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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
South China
South China - TravelPuppy.com
Fuzhou

Located in Fujian Province on the southeast coast opposite Taiwan, this attractive city sits on the banks of the Min River. Dating back almost 1400 years (to the Tang Dynasty), the city has many temples and parks including the Black Pagoda and White Pagoda, and maritime reminders of its past as a colonial Treaty Port. Fuzhou also has several hot springs throughout the city. Further south, Mount Wuyi is an excellent area of natural beauty and the cradle of neo-Confucianism.

Guangzhou (Canton)

Known as the ‘City of Flowers’, Guangzhou is a subtropical metropolis situated on the south coast. As a Special Economic Zone just 182km (113 miles) from Hong Kong, Guangzhou is progressing at breakneck speed, however it dates back to 221 BC and has more established attractions, having first welcomed European traders in 1516. Museums, parks, hot springs, temples, and colonial architecture – particularly on Shamian Island – are the main attractions.

The Chenhai Tower, an observation tower built in 1516 overlooking the Pearl River, the Huaisheng Mosque constructed by Arab merchants in AD 650, and the Tomb of the King of Southern Yue, a 2000-year-old relic of one of the area's short-lived splinter kingdoms, are also well worth a visit. Additional attractions for those intrigued by the gold rush mentality of Shenzhen include theme parks; notably the World of Splendid China (containing miniatures of Chinese heritage sites), and the China Folk Culture Villages.

Changsha

The capital of Hunan Province is near the birthplace of Mao Zedong at Shaoshan. The attractions mainly revolve around Mao’s early life. There are schools and museums dedicated to him. One noteworthy exception is the Han Tomb whose contents – include the 2000-year-old remains of a woman – are presently in the Hunan Provincial Museum.

Lushan Mountain

Located about 150km southeast of Wuhan, this is a popular scenic area and summer resort with peaceful scenery and a mild climate. The mountain has been a refuge for poets and hermits over centuries, and more recently for Chiang Kaishek, Mao Zedong, Harry Truman, and other VIPs. Guling Town is at it's centre, at an altitude of 1167m.

Guilin

Situated northwest of Guangzhou (Canton), Guilin is well known for its amazing landscape of intriguing limestone formations, echoed so evocatively in the wall-hangings and paintings famous in the area. Steep monolithic mountains ascend dramatically from a flat landscape of winding rivers and paddy fields. One can climb the hills, take river trips and visit the lakes, parks, and caves.

Wulingyuan basin lies further north and is centred on the town of Zhangjiajie, which has dense primeval forest and thousands of steep mountain peaks. Also located here is Yellow Dragon Cave, Asia’s largest, with gnarled stalactites.

Kumming

The capital of Yunnan Province, borders Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos, and has a unique identity as a newer, showcase city with some temples and beautiful lakeside parks. Because of its pleasant alpine climate it is known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ or the ‘Geneva of the Orient.’ .

Located outside of Kunming are the major attractions of Xi Shan, the holy mountain, and Shilin, the petrified limestone forest situated 120km (75 miles) southeast of Kunming. The ancient city of Lijiang, further west in Yunnan Province, is populated by the Naxi ethnic people, and was the subject of the renowned documentary ‘Beyond The Clouds’.

Hainan Island

Located off the south coast of Guangdong Province this tropical Island has some beautiful beaches, palm groves, coconuts and fresh seafood Hainan Island became a separate province in 1989, and is presently one of many Special Economic Zones, however it is not yet the ‘Hawaii of China’ it aspires to be.
Useful travel links
Fuzhou Fuzhou guide
Guangzhou information about Guangzhou