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Archive for china

Purple Mountain Majesty in China

By Linda Tancs

An easy getaway from Shanghai, Nanjing is home to Purple Mountain, so-named for the color of the clouds often seen at its peak. Part of Zhongshan Mountain National Park, it’s regarded as one of the most famous mountains in southern China. A cable car ride up the mountain will reward you with great views of the Yangtze River and the city. Pick a sunny day for the best views.

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China’s Ancient Northern Capital

By Linda Tancs

Although leading the country industrially (and having been named a model city for environmental protection), China’s northeastern city of Shenyang boasts impressive history and landscaping as well. Its imperial palace might not have the glitz of the Forbidden City, but it was built by the first Qing Emperor in 1625 and served as the seat of that dynasty. Both the palace and the emperors’ tombs are UNESCO sites. And despite being the largest city in northern China, there’s plenty of open space thanks to Beiling Park’s pine forests and lakes and the Expo Garden. It’s worth noting that passport holders of eligible countries are granted a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours when taking an international transfer via Taoxian International Airport. That’s enough time to soak in some attractions.

Stairway to Heaven

By Linda Tancs

You’ll be knocking at heaven’s door at China’s Tianmen Mountain, called one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Located near Zhangjiajie, it boasts a water-eroded hole (cave) between two peaks, the highest hole of its kind in the world. After an investment of 999 steps and 30 minutes (your stairway to heaven), you’ll find yourself at the cave, where unforgettable photos await. If the hike is too arduous, then visit the new glass skywalk stretching around the mountain’s vertical cliffs, overlooking Tongtian Avenue (Avenue to the Sky), a mountain road with 99 turns. For a different perspective, take the cable car ride from a nearby rail station to the top of the mountain. April to October offers the best weather for a stunning visit.

The World in 118 Acres

By Linda Tancs

At Window of the World in Shenzhen, China, some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world share 118 acres. The theme park’s careful reproductions include miniatures of the Eiffel Tower, the Tower of London, the Sphinx and pyramids, Sydney’s Opera House and even Niagara Falls. You’ll need the better part of a day to see it all; slow walkers should take advantage of the free buggies at the entrance. A favorite of locals and tourists alike, it’s a great way to see the world without spending down the frequent flyer miles.

Three Kingdoms

By Linda Tancs

Jingzhou, China’s ancient city, is the heart of ancient Chu, the center of a power struggle between the states of Shu and Wu during the Three Kingdoms period. Now a bustling city of over six million people on the banks of the Yangtze River, the area boasts a treasure trove of relics from one of China’s bloodiest eras, including ruins of five Chu cities and hundreds of ancient tombs (18 Chu kings among them). During the first week of May, the Jingzhou International Dragon Boat Festival celebrates the famous poet Qu Yuan. His statue stands in nearby Ying, the Chu capital.

At the Edge of the Clouds

By Linda Tancs

“At the edge of the clouds” is an appropriate translation for China’s Yuanduan skywalk, the world’s longest glass walkway. The horseshoe-shaped glass bridge in Chongqing extends nearly 88 feet from a cliff edge standing 2,350 feet above the valley floor. It edges out the Grand Canyon Skywalk in length but is likely its equal when it comes to chills and thrills. Don’t look down.

China’s Grand Canal

By Linda Tancs

Officially known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the route of China’s ancient thoroughfare (dating as far back as 495 B.C.) runs from Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south and is the longest man-made waterway in the world. Although much of the Grand Canal is no longer in use, various sections running through Suzhou can still be toured. In fact, canals are such a prominent part of this ancient city in eastern China that it’s been dubbed “Venice of the East.” More than 50 miles of scenery dot the waterway, including hundreds of old-world river dwellings, 10 ancient city gates, dozens of stone bridges and two of Suzhou’s crown jewels, Hanshan Temple and West Garden Temple.

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