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Longqing Gorge Natural Scenic Area

The Longqing Gorge Natural Scenic Area is located 10 kilometers northeast of the county seat of Yanqing. Known as "Lesser Lijiang river outside the Great wall" and "The Small Three gorges of China," it is one of Beijing's top 16 tourist sites. Longqing Gorge covers an area of 119 square kilometers. The main scenic spots include the largest dam in Northern China-a concrete dam more than 70 meters high. Here tourists can see waterfalls in summer and icefalls in winter.



The 7-kilometer tourist boat scenic area has pleasant scenery. The river is flanked by cliffs, and along the river tourists can enjoy more than 30 spectacles such as the stone screen on water and ax-split mountain. Longqing gorge combines the delicateness of the south and the boldness of the north. In summer the average temperature here is 6.4 degrees lower than downtown Beijing, and is 0.8 degree lower than the Imperial summer Resort in Chengde. In winter, the period where everything is frozen is longer. Every year between January and February the Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival is held. This year the 12th festival will be held.

Tourists can tour the scenic area in a day. In the morning, tourists arrive at the mouth of the gorge by bus. They walk along the gorge for 20 minutes to the dam, where they can take the 258-meter elevator to the top of the dam. The elevator was built in 1996. Since it is shaped like a dragon, it is named the "Soaring Dragon" Elevator, and it is included in the Guinness Book Of Records for its length.



At the top of the dam tourists can walk along a winding mountain path in order to get a spectacular panoramic view of the lake. Tourist ships run at an interval of 10 minutes for touring the gorge. Tourists can enjoy the views from the ship, and can also stop and visit historical sites along the way. Among them is Jingang Temple, built during the song Dynasty, which attracts tourists interested in knowing something about the legends that surround it. At Jingang Temple, there is a new entertainment item-traveling across the gorge on a steel cable between the mountaintop and the bottom of the gorge. It take 30 seconds to slide over the water to the platform, and it's a thrilling experience.

It takes two to three hours to tour all the scenic spots along the river. After that, tourists return to their starting pint and then leave the boat to visit Baihua (Hundred Flowers) Cave. In the scenic area there are restaurants that cater for budget travelers as well as those who really want to splash out. If you want to stay in the great outdoors there are also plenty of good spots for a picnic. In the afternoon, tourists go back to downtown Beijing by bus.




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