The best China travel stories from around the net

by James Weir
Posted: December 12th, 2011 | Updated: January 31st, 2012 | Comments
China travel features_china travel news_china travel blogs_china travel stories We read a lot about travel over the course of one week and, after much sifting and sorting, we've rounded up a few of our favorites. From news and reviews to great blog posts, unusual destinations and travel stories, read on for our picks. >>> Cang Mountain and Lake Erhai We'll begin this week's best of the net post with the story of one intrepid traveler's Cang Shan mountains loom above Dali Old Town deep in Yunnan, overlooking the city and stunning Lake Erhai, and are ripe with backpacking opportunities for the more adventurous traveler. With peaks over 4,000 m (well over 12,000 ft) tall, this may seem a daunting undertaking. However, unlike the poor souls of years past that had to actually walk up mountains to experience the views in all their glory, today the fatigued traveler need do no such thing. On Malang Peak, the highest point of the range, there is now a chairlift that can shuttle both the lazy and the infirm to the top. Borrowed Culture also points out that the booth at the top of the chairlift plays the song "Sound of Silence" on repeat. I'm assuming that the irony of disrupting what must have been one of the most silent places in the world with a song titled "Sound of Silence" and the creaking clang of a chairlift was lost on whoever it was that made that call. Either that, or there's  some dude (or lady) with a helluva sense of humor in the Yunnan Tourism Department.
  • I won't bore you all by spending any time on how much I miss skiing. How it feels as though my heart has been gutted and filled with sand, how my nights are filled with dreams of careening recklessly through Vermont pines and over granite cliffs. How I recall scraping ice out of my beard with a disconcerting fondness. How I even miss the smell of snowboarding gear after a season of too many days on the mountain and too few trips to the washing machine... Whoops. I wasn't going to do that. Anyway, there is hope for skiers in China yet, as the money pours into a rapidly-growing middle class and resorts look to capitalize on some of the reckless spending that comes with the economic freedoms of having disposable income. Here is an article from Flying Blue on the current state of skiing in China, and it brings hope to all that envision a day when China is full of world-class ski resorts. There is a long way to go, but a lot of potential (come to think of it, that's what my mother used to say about my table manners. Let's hope the skiing infrastructure in China makes better strides in the next few years than I have in the last quarter century).
  • The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is an absolute marvel. This year, CNNGo tells us that the organizers are swapping favors with their Russian counterparts. They'll be honoring their neighbors to the north by infusing a distinctly Russian feel into the architecture of this year's festival, which kicks of on the fifth day of the new year. In 2013, the Russians will return the favor and promote Chinese culture abroad, in the hopes of increasing international tourism between the two countries.
  • There's plenty good to say about the Stone Forest outside of Kunming, and the amount of wonder that the park holds. This week, we've got a video from GoKunming that explores some of the more hard to reach corners of the Stone Forest.
  • It's never a bad thing to learn more tips for bargaining in China, so allow me to direct you to this article on VPN or proxy in China to access the site if you're behind the Great Firewall).
  • If you were up in Beijing this weekend and looking for an excuse to dress up as Santa, you'd have been in luck with the 2011 Beijing Santacon on Saturday, December 10th. This annual Christmas-y bar crawl is open to all (as long as you're dressed up like St. Nick), and involves a fun bar hop around the capital. If you missed out this year, keep an eye on the Santacon website for photos of Saturday's event, coming soon.
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