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Home  /  Inside China  /  Going to the Wilderness? Going to Disneyland!
Going to the Wilderness? Going to Disneyland! print version
Visiting a natural park in China might be different than what you expect. Some of the country's natural beauties are very bustling locations, a situation which is derived from the fact that Chinese prefer wild-less nature.
Often when we first arrive to a Chinese city, look at the map, or read about local attractions, it seems that there are many options when it comes to parks, woods, mountains and other natural features. Many of us regard such places as wonderful opportunities to get away from the bustling streets, the endless crowds or the noisy markets. Perhaps a public park is a good place to rest, have a picnic and read a book, you think to yourself. A nearby mountain is a place to get some exercise and experience the fresh air of the wild nature, and some Buddhist temples are located on the top then its charm would only be extended, you say to your travel partner.

Nature truly exists in China, and relaxation isn't too far to be obtained, but the concepts of spending time in nature, hiking and enjoying a beautiful scenery are quite different in Chuna (as well as in some other East Asian countries) than in Western nations, and after all the dominant minority of tourists in China are Chinese...

Stairs and cable-cars are present in almost every famous mountain park throughout the country, stalls and markets are present throught the way, from the entrance gate untill the peak of the natural 'highlight' , and restaurants are also abundant. This is without mentioning the huge crowds you might come across.

Unlike many of us westerners, who often wish to see nature in its purest, wildest and perhaps even enjoy the illusion of being the first to set foot in a certain isolated location, Chinese like their nature more 'man-made' or 'man-conquered'. A memorable moment for me was when I visited a cave near Dali 大理, Yunan, where a merchant was releasing goldfish to a small pond every morning, only so he could offer tourists to buy 'goldfish from this special cave'.

The relaxation for most Chinese visitors isn't about getting away from civilization as much as it is about having a free day in a well known place, as well as celebrating the ability to spend comfortable time even in such locations, and being able to afford such recreation. No wonder Chinese tourists often dress up nicer when they visit a natural park than when they do in their everyday life.

The above descriptions are not good reasons to avoid China's natural wonders or the very pretty public parks. The latter perhaps aren't be the best place to read a book, but perhaps you will be entertained by a local music band or see old people practicing Taiji. Places like Huangshan黄山 (the Yellow Mountain), Taishan 泰山 (Mount Tai), or a cruise in Guilin's Lijiang 漓江 (Li River) won't make you feel you have reached a tranquil and desolated location, but are still pieces of god's art that you will likely not want to miss.

Just know what to expect.

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