As the only great civilisation from the ancient world to have survived to the present day, China is, despite it all, a great queer worth it destination. Both its rich rural culture and thriving cities are worth visiting destinations for the discerning traveler that is looking for vacations out of the box. But, with an ever growing 1.3 billion population and an indomitable extension, where shall you start? Here are some options to assure you that China is a queer worth it destination, whether you are looking to discover Urban or Rural China.
Population is ever growing in The People’s Republic and so are its cities,; with over 1.3billion population sky scrapers are becoming a commodity and concrete jungles are flourishing, along with nice restaurants, parks, museums and a growing yet discreet gay scene.
Spots alone like Tian’anmén Sauare, in the centre of Beijing and named after Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”), contain the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, as well as the must see Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. This Square is one of the top ten largest city squares in the world and is located to the north side of Beijing, separating it from the Forbidden City. Its great cultural significance is given by the celebration at the sight of several important events from Chinese history, like the armed suppression of the pro-democracy party which occured June 1989, a surely worth visiting politically charged location in the city.
Beijing is as well brimmed with contemporary architecture, and several major artists in the matter have left its mark on the city’s ever taller skyline.
The CCTB building by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is one of the largest office buildings in the world and has become an icon of the urban landscape , others like French architect Paul Andreu envisioned the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, informally called The Egg. This building, when pictured, seems to rise like a being or bob like an ovum in the surrounding waters. World famous architect Zaha Hadid is up to date still working on a 207-metre sky-scraper the Leeza Soho, located at the Financial Business district which will feature a huge twisting atrium that is expected to be the world’s tallest.
But if what you feel like is some greenery, Beijing isn’t running short on parks. As one of the Country’s main pillars and battling agains its famous polluted air, parks are Peking’s lungs.
Parks like Ditan Park (Andingmen Waidajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing) also known as Temple of Earth, used to hold sacrificial ceremonies since it was made to worship the God of Earth by the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, these have of course long stopped now, but it remains a significant place for modern Beijingers as it hosts the most famous book fair in Beijing. Others like Jingshan Park (44 Jingshan West Street, Xicheng District, Beijing) are destined for lovers of the Forbidden City and I believe you would regret not rambling. It holds and imperial palace from the Ming and Qing Dynasties that will blow your mind and fill you trip with ancient art and culture. Last and surely not least (For Park Guides in Beijing see “Top 10 Parks in Beijing”.), The Diaoyutai Ginkgo Boulevard surely is worth visiting all year long but, it takes a magical dimensions during Autum when the leafs from its ginkgo trees fill its streets with mellow golden tones. You better be there for the picture!
Cities are vibrant and exciting but if exploring contemporary metropolis isn’t your jam, a “Rural China Getaway” might as well be a better option.
With a humongous extension of land and unexplored sights, China is the perfect destination for a rural trip. Its countryside remains untouched, in contrast with its bursting cities, peace and quiet can surely be found at the country’s outback.
Shangrila or Zhongdian in Chinese, is historically part of the old Tibetan province of Kham but the Qing Dynasty made it administratively part of Yunnan Province in the 18th century. Today, the town is split between residents of several ethnicities and a Tibetan surrounding countryside.
This area remains still fairly untouched compared to other chinese destinations and preserves a rich Tibetan heritage and a gorgeous countryside in near isolation, both of priceless value.
Only 5km away from Shangrila, Garden Sumtsaling Monastery, also known as Sungtseling and Guihua Si, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery at elevation of 3,380 meters. Built in 1679, the monastery is not only the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan, but also the most important monastery in southwest China. Take a deep breath and submerge yourself into this spiritual place that invites you to discover the mystery and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. The famous eight gold-covered sculptures of Shakyamuni Buddha and the two major lamasery buildings – Zhacang and Jikang are gorgeous examples of the Fifth Dalai Lama history. Besides, Gedong Festival is held in the precincts of the monastery annually, when devotees from the region attend to worship and also to witness the religious mask dances. A leap into China’s most authentic rural and spiritual heritage.
Pudacuo National Park is the first national park in China and preserves many classic features of China’s southwestern region together with various aspects of traditional nomadic Tibetan plateau life. Mainly comprised of Shudu Lake and Bitahai Lake hold herds of yak and goat grazing beside the lake the shepherd’s shelters dots on the grassland during summertime. It’s a perfect location to chill beside the lake and feel the quiet and leisurely life of high-land people. Bitahai Lake, regarded as a pearl of the Plateau, is an intact natural attraction with outstanding landscapes. In the nature reserve the plants are flourishing and the lake water is crystal clear. In May every year an azalea forest on the lakeshore is in full blossom, stretching several kilometers. Nature lovers, come and see.