Fri, October 16, 2009
Lifestyle > Travel > 2009 Autumn Sightseeing

Hunt for red October

2009-10-16 08:56:58 GMT2009-10-16 16:56:58 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

Red leaves on show at Badaling section of the Great Wall.

Two visitors relax on the chair lift up Fragrant Hills.

Fragrant Hills

Colorful shades are starting to appear among the flora.

Red leaf fans are now praying for cold weather. The falling foliage of autumn is a sheer delight to color-enthralled tourists. And the Fragrant Hills in northwest Beijing is not the only place to watch this autumn's scenery.

But the real change in color happens only when a cold snap occurs, usually a drop of 10 C.

Unfortunately for red-leaf watchers, the weather experts are predicting sunny skies and 20 C temperatures for at least another week.

But when the cold change eventually comes, a 230-km belt of red leaves will appear around the outskirts of Beijing. The Red Leaves Project was started by the Beijing Forestry Bureau in 2000.

At the Fragrant Hills, the 12th Red Leaf Festival runs from this weekend to Dec 8 and tickets cost 10 yuan.

The annual event is held every fall, when all the Fragrant Hills are blanketed with fiery red leaves.

The abundance of rain this summer has promoted the growth of red-leaf trees, so the viewing time is expected to last until mid November at least.

A Fragrant Hills spokesman said the best time to see red leaves in the park was from now to early December. More than 90 percent of the leaves turn red during the period.

The park will hold a series of activities such as photography contest and poetry competition. The park is also cooperating with Fragrant Hills post office to design a series of red-leaf postcards.

During prime time last year, up to 40,000 visitors came to the park from Monday to Friday on average and the number even reached 70,000 on the weekends.

For many travelers, taking the bus from downtown to the Fragrant Hills is always a problem.

"I still remembered the first time I went to the Fragrant Hills six year ago," said Tang Xiangyang, an office worker in Beijing.

"I spent more than 2 hours on the way from Sihui to the park, even though with subway. It is terrible."

To fix the traffic problem, Beijing Public Transport Holdings said 100 additional buses will run during the festival.

Apart from the Fragrant Hills, Badaling National Forest Park is also a hot spot for visitors for both beautiful scenery of the Great Wall and red leaf.

According to He Chen, an officer of Badaling National Forest Park, the park will hold photography competitions of "Red Leaf Baby" and "Red Leaf Fairy" with the photos of babies or ladies that are related to red leaves.

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