Travelling in Southern China
To make the most of the two months of winter holiday I had, as well to escape the bitter winter cold of Beijing, I decided to go travelling with two of my classmates to Southern China. Our first stop was the provincial capital of Yunnan, Kunming. As soon as we arrived at the centre of Kunming and went for a walk around we quickly realised that Yunnan and Beijing are completely different. For example, the pace of life in Yunnan is much slower than that of Beijing. We spent our first two days in Yunnan enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of the parks in Kunming. In Beijing, during winter time everyone must pass attention to how to keep warm, but Kunming is known as the ‘City of Spring’. This is because the weather is always comfortable in Kunming, regardless of the season! After spending two days in Kunming, we took a night train to Lijiang. From there, we immediately transferred to a bus going towards Tiger Leaping Gorge. We had arranged to do a two-day, one-night trek, but the difficulty of the trek really exceeded our expectations! However, the scenery there was stunning. Once the sky got dark and we could enjoy the night sky full of stars, I felt that the trek we had taken was worth it. Our last stop in Yunnan was Dali. Without any doubt, amongst all places I have visited in China, Dali is my favourite. Dali’s charm is hard to describe in words, but I think the distinctive features of Dali is its natural beauty. Moreover, all the locals we met there were extremely friendly.
The second province we visited in Southern China was Sichuan. When we were in Chengdu we went to see China’s national treasure, the panda. Although almost all tourists were fascinated by the tourists, I personally thought they were a bit boring because they are super lazy! Our last stop in Sichuan was Chongqing. Before visiting Chongqing, in my imagination this was a city without any personality. But in fact, Chongqing is an extremely vibrant city. When I was in Chongqing I thought to myself, there are so many first-tier Chinese cities that the average Westerner wouldn’t even recognise and would think that have nothing special about them. However, in China each city has its own distinctive feature, showing how China is an extremely diverse country.
My trip to Southern China finally came to an end and whilst on the train back to Beijing I felt extremely lucky to have this fantastic opportunity to experience different places in China and put into practise the knowledge I had acquired at university.