Hangzhou Tops List Of China’s 10 Happiest Cities

Zhuhai, Changchun, Qingdao Feature On List Of Country’s Most Livable Cities

Recently, we translated Chinese-language Top Ten lists ranking China’s ten most luxurious citiesten most luxurious malls, and top online shopping markets. But this week, a new top ten list compiled by Xinhua looks less at wealth and consumption and more at livability, ranking “China’s 10 Happiest Cities.” Translation by Jing Daily team:

1. Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province): Paradise on Earth

Hangzhou, by Flickr user Westwinds_Zhou (Creative Commons)

West Lake, Hangzhou, by Flickr user Westwinds_Zhou (Creative Commons)

“There’s heaven above and Suzhou and Hangzhou below.” Heaven is the word most people use when describing this beautiful city. Hangzhou’s gorgeous landscape is graced by the world-famous West Lake and three-sided Cloud Mountain (云山). As filmmaker Wang Xiaotang once said, “When I take a step into this city, I feel sincerity, kindness and beauty. I see people coming together regardless of age, caring for and helping each other. They love the city down to every tree and every blade of grass, and care more about preserving the city’s environment than their own home.” Since 2004, Hangzhou has been voted China’s happiest city five years running.

2. Zhuhai (Guangdong Province): Casual, Half-Time Rhythm

Zhuhai, by Flickr user P U N K (Creative Commons)

Zhuhai, by Flickr user P U N K (Creative Commons)

Zhuhai is a calm, relaxing green city, blessed with a romantic living environment and a unique social atmosphere. It’s quiet and pleasant. Zhuhai’s urban environment is shaped by the casual, half-time rhythm of the city’s residents. Here, every group can find a suitable social environment, and there’s no shortage of opportunities for social interaction. You rarely see Zhuhai residents partying at a karaoke joint or in a bar, but instead you’ll see groups of people strolling leisurely down Lovers’ Road, or sipping a beer while climbing Banzhang Mountain, or hanging out by the seaside making a pot of tea, listening to the waves. Life in Zhuhai is so relaxing that it washes away the trivialities of daily life and the anxieties of work.

3. Changchun (Jilin Province): The Pearl of Old and New

Changchun, by Flickr user Sean_Marshall (Creative Commons)

Changchun, by Flickr user Sean_Marshall (Creative Commons)

People who live in Changchun are no doubt happy. It’s got great natural beauty and an ever-improving environment. From its progression from an ancient to a new city, these two contrasting forces have over time addressed the basic necessities of life for Changchun and its residents, painting a clear picture of their happy life.

4. Qingdao (Shandong Province): Life’s a Beach

Qingdao, by Flickr user Birger Hoppe (Creative Commons)

Qingdao, by Flickr user Birger Hoppe (Creative Commons)

A beautiful bay, a long coastline, a boardwalk, blue sea, a clean environment: with all of this to offer, people have no choice but to fall in love with Qingdao. Qingdao is a uniquely inclusive city, where people really care about one another. But at the same time, the city’s certainly not lacking any festive flavor, so people there have rich and colorful lives and they know how to enjoy themselves. Qingdao residents are particularly passionate, and it seems like they’re always smiling. Qingdao resident Wang Aizhen put it this way: “We’re always surrounded with happiness, because living in Qingdao, we’ve got it all. We’ve got lots of famous brands making cooking supplies, we’ve got clothing brands like RCollar (红领), we’ve got Tsingtao Beer and Jimo Lao Jiu to drink, we’ve got appliances by Haier and Hisense. We’ve got more seafood than we could possibly eat. How could we not be happy?”

5. Chengdu (Sichuan Province): Casual Atmosphere of Contentment

Chengdu, by Flickr user autan (Creative Commons)

Chengdu, by Flickr user autan (Creative Commons)

Chengdu has a famous nickname, which is, “the city you never want to leave.” Here you’ll find everyone’s mind is at ease. The overall atmosphere is very relaxed, with people making tea, playing mahjong, enjoying hot pot. The leisurely life of Chengdu residents makes outsiders green with envy. People used to criticize the backwardness of Chengdu people, but Chengdu people themselves don’t think their laid-back lifestyles are backward at all, but rather that it allows them to enjoy the better parts of life. At the same time, they haven’t forgotten about development. Chengdu’s cuisine, its relaxed atmosphere, and the warmth and hospitality of its people give everyone here a sense of growing happiness.

6. Guilin (Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region): A Beautiful Town Unmoved By Fame and Fortune

Guilin, by Flickr user Blazej Mrozinski (Creative Commons)

Guilin, by Flickr user Blazej Mrozinski (Creative Commons)

Wandering through the streets of Guilin, all eyes are smiling. Chen Yi, in a poem, exclaimed, “Had I been from Guilin, I wouldn’t need to dream of being immortal.” Guilin is like paradise with fireworks, and plants a feeling of childlike innocence into the heart of every adult who visits.

7. Dalian (Liaoning Province): A Coastal City Out of the History Books

Dalian, by Flickr user *TreMichLan* (Creative Commons)

Dalian, by Flickr user *TreMichLan* (Creative Commons)

Dalian is a football city, whose clothing brands enjoy a good reputation at home and abroad. In 2007 Dalian was voted the “most beautiful [city]: the most suitable for introducing the world to China’s famous cities,” and in 2008 the city’s tourism authorities promoted Dalian with the slogan, “Olympics in Beijing, sightseeing in Dalian.”  Everyone who stops by Dalian can’t help but develop an interest in it and try to experience some of its 100 years of unique customs. Dalian is a shining pearl of northern China, surrounded by the sea on three sides, enjoying four distinct seasons and a pleasant climate. It’s without a doubt the most livable city in northeast China.

8. Kunming (Yunnan Province): A City of Safe and Warm Nightlife

Kunming, by Flickr user ellengwallace (Creative Commons)

Kunming, by Flickr user ellengwallace (Creative Commons)

Visiting tourists often marvel, “walking down the streets in Kunming at night, looking at the Kunming natives leisurely strolling, we just know it’s a safe city.” Kunming is a happy city for a good reason; because Kunming residents themselves have plenty of reasons to be happy.

9. Changsha (Hunan Province): Charming Culture of Entertainment

Kunming, by Flickr user Steve Webel (Creative Commons)

Changsha, by Flickr user Steve Webel (Creative Commons)

Hunan TV went from the grassroots to the public, then finally exposed the spirit and style of Changsha to the nation, making the city’s culture and entertainment well known throughout China. As Hunanese Olympic champion Yang Xia said, “eating delicious Hunan cuisine, watching our wonderful entertainment programs, going to karaoke bars or enjoying a nice foot massage, makes me feel happiness all the way down to my bones.” Although Changsha isn’t as rich as its coastal counterparts, in its pop-culture, education system and so forth, Changsha people have reason to feel a unique sense of happiness.

10. Tianjin (Tianjin Municipality): Culture Imbued With History

Tianjin, by Flickr user dearbarbie (Creative Commons)

Tianjin, by Flickr user dearbarbie (Creative Commons)

As the writer Zhao Mei once wrote, “Tianjin is a historical city with 600 years of turbulence. For centuries Eastern and Western culture have collided, converged and integrated there. The city’s cultural development has been so deep and intense, Tianjin has become rich and inclusive, filling its residents’ hearts with warmth and poetry.”

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