After a fun day of climbing through the forest on top of the Zhangjiajie Avatar mountains, I was now up for more cultural inspiration so I found this little ethnic park on my way around town (Zhangjiajie). The people working there are from the ethnic minority called Tujia and they all wore the minority’s traditional clothing. When I arrived at the entrance (picture above), I couldn’t stop taking photos of these cute girls in their colourful outfits.
Zhangjiajie, also called the Avatar mountains, is a beautiful range of mountains in Hunan province of China. The national park is massive and full of stunning sights and curious monkeys (take care of your food because they’ll be there if you’re eating too obviously).
Today, I’ll take you through my trip from Beijing to Hunan’s Avatar mountains. I hope you’ll fall in love with this place as much as I did and who knows maybe you’ll even consider going there after seeing the beautiful pictures of stunning views because it is actually really easy to get around if you just prepare a bit beforehand (Get those Chinese names down on your phone to show the Chinese if you are lost at a train or bus station). Cheers!
“I arrived in the beautiful area of Qinhuangdao called Beidaihe. Most famous for hosting top-secret political meetings for the Chinese Communist Party. When I saw the place, I quickly knew why they chose to go here only a few hours from Beijing with the fast train. The beaches are white, the sky is blue, and the fresh air is such a great change from Beijing’s pollution. Furthermore, the place is also much more laid-back than the bustling metropolis.
The Chinese government is slowly opening up for free visa stop-overs. This is great because I love to come back to Beijing for a few days, say hello to friends, enjoy some noodles and then move on to my next destination. Now, it is possible for foreigners to stay in Beijing up to 72 hours without a visa. This almost sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not. I’ve done it twice now and it’s super convenient.
So I tried to talk my friend into going to China, and he seemed really excited about the idea but then he asked me ‘but what am I going to do there?’. Well, great question bro, now I’ve made a few suggestions 🙂 check it out;
Once, I tried to travel for a whole week through rural China without meeting any other travelers or just expats living in the area. I’d still chat with the Chinese people and I learned a lot of new things about their normal life and traditions but at some point, I just needed to talk to somebody who knew what I meant without me having to explain it in details. The loneliness started to catch up with me during these travels and I wondered how I could prevent me feeling miserable and forgetting to enjoy those wonders, I was traveling around to explore.
Planning a new adventure is almost the most exciting part of the whole thing. I mean you get to google the place, read about all of its amazing attractions, watch tons of pretty photos with the hashtag on Instagram and so on. But apart from the fun parts about discovering and planning where to go and what to do, it is also quite important to check these things before leaving:
Traveling with other people is an amazing way of exploring new places and share experiences about what you’ve just seen but it can also be a bit of a problem if you haven’t talked about your habits, needs and wantings throughout the trip beforehand. Traveling can be hard sometimes because you’re out doing stuff most of the time. When exploring and discovering every day, you’ll just become very tired at some point and your travel partner will probably be as well which is why it’s important to talk about how to travel together, especially how to manage situations where everyone are tired and annoyed.
The Chinese dorm is a challenge which is why I just thought I wanted to warn you before you choose the cheapest option of accommodation in a Chinese university. I thought why not stay in the cheapest dorm because then I could travel more, right? Yeah, but when staying in a cheap dorm, you kind of still have to sleep, eat and chill there…
The first time I arrived in China, I was thrilled with how fast I could make Chinese friends. It seemed like no matter where I was going, I ran straight into people who wanted to take photos with me or wanted my phone number. It was so easy to get into contact with locals and I loved the attention.