Visit picturesque places(1)
2007-12-06 11:32:52 [ Big Normal Small ]     Comment
China is a vast country with many areas left untouched by modernization. There are many towns with naturally stunning landscapes. Here is a list of picturesque border towns, such as the town reminding people of the classic movie The Bridges of Madison County and the town crowned as "the Chinese Maldives". Quiet and secluded, these towns present some antique architecture which make these communities charming and simple.

1 Feng Huang Cheng

Feng Huang is Chinese for 'phoenix', the mythical bird which is a good omen and symbolizes longevity. When consumed by fire, Feng Huang will be reborn from the flames. Feng Huang Cheng gets its name from a legend that two of these fantastic birds flew over the town and found the town so beautiful that they hovered it, reluctant to leave.

Visit picturesque places

Located on the western edge of Hunan Province next to Guizhou, Feng Huang Cheng's beauty lives up to this story. Claimed to be one of the two most beautiful towns in China, Feng Huang Cheng sets an example of what villages were like before the start of modernization. In the town dozens of lanes are paved with stones that run between the wooden houses built on stilts. Generations of local people have stepped on the lanes and worn them down bit by bit. Mist envelopes the town in the early morning or after a rain, creating a charming picturesque scene of Southwest China.

But Feng Huang Cheng's charm goes beyond the natural beauty. This ancient town has a history of 1,300 years and it has a number of old gardens as well as distinctive residential buildings, elegant bridges and mysterious towers and pagodas. In Feng Huang Cheng, tourists can also have a glimpse of the Great Wall. This section of the Great Wall was built in the Ming Dynasty (1573-1620) to defend against the local Miao minority ethnic group, which defied the central government at that time.

But today the Miao people live with local Han people. Visitors will find a large array of handmade items in the local shops, including silver accessories, homemade textiles, and batik fabric. Food here also has local flavor and pickled red peppers are a local delicacy.

How to get to Feng Huang Cheng: Take a train to Jishou and then switch to a bus for Feng Huang Cheng. There are two shuttles buses that go to Feng Huang Cheng everyday, at 11 am and 3 pm respectively.

2 Habahe

A county located in northern China bordering Kazakstan, Habahe boasts the most beautiful autumn in the world. Every September, Habahe becomes a splendid sea of colors -- green, red, orange, and yellow… Which is why timing is most important in appreciating the autumn beauty of this place. If they come too early, tourists can only see green leaves, but if they are too late, they can just see bare branches.

Visit picturesque places

Habahe is located in Ataile district, which boasts a variety of plants from all climatic zones, from the temperate to tundra. It's said that people here don't need clocks to tell the time because the change of the plants' colors with the change of sunshine can tell them exactly what time it is.

Tuwa people have lived here for generations and their way of life is well preserved. Their lifestyle is similar to people in Kazakstan, speaking Turki language and dressing like Mongols. Their houses are built with logs and pen in their herds with wooden fences.

How to get there: First get to Urumchi. Then in a car drive towards Jimusaer and pass Qitai. Go north to take the Huangjin Passage to reach Aletai City. Head west to reach Buerjin County and then turn north to reach Habehe County.

3 Taishun

When photographer Robert Kincaid drives his truck in The Bridges of Madison County looking for passion, many of the audience may have also thought about their own dreams on beautiful bridges. If you are one of them, Taishun is for you.

Taishun is surrounded by mountains. Its closed location has naturally protected the town through ancient wars, which is why various bridges constructed in ancient China survived almost intact. Corridor bridges are the main feature of Taishun Town. It even won the name China’s Exhibition Hall of Corridor Bridges. The most impressive of all the bridges is Hongqiao Bridge. It was constructed completely of wood using no metal nails.

How to get there: There are shuttle buses between Wenzhou to Taishun, while long distance buses connect Hangzhou to Taishun.

4 Xiaoqikong

The name of Xiaoqikong means "bridge with seven little arches" and this town is a scenic spot. Under the bridge is a little creek called Xiangshuike, which runs the whole course dotted with big and small waterfalls.

Another famous scenic spot is "wood above river", where a group of trees are scattered evenly around the river. Tourists can walk through the wood and watch the waters. Xiaoqikong also has a place called Yuanyang or Mandarin Duck Lake. It is named after two trees growing in the lake, one is slim and the other is thick, but both with the bottom halves of their trunks in the water. While the trees have separate roots, the branches of these two trees mingle together above the water.

How to get there: Go to Guiyang, Municipal City of Guizhou Province. Take a train heading for Mawei and get off at Xiaoqikong Holiday Village.
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