Wtown develops summer offerings

Beijing Wtown has developed fun packages for summer vacationers.

The water town in northeastern Beijing’s Miyun district kicked off a series of summer programs with a nighttime reading session, hosted by such Chinese celebrities as actress Wang Luodan and singer Cheng Fangyuan in early June.

The event took place on the Simatai section of the Great Wall and was part of the attraction’s efforts to integrate natural landscapes with cultural experiences.

“Staging the reading activities on the Great Wall under the starry night sky is one of the ways we’ve developed to break the mold of conventional Great Wall visits,” says Zhou Jianhong, a sales manager with the water town.

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The destination sits at the foot of Simatai and features architecture with elements from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

It covers an area of about 9 square kilometers and offers sightseeing, leisure and art experiences.

It developed night tours of the Great Wall in 2016, which have drawn many tourists.

Visitors can take a lantern to hike on Simatai, and enjoy fountain and dance shows along the way.

They can also soak in hot springs.

“Our rooms have been almost fully booked during weekends and major holidays in summer over the years,” Zhou says.

Over 300 tour groups have booked summer packages, she says.

Most are families and couple. The summer packages are priced at around 1,000 to 2,000 yuan ($145-$290).

Cycling and yoga taught by Indian masters on the Great Wall are new experiences.

Summer visitors can also enjoy camping, a beer market, jazz and church-choir performances.

The night show, featuring traditional lanterns and flying drones, has been popular since it was launched last year, Zhou says.

Guests can also eat breakfast and swill afternoon tea on boats, or join swimming-pool parties.

Children can enjoy bubble baths and foot races, and learn how to make tie-dyed cloth, kites and lanterns.

Shi Yanfang, who has made kites for over three decades and teaches visitors ranging from kids to celebrities, says kites are “a form of culture”.

Indeed, the summer offerings may mean that travel to Wtown will heat up in the warm season.

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