First Impressions 

My preconceived expectations towards Chaoqing, with no prior research, was that it was going to be a small city. This destination was recommended by a colleague at 深圳总部基地, Mr. Deng (邓向平、邓老师), since this was also his hometown. Upon arrive and exploring a couple destinations, I was completely blown away by how big Chaoqing was and the beauty of its landmarks and tourist attractions. Furthermore, it was a greater and fuller experience with the company of my colleagues. Extremely thankful and appreciative to have this opportunity to go on this weekend adventure with fun and interesting people.

鼎湖山 (Ding Hu Mountain)

Since 1956, it has been the first nature preserve in China, known as a “living museum”. Dinghu Moutain houses hundreds of species of plants, animals, and birds, dozens of them under state protection. It is now also a UNESCO International Man and Biosphere Reserve, making it a magnet for worldwide “scientist tourism”.

鼎湖山是岭南四大名山之首. 因地球上北回归线穿过的地方大都是沙漠或干草原,所以鼎湖山又被中外学者誉为“北回归线上的绿宝石” 。 1956年,鼎湖山成为我国第一个自然保护区。1979年又成为我国第一批加入联合国科教文组织“人与生物圈”计划的保护区,建立了“人与生物圈”研究中心,成为国际性的学术交流和研究基地。

The feeling of swimming underneath the waterfall is definitely one of a kind. It was a great relief from the city life where these types of nature’s version of heaven cease to exist. I am a water person so when I saw this opportunity to swim, I just had to jump in!

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崇禧塔 (Chongxi Pagoda)

Chongxi Pagoda, located at the bank of Dongxi River in Zhaoqing city, Guangdong province in south China, was first built in the tenth year (1582) and completed in the 13th year (1585) of the Wanli reign of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The Pagoda, employing a mixed structure of brick and stone, in an octagonal plane, is 57.5 meters high, with 9 exterior storeys and 17 interior storeys. On the granite pedestal there is a heavenly seat of 1.84 meters high, with 46.5 meters in perimeter.

Statues of Tuota Lishi (Tower Supporting Hercules) in a posture of holding the Pagoda with great effort are vividly carved on every corner. Between Hercules there are eight relief sculptures, of 0.55 meters high and 1.82 meters wide, depicting stories like Carp Vaulting over Paradise Gate, Two Dragons Play with One Ball, Chinese Unicorn Present Luck, Two Phoenixes Worship Sun, and Blessing with Conjugal Felicity, etc.

崇禧塔位于广东肇庆市西江岸上,建于明万历十年(1582年)九月,由岭西副使王泮兴建,万历十三年(1585年)四月竣工。因西江水“滔滔而东,其气不聚,人才遂如晨星”,若建塔聚气,可使人才辈出;又因西江水患频仍,建塔可镇住“祸龙”,永固堤围,于是有造塔之举。而塔名,则取“文运兴旺”、“鸿福无疆”之意。它屹立于塔脚路北侧的石顶岗上,巍峨壮观,气势非凡,堪称四塔之冠。

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龙母庙 (Dragon Mother Temple)

悦城龙母祖庙始建于秦汉时代,现是国家级重点文物保护单位,是“龙的传人”寻根问祖的圣地。龙母祖庙位于德庆县悦城镇五龙山下,悦城河与西江交汇处,秦汉期间兴建。历代相传悦城龙母乐善好施,能消灾解难,一千多年来香火不断,尤其是每年农历五月初一到初八的龙母诞期,来朝拜的人更是人山人海,数 以万计,香港来的人也不在少数,成为一大奇观。

龙母曾得到历代皇帝的册封,庙中还完整地保存着明代开国皇帝的洪武诏书碑。一千多年来龙母祖庙重修了13次。在公元1905年(清光绪31年)曾集中两广的能工巧匠,耗费巨资,花了七年的时间重建了这座龙母祖庙。 1985年,社会公众和港澳同胞集资300多万元,又进行了全面的整修。

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Final Thoughts 

If another opportunity to visit Chaoqing presents itself, I would definitely go back to explore this beautiful city some more. Particularly, I wish to go boating in 鼎湖, which is comparable to the beauty of Guilin (桂林). Best part of trip was the company, and the deeper relationships and friendships built as a result. And some romance 😉 你懂得未来的善君!

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*These experiences were made possible by the Gilman Scholarship 

8/15-8/16/15

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