REGION’S PICTURE-PERFECT LANDSCAPE, FRESH WATER AND CLEAN AIR ARE BELIEVED T OCONTRIBUTE TO RESIDENTS’ LONG LIVES
Tukang-Jalan.com – IT’s well-preserved natural environment, mild climate and simple lifestyle make the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region a good choice for worn-out urban residents seeking a change of pace.
Guangxi is developing a health care tourism zone that will cover Donglan, Fengshan and Bama Yao autonomous county, in hope of attracting health-conscious local and foreign tourists. The three counties are known not only for their lush forests and placid lakes, but also for the long lives of their residents.
There is no rail or air access at present, but visitors can take a four hour bus ride to Donglan after first flying to Nanning, the capital city of Guangxi.
When Donglan resident Wei Yongxiu greets us in a strong voice that echoes in her spacious living room, it is hard to believe she is 104 years old.
Wei insists on doing her own chores, including washing her own clothes and showering by herself, says Huang Haoye, Wei’s grand daughter-in-law. Wei’s descendants believe her simple diet and healthy lifestyle contribute to her longevity.
In 2010, there were 146 people aged over 100 among the county’s total population of 290,000, according to local government statistics. More than 1,000 of those were in their 90s.
Senior residents of the county rarely suffer from cancer or cardiovascular disease, a fact that attracts visitors to come and savor the area’s fresh air, sunlight and clean water, according to local officials.
“We’re now focusing on developing several themed travel routes, particularly healthcare and revolution era tourism, to attract more visitors,” says Liu Yongjun, an official with the local tourism bureau.
The Pohao Lake scenic spot ,east of Donglan, looks like a landscape painting with its calm lake surface surrounded by hills covered in thick green foliage. Near the lake is the Pohao Academy resort, a courtyard style hotel complex that covers 1,000 square meters.
Each of the hotel’s 24 guesthouse is decorated differently, all with handmade furniture.
“We’re packed with tourists during holidays,” says Ma Li, who built the resort with her husband in 2008. “Most come to recover from diseases.”
Fengshan is roughly two hours’ drive from Donglan, on a road that spirals up and down a mountain. We stop halfway down the mountain to view Yuanyang Lake and dvisit Yuanyang Cave.
The lake is far from the cave of the same name, but we can see two pools of blue on a stretch of grassland in the distance. Modern scientific methods have yet to fathom the depth of the two parts that make up the lake, a local official tell us.
Inside the entrance of Yuanyang Cave, a dimly lit tunnel stretches 119 meters to end in a wonderland grotto that covers 29,000 sq m. the cavern is home to stalactites, stalagmites, stone columns and stone curtains of various sizes and shapes, formed by minerals in the water that slowly drips down from the roof of the cave.
It takes roughly an hour to tour the entire cave. On overcoat is needed, despite the season, as the cave maintains a steady , year-round temperature of around 10 C.
The highlight of my trip is a sightseeing voyage on the waters of the Sanmen Sea in Fengshan. This lake, thus named because of its sea-like tides, is surrounded by spectacular mountain cliffs with many natural rock arches through which you can sail abroad a raft.
On the 45-minute trip, the breeze caresses my skin as the raft glides along, and the green water I trail my fingers in has a silky texture.
Passing through each naturally formed rock arch, some running as long as 90 meters, one is first enclosed beneath an unknowable weight of solid rock, before the light ahead becomes a view of blue skies overhead and green-clad mountains on all sides. The intoxicating air makes you spontaneously take a deep breath.
Wanshou Valley, which is actually another cave, is just several minutes drive from the Sanmen Sea, and shuttle buses are available to carry visitors between the two sites.
The cave was discovered and opened after Yuanyang Cave, and is endowed with similar karts terrain. Wanshou is much bigger than Yuanyang and it takes about one and a half hours to walk through it.
The middle section is a huge cave well-lit by sunshine streaming from a natural skylight high above. Once used as an arsenal for a Red Army division, the cave contains a natural stone bridge that spans 150 meters and is 75 meters above the ground. The vastness of the cave makes me feel the full force of nature, against which I seem insignificant.
Fengshan’s tourism resources are relatively close to each other, making it convenient for tourist to savor the essence of the local culture.
Before departing from Fengshan to Bama, a trip that takes two hours by bus, I meet Jin Yingshan, a 75-year-old woman from Chengdu, Sichuan province.
“My husband and I have been to Guilin, Changbai Mountain and Qinghai Lake, and we found BAma trumps them all,” she says. “Our children are away at work, and we have our pension money and time . why not travel and find a place to preserve our health?”
A group of tourists carrying plastic buckets is waiting in line to collect water from the upper reach of Panyang River when we arrive at the village of Poyue in Bama.
Local officials say most will stay at a hotel or in a local farmer’s house for month while enjoying Bama’s natural resources. Baimo Cave, at the upper reach of the river, is one of the area’s major scenic spots, featuring similar landforms to Yuanyang Cave and Wanshou Valley.
Two other popular attractions in the area are Life River and the Crystal Palace. Life River is a tortuous narrow river that resembles the Chinese character ming, meaning life, in cursive script.
One and a half hours’, drive from Bama’s central area, Crystal Palace distinguishes itself from other karst caves in the region by the number of white rock formation it contains.
Whether staying for months for the sake of one’s health or taking a shorter timeout from the stresses of modern life, these three counties are sure to leave you feeling in touch with nature and rejuvenated.
[Sources : CHINA DAILY| FRIDAY JANUARY 30, 2015, words by : YANG FEIYUE firstname.lastname@example.org ]