I’ve been in China for the past 2 weeks in a place called Louguantai, just south west of Xi’an. I’d taken it upon myself to head to China through Real Gap to volunteer at a wildlife rescue and research centre called Louguantai Wild Animal Breeding and Protection Centre, in the Louguantai National Forest Park. During my time there, I was an assistant zoo keeper to giant pandas; feeding and cleaning their enclosures, and also helping the keepers with their English. I chose to volunteer with pandas specifically because they’re a very endangered species (only 1600 remain in the wild and 300 in captivity) and…

View Post
Share:

Yesterday evening, we went off to explore more of the Lou Guan Tai National Forest Park, as the wildlife centre I’ve been volunteering at is situated inside it. We learned that the national park is a very important site for Taoists, as it was here where the founder of Taoism, Laozi, wrote the yin and yang philosophy. A large statue of Laozi can be found in the forest, as well as many temples and stone tablets dedicated to him and his work. The forest was stunning, with acres of lush greenery surrounding the temples, and we spent a good few…

View Post
Share:

A fellow volunteer named Frank, who lives in the area, invited Meighan and I to visit an ancient town with him and his mother yesterday evening. He said that this place translates in English to “the water town” but its name is really only in Chinese, 水乡古镇. Google searches for this in the area do not bring anything up. Nonetheless, if you manage to find it, do have a look. I was not prepared for how spectacular it was going to be. The place felt so authentically Chinese, and gave me a real feel of the ancient Chinese culture and lifestyle; it was lots…

View Post
Share:

During our volunteer project with pandas in Louguantai, we ventured back to the nearby city, Xi’an, at the weekends. In total, we spent 3 days exploring this fascinating city, which held a lot more history and culture than I expected. It seems that Xi’an is not particularly well known to much of the Western world, as tourists tend to head to Beijing or Shanghai; this is evident from the fact that all the locals wanted photos with us as they were shocked to see us there! Xi’an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, located in the northwest of China,…

View Post
Share:

After having camped in The Dordogne for a week, dad and I decided to head south-east to a campsite just outside of the town Castellane. The campsite was called Domaine du Verdon, and while it was a lot busier than we would have liked, it was in a very privileged location right in the heart of the the Verdon Regional Park, meaning the site was surrounded by beautiful mountains and the famous Gorges du Verdon. The Gorges du Verdon is a river canyon that stretches 25 kilometres and it is absolutely stunning; we spent our time here exploring different parts of…

View Post
Share: