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Sichuan cherries add to province’s flavor II

We visited the Shixiang (Stone Elephants) Lake that afternoon. About 12 kilometers from the county town by expressway from Chengdu China travel deals, the scenic area is known as one of the best places near Chengdu to admire flowers in different seasons.

The park's tulip exhibition had recently finished. But we still saw flowering patches of violet orychophragmus, iris, corn poppy and garden cosmos, spreading across the broad slope overlooking Shixiang Lake. The splash of color has attracted quite a few newlywed couples to have their wedding photos taken.

Walking down the flower-covered slope into a forest trail, you can soon descend to a dock. Buying a ticket for 30 yuan ($4.81), you can explore the lake on a paddle boat.

The lake is actually a reservoir surrounded by lush forests. The boat trip China trip offers visitors a getaway into a tranquil world created by clean water and dense forests. The only down side of the boat trip is the mosquitos on the water.

To avoid getting bitten, you can also explore the area on the ground, from a trail built along the ridge overlooking the lake.

After a trip to Shixiang Lake, we drove about half an hour to Chengjia, a township known for its tea plantations. There we had a cup of this season's green tea, which is fragrant and refreshing.

Our dinner was at a restaurant surrounded by tea trees, where we had the chance to taste the locally famous liuhe (six-flavor) fish. Hot (from chili peppers), spicy (from Chinese prickly ash), scalding (from bubbling oil), sour (from pickles), fragrant (from the mixed sauce) and fresh, the dish features slices of fish and vegetables immersed in the mixed sauce and bubbling oil. It is served in a giant steel basin. The fish is hot, spicy, tender and fragrant as its name suggests.

Our two-day trip to Pujiang ended at Xilai Old Town top 10 China tours. Dominated by buildings with black-tiled roofs, wooden structures and timber sliding doors, the riverside town offers visitors a glimpse into the region's traditional countryside life. Restaurants and teahouses line the riverbanks, where towering trees grow. Under the shade of the trees, local people drink, eat, chat and play cards or mahjong. The slow pace of life is truly attractive - I wish I could have stayed longer.

If you go

About 68 km south of Chengdu, Pujiang county is only 50 km from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. The Grande Valley Scenic Area is about 2 km from the county town. The Shixiang Lake Scenic Area is about 12 km from the county town and admission costs 60 yuan per person. The Xilai Old Town is about 13 km from the county town and 60 km from Chengdu. Quite a few restaurants in Chengjia township and the county town offer liuhe fish.

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