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Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Next Chinese Travel Destinations

When I was in China, I lived in/traveled to a few different cities - Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinchang, Xi'an, Huan Xian, Tianshui, Guangzhou, and Yinchuan.

But that's only a really, really small sample of where I want to go. There are all kinds of beautiful places around China that are just calling my name! When I get back, I'm going to try to visit every single one of them. These aren't really in any particular order.

1. Qinghai Lake (pronounced Cheeng Hi), Qinghai Province


This place is pretty close to where I was at in Lanzhou, but I unfortunately didn't get the chance to visit. It's a really well-known place and a lot of people in the Northwest go to visit it during their school vacations, although from Lanzhou, it would make a good weekend trip! (so I'm told)

This is what it looks like during the early summer - I don't know about you, but this looks like paradise. It's completely unlike anything I saw in China.


Qinghai also has really, really great food (so I've heard), so that's another great reason to go!







2. Tianchi (Heavenly Lake) - Xinjiang Province

Heavenly Lake is in the far-west province of Xinjiang, or as Poise On Arrows puts it, "The New Tibet" hahaha

Seriously, though. She's got an awesome blog, check it out! (it's actually way better than mine)

Anyway, back to it!




3. Dunhuang Grottoes - Gansu Province

The Dunhuang (pronounced "Dune Hwong") Caves are home to the most famous Buddhist carvings and sculptures in China.

The oldest caves were dug out in 366 A.D. for meditation and prayer purposes and the rest of the cave paintings/sculptures span a period of over 1,000 years! Freakin cool!


Seriously, this is sweet.

You don't have to be a Buddhist to appreciate the beauty of the sculptures and the intricacy of the paintings. You don't have to be an artist or a laborer to appreciate how long it took the ancient Chinese to carve out the 492 caves that dot the site.


Lakes like Tianchi and Qinghai are cool and everything, but there are beautiful lakes all around the world.

Places like Dunhuang are places that are unique to the indigenous culture and can't be found just around the corner. I had the chance to go to Maiji Mountain in Tianshui, which is like a smaller scale Dunhuang, and I was struck by the true awesomeness of the place. Awesome like "full of awe" and not like "fried rice is awesome" (though it is).

Read my post about Maiji Mountain here.


4. Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve - Sichuan Province

Jiuzhaigou (pronounced "Geo-Jie-Go") is probably the most famous nature reserve in China.

This is a picture of Five Flower Lake, which is famous for the crystal clear water in which you can see the trees that have fallen into the water over the years.

Jiuzhaigou is a valley, so naturally, it's surrounded by mountains.


I've been to a lot of beautiful places, but this is honestly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, and that's just from pictures!!

I can't imagine what it would be like to go there.

The only problem with this park is that it's in Sichuan Province, which sometimes closed off to foreigners for one reason or another.

The government doesn't announce it either. You can just be on your bus or your train and then the police will stop you and say, "You are a foreigner. Travel to Sichuan is closed to foreigners for the moment due to ethnic tensions in the area", which is a bullsh*t excuse, because Sichuan is a really safe place. If you're going to go, take a Chinese friend who can negotiate with the police. If they're even decently savvy, they can help you talk your way in. After that, it's smooth sailing!


When you get there.....oh boy, wow.

Seriously, just look at that.

I cannot wait to go and see this!!!!

These particular falls are 320 meters long and are usually more full than this --- this is a picture taken during somewhat of a dry spell.

Still, how cool is that?



This is the 长海, or Long Lake, the deepest lake in the valley.



I don't have to say anything -- you can see how awesome this is.


5. Kashgar - Xinjiang Province

Kashgar, as you can see in this map, is waaay out in western China. It's pretty much as far west as you can go......and I thought I was in a remote area in Lanzhou!

It's almost in all of those Stans - Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and all of those -- and you can tell by the pictures!


Actually, I had only heard the place mentioned once while I was in China, but after I got back, I started reading a blog by this Australian girl called "Poise On Arrows" and she put up a great series of posts about this city in this far-flung area of China.

It took me all of half a post to be entranced by the sheer "Un-Chinese-ness" of the place, according to the idea of China that I had in my mind.


Seriously, it freakin looks like Lawrence of Arabia or something -- and geographically, it's pretty much the Middle East.

It's so culturally different from all the places that I have been been --- can't wait to check it out!



It's definitely not all bright and polished like Beijing and Shanghai, and those are the places that I really love!

How cool would it be to hang out in a place like this??

There's so many unique aspects of these kinds of places -- the language is different, the dress, the food, the downtime activities, traditional customs, everything!



Check that out! Looks like something out of the movie "Alexander"!

There's the Middle Eastern style doors, and the sign next to the door is written in Arabic, not Chinese!

Can't wait to go.






The world is a big, wonderful, beautiful, and culturally diverse place. There's so many people and places out there that we have no idea even exist, let alone what they go through on a daily basis.

We, (or Americans, at least), get caught up in the idea that we are the greatest country on earth, and (subconsciously) think that since we are the greatest, we don't really need to be culturally informed about other places.

I can't wait to go back to China and be thrown into a place that's totally foreign, and, at times, awkward, disgusting, and frustrating! There's so much to learn and so much to see!!!



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3 comments:

  1. Hi all...

    China has become an increasingly popular travel destination, and thus more and more people are flying to China for business or sight-seeing reasons. It is an ancient and mysterious land that has always been appealing to foreign visitors. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Its working good. I am interested to using in my click on this links

    ReplyDelete
  3. "We, (or Americans, at least), get caught up in the idea that we are the greatest country on earth, and (subconsciously) think that since we are the greatest, we don't really need to be culturally informed about other places."
    As a Country, this is your biggest flaw, Americans (USA) in culture are among the most dumb (without being offensive), most times when is new for an "American", is old school for us Europeans and is Prehistoric for Chinese. i love your blog.

    ReplyDelete

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