Welcome back once again to this week’s edition of ‘Bajan,’ Chinese Style! This week we’re going to take a few steps back , take a breather and have a change of pace from the highland fairytale that is Yunnan Province (RE: Travel Exposé: Yunnan Province) . What’s brought on this change of heart you may find yourself pondering? Why, nothing less than the explosion of autumn colours which paints our sights, and quite actually our dreams, in hues of Ruby, Gold and Bronze, of course.
China is a sprawling landmass and due to this, it experiences the entire spectrum of geographical climates ranging from the subzero temperatures of the North-east to the sub-tropical south (RE:Travel Exposé: Regions of China) As a result, the country is uniquely situated to enjoy the dazzling showcases which are associated with the changing of season. No better example of this can be found, than in the North-East, which is made up of the three giant provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang.
If you want to immerse yourself in a literal ‘Candyland‘ of colour made real, then you must visit what I consider to be the best kept autumn travel secret of all China, Guan Men Mountain!
In terms of travel and especially travel photography the southern provinces of China are by far amongst the most diverse and versatile landscapes with which you may ever be presented (RE: Guizhou, Yunnan, Shangri-La). By comparison, the relatively flat topography of the North-East, which sees below freezing point temperatures for up to five months of the year, may be both unwelcoming and quite frankly, boring to the layman traveller.
However, as I have learnt from experience, the North-east has much, vastly much more to offer than what is presented in main stream travel media. (Between you and I let’s just put it down to bad marketing…) One of these frankly unbelievable nuggets of North-eastern beauty, is none other than the Guan Men Mountain of Benxi, Liaoning Province.
Benxi, is a small third tier city of Liaoning Province, and by the nature of being a small town in a relatively boring, already bland North-Eastern province, the possibility for large-scale tourism is significantly decreased. Also, having your closest neighbouring city as the provincial capital Shenyang,the largest and most modern of Northern-Eastern Cities, doesn’t help much either. Upon first hearing about Benxi, I too was quick to cast it from my mind. However, due to a series of fortuitous events, I was made to know, by a local friend of mine, that during autumn, a certain Guan Men Mountain was simply beyond description. I, as you can assume, took the news with a healthy dose of salt, but when I was actually able to visit the Mountain during autumn, I was light-years away from being disappointed. It was the complete opposite of what I had deceived myself into expecting and personally, because of that trip my love for travelling was kindled.
Guan Men Mountain is a 4A National Park which is located within the jurisdiction of Benxi City. The park itself is made up of a chain of Mountains, valleys and cave systems which can be traversed by foot or tram. I am by no means exaggerating when I say that the autumn splendour of Guan Men Mountain will completely redefine your appreciation for the natural colour palette.
As I have learnt over my last few months of blogging, you should refrain from revealing too much in one post…and so, on that note, I hope to see you again for next week’s special edition, Guan Men Mountain: The Bejewelled Secret (2 of 2) , as we take those first few fervent steps into exploring the kaleidoscopic charm that is Guan Men Mountain!