Attraction of the week

Kunming's Western Hills Park (Xīshān Gōngyuán, 西山公园) stretches alongside the western shores of Dian Lake, providing acres and acres of outdoor entertainment. Trails throughout the...


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Fragrant Hills Park (Xiāngshān Gōngyuán, 香山公园) is located some 20 km (12 mi) northwest of Beijing, not far from the Summer Palace. Though the name could easily refer to the area's relatively fresh air (for Beijing) and the scent of trees and flowers, it instead comes from the shape of the hills themselves. If you look closely, squint a bit and crank up your imagination, you might just make out the shape of a Chinese incense burner at the summit of the hills. If this image eludes you, you may be glad to know the park also goes by..

One hundred kilometers north of Lijiang, Baoshan Stone Village (Bǎoshān Shítou Chéng, 宝山石头城) sits atop a massive rock in Jinsha River Valley (Jīnshā Jiāng Pàn, 金沙江畔). Surrounded by cliffs, the only connection to the outside world is a narrow path. The Jinsha River (Jīnshā Jiāng, 金沙江) runs next to the village providing a source of water to an otherwise completely isolated location.

Jing Shan Park (Jǐngshān Gōngyuán, 景山公园) is the highest point along Beijing's central axis. With a total area of 23 hectares (57 acres), the park offers an excellent bird's eye view of the whole city from the top of the hill. Over 800 years old, Jing Shan was built in 1179, constructed with displaced earth from the dredging of the Tongzi River and leftover debris from demolished imperial architecture all piled on top of the former site of the Yingchun Pavilion. First named Wansui Shan, the name was later changed to Jing Shan in 1655...

The Fenhuang Ling Scenic Area (Phoenix Hill Scenic Area) is located in northwest Beijing's Hiadian District. Covering a total of 17.88 square kilometers, Fenghuang Ling offers amazing views, large rockeries and rich vegetation. Nestled between the hill's lush peach, apricot and acacia trees are a number of temples, many dating back to the Liao, Jin, Ming and Qing dynasties. Another key attraction is a Northern Wei Dynasty relic, the Taihe stone statue, which, at 1,500 years old, is Beijing's oldest stone statue.

Located on the southern slopes of the Western Hills (Xi Shan), about 16 km from downtown Beijing, Badachu Park (Eight Great Sites Park) is home to eight Buddhist temples and nunneries, some of which date back to the Sui Dynasty (581–619 AD).  The eight temples are scattered across three wooded hilltops, with a stream running below them, crossed by five bridges. The park makes for a pleasant and convenient getaway in the warmer months, especially on weekdays, when the crowds are at a minimum. The eight Buddhist..

For most of us, a trip to Mount Everest (Zhūmùlǎng Mǎfēng, 珠穆朗玛峰)—better called by its Tibetan name, Qomolangma—means a few tentative forays in the general direction of the world's highest peak, which towers 8,848 meters (29,028 feet) above sea level.   There are two Everest Base Camps (EBC), one in Tibet and one in Nepal. If you're fit enough and have acclimated to the altitude, you might manage to make it to a higher camp, though this level of adventuring is only advised for those with serious..

The perennial snow-capped Baimang Snow Mountain (Báimáng Xuěshān, 白茫雪山) is located in the midst  of the Hengdgun Mountain range between deep canyons carved by the Jinsha and Lancang rivers.   Baimang Mountain spreads over 187,977 hectares (464,501 acres) with the main peak rising 5,640 m (18,504 ft) above sea level. As the name implies, the mountain is topped by snow all year around. Surrounding the mountain is Yunnan's largest and highest national reservation area, the Baimang Mountain Nature..

Situated in the west of Suzhou, Tiger Hill (Hǔ Qiū, 虎丘) marks the burial ground of He Lu, the father of Suzhou. Atop the hill stands the Tiger Hill Pagoda (Hǔ Qiū Tǎ, 虎丘塔), which the Suzhounese love to compare to the Tower of Pisa. The 1000-year-old pagoda began tilting 400 years ago—a good while after the Pisan Tower and arguably less impressively. The Tiger Hill grounds cover an area of about 14,000 sq m (approx. 3 acres) in total and is home to several historic buildings and landmarks. The burial site of He Lu, entombed here by his..

Located approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Tianjin in Jixian County, Pan Shan (Pán Shān, 盘山) makes for a great getaway from hyper-urban Tianjin and Beijing. Pan Shan's green slopes are famed for their jade pines and rock formations shaped into fantastic shapes by centuries of wind and water. In addition to the jade pines, the mountain is home to over 320 different types of tree, making Pan Shan a botanist's paradise. The main peak, Hanging Moon Peak (Guàyuè Fēng, 挂月峰), rises sharply to 864 meters..

White Horse Mound, one of the most beautiful—and most mysterious—places in Tibet, holds sacred meaning for the Tibetans. Tucked away in Yalung Zangbo Grand Canyon, Medog (Motuo) has no public roads or clear access trails. Visitors reach Medog by helicopter or on foot. Two massive snow-covered mountains stand guard over the region and the sole mountain pass can only be traveled between July and October. Even summer brings dangerous rainstorms and mudslides. The difficult journey is well worth the effort, though—awestruck..

If you're looking to escape the tourist hordes that surround Hangzhou's West Lake, then a walk up the slopes of Jade Emperor Hill (Yùhuáng Shān, 玉皇山) could be just what you're looking for. Despite a fairly central location, it doesn't attract many visitors and so makes for a welcome break after doing the rounds of Hangzhou's more prominent attractions. Sitting directly south of Leifeng Pagoda, the hilltop reaches a height of 239 m (784 ft), and the journey up the 2600-step footpath rewards with quite lovely views of both the..

Set in the eastern suburbs of Wuchang, the East Lake Park, is the largest open space in Wuhan and it's six times the size of Hangzhou's West Lake (for those of us who love to compare lake sizes in China). The mild temperature and wealth of sunshine allow for a wealth of lush greenery and flowers throughout the park with over 372 different types of plants and 80 species of bird and fish. The  Wuchang fish is the rarest and the most famous. The park provides a nice respite from the city while still being..

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