Want to spend a midsummer weekend drifting in the outskirts of Beijing? Here are some tips for you. The 15 km drifting course has an average depth of 15 meters; its biggest drop in elevation is only one meter. The river, famed as the East Rihne, has retained its original natural environment, making it one of the most favored attractions for ecological tours. The whole trip includes over 100 turnings, small and big. Along the river, there are such scenic spots as Lovers Island, Reed Flower Beach, and Magpie Forest.
Guihe River drifting
Useful Information: Over 400 rafts, boats and light boats are available.
Address: Yanqing County, in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing.
-- Bus 919 from Deshengmen Bus Terminus to Heliu, Yanqing.
-- You can also take Tourist Bus No.1 (from Qianmen), No.2 (Beijing Railway Station), No.3 (Dongdaqiao), No.4 (Beijing Zoo), or No. 5 (the west flank to Qianmen Gate) to get to Badaling Station and then transfer to buses for the destination.
-- Or drive along Badaling Highway to get to Yanqing and then continue the journey according to the traffic signs.
Drifting fee: 100 yuan/person.
Tanghe River drifting
The river area remains in rustic natural conditions with parse population. Its unique geomorphology attracts various kinds of bird, including species under state protection, such as white-headed crane. The river's flow is 138 meters per second, which means a boat can drift freely without any other motivation. The oars prepared are for direction control only. The widest section of the river is 200 meters while the narrowest part is 50 meters. At the four or five major turnings, the rapid currents may give tourists thrilling excitement.
In the area, there are also the Yunmeng, Ziyun and Baiquan mountains, which are all attractive scenic spots.
Useful Information: Scores of professional rubber boats, including ordinary pneumatic boats for six or two people, military scout boats for six and lifeboats for four, are ready for hiring.
Address: Tangkou Township, Huairou District in the north suburbs of Beijing.
Drifting fee: 100 yuan/person.
No.1 drifting in north Beijing
With high mountains and steep cliffs on the two banks, the section for drifting at Longtanjian, Huairou, is 13 km long. Alongside are historical relics, such as ancient plank roads built on the cliff surface, jars made of stone and a horse-mounting stone believed to have been used by Mu Guiying, an ancient heroic woman general.
Useful information: Rubber dinghies are provided.
Address: Dongyu Village in Liulimiao Township, Huairou District.
Entry ticket: 15 yuan;
Long drifting: 150 yuan/person for eight kilometers;
Short drifting: 30 yuan/person for 500 meters;
Opening hours: 8:00 AM–8:00 PM;
Traffic: Take Bus 936 from Dongzhimen or Tourist Bus No. 6 from Xuanwumen to Baichazi and then transfer to buses for Dongyu Village.
Yongding River valley drifting
The 15 km section for drifting has landscapes as attractive as that in the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. In addition to drifting, tourists can also enjoy swimming, angling, mountaineering, hunting and picnic.
Useful information: There are over 100 rubber dinghies for hiring.
Address: Gongting Township in Huailai County, Hebei Province.
Entry ticket: 98 yuan/person.
Traffic: Take a train from Beijing and get off at Lanheba Station and then walk 300 meters to the east for the destination.
Pearl Lake on the Yongding River
The drifting section on the Pearl Lake is 6 km in length. Its biggest drop in elevation is 20 meters. If you drift at 14:00 when the reservoir draws off water, you may get more thrills.
Useful information: There are 20 rubber dinghies.
Address: Mentougou District, Beijing.
Entry ticket: 60 yuan/person.
Traffic: Take a train from Beijing South (Yongdingmen) Railway Station to Zhuwo and then transfer to local mini buses for Zhenzhuhu (Pearl Lake).
Expenses: boat rowing: 50 yuan/day;
light boat: 150 yuan for a lake cruise;
Speedyboat: 50 yuan/person;
Drifing: 40 yuan for four km, 60 yuan for six km.
About Drifting Safety
1 You'd better not wear light-colored garments so as to avoid embarrassment in cases that you get wet.
2 Sandals are recommended for they are easy to get dry once wet.
3 Take only waterproof things with you. People who wear glasses should tie them up.
4 You should keep your life jacket on during the whole trip. Air leaking of a dinghy seldom happens, but once anything goes wrong, you should swim to the shore and blow up the whistle prepared on the life jacket.
5 Read the route signs carefully and drift as directed.
6 When crossing rapid currents, you should grasp the traps on the boat. People on the boat should keep its balance.
7 When a boat gets struck, remain seated until you find a good foothold.
8 Once a boat gets stranded, you should get off the boat and board it again after you push it into deep water.
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(China.org.cn by Unisumoon June 29, 2004)