More than three hours’ drive from Chengde City in China’s Hebei Province, Saihanba was part of Mulan Paddock, a royal hunting place of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911).
The name “Saihanba” is a combination of Mongolian and Chinese. It means “beautiful high mountain ranges.” However, due to cultivation, excessive logging and wildfires, Saihanba turned into an immense wasteland and desert by the end of the Qing Dynasty.
In 1962, the State Forestry Administration established Saihanba Forest Farm to recover the place as a ecological barrier. Fifty-five years later, forest coverage of the area has raised from 12 percent to 80 percent.
If you are looking to spend some time in the great outdoors to enjoy flowing rivers, blue skies and rich country air, Saihanba National Forest Park is the place to go. Established in 1993, Saihanba National Forest Park has become a popular destination, attracting tourists in all seasons.
May to September is the best time to visit the grassland. With various activities to enjoy such as horsing riding, archery, grass skating, dancing performances and bonfire parties, it’s an ideal place for a break.
Inside the park, Saihan Tower stands at 1780 meters tall. It is a multi-function sightseeing platform that can hold one hundred people. On the top of the tower, tourists can take a sweeping view of the immense sea of forest below.
The tower also serves as a forest fire lookout. Saihanba has many such towers, with the highest being more than 1900 meters tall. People stationed there have to check on the section of the forest within a 20km radius every 15 minutes in the day and every hour in the evening. Some of them have been doing this work for decades.