Snow Town: the Homeland of Snow in China

If visiting Northeast China in winter, one is expected to be completely intoxicated with the celebration mood and beautiful snowscape. There are at least two winter destinations you should not miss – Harbin, with lively and exciting International Snow and Ice Festival, and lesser-known China Snow Town, a real snow fairyland featuring thick, abundant, high-viscosity and high-quality snow.

China Snow Town

Where is China Snow Town?

Snow Town, also known as Xuexiang in Chinese, is formerly named Shuangfeng Forest Farm. It is located at an elevation of 1500 meters in Hailin city, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, and 280 kilometers from Harbin city. With a snow period lasting for 7 months (from late October to next May) and the average snowfall reaching 2 meters, it is now celebrated as the hometown of snow in China.

China snow town

What to see and what to do in Snow Town?

Snow Town comes to be known thanks to some international prizewinning images which bring the public purely beautiful landscape: a hundred Northeast folk houses are covered by heavy snow and connected together, forming various shapes like running horses, huge rabbits, mushrooms… Smoke curls up from kitchen chimneys. Snow hangs from the roof to the ground, creating a unique scene of “snow curtains”.

Spring Festival (China’s New Year Festival) endows Snow Town a especially joyous ambient. Fireworks and big red lanterns hanging up in front of each house brighten the snow in night, and make it a colorful world.

In snow Town, make sure not miss wood buildings, racecourses, rimed pines, white birch forests, and stunning sunrise on Yangcao Mountain, as well as snow activities like snow skiing, snowmobiling, horse/dog-sled…

night scene

Contact us for a tailor-made China Snow Town tour

What is the best time to visit Snow Town?

Generally speaking, January, February, March, November and December are the best time to travel there. It starts to snow in late October, but the snowscape has not shaped up until mid to late November with snow thickness of about 30-40 cm. Snow Town will not see many tourists in November and early December, making it an enjoyable time for those who prefer quietness. While February and March is the best season for photography, when it snows most frequently with the biggest snowfall of the year.

Folk House

Travel tips to Snow Town:

1. The average temperature in Snow Town is minus 15-30 degree Celsius.

2. So have enough clothing and warm boots to keep yourself from freezing outside, and also keep your camera warm to work with battery.

3. Bring some medicines in case of getting cold.

4. Sunglass against snow-blindness is a must.

5. Prices of hotel room and entertaining activities will run up during the Spring Festival and New Year Day.

Red lantern and corn

dog-sled

Tea Culture in China

China has long been celebrated as the homeland of tea, where tea first grew, produced and people begin to drink tea. Chinese people like to drink tea, and often entertain guests and friends with it. Serving a cup of tea is more than a matter of politeness. It is a symbol of togetherness, a way of showing respect to visitors. Chinese are also good at drinking tea with a long, ritual boiling tea process and refined tea sets.

Top Places in China to Enjoy Tea

Tea Leaves

Tea Sage in ancient China

Lu Yu (733-804) in Song dynasty is known as “the Sage of Tea”, for his contribution to Chinese tea culture. his book Tea Scripture (or The Book of Tea) was based on first hand information he got from his own practice as well as his extensive study of related books, and experience from other people, and describes the processes of planting tea bushes, picking tea leaves and preparing leaves for brewing in detail. The seventh chapter, entitled “Tea Events” is an historic accomplishment, for recording incidents concerning tea for over thousands of years, from legendary times to Tang dynasty.

Tea types in China

Chinese tea can be classified into six types according to different methods by which it is processed.

1) Green tea keeps the original color of the tealeaves without fermentation during processing. Green Tea has the most medical value and the least caffeine content of all Chinese tea classes. This category mainly consists Longjiang, Maofeng and Biluochun.

2) Black tea, also known as “red tea” in China, is fermented before baking. It is a later variety developed on the basis of green tea. Black tea has a robust taste and is full-bodied enough to stand up to milk and sugar. It is the only kind of Chinese teas that can be drunk with milk or sugar.

3) Oolong tea represents a variety half way between the green tea and black tea, made after partial formation. Oolong Tea is the serious Chinese tea drinker’s tea. Beginners in Oolong Tea should be careful as even though flavor is only mild to medium, the tea could be very strong.

4) White tea is unfermented, undergoing minimal processing, simply air-dried and made from unopened silver buds and outer leaf tips. It is the rarest of teas having a very brief picking season when the climatic conditions are perfect.

5) Compressed tea is that kind of tea steamed and compressed into bricks, cakes, columns and other shapes. Compressed Tea has all the characteristics of Black Tea. It is good for transport and storage, originally for remote areas. The Pu-erh Tea belongs to compressed tea.

6) Scented Tea is made of mixing fragrant flowers (such as jasmine tea and magnolia) in the tea leaves in the course of processing. The different kinds of Scented Tea are named after the flower, with which the tea is scented, such as jasmine tea, chrysanthemum tea, litchi tea, etc.

Tea

Tea Ceremony

Interesting China Tea Tours

Chinese tea ceremony

The first written record of tea ceremonies was during the Tang Dynasty. Broadly speaking tea ceremony rituals represent the spirit of the “Way of Tea” with four basic principles – thrifty, harmony, respect and beauty. The water and teaware are important aspects for tea ceremony. Pure, light and clean water can ensure a wonderful tasting tea. Different times have different tea sets in fashion. Lu Yu, in his The Book of Tea, recorded 24 kinds of apparatus and making methods, including wind stove for frying water, clips for clipping coal, bamboo clips for stirring water, etc. nowadays people pottery wares. And the best choice is the purple clay wares made in Yixing and Jingdezhen. Servers for different ceremony do not perform the ritual the same way. Each step is a sensory exploration and appreciation.

Tea is a healthy drink

Throughout the history, Chinese people always pay much attention to health care. And tea is a healthy drink. Tea is good for human digestive system and the brain. It helps to reduce tiredness and is also efficient in cooling people down. Moreover, it also helps to prevent cancer, various eye diseases and aging, as well as cure skin diseases. The criteria for deciding whether a tea is good or not are its color, smell and taste.

Chinese Tea Set

Chinese Tea Set

10 Best Places in China for Winter Birding

If you are lazy in winter, you may have missed some touching moments going on in the wild. Why not pack your bag and bring your camera to China’s top ten best destinations for birding in this winter time, to escape the daily grind and simply enjoy the beauty of nature. Bird-watching must be one of the best ways to relax your mind and attain inner peace.

Xinjiang Bayanbulak Swan National Nature Reserve 

Xinjiang Birding

400 km northwest of Korla, high-altitude Bayanbulak wetlands lies within the second largest grassland area in China (at 2,300-2,500 m), with Kaidu River flowing through. It is celebrated as the famous “Xinjiang Swan Lake”, a natural habitat for the largest populations of wild swans in China. Each year birds migrate to Bayanbulak between the months of November and March. Make sure you have your cameras ready to capture some touching moments, when the birds’ wings are fanning.

Rongcheng in East China’s Shandong province

Rongcheng Birding

As the winter comes, thousands of swans from Siberia fly to Rongcheng Swan Lake for wintering, the largest winter swan habitat (covering an area of 10,500 hectares) in China, and one of the top four swan lakes in the world. The elegant swans walking, singing and dancing, creating a beautiful and peaceful picture.

Caohai Nature Reserve, Guizhou

Caohai Nature Reserve, Guizhou

Located in Weining, Southwest China’s Guizhou province, Caohai Nature Reserve is one of the best places in China for winter birding. Every year, the black-necked crane, the only plateau crane worldwide, will pass the winter time here, when visitors will have chance to enjoy the sight of black-necked cranes in flocks and any other 300 bird species.

Poyang Lake

Poyang Lake Birding

Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province is a should-not-miss destination for winter birding. It has a total of 310 species of birds and is famous for being the “Kingdom of the stork”. A large number of rare birds habitat here, including Grus leucogeranus, Grus japonensis, larus relictus… In winter time, a maximum of 100,000 migrating birds fly to the Lake, making it the largest migratory bird wintering area in Asia.

Dongting Lake Birds Natural Reserve

Dongting Lake Birds

Dongting Lake Birds Natural Reserve (covering an area of 190,000 hectares) in Hunan province has earned the reputation of the “paradise of birds” among bird-watching fans. Every winter, more than 300 species of birds, totaling one million, come to Dongting lake and make the wetland area their home.

Dongtan Wetland in Chongming Island

Birds in Dongtan Wetland

Chongming Island finds itself about 100 km away from downtown Shanghai, and boasts one of the best winter birding parks – Dongtan Wetland. Established in 2003, this 24-square-kilometer park is China’s only wetland park neighboring a migratory bird reserve. Every year from November to next February, an annual birding Festival will be held in Dongtan Wetland, when it welcomes the highest number of birds of the whole year.

Yunnan

Xishuangbanna Bird-watching

Due to its mild and warm climate in winter, there are numerous excellent winter bird-watching destinations in Yunnan. Red-billed gulls from Siberia has spent winter in Kunming for almost 30 years. Dianchi Lake and Cuihu Park are best places to watch red-billed gulls in Kunming. Besides, Botanical garden in Xishuangbanna of tropical climate offer opportunity to see Crimson Sunbird and Anastomus oscitans. While Napa Lake wetlands in Shangri-la is home to “noble birds”, such as black-necked crane, in winter, attracting lots of people to photograph.

Yancheng Wetland Nature Reserve

Yancheng Wetland birding

Lying on China’s eastern shore, Jiangsu province, Yancheng is the largest coastal wetland reserve in China and home to Red-crowned Cranes and other 381 species of birds. Best time to watch birds in Yancheng is between late October and early April, when about 600 Red-crowned Cranes prefer wintering here.

Zhalong Nature Reserve in Tsitsihar

Zhalong Nature Reserve in Tsitsihar

Located in Tsitsihar, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, Zhalong Nature Reserve was established in 1979 with the purpose of protecting a large number of Red-crowned Cranes. It is also a stopover and nesting area for a great quantity of storks, swans, herons, grebes and other species.

Dongzhaigan Mangrove Forest Nature Reseve in Haikou

Birding in Haikou

Dongzhaigang Mangrove Forest lies in Yanfeng Town, Haikou City of Hainan Province (belongs to the tropics marine climate). It is not only a national mangrove reserve, but also a wetland of waterfowl habitat. During the winter, the best season for birding in Dongzhai Harbor, tens of thousands of birds turn the area into a wonderland.

ETC 2013 Annual Meeting Falls on Jan 8th

Of all the company events during the whole year, the annual meeting, no doubt, remains the main attraction for we easytourchina team! Our 2013 annual meeting just fell on Jan 8th 2014 and was held in Jinzhongshan Holiday Resort, 48 km north of Guilin downtown. The 7- square-kilometers Jinzhongshan Holiday Resort features Longevity culture, as well as original ecological forests, karst topography wonder and nice hot spring. it was so comfortable and interesting to have the company party there!

Our gereral manager Wei was giving a speech

The meeting began with our managers’ speech, summarizing 2013’s work, expressing their gratitude to employees and motivating the passion for work, followed by dinner banquet with tasting local dishes. With the 2014 Horse Year is coming, we toasted and sent wishes to each other.

Dinner Time

And then activities time was coming! One important feature of ETC’s annual meeting was that we always paid much attention to the staff interaction and entertainment. This year, we had advertisement performance time, lottery draw time, and watched an amazing video recording dribs and drabs of the whole team’s company life made by our technical staff, winning everyone’s praise.

Performance Time

Group Picture

The next day, on Jan 9th, we hike to Tian Keng, a karst topography wonder and a nice complex of caves and stones. It is the only Karst cave in Guilin which you can go into it from the base. Hiking along it, we heard the clear water dropping, smelt the fresh air from the nature, watched the rare species from centuries ago…

karst topography wonder in Yonfu, Guilin

Tian Keng

Guilin-Beijing High-Speed Train Service Opens

Good news: China’s eight major high-speed lines project – “four horizontal and four vertical” has taken shape with several new lines’ operation on December 28, 2013, including Guilin–Beijing line, Xiamen-Shenzhen line and Shanghai-Harbin line.

High-speed Train Tours  recommended by Easytourchina

New HSR lines Open in China

China’s high-speed train

High-speed service reduces the travel time from Guilin, picturesque city in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, to Beijing from 26 hours to 10.5 hours. And Amazingly, this time there are totally four new lines opened in Guangxi. Given that Guangxi is the only region in China linked to Southeast Asia, international travelers and businessmen (especially those from Southeast Asian Nations) will also be benefited from these newly high-speed railways in easy reach of the country’s capital city Beijing or Guangxi’s other ethnic group regions, like Liuzhou and Nanning.

New HSR lines Open in China

The second-class seats of high-speed train

Another remarkable railway is from Xiamen to Shenzhen, which rails along Xiaman, Shantou, Shenzhen and other five cities in Fujian and Guangdong provinces, and connects Shanghai and Hangzhou in eastern China. Xiamen-Shenzhen high speed railway runs at 200 km per hour, and takes only 3.5 hours instead of around 12 hours before. This will surely promote the economic development along the railway and greatly alleviate the traffic pressure.

New HSR lines Open in China

The train runs at 196 km/h

High-speed railway from Shanghai to Harbin also began operation on Dec 28, cutting passengers’ travel time to less than 13 hours. It runs between Shanghai’s Hongqiao Station and frigid cities in the northeast China: Harbin, Changchun, Shenyang and Dalian…

New HSR lines Open in China

The restaurant on the high-speed train

All together 68 train services have been put on the new schedule. Now China has the largest high speed railway network worldwide with over 10,000 km of route in service (which is expected to hit 19,000 km by 2015), including the world’s longest line, the 2,298 km Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, which carries nearly 100 million people at its first year.

 

New HSR lines Open in China

The first-class seats of high-speed train)

New HSR lines Open in China

The waiting hall of Shenzhen high-speed railway station