Yuantouzhu has long been a tourist attraction even before the Ming Dynasty. There are dense forest and slender bamboos, cliffs and canyons, and rock carvings that shine with the water of Taihu Lake. It is considered to be the “Peach Blossom Wonderland” in Wuxi.

At the end of the Qing Dynasty, Liao Lun, the county magistrate of Wuxi, left inscriptions on the cliff near the lake to praise the majestic momentum of Taihu Lake. In the modern era, wealthy merchants from the south of the Yangtze River have settled here, building gardens with authentic mountains and waters, and building their private gardens with 30% humanity and 70% nature. Over time, it has become an excellent location to appreciate the water of Taihu Lake.

At dusk, it is the perfect time to stroll around Yuantouzhu. As the faint mist blurs the lone passersby, the clear lake water exudes a shade of indigo blue in the afterglow of the setting sun. With the long sails swaying afar, the waves slamming the shore, and the breeze fluttering the reeds, even time seems to stop. The sailing boat, the mountains, the island, and the sunset constitute a wonderful sense of hierarchy.

Appreciating the orchids and viewing the birds on the island is the main theme when traveling to Yuantouzhu in winter. The Jiangnan Orchid Garden collects over 500 native varieties from Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan, Hubei and Yunnan. Among the native orchids, there is no shortage of exquisite and top-quality products. For example, a small plant of “Rongmei,” a local variety, may cost thousands of bucks. Besides, as a kind of orchids, the “Western God Plum” blossoms resemble plum blossoms, which are also among the top grades.

Winter also spells the annual Bird Viewing Festival of Yuantouzhu (Turtle Head Island). With the red-headed gulls returning to their winter habitat, there are white wings fluttering in the air among the mountains and waters. With those proud heads raising towards the sky, the agility has added a touch of vitality to a quiet winter day.

People can take a cruise on Taihu Lake for a close look at the flying flocks. Under the warm winter sun, hordes of carefree red-headed gulls from Siberia cut through the calm lake. They swoop, climb, soar and frolic between mountains and rivers, adding heartfelt joy in people’s spirits.

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