Went away from the ordinary and experienced authentic China, the extraordinary!
A large amount of planning is needed in going on a vacation in a foreign country. Scheduling of flights, arrangements of accommodation when flight reaches the destination and most importantly “Passports” need to be taken care of. Nice and entertaining sites have to be chosen well in advance to make the trip a memorial one. Keeping these things intact will make trip manageable, easier and at the same time enjoyable. Vacationing in a foreign land can be an amazing experience with friends and family but all you need to manage before in hands are accommodations, travel arrangements and different options for entertainment before leaving for the destination.
I along with my family took our flight from England to Hong Kong via Singapore. It was a hour long journey and the moment we stepped down at China’s land we could feel the aroma. Dim sums, Dan Dan noodles, Dragon fruit all were the things I was dreaming of when I was in flight. Destination of our vacation was Ningxia which is around 4 km away from Hong Kong. We preferred taking a local transport so that we could see more places along with culture of the place.
History of Ningxia says that it was the main place for trading and transportation between the western and eastern regions of old China. In 3rd century BC Ningxia and its surrounding areas were included in the Qin Dynasty. Then came Tang & Han dynasty during which a lot many large cities were established. Then it came under the domination of the Mongols. During this period Genghis Khan had conquered Yinchuan. After the influence of The Mongols faded, Muslims speaking Turkish language moved in Ningxia from west. After detaching and becoming a province in 1928, Ningxia formally came into existence as an autonomous region in 1958.
After reaching Ningxia, we collected the keys of our suite located on the 7th floor from the reception of the Hotel. Took a shower and relaxed the same day to prepare ourselves for the next day explorations. We all went to a restaurant nearby and had Thai curry rice along with some dim sums. Those were the most exotic Chinese food that I ever had in my life. We all slept that night after taking a walk in the garden on the 2nd floor of the hotel.
We all woke up early in the morning and planned to visit the famous XIXIA Tombs. These tombs are located 30 km west of Yinchuan. We took a cab from there to reach the tombs. Spread over an area of 50-km2 Western Xia tombs lie at the foot of Helan Mountains. There were around 9 imperial mausoleums and around 250 other imperial tombs of officials and relatives. Burial complex is situated around 40 km from the capital city. Those tombs were marvelous in size and beautifully crafted. We were there for around 6-7 hours and the Sun settled down. We left the place so that we could reach our hotel in time. After reaching we went to have a typically Chinese buffet prepared by hotel chef. Too tired with the expedition, we went to sleep.
Next morning we woke with a door bell in our suite by the bell boy. He was having freshly prepared tea to wake us up from our dreams. Sat in the balcony, we took the fresh aroma from the air along with amazing Chinese tea. Meanwhile, what was going in our minds was the next place to visit. We made plans to visit “Ningxia Great Wall”. Left as early as we could, we reached Ningxia Great wall which was situated approximately around 60 km southwest of the town. The wall was in state of decay but there were some really impressive pieces of ancient masonry. The site was undeveloped and we had full rights to climb, wander about the way we liked. The sections of this great wall primarily originated from Ming dynasty. Stretching in both directions up till the mountains it is around 1km in length. Trip to the great wall was amazing but I was wearing brightly colored clothes. So I became a center of attraction for flying grasshoppers. Since it was at the edge of desert there was nothing around any shops/people. One thing that we did well was that we carried water with us which we had at regular intervals or we would have died of thirst. After having a hectic day we came back to our base camp (hotel), had food and slept off.\
Next destination was Shapotou which is a cramped section of the Teng Ge Li desert. Shapotou is a three hour drive from the capital of Ningxia i.e. Yinchuan. The moment we came out from the city into the blatant boonies, our eyes were greeted by the majestic mountains and the endless blue sky. At Shapotou, we leisurely approached the famous Yellow river as it was gushing by. We sat near the river side for around half an hour and felt the breeze flowing across the river. We enjoyed the nature to its best as we walked on the silky sand and at the same time felt it between our toes. To the west were the Shizui Mountains which are said to be existing since 770 BC. These mountains had structure in that manner as if someone has done rock painting on it. We could actually reproduce the scenes of ancient people by the picture which was set in between the bubbling stream of water flowing by and the mountains. A relaxing afternoon was merged along with a trip to the Ningxia’s past.
Next was Zhenbeipu West studio which was located at a distance of 35 kilometers northwest of city of Yinchuan. This studio sits at the site of two different ancient castle relics which were built during the Qing and Ming dynasties. These relics were built to defend against the deadly invasions of the tribes which could come from the north side of Helan Mountain. This location has set itself as one of the most preferable locations for shooting scenes pertaining to the outskirts of Ancient and the western Chinese movies. This location holds a record of around 140 scenes of TV and movies being filmed here. It is favored for natural sense sadness and desolations. Some of the most famous ones filmed here include “Big words of western tour” & the “Red Sorghum”. We got our pictures clicked along the favorite sets, by the cameraman which was being provided by the studio itself for the benefits of visitors. Next we saw the traditional culture of china, antique posters along with ancient furniture. These things were being kept in exhibition halls in the complex of the studio only.
Our trip finally concluded with the visit to Ningxia Museum. This museum was located at the People’s square of Jingfeng city. The museum is spread over an area of 30,000 square meters. It has a collection of 40,000 historical relics in four story building house. Out of these relics around 159 were rated as first grade. We noticed that it is being built in a shape of Chinese character “Hui” to depict the “Hui” culture.
After visiting the museum we returned home with memories of authentic China in our mind.