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A photographer's guide to the Bashang Grasslands in winter

01-05-2012 10:33 BJT

The Bashang grassland, an endless stretch of green carpeted landscape some three to five hours' drive from the capital, has been a popular destination with Beijingers in summer for its cool temperature and beauty. As the buzz created by tourists fades in winter, the destination catches the attention of photography buffs for its pristine snow scenery.

The winter scenery of Bashang grassland. []

As the travel information site points out, Bashang grasslands are better than other winter tourist spots like Harbin and Jilin for two reasons:its close location to Beijing and its exceptional expanse of 350 square kilometers.

The website also reports that the snow at Bashang was 10 centimeters thick by the end of November, 2011, and will reach 15 centimeters by March.

In addition to the snow, the grasslands are known for their diversified geographic features which include not only lakes, rivers and forests, but also the remains of ancient battle fields and sections of the Great Wall. Once an imperial hunting ground, the grassland has become an ideal site for amateur and professional photographers to practice their skills.

Some of the best filming spots are "the riverhead" (小河头) to capture the river and the rime coated trees bordering its bank. It is a perfect background at sunrise or sunset. And for a beautiful grassland scene of galloping horses, the "north groove" (北沟) is the recommended spot. Herds of horse and sheep graze there all year long.

Booking in advance is advised, as a number of hostels and restaurants close in winter. Car rentals are available for 400 or 500 yuan per day depending on the vehicle. In winter, standard double rooms usually cost 150 yuan to 400 yuan.

Many first time visitors join tour groups or hire local guides, which reduces the risk of getting lost in the vast grasslands. Long distance buses to the Bashang grasslands depart from Beijing's Liuliqiao station (六里桥), Sihui station (四惠) and Muxiyuan station (木樨园) regularly.

The winter scenery of Bashang grassland. []

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