Have Fun On The Beach
The Chaozhou city has a coastline with 136km. the nearest beach to the urban district is about 40km.
The beach I went to last time is about 70km away from the urban district. Picking up seashells, making BBQ and eating seafood are the tree things I like when I go to the beach. Last time I caught in the fish men fishing. It was very funny to help them drag the net. I learned from them that they need to net at 4 in the morning. When the net was dragged up to the beach, it was already a few hours past. Everyone looked very excited when they saw the fishes alive and kicking.
Enjoy your leisure time in Glen & Leisurely Forest
This place is located in the remove mountains, about 40km away from the Chaozhou urban district. There are only 8 households and about 20 people living near by. Its natural scenery and geography position are very special with 6 various waterfalls in the valley. Walking along the path, you enjoy different views from the stream, falls and greens. There are even some small pavilions on the path for rest and drinking Gongfu tea. You can still taste the food served by the villagers.
The day I went to this place rained lightly. Driving along the Han-River, I caught in the beautiful rainy view of the Han-River. Some clouds levitated above the Han-River and the beyond mountains. My cousin was so exited to see such view. She said that was fairyland :)
Enjoy The View Along The Han-River Corridor
I think the Han-River Corridor is the most beautiful place in the urban district of this city. In spring, the ceibas are all with red flowers, bringing festive ambience. In summer, everywhere is full of green and vitality. The Penholder Hill on the other side of the river reminds people of the ancient times using writing brush. Mountains beyond with clouds on the top just like the fairyland. Some boats move slowly on the Han-River . After all, any angle of the sight can be a nice picture.
Remember A Famous Historical Scholar
Located on the foot of Pan-holder Hill, the Hanwengong Memorial Temple was built in the Song dynasty. It’s the longest historical and well preserved temple to remember Hanyu, a famous historical scholar. There are 40 stele carvings of successive dynasties kept in the temple.
Almost everyone in Chaozhou knows Hanyu. He was exiled to Chaozhou because he was against the then Emperor's plan to build a pagoda to keep the finger bone of a deceased sacred monk. During his 8 mouths in Chaozhou, he attached great importance to education, did a great job to drive away the crocodiles from the Han-River, etc. His contribution gave a deep impression to Chaozhou people.
A beautiful place where Phoenix Tea trees grow
The Phoenix Mountain is located in the north of Chaozhou city. Its highest peak with 1497km is the highest peak in the east of Guangdong province. The natural scenery there is very charming. Among all the scenic areas of the Phoenix Mountain, the Heaven Lake is the most charming place which is on the top of the next highest peat-Wudong Peak. It’s formed naturally by the ancient crater.
Here is also the place where Phoenix Tea trees grow. The Phoenix Tea, a kind of oolongs, is on the top of the national famous tea appraisal. The best Phoenix Tea has a special perfume of flowers. It’s not only refreshing, but also good to digestion.
The first opening bridge in the world
My home town-Chaozhou is a historical and cultural city in China, with over 700 relic spots. One of the well known historic sites is the Xiangzi Bridge(a.k.a. Guangji Bridge), which is a key cultural relic site under the state protection and one of the top four ancient bridges, the other three are the Zhaozhou Bridge, the Luoyang Bridge and the Lugou Bridge. The Han-River goes with the Xiangzi Bridge for over 800 years. The old bridge was the first opening bridge in the world.
The whole bridge consists of one part of stone plate bridge, one part of arch bridge and one part of floating bridge connected with 18 boats. It’s the only structure in China’s history. The part of floating bridge can be disconnected for the passage of big boats. There are 24 pavilions with different styles on the 24 piers for doing business, becoming a special view on the bridge.
Today, the bridge had been under rebuilding. It will present its new appearance.
The Kaiyuan Country-guard Temple
The Kaiyuan Country-guard Temple built in Tang Dynasty with a history over 1260 years is one of the four going Kaiyuan Temples in China. It’s said this temple used to occupy hundred mu. Although after all previous dynasties vicissitude, it still has about 20,000 square meters. Among the buildings in the temple, the Song architecture group (taking the Hall of Heavenly Kings as representative) is worth highly study and view.
This river is considered the mother river for the whole Chaozhou area, including a few other cities near by. However, in Tang dynasty, this river suffered from crocodile. Han Yu - the local leader, who was sent from the central government in Xi'an solved the problem and was considered the hero here in Chaozhou.
Bei Ge - The Lighthouse of Buddha
I don't really know what the name of this place means. But I heard it is famous for its "Lighthouse of Buddha", which is from Song dynasty. It sits on a small hill, facing the Hanjiang river, where you can get a great view of the river.
Originally the lighthouse was for boats in the Hanjiang river because this part of the river was dangerous. The lighthouse could remind people that they were in Chaozhou area and they should be careful. It is said a former emperor onced passed here in his "dragon boat" while he was sleeping, but suddenly he was waken by the light from this Lighthouse. So he thought it must have been some God sending him the light - therefore, the lighthouse became the "lighthouse of Buddha" since then.
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This temple is over 200 years old. Today, it attracts a lot of tourists here, especially those overseas Chinese who were originally from Chaoshan area.
While we were there that day, we happened to see the monks having an annual event, which was a ceremony where all the monks got together to call back a certain Chinese queen's soul and send her to heaven. As pictures weren't allowed there so no picture is included here for the ceremony.
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Another "West Lake" in China: Chaozhou has one too
There are many West Lakes in China. Most people hear "West Lake" and immediately think of the famous one in Hangzhou. Yet Chaozhou's citizens will be quick to remind you that their West Lake is actually older than the one in Zhejiang's capital. (Records indicate earliest construction in the year 796)
Nevertheless, Chaozhou's West Lake is now famous for another reason because it's also the place where Zhou Enlai gave a revolutionary speech on September 24, 1927. He stood underneath that big old tree in front of the mansion in my photo. This tree is now named "Hero Tree" and is said to be over 400 years old.
Those paddle boats are available for rent or you can just sit in the park and enjoy a cup of Chaozhou's gongfu tea. It is a beautiful park and therefore merits its place as a must see activity for the early morning or late afternoon stroll.
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See 1 of Chaozhou's 8 scenes at Han Wen Gong
In Chaozhou there are eight famous scenes along the Hanjiang River which flows through the city.
One of them is from atop Han Wen Gong Temple which was built in 1189 on a hill overlooking the river to respectfully commemorate a Tang dynasty philosopher and philanthropist (Han Yu) who was exiled from Xi'an to Chaozhou for eight months. He made numerous contributions to the local community and there are hundreds of inscriptions by later emperors and poets paying tribute to this great Confucian scholar.
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Walk across Guangji Bridge, step back into history
When this bridge was first built during the Song dynasty over 900 years ago, the middle section was comprised of a floating span of 86 boats which could be moved to make way for ships going down the river.
The present construction uses a drawbridge in the middle but remnants of the old bridge remain, such as the iron bull built in 1724 to commemorate the beginning of the Yong Zheng emperor's reign.
During the late afternoon hawkers from the countryside set up shop on the side of the bridge and it becomes a lively market selling sundries.
Kaiyuan Temple, where most Chaozhou tours begin
Somehow this active Buddhist temple got to be the number one attraction in Chaozhou. It dates back to the Tang Dynasty but was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
They did a good job rebuilding it and today the monks carry on with prayers while tourists get excited photographing them "in action"
There's action outside of the temple too where old ladies sit at the front gateway and greet each busload of overseas Chinese tourists with expectations of selling their entire baskets of fresh oranges and longans along with bunches of joss sticks.
The oranges are often used as offerings to the Buddha while longans are kept for human consumption.
(More photos in Kaiyuan Temple travelogue)
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