Xingyi(興義), China

Xingyi, a city southwest of Guizhou, China.  This a modern city of all amenities and exceptionally clean and orderly.  People here are very protective of their environment and happy with their surroundings.  The pictures below is the night life of the city plaza.

city center, the building of our hotel
city center, the building of our hotel
In the plaza are the young, old, and families watching a lzaer light show.
In the plaza where the young, old, and families watching a Lazer light show.

 

Southwest of Guizhou has impressive Natural Wonders.  One of them is the Malinghe Gorge and Ravine.  Along the Gorge were mighty water falls, one more magnificent than the next.

 

With these same landscapes in mind.  We go to our next Scenic Sight, the Wanfeng Lake (萬峰湖)among the peaks.  The lake was the result of a dam that holds back the water into the gorge.  The dam provides much-needed energy for the Southwest of China.  The lake has a surface area of 816  Sq. Kilometer and can stored water of approximately 102 billion cubic meters. The lake is surrounded by peaks and some protruded from the lake surface and formed islands.

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going into the narrow part of the lake
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can you see the cave entrance?

One can take a ferry to go on the lake and have a closer view.  Some ferries offer delicious fresh fish lunch made from the fishes caught from the lake. If you like fish, then you should not miss this lunch.  As it makes its round on the lake we can see a lot of caves on the side of some peaks.

 

The next scenic sight is Wangfenglin (萬峰林), A peak cluster wonder.

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This is a top view of the village of Buyi ethnic minority group of China.  One can see their farms and fields.  Their fields are of different shape and level because each field is centered on the opening of the underground water that erupts from the ground so they may irrigate the field efficiently.

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Among the peaks are the exceptional Twin Breast Peak and the Goddess of Earth.  These are Wonder of Nature and Buyi people worship the Goddess of Earth nurturing them with good climate and good harvest.

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Twin Breast Peak

imag0470Can you see the Goddess of Earth on her back?

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Xiaoqikong(小七孔) Scenic Area, Quizhou(貴州), China

Xiaoqikong Scenic Area is located in LiBo county in Southern Guizhou Province of China, neighboring Quangxi Province. The name Xiaoqikong is the name of a bridge build in 1835 to cross the Xiangshui River in order for ease of trade. The name Xiaoqikong means seven little holes, formed by seven arches. (See Pictures below)

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view from the top
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Xiaoqikong Scenic Area is along the Xiangshui River and is where the Miao ethnic minority of China live.  The Yao’s village still maintains their traditional way of life within their autonomous area.  The Southern Karst, a UNESCO world heritage site, the landscape created many scenic sights along the way and also many recreational areas for boating, rafting, and caverns to explore.

The first area is the Crouching Tiger Pond (卧龍潭) formed from water spring up from underground.  The power generating dam that was built formed a pond and the beautiful waterfall.

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Crouching Tiger Pond
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The dam  was build to hold back the water to form the pond
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Then we come to Yuanyan (Mandarin Duck) Lake

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is the only aquatic forest of the Karst landscape at this latitude in the world.  Due to the various minerals in the water gives it special color and often gives off many different colors due to reflecting lights.  One can rent a boat and have a close-up look and personal experience of the aquatic forest.

 

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Next–Laguane Lake Wetland Area-Shooting place of the TV show Survival Games in Sept. 2015

The lake water is clean and lots of algae grow in it to give off a special color.  The reflections from the clear water created colorful picturesque scenes at various angle and lighting.  The lake surrounded by water falls and mountain peaks and wetlands as well as a very comfortable and clean hotel.

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During Sunrise
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Our Hotel
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Dawn Breaking

Next stop Emerald Valley Water Fall

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Emerald Valley Water Fall

Water falls among the lush green trees a rare scene.

From the Emerald Valley Water Fall to Xiaoqikong Bridge is the Water Forest.  Its trail is approximately 2000 meters along the flow of Xiangshui River.  Its water bed flows over rocks as if the rocks grew out from the water just as the trees grow from the rocks with its leaves drape over the water.  This is a cool refreshing walk.  No wonder, legend has it, even the fairies frequently bath in these waters.

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Niagara Falls, Canada

Between the border of Canada and the United States is Niagara Falls on the Niagara River that flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.  The Canadians build a 56km long trail along the banks of Niagara River to form the area of  Niagara  Park.   The Park consists of 3 trails, the Heritage Trail, the Garden Trail, and the Nature Trail for you to explore.  There are other attractions as well in the area to keep you busy such as a golf course, casinos, various amusement parks. But the main attraction is the Niagara Falls which is one of the 7 natural wonders of Canada.  You will be in awe,  which ever way you look at it.  Whether it is from the foot looking upwards or behind the fall, or from the top looking down or along side, Niagara Falls demonstrates the power of nature and humbles its spectators.  It’s morning mist from the falls refresh and exuberate all living things in its surroundings. The evening illumination on the falls mystifies the night.P_20160709_081037falls6

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Bike Trail of Northeast Taiwan Coastline

There is a wonderful bike trail along the Northeast and Yilan (宜蘭) coastline.  One can take the train to Shihcheng(石城) Train Station or Fulong(副隆) Train Station.  We took the train to Fulong Station where there were many bike rental shops.  They have regular bikes, mountain bikes, for adults and children.  They also have bicycles for two or with infant seats, and one may be able to get them in battery-powered as well.  In order to rent a bike, one must leave an ID.

We started the trail southward through the 2.16km long Old Caoling Tunnel Bikeway.  The tunnel was cool with the air brushing against the face, but the best was coming out of the tunnel and greeted by the welcoming sight of bright daylight and the feeling of the open ocean breeze.  There are many rest areas along the trail and the coastline scenery is very special.Lailai Marine TerraceLailai Marine Terrace

This marine terrace will be under ocean water at high tide.  One can see many fishermen out deep-sea fishing during low tide and others exploring what the sea left behind.  Coming up is the Four Square Sightseeing Area where we can see the Turtle Island.

Turtle Island
Turtle Island on the horizon

Turtle Island is a volcanic islet off the east coast of Yilan County.  Its name is due to its shape similar to a giant turtle.  It is an island park open to the public from March to November.  It is about 3 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide.  It has a 3,000 sq. feet of seafood market where one can enjoy fresh seafood.  Bottle nose dolphins and tiger whales appear off its coast frequently.  One can experience warm spring water bath as well as water sports including surfing, water skiing, and gliding can be found here.

Going further north on the bike trail we come to the most eastern coast of Taiwan, Cape San Diego (三貂角)and the San Diego Cape lighthouse.  It’s been said that when the Spanish first came by in 1626, they named it Cape San Diego because it reminded them of San Diego.  Hence the present name is San Diego in Taiwanese phonetics.  The San Diego lighthouse is 16.8 feet tall and has a 270-degree view of the ocean.  On a good day, one can see Turtle Island.  Surrounding the Lighthouse is a nice rest area for visitors to relax.

San Diego Lighthouse
San Diego Lighthouse

 

An outlook post
An outlook post
rough sea below
the rough sea below
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rest area
The lighthouse scenic area
The lighthouse scenic area
another view of the area
another view of the area

There is a foot path going down from this rest area to Maoao Fishery Village known for its hundred years stone dwellings, but we cycled back down to the coastline bike path.walking trail to Maoao Village

walking trail to Maoao Village

We stopped for lunch at Fulian Elementary School’s footsteps sitting and watching the ocean waves while we hungrily wolfing down our lunch which was the famous railroad lunch box that we bought at the  Fulong Railroad Station.

famous railroad lunchbox
famous railroad lunch box

Continuing along the bike way, took us back to return the bike, along the way we passed Dongxin Temple and Fulong Coastal Park.   Last and final destination, the Fulong Beach.

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The beach from our room, a view of the rainbow bridge
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up the Double Creek River
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sailing lesson
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up the river to Longman Suspension bridge
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The mouth of the Double Creek River
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beach between the river and the sea
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rough sea versus peaceful river
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the sea meet up with the river

There will be many water activities in the summer as well as open air concerts.  In May, there will be Sand Sculpturing Art Festival here.

A Nature Reserve for Red Crowned Crane

Twenty-six kilometer away from Qiqihaer is Zhalong Nature Reserve, an approximately 810 square miles of wetland in Heilongjiang, China.  This marshland is a major breeding ground for more than 300 species of birds including the Marsh Grassbird as well as a major migratory route for  birds such as the storks, swans, herons, and grebes in the Far East

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cranes collage

Zhalong  Nature Reserve is protected by the Chinese government.  It breeds red crowned crane which is endangered.  However the bred cranes will not migrate any more.  The easy life kept them in one place.  They are well fed and become bigger than the wild crane which still migrate to burn up the stored fat.  Everyday the crane keeper let them out to fly before feeding them, so they would get their exercise.  The wild crane do not like the fed food, so they would stay wild.  This marshland is a very important breeding place for not just the various types of cranes, but also for water fowls, different species of fish, and other marsh dependent animals.  This is a terrific place for bird watching, but be sure to put on a lot of mosquito repellent.

 

Tibetan Buddhist Ceremony at Taipei Liberty Square, Taiwan

Liberty Square also name Freedom Square is visited by locals as well as tourists.  For it is situated in a park with the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall on the far side facing the Liberty Square Gate and the National Concert Hall and the National Theater on either side. This is a popular site for big gatherings.  When the square is not booked for any out door events, one can see gatherings of students for marching band practice or athletes and dancers working on their routines.

One of the outdoor activity which is rarely found was the Blessing Ceremony for Taiwan by the True Buddha School.  It is a localized practice of Tibetan Buddhism founded by a Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu.  Many people gathered.  It was said he has disciples all over the world.

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The ceremony started with two dancing dragons leading the Living Buddha into the event.  Then started the Dragon dance to welcome the Living Buddha and add auspiciousness to this ceremony

 

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There were many people chanting and walking around the Pagoda of Buddhas which would be there for 3 days.  It is said that by encircling the Buddha Pagoda and seeing it will ensure one does not go to hell after death.

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Wuling Farm, Taiwan

Wuling Farm is located in the mountain within the Shei-Pa National Park in central Taiwan.  Its current mission is the study of Eco-farming without endangering the natural species of plants, animals, and the environment.  The farm provides education on ecology and preservation of the environment along with providing nature’s  relaxation and enjoyment to visitors.  Visitors have a choice of staying at resorts, lodge cabins, or camping sites.  Bikes and electric scooters may be rented.  Besides plenty of hiking trails, beautiful scenic sights, it also provides water spa treatment and star gazing at night.

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Hiking trails
Hiking Trails
Hiking Trails
cherry blossoms along the trail
cherry blossoms along the trail
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It is open to visitors all season long, for never a day goes by without its own remarkable beauty.   In the spring the season starts off with attractions of plum blossoms, cherry blossoms, pear and peach blossoms as well as apple blossoms.  The farm harvest these fruits except for peaches for it is now claimed by the monkeys which are indigenous to this area and is under protection.

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Wuling Farm also plants tea.  Due to its growth environment, it has a special aroma which is favored as indicated by its price.  The beauty of the tea garden is also a welcome attraction as you can see below.

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The creeks are off-limits to visitors, due to a rare species of salmon that is only found and live in these waters.  They are under protection as well.

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Wuling Salmon
Wuling Salmon

There are plenty of Nature trail tours to introduce you to the different trees, plants, and flowers of Wuling.  Then again, you might find a quiet place and fresh air is all you need, just like the black swans.

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