Journeys of growth and learning
By Ahmad Khwaja Mutahir  ·  2023-05-29  ·   Source: NO.22 JUNE 1, 2023
Ahmad Khwaja Mutahir at the Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province in July 2022 (COURTESY PHOTO)

Traveling is an adventure that opens up your mind to new experiences, cultures and ways of life. During my study in China, I have had the opportunity to visit several cities in this vast country. Each city has its own unique charm and character.

October 2017 was the first time I landed in Yibin, Sichuan Province. It is a city located in the southwestern part of China and is famous for its beautiful scenery. During my stay in Yibin, I had the chance to explore some of its natural attractions, such as the Bamboo Sea, which spreads across 120 square km. Another one is Cuiping Mountain, a 500-meter-tall mountain that is located in the middle of the city and is called the "green lungs" of the city. The stunning landscapes and fresh air motivated me to explore more scenic spots and natural beauty in China.

I also had the chance to visit two big cities: Beijing and Chongqing. As the capital of China, Beijing is a city full of history and culture. I explored some of its most famous landmarks, such as the Great Wall and the Temple of Heaven, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the National Stadium, popularly known as the Bird's Nest, which hosted the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Summer Games and the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Chongqing is known for its spicy food and the Yangtze River. One of the highlights of my visit to Chongqing was taking a cruise on the river, which offered breathtaking views of the city's skyline. The Yangtze is also home to the famous Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power project in the world.

During my visit to Guizhou Province, I went to Zunyi, a historic city that played a significant role in the Chinese revolution. I visited the site of the Zunyi Conference, where Mao Zedong and other revolutionary leaders made crucial decisions that represented a turning point of the revolution and led to its victory. It was an unforgettable experience to be in the same place where such an important event took place. During my visit to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, I went to Urumqi and Kashgar. Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang and is a modern and diverse city. Kashgar is a city that has been shaped by its unique location at the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road. The historical town, with its winding alleys and beautiful Uygur homes, was a perfect place to explore.

Last year, I visited Jiuzhaigou, which is a beautiful national nature reserve located in Sichuan. The reserve is known for its turquoise-colored lakes, waterfalls and snow-capped mountains. It is a heaven for nature lovers, and there are several hiking trails that offer stunning views of its natural beauty. One of the most popular attractions in Jiuzhaigou is the Five-Color Pond, a crystal-clear lake that changes color depending on the time of day and the season.

Right now, I'm in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. The city is known for its rich cultural heritage, history and food. One of its most popular attractions is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

Besides this, I have had the opportunity to explore several cities in Sichuan in the past few years. The salt mines and dinosaur fossils in Zigong, the Giant Stone Buddha at Leshan Mountain, the historic Dujiangyan irrigation system and Mount Qingcheng in Dujiangyan, the cradle of the first organized Taoist school of thought founded by the philosopher Zhang Daoling, were some of the highlights of my trip. I have enjoyed the delicious local cuisine, which left my taste buds tingling with delight, and the warm hospitality of the local people.

Overall, my travels in China have been memorable experiences that have broadened my horizons and allowed me to immerse myself in the rich culture and history of China, and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to explore this incredible country.

The author is a Pakistani student at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson

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