Author: waiboshu

China's breathtaking countryside [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-11-4 10:03:35 |Display all floors
7. Larung Gar Buddhist Institute, Seda, Sichuan Province (四川省色达县喇荣五明佛学院)

Holy land for Tibetan Buddhists.

Thousands of red wooden dormitories in the lush mountains of rural northeast Sichuan form one of the world’s largest Buddhist monasteries, Larung Gar Buddhist Institute.

Sprawling across approximately four square kilometers at 4,000 meters above sea level, the "Buddhist metropolis" houses more than 10,000 disciples, who practice Nyingma, a major school of Tibetan Buddhism. Most wear traditional red gowns.

Located in the Tibetan-inhabited part of Sichuan, the secluded Buddhist campus can be reached only after hours of bumpy riding on mountain roads. Nevertheless, Chan considers it her hands-down favorite destination in mainland China.
Getting there: Seda County is about 600 kilometers northwest of Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan.
The Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Station (成都茶店子客运站) has one bus bound for Seda every day at 8 a.m. The journey costs RMB 144 and takes approximately 14 hours. Larung Gar Buddhist Institute is about 20 kilometers outside Seda town.
International travelers to Seda do not need a Tibet Alien travel/PSB permit, but regulations often change regarding permits to enter this region. It’s advisable to consult a China state-owned travel agency before planning a trip.

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Post time 2012-11-4 10:03:55 |Display all floors
8. Zhouzhuang, Kunshan, Jiangsu Province (江苏省昆山市周庄)

Canal charm in eastern China.


One of the most iconic water towns in the country, Zhouzhuang provides a window to eastern China before highways, cars and skyscrapers took over the Yangtze River Delta region.
Canals lace the millennium-old town, marked by late Ming Dynasty architecture and batik-clothed gondoliers (most of whom are middle-aged women).
Don’t expect this view in daytime -- the 2.7-square-kilometer town gets swamped by 25,000 tourists on an average day.
If you stay the night, you’ll be able to experience the peaceful side of the town in early morning and after sunset.
Getting there: Zhouzhuang is some 80 kilometers west of Shanghai. Shanghai Tourism Distribution Center organizes day trips to Zhouzhuang and other nearby water towns every day. Bus journeys to Zhouzhuang take 90 minutes each way and cost RMB 130 per person.
Admission to the mountains costs RMB 100.

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Post time 2012-11-4 10:04:21 |Display all floors
9. Flaming Mountains, Turpan, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (新疆吐鲁番火焰山)

The hottest place in China.

Near the Taklamakan Desert and stretching about 100 kilometers, the sandstone Flaming Mountains are the hottest place in China in summer.
Average temperatures in July and August boil to at least 40 C with the ground temperature reaching nearly 80 C -- it takes about 20 minutes to fry an egg on the ground.
Fissures on barren rocks can make the mountains look like solid flames.
The living hell, however, is one of Xinjiang’s most popular tourist spots due to its connection with the Monkey King. In the classic novel, "Journey to the West," China’s very own superhero is said to have put out an immense fire with a palm-leaf fan.
Getting there: The Flaming Mountains are 30 kilometers east of Turpan city, which can be reached by long-distance bus from Urumqi’s South Bus Station. The journey takes around two hours and costs less than RMB 30.
From Turpan, either hire a private taxi or join a day trip to the Flaming Mountains. There is little public transport available between Turpan and the mountains.  
Admission to the mountains costs RMB 60.
Admission to the park costs RMB 110.

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Post time 2012-11-4 10:06:00 |Display all floors
10. Qilian County, Qinghai Province (青海省祁连县)

An oil painting by Mother Nature with rapeseed and wheat farms.

Chinese call this view "heaven's environment" (天境). "God's country," if you will.
The country's best landscapes seem to assemble in this multi-ethnic plateau county: snow-capped mountains, sweeping grasslands and thick forests.
Approximately 3,500 meters above sea level, Qilian is one of the most ecologically diverse regions in China.
Rapeseed and wheat farms alternate in the fields, creating a bright oil-painting-like pattern when viewed from the highlands.
Located at the foot of Qilian Mountains and on the former Silk Road, the area is home to ethnic minorities, including Tibetan, Mongolian and Hui.
Getting there: Qilian County is about 280 kilometers northwest of Xining, provincial capital of Qinghai. The Xining Bus Station despatches buses bound for Qilian every day until noon. The journey takes about six hours and costs around RMB 55.

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Post time 2012-11-4 10:06:38 |Display all floors
11. Yellow River Stone Forest, Jingtai, Gansu Province (甘肃省景泰黄河石林)

Stone spectacle above the Yellow River.


These awe-inspiring rock pillars can be found along the banks of the Yellow River in northwest China. They form a 50-square-meter geological park.
Formed approximately 210 million years ago, the columns originally stood as high as 200 meters. Most pillars are 80-100 meters high nowadays.
Chan says the stone forest park is one of the least-visited tourist destinations in China, making it ideal for travelers who like exploring China off the beaten path.
She recommends touring the rock posts via donkey cart, the preferred local mode of transportation.
Getting there: Yellow River Stone Forest Geological Park is located in Jingtai Town, about 100 kilometers northeast of Lanzhou, provincial capital of Gansu. Public buses are available between Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport and Jingtai Town, then to Jingtai and the rock pillar scenic zone.

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