There's more to the world's 4th largest country than its big cities. Take a lazy boat ride, climb a mountain, get active and explore China's natural beauty.
Like an elegant jade ornament gracing a handsome personage who, under pressure from all the harrying demands of modern life, is a little worse for wear, Green Lake Park (Cuìhú Gōngyuán, 翠湖公园) instantly reminds one of the essential beauty that persists beneath the occasional grime of modernity as Kunming barrels, along with the rest of urban China, deeper into the 21st century. With a history than stretches back to the 17th century, the present lake is a remnant of the Kunming region's much larger and more..
Of the many famous China's classical poets, Du Fu (712-70 AD) is up there with Tang Dynasty master Li Bai as the best known and one of the most well loved. After travels around eastern China and his home province of Henan, Du Fu arrived in the conflict-torn Tang capital of Chang'an (today's Xi'an) where he worked to establish himself as a civil servant at the behest of the Tang emperor. But the emperor was much too busy clashing with the forces of rebellious general An Lushan. And so Du Fu's official career never was. The An Lushan..
Erhai Park (ěrhǎi Gōngyuán, 洱海公园) sits on the southern tip of Erhai Lake on the slopes of Tuan Hill (Tuán Shān, 团山) just to the east of Xiaguan (Xiàguān, 下关—sometimes called Dali City or New Dali and not to be confused with Dali a few kilometers away). An attractive, landscaped green space featuring walkways, rockeries and shady pagodas, the Erhai Park is also home to an arboretum, playground, public swimming pool and even a zoo. Starting at the lake edge, it's a steady climb up with 270 stone steps leading..
The large, serene River View Pavilion Park (Wàngjiānglóu Gōngyuán, 望江楼公园) overlooks the Jin River. Dedicated to Xue Tao, a famous female Tang Dynasty poet known to have an affinity for bamboo, the park features some 150 varieties of the plant. The elaborately decorated pavilion that gives the park its name is the focal point, however. The 39 m (128 ft), four-story structure dates back to 1889, and is sometimes referred to as the Chongli Pavilion (Chónglì Gé, 崇丽阁) by the locals. The park is dotted..
People's Park (Rénmín Gōngyuán, 人民公园) is the most popular park in Sichuan's capital city and is host to a colorful mix of Chengdu residents who are always out enjoying themselves in the open air. The park is not only an enjoyable place to relax and mingle; it also has great historical significance. It was the site of the 1911 protests against the Qing government's policy of handing over railway construction to foreigners. These Chengdu protests and strikes set off a chain reaction that helped topple the Qing dynasty...
People's Square (Rénmín Guǎngchǎng, 人民广场), like much of today's Shanghai, is a showcase. Fortunately, it's also home to beautifully maintained gardens and parkscapes, culminating in People's Park (Rénmín Gōngyuán, 人民公园), which occupies the northeastern quadrant of this massive tract of land in the middle of Puxi (the west bank of the Huangpu River). Nowhere is the "showcase" aspect more apparent than at the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum, where optimistic projections of..
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..
Beihai Park (Běihǎi Gōngyuán, 北海公园) lies just to the west of the Forbidden City and until 1925, it was considered part of the imperial complex and therefore off-limits to the masses. The heart of the park consists of three man-made lakes: Beihai (Běihǎi, 北海), Zhonghai (Zhōnghǎi, 中海) and Nanhai (Nánhǎi, 南海). The lakes are connected by the Jade Islet (Qióng Dǎo, 琼岛) which, along with the lakes, was created during the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234 AD), although the site's history as an imperial playground goes back even further..
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...
Longtan Park (Dragon Pool Park), with its 118 hectares of cypresses, willows and pagoda trees, and 3,700 meters of zig-zagging lakeshore, is one of the Beijing's most popular parks. The 330,000 square-meter lake is bisected by a series of stone arched bridges connecting four small islands that can be reached via boat. Other scenic spots in the park include Longyinge, Longtan and Longmen, while Longtan Park annually hosts a Spring Festival Temple Fair and the occasional Dragon Boat Race.
Incorporating the two hills Xi Shan (Xī Shān, 锡山) and Hui Shan (Huì Shān, 惠山), Xihui Park (Xīhuì Gōngyuán, 锡惠公园) sits west of town. The top of Xi Shan is the highest point in the park, punctuated by Longguang Pagoda (Lóngguāng Tǎ, 龙光塔)—a rebuilt Ming Dynasty tower with great views of Tai Lake (Tai Hu) and the Grand Canal cutting through Wuxi. The peak can be reached by foot or by cable car. Atop Hui Shan is Hui Temple (Huìshān Sì, 惠山寺), built during the Six Dynasties Period, which is..
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..