China off the beaten path profile (2)

China; Off the Beaten Path

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China is certainly an awesome travel destination. It has a lot to offer. You can hike the great wall in Beijing, tour the Bund in Shanghai or enjoy tantalizing cuisines in Sichuan and Guangzhou.

A visit to China depicts a fast-paced life, high rising skyscrapers as well as a vibrant nightlife. Similarly, it is usually associated with massive shopping, dining, and general ultra-modern city life. China is abuzz with activity. It is undergoing rapid development. However, we often forget to visit the quiet countryside of China. The mountainous regions, with silently flowing rivers. Areas inhabited by China’s ethnic minorities. The food baskets of China where rural life is bliss. Even more, these places offer serenity and the beauty of natural scenery.

Next time you plan on touring China, consider getting off the beaten path. Get away from the busy and crowded city life. Even more, have a breath of fresh air, away from the compromised air quality in the cities. Further, it provides a great chance to interact with local minorities — an opportunity to learn their languages, tradition, and culture.

Here are some places you could visit.

Yunnan Province

Yunnan is home to 25 minority ethnic groups. This makes a perfect blend and culture. Most noteworthy, locals here do not speak in Chinese Mandarin. You could use an interpreter or a bit of gesture to understand each other. The mountainous terrain in Yunnan presents the perfect place for those who love hiking. Visitors can hire electric bikes and ride along the Vietnam border. Even more, spend your nights in the villages dotting Yunnan province. Locals are warm and friendly to foreigners.

Also, visit Kunming or the “Spring City”. Kunming has lovely weather and beautiful nature. Its bright ambience explains why it is also called spring city. Likewise, take your time and tour Lijiang. This is where the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain sits. It has beautiful snow-white peaks. Even more, locals entertain visitors at the base of the mountain. They perform cultural songs and dances


Xinjiang is an autonomous region. Therefore, this is a region that sometimes experiences political and ethnic tension. However, it is still a safe place to live and visit. Further, the government has reinforced military presence and security measures.

The Uygur and Hui minorities are the main inhabitants of Xinjiang province. They are staunch followers of the Islamic religion. Thus, there is a strong Muslim culture in Xinjiang. Food, dressing and religious practice all gravitate towards Islam.

Take a tour to Kashgar, the largest city in Xinjiang. Further, China’s largest mosque sits here. Mingle with the locals as you enjoy their local cuisines. Additionally, the Tianshan Mountains are a sight to behold! Beautiful rocky cliffs and yurts line the mountains.

Even more, Yarkent will give you in-depth knowledge of the history, culture, and traditions of Xinjian. Besides, you could visit the open-air market here. The traders deal in animals and animal products.


Tibet is the perfect place for outdoor activities. The Tibetan Plateau is at higher altitudes. Hence, for hikers who love a challenge, this is the place. Like Xinjiang, Tibet is equally autonomous. Touring this region requires permits and tour guides. This is to ensure maximum safety for foreigners. Therefore, it is advisable to take a group tour when visiting Tibet.

Take the long return trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu. Also, it presents a chance to hike up Mount Everest if you wish. If possible, explore a bit of Nepal, the neighbouring country. If you need to unwind, do so at Qinghai Lake in Xining. Enjoy local cuisines as you acclimatize to the high altitudes. Moreover, Tibet is picturesque. Take as many beautiful photos as you wish.

Pro tip: A tour of Tibet requires preparation. Avoid alcohol and coffee a week or two before you go. Take preventive medicine; change in altitude could cause a reaction in your body.



Besides the beautiful Karst scenery, there is so much to see in Guilin. The Li River stretches 83 kilometres, linking Guilin and Yangshuo. Its waters shine and sparkle in the sunlight. You will get a good view when you take a cruise boat to Yangshuo and back.

Yangshuo is a small village town 65 kilometres from Guilin. Visitors may access it using cruise boats from Guilin. Furthermore, there are plenty of activities to engage in. Enjoy biking, rafting, rice field tours and hiking in Yangshou.

It has a breathtaking and peaceful rural scenery. Also, rice paddies and terraces beautifully lace this mountainous province. Guilin is the perfect place for photography and hiking experiences.


Harbin is also called the ice city. It gets to the freezing point during winter. Thus, it is best to visit this city in winter. Ice festivals and snow sculpturing are common here. These festivals last all season until the snow melts.

Most noteworthy, Harbin has a large number of Russian inhabitants. As such, a visit to Harbin exposes you to a blend of Russian and Chinese culture. Further, go on and shop in the Chinese-Russian markets.

Pro tip: When travelling to Harbin, pack warm clothing. Temperature drops to -20oC.

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