Being the number one populous country in the World, it’s no surprise to find most of the international community stereotyping China with being congested with human presence and maintaining a mediocre standard of living throughout the general public. Imagination would indeed perpetuate over the perception that whether it be villages or urbanized and developed settlements, the general landscape would be sprawled with the hustle and bustle of people much like ants do in their colony. On the contrary, when it comes to exploring the entire countryside and outskirts of developed districts, there is indeed a lot to change what you typically expect from China alone.
Jiuzhaigou National Park, China: Ever heard of the story of the greedy dog? You must have, it’s one of those childhood short stories in which a dog steals a piece of meat from a butcher’s shop and watches his reflection on the water while he stands on a bridge. He thinks his reflection is another dog in an entire new ‘world’ and barks on ‘him’, only to lose his own piece of meat in the river.
When one pays a visit to the Jiuzhaigou National Park in China, he or she will be left mesmerized at the sight of an entire another ‘world’ in the river running through the Jiuzhaigou Valley. And no, it’s no reference to the reflection alone; the water bed itself has its own magic of marine life with natural rockeries and fallen trees giving it all a befitting background.
The variety of fauna on the mountains display various shades of green, with indigenous tall tree specimens forming a non-uniform tree line allowing open view to shorter trees. The clear waters are understandably a clear indication of coming in from the melting ice high up on the mountains, setting in an ambience only the spring season retains throughout the year. The valley has its own series of lakes and ponds to leave an indelible desire for any tourist to visit again. Chengdu is located to the South of Jiuzhaigou Valley, and it has the nearest international airport which facilitates cheap tickets to Chengdu from London’s Heathrow airport.
Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan: The Yangtze River passes through a spot known as the “Tiger leaping Gorge” which has attracted tourists nationwide to Yunnan province. The name comes from the fact that the downstream river in the gorge between the Yulong and Haba snow mountains gains so much velocity that when the torrential water hits the rocks head-on at the base of the gorge, the entire splash shapes an ‘arch’ above the rocks as if ‘leaping’ to surpass the obstruction.
Tracks have been established for hiking and sightseeing along the mountains on both sides with overhead bridges to cross the river. These tracks also lead through the nearby towns and villages letting you explore the local ethnic cultures and temples while on the same trail. Flat bases of rocks give you the chance to lie down just beside the splashing water, breathing in the fresh water vapor while dipping in your legs until they go numb with cold.