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Ticking off the Unesco World Heritage Sites

Posted on 26 Jun 2013 | 8 comments

We’ve seen them before, I guess most of you have seen them before, but wait until you go to the Yuanyang rice terraces! We had never seen so many rice terraces before in our lives. The area is quite hilly and they have basically created terraces from the valley floor to the top of the hill. Jon counted 138 layers of terraces on one of the hills and this goes on for 12.500 hectares.

rice terraces everywhere

rice terraces everywhere

planting the rice

planting the rice

lunch with a view and Chinese music

lunch with a view and Chinese music

plowing is still done with the help of water buffaloes

plowing is still done with the help of water buffaloes

no comment, Jon just liked the photo so wanted it on the blog

no comment, Jon just liked the photo so wanted it on the blog

rice still live (rijst stil-leven)

rice still live (rijst stil-leven)

On top of that, in this area are still a lot of people wearing traditional dress, which is why they probably got the Unesco World Heritage status for the whole area. It also means the entry fee is high, 100 yuan each ($15) just to be allowed to drive on some public roads and walk to 3 lookouts. But, it was worth it.

ladies in beautiful traditional dress

ladies in beautiful traditional dress

When we were driving through one of the villages we heard a lot of fireworks. We jumped out the car to have a look and there was some sort of procession happening with colourful flags, a band and a tuktuk with a few guys in the front chucking out large firecrackers onto the road. It turned out to be a traditional funeral for an important person, very impressive and very noisy. It was like being back in the Netherlands for New Year’s Eve.

noisy and colourful funeral

noisy and colourful funeral

We visit another world heritage site, this one near Kunming, a small city for Chinese standards, large for our standards (6 million people). It’s called the Stone Forest and consists of lots of eroded karst pinnacles, creating an amazing maze of beautiful rocks so big it looks like a stone forest. As we arrived the evening before this became our campground as well.

Chinese people don’t do camping and there aren’t any campgrounds where we’ve been so far, so car parks are often a good choice for us. This one was pretty good as they kept the toilets open for us, turned off the massive flood lights in the area where we camped, we didn’t have to pay for the overnight stay and Jon found himself a Magnum icecream in the restaurant before it closed. His first one in China (no guesses on how big his grin was).

We found a lovely spot in the corner with views over the karst formations directly from our tent. After breakfast we walked over to the ticket counter, a massive building set up for thousands of people, I guess it gets busy here at times. Lucky for us it doesn’t seem to be too busy.

The Chinese love to use massive golf carts for everything, but we decided to hop on our bikes instead and see if we can get them inside. From the ticket office it’s about 3km to the entrance and, surprise, surprise, we are allowed to take our bikes inside! We cycle around on the ring road until we see the entry we want and decide to ride down this narrow trail too. When we get to the Sword Pond we park the bikes and walk around. It’s pretty impressive and fun to walk around through the maze of rocks, trying to loose our way and decide where we go next.

Sword Pool

Sword Pool

Stone Forest is a huge maze of cool karst formations

Stone Forest is a huge maze of cool karst formations

off the beaten track there are some great paths

off the beaten track there are some great paths

wonder if they have an uncivilized guide service as well…

wonder if they have an uncivilized guide service as well…

great place for a rogaine

great place for a rogaine

For a few hours we have fun running around the place, avoiding the tour groups and crowds (which is surprisingly easy), until it is time to find our bikes again. Thanks to our superb navigational skills we have no problem relocating them and decide to take a shortcut back to the ring road. Clayton would have been proud of us, it was shorter and a lot more fun, but it definitely didn’t save us any time!

There were lots of steps up and down and some through rather narrow sections, the handlebars were a bit too wide in some areas, but we made it through – eventually. And, I must say, the views near the end were worth it.

great shortcut

great shortcut

on top of the world

on top of the world

Our last stop was at some ancient rock paintings, they were carbon-dated back to AD 200, pretty impressive. We reckon we can see an alien in the middle.

ancient rock art on the karst rock

ancient rock art on the karst rock

The list of all Unesco World Heritage Sites we visit in China:

• Rice terraces at Yuanyang
• Stone Forest at Shilin
• Tiger Leaping Gorge
• Old town of Lijiang
• Emeishan
• Leshan giant Buddha
• Terracotta Warriors
• Longmen Grottoes
• Old town of Pingyao
• Yungang Grottoes
• The Great Wall
• Ming tombs
• Summer Palace
• The Forbidden City
• Temple of Heaven

8 Comments

  1. Wow guys, more amazing moments. Just finished eating some rice for dinner, very appropriate for while reading your stories :-). Keep them coming xo Jules.

    • Thanks Jules! Got a few written already, ready to go, just waiting to get into Mongolia before we can post them 🙂 It’s nice to hear you enjoy them! Let us know how you’re doing on sorting out what you’re gonna do when you have a minute too! Big hug, Jude x

  2. Great images from China; didn’t know there were that many world heritage sites in China. The country looks quite accessible, but maybe you both are just great travelers (I know you are). We’re off to see one of our own world heritage sites next week, Shark Bay, for a 4 day kayak trip. Our first real holiday in ages!

    • We ‘only’ saw a third of them! China has 45 world heritage sites!!
      Have an awesome time at Shark Bay!! Such a beautiful spot! Hope you see lots of wild life. You guys deserve that holiday, glad you have some time for holidays again! Big hug, J&J

  3. Woohoo, you really ticking off the list! I am ticking off my packing list. Just had to take out 2 kg from my suitcase and add it to my hand luggage – too much presents! 😉

    • you can always give some pressies to me 😉
      Next post will be added in Mongolia, so hopefully everything works again then! Have a great holiday! Don’t forget to email! Jx

  4. Hi globetrotters, vanwege onze ruim zes-weekse Frankrijk-trip waren we even jullie reis uit het oog verloren (= 3 afleveringen blogs) ook waren we dus zes weken in de Franse taal ondergedompeld en is het nu even schakelen, maar globalisten als we zijn hebben we daar geen moeite mee en zijn we weer helemaal bij. Nog steeds erg boeiende verhalen en schitterende beelden! Een dikke groet (X) uit nog niet echt zomers Oost Souburg. Het ga jullie goed! Annie en Theo.

    • Hi Annie & Theo! Hoop dat het een super vakantie was! Weer op de fiets of met de auto deze keer? 6 weken is ook lekker lang. Als jullie weer een reisverslag schrijven stuur hem ook deze kant op, altijd leuk om te lezen! Hoop dat jullie de foto’s wel kunnen zien en dat de zon snel gaat schijnen in oost-souburg!! Dikke kus, J&Jx

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