Author Topic: China : NE - Winter sports and hot springs  (Read 2032 times)

Offline calvin2224

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China : NE - Winter sports and hot springs
« on: Jan 16, 12, 02:06 PM »
I had a splendid time vacationing in NE China between X'mas and New Year's Day. The proposition is this:

1) Skiing.
Instead of the usual Japan, Korea or even Australia in the region, why not NE China?
I was at the Guaipo International Ski Resort located an hour outside Shenyang. I paid 180 Yuan to be picked up by their daily coach in Shenyang. This day package included city transfer (to-and-fro), rental of locker, ski boots, skis, poles and a simple lunch. Ski clothing, including goggles can be rented additionally. The equipment was newly unpacked, and the resort was in good condition. In fact, the ski season was at its 4th day when I arrived. The facilities were up-to-date and the conditions were fantastic. There were instructors on hire to the tune of 180 Yuan for single instruction for 1 hour. Ski-boards and also their instruction are also available. Standards are comparable to those in France and Switzerland. I shall certainly go back. Unfortunately the resort does not allow overnight stays. In any case, there were several pick-ups for other resorts in the area where I waited for the coach in the morning. There are ski resorts scattered throughout NE China, like around colder Harbin.

2) Hot springs & thermal baths.
Another attraction I discovered were the thermal baths outside Dalian. For 129 Yuan, a coach picks you up in the city for the 1.5 hour ride to the hot springs resort. Think of a huge water park that includes a cavernous hangar-like building that protects visitors from the climate outside. Within the building, there is an Olympic-sized swimming pool, restaurant facilities, resting rooms housing minerals which give medicinal properties, water slides and a good many baths. I came across a ginseng bath, a foam bath, an essence oil bath and also a herbal bath. The mineral rooms are for visitors to rest within, like for instance, the oxygen room improves circulation; the crystal room refreshes oneself. There are the usual bath facilities within the changing room, where back-scrubs, steam rooms and saunas are provided. I counted 9000 lockers in the Phase II of the facility alone. Only this portion of the facilities are segregated by gender. One can spend a full day with family and friends there.
The actual highlight of the visit for me was the outdoor area. Water from the hot springs are piped into pools in the open. I had my unique experience of soaking in naturally hot water in the open while it snowed. The hot water from underground is also piped into a bottling plant next door for bottled mineral water. I had such a good time scouring the area for attractions, I forgot to visit the TV and massage lounges. I fell asleep in the oxygen room. The bus pickup for the trip back to the city would leave at 4pm.

3) Dandong.
This border town bases its fame on its relations with its neighbour North Korea. Spread out especially along the Yalu River, are sites which remind of its role in the Korean War and its border town status. Authentic North Korean shops and restaurants line the riverfront. These are owned and run by the DPRK. The waitresses within are selected for the poise and political reliability. Unfortunately I had no time to visit these places, for I spent half a day visiting sites along the riverbank, like walking on the broken bridge that extends across the Yalu to where the border demarcation is. The day I visited was the day of the state funeral for Kim Jong-Il. I suppose that was why the border was closed. All traffic consisted of a few trucks and trains going one-way towards the DPRK. I could see that river cruises are available and these bring visitors closest to the opposite bank, short of touching shore. The North Korean border town of Sinuiju was deserted, it seemed, from any vantage point I looked. Interestingly, the Ming Great Wall extended to the Yalu just outside Dandong. This end of the Great Wall of China was recently restored.

« Last Edit: Feb 20, 12, 03:10 AM by Karel »

Offline tanjem

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Re: China : NE - Winter sports and hot springs
« Reply #1 on: Mar 18, 13, 02:38 PM »
great stuff. pls share more with me at tanjem@hotmail.com.
I planning harbin trip in jan 2014. ;)