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Hangzhou, Sochu, Ningpo

Hangzhou, Sochu, Ningpo

Hangzhou, Shaoxing and Ningpo are State Council-designated famous historical and cultural cities. They were also among the first group of cities approved as top tourist destinations. Putuo is one of the four foremost Buddhist sanctuaries of China. A travel program puts these four east Zhejiang scenic resorts together and brings the visitor to the water-town landscape of Shaoxing, the Chinese calligraphy at the Orchid Pavilion, the nation’s oldest library Tianyi Pavilion, and Buddhist Kingdom on the Sea in Putuo Mountain in Zhoushan.

Tour of West Zhejiang
This travel route connects three national scenic resorts–West Lake of Hangzhou, Fuchun and Xin’an rivers and Thousand-Island Lake, and Mount Huangzhan. A golden route indeed, which brings the visitor to a succession of rivers, gorges, islands, limestone caves, etc.

Scenic South Zhejiang Tour
A travel route through south Zhejiang runs down the coast of East China Sea from Ningpo to Wenzhou en route three national scenic resorts: Tiantai Mountain, the site of the ancient Guoqing Temple and a waterfall spilling over a stone beam; Yandang Mountain with Lingfeng Peak, Lingyan Rock, the greater and lesser Longqiu Pools; and Nanxi River, along which bamboo raft cruises bring the visitor to a number of ancient towns, including Jinhua, the home town of Celestial Master Huang of Taoism.

Tour of Old Silk Towns
This travel route entails a cruise on the ancient Grand Canal which brings you to Hangzhou, where you can visit China Silk Museum, a local silk product market and the fabulous West Lake, and to Huzhou or Jiaxing, where, in between excursions to Mogan Mountain, Feiying Pagoda, the ancient town of Nanxun and the Grand Canal, you can be a guest in a local silk weaving factory and join local farmers in picking mulberry leaves and feeding silkworms.

The capital of Zhejiang Province is poised on the lower reaches of Qiantang River and the southern Terminal of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Hangzhou is also regarded as one of China’s seven ancient capitals-it was the capital of the states of Wu and Yue of the Spring and Autumn Period and the Southern Song. A mesmerizing landscape and a rich cultural legacy combine to earn Hangzhou, a famed scenic and historical and cultural city, the glamorous byname, “Paradise under Heaven”.

West Lake
West Lake, called so because it lies in the west of the city, is what the beauty of Hangzhou is all about. Skirted by mountains on three sides, and with the fourth side bordering the urban district, West Lake covers a water surface of 6 square km, yet it forms the centre of a garden resort that sprawls on a land of 49 square km, where the mountains, caves and vales are knitted together by a maze of winding brooks and streams, studded with well sequestered ponds, and graced with kiosks, chambers and pavilions. All told, there are 50 major scenic spots and 30 or so sites of key historical and cultural interest.

Soul’s Retreat Temple
Towering over the foot of the statuesque mountain of the same name, Lingyin (Soul’s Retreat) Temple is a major ancient Buddhist sanctuary in the possession of a rich trove of cultural treasures. Construction of it began in 326, or the founding year of the Xianhe reign of the Eastern Jin. Enshrined with 330 stone sculptures wrought during the Five Dynasties and the Song and Yuan dynasties, the Feilai Peak (Peak that Appears out of Nowhere) in front of the temple figures prominently in classical Chinese history of plastic art.

Six-Harmony Pagoda
Built in 970, and at 59.89 meters a vantage point for viewing the scenic Qiantang River, the brick-and-wood Liuhe (Six Harmonies) Pagoda is a masterpiece of classical Chinese architecture.

Tomb of General Yue Fei
The Tomb of General Yue Fei (1103-1142), a celebrated national hero who performed meritorious deeds in countering the invading Jin army during the Southern Song, lies at the northern side of the Qixialing Hill and on the northern shore of West Lake. A sitting statue of the general is found in the temple by the tomb.

Song City
Song City is one of six tourist theme parks built in 1996 in Zhijiang River National Tourist & Holiday Resort of Hangzhou. The theme also parks include Hangzhou Amusement Park, Mountain Families, and American City. The facilities and recreational programs of Song City are all created in the style of the Song.

Tidal Bore of Qiantang River
The tidal bore of the Qiantang River, occurring during the 1st-5th and 15th-19th days of the 1st lunar month, is a natural spectacle that has driven awe into many a heart in this world. The tides, surging as high as 9 meters, are evocative of a million mountains collapsing or a million horses jostling their way down the river. On the 16th day of the 8th lunar month, Yanguan Town in Haining, Hangzhou, is the venue of the annual International Qiantang River Tidal Bore Watching Festival.

Thousand-Island Lake
Strewn with 1,078 isles of breathtaking beauty, the Thousand-Island Lake is actually a titanic reservoir in the upper reaches of the Xin’an River and part of the National Fuchun-Xin’an River Scenic Resort.

Five Major Museums in Hangzhou
China Silk Museum. Situated by West Lake, this national silk museum recaptures the 5,000-year-old Chinese history in silk-cocoon raising and silk production.
China Tea Museum. The China Team Museum in Longjianghua Township is a show window about the development of tea production in China. The visitor may join local tea farmers in picking tealeaves and sample the taste of newly harvested tea.
Hu Qingyu’s Museum of Chinese Medicine. This one and only museum of its kind is found in a complex of ancient buildings that house a key national legacy under protection-the Hu Qingyu Pharmacy. Visitors to the museum get a ringside view of how patent Chinese drugs are made. Traditional Chinese doctors are on call to provide advice for prospective buyers.
Northern-Song Porcelain-Making Kilns. The kilns, established by the government of the Southern Song for massive production of porcelain ware for the exclusive use of the imperial palace, holds a major position in the world ceramics history. An in-site museum has been built on the original site to illustrate the history of pottery industry in ancient China and the operation of the government-run porcelain-making kilns during the Southern Song.
Zhejiang Museum. Built in 1929 on the southern side of the Gushan Hill in the West lake Scenic Zone, Zhejiang Museum turns out to be a drove of more than 100,000 cultural treasures.

The east Zhejiang city of Ningpo, lying on the seacoast of southeast China, is a famous city with a history. Among its cultural heritage are the Hemudu ruins dating back to the Neolithic Age some 7,000 years ago; Tianyige, the oldest library in existence in China with a collection of 80,000 valuable books; Baoguo (National Preservation) Temple, the oldest and most intact wooden structure south of the Yangtze River; and “Buddhist Kingdom of the Southeast” which encompasses such famed Buddhist (Ch’an sect included) sanctuaries as Tiantong (Heavenly Virgin Boy) Temple, Asoka Temple, Xuedou (Snow white) Temple, and Seven-Pagoda Temple.

The east Zhejiang city of Shaoxing, 60 km from Hangzhou, is a famous historical and cultural city and a well-known water-bound town 2,400 years in age. Its urban districts are crisscrossed by watercourses and studded with lakes, its narrow alleyways are flagged, and boats with black awnings are seen plying the waters that run in the midst of dwelling houses in such peace and quiet that belong only in nature. Among the famous scenic spots are East Lake, Jianhu Lake, Keyan Rock, and Dafo Temple. Shaoxing has produced a rich crop of famous people, including the great writer Lu Xun and the later Premier Zhou Enlai, whose former residences are still there, the legendary King Yu, whose remains are said to have been buried in a local mausoleum, the great Jin-dynasty calligrapher Wang Xizhi, who composed the celebrated “Preface to the Collection of Poetry of the Orchid Pavilion (in Shaoxing), and King of Yue, whose palaces have long crumbled.

The northeast Zhejiang city of Zhoushan, 130 nautical miles south of Shanghai, is a renowned island scenic zone nicknamed “Sparkling Pearl of the East China Sea” with two national scenic resorts-Putuo Mountain and Shengsi Islands. As behooves its status as one of China’s four major Buddhist mountain sanctuaries, Putuo Mountain in the county of the same name was studded with temples. Some 20 of them are still there, including the Puji, Fayu and Huji monasteries which are domains of Avalokitesvara (Guanying). Thick groves of tall ancient trees add to the classic sanctity of this “Buddhist Kingdom on the Sea”. For the magnificence of its natural allure, Shengsi Islands, shimmering on the choppy East China Sea, are lauded as “Celestial Mountains on the Sea”.

The Booming 1,660-year-old southeast Zhejiang City of Wenzhou is also marked for two national scenic resorts-Yandang Mountain, where every peak, waterfall, cave or rock never fails to take the breath away from the spectator, and Nanxi River, spotting a face at once awesome, strange, mystic, and gractious. With its picture-perfect landscape and deep cultural roots, Wenzhou lures tens of thousands of admirers from around the world.

Yaolin Wonderland, Tonglu
Yaolin Wonderland, otherwise known as Yaolin Cave, is a colossal limestone cave at the foot of the Camel Mountain in Zhinan Township, Tonglu County. On a floor of 28,000 square meters, the cave beckons and bewitches with an unpredictable array of exotic sights.