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Allure of Lin'an includes lush mountains and cool climate
  By Wang Ye (China Daily)

Bamboo-rafting in Lin'an [China Daily]

If Hangzhou is Shanghai's backyard, then Lin'an, with its comparatively unspoiled surroundings, is a secret tree house for the metropolis.

Dubbed a green pearl on the southern tip of the Yangtze River Delta, the city under the administration of Hangzhou has no crowds, no skyscrapers and no trash on the ground - and it's only a four-hour drive from Shanghai.

For many Lin'an is the perfect starting point for a day spent on exploring the mysterious and green Tianmu Mountain before heading back into town after dark to take in its curious and compelling nightlife.

In the northwestern part of Zhejiang province, Lin'an sits between the prestigious tourist city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang and Huangshan in Anhui province.

It is the only mountainous city in the Yangtze River Delta region - fully 86 percent of its area is covered by mountains. About 500,000 people live within its boundaries that encompass 3,126 sq km.

With 77 percent of the city covered by forests, Lin'an has a robust natural environment rich in biological resources, abundant rainfall and a moderate climate.

It has such an advantageous ecology that more than 4,700 species are found there, earning Tianmu Mountain the reputation of "the gene bank of east China".

With little doubt the mountain is the biggest attraction in the city.

The Tianmu Mountain National Nature Reserve was established in 1958 with the approval of the central government. It was included in UNESCO's International Man and Biosphere Reserve Network in 1986.

With a damp monsoon climate, it is warm in winter and cool in summer. The annual average temperature at its Chanyuan Temple area is 14 C, and in July the temperature averages 26 C. The average temperature of its main peak Xianrending is 8.8 C, explaining why it is well-known as a summer resort in east China.

The reserve has a total of 2,139 animal species, among which there are 74 species of animals, 148 species of birds, 44 types of reptiles and 20 species of amphibians, as well as 1,853 insect species recorded to date.

Yet recent research indicates the number of insect species has already topped 3,000 and about 100 species are newly discovered. Whether they are new species or not has not been answered. Among the animal species, 35 are under the State's protection list for rare animals, including the clouded leopard, white-necked pheasant and pangolin.

Besides its natural wonders, the area is also famous for its flourishing Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist cultures.

Other mountains, lakes, forests, hot springs, caves, Buddhist temples and ancient remains are also attractions of Lin'an.

In recent years, tours to experience the rustic life have become increasingly popular in Lin'an. About 500 rural families provide visitors accommodations at their homes, along with cooking characteristic homemade dishes.

Five of its townships have been crowned national environment friendly settlements, while 70 villages earned the title of outstanding models of forestation.

A number of star-rated hotels have been built in the city offering visitors a cozy and comfortable living environment. International tourists can choose from 15 hotels that target foreigners as their customers.

A hotel designed to meet five-star standards will be built near Qingshan Lake later this year as the city updates its facilities to cope with rising tourism demands.

The special dishes and characteristic rural restaurants are another highlight of Lin'an. Bamboo shoots, wild walnuts, tealeaves and oriental jasper are the most popular specialties there.

For more information, please contact:

Hangzhou China Travel Service

Tel: 0571-88398499 13588476467 (24H)
source: (China Daily)

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