Ergun, or E’erguna (额尔古纳市) is part of the prefecture-level city of Hulunbuir. The 200-km road trip from Ergun City to the beguiling Linjiang (临江), a village bordering with Russia, is the highlight of our 8-day photography Hulunbuir Prairie tour.
It features cottony clouds hovering so low you could catch, cattle grazing; sheep roaming and horses running wild with their masters. We also have a short side trip to Shiwei on route, one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in China – the China’s Russian Ethnic Minority. Finally we stay overnight at the quiet and serene bordering village – Linjiang.
One of the features of a photography tour is “off the cuff “, stopping at the places where we see beautiful photogenic spots: rolling green hills, wild flowers, white clouds, grazing cattle and sheep. We don’t get off at those touristy and commercialized horse-riding and costume hiring camps and stations along the highways.
Not long after we leave Ergun City, we encounter the stupendous scenery of cottony clouds, so low we are afraid they will hit our tour bus!
But what makes us stop and get off our bus is the undulating green hills that teems with grazing cattle on the right side of the highway! We lose no time, asking our bus driver to pull over and disembarking immediately.
Standing by the roadside, I use my long lens camera zooming in and out for the magnificent views of the harmonious beauty unfolded before our eyes, and exhilarated by the gift from the heaven.
The green hillslopes are dappled with changing sunlight and colors, mostly wanted by photography enthusiasts.
Back to the bus, we continue to hit the road, busing on the highway to Shiwei Township, a bordering village only 11 km to the southwest of Linjiang Village – our destination.
Our choice of Linjiang Village for our overnight stay is mainly due to the fact that Linjiang Village has not succumbed to tourist mania that has affected the nearby Shiwei Village.
We are given only two hours sightseeing around Shiwei Township. Located on the east bank of Ergun River, Shiwei is now a lively border town abutting Russia inhabited mostly by the Chinese-Russian descendants. Shiwei was once a cradle of multi-ethnic groups including Mongols.
About 10 years ago Shiwei was on the limelight for its natural and pristine beauty, and even elected as one of the 10 most beautiful villages in China at that time.
Even since, the village has been aways packed with tourists in high season. Now Shiwe is no longer a laid-back village that has fallen to the victim of mass tourism.
But that doesn’t deter us from making use of the two hours snapping some pictures recording the best part of Shiwei. The town features the Russian style in terms of architectures and living habits.
Stay overnight in a traditional Russian style wooden house is a top choice for many tourists.
Two hour later finds us heading to the bucolic hamlet – Linjiang, also a bordering village with Russia, separated by Ergun River.
Before we reach the laid-back village, we are led to hike up a high viewing place for a soul-recharging glimpse of the big bend on Ergun River.
We are also required by our instructor to put up our tripods and set our cameras in right conditions to catch the glowing sunset over the big curve of the sublime border river with the other side being Russia.
At the end of our road trip, we get to the anachronistic hamlet – Linjiang Village abutting Russia. This tiny hamlet is really a time wrap hemmed by rolling green hills without much modernity in sight. There is a quietness and serenity over the two-horse village.
We are arranged to stay overnight in a privately owned inn. After walking in the dimly lit village street and back to my room, I fall into sleep soon, too tired to take a shower as usual after the exciting but exhausting day trip.
Next morning I wake up naturally, missing the sunrise over the charm village. But later I soon get to know that a thick fog has been hovering over the village and we don’t have sunrise on that morning.
One of my fellow travelers – Ms. Li Xin does get up that morning, climbing up on the hills over the village for a spirit-recharge view though she fails to catch the sunrise due to the heavy haze. Below are the two pictures taken both by Ms Li Xin and the other fellow traveler on that foggy morning:
We are again only allowed a few hours walking around the serene village. The temptation to see the village is so great that I jump up from my warm bed, putting on clothes, taking out my long lens camera and mobile phone, and darting to the streets to catch the beautiful morning of the bucolic village.
Inner Mongolia Tour
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