While I was in Beijing, a few girlfriends and I booked a private room for massages at a nice, non-Westernized joint after dinner. My girlfriends snoozed off while I was captivated by the documentary on the television screens, showing the far regions of the Great Wall and the Silk Road. I did some research after that — this documentary series, Wild China, was produced by the BBC and China’s state-owned CCTV and debuted in 2008 (right before the Olympics). It covers off-the-beaten-track parts of China. Wild China is available on Amazon (free for Amazon Prime members) and Netflix. I’m assuming it’s only available in Chinese in China. BBC has a pretty good narrative on the series here.
If you’re into natural beauty and sweeping landscapes, this series is not to be missed! I’m looking forward to when I have time to head out to Western China. The Yunnan restaurants in Beijing and Shanghai piqued my interest. I visited Guilin in the 90s and I was too young to appreciate it.