Now is the time to start making those summer travel plans. Here is a list of a few offbeat destinations around China for a more intrepid family trip.
Wild Duck Lake (Ye Ya Hu)
The Beijing Wild Duck Lake (野鸭湖, Ye Ya Hu) lies northwest of Kangzhuang Town (康庄镇) in Yanqing District, northwest of the city center. The only protected wetland resort in the greater Beijing area, it is home to over 260 species of birds, making it ideal for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. Take the 919 bus from the Deshengmen bus station and switch to bus 921 in Yanqing for Ye Ya Hu (野鸭湖).
By car, take the Kangzhuang exit off the Badaling highway and follow the route for about 10 minutes.
Yuanyuang, Yunnan Province
“Our destination: the rice terraces of Yuanyang in southern China’s Yunnan Province, where dazzling colors, luxuriant terraced rice fields, elaborately-dressed women, and sweaty, shirtless men awaited.”
Red Earth in Dongchuan, Yunnan
“The brilliant red soil, the yellow buckwheats and the dramatic skies make the region around Dongchuan a paradise for photographers.”
Puzhehei, meaning “lake full of fish and shrimp,” is located 286 km from Kunming in Qiubei province and is billed as “Yunnan’s answer to Guilin” for its “charming land boasting beautiful karst land formations, lakes and the unique cultures of the Zhuang, Miao, Yi and Bai ethnic groups living there.”
Ethnic Villages in Guizhou
“A checklist: four days, three ethnic village markets, stacks of smoked dogs, and one testicle stand. Guizhou Province exuded tradition; it was China at its most authentic and at times its most eye-popping.”
Pandamonium in Sichuan
“The new China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center will be located in Huangcaoping area, about 10 kilometers from the former one. The new base is also in the Wolong nature reserve wrecked by the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in May 2008, said Huang Jianhua, the Party chief of the nature reserve administration.”
“Our visit to Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, occurred just weeks after the Sichuan Earthquake (May 12, 2008). The largest panda conservation in Sichuan – Wolong Nature Reserve – had been badly damaged by the earthquake. The Research Center just outside of Chengdu was unaffected and almost begging people to visit. During our visit, we shared the entire center with three other tourists.”
The Chengdu Panda Breeding Center
“At an average elevation of 3800 meters, Daocheng is renowned for Yading’s spectacular mountain scenery. However the scenery around Daocheng is also worth a visit. The attractive wild river valley and hills hide a number of splendid Tibetan monasteries, natural sites. Local Tibetan farmers still live in their own culture and lifestyle.”
Shunan Zhuhai (The Bamboo Sea)
“Located in the border of Changning and Jiang’an, around 70km southeast of Yibin via Changning, the extraordinary South Sichuan Bamboo Sea (“Shunan Zhuhai” in Chinese Pinyin) covers an area of 120sqkm of mountain slopes at an elevation from 600 to 1000m. In its central region, more than 5000 hectares of bamboo shelters 28 ridges and peaks, with many cultural relics and historic sites screened by the feathery green tufts. There are Bamboo Sea Museum, old folk residences on Mount Xijia and fish fossils. It is a comparatively big primeval ecological bamboo forest combining mountains, rivers, karst caves, lakes and falls with artificial scenes of long history.”
China Culture Center tours in Sichuan
“Hemu, a small village within the Kanas Lake area in the northern part of Xinjiang, is an area filled with mountains, icy lakes and grasslands, and is home to the last remaining settlement of the nomadic Tuwa minority.”
Nanxun Ancient Town
“On the list of Records of Gardens South of the Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River is Nanxun, the only town containing a total of five large gardens. Nanxun boasts numerous historic sites and enchanting natural landscapes, and has both a rich cultural heritage as well as the poetic, waterside charm seen in areas along the Yangtze.”
Check out more travel destination ideas from our Insiders Out editors here.