Small-Town Stories: Suichang County, a relaxing getaway

Suichang is a county under the jurisdiction of Lishui City, in east China's Zhejiang Province, which borders Fujian Province. The county is blessed with beautiful mountains and rivers, natural and cultural landscapes, and rich tourism resources.

Suichang has 39 mountain peaks soaring above 1,500 meters. About 89 percent of its topography is mountainous, 7 percent in water and 4 percent as farmland.

Suichang County has a friendly ecological environment, with a forest coverage rate of 82.3 percent, ranking high in Zhejiang Province. It has a primitive forest rare in east China regions – the Jiulong Mountain National Natural Reserve, and the only forest park named after a county's name in China – the Suichang National Forest Park. The county has 9,260 negative oxygen ions per cubic centimeter, over six times higher than the world's fresh air standard.

In the past, life in remote mountains generally meant poverty or underdevelopment, but that has since turned into a blessing amid a national commitment to preserving verdant hills and clear waters.

The mountain road in Suichang County, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province. /CFP

The mountain road in Suichang County, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province. /CFP

Residents in this part of Zhejiang are now mining their rich historical legacy. Among the assets are traditional old villages that have managed to survive modernization.

Dushan, a village in Suichang County, is virtually free from being commercialized like some other ancient villages. It provides an authentic experience in traditional rural life, right down to its residents. Many who live there – mostly the elderly and children now – are descendants of past generations.

Visitors who stroll the streets see locals going about their business – fermenting wine, feeding fowl, tending vegetable gardens, or just sitting around for a chinwag. Although the village has access to natural gas, elderly residents still prefer to cook on traditional stoves, burning twigs and bamboo collected from nearby woods.

Another noteworthy stop in this area is Nanjianyan, more appreciated as a gem of natural beauty than as a historical site.

Nanjianyan scenic area in Suichang County, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, east China. /CFP

Nanjianyan scenic area in Suichang County, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, east China. /CFP

Suichang terraces, also known as Nanjianyan terraces, are a unique landscape in south Zhejiang with a long history. The Suichang terraces are mainly located on the Nanjianyan Mountain, west of Suichang. With mountains all around, local residents have opened up numerous cultivated terraces in line with the natural conditions and water resources. Layers of terraces are perfect combinations of lines and color blocks. Viewed from a distance, the terraces look like an abstract landscape painting. The graceful curves are the "fingerprint" of the Nanjianyan Mountain.

In addition to the Nanjianyan scenic area that locals never get tired of are Suichang Gold Mine National Mine Park, Shenlong Valley Scenic Area and Qianfo Mountain Scenic Area. There are also many niche fun activities that are worth checking in.

Also, Suichang is one of the counties with rich mineral resources in Zhejiang Province. More than 30 kinds of minerals have been found in the county, as well as more than 100 ore deposits of gold, silver, lead, zinc, cobalt, fluorite, granite and other minerals. It is the main production base of gold, silver and fluorite in Zhejiang Province.

Traveling in the mountains in Suichang, one could not only be charmed with the natural beauty, but also experience its unique culture.

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