Saturday, September 13, 2008


Huanglong is a scenic and historic interest area in Songpan County in the northwest part of Sichuan, China. It is located in the southern part of the Minshan mountain range, 150 km north-northwest of the capital Chengdu. This area is known for its colorful pools formed by calcite deposits, especially in Huanglonggou , as well as diverse forest ecosystems, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls and hot springs. Huanglong is also home to many endangered species including the Giant Panda and the Sichuan Golden Snub-nosed Monkey. Huanglong was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.

Huang Long Attractions

Due to thousands of years of geological evolution, Huanglong consists of numerous unique landscapes of geological landforms. Glacial revolution, terrane structure, stratum of carbonic acid rock, tufa water and climatic conditions such as artic-alpine sun light have created this world-famous travertine landscape.

These accumulated travertine landscapes and fascinating pools are Huanglong's main attraction. The total length of the travertine is 3.6km and it is thought to look like a huge golden dragon wheeling through the snow-capped mountains of the valley. The main landscapes are travertine banks, amazingly colourful ponds and travertine waterfalls and caves.

The main body of water starts from the Ancient Buddhist/Benbo temple at the top of the valley and ends at Xishen Cave Waterfall in the north with a length of 2.5km and a width of 30 – 170m. The colours of Huanglong’s waters consist of various yellows, greens, blues and browns. The flowing water appears as golden ripples dazzling in the sun. Known to the locals as “Golden Sand on Earth” the Huanglong travertine bank is the largest and most magnificent in the world.

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Dujiangyan Irrigation System

Dujiangyan is an irrigation infra-structure built in 256 BC during the Warring States Period of China by the Kingdom of . It is located in the in Sichuan Province, PR China, near the capital Chengdu . It is still in use today and still irrigates over 5,300 square kilometers of land in the region.



During the Warring States period, around 2,300 years ago, the people who lived along the banks of the were plagued by annual flooding. governor Li Bing investigated the problem and discovered that the river was swelled by the fast flowing spring melt-water from the local mountains that burst the banks when it reached the slow moving and heavily silted stretch below.

The most obvious solution would have been to build a dam but Li Bing had also been charged with keeping the waterway open for military vessels to supply troops on the frontier, so instead he preposed to construct an artificial levee to redirect a portion of the river's flow and then to cut a channel through Mount Yulei to discharge the excess water upon the dry Chengdu Plain beyond.


Li Bing received 100,000 taels of silver for the project from King Zhao of Qin and set to work with a team said to number tens of thousands. The levee was constructed from long sausage-shaped basket of woven bamboo filled with stones known as Zhulong held in place by wooden tripods known as Macha. The massive construction took four years to complete.

Cutting the channel proved to be a far greater problem as the tools available to him at the time, prior to the invention of gunpowder, were unable to penetrate the hard rock of the mountain so he used a combination of fire and water to heat and cool the rock until they cracked and could be removed. After eight years of work a 20 m wide channel had been gouged through the mountain.


After the system was finished, no more floods occurred. The irrigation made Sichuan the most productive agricultural place in China. Li Bing was loved so much that he became a god to the people there. On the east side of Dujiangyan, people built a shrine in remembrance of Li Bing.

Li Bing’s construction is also credited with giving the people of the region a laid-back attitude to life, by eliminating disaster and insuring a regular and bountiful harvest it has left them with plenty of free-time.

Today, Dujiangyan has become a major tourist attraction. It is also the admiration of scientists around the world, because it has one ingenious feature. Unlike contemporary dams where the water is blocked with a huge wall, Dujiangyan still lets water go through naturally. Modern dams do not let fish go through very well, since each dam is a wall and the water levels are different. In 2000, Dujiangyan became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2008 Sichuan earthquake

On May 12, 2008 a massive earthquake centred on the Dujiangyan area struck. Initial reports indicate that the Yuzui Levee was cracked but not severely damaged while the Two Kings Temple was levelled.

Engineering Constructions

Irrigation Head

Li Bing’s Irrigation System consists of three main constructions that work in harmony with one another to ensure against flooding and keep the fields well supplied with water.

Yuzui or Fish Mouth Levee, named for its conical head that is said to resemble the mouth of a fish, is the key part of Li Bing’s construction. It is an artificial levee that divides the water into inner and outer streams. The inner stream carries approximately 40%, rising to 60% during flood, of the river’s flow into the irrigation system whilst that outer stream drains away the rest, flushing out much of the silt and sediment.

Feishayan or Flying Sand Weir has a 200 m-wide opening that connects the inner and outer streams. This ensures against flooding by allowing the natural swirling flow of the water to drain out excess water from the inner to the outer stream. A modern reinforced concrete weir has replaced Li Bing’s original weighted bamboo baskets.

Baopingkou or Bottle-Neck Channel, which Li Bing gouged through the mountain, is the final part of the system. The channel distributes the water to the farmlands to the west, whilst the narrow entrance, that gives it its name, works as a check gate, creating the whirlpool flow that carries away the excess water over Flying Sand Fence, to ensure against flooding.

Anlan Suspension Bridge

Anlan or Couple's Bridge spans the full width of the river connecting the artificial island to both banks and is known as one of the ''Five Ancient Bridges of China''. Li Bing’s original Zhupu Bridge only spanned the inner stream connecting the levee to the foot of Mount Yulei. This was replaced in the Song Dynasty by Pingshi Bridge which burned down during the wars that marked the end of the Ming Dynasty.

In 1803 during the Qing Dynasty a local man named He Xiande and his wife proposed the construction of a replacement, made of wooden plates and bamboo handrails, to span both streams and this was this was nick-named Couple’s Bridge in their honour. This was replaced in 1970 by a modern bridge of reinforced concrete and steel chains that is now opened to visitors.

Temple Sites

Two Kings Temple

Erwang or Two Kings Temple is located on the bank of the river at the foot of Mount Yulei. The original Wangdi Temple built in memory of an ancient king was relocated and so locals renamed the temple here in honour of Li Bing and his legendary son whom they had posthumously promoted to kings.

The 10,072m? Qing Dynasty wooden complex conforms to the traditional standard of temple design except that it does not follow a north-south axis. The main hall, which contains a modern statue of Li Bing, opens up onto a courtyard facing an opera stage. On Li Bing's traditional birthday, 24th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, local operas were performed for the public, and on Tomb Sweeping Day a Water Throwing Festival is held.

The rear hall contains a modern statue of the god Erlang Shen who was allegedly Li Bing’s son, but historic records fail to confirm this and it is possible that he was invented by locals to give their hero a descendent to maintain his family heritage. Guanlantin Pavilion stands above the complex and is inscribed with wise words from Li Bing such as, ''When the river flows in zigzags, cut a straight channel; when the riverbed is wide and shallow, dig it deeper.''

Dragon-Taming Temple

Fulonguan or Dragon-Taming Temple in Liudi Park was founded in the third century in honour of Fan Changsheng, the Jin Dynasty founder of . Following Li Bing’s death a hall was established here in his honour and the temple was renamed to commemorate the dragon fighting legends that surrounded him.

It is here that Erlang Shen, the legendary son of Li Bing, is said to have chained the dragon that he and his 7 friends had captured in an ambush at the River God Temple when it came to collect a human sacrifice. This action is said to have protected the region from floods ever since.

During the East Han Dynasty a statue of Li Bing was place in the river to monitor the water flow, with the level rising above his shoulders to indicate flood and falling beneath his calves to indicate drought. Recovered from the river in 1974 and placed on display in the main hall, this is the oldest known stone statue of a human in China.

Benxi Shuidong National Park

Benxi Shuidong was made a national park on January 10, 1994. The Benxi Water Caves are located 30km east of Benxi. The Benxi Water Caves are a forest of stalactites and stalagmites within a cavern system lit by colored lighting. A river 3,000 meters long, 2 meters deep and wide enough for 20-30 boats, flows through a giant 5 million-year old cavern system.

Access to the Benxi Water Caves are by direct bus from Shenyang which leaves in the morning and returns in the afternoon or minibuses from Benxi which leave regularly from Benxi train station.

Beidaihe District

Beidaihe District is a in Qinhuangdao municipality, Hebei province, . It has an area of 70.14 square kilometers and a population of 66,000. is also known as a birding haven. The Beidaihe Beach Resort stretches 10 km from east to west, from the Yinjiao Pavilion to the mouth of the Daihe river. The beach itself is covered with fine yellow sand stretching some 100 meters to the sea. The water is shallow and welcoming for children to play in. The environment around Beidaihe is considered beautiful by many. Mt.Lianfeng near the beach has two peaks covered by abundant green pines and cypresses. Lush vegetation, caves, decorated pavilions, secluded paths and winding bridges have made it attractive to visitors from throughout China. There are still few Western tourists, and there is little proliferation of English among the local populace.

English railway engineers were the first Europeans to discover the fishing village in the 1890s and it was not long before wealthy Chinese and foreign diplomats from Beijing and Tianjin made the village a popular destination.

Prominent Visitors

Beidaihe is best known as the Communist Party of China's summer retreat, which is still commonly used by the Party's highest leadership each July to slip away from the summer heat of Beijing and to plan important strategies in the privacy Beidaihe offers. "Beidaihe," an diplomat once said, "is China's 'smoke-filled room.'" These conferences have been abandoned by the order Hu Jintao in 2004, mainly for two reasons. First, a conference in a resort area appeared to contradict the goal of Hu and Wen Jiabao in projecting a frugal image for the party and second, it is a desire of the leadership under Hu to work through formal party and state mechanisms rather through informal gatherings.

After Mao Zedong led the Communists to power in 1949, the new rulers also developed a taste for seaside atmosphere. Mao himself had a summer resort here. Sanatoriums sprang up to reward the efforts of model workers from every industry. A very large Friendship Guesthouse was constructed in 1954, one of dozens across China, to receive the Soviet "elder brothers" who came to assist Chinese development prior to tensions emerging between Soviet and Chinese leadership.

Now many Russian tourists come to the place every summer. You can see many shops and restaurants with Russian names in Beidaihe. The place is practically empty in winter.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a unique national forest located in Zhangjiajie City in northern Hunan Province in the People's Republic of China.

In 1988 it was recognized as China's first National Forest Park.. In 1992, it was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. Its unique geographical features make it a popular tourist destination for both Chinese citizens and foreigners. Annually the park brings millions of in park revenues. Most of that money comes from tourists, and for this reason many of the park workers learn Korean as a second language. Also, the shop keepers in and near the park accept Korean Won in addition to the Yuan.

The most notable geographic features of the park are the -like formations that are seen throughout the park. They are the result of many years of erosion. The weather is moist year round, and as a result, the foliage is very dense. Much of the erosion which forms these pillars are the result of expanding ice in the winter and the plants which grow on them. These formations are a distinct hallmark of landscape, and can be found in many ancient Chinese paintings.

Some highlights of the park include

* The self-proclaimed tallest, fastest elevator in the world
* An elaborate gondola lift system which transports visitors from the tops of the mountain peaks to the valley below.
* Several unique ethnic groups: The Tujia, Bai, and , who together comprise a majority of the residents of Zhangjiajie.

Xixi wetland park

XiXi Wetland is the first and only wetland park in China. It is located at the west part of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, a total of 10.64 square kilometers . The park is densely crisscrossed with six main watercourses, among which scatter various ponds, lakes and swamps.

XiXi Wetland has a history of more than 1,800 years and an abundant cultural heritage---it’s the original site of Chinese South Opera; it has a traditional Dragon Boat Contest; it contains the vivid life of a water village, featuring silkworm feeding and silk production.

The sights


Typical birds are: aigrette, white wild goose, kingfisher, green head duck and silver pheasant.

Aquatic animals are carp, chub, shrimp, eel and crab.

Some of the vegetation includes: persimmon, willow, camphor, bamboo, mulberry, plum, peach, elm, nelumbo, maple, poplar and hibiscus.

Wuyi Mountains

The Wuyi Mountains are a mountain range located at the prefecture Nanping, at the northern border of Fujian province with , . The mountains cover an area of 60 . In 1999, Mount Wuyi entered UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites, both natural and cultural. It is the most outstanding biodiversity conservation zone of Southeast China. Numerous types of tea are produced around Mount Wuyi, it is the origin of the ''real'' Da Hong Pao tea and Lapsang souchong, further described in .


The Wuyi Mountains are located between Wuyishan City, at Nanping prefecture of Fujian province and Wuyishan Town, at Shangrao city of Jiangxi province. The geographical coordinates are 27 43 northern latitude and 117° 41′ east of Greenwich. The area is connected to the road network by provincial road number S303. The world heritage site has an area of 999.75 square kilometres with an additional buffer zone of 278.88 km?.


The region is part of the Cathayshan fold system and has experienced high volcanic activity and the formation of large fault structures, which were subsequently subject to erosion by water and weathering. The landscape is characterized by winding river valleys flanked by columnar or dome-shaped cliffs as well as cave systems. Peaks in the western portion of the Wuyi Mountains typically consist of volcanic or plutonic rocks, whereas peaks and hills in the eastern area are made up of red sandstone with very steep slopes but flat tops. The Nine-bend River , about 60 kilometers in length, meanders in a deep gorge among these hills. The highest peak in the area is Mount Huanggang at 2,158 meters, making it the highest point of Fujian, the lowest altitudes are around 200 meters.


The Wuyi Mountains act as a protective barrier against the inflow of cold air from the northwest and retain warm moist air originating from the sea. As a result, the area has a humid climate with high rainfall and common fogs. Lower altitudes experience annual temperatures in the range from 12 to 18 °.

The area is relatively pollution-free, the Chinese government set up its first air quality monitoring station in the area on January 31 2005.

Biodiversity and environment

The Wuyi Mountains are the largest and most representative example of Chinese subtropical forests and South Chinese rainforests' biodiversity. Its ecology has survived from before the Ice Age around 3 million years ago. Biologists have been conducting field research in the area since 1873.

The vegetation of the area depends strongly on altitude. It is divided into 11 broad categories: 1) temperate coniferous forest, 2) warm coniferous forest, 3) temperate broad-leaved and coniferous mixed forest, 4) deciduous and broad-leaved forest, 5) evergreen broad-leaved and deciduous mixed forest, 6) evergreen broad-leaved forest, 7) bamboo forest, 8) deciduous broad-leaved shrub forest, 9) evergreen broad-leaved shrub forest, 10) brush-wood, and 11) meadow steppe. Most common are evergreen broad-leaved forests, some of which make up the largest remaining tracts of humid sub-tropical forests in the world. Higher plants from 284 families, 1,107 genera and 2,888 species as well as 840 species of lower plant and fungus have been reported for the region. The most common tree families are Beech Fagaceae, Laurel , Camellia , Magnolia , Elaeocarpaceae, and Witchhazel Hamamelidaceae.

The fauna of the Wuyi Mountains is renowned for its high diversity, which includes many rare and unusual species. In total, approximately 5,000 animal species have been reported for the area. 475 of these species are vertebrates and 4,635 insects. The number of vertebrate species is divided as follows:

49 vertebrate species are to China and 3 are endemic to the Wuyi Mountains. The latter are the bird David's Parrotbill , Pope’s Spiny Toad , and the Bamboo Snake ''Pseudoxenodon karlschmidti'' . Other known endangered species in the area include: South Chinese Tiger , Clouded Leopard , Leopard , Hairy-fronted Muntjac , Mainland Serow , Cabot's Tragopan , Chinese Black-backed Pheasant , Chinese Giant Salamander , and the Golden Kaiserihind .

Human history

Human settlement on the slopes of Mount Wuyi can be traced back 4,000 years by archeological remains. During the Western Han Dynasty, the ancient city of Chengcun was the capital of the Minyue kingdom. In the 7th century, the Wuyi Palace was built for emperors to conduct sacrificial activities, a site that tourists can still visit today. The mountains were an important center of Taoism and later Buddhism. Remains of 35 academies erected from the era of the to the Qin Dynasty and more than 60 Taoist temples and monasteries have been located. However, most of these remains are very incomplete. Some of the exceptions for which authentic remains are preserved are the Taoyuan Temple, the Wannian Palace, the Sanqing Hall, the Tiancheng Temple, the Baiyun temple, and the Tianxin temple. The area is the cradle of Neo-Confucianism, a current that became very influential since the 11th century.


The number of visitors to the area has increased from approximately 424,000 in 1993 to 700,000 in 1998. A raft trip down the Nine-bend River is the most popular activity followed by a visit to the "Thread of Sky" caves, where the narrowest walkway is only 30cm. Visitor access to the biodiversity protection area is controlled.