China travel guide


China Travel Guide

Explore Jiangsu and Zhejiang

Explore Jiangsu The provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, which today border Shanghai to the north and south, have been significant cultural and economic places that have involved in the development of China for the last two thousand years. The greenness and fertility of the Yangtze River estuary that drew the Chinese south, provided to this land with the wealth and power needed to sustain a huge empire. No tour of eastern China would be complete without stopovers in some of their classic destinations.

The flat lands, the large crop yield, the excellent communications offered by coastal ports and navigable waterways; have enabled the principal towns of the area to become quickly into important trading centers, since the sixth century BC. These presented an irresistible target for the expanding Chinese empire under different dynasties. So, the region was annexed, and immediately developing into one of the economic centers of the empire.

Some regimes established transitory capitals in southern cities; however, the real enhance for southern China began when the Sui (589-618 AD) extended the Grand Canal to connect the Yangtze River with the Huang-ho River and to permit trade to flow without restraint between here and the northern capitals. With this, China's core took a decisive shift south. Under later dynasties, Hangzhou and then Nanjing became the greatest cities in China.

This region is like a world of water. The whole area is permanently drained, canalized, irrigated and farmed, and the rivers, lakes and canals. The traditional way to travel here was by boat, and today ferries continue to navigate the Yangtze, while the major sea ports - Shanghai, Ningbo, Wenzhou - are also linked by coastal passenger services. There are even still some local services inland, such as those between Suzhou, Wuxi and Hangzhou, along the canals in among silk farms and tea plantations.

The powerful commercial cities of the waterways have long been the counterweights to the bureaucratic inclinations of Beijing. Both Hangzhou and Nanjing have been the capital of China many times. Marco Polo called Hangzhou "the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world", and its West Lake (Xi Hu), still identifiable from classic scroll paintings, is deservedly rated as one of the most scenic spots in China.

Explore Zhejiang Suzhou and Yangzhou have the peace of their famous gardens. These and other cities - Zhenjiang , Wuxi , Ningbo - have also developed as manufacturing centers, benefiting from the boom which has put Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the vanguard of economic improvement in China. In fact, southern Jiangsu's per capita income is the highest in China outside Shanghai, southern Guangdong and Hong Kong.

In the other hand, China has a chronic over-population. Around 120 million people live in Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang. Now is a little difficult to find countryside here, with the exceptions of the lovely Shaoxing, and, above all, the sacred Buddhist island of Putuo Shan, which has wonderful beaches and monasteries set deep in wooded hillsides.

Traveling to this region is more expensive than other Cities in the eastern. The best season to visit is spring, from mid-April to late May. The climate is sunshine and low humidity. Be aware that the area around the Yangtze is disagreeably cold and wet in winter, and terribly hot and sticky during the summer.

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