No, this is not the tropical island known as China’s Hawaii. This confusingly-named region of real estate – high grasslands cut by the deep Yellow River gorges (not to mention a good chunk of the eponymous lake itself) is, in a not-at-all negative way, about as far from tropical paradise as you could get. In places bone-dry (sand dunes crop up occasionally) and in others frigidly snowy, this region is stark but nonetheless possesses a striking, spare beauty. Hainan is also culturally rich, with several significant monasteries scattered throughout the region, a historically significant old Chinese garrison town (Guide), and a strong nomadic culture in the vast grasslands.
I am certainly not going to do this area justice, as I have not spent vast amounts of time in much of this area. In fact, given my lack of travel experience in this region, I probably shouldn’t be writing this section at all. Nevertheless, I’ll give a few short blurbs about especially important or fascinating places in this region.