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The Lake of a Thousand Islands

时间:2013/4/21 20:39:08 作者:learnmorechina 来源: 查看:226 评论:0

A phenomenon of recent creation, the Lake of a Thousand Islands is so unassuming that it remains unmarked on the great map of China - or most guide books for that matter. Hidden away in the Eastern reaches of Zhejiang province, the Lake of a Thousand Islands is overshadowed by the neighbouring city of Hangzhou, one of China's premiere tourist attractions. While one of China's oldest tourist blurbs - 'in heaven there is paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou' - may have been an accurate reflection of these cities a century ago, years of heavy tourism have slowly changed the face of their beauty. These destinations remain a must-see for those wanting to visit famous Chinese water scenes, but for those seeking something closer to the word 'paradise' as it is understood as a Western concept, the Lake of a Thousand Islands offers a much more apt alternative.

An idyllic picture of blue water and green isles, the Lake of a Thousand Islands is a respite for travellers weary of overly iconic scenic attractions; a refuge for those wanting to escape overcrowded and polluted city centres; a retreat for those needing to recuperate from their 'china experience'; and a recreational resort for those wishing to revive the body and revitalise the soul. For those new to country, the lake is an interesting example of the emergence of leisure tourism in China. With a population of a mere 45,000, the small township that borders the lake feels more like one big lakeside resort than a town. A large selection of first-class accommodation affords more discerning visitors the opportunity to stay on a private lake and enjoy an undisturbed spot of sun and stretch of water. For the more adventurous, the lake sports the largest recreational water centre in eastern China, and is the perfect place to indulge the inner-child and try out a whole raft of water-sports for much less than it would cost in most Western countries. The Lake of a Thousand Islands vicinity encompasses many qualities comparable with internationally renowned resort destinations, but the undeniable advantage it has over such overseas rivals is that it is conveniently located within the Chinese borders.

The Lake of a Thousand IslandsLocated in Chun'an County, the Lake of a Thousand Islands lies 140 kilometres southwest of Hangzhou, along the old shipping route of the Qiang-Fuchen-Xian'an Rivers. The lake is in fact a reservoir formed by the completed construction of the Xin'an River Hydroelectric Power Station in 1959. The transformation of a mountainous valley into a picturesque scene of pristine water and secluded islands was an inadvertent by-product of economic development and engineering achievement. The region has subsequently become China's largest state forest park, spanning almost 1,000 square kilometres. Today, the Lake of a Thousand Islands can be considered a natural scenic beauty in its own right - a modern ecological haven of native flora and fauna.

Recognised by the tourism industry as a 'bright pearl on the golden tourist line' connecting the famous Yellow Mountain of southern Anhui province and the West Lake of northern Zhejiang province, the Lake of a Thousand Islands more than holds its own against its famous neighbours. From an elevated vantage point, the view of the lake and surrounding region feels like a surreal scene stolen from an ancient Chinese scroll painting - dark isles rising from the mists of the waters blend into a backdrop of mountain ranges that fade into a distant skyline. Under a clear sky, however, no watercolour can do justice to the emerald green and gold of the islands mirrored in a luminous expanse of clear blue water. From above, the islands look like lazy turtles drifting in a pool of heavenly water; from below, touring on the waters of the lake is like holidaying inside a beautiful picture.


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