CHINA - Hangzhou, located 180 kilometres south-west of Shanghai and the capital of Zhejiang province, casts an enchanting spell.
Marco Polo described it as "the most beautiful and elegant place in the world" and a popular Chinese saying boasts "above there is heaven, below there is Hangzhou".
The serene loveliness of Hangzhou's West Lake (Xi Hu) and the surrounding hills are spellbinding. Millions of tourists visit every year to admire Hangzhou's graceful willows, tranquil waters and expansive gardens.
Hangzhou has been producing silk for centuries, and it remains one of the nation's bigger manufacturers of the fabric today. The city is home to the National Silk Museum.
United face Chinese Super League side Greentown FC at Hangzhou's Yellow Dragon Stadium, also known as Huanglong Stadium, on 26 July.
The stadium, which seats 51,000 people and was completed in 2000, is Greentown's home and was one of the venues for the Women's World Cup in 2007.
Although Hangzhou will be a new experience for United, China has been a favoured Asia Tour destination for several years. Most recently, the Reds scored nine goals in two games in Macau and Guangzhou in 2007.
Wayne Rooney has fond memories of the trip two years ago, when he scored three goals in four outings. And he's happy to have the chance to return to meet China's fanatical Reds followers.
"We've been two or three times now and it's always good to see the fans out there," the striker said. "They are all crazy about the club and the support we get from them is amazing. I'm looking forward to the tour and expect it to be another good trip."
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