Below are some photos published by Sina.com from a contributing photographer named Qingxidubu (清溪独步). His undated pictures depict the Bashang Grassland in autumn.
The Bashang Grasslands, the nearest prairie destination from Beijing, have long been one of the ideal sites to escape the hustle and bustle in city life.
Located about 240 kilometers north of Beijing, the Bashang Grasslands cover 350 square kilometers in Heibei Province.
The special climate and geographical position at the junction of the North China Plain and the Inner Mongolia Grasslands give Bashang its unique natural landscapes and make it a popular destination for tourists and photographers.
Horse riding, camping, watching local wrestling competitions, or staying in farmers' Mongolian yurts to eat roast whole sheep and other plain foods, are the main attractions for visitors.
Vast lakes, and sunrises and sunsets over the grasslands provide great views for city dwellers who've grown tired of the urban sprawl.
Generally, the Bashang Grasslands include four parts: Fengning Bashang, Zhangbei Bashang, Weichang Bashang and Guyuan Bashang. The four parts are located in four different counties of Hebei Province.
For visitors from Beijing, Fengning Bashang is the site that is most accessible.
A few years ago, foreigners were forbidden to enter Bashang, because it contains military installations. But recently the numbers of both Chinese and foreign visitors have been increasing each year
Suggestions for travelers:
The underground water here is of bad quality. Plan to bring enough drinking water for your stay.
Take a flashlight for walking on the grasslands in the evening to gaze at the brilliant stars overhead. A flashlight will help you find the right way to go back to your camp.
Horse riding fees are usually 26 yuan (US$3) per hour. Rent a horse from the local legal travel agencies. Don't rent horses from local farmers, though their prices are lower, to avoid any potential trouble.
How to get there:
If driving, go along Jingshun Road to the Kuliushu Roundabout and then drive towards Huairou District. For the rest of the trip follow the 111 National Road until you get to Fengning Town.
For bus travel, take the bus at the Sihui Bus Station (65574804), Xizhimen long-distance bus station (64673094) or Muxiyuan long-distance bus station (67267149). All the hotline services are in Chinese only.
For Fengning tourism complaints call the following hotlines: 0314-8013640, 0314-8012130.
(China.org.cn October 25, 2007)