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15-19 October 2019 -- EDB study tour to Ningxia


A year ago, I was honoured to be chosen to go on a study tour organised by the EDB to Ningxia (寧夏回族自治區) with nine other girls from our school. The five-day trip from 15th to 19th October, 2019 was very memorable; not only have I learned much about Ningxia and its history and culture, but I have also forged strong friendships.

After a day of flying (with no in-flight entertainment), transfers and delays, we finally landed at the small airport of Yinchuan (銀川), the capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, at one in the morning on 16th October. Our tired selves were welcomed by our tour guides, travel coaches and the cold, dry winds of northwestern China. After a half-hour bus ride, we finally arrived at the hotel and we could not wait to get to our rooms to sleep.

Photo: EDB Study Tour to Ningxia(1)Photo: EDB Study Tour to Ningxia(2) 

Barely five hours later, I woke up to a chilly morning typical of Ningxia. Looking out the window, I did not see many skyscrapers: the tallest one was probably our hotel. Despite seeing how empty the wide roads were in this backwater, compared with bustling Hong Kong, I felt very excited — it was my first time visiting the cities on the legendary Silk Road!

On our second morning, we visited the Western Xia Imperial Tombs (西夏王陵), a UNESCO World Heritage site. We first went to its museum (西夏博物館) to learn about the history and culture of the mysterious Western Xia dynasty and the Tanguts (黨項族). Although most of their history was destroyed by the Mongols, we luckily got to see some relics, including scripts, weapons and jewellery. Afterwards, we went on a guided bus tour around the pyramid-shaped tombs, before walking around one of them. Standing in the wilderness, these towering monuments were very impressive and majestic, and they amazed me so much. In the afternoon, we visited the famous Mountain Helan to take a look at the prehistoric rock carvings, including aliens, animal sacrifices and the famous sun god carving. Finally, we visited the Chinese Goji Museum, where we learned about the history and benefits of goji berries (枸杞), and had the chance to taste “goji leaves tea”, something I had never tried before. It was a very fruitful and interesting experience.

On the third day, we visited Ningxia University (寧夏大學), where we attended a talk about agricultural development and sustainability in Ningxia, and had an exchange with the local students. I talked with a few students who majored in music, and we had a meaningful discussion about music and singing. In the afternoon, we visited the Qingtongxia Yellow River Scenic Area (青銅峽黃河大峽谷景區), where we gazed in awe at the waterworks constructions, took a boat ride around the scenic area, and finally visited the famed One Hundred and Eight Pagodas (一百零八塔), one of China’s largest pagoda groups, which were built by the Tanguts. We were very lucky to be able to witness the rare scene of the water of the Yellow River rushing out of the opened floodgates. Although we had to walk a lot on that day, it was all worth it.

On the fourth and last day in Ningxia, we visited the Yellow River and the Gobi Desert in the Shapotou National Nature Protection Area (沙坡頭國家自然保護區) in the morning. To my surprise, we saw greenery and willow trees on the banks of the Yellow River in such a dry place as Ningxia! With the beautiful scenery of the desert and the river, I took many pictures of the view with my new-found friends. We also admired the straw checkerboards planted in the desert as a solution to desertification, and observed ancient transportation methods across the river. That afternoon, we visited our final destination, the Zhonghua Huanghe Tower (中華黃河樓). The tower and the surrounding area were built in the architecture style of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Needless to say, they were very beautiful. We first walked through the spacious halls of the museum located on the first four floors of the tower, and learned much about Chinese culture and history around the Yellow River region. Finally, we reached our final destination: the observation deck at the top of the tower. Looking out, the picturesque view of the Yellow River winding below us rendered us speechless.

Time flew by in Ningxia. Every day was spent to its fullest, and I have learned so much about the agricultural, historical and cultural aspects of Ningxia and the western regions of China. Despite being situated in a comparatively more remote area of China, Ningxia has endured for over 5000 years witnessed many ups and downs of Chinese history. Moreover, throughout the study tour, I have forged long-lasting friendships with other people, both from our school and from other schools. We had many spicy meals together, and spent our nights watching movies, munching on midnight snacks and completing presentations together. I had so much fun on this trip, and I will never forget this meaningful “journey to the west”.

We would like to thank Mrs. J Hau and Mr. CY Heung, who accompanied us on the trip and guided us in our reports and presentations. Thanks must also be given to the School for giving us this chance to go on this eye-opening tour. Finally, we are grateful to Mrs. Lau, for her unfailing guidance and support. Without all these people, I will not be able to visit Ningxia and make memories of a lifetime. Ningxia is a beautiful and fascinating place to visit; I hope I will have the chance to visit it once more!

Zita Lau