WENCHENG COUNTY, IN WENZHOU, CHINA
This forested area is reached via a twisting two-lane mountain road lined with well-maintained trees with white-painted bases. You pass through hills with views of terraced rice fields and small villages, some with crumbling brick buildings and brand new buildings side-by-side. A mild subtropical marine climate means it is always warm and moist with plenty of rainf. The population is 360,000, with 170,000 more living abroad in 70 countries, giving the are the nickname “Hometown of Overseas Chinese.” Hundreds of waterfalls, lakes, caverns and deep gorges are found in the Tongling Mountain National Forest Park, which opened in 1999. The park has been divided into three parts –Tongling Gorge, Little Yaochi Lake, Tongling Village. Also, Baizhang Waterfall is found here. At 1,158-feet-high, it is China’s highest waterfall and called the most beautiful waterfall in the world. It has three falls, with more than 4,000 steps to climb before reaching the first.
|scenery on the way to Wencheng, China|
Swanburg Hotel 0577-59026999; Shiyang Linchang, Wencheng, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province. 230 rooms. Breakfast included. Built in 2013, this still-growing resort complex was inspired by the Swanburg Hotel in Germany. Facilities include a yoga gym, a hot springs complex (the Chinese absolutely love hot springs), and indoor skiing, and it will have more than 400 buildings when completed. The area also offers hiking, an area with monkeys, and a temple. An European-style village opens in 2017 and will accommodate more than 5,000 people.
|Swanburg Hotel in Wencheng, China|
|welcome at Swanburg Hotel in Wencheng, China|
The simple, pleasant hotel provides rooms with a restive view of pine trees, plus operable windows that let in the sweet fragrance of the pines as well as the soft sound of a river below. (This peace was broken early one morning by loud firecrackers and lights in the woods. Though I found this scary, it turned out to be the arrival of a boisterous group celebrating a wedding.) Guest rooms have natural wood floors, comfortable beds with white duvets, and a shower with a clear window looking into the bed area and on to the outdoors through the windows beyond. And, surprisingly, Wi-Fi is free.
|guest room at Swanburg Hotel in Wencheng, China|
|view from guest room at Swanburg Hotel in Wencheng, China|
Meant to honor my American group, which was a peculiarity in the area, a sign indicating “Foreigners Section” was displayed in the dining room. It reserved for us a particularly comfortable area. Some of my favorite buffet items include kung pao chicken with giant hot peppers, peanuts in vinegar, boiled peanuts, and rice wine served in teeny glasses.
|selections from breakfast buffet at Swanburg Hotel in Wencheng, China|
|dinner buffet at Swanburg Hotel in Wencheng, China|
|vegetable art at Swanburg Hotel in Wencheng, China|
The hot springs are reached by a 10-minute walk. Female and male changing rooms with lockers and showers are provided, and a gift shop sells bathing suits and related items. Approximately 20 pools of various sizes and temperatures are sprinkled over a compact hilly area. Just like in the story of the three bears, some were too hot, some were too cold, and some were just right. Colors and fragrances varied, but there was no explanation in English as to what each spring was best for. When using the hot springs, it is advised to wait one hour after eating, take off all jewelry, and drink plenty of water after.
|hot springs complex at Swanburg Hotel in Wencheng, China|
|swim suits in hot springs gift shop at Swanburg Hotel in Wencheng, China|
More things to do in Wenzhou.
Best souvenirs of China.
More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.
images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers