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.
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!
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.
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！
*These experiences were made possible by the Gilman Scholarship