A day trip out of the Beijing smog coupled with a river cruise
In 2010 whilst I was studying in Beijing, I was asked to go on a coach trip with the Aussie Embassy staff. The destination was Longqing Gorge and I must say it was one of my favourite places to visit. It’s a little bit kitschy (not surprising for lots of places in China are – but that’s what I love about the place)…and it’s truly beautiful with stunning scenery and a huge bonus…it’s a little bit cooler than Beijing because of its elevation. The gorge is located at the mouth of the Yanqing Old City River which is about eighty-five kilometres from Beijing. We departed on a beautiful day in the middle of summer and arrived an hour or so later. There were fabulous views of the Badaling section of the Great Wall along the way and I was lucky to take a few snaps out of the bus window and some when we arrived.This area is famous for its gorge but the first sight you see when you arrive is the Longqing Dam. It’s inset between hills and is around seventy metres high. To get to the top of the dam you can either use the escalator inside the body of an artificial dragon; yep thats right…inside the body of a dragon. Or you can walk up some steep steps, after which you can walk along the top of the valley …I chose the easy option and entered the dragon’s mouth to access the escalator to reach the ferry behind the dam. From the dam, you can take a small cruise boat for a short ride through the gorge. The scenery is spectacular. It is a combination of rivers and steep cliffs and bare limestone mountains in many different shapes. Truly beautiful!! The boat stops at several places and you can get off and do a bit of hiking..I didn’t!! I stayed on the boat for the whole ride, as we did a small hike from the top of the cable car station which to me was more than enough.
One sight we did see from the boat was a small house on the top of one mountain, with a cable from the house to the other mountain. And amazingly enough there was a man on a bike riding high up in the gorge on this cable – my heart was beating fast just watching him!!We then took a toboggan ride to reach the exit. There is also an option to go bungee jumping near the dam, not for me!!
In winter the gorge hosts an ice lantern festival with ice lanterns, ice carvings and snow sculptures. Unfortunately I never got around to visiting in winter but friends did and said it was great [similar but on a much smaller scale to China’s well known Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, which I did get to, up near the Russian border).
(two photos from: http://www.thebeijinger.com)
A trip that was well worth a day out – I really enjoyed the magnificent scenery and gorge..just stunning!!