The Wild West/西大荒

If China’s East Coast and China’s West were brothers, then the East Coast is the one who got a desk job and goes out when convenient, and the West is the unpredictable rolling stone who has hit the road for so long, the dust on his clothes is permanent. Oh, yes. China has a Wild West. It’s huge, it’s gorgeous, and it’s where you’ll easily get lost in all the best ways. No, you won’t find cowboys there. But, you WILL find wide open spaces and sprawling natural scenery. Whenever I find out that someone has a longer trip in mind, I tell them to head west.

What is it about this Wild West? Well, for starters, there are mountains. And I’m not talking about the hills people call mountains in Hangzhou, I mean snow-capped beauties that will take your breath away. There are forests. There are vast open spaces that, after being in huge, cramped Chinese cities will make you almost feel naked. There are huge numbers of non-Han Chinese people that change the way you picture China. It’s huge. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s wild.