I have never found a place in China that is so beautiful and unknown like the Canola field in Men Yuan, Qing Hai. Being a tiny Hui autonomous county, Men Yuan is dwelled mostly by muslin ethnic minorities who have spotted their villages extensively in the stretching of the complex mountain landscape as high as 2866 metres above sea level. Its geographic uniqueness barred it from murdering crowds of tourists and harnessed a particular feeling of solitude.
Historically it was a Tibetan territory. During the time of Mogolian invasion, Genghis Khan stationed his army there for its abundant grassland. Then in Yuan dynasty the Chinese people arrived and started agricultural activities. The major town was built in Manchu Dynasty around 1724, and the autonomous government was established in 1953. None of those histories can still be seen in the downtown area, but when you wandered off a bit, you will be greeted by the spectacular mountains and rivers that silently talk about its historical grandees.
Giant, bleak grey mountain ranges contrast a sea of bright colours of green and yellow, the villages afar sit in peace and tranquillity. But the life of this scenery does not last longer than one month, when the flowers accomplished their mission of being attractive to bees, and the new born seeds are prepared for a new cycle of life.
July is the best time to visit Men Yuan. Four hours of bus drive from the main city plus five minutes’ walk will take you to a pavilion located on the top of a hill. From there you can have a panoramic sight of the vast basin, which is covered by carpets of rapeseed flowers, stretching all the way from the Zhu Gu Valley in the east to the Yong An Plain. Two snow mountains in a distance silently upgraded the solemnity of the site, and a narrow stone footpath leads from the pavilion down to a refreshing stream where all the bees and butterflies come to drink water.
P. S. how to find Men Yuan?
Take a bus from the major Train Station in Xi Ning, the Capital of Qing Hai Province. Bus ticket: $5. Or you can hire a taxi for round trip, estimated price: $100