Ah China, one of my favourite places in the world so far. China is so diverse and beautiful. I was based in Guangzhou and travelled to many places including Chengdu, throughout Yunnan province, Shenzhen, Beijing and Guilin. Each place is very different and beautiful in it’s own way. My favourite area was the Yunnan province. It is known as a backpacker and tourist area and has amazing natural beauty. It is easy to get around, and if you get lost most people under the age of 25 can speak English. I have heard from many people that they found Chinese unfriendly, I think this is because they are often shy or intimidated. I am very quite when first meeting new people, so I suppose their personality matched mine. Maybe for louder people it is harder.
Dali was the first city I really stopped in. I caught the bus to the old town, all I can say about this is, you may think you have gone too far, you haven’t. It was a lot further than I thought, but once you are there you will know, it is obvious. I stayed in an Australian owned hostel, called Emu hostel. It was brilliant and very clean. The food was also very good. While it was a little further away from the old town than many other hostels it was a great place to relax after a day of exploring and far enough from the town to get a good quite sleep.
Lijiang was the next city, which I did not enjoy so much. My hostel was dirty and horrible, so I looked for a new one, but even the ones recommended on many websites were not very nice. I went at the wrong time of the year as well (Summer) and there was no water in the 7 dragon lake and no snow on the snow mountain. I only stayed here two days and then moved on to Shangri-la. I wish I completed the Tiger Leaping Gorge trail. Many people do this on a tour, however I met many people who completed this by themselves and they found it very safe.
Shangri-la is just that – paradise. It is surrounded by natural beauty and good food from around the globe. The community spirit is felt in the whole town. Unfortunately, there has since been a fire in the tourist area which is extremely sad. One essential place to visit is the National Park. A ride around the lake is also essential. I made friends and we rode around the lake. When I read reviews about this lake many people said it didn’t exist, it does, they just didn’t ride far enough. The lake is surrounded by common ground and mountains. You can see Yak’s and many other communal farm animals here as well as lush green fields. It Is hard to describe, but there is this magical quality about the area.