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8 wonderful wetlands

Xixi National Wetland Park

Photo: Jacques Chiang/Flickr

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Xixi National Wetland Park

Xixi National Wetland Park is China's only official National Wetland Park. Located in Hangzhou, a city in east-central China near Shanghai, the park is one of the easiest attractions in the country to reach. Hangzhou's natural scenery inspired many traditional Chinese landscape paintings, and Xixi has more than its share of these iconic panoramas. The park is crisscrossed by navigable waterways, with lakes, smaller ponds and wetlands in between the natural canals. Popular tourist sites are located throughout the park, and many can be reached only by boat. Because of its status and history — the bridges, villages and especially scenic islands are as much of an attraction as the nature itself — Xixi is a popular destination for domestic tourists. Willow, plum and bamboo trees dominate the landscape, while egrets, kingfishers and pheasants are among the winged residents. Crabs, carp and shrimp sit below the murky surface of the waterways.