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.
Dian Lake (Diānchí, 滇池) is the sixth largest lake in China at 300 sq km (116 sq mi) and dominates the landscape southwest of Kunming. The lake is surrounded by mountains, flatlands and some industrial sites, and its shore is dotted with small villages, parks and fishing endeavors. The best views of the lake are from above, either from the mountains or Daguan Tower (Dàguān Tǎ, 大观塔). Western Hills Park provides access to the water and facilities for renting paddle boats and the like. Out on the lake..
One of China's largest freshwater lakes, the Chinese name for Erhai Lake (Erhǎi, 洱海) literally translates to "Ear Sea," a nod to its vast size (250 sq km or 96 sq mi) and long, narrow crescent shape, said to resemble an ear—though when you're looking at a map, you may need a bit of imagination. Sitting at 1,972 m (6,470 ft) above sea level, Erhai is an alpine fault lake, and its clear jade waters are bordered by stunning scenery, with the majestic peaks of Cang Shan rising up to the west. The lake shore is easily accessible..
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..
About 20 minutes north of the Qiantang River (Qiántáng Jiāng, 钱塘江) from Liuhe Pagoda, the Nine Creeks and Eighteen Gullies (Jiǔ Xī Shíbā Jiàn, 九溪十八涧) make for a lovely stroll or bike ride through attractive countryside. Heading north from the river, the main path passes through paddies and tea terraces, along pleasant streams and, ultimately, to a small lagoon, a teahouse and the Longjing Tea Plantations further into the hills, terminating at Longjing Village (Lóngjǐng Cūn, 龙井村). You can also head south from..
Juixiang Scenic Area (Kūnmíng Jiǔxiàng Fēngjǐngqū, 昆明九乡风景区) is perhaps most famous for its extensive series of caves, loaded with ancient Yi minority myths (hire a local tour guide to hear some of the stories) and featuring an underground waterfall. Local villages and an impressive view of a scenic gorge round out the highlights of this area which lies 80 km (50 mi) from Kunming. There is a lot to see, so don't hesitate to spend an entire day taking in the countryside. Yunnan guide | Kunming guide | Kunming..
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.
Yangzhou's most well-known scenic venue is the Slender West Lake (Shòuxī Hú, 瘦西湖), a narrow stretch of water in the northwestern portion of the city named after famous West Lake in Hangzhou. Once known as the Baozhang Canal, the lake formed gradually during the Sui and Tang Dynasties from part of the old city moat just outside the ancient city walls. The literati of Yangzhou gathered on pleasure boats and visited spots of note around the lake. It was also a favorite retreat of the Qing Emperor Qianlong and legend has it..
Situated in the center of Jinan, Daming Lake Park (Dàmíng Hú Gōngyuán, 大明湖公园) is an 860,000 sq m (213 acre) park and home to Daming Lake (Dàmíng Hú, 大明湖) and its famous hectare fountain. This "Lake of Great Light," is a natural body of water comprised of many of the city's natural springs, and contains six small islands, laden with flowers and beautiful shrubbery, a perfect spot for families to enjoy a relaxing day together, rowing boats and strolling the sprawling greens. Near the..
One of the traditional "Ten Scenes of West Lake," the sight of the Autumn Moon Over the Peaceful Lake (Pínghú Qiūyuè, 平湖秋月) was usually taken in from a boat out on West Lake. In his reformed list of the "Ten Scenes," the Qing Emperor Kangxi had a pavilion specially constructed on the Bai Causeway (Bái Dī, 白堤) from which to view the moon reflecting off the calm waters. As with other views of the lake, such as the Su Causeway's "Spring Dawn," timing is important. If, however, you find yourself in Hangzhou..
Longquan Shan Scenic Area is located 20 km away from downtown, in the southeastern suburbs of Wuhan City. Situated by Liangzi Lake, the scenic area is bordered with water on three sides. Two mountain ranges stretch from the west to the east for about 9 km through the scenic area, forming a valley view area of about 7.6 square kilometers. Longquan Shan Mountain was called Jiangxia Shan before Tang Dynasty. Many hermits and literati once lived here. At the end of Tianbao Period of Tang Dynasty, a high official named Li Xi dug two holes here..
Located in a basin between several of Shennongjia's mountains, the Dajiu Lakes Wetland (Dàjiǔ Hú Shīdì, 大九湖湿地) has remained largely undisturbed by human activity. Although it has joined the scenic spots in Shennongjia open to tourists, the nine lakes that connect this mountaintop wetland are protected. Raised wooden walkways and raised stone pillar stepping paths weave through the shallow lakes, giving visitors a closer look.
Shaoxing's East Lake (Dōng Hú, 东湖) is a man-made lake just a few minutes east of the center of the city. But before you get stuck on the images of man-made suburban ponds that are running through your head, keep in mind that this spot began life as a stone quarry, 1,300 years ago, during the Sui Dynasty. Once the beautiful green rock had been removed from the site, the people of Shaoxing dammed the surrounding streams, filling the quarry with water. With the addition of pagodas and winding paths, the lake soon became a place for..