5 Great Ecological Experiences in China
While reading the headlines about frequent protests to combat environmental degradation, one gets a dim view of China’s commitment to a healthy environment. The stories of thick smog strangling the inhabitants of Beijing and other major cities are common. However, there is new hope that China will have a cleaner and brighter future; ecotourism is a major factor contributing to this renewal of China’s environment.
Today, a little-known trend is quietly transforming the way people think about the environment in China. It will continue to change not only how people live in the Middle Kingdom, but also how travelers experience it. This is a development strategy known as “Ecological Civilization” in China. The heart of this plan, is a commitment to incorporating environmentally-friendly initiatives in all aspects of life from the economy to social interaction.
Thanks to these new developments and a shift in thinking, the ecologically savvy traveler can now enjoy experiences in China that can help preserve China’s natural beauty. Ecotourism offers a unique and important way to experience China because it allows locals to see that there is earning potential in preserving nature. Moreover, it is helpful because the money spent on ecotourism is often diverted to important environmental preservation projects. For example, finding ways to reverse the deforestation that has threatened the Giant Panda.
The Best Ecotourism Experiences in China
Below are five of the most exciting places to experience China’s natural beauty.
#1 Wulingyuan Scenic Area
If you’ve seen the movie Avatar and secretly wanted to immerse yourself in the fantastical beauty of that mythical world, Wulingyuan offers you the opportunity. Located in the southern portion of the central Hunan province, you will find rocky peaks that rise up into the sky, enveloped in a mystical fog. The landscape is filled with deep ravines and gorges with enchanting rivers that twisting through to feed the exotic leafy vegetation. The Wylingyuan is internationally recognized for its splendors and historical significance, which in 1992 earned it the coveted distinction of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park was named China’s first national forest park in 1981. Zhangjiajie is the crown jewel of the Wuilingyuan region. The fingerlike mountains in Zhangjiajie are strikingly different than nearly every other mountain range on Earth and make for a surreal experience. Within Zhangjiajie, the Tianzi Mountain has earned the title, “the king of all mountains” for its splendors.
#2 Mingle with Wildlife at Naked Stables
If you are planning a trip to Shanghai, but you want to balance your time in the city with ecotourism in the Chinese countryside, Naked Stables is the perfect escape. Naked stables were founded by South African Grant Horsfield who was looking for a natural retreat that would be accessible from Shanghai. The resort is within a protected nature reserve and its goal is to work in harmony with the local environment. This goal is exemplified in their commitment to protecting the Sika Deer that live in the reserve. These rare spotted deer have had their population decline to an alarming 1,000 animals. Naked Stables are protecting their environment.
Moreover, Naked Stables are also committed to ethically and sustainably raising the animals served in their restaurants. They organically raise ducks and chickens as well as sheep and water buffalo to be butchered and served to their guests. Naked Stables is an idyllic setting for travelers who want to immerse themselves in the wild countryside of China while living and contributing to a sustainable ecosystem.
#3 Jiuzhaigou Natural Reserve
This natural reserve offers a natural beauty that borders on the supernatural. The multi-level waterfalls in this park are part of a surreal dreamscape of an experience. The Reserve is one of the premier attractions of the Sichuan Scenic Area. If the stunning waterfalls and colorful lakes are not enough to make you feel that you’re fully immersed in a dream world, then perhaps having a rare encounter with a Giant Panda will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into an amazing new world beyond your most surreal dreams.
#4 See the Great Wall’s Wild Side
The Shambhala at The Great Wall offers a special way to experience China’s most famous national treasure. The Shambhala features ten different villas which offer all of the benefits of a luxury resort. The truly amazing part is that the Red Capital Ranch has its own private entrance to a section of the Great Wall that has become wild. Guests can access the Great Wall for their own private adventures, including climbing on the wall. Located in its own private valley near Beijing, it is an unforgettable way to experience ecotourism and the Great Wall in a single location.
#5 Huanglong Natural Preserve
This world wonder is known as “Fairy Land on Earth” because of its turquoise, jade, and golden lakes at the base of snow-capped mountains. Located in the Sichuan Province, Huanglong is especially popular because the majority of its breathtaking scenery is located in the 3.6 Kilometer long Huanglong Valley. The layout of the valley allows the interested traveler to see all of the beauty in a single afternoon, making it the perfect stop for the traveler who would like to experience China’s natural beauty through ecotourism but is on an abbreviated schedule or a tight budget.
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He has written for The Permaculture Research Institute and Uisio among other prominent outlets.
He is the author of Death: An Exploration (2016). For more visit his official website: www.lorenmayshark.com