While Indians are considered one of the most traveled populations, few have ventured into China. Whether is their fear of the food or language or a perception that the Chinese are not friendly, until now Indian’s have visited China primarily for business.
In a continuation to last weeks column on travel, this Friday Inchin Closer takes Indian’s on an adventure around the middle kingdom. This will hopefully give the adventurous Indian a hint of the their ancient cousin to the East one they know so little about, for its only when we break the barriers that we can do business.
A neighboring country to India, China is three times the geographical size of India. As a result, it is three times as diverse. Culture, climate, language, people, history, dress and food all vary drastically from region to region. As a result, here we try to capture the best of China’s North, South, East and West.
North: Qingdao – China’s sailing haven, renowned for its fresh seafood, kebabs and freshly brewed beer Qingdao is located on China’s North East Coast. A former German colony, the city is home to China’s largest brewery, Tsingtao beer. While its beaches are over hyped the quaint picturesque city is ideal to stroll around and relax.
East: Shanghai – The cosmopolitan, commercial, cacophony capital of China, Shanghai is the Paris of the East and the Whore of the Orient all rolled into one. Vivacious and buzzing at any time of day, Shanghai is China’s melting pot, here people of all hues and ethnicities can be found dispensing their unique language, food and dress. Located on the banks of the huang pu river, Shanghai is home to China’s financial powerhouses. One of the fastest cities to have transformed within our generation, Shanghai is now setting the pace for the rest of the world. A must see city for any Indian to immediately realize how a willing government can transform a city.
South: Guilin/Yongshou – Guilin’s karst topography as it slenderly rises from the Li river can be admired for hours. The city’s limestone peaks have inspired poets, painters and authors for generations yet, as the city grows it does become a challenge to peacefully sail down the Li. This need has given rise to Yongshou, a short ride from Guilin, Youngshuo is a small tourist town from where one can start bike rides amongst farms, or enjoy cormorant fishing and a fantastic sound and light show on the water.
West: Tibet – Getting to Tibet, the roof of the world by train from either Beijing or Shanghai is a once in a lifetime experience. The approximate three-day journey takes one through the entire breadth of China to explore the verdant east, the desert in central China and the snow-capped mountains and pure azure lakes of the west. Mysterious to the rest of the world, Tibet is very close to Indian culture. While it takes a while to acclimatize to the rarefied air, many people speak Hindi, eat food similar to that of North India and long to visit Dharamshala the seat of the Dalai Lama. A fast changing place as foreign investment is poured into the province and precious metals drilled out, Tibet is an ideal location to visit to realize just how close China and India really are!