There’s more to China than Beijing, bao and bicycles; look to the north for natural beauty and the richness of traditional, rural life. In Blue Ant Extreme’s newest series, Conquering Northern China will showcase that with popular vloggers Winston Sterzel @SerpentZA and Matthew Tye @laowhy86 as they traverse the vast nation’s northern region, which is home todiverse cultures and landscapes.
As the series will prove, travelling cross country on one’s own wheels can be a fascinating experience. The freedom to go off the beaten track, visit hidden gems and meet the local people whose lives are vastly different from your own offers a perspective that’s entirely different from flying thousands of feet overhead or zooming by on a train.
In the lesser-known region of Northern China, where bustling urban centres like Shenyang and Yenji City are interspersed with wide, undeveloped areas, moving from one province to the next can be a visually stunning experience.
Here’s a look at a few of them:
For coastal towns like Rongcheng, the sea provides everything, even building material as seaweed was once used as roofing material. Today, it’s still common to see oyster fishermen going out to sea while ladies seed shells with oyster eggs and string them up to be left in the water for a year to mature.
Moving north to Qiqihar, the picturesque Red Sea Wetlands is a sight to behold. Home to crabs that love its marshy goodness, it’s brilliant in colour and a long walkway extends into the wetlands for better viewing.
Similarly, the Qiqihar Wetlands in Heilongjiang Province offer a refreshing change of scenery from the stark expanse of Daqing’s oil fields, one of China’s largest, where the smell of coal permeates the air. Unlike the Red Sea Wetlands, Qiqihar is a lush green and important site for migrating Asian Cranes.
In contrast, the icy, mountainous beauty of Changbaishan shouldn’t be missed. Known as the birthplace of the Korean people, it’s an inactive volcano that now features a lake at its peak, creating a magnificent vista.
Further north, another amazing natural feature is the vast grasslands of inner Mongolia. Seemingly flat and featureless, it’s home to nomadic tribes that still practice their traditional way of life, from their clothing to hereditary heirlooms. Surviving off the land, they herd wild camels and horses; and in the snowy region closest to the Russian border, the Ewenki tribe continue to breed reindeer, much as their ancestors did.
Find out more about this vast nation and its natural beauty in Conquering Northern China with vloggers Winston Sterzel @ SerpentZA and Matthew Tye @ laowhy86, premiering on 8 January, Wednesday 9:55pm on Blue Ant Extreme (Unifi TV Ch 474) with new episodes on subsequent Wednesdays for 4