Travel

LIAOHE DELTA

on
June 4, 2018

In the tamil film “I”, there is a beautiful and mesmerizing song scene, depicting Vikram and Amy Jackson walking on a wooden bridge across a spectacular red field by the sea shore, spanning vast acres of land. As we watched those scenes in the theatre screen, we were quite sure that it was not a real place and that those shots were mere camera tricks. Nevertheless, we did search the Internet to check if there really did exist such a place. We were indeed amazed to find out that the place is real. It was in China. The point where the Liao river running through the Liaoning province merged with the Bohai Sea forming a River Delta. The red field area covered around 30kms of land. The reason for the strikingly red hue of this land lies in ‘Suaeda salsa’, a rare and unique plant that grew across this land. This plant turns bright red during its peak season. In order to witness this show of colors, we need to visit during August-September. Since me and my wife Thara were already longing to visit China, we did not wait any longer and decided to embark on our much-awaited journey.

We came across a few hurdles as we searched for information regarding that place on the Internet. There weren’t a lot of details available on how to get to that place. By luck, a Chinese friend I met through an online travel forum helped me. He told me about the time as well as the routes to follow.

The merging point of Liao River at the sea is about 600 kms away from the capital city of China, Beijing. The nearest railway station Panjin is 50kms away from the delta. There’s a direct train service from Beijing to Panjin. A short walk from the railway station exit will take you to Panjin’s bus station, from where a bus runs to Zhaoquan, the village home to the red fields. Since it is a remote place which very little travelers visit, the buses did not have any info in English and we were wondering which bus goes where. Luckily after a while a minibus came with some posters of the famous red fields pasted on it. This must be it! The driver and conductor were ladies and the bus was filled with local people with only the two of us from outside. They were a bit amused to see us. It seems not many foreign tourists do this bus journey. The few tourists who make it to panjin hires taxi guys from the station directly. But this bus journey is far less expensive and much more fun. Lots of isolated and lonely uninhabited apartments stocked on either sides of the road leading out of Panjin. The whole town seemed to be enveloped in a brooding atmosphere and seemed pretty dull. Once the bus left the city, the sky looked clearer and more beautiful with lush paddy fields on either sides of our road.

On landing at Zhaoquan village, taxi drivers swarmed over us. Buses were not available from this point and one had to go to the shore by taxi only. Due to the field’s diverse uniqueness, it had been declared as a protection enabled habitat, and hence the entry is limited by an permission ticket costing around 900 rupees. The fields were so vast and expansive such that a taxi is a must to reach all the points. After a 5 minute drive, passing by the entry gate, we came upon the slow calm sight of the sea. Red weeds claimed spots all over the shore. As we proceeded further, the color of the plants along the shore started to change. Red plants started to cover the shore more and more. Far across the waters, there lay a beautiful carpet of red. Liao River, making its way slowly and elegantly to merge with the sea, could be seen at regular points. Such merging of different sediments from different levels of the river have made this section of land very fertile. There were bridges across the fields, with different names, and several viewpoints allowing the whole panoramic view of the red fields. We walked almost halfway through them and enjoyed the view.

As we walked through the bridge, the sea breeze blew gracefully and made the whole atmosphere peaceful. Uninterrupted and soothing wind filled the air in a serene ambience. For patient viewing there were benches at regular intervals on the bridge. A good book and a perfect view, amidst this very calming breeze would be a perfect combination!

Far across the bridge, a number of oil rigs could be seen moving up and down mechanically. There are oil fields situated underneath there. This province played an important role in China’s economic growth. Once the sun came down on us, we went to a nearby restaurant and had noodles and omlets, as a means to escape the heat and recharge ourselves. The train back to Beijing had to be caught before evening. Thus we left the red fields with a handful of good worthy memories of another wonderful land on earth!

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