I recently wrote about all the places I want to travel in Sichuan. However that is not all where I’ll be going in August. I’m very excited about my upcoming freedom in 5 days and have BIG plans.
August 1rst I’ll fly to Beijing. I was going to take the train but there was a bit of a mix-up with that (My friend told me you can only buy tickets one week before hand, turns out you can buy them a month ahead of time and by the time we tried the train was sold out) so while I wasn’t planning on flying, that does give me a day and half solo in Beijing which is not the worst thing to ever happen to me.
I don’t want to see any major sites without my parents, so I plan on checking out the 798 art district, an area full of street art and modern art galleries. Its all based in old warehouses that were abandoned and then reclaimed by artists. I’m looking forwards to seeing some aspects of modern china that
don’t exist aren’t super prevalent in Nanchong. I also am craving pizza, tacos, and craft beer (My classiness is overwhelming, I know)
My parents and I plan on doing the major sites of Beijing. The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, hiking the great wall (hopefully we can get far from the crowds), Tiammen quare, the summer palace and a lot more. We’re intentionally not planning too much because
I hate planning things I’m guessing there will be a lot of things that pull our interest. We may take a daytrip out of the city or go back to hike another section of the wall… as much as there is too see in Beijing I am mostly excited to see my parents. They’re just really good parents and the people who taught me to love adventure and travel (they did raise me in Africa).
Besides the sites there are some distinct things I want my parents to see/experience. The square dancing in the park, eating hot pot (everyone in Sichuan swears the hot pot, along with all other food, will be terrible in Beijing), seeing people sleep everywhere in the afternoon, people randomly yelling hello, the old men playing chess, people doing tai chi in the mornings, and all the other unique Chinese things I’ve come to love. I’ve heard Beijing is more an International big city then it is a Chinese city so I’m very curious to compare it too my Nanchong.
I thought a lot about where to go once they leave. I could work my way slowly back to the west. I would visit the major cities, see Shanghai and Hong Kong, but I realized what I need most is not in the cities, not in historical sites, not in the crowds
I just need to be near nature. My parents leave China on Tuesday the 12th, and I’m boarding a train to Gansu province. Gansu is above Sichuan and I’ll be in Kham, traditionally part of Tibet. It will be on the Tibetan plateau, so I’ll thankfully be escaping the heat. I will go from Lanzhou, to Xiahe and then Langmusi and seeing some of the most beautiful parts of China, the foothills of the Himalayas.
Then I’ll re-enter Sichuan, visit Songpan, go to Juizhaigou, and then down to Chengdu. All these cities are supposed to be beautiful and full of hiking and horse trekking opportunities as well as being Tibetan and containing some amazing temples. I’m not planning it all out too much. If I love a place I’ll stay, I’m only going to move on when I feel ready. I’m not on mission to see as much as possible but to really enjoy each place. I just want to be in the mountains and far away from the big cities,.
If I go through these towns quickly then I’ll head out to Western Sichuan, if I go slowly I’ll spend any remaining time in Chengdu. I’m not too worried. I’ve learned not to be a greedy traveler who tries to as much as possible but to take to actually BE in a place. Clearly I have a pretty strong love of mountains (I sort of named my blog after it) and all I want to do is to breathe in clean air, feel a trail beneath my feet, and hear silence.
I’m not sure how much I’ll update the blog. I may if I have decent wifi (expect ghetto posts from my cell phone) but its not going to be a priority. If you follow me on instagram I post there… sort of a lot. If you’re not super techsavvy ( aunts and uncles, I’m looking at you guys) you can still see the photos I post by clicking that link, you don’t have to have a IG account.
I’m a little nervous heading out to these areas with nothing but a lonely planet and my horrible mandarin. It does feel a bit off the beaten path but in my experience that the harder it is to do something the more its worth it. It will be a grand adventure and after all, isn’t that the point?
Does anyone have any super good travel tips for either place? Anyone else crave mountains over cities? What’s the most exciting place you’ve ever travelled too?