Win Your Dream Vacation! Blogger Caroline Berg offers up some China travel inspiration

Caroline Berg to get some more ideas of what to see and do in China when the possibilities are just endless. Check out more of Caroline’s China tales on her blog, The Great Wall is an obvious must. I recommend spending a day on the Beijing border in Hebei Province. I have been twice and both times our small group had the entire wall to ourselves. The air is also fantastic, which is a huge gift if you spend most of your time living in Beijing. What’s more, when the hike is completed and everyone is exhausted, Mr. Chen and his wife throw together a fresh feast straight from their garden. It’s heaven. China Travel: Are there any particular hotels you would like to stay at, and why? Caroline: Well, I’ve already stayed here, but I would absolutely love to go back to the Xizhou Town, Yunnan Province. The four-courtyard mansion is simply elegant and the Linden family is so friendly and laid back. The area, a Bai minority village, is also fascinating. The Lindens have integrated themselves very nicely into the community and provide an array of activities for tourists to immerse themselves in authentic local life. China Travel: In your opinion, what is the least-known “must see” tourist destination/attraction in China? Caroline: Well, apparently there’s a mystical island on Qinghai Lake that is home to a community of female Buddhist monks that even locals don’t know very much about. That’s pretty much all I know about that, if anyone wants to go explore… Also, I get the sense that most foreign travelers go to the Guilin/Yangshuo areas, but not into the rice paddy terraces of Longsheng. There’s an isolated lodge about an hour’s hike up in the hills above Ping’an Village, which provides a breathtaking panorama of the terraces and also spectacular sunrises. It’s a great place to go for a slice of peace. China Travel: What is your top “must-try” food experience? Caroline: Grazing in the Muslim Quarter of Xi’an. Make sure to go to a local sweets shop! There’s one treat I’ve tried in that Quarter that I’ve never managed to find anywhere else and I’m still dreaming about it. It was some nut-based bar with a generous layer of yellow-dyed sugar on top… savory and sweet—the most beautiful marriage of flavors. China Travel: Where is the most beautiful city in China, and why? Caroline: Tough question. I’m more a fan of China’s smaller and natural locales. There are also a great number of Chinese cities I’ve never been to that are probably very beautiful. I imagine Lhasa is quite nice. In terms of cities I’ve been to, however, I’m going to nominate Shenzhen, as crazy as that might sound. I was very pleasantly surprised when I went to visit last March. There are tons of fragrant, tropical parks in the city (Lotus Hill Park— is a favorite, as well as the parks inside the Overseas Chinese Town—neighborhood); the air quality is pretty good (I could go running outside without getting a headache or heavy lungs); I met so many friendly people (yes, there are nice people in Shenzhen and old people, too); and Dapeng Peninsula (has some fantastic beaches (don’t get me started on the succulent seafood). Moreover, Shenzhen is a short hop from Hong Kong—perfect for weekend trips. Feeling inspired yet? Be sure to complete and submit your submission by Friday September 9th for the chance to win your personally designed tour of China. Put together a video entry on YouTube and you could also win one of three Lomography cameras to document your travels in retro style!

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