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A tale of two trips

By Kok Mun How (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-10-27 10:15 Comments

A tale of two trips

[Photo by Kok Mun How/For chinadaily.com.cn]

 

I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in a "Discover Shanxi" trip organized by China Daily and the Shanxi Tourism Bureau.

After learning the itinerary and knowing we would be covering the middle part of Shanxi, from Pingyao, towards the southern tip — Yuncheng, I made the effort to reach the province a week earlier and traveled around the northern part with a friend who strongly recommended I cover the north also.

She was a previous participant on a China Daily Shanxi trip. Having covered the north of Shanxi backpacking on a free and easy trip, then enjoyed VIP, five-star hospitality in the south, I’m able to see the province from both perspectives. Shanxi has made a place in my heart.

Exploring Shanxi vs being shown Shanxi

My first impression and expectation of the organized trip was that we would be taken to places that were "dressed up" — top tourist sites and locations that are very commercialized with lots of stalls or shops that sell local mass-produced goods. The site I was most looking forward to was the ancient city of Pingyao, where an international photography exhibition is held annually.

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