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White Water Terraces

White Water TerraceThe White Water Terraces aka Baishui Tableland (the wonder formed by calcium carbonate sinter), is approximate 90 kilometers from the center of Zhongdian County (Shangri-La). It is located in the Bai people village at the foot of Haba Snow Mountain. The terrace slope is 140 meters in length and 160 meters in width, with a semicircular platform pool on the top surrounded by white limestone.

White Water TerraceThe spring water runs down from the top row after row to the bottom, like a white terraced fields. The cream color spring water leaves people a picture of " thousands of clouds tides and snow waves ". Previously, the spring water was carbonic acid spring water, containing great amount of pure calcium carbonate elements. Accumulating over years, it has become the present extraordinary Baishui Terrace. Opposite the Baishui Terrace, there is a Shiluo Cave. As it is told from a legend that the Dongba Shiluo, the master priest of Naxi Dongha culture once practiced self - cultivation in this cave.

White Water TerraceOn every February 8 of the lunar year, the Naxi people living in the Sanba gather to celebrate the traditional February 8th Festival with presentation of dances and songs. Tourists are attracted to participate in this folk holiday while enjoying the wonderful landscape of Baishui Terrace. What fun it is to make a trip there!

Reasons to say that Baishui Terrace is special
Terraces like those of Baishui are one of nature's most remarkable creations.  The formations vaguely resemble a frozen cascading series of short waterfalls - and the wet terrace walls have a white jade like glow. The half circular pools of water that fill the shallow basins behind the terrace walls lend a serene visual touch (see photo).

1. Creation
The terraces gradually formed over hundreds of thousands of years. Running spring water rich in bicarbonate calcium left behind the calcium sediment that built the terrace walls and basins molecule by molecule.

2. Color
Calcium is white, but the terraces of Baishui are creamy white and sometimes streaked yellowish brown. Reason: The flowing spring water deposited other dissolved minerals besides the calcium.

3. Dimensions
Dimensions: The Baishui Terrace runs 130 meters (430 feet) down its mountain slope and extends some 150 meters (500 feet) at its broadest point.

4. Altitude
Baishui Terrace is 2400 meters (7900 feet) above sea level.

5. Misnomer
The name "Baishui Terrace" is a misnomer. Many terraces compose this natural wonder (see photo).

6. Pamukkale
The world's other outstanding calcium terrace formation is Pamukkale in Turkey. It is similar in appearance to Baishui Terrace, though its overall hue is more pristine white. Both formations are Hillman Wonders.

7. Walking Advice
Wear shoes with good traction when walking over the terraces - they can be slippery wet.

8. Nearby Festival
Some travelers plan their visit to the Baishui Terrace when the nearby Naxi ethnic villages hold their annual folkloric festival featuring traditional dances and songs.  It occurs on the 8th day of the second lunar month (which occurs in February 90% of the time).

9. Nearest Major Cities
The Baishui Terrace is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Zhongdian city, which is some 700 kilometers (420 miles) northwest of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province.

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