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Xi'an, Shaanxi

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THERE are almost too many reasons to visit Xi’an: the historic city; the terra cotta warriors; the mouth-watering food … But this time, why not do something a bit different and choose Xi’an as your destination for a relaxed hot spring tour?

Shaanxi Province is home to hot springs with a long history. Bai Juyi, the famous Chinese poet of Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), refers to one in his famous work “Song of Everlasting Regret,” the legendary story of Emperor Xuan Zong (Tang Ming Huang) and his beloved Yang Guifei.

On a cold spring day, he bestowed upon her the honor of bathing with him at the Huaqingchi. The water of the hot springs was smooth, and washed over her pale white skin.

These words of the poet for more than a 1,000 years ago illustrate the regard with which royals held these waters in Huaqingchi, Lintong District, 30 kilometers east of Xi'an urban area. Historic records show that from Qin (221-206 BC) to the Tang Dynasty, Huaqingchi was a popular place with emperors. Now, visitors can have a glimpse of the royal life of leisure and bathe in the waters where emperors once took a dip.