It's natural to link Hangzhou, a city nicknamed as "heaven on earth", with all those beautiful sceneries like the West Lake and the Tiger Running Spring, etc. How about an experience of local people's daily life? Would that be as charming as the natural sceneries in Hangzhou?
Foreign visitors traveling in China might be eager to know and experience a typical and common life of a Chinese resident living today. To keep in line with such trend, Hangzhou has selected about 100 sites in the city deemed as social activity centers.
The 100 sites, regarded as social resources for international travel, are related with public service, industry and agriculture, social culture, social politics and residents' daily lives. All these social sites are open for tourists without changing their basic social functions. Institutions like the Standing Committee and the National People's Congress, Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the judicial court and the police station are included in the name list.
In 2005, the Zhejiang overseas traveling company organized 20 tour groups to visit these sites, which turned good result. In one trip, the department manager of the company Wang Wei took a group of Mexican tourists to visit Zhajiang Gudang farmers market.
The tour, which was scheduled for 30 minutes, last for nearly two hour as tourists showed great interest to a China local product, the black bone chicken, which serves as a delicious dish with some medical functions. Visitors highlighted this as the most impressive part of their trip to Hangzhou.
According to Wang, a close contact and experience about Chinese culture was what visitors needed most when they travel to China and Chinese culture was manifested in the bits and pieces of people's everyday life.
Statistics from Hangzhou tourism committee showed that from January to July, a total of 13,708 tourists from France, Germany, the United States, Mexico, Japan, North Korea and Singapore visited these social sites.
The China Youth Travel agency and its European counterpart have made joint effort to launch several new routes that cover some of these sites. It is expected that the number of international tourists paying visits to these sites will increase next year.
(Chinanews.cn September 8, 2005)