JIANGXI PROVINCE, China--The People’s Republic of China is not just all about temples and modern edifices such as the famous Bird’s Nest, the national stadium where the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics were held. The fourth largest country in the world is also home to many natural heritage sites.

Notable among these ancient heritage sites is the Mount Lu in Lushan County, Jiujiang City; and the Sanqingshan Mountain in Shangrao City; both in Jiangxi Province. A magnificent view from the top of these mountains is like conquering the world.

During the 2018 Seminar for Information Officers and Journalists from the Philippines, the 21-member delegation experienced some of the most unforgettable visits into China’s hidden natural treasures, away from the busy capital city of Beijing.

On May 25, the seminar organizers and the Philippine delegation flew to Nanchang in Jiangxi, a highly-industrialized province, yet a place of many scenic views and ecological sites. The visit to the heritage parks is part of the study tour to enable the participants have a glimpse of China's culture.

In an almost three-hour drive from Nanchang, the delegation passed through the long and winding roads to the top of Lushan Mountain where old villas of early inhabitants exist--some of them abandoned and others turned into tourist accommodations.

Fresh, cool air greeted the delegation as they got off from the bus to spend the night at the old villas of former government officials.

Temperatures dropped but the cool environs blended well with the warm summer air.

Of gorges and gullies

The delegation left early the next morning for a long walk in Mount Lu in Lushan County, one of the best well-known cultural tourism counties in China.

First stop was the Violin Lake known for its gentle ripples. True to its name – the lake is shaped like a violin with the Dalin Temple in the middle.

From the bridge of the Violin Lake, one can see the Blossomy Valley located at the intersection of Dalin Peak and Tianchi Peak. From afar, it is obviously not a place for people with wobbly knees, as looking down on the deep ravine can strike fear even to someone who does not harbor fear of heights.

Down and up the concrete path of Mount Lu are more ravines and gullies. One site was overlooking the Jiujiang City.

About two kilometers walk before exiting the mountain, the delegation was told that the valleys in Mount Lu were formed by Quarternary Glacier.

Driving down the mountain, one can see rows of shops and a cinema, which was honored in the Guinness World Records for having the longest run of a film showing in one cinema. The movie, "Romance on Mount Lu”, has screened every day since its first opening in 1980.

Mount Lu has an area of some 302 square kilometers and is thought to be famous since ancient times with its flying streams, dense forest, peaks, canyons and waterfalls.

It was once a summer palace of the national government, known in ancient time as Kuanglu.

It was also here when the Communist Party of China held many meetings since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Mount Lu was included in the World Heritage List in 1996.

Rocky mountain

From Lushan is a seven-hour drive to Shangrao City, famous for its three world natural heritage and two world geological parks.

Shangrao is a tourist and a transport hub in the Eastern China region. Expressways, well-paved road, tunnels, and bridges up the mountain led the delegation to the foot of Sanqingshan Mountain.

Yu Honghu, the Director of Sanqingshan Information Office, said Sanqingshan has huge tourism resources that are waiting to be developed.

The delegation took the cable cars and ascent to the over 1,400 feet above sea level where the cable stops. Down are the lush forest, ravine, rocks and gorges.

Some parts were covered by clouds but the view was splendid. Sanqingshan is in the UNESCO Global Geopark list since 2015.

The pathways and steps are paved that make it easier for visitors to climb farther and go around about two kilometers.

On the way, stops are made for best photo shoots. One area is full of red ribbons with Chinese characters and locks – the only trace that you conquered the mountain.

Some trees are labeled with its scientific names, including an ancient tree halfway from the cable car station.

The rest stations with scenic views, is dotted with a cozy tea shop.

The walk around Mount Lu and Sanqingshan is quite a wonderful experience.

Lawyer Tristan de Guzman of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the head of the delegation,said it was hard going up the mountains, "but it's all worth it".

The two natural heritage sites are not only attractions but are the gates to the rich cultural heritage of China that has been preserved for many dynasties until the present generation.

Just like these breath-taking scenic views, the warm hospitality and generosity of the Chinese are among the qualities that attract many people to China. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)