Visiting Wudalianchi Geopark was my first proper trip to China. When I say proper I mean, going deep inside the borders of mainland China where they don’t speak much English and the culture, nature and food remains unspoilt by the West. I had visited Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau many times before but it was nothing compared to the epic adventure I had at the Wudalianchi Geopark. I went here as part of a photography trip, which started in the city of Harbin and toured the Heilongjiang province and travelling with a group of Chinese speakers. This was an absolute blessing, as my fellow travellers helped me navigate the weird and wonderful food options, avoid tourist traps, stay safe from tricksters and basically see the very best of North East China.
Not many people associate China with the great outdoors however the Heilongjiang province is a nature lovers best kept secret and one of the few places you can witness the endangered red crowned cranes. From free mineral water springs and volcanic walks in the Wudalianchi Park, to the beautiful Zhalong Nature Reserve, there are many unspoilt delights that makes a visit to Heilongjiang very special.
My first visit to China during a tour of the North East province of Heilongjiang was fantastic and surprising. The capital, Harbin is just as beautiful as any European city with its wide avenues, romantic architecture and decorative street lamps. This backdrop is contrasted with the grit and grime of a mainland Chinese city, with the street markets frying up an appetite and people from all walks of the rat race just trying to make a buck. Venture outside of Harbin and there is a world of unexpected beauty, from watching the regal red crowned cranes take flight to reverently washing your face in the spiritual waters of the volcanic temple. Please join me as I recall some of the photographic highlights of my trip.