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Travel tips from the experts

Beyond the Tourist "Hot Spots" in China By Louie Yi, President, Lotus Travel, Inc

With 5000 years of written history, 56 nationalities, different cultures, and different climates nationally, China abounds in human landscape, scenic and natural wonders.  It is hard for anyone to visit all those places in one or two trips to China. Most commonly, visitors will see Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chengdu, and a Yangtze River Cruise for their first or second trip to China.  Here are some spots that you may want to visit for a trip “off the beaten path” on a third or fourth trip to China.

Yunnan province offers a rich view of beautiful and natural scenery and is home to nearly half of the minority groups recognized within China. The capital city is Kunming and is called the “Garden City”.  This province is also called colorful Yunnan.  There is white for the beautiful YuLong Snow Mountain; yellow for the exquisite rare plant flower field in LuoPing, and red colored soil in Dongchuan. You can see environments ranging from cities to subtropic jungles to farmland, and gain some insight into minority groups that face the challenges of fast-paced change spurred by modernization and long-term economic growth.

Sichuan Province is home to the famous Panda Research Center and the capital city of Chengdu is a bustling spot.  However, this province is known as the 'Land of Abundance' has some of the most beautiful and remote locations in the country. It has three places on the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List: Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area, Huang Long Valley (Yellow Dragon Valley) and Mount Emeishan which includes the Leshan Giant Buddha. When you visit here, you will see beautiful landscapes with plateaus, mountains, ravines, basins, hills, plains, rivers, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls and limestone caves. In addition, of course, this province is known for its hot and spicy cuisine.  

Tibet offers beautiful, natural scenery and a rich religious culture. Tibet, known as the “roof of the world, is famous for its most sacred Potala Palace, along with simple Tibetan people and their folk customs.  Pilgrims come from every corner of Tibet to the Heavenly Lake Namtso. If you plan to go there, you will need a travel permit to Tibet.  The current regulation is that you need to apply for the permit to Tibet after getting your Chinese visa. Only travel professionals can help you to attain a travel permit to Tibet.

Anhui Province has HuangShan (Mt. Yellow) which is the places where many artists paint and sketch.  It is said that it is not necessary to visit other mountains a trip to Mt. Yellow because you have seen the most beautiful one. It has rocky peaks, crystal clear mountain springs and seas of clouds.  Yi Xian has many 800 year old villages with beautifully carved buildings.  There are many preserved Ming and Qing dynasty buildings that remain there and which can be viewed.  

Jiangsu province offers Suzhou which is known as the ‘Venice of the East.”  Strolling the streets, you can feel the unique charm of the landscape with the double-chessboard layout of  Suzhou .  The streets and rivers go side by side while the water and land routes run in parallel.  So much of the rich and long history is seen here, as the city was built in 540 B.C. and is preserved mostly intact.

ZheJiang province has Hangzhou, one of the eight ancient capital cities of
China.  .  There is a saying that illustrates the appeal of Hangzhou – “.'In heaven there is paradise, and on earth there are Hangzhou andSuzhou.”   Many Chinese wish to live there because of its history and beauty.  Within the heart of the city there is the West Lake, which is considered one of the most beautiful sights in China.  

ShanXi province has countless ancient building on the grounds.  You would want to visit Datong for the YunGang Grottoes and extraordinary Hanging Monastery. PingYao has an ancient town intact, which served as the 18th equivalent of a Chinese Wall Street.  One can also see the Wang Family Courtyard, which more than of 34,450sqare kilometers. This site has spectacular architecture, with incredibly lifelike wood, brick and stone carvings. It also offers unusual paintings, calligraphies and poems within its structure and is a point of significant pride for ShanXi province. 

Wherever and whenever you plan to go “off the beaten path”, Lotus Travel has specialists who know about these unique locales, and have experienced it themselves.   There is a Chinese proverb that says, “One should be just as careful in choosing ones’ pleasures as in avoiding calamities.”With the assistance and support of the experts at Lotus Travel, one does not need to worry about calamities and we can assist you in choosing your pleasurable places to visit when planning your trip to China.  We specialize in providing an authentic and inspiring look into the rich culture and history of China. 

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