial piety culture.
Paddling or just sitting on a raft and watching the lakeside scenery go by is an idyllic way to spend a weekend away from the city. Hangzhou’s West Lake is already well known, which means it can get rather crowded.
More tranquil outings are possible since Hangzhou boasts other lakes. The Fuchun Taoyuan Scenic Area has been getting more exposure in recent years. It offers a combination of lake views, caves with stalactites and stalagmites, forests and other entertainment. Temperatures in hilly, wooded river and lake areas are definitely lower than those in the concrete cities.
Bamboo rafting on the Yanling Lake is recommended. The raft is open and without compartments, so passengers who stand or sit on bamboo chairs can enjoy sweeping views of the landscape.
The lake is calm and so clear that fish and stones on the bed are visible. Aquatic birds fly overhead or pick their way along the banks.
There are tea plantations, dark green bamboo forests and hilly landscapes extending for kilometers. The scenic area is open to children under 16 free of charge through August 31.
As high temperatures linger near 35 degrees Celsius, Hangzhou is set to record its hottest weeks of the year. If you’re searching for relief from the unrelenting heat, attractions in Jiande County will help you escape from the scorching summer. Lingqi Cave features wonderful stalactites and stalagmites, which take on colorful shades when lights are cast on the walls.
These natural features have formed grotesque shapes after undergoing chemical changes for thousands of years. The cave remains a comfortable 18 degrees Celsius all year around, an ideal retreat in summer.
Besides its natural beauty, Jiande County also boasts an abundance of cultural relics and old villages. What makes it famous is the ancient Ksitigarbha Temple, which is half embedded into the rock near the top of a cliff and half protruding into the air.
Since the design is similar to the noted Xuankong Temple in Shanxi Province, the temple is dubbed the Jiangnan Xuankong Temple. Jiangnan refers to south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
If visitors yearn for an idyllic rural life, Xinye Village is an ideal getaway from the urban concrete jungle.
It still looks like a remnant from the past, with more than 230 white-walled buildings of southern China style, including residences, pagodas, temples and ancestral halls.
There are old bridges, temples, ancestral halls and other architectural structures with sculptured beams and engraved rafters.
The seven-story Tuanyun Pagoda is Xinye’s landmark building. It was constructed in 1567 using feng shui principles.
To show gratitude to medical staff for their fight against COVID-19, Jiande County has said that all scenic spots will be open to medical workers free of charge throughout 2020, except for national holidays.
Meanwhile, these attractions offer free entry to Jiande local residents and university students through December 31, except for national holidays.