Beautiful off-the-beaten-track Hangzhou

Tongli
The city of Tongli in Jiangsu Province, is situated between Lake Tai and Shanghai. Tongli is surrounded by five lakes: Jiuli, Nanxing, Pangshan, Yeze and Lake Tongli, and is crisscrossed by a network of canals that are fed by the confluence of three rivers. Fishermen of Tongli fish the lakes here using cormorants, an ancient and effective custom that has been the subject of a program on National Geographic Magazine’s TV channel.

Most of the buildings in Tongli are situated along the waterways, hence the city’s nickname as the Little Venice of the East. There are numerous rivers and canals, 40 stone arch bridges and countless buildings in Tongli that date from the Ming and Qing Dynasty period, and, many famous Chinese artists and members of the literati of the same period made Tongli their home.

The city is famous for its “flowing water and small bridges and houses”, it’s essence having once been captured in the following characterization: “one garden, two halls and three bridges”. It is one of the six famous ancient towns to the south of the Yangtze River and has been open to the public since 1986 so visitors on China tour packages can see the architecture and cultural relics such as pavilions, towers, temples, and gardens.

Luoyang
Located in west Henan Province, Luoyang is in the middle reaches of the Yellow River and encircled by mountains and plains. It is the cradle of Chinese civilization, as it was the capital city of 13 ancient dynasties from Xia Dynasty (21st-16th century BC). Boasting the world heritage site Longmen Grottoes and adjacent location to the famous Shaoling Temple, it is a popular destination in central China for tours around China.

Chinese culture and religion have a close relationship with Luoyang. It’s the place where many Chinese legends happened such as Nvwa Patching the Sky. Taoism originated there and the first Buddhist temple set up by the government was located there. Also many ancient scientific inventions such as the seismograph, armillary sphere, paper making, printing and the compass originated in Luoyang.

Luoyang still retains many of its significant ancient landmarks, which are the main attractions for guided tours to China. Some of these highlights located in and around Luoyang, make a visit to this ancient capital memorable, include The Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site; Shaolin and Guanlin Temples; White Horse Pagoda is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in China; and Luoyang Museum of Ancient Tombs which boasts over 20 ancient tombs dating from the Han and Northern Song Dynasty.

Hangzhou
Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and the local political, economic and cultural center. The city is located on the lower reaches of the Qiantang River in southeast China, a superior position in the Yangtze Delta and only 112 miles (180 kilometers) from Shanghai.

The subtropical monsoon climate contributes to varied seasonal sceneries and makes the city one of China’s most popular tourist destinations all the year round. The West Lake is undoubtedly the most renowned landmark, noted for the scenic beauty that blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites. The “Ten West Lake Prospects” selected from the most frequently visited attractions around the lake give visitors on China tours a panoramic view of the city’s highlights.

Hangzhou is one of the Seven Ancient Capital Cities and plays an important role in politics, economy, culture, transportation, communication, media and finance.

Hangzhou is one of the main exhibition cities in China. It is the city which permanently hosts the World Leisure Expo, the China International Animation Festival and the China International Micro Film Festival.
In 2016, the China University Games will be held in Hangzhou.