Talking about outstanding natural beauty in China will inevitably take me to the West. West to the sources of the Yellow River, to the 'Cao Yuan', the Grassland. A high-altitude steppe covered with an endless veil of wildflowers and the black wild looking Yaks, dotted all over the plain. Small silver shining ribbons of streams appear in this pattern and maybe a herdsmen is galloping over this wide land to watch his cattle. Sometimes your eyes will be caught be thin blue smoke coming out the black yurts, the summer homes of the nomad people. Feel free to enter this place for a chat! Ask for a glass of Yak milk or a bowl of yoghurt! Where are those 1,3 Billion people? Is this overpopulated, polluted China?
Let your eyes continue the journey over this inspiring plain until it reaches the far end. At the very distance, high granite mountains reach into the blue sky and frame the whole picture.
Langmusi, Zoige, Songpan and Jiuzhaigou in Gansu and Sichuan would be your destinations to audit this play of nature. Let's discuss a journey for you to the wild west of China! Nothing compares!
Going further north-west you may discover another face of China's nature: the 'Oasis of Fire', the Turpan depression. Yes, on the edge of the enormous Taklamakan Desert is the second lowest place on earth and the hottest spot in China: Turpan. You ask me, are you serious to get me there? Yes, I am!
September and October are the perfect months to enjoy this golden oasis. The seedless Turpan grapes are famous all over China; the Hami melons are sweeter than anywhere else and practically everything can be grown in this hot, dry climate due to an ingenious irrigations systems invented hundreds of years ago.
Sit underneath the wine trellises and watch the starlit sky! Life can be good in Turpan!
Of course, there is more natural beauty to discover. All those holy mountains not to mention Huangshan. You can climb them, you will admire the rock formations and the bizarre shape of the pine trees. Of course this is China, but where is the solitude, since you have to share these attractions with hundreds of other tourists? How can you contemplate in a landscape that deserves silence to reveal its myth? How did the great Chinese philosophers do their work here?
There are two more places, where I would like to take you in China! It's the area around Jade-Dragon-Snow-Mountain and Lijiang. Because of the southern location, even in November you will have sunny warm days, though the mountain rises up to 5596 m. But even better, come in spring time, when the forests are literally burning with the glow of azaleas and rhododendron. No gardener could ever design a land of such outmost beauty! Snow capped mountains, green meadows, clear water from the sources, the shades of pink and red blooms.
Last but not least a destination with mixed reports. The Li River and its limestone formations. A day along the River Li can be the most relaxing, most cheerful, most enjoyable experience. It can also be expensive, annoying and boring!
So start off with your bicycle at hand, board one of those small boats in Yangshuo, take your 'seat' in front of the boat and let your feet glide in the cool, clear water. See the people along the river, cleaning their vegetables, collecting tang out of the water or planting rice in the fields along the river. This is my China! This can be your China! Go out and find it!