China off the Beaten Track – Discover the Soul of the Eastern Kingdom

china of the beaten track

China is so much more than Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Trust me, I know it. I have travelled over 6 weeks through different provinces and still haven’t even seen half of it.

Right now I am living in Jiangsu and before in Shandong, but even in these provinces are still some places I haven’t seen yet, which are still on my list.

If you come to China for more than 2 weeks, I would suggest you instead of going from one tourist hotspot to the next tourist hotspot, pick a province which you are interested in and discover it.

Distances are big and otherwise you will just lose time and money by traveling far and not being able to actually understand the different regions.

Because China’s provinces sometimes vary as much as a whole country, the food is different, the clothing and the history.

This is why I want you to travel China off the beaten track.

I want you to try to discover China’s soul. GO to places so surreal that one would expect dragons to fly over the mountains or to old ruins where you can walk through thousands of years of history.

Stroll through tiny water towns, Moslem markets in a country without official religion, eat yourself through China’s most spicy food or enjoy the delicate and fresh southern cuisine around Hong Kong.

The list is endless.

I always think I would need at least 6 month of traveling to actually discover each corner of this huge country and still be missing out on gems.

So where should you start? (alphabetical order)

How about getting some Inspiration first before we start going into detail with the different provinces.

And there is no better place to get your inspirationfix then checking out Becky’s and Grey’s Blog, ” The Global Grasshopper”10 most beautiful places in China you’ve never heard of.

 

Ok now it’s time to get started!!!

Anhui

Close to Shanghai, this Province shouldn’t be missed. Especially one Mountain!

  1. Huangshang- China’s most beautiful mountain (acording to the poets)

 

Heilongjiang

This is as far north as you possbily can go and I am sure there are plenty more awesome places, but I sadly just have been to Harbin, which is a great trip, especially if you are here during the Winter Season.

Harbin Ice festival

 

  1. Harbin- A Ice Festival and -25 degrees Celsius

 

Henan

Famous for the Shaolin Temple and with a couple more secret spots. There is more coming, so check back here if you are interested in this province. Right now I sadly have just one post.

  1. Kaifeng – Chinas Street Food Capital
FOOOOOOOOOD...my favorite thing ever, grilled Squid ^^
FOOOOOOOOOD…my favorite thing ever, grilled Squid ^^

 

Hunan

Hunan has a load to offer. But nobody ever goes there. It is a bit of the main attractions and maybe not the easiest to reach, but it is totally worth it.

IMG_9033-1024x683

Picture taken by Andrew, @passportchronicles.com

And while you are already there, please take the time and hike Mount Heng.

I will let Andrew from Passport Chronicels explain why. And while you are already in the Area, check out his list of 101 things to Do in China, which also includes Changsha, Hunans capital and Fenghuang another charming city in Hunan.

  1. 8 Reasons to climb Mount Heng!
  2. Changsha, Fenghuang and 101 things to Do in China

 

Jiangsu

Survival Tips for Chinese Beaches beach

Well one could say I have taken this province apart as well as I could. After living in it for more then half a year. Shanghai is part of it, which means all of these places are easily reached from the city, whenever you are in need for a change of scenery.

  1. Tongli- Tiny Watervillage set to capture your heart
  2. Nanjing – Follow Politics Footsteps
  3. Hangzhou – Heaven on Earth
  4. Qibao Old Town- Yes even Shanghai has something of the Beaten Track
  5. Lianyungang – Beaches and the Monkey King Mountain

 

Qinghai

Never heard of this Province before? Welcome in the club, me neither, nor did I know that there is one of Chinas biggest Mosques.

unspecifiedWH25NNWY

But then leave it to Megan, from mappingmegan.com, to enlighten you and show you one of the real Chinese treasures off the beaten track.

Visiting the most famous mosque in China/ Xining

If those pictures don’t want to make you visit, I don’t know what could. Thanks to Megan @mappingmegan who allowed me to use some of her gorgeous pictures.

 

Shaanxi

14202928_10153727311901976_517538204_o-1024x834

Taken by Claire @clairesfootsteps.com

Well everybody know about Xian, but there is a tad more in Shaanxi. Ever considered to climb China’s most dangerous mountain? Follow Claire from clairesfootsteps.com who lived to tell the tale 😉

  1. Is climbing Mt. Huashan dangerous?

 

 

Shandong

Another Province I lived in and now can say I have seen most of it. Sadly I never dared to go deeper into the country side. I will add new posts to this lovely province once I published them. Here are all the places I consider China off the Beaten Track.

..cloudy improves if you make the picture black and white :P
..cloudy improves if you make the picture black and white 😛
  1. Taishan- Another holy mountain
  2. Dai-Temple – For those that have more time in Tai’an
  3. Yantai – Did you know China has a wine city?
  4. Qingdao – From Wine to China’s Beer Capital

Sichuan

I know Sichuan is already quite popular with the tourists, but it is well earned and that province has still quite a few gems hidden up it’s sleave.

Discovering Sichuan – Maria, the Writer of Mariaabroad.com,  has seen quite a lot of it. If you are more interested in holy mountains and giant Buddas , a tour through countryside and food in a farm house or you like to see some Pandas, she will tell you what it was like.

  1. LeShan and the biggest Buddah
  2. Rural Sichuan Tour
  3. Panda Bear Sanctuary
  4. Tibetan Quarter Chengdu

But not just Maria took it upon herself to visit Chinas spiciest province. Claire went too and I love her critcal look on some issues, like the Panda Sanctuary. She didn’t just go there, but actually took the time to think about it and question certain things, which other travellers too often take for granted. Big thumbs up and enjoy these two gems.

  1. Is the Panda Sanctuary ethical?
  2. Visit Jiuzhaigou

The pictures are originally taken by Maria, mariaabroad.com

 

So that’s it for now, but as i said this is an ongoing post, follow me on Facebook if you want to know if I have any Updates on this post.

Otherwise like I said, if you have any posts or no somebody who should be included in this list, write me a message. I’d love to hear from you =)

 

Have a lovely Day and go explore China off the Beaten Track!

Leave a Reply