Nat­u­ral won­ders not to be missed

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HUMAN SPECIAL - By FENG ZHI­WEI and XU XIAO

Shaoyang’s beau­ti­ful scenery and rich cul­ture, and its re­cent list­ing as a World Nat­u­ral Her­itage site, have made it an in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar tourist desti­na­tion.

Two rivers — the Zi­jiang and Yuan­jiang — cross Shaoyang and it is an at­trac­tive wa­ter city in Hu­nan prov­ince that also boasts more than 1.2 mil­lion hectares of forests and some 470,000 hectares of grass­land, out­stand­ing fig­ures in the prov­ince.

And the Liang­shan Moun­tains, which are praised by ge­ol­o­gists as the best of the Danxia land­forms, were in­cluded on UNESCO’s World Nat­u­ral Her­itage list on Aug 2, 2010.

A World Nat­u­ral Her­itage site, two State- level wet­land parks, three State-level na­ture re­serves, four na­tional scenic ar­eas and five na­tional for­est parks, and the gen­tle slopes of the Nan­shan Moun­tains — which cover about 150 square kilo­me­ters and are said to the best pas­ture­land in the south of China — Shaoyang’s nat­u­ral won­ders are varied and not to be missed

Other nat­u­ral at­trac­tions also in­clude the Yel­low For­est in Suin­ing county and the Zi­jiang River gorges in Wu­gang county and Wushui River Gorges in Chengbu county.

Shaoyang is also renowned for its spe­cial Huayao cul­ture. Huayao is a sect of the Yao eth­nic group in the south­ern re­gions of China.

The Huayao peo­ple are known for their del­i­cate, col­or­ful em­broi­dery and their folk songs known as Wuwa, both of which are listed as the coun­try’s in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage.

Shaoyang is the home­town of Wei Yuan and Cai E, two im­por­tant fig­ures who helped shape China’s mod­ern his­tory — en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple in the late 19th cen­tury and early 20th cen­tury to open to the world and pur­sue democ­racy. Their for­mer res­i­dences of­fer a fas­ci­nat­ing insight into a coun­try in the midst of change.

With tourism boom­ing, the city’s hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is also de­vel­op­ing rapidly.

So far, Shaoyang has 48 star-rated ho­tels and the first five-star lux­ury ho­tel opened in 2012.

The lo­cal tourism bureau fore­casts that this year Shaoyang will have wel­comed 19 mil­lion vis­its by tourists from home and abroad, who are ex­pected to have gen­er­ated rev­enues of around 14 bil­lion yuan, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal tourism bureau. Con­tact the writ­ers through fengzhi­wei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The gen­tle slopes of the Nan­shan Moun­tains — cov­er­ing about 150 sq km — are said to be the best pas­ture­land in the south of China.

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