Amazing nature escapes for English teachers in China
Posted on 18-07-2019 by Joseph Francis
t’s no secret that English teachers in China’s cityscapes can feel cut-off from nature now and then. The bright lights of Shanghai, the skyscrapers of The Bund, the buzzy business strips of Guangzhou, the sleepless markets of Beijing – it’s exciting, but where do you go for that fix of the great outdoors? Cue the list below, which outlines five awesome nature escapes for English teachers in China.
English teachers in China shouldn’t go thinking that they lack the white-sand beaches and tropical airs of their compadres in Thailand and Cambodia. No sir. There are shimmering strips of sand and high mountains dashed with palm forests down in Hainan province. The whole region is an island all on its own, jutting out into the warm waters of the South China Sea. It was once peppered with rustic fishing villages, but these days, it’s a favorite destination for weddings and honeymoons. And it’s a doozy of a weekend break away from cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou (which are relatively close), offering sparkling beaches, diving reefs, and good old oceanside R&R.
Mount Huangshan has long been an inspiration for Chinese landscape artists and romantic poets. These days, it’s surely up there with the most wonderous mountain getaways in the country, and a darn fine escape location for any English teachers in China’s eastern provinces. A designated site of natural beauty, a UNESCO site, and a holy spot considered the place where the ancestor of the Han ascended to heaven, it’s certainly got the accolades. Explore for yourself and you can hike up steep staircases to ice-caked forests. You can snap shots of the spear-like summits that abound around Feilai Peak. You can ride the cable car for 360-degree vistas of pine woods, precipitous rocks, and macaque colonies.
Ever seen James Cameron’s Avatar? Of course you have! Well, prepare to delve into the stunning landscapes that inspired the mythical, otherworldly backdrops in the movie. That’s what awaits at Zhangjiajie, where a forest of soaring rock spires erupts from the mountains of Hunan province between the cities of Chengdu and Changsha. The most famous sector of the lot is the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, where mighty sandstone towers poke up from misty pine woods and moss-clad riverbeds. With hiking routes here passing across natural stone bridges and weaving around deep cave systems, it all promises to be the opposite of buzzy Beijing.
The Longtan Valley
Right in the heart of western China is the country’s answer to the Grand Canyon, carving and cutting its way through the bedrock of the Daimei Mountain. You can easily reach it by local bus connection from the city of Luoyang City (around 40 miles away). Then, it’s all about strapping on the hiking boots and cracking out the geology books, because you get to embark on walking trails that run over rickety boardwalks under sheer-cut cliffs that display layer upon layer of different stones and colorful formations. As you go, get ready to spot dank grottoes, waterfalls that cascade over chiseled mountainsides, and even mystical Taoist shrines.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
The iconic Tiger Leaping Gorge is nothing short of legendary. As you follow the Yangtze River up from its mouth on the East China Sea, through the rising mountains and tea paddies of Yunnan, you’ll eventually happen upon this great amphitheater of peaks, shrouding and soaring around the gushing waters of the Jinsha River. At it’s most striking point, the summits rise to over 3,790 meters above sea level, so you’ll often find them clustered with clouds and mist. The most intrepid English teachers in China will want to take along the hiking gear. A narrow and spectacular route passes over the high ridges of the gorge, offering panoramic views and challenging cutbacks. Just be sure to check ahead that conditions are good, and the trail is open.
Of course, this is just scratching the surface of the awesome parks, reserves, and places that are top nature escapes for English teachers in China. From the Himalaya to the coast of the East China Sea, there are oodles more, and if you can think of any, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Alternatively, if you’re taken by the idea of teaching English in China, be sure to check out our jobs page.