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Yalong Bay is where our hotel was located. It is known as the best beach in Sanya and home to many of the 5 star resorts. The beach is very beautiful there, especially the western side. The only part I didn't enjoy about Yalong Bay is the over priced, under tasty, under sized food. If I go to Sanya in the future I will choose to stay in Dadong Beach and take trips to Yalong Bay whenever I want to go for a nice walk along the beach in the day or night because it is definitely most comfortable for that. Be sure to eat before you go as there is not much food there besides expensive BBQ.
Wuzhizhou Island is another place worth the ticket fee. After you get to the location you will have to take a 15 minute fairy ride out to the island. If it is windy the sea gets pretty rough and may make some people sick. You may want some motion sickness pills if you don’t handle the sea well. This is also a great place to go diving if the waters are calm. However the price will be much higher than Tianya Haijiao. Be sure to have enough time to walk the islands coast as there are many different views to enjoy. This is where Maggie and I went diving our first time at around 10 meters deep.
Dadong Beach is like the public downtown beach. There are many lower cost hotels, and more restaurants than you can shake a stick at. Prices are much more reasonable here and if you choose to do any water sports this is the place. It’s a very fun beach to hang out at but more crowded than Yalong beach. If you enjoy western food look up the Rainbow Bar and Grill, they have an amazing selection with reasonable prices. They have two locations in the downtown near Dadong Beach and another on the river front of the bar area.
Tianya Haijiao is a must stop. It is the place to go for photos, the sunset, and diving. Most of the diving will just be walking out into the water and 1-3 meters deep but there are many nice corals and fish to enjoy. The water is very clear here. Also the prices were much less than other locations for the diving at the time we were there. Make sure to get there early enough to allow yourself time for diving and to view all the large rock formations. Be sure to eat before you go as there is not much food there besides expensive BBQ.
Ya no da, means 1, 2 ,3 in Hainan local dialect. It is also how the locals of this area are used to say hello and goodbye to each other. It is a wonderful place to visit and by far the best managed Chinese tourism park I have seen. Especially the 128 RMB ticket includes the bus from downtown to rainforest, gate fee, electric trolley, and audio tour guide in English or Chinese! The first place I have seen in China where everything is included. Normally everyone is trying to get a percentage in China. They also have a very friendly staff. There is a buffet at the front gate for 28 or 38 RMB or they sell snacks throughout the park. It is full of tropical fruits, Chine herbal medicines, 1000 year old trees, and many odd plant species.
We headed out on a hiking trip Friday night after I finished work. We went out with a group of 28 people total. It was all arranged by the group leader Tin ya. He was also in the group that went to Rooster Mountain together. Anyways we all met up at a local meeting spot where we would get on our bus that we booked. It cost around $200 to book for the weekend. Initially we each paid RMB 100 (around $15) for the bus and personal insurance for the weekend.
After meeting up at the bus station we all caught a quick bite to eat before heading out on our 5 hour bus ride to a farmer's hotel where we would spend the night. On the bus ride everyone introduced themselves (some knew each other from previous trips) and Tin ya briefed everyone on the details of the trip. We arrived near the hotel around 11 PM to find that the road was under construction and the tour bus couldn't make it through. So we had no choice but to start our hike a little early. We got out of the bus to find it was about 40 degrees and muddy to begin putting on our gear and hiking the remaining mile that the bus couldn't make it. Then arriving the farmer's hotel we had to beat on the door for a while to wake him up so we could get in out rooms. Many of the rooms were multiple bed rooms (2-6) but Maggie and took a 2 - bed room to ourselves but it was an extra $3. So I guess we splurged a bit. ;)
We got up at 7 Sat. morning so we would have time to walk into the small town and have some breakfast before leaving on our hike at 8. It was a very old style town where most of the people were cooking with wood fired stoves. We found a small restaurant to get some bao zi (steamed bread with meat/veggies inside) and dumplings. There were fairly good and the dumplings will warm you up in the cold morning. After eating we headed across the small street to a local shop that sold a little bit of everything. Where we bought some light gloves since it was a bit colder than expected. Then other people bought some heavier shoes and alcohol for later use. The shop owner was so excited to have great sales she gave me a small cake I wanted for free.
Then we began our hike which was expected to be around 6 hours of walking with a stop for lunch in the middle. As we started we were walking down a small dirt road fit for small trucks or motorcycles. There was great scenery all around with small farms growing assortments of vegetables and their very basic wood houses with smoke coming up through the vented roofs. Then after a couple hours into the hike we merged off onto a small hiking trail that led up the mountain side between a few small farms finally ended at a farmer house where we would stop to cook our lunch.
After lunch we began hiking down more trails and small roads fit for motorcycles. We seemed to be in mostly very light forest with smaller evergreens and brush. Around halfway we stopped atop of a nice hill to take a rest and have a group photo. After walking a while after that we worked into some thicker forest where we found wild kiwi and pear trees where we stopped to pick a few. We seemed to be working down the mountain then and it got pretty muddy. We began crossing some small streams that we had to cross by walking across the rocks and adding a few where needed. Then finally walking along the stream where we came out to a farmer's house where we would be camping.
It was pretty amazing to see this farmer's house. So secluded, no electricity, nothing. Just a good old fashioned farm. I would have liked to ask him a lot of questions since I am so interested in his lifestyle but do to the communication differences... I can only imagine they were excited to see the group of us. They must get bored out there right? Anyways I am sure they made a killing off the 5 chickens and other stuff we purchased from them.
Anyways I had never actually gutted and plucked a chicken myself so after we weighed them I decided to join in. I just followed along with the professional chicken killer in our group. We cleaned everything, remember here they don't like to waste anything. So I even helped clean the intestines even though I'm not a fan of eating them. Just taste like rubber to me. After the chickens were cleaned they had begun cooking with their huge woks that sat in a cement table with a wood fire down below. 100% old fashioned here. So during the slow cooking we had begun a little drinking and others huddled around the fire pit inside the farmer's home.
Then we began our dinner. It came out pretty good being in the middle of nowhere with limited supplies. We ended up with a chicken and bamboo dish, and a radish soup picked from the garden. Between bites of food we passed around the jugs of homemade corn and berry alcohol we purchased back in the small town. After people finished eating drinking games began including paper, rock, scissors and other Chinese drinking games. Then soon we moved to the campfire that the farmer had prepared for us.
Standing around the fire, which we probably didn't need since the jugs of alcohol had everyone quite warm already, we continued to pass the jugs around while sing alongs and other crazy acts had begun. It was a riot to say the least. After some time, I have no idea how much, the party dwindled down to a few people left and we decided to get some rest since the next day we had to be up by 7 to begin our 12 mile or so hike back to town where we would catch the bus.
The next day we woke up feeling pretty good since we remembered to keep our wits the night before. It was cold with a light rain to start our day. We cooked some eggs to eat with some bread for breakfast. Then we began tearing down our tents. Most everyone was in good shape besides a girl that puked in her tent all night. Tin ya, had to practically drag her out of her tent and start tearing it down for her. Then there was another guy too hung over to carry his pack so he paid the farmer to carry it out for him. I think a few bucks to carry it to the 6 mile point or something.
Then we began hiking. This time we would be going another way through thicker jungle. As we went along it just got thicker and thicker, but still interesting to see. At many times you were ducked right down to make it through the bamboo. I mean almost crawling. We went though many streams and were almost rock climbing at points. The famer say's he made this trail and it is the shortest way out. I have no idea how he ever navigated it in the first place. We finally made it out to the main road ( 2 track ) after about 5 hours of the heavy jungle I guess. Most spots I didn't even bother taking out my camera since it was raining and so thick you couldn't see anything anyways.
After a few minutes rest we decided to get a start on the remaining 10 miles or whatever distance it was. Many people were still in the thick jungle. Only around 7 of the 25 had made it out. The whole way was a muddy 2 track but there was a lot of nice views to keep you occupied and your mind off your aching body. We took a couple few minute breaks along the way and once ten minutes to stuff down a few pieces of bread. We didn't want to break too long though because it just made our bodies hurt worse. Then finally the last 2 miles a trucked pulled up next to us full of bags. Someone had arranged the truck to take them out to the town. Also a few other people had arranged themselves into the truck. So we gave in and threw our bags on the truck but continued walking.
Finally we started coming up on more houses and started getting into the city. Then we finally seen our bus parked along the street. We were the third and fourth people to make it back, aside from the 5 or 6 cheaters. We quickly changed to warmer coats then to the small restaurant to get some fried rice and spicy noodles since we were freezing and starved by this point. After eating others began trickling in and we went across the street where I purchased some fuzzy slippers for the ride back since my feet were soaked. I didn't want to endure the 5 hours on the bus with cold, wet feet. After everyone else got some food we finally departed back to Chongqing. Around 11:30 we arrived our apartment excited to take that hot shower. Then, lucky us, the gas was off to our apt. for maintenance so we had to call a friend to ask if we could come shower at his place.
At times we wondered why we went on the trip but we didn't regret going despite the aching body. I was especially proud that Maggie was able to be one of the first people to make it back. It was her first time to do a hike of such difficulty. We didn't think we would want to do another one anytime soon. However maybe in a few months we'll be ready again.
Just got back from Rooster mountain. We decided to go camping this weekend with a group we had met on the trail a few weeks back. When they called to invite us I was a bit skeptical due to the fact I didn't know any of them. However they turned out to be a pretty good group of people.
We all met up at the bus station after work on Friday. Then we headed out to Qijiang which is about an hour south of Chongqing by bus. Then when we arrived Qijiang we stopped at a restaurant to get a snack since we had a couple hours of travel ahead of us. After that we took a couple mini van to haul the 11 of us to the camping area trailhead which was about a 40 mintue ride from the downtown. Arriving we all started hiking up the trail with our gear in the dark. The weather was very cool and comfortable for our hike. Once we got to the halfway point we stopped at a farmers house where 2 of the people in our group would be leaving thier car. The road is like a 2 track and they didn't want to drive any farther than that. You could of made it an a SUV or truck fairly easy though. Actually a car you didn't care about would also work. Anyways then they hired the farmer to carry in some of the extra gear, food, and drinks. He carried around 100 lbs. of stuff for around 7 dollars. After arriving at the lake, which was man made by a dam, we all set up our tents in a grassy area next to the lake. After we all began warming our dishes we brought from home. The first night everyone brought a dish to pass. I made spaghetti which a lot of people enjoyed and Maggie made red boiled pork which was also a hit. After we began drinking and partying to finish the night.
The next day was spent hanging out and doing a little bit of fishing and hiking. Everyone joined in a few different games throughout the day as well. Then we started our dinner with a main dish of hot pot folled by a campfire dance party with more drinking. Everyone was a lot mellower this night compared to the first, maybe a good thing.
Then Sunday we woke up thick fog making hard to see the lake that was right next to us. We bagan to make breakfast followed by cleanup. After finishing the fog had lifted and we began our hour long hike back out to the front gate where we could catch a bus back to Qijiang. Arriving there everyone decided to go eat the local fish pot which is famous in this town. I was really to interested since I don't like fish very much, especially when it's just a whole fish with bones whacked up in a pot mixed with the spices, peppers, oil, veggies, etc. However after trying it aside from the bones it was pretty good. Then it was time to head to the bus station and get back to Chongqing.
We got back home yesterday afternoon from our vacation. Seven days went by like three. I guess that is a good thing because everything went pretty well.
Day One- We got to the airport and flew out of Chongqing to Lijiang, Yunnan Province. We arrived Lijiang around 10 am then we had to wait around for the bus to take us into the city. Once we arrived there we had to take a taxi from the bus station to the ancient town. We then walked around the ancient town and looked for something to eat. The ancient town is very nice and has a really comfortable feel to it. There are many small restaurants, bars, art studios, handmade jewelery and craft shops that line the small streets. Many of which are along the few small rivers that snake through the ancient town. Also all of the very nice guest houses which are old style but very nice. They say all the small rivers come from the Yula Snow Mountain which backs the city of Lijiang. The rivers all look so clean I felt I wasn't in China any more. We ate our lunch, which was over the bridge noodles, made from a chicken like soup brought to your table very hot. Then they add vegetables, chicken, egg, and noodles that are uncooked. The soup is so hot after stirring for a minute everything is done. After eating we looked around the city for awhile before heading to Shuhe where we would be staying for the night. Shuhe is similar to Lijiang but smaller and has less tourists. Arriving Shuhe we decided to hire the locals which provide horses willing to take you anywhere. We then rode horse to our guest house in the back of the Shuhe ancient town. When we arrived the owner of the guest house met is in the alley to lead us to her home. Her home is actually very new, many of the guest houses are, but built old style to keep the look of the ancient city. After talking with A Peng for a few minutes we found that she was from Shanghai but moved her a few years ago to open the guest house and she speaks very good English since she used to work for a joint venture in Shanghai. We then decided to look around Shuhe while the guest house owner prepared dinner for us and 6 or 8 other guests. She prepared about 6 or 7 different dishes that were all very good. We then began to eat dinner which seemed to turn into a big party with drinking games during and after our dinner.
Day two- We woke up in the morning feeling a bit hungover from the dinner party. A Peng, the owner, cooked us breakfast, local bread and baozhi (steamed buns with meat or veggies inside). We then headed out to the bus station that would take us to Yula mountain. Arriving at Yula mountain we then puchased our ticket and got on the Yula mountain bus that would take us to the cable car. We decided to take the cable car that would go to the grass meadow. The cable car took us from 2000 m up to around 2500 m elevation. Arriving at the top we walked a trail through the forest that would take us to the meadow. I found the forest to be a little similar as Washington or Oregon with thick green, mossy forest. Then we arrived at the grassy meadow which is backed by the Yula snow mountain which is around 5400 m tall. We then hiked around the meadow taking photos of the scenery and horses grazing freely in the unfenced meadow. After that we departed to the Blue Moon River. The water color there is the bluest I have seen, not sure from what. We walked around taking photos of the rivers and Yaks which you can pay to sit on and get your picture taken. Yaks are very popular throughout the area. When then headed back to Shehe to stay another night at A Peng's guest house.
Day Three- We headed out to Shangri-la. The bus ride was around 4 hours going through the mountains heading north. The whole ride was very scenic. You couldn't help but enjoy looking out the window the whole way seeing the yaks, cows, sheep, horses, pigs, and whatever freely grazing almost everywhere. The area is full of China's ethnic cultures. Mostly the Naxi but as you head north it becomes mostly the Zang but there are around 13 different nationalities in Shangri-la. Arriving there we deiced to head to the Tibetan monastery complex which is the biggest in Yunnan province. It is a very cool place to witness some Tibetan culture aside of it being under a lot of construction currently. After that we headed to the ancient town to find a place to stay for the night. Walking around finding that almost every place was full we finally found a hostel with some space. We ended up sharing a room there with a Japanese kid that could speak English and Chinese as well. We then decided to head out for dinner. While looking for a place to eat we met up with our dinner party friends from the first night. They apparently had similar travel arrangements as us. They recommended we eat the local hot pot which is made from Yak. The Yak hot pot is brought to your table in a tin pot with coal burning in the middle to keep it boiling. You keep adding in veggies, noodles, or whatever else you decide to order as you eat. The Yak hot pot is very delicious and I hope to have it again someday.
Day 4- We headed out to Pudacua National Park at 8am. It was a little cold with light rain, maybe around 45 or 50 degrees unfortunately. We had only brought sweatshirts so we were freezing as we walked to the front gate after arriving. Luckily the local people rent heavy coats to stupid tourists like myself, so we rented two coats for around 5 dollars for the day. The park was a pretty awesome view. There are a few local people that live in small wood homes throughout the park. It also has many herdsmen with their animals grazing in the many grassy meadows. After finishing the park we had to get on a bus to take us back 2 hours south to Tiger Leaping Gorge. After arriving we found a local mini-van to drive us into the gorge. We then stopped at the upper gorge to hike from the road down to the Yangtze River. It took around an hour to hike down and back. The view was well worth the hike. After that the driver took us to the middle gorge where we would be spending the night at Tina's guest house.
Day 5- After eating some breakfast we hiked down the trail to the middle gorge. The trail was very steep with cliffs and rock stairs. It's amazing that anyone could make the trail in the first place. It took around an hour to hike down. The rapids are huge in the middle gorge. The Yangtze flows around 100,000 cfs. Then we hiked up another trail which took around 2 hours. The trail has ladders in a couple places to get up the steep terrain. After getting to the top we stopped and had lunch at a cafe over looking the gorge. The cafe was very nice with everything in English. It is run by a Japanese woman that married a Chinese man. We had some local Naxi Pizza for lunch. It's like two pieces of pita bread with cheese and fried veggies between. We then began our hike back towards the front gate. We needed to make it about halfway back to the Tea Horse guest house. The hike goes up to the high trail overlooking the the gorge. It starts at 2080 m and finishes at 2500 m elevation. During the hike you pass a lot of sheep and mules grazing throughout the mountain side. Some of the stubborn mules like to stand in the trail not letting you through. After around 4 hours we finally arrived at the Tea Horse. We were happily greeted by the owner who spoke English as well.
Day 6- After a good night's rest we ate some breakfast before heading out. We had some apple banana pancakes, they just put the fruit between two pancakes, and hash browns topped with local cheese. The pancakes were great but I'd rather have some real cheese. Then we continued on our hike to the front gate. We had about a 200 m rise in elevation in our first 2 hours of hike then it would begin to go back down to around 2080 m. We stopped and ate lunch after around 3 hours of hiking at the Naxi family guest house. Then continued out to the front gate where we joined another group and hired a mini-van to take us back 1 and a half hours to Shuhe where our friend from Chongqing was staying. We met him for dinner then went to Lijiang ancient town to one of the bars. Then we headed back to our guest house in Shuhe.
Day 7- Waking up to the real life knowing that we are heading back to Chongqing. We headed to the airport then flew out and were back in Chongqing around noon.
Da7 8- I am now back at work typing this and my legs still hurt from the hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Well Monday we are leaving on our trip to Lijiang. We will be taking an hour a 1.5 hour flight on Monday morning. Then returning on Sunday. While we are there we will be traveling to a few other places within a 1.5 hour bus ride. Some of the main locations we will be going to is Lijiang, First bend of the Yangtze, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Pudacuo National Park, and Shangri-la. It should be quite the trip. We will arrive in Lijiang, stay there for 1-2 nights then move on to see the First Bend of the Yangtze and hike through Tiger leaping Gorge, probably camping there for a night. After we have had enough hiking we will head north to Shangri-la. Well there we will visit Pudacuo National Park. After we finish there we will spend our remaining time in Lijiang until we have to return to the real life. I will post some pics when I get back.
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