Sunday, January 13, 2013

Two places to visit in China

Most people visit China to
see the Great Wall, but the
New York Times says wine
 in Ningxia and skiing in
Changbaishan are also
good to visit.
Every January, the New York Times publishes a list of places they think people should visit in the coming year. Two places in China are named in this year's article, The 46 places to go in 2013: Ningxia, at No. 20, and Changbaishan, at No. 27.

Ningxia is in western China and is a place I've always wanted to visit, but the closest I've been to it is Baotou in Inner Mongolia, on a day trip I made from Hohhot. The terrain between Baotou and Hohhot reminded me of eastern Montana, but Ningxia is even more desert-like. The Chinese are working hard to reclaim the desert and turn it into arable farm land. The reclaimed desert in Ningxia has been planted with cabernet sauvignon grapes that are turning the province into a major wine region in China. According to the Times article, the Chinese want to become the Bordeaux, France, of China, and this is why you should visit Ningxia. Ningxia is 550 miles from Beijing and not on the ordinary tourist path; maybe the grapes will put it on the map. Ningxia is one place I've always wanted to visit, but for cultural reasons other than wine.

Changbaishan is a major new upscale ski resort in northeast China's Jilin Province near the border with North Korea. Skiing is becoming more popular in China all the time. Some $3.2 billion has been invested in Changbaishan, making it one of the largest ski resorts in China, with 20 miles of trails. The article didn't say how the skiing was, however.

Of course, there was more reasons to visit China than wine and skiing, but these choices indicate how westernized China has become in the last few decades. Forty years ago, during the "cultural revolution" these activities would have been decadent unthinkable.

Are you going to China?
If your travel plans include China in 2013, check out Cheryl's China for recommendations and tips. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about travel in the Middle Kingdom.

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