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Tourism in Wuxi, the Minor Shanghai

Initiated by Eastern China's city of Wuxi, China will soon have its own national Tourism Day. Though the exact date is yet to be decided, increasing support backs the third day of the third lunar month in honor of the great Chinese traveler Xu Jiake, who lived some 400 years ago. This date is when Xu started his famous journey around the country, and it is also the Tourism Day of Wuxi, the nearest big city to the birthplace of the great traveler in Jiangyin in Zhejiang Province. In this edition of On the Road, we'll take a trip to Wuxi, a city that is closely related to the great traveler of China. Here's our guide Wu Jia. Just 130 kilometers west of Shanghai, Wuxi is located on one of the most fertile pieces of land between the Yangtze River and the Taihu Lake. Known in ancient times as a Town of Fish and Rice, Wuxi boasts abundant aquatic and agricultural resources and is dubbed Minor Shanghai for its affluent lifestyles. With outstanding natural beauty and a history of 3,000 years, Wuxi is one of the top ten tourism cities in China, attracting millions of visitors from home and abroad each year. One of its most popular attractions, the Lihu Lake, is where the city's biggest ecological park is located. The lake got its name after the ancient scholar Fan Li, who lived some 2,500 years ago, and his girlfriend, Xishi, known as one of the top four beauties in Chinese history. The park features dozens of scenic spots, both natural and manmade, that are open to tourists free of charge. Xiao Zhao is a tourist from Hangzhou, the provincial capital. She says she is most impressed by the night landscapes at the lake. "The lake looks extremely attractive at night when the colorful neon lights reflect on the water. The giant Ferris wheel over there is clearly seen and it is marvelous." Xiao Zhou, a local resident, says this is his favorite place for leisure. "I like everything here, especially the fresh air. I come here two or three times a week, usually at night after supper. It's a great place to relax after a day's work." Lao Zhang, a tourist from Shanghai, is also enjoying the night scenery at the park. "I especially like it here in the evening, when the heat is gone and the air is filled with cool and gentle breezes. It's a good place for people to take a walk after dinner." After enjoying the night scenery, you might be hungry for some snacks to replenish you. The Qingshi Food Street is a great place to soothe the craving for delicious food and spend the rest of the night. With European architecture, the restaurants on the street provide a rich variety of different styles of foods and stacks from China and around the world. In addition to the most famous cuisines of China, customers can also find barbecue, hot pot, and ethnic minority Tujia cuisine, to name just a few. With good quality and low prices, the food here attracts visitors from home and abroad. It's also the choice of local people who dine here when they don't like to cook at home. Another food street is Beitang, located right on the Grand Canal, an ancient man-made waterway linking the northern and southern parts of the country. Characterized by local Wuxi specialties, the 700-meter-long street features 120 food stalls providing bean curd jelly, hot and sour soup and Brazilian barbecue, among others. Customers can come to eat anytime between 7 in the morning and 2 at night while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Grand Canal, one of the wonders of ancient China. If you would like to go shopping, you may go downtown to Zhongshan Street, one of the busiest shopping areas. The stores are open till midnight every day and customers can find all the world-famous chain stores and brands. You can also go to Taihu Square, also known to locals as People's Square. Decorated with neon lights, the square looks especially charming at night when filled with people of different ages roller-skating, chatting, singing and dancing in the cool breeze. Other places you can go at night include a couple of ancient temples and the bar street, a favorite place for locals and Westerners. Supported by the local government, the tourism department of Wuxi is striving to develop its cultural tourism and plans to open more tourism programs at night to attract more visitors, especially during the 2010 Shanghai Expo which starts in May.

URL:http://english.cri.cn/6566/2010/01/11/1881s541545.htm