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Crawford Creations’ Best Travel Photos of 2016

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2016 Has brought us to some amazing and magical places.  From China to the US and many places in between, these are the photos that best capture the essence and beauty of the world around us as we’ve experienced it this year.

Chengdu, Sichuan, China

A giant panda walks by at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center. Like giant cartoons come to life, panda bears have unique personalities and strangely human like behaviors. They could entertain us for hours as they snack and roll around in their piles of bamboo.

Coron, Busuanga, Phillipines

Stopped for lunch on a picturesque beach on Coron Island in the Philippines on day 2 of our week long kayaking trip. The Philippines is home to the softest white sand beaches I have ever set foot on, and turquoise blue water so clear we could see the brightly colored coral and fish dancing around underneath our kayak as we paddled through the ocean. An amazing way to start off 2016.

Giant Buddha, Leshan, China

Admiring the Giant Buddha in Leshan on a trip to Chengdu with a friend. This is actually just the largest in a series of “giant Buddhas” in the Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area. Walking through the park I kept thinking “This must be the giant Buddha” only to come around the corner and see another Buddha carved into the mountain even taller than the one before. Truly a magical place!

Hong Kong, China

The Hong Kong city skyline as viewed from Victoria Peak at night. This was trip number two up to Victoria Peak that day, and it was absolutely worth it to see the city lights at night. Even more stunning views as it was quite cloudy and smoggy during the daytime.

Chengdu, Sichuan, China

A Panda bear hangs out in a tree at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center. The Pandas take to the trees for their midday nap after breakfast. Their tree climbing skills are seriously impressive.

Giant Buddha, Leshan, China

Looking out from the top of the Giant Buddha at the crowd slowly meandering down the cliff side. Every year millions of people line up for the opportunity to admire the Giant Buddha, a 71 meter tall Buddha carved out of the side of a mountain overlooking the confluence of Leshan’s 3 rivers. The Buddha was built to calm the water spirit which was believed to be the cause of rivers’ once raging waters.

Lantau Island, Hong Kong, China

A hiker sits admiring the view from Lantau Peak on a warm spring day in Hong Kong. The city has more to offer than high rises and shopping markets if you are willing to go off the beaten path. Its new territories and acquired islands offer preserved countryside filled with hiking trails and campgrounds.

Susquehanna River Valley, Pennsylvania, USA

View over the Susquehanna River from a mountain top in Sellersville, Pennsylvania. This was taken on a family vacation while home in the US in Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Mountains. The nice weather and beautiful blue skies were much appreciated after a long stint in China.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Walking through city hall in downtown Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a city rich with history and culture, and it’s city hall is the largest in the US, marked by its famous statue of the state’s founder William Penn, teetering on top of the clock tower. We walked around the city while in town for a wedding.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China

The view of Tiger Leaping Gorge as seen from the road coming into town. This was the first stop on our two week long bike tour from Lijiang to Chengdu. The stark mountain peaks slicing into the clouds made for an interesting view. We hope to go back and hike through the gorge sometime instead of just riding by.

Shangri-La, Yunnan, China

Mountains outside of Shangri-La. We stopped to admire this view on our descent out of town. The countryside in rural Yunnan keeps us coming back time and time again.

Hengduan Mountains of Yunnan, China

The Hengduan Mountains spread out before us as we stopped at an overlook at the top of our first 4100 meter pass on our way from Lijiang to Chengdu via tandem bicycle. The road was treacherous, but the views made up for it in spades.

Hengduan Mountains, Sichuan, China

The view from an overlook on the way up a 4600 meter tall mountain on our tandem bicycle. Nearing the top, the terrain began to switch from rocky snow capped mountains to rolling grasslands.

Grasslands, Sichuan, China

Horses roam on the grasslands in rural Sichuan, China. The part of the Hengduan mountain range the plateau spans almost 200km and with an altitude of around 4100 meters. The grasslands are occupied by horses, yaks, and nomadic Tibetan people living in gers.

Hengduan Mountains, Sichuan, China

Nature doesn’t get any more pristine than this crystal clear blue water with a backdrop of snow covered mountain peaks. This amazing spot made for a perfect break as we rode up the mountain on our tandem bike.

Litang, Sichuan, China

A monk walks out of the entrance to a monastery in Litang “the world’s first high city” at 4100 meters. The gold plated temples in Litang set among a backdrop of rolling grasslands conjured feelings of peace and beauty so seemingly ideal for the practice of Buddhism.

Bifengxia Gorge, Bifengxia, China

Water cascades down the rocks inside of the Bifengxia Gorge. A hike through the gorge is included in your visit to the Bifengxia Panda Base and is absolutely worth the walk when scenery like this is around every corner.

Heaven’s Gate Mountain, Zhangjiajie, China

The deserted entrance to Tian Men Shan (Heaven’s Gate Mountain) stands in stark contrast to the crowds that usually fill up these ques during peak travel season. It was surreal visiting in the winter when this section of the park is closed and having the park entrance all to ourselves.

Huangshizhai, Zhangjiajie, China

Panoramic views of the finger mountains surrounded us from the top of Huangshizhai in Zhangjiajie National Park. 3000 steps were totally worth it to experience this otherworldly landscape.

Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, Zhangjiajie, China

The longest glass bridge in the world spanning Zhangjiajie’s Grand Canyon. We visited on Christmas Day as we walked among the clouds admiring the views through the glass below.

Heaven’s Mountain, Zhangjiajie, China

A mystical cable car ride down the mountain took us in and out of the clouds with sharp peaks slicing through the mist all around us. The top of the mountain was in the clouds this day so the cable car ride down was our only chance to see the otherworldly scenery around us.


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