The first railway stop south of Beijing, Baoding had served as a gateway to Beijing. The name itself means “safeguarding the capital”. Its major attractions are natural landscapes and WWII sites.
Baiyang Lake in Anxin County, the largest lake on the northern China plain, is one spot combining both natural beauty and war history. The area is named after the largest of 146 lakes created by the irrigation canals and ditches crisscrossing the expanse of water and reed-filled marshland. It is described as the Venice of Hebei Province. Boats are the main form of transportation for locals and visitors alike. Visitors can rent a motorboat to tour the marshland, lush with lotus blossoms, water chestnuts and water lilies. The story of how locals took advantage of the lakes and marshlands to fight off invading Japanese was adapted into the film “Baiyangdian”, making it famous throughout China. Xibaipo and Ranzhuang Tunnel are the two war remnants here that history enthusiasts will want to see.
A day’s trip in Baoding can start with a tour in the Office of Zhili Governor-General from the Qing Dynasty, the last dynasty of China. It is like a museum where you can see how a government office was arranged and the typical layout of a house. After this you can rent a car to go to Baiyang Lake. On arrival, you can find a restaurant to enjoy a fresh fish meal and then go boating along the intertwined waterways.
Tourism is not a major business in the city so be aware that facilities for tourists are limited. . You can request transfer services with a hired car and driver from China Highlights.
Shijiazhuang, in the center of Hebei Province, is one of the most developed cities in northern China. It’s great development began in 1902 when it was chosen to be a stop on the railway built by France and Belgium. It remains an important traffic hub today due to its proximity to Beijing. The city itself is another one of China’s modern cities with tall buildings and busy streets, but two of its towns are home to a few of the world’s precious treasures.
In historical Zhao County, 50 km from the city center, Anji Bridge (also known as Zhaozhou Bridge) spans the Jiao River. The bridge is the world's oldest open-spandrel stone segmental arch bridge, constructed in the years 595-605 during the Sui Dynasty. It is the most famous historical site in this county but not the only one. The Tuoluonijing Tower, a religious structure sculpted out of granite upon which Buddhists carved scriptures, was built in the year 1038 with exquisite sculpturing techniques that hold important artistic value today. Bailin Temple is another popular spot. It was first built in Han dynasty and experienced rises and falls in its long history. A cypress inside the temple that is more than one thousand years old draws numerous pilgrims.