Bright blue skies, beautiful green grass, horses seen in the distance and flowers on the hilltops and the sun beating down on my face as I walk through the fields of the Bashang Grasslands; this is what travel adventures are all about! The Bashang Grasslands (坝上草原) in the Hebei province are situated about 300 kilometers north of Beijing and can be reached in about 5 to 6 hours from China’s capital. I spent a weekend there hiking, horseback riding, and enjoying the fresh air.
Last summer, I planned a hiking trip with the Beijing Hikers. This is a group of people who organize hikes to the Great Wall, to local villages, and overnight stays in to do (for example) some bird watching. From all the options available, I chose to join them on a 2 day – 2 night hiking trip through the green fields of the Bashang Grasslands.
The bus ride took longer than expected; the 6th ring road is being built and that caused delays on the road. When I finally got off the bus I couldn’t wait to drop of my day-pack and go to the roof top of the guesthouse to take in the amazing scenery. Before long I was sitting down at the dining table with my fellow hikers. Most of them are people who live and work in Beijing but like to get away from the smog and the drain of everyday life. The dinner was good and dishes kept coming; the amount of food we were severed was endless!
After dinner we walked around the small town and I was surprised by the vast amount of restaurants! It’s clear that this little town attracts a lot of visitors during the high season! I walked around for about half an hour and then decided to go back to the guesthouse. It was getting late and the next day’s hike was going to start early!
Hiking through the Bashang Grasslands
In the morning it was the neighing of the horses that woke me up. I started the day looking out of my window, getting the last glimpse of the sunrise. Breakfast was filling and with the snacks and water that were provided I was sure I wasn’t going to get hungry or thirsty during the 5 hours of hiking.
Once we found our way out of the town and away from the Chinese tourists (who come here for a weekend getaway) the only thing I could see was grass. Grass as far as my eyes could see. I took deep breaths, breathing in the crisp and fresh air, enjoying the views and the beauty of the landscape. Although we were with about 20 people I didn’t feel like I was hiking in a big group. There were 3 guides who know the hills very well, so we stretched out in a long line. This made me feel like I was here with just a few other people and that I had the grasslands all to myself to enjoy.
Since I was hiking during the summer the grass was at its best, as green as it could possibly be and decorated with many different kinds of beautiful flowers. It was almost like I was walking in a painting. After about 5 hours the group arrived back at the guesthouse. The guesthouse has a roof top and that was where I enjoyed a well deserved cold beer while watching the sun go down.
Horseback riding in the Bashang Grasslands
The next day I decided to hop on a horse instead of joining the others for a second hike. I used to go horseback riding when I was a child and imagining myself on a horse, galloping through the grasslands made me want to get on the first horse available and take off. There are a lot of people offering horse rides in this area and after looking around for a bit (not all horses look in the best possible shape), I found a horse who seemed to be in good shape. Together with a few other people I got a guide (I didn’t want to get lost) and together we started our 3 hour trek.
It felt great to gallop over the grasslands and feel the wind going through my hair. It gave me the feeling of freedom! Unfortunately my horse turned out to be somewhat stubborn and instead of going down a hill he decided to go up the hill. I tried and make him turn around but that was really not gonna happen! So, instead I decided to get off the horse (didn’t want any accidents here). While I did this, the horse was scared by something and took off leaving me behind on the hill…
This was the moment the guide came in handy as he went after my horse and reunited the two of us. I got back on the horse and continued the trek. Luckily I hadn’t lost confidence and before we got back to the town we were galloping one more time, as fast as we could.
Great weekend getaway
Looking back at my trip to the Bashang Grasslands, I can truly say I had a great time. The option to go horseback riding for part of the day really made my trip better than it already was. The trip is an easy way to get out of the summer heat that lingers over Beijing. Are you looking for an amazing adventure in the Bashang Grasslands? If you are, get in touch and we can help you plan your trip or give you more tips on how to make your adventure more enjoyable. Also, if you want to see what the Bashang Grasslands looks like watch the vlog below: