Mainland China

Trips to China:

– Guizhou, Guangxi and Xiamen, July-August 2016

– Sichuan and Yunnan, August 2012

– Sichuan and Yunnan, August 2007

– Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou, summer 2007 (in Polish)

– Beijing to Chengdu, summer 2006 (in Polish)

[scroll down for earlier trip reports]


South China, July-August 2016 – Guizhou, Guangxi, Fujian

duration: 41 days, incl. 29 days in mainland China

Route: Hong Kong – Guangzhou – Guiyang – Zhenyuan – Kaili – [Congjiang] – Basha – Zhaoxing – [Sanjiang] – Chengyang – Longji Titian – Gulilin – Yangshuo – Xingping – Guangzhou – Xiamen – Kinmen (Taiwan) – Xiamen – Guangzhou – Macau – Hong Kong

Information on HK, Macau and Kinmen is posted in the relevant section.

General information

Visa: unfortunately this time the Chinese embassy in Warsaw did not issue a longer visa even though we requested 45 days and we had to adapt our trip to the maximum stay of 2 x 30 days.

Changing money: we changed some money in advance in Hong Kong’s Chungking and Mirador Mansions. Rates were so good that it was actually a little better to change money from USD to HKD to CNY than a simple USD to CNY change in China.

Once in mainland China, money is changed in banks. Only some branches are allowed to change money and they are usually marked by an English language sign. Many (but not all) bank branches are open on Saturdays and Sundays. Rates are very similar in all banks and they very little from the rates of the Bank of China (see: As seen in this table, it is much better to exchange cash in USD than EUR. Exchanging 100 USD costs ca. 5 yuan (ca. 0,75%), while exchanging 100 EUR costs 26 yuan (ca. 3,5%).

Booking train tickets: during our previous trips to China one of the biggest problems was hearing the notorious “mei you” at the train station and having to wait or arrange alternatives. Much has changed in this regard – Chinese train tickets can be now booked on-line from abroad and booking fees are reasonable.

The official Chinese railway booking site is in Chinese only and does not take foreign credit cards, so agencies are needed for booking from abroad. It seems that the most reasonable ones are Travel China Guide ( and Ctrip ( Travel China Guide has a better search engine, showing the availability of tickets for trains, while Ctrip charges lower fees (20 or 30 Y per ticket). The fee paid to Ctrip is converted to “c-money” that can be in theory spent on hotels but in practice when we booked a hotel and paid by “c-money” the hotel refused to honor our payment (presumably they did not receive anything from Ctrip).

Tip: when booking through Ctrip search the trains while not logged in and log in only after you have found your connection. In such way the booking fee will be 20 instead of 30 Y.

After booking Ctrip issues a confirmation number that needs to be exchanged for the actual ticket at a train station. Any train station in China can do it but stations different from the station of origin charge 5 Y per ticket. Passport and the confirmation number are needed. Allow plenty of time for picking up tickets, as there are always big queues in Chinese railway stations.

One more thing to consider when travelling by train in China – Chinese train stations are huge and crowded. They are organized like airports, with a ticket check (queue) and a security check (another queue) to enter the station and gates to the platform opening 15 minutes before departure.

Useful websites: – for up-to-date practical information on several destinations (getting to and from the railway station, entry fees etc.); – excellent resource on ethnic villages in Guizhou and Guangxi and on travelling in those regions


Trip notes:

Hong Kong – Guangzhou: by MTR to Lo Wu (ca 40 HK$), across the border on foot, by train from Shenzhen to Guangzhou Dong (East) 79,5 Y, ca 1 hr
Door to door from our HK guesthouse to Guangzhou hotel it took some 4 hrs.


We stayed in 3 places in Guangzhou during this trip

  1. Yecheng Hotel, near Ximenkou metro, 138 Y for a double (AC), comfortable but a bit worn down. Booked on Nice central area with plenty of shops and restaurants nearby. Recommended.
  2. Guangzhou South Station No. 1 hotel (128 Y for a dark room, clean and with AC). We booked this one on, as we wanted to stay close to Guangzhou Nan (South) train station. It turned out to be a bad idea. The location marker was misplaced on the map. In fact the hotel is located in a small village-like neighbourhood ca. 1 km south-west from the station, across a small river, with some shops and restaurants nearby. Almost impossible to find by yourself, even the locals did not know the place. The location means it is not very practical to visit central Guangzhou from this place – it is ca. 20 minutes walk to the station (and metro), another 30-40 minutes metro ride to central Guangzhou. Our room was dark, as the only window faced a neighbours wall just 15 centimeters from it. To be recommended only if you plan an late arrival and an early start from Guangzhou South station and want to skip visiting the city completely. The owner gives free ride to and from the station.
  3. Jiamei Hotel, opp. the main mosque, near Gongyuanqian and Ximenkou metro, 178 y on Very good location, nice clean and comfortable room. Recommended.

If choosing you can use my referral link to receive a refund of ca. 12 euros.

Guangzhou Nan (South) to Guiyang Bei (North) – CRH high speed train, 5 hrs, 267,5 Y, booked via Ctrip

Guiyang (alt. over 1000 meters, visibly cooler than most other places)

Accomodation: Guiyang Nande Youkong Youth Hostel, 128 Y for double room, ensuite, no AC. Location within walking distance to some sights and a night market specializing in seafood and crayfish. Washing machine and a rack for drying laundry. The whole hostel was an adapted ground floor apartment in a 1970s block of flats tucked into a small lane (difficult to find). Downside: the place has very poor ventilation, pervasive smell of mould, it was humid and hot in summer. There was no AC and not even a fan in our room. We slept with an open window and it was still far from comfortable. Not recommended.

Guiyang – Zhenyuan – by train, 41 Y, ca. 3 hrs, booked a day in advance at the station

Zhenyuan (alt. 450 m, hot and sticky like HK or Guangzhou)

Accomodation on the main street turned out to be quite pricey – most rooms facing the river were 250 Y or more. Finally we settled for 150 Y for a slightly shabby but large room with balcony over the river, a bit further from the old bridge (AC).

Bus no. 1 links the main street to both train and bus stations.

Entry fees: Qinglong 60 Y (30 Y discount for ITIC card), mountain above the town 30 Y (15 Y with ITIC card)

Zhenyuan – Kaili – tickets were sold also for a fully booked train with standing room only, as it was only 1 hr (15 Y).

Kaili (alt. 650 meters, a bit less hot than Zhenyuan)

Bus no. 2 from the train station into city.

Accomodation: New Mills Inn, (凱里新磨坊連鎖酒店), 26 Yingpan Dong Lu (營盤東路26號) 138 Y for an AC room. In a side lane from Yingpan East Rd but visible from the main road. Good location, walking distance to shops, restaurants and the main bus station on Wenhua Lu. Recommended.

We took a day trip to Miao villages around Langde (郎德) and Leishan. There are buses to Leishan from main bus station on Wenhua Lu every 1hr from 7.20, 8.20 etc. Last bus back from Leishan is at 6.20 p.m. Fare 22 Y. There are also buses directly to Langde 1 hr, 12 Y.
We walked from Langde to the villages of Baode and Nanmeng. The hike would have been great but unfortunately there is a paved road all the way now, so it turned out to be a bit boring even though there was almost no traffic. From Nanmeng we caught a bus to Leishan (10 Y) and from Leishan back to Kaili (22 Y).

Kaili – Congjiang (从江) – bus at 8.20 am from bus station on Wenhua Lu, 138 Y, 4 hrs

Basha (岜沙) (a Miao village near Congjiang, alt. 550 m, hot in summer)

From Congjiang we took a taxi to Basha for 40 Y. Entrance fee of 80 Y is charged at the village gate.
Accomodation in a big guesthouse on the right side of the main road, ca. 100 m after the ticket booth, between it and the main square. 100 Y for double with bathroom (no AC, fan only), great views from the window. Erratic water supply.

Basha was still mostly traditional and only a little touched by mass tourism, unlike many other villages in the area.
For the ride back to Congjiang we took a minibus hanging around the main square (40 Y for the whole car).

Zhaoxing (肇兴) (another Dong village near Zhaoxing, alt. ca. 400 m, hot in summer)

From Congjiang we first took the frequent bus to the Congjiang high speed railway station (gaotie zhan), located some 5 kms from Zhaoxing. Took 1 hr, cost 10 Y. Then a minibus from the railway station to Zhaoxing, 10 Y per person, 5 kms. There is a 100 Y entry fee for Zhaoxing.
Accomodation: we paid 150 Y for a nice AC room in a guesthouse, just behind Zhaoxing Hotel in a lane up to the right from the main street.

Zhaoxing was much bigger and more touristy than Basha, with a big choice of accommodation, shops and restaurants along the main street. Anyway, we found the village still nice and authentic. Somehow it managed to avoid the ‘theme park’ model of development.
We did a nice hike via Xiage to the village of Tangan (alt. 840 m), mostly signposted. 3 hrs one way during a heat wave, through nice traditional villages, forest and rice terraces. There are a few restaurants and places to stay in Tangan.

After Zhaoxing we wanted to get to Sanjiang, for Chengyang, another Dong village already in Guangxi. We hoped we would be able to hop on the high speed train for one stop from Congjiang to Sanjiang South (would take ca. 20 minutes). We took a bus from Zhaoxing to the high speed train station from the parking at the village entrance (8 Y). Unfortunately there were no tickets to Sanjiang for the next day or two and the cashier would not sell us tickets with standing room only, even just for one stop. We had to take a bus back to Congjiang bus station (10 Y). From Congjian to Sanjiang ( 三江) we took another bus (32 Y, 107 km, buses every ca. 40 min, last bus at 17.00 pm). It took 3 hrs of a bumpy ride, with walking across a landslide site and transfer to another bus at the other side. Arrived at Hedong (east) bus station in Sanjiang. There are regular city buses and minibuses to Chengyang from Sanjiang. We took a taxi for 60 Y, as heavy rain was approaching.
Chengyang (程阳) (a cluster of Dong villages near Sanjiang)

Entry fee of 80 Y is charged for the entrance to the most famous wind and rain bridge in Ma’an village, at a ticket booth the entry to the bridge from the Sanjiang road. Easy to avoid just by going to the next bridge along the road, some 100 m upstream. The main bridge can be then entered from the village side with nobody asking for the ticket.

Accomodation: Long Feng guesthouse in Ma’an, one of the first places after crossing the bridge. 100 Y for a nice dbl with AC and views from the window.

Chengyang is a very good area to spend a couple of days doing easy walks between traditional villages, across rice and tea fields, with several nice wind and rain bridges and drum towers. The next village, Yan, is barely 10 minutes walk from Ma’an and there are several other ones beyond it, mostly linked by footpaths avoiding roads with traffic. A useful basic map can be found in a leaflet distributed in guesthouses. There is some development for tourism (including useful signposts and public toilets) but the villages have mostly preserved their authentic character.

From Chengyang we took a minibus to Sanjiang (5 Y) to Hexi (west) station, walked across the bridge to Hedong (east) station and took a bus to Longsheng (龙胜) from there (1,5 hrs, 20 Y, every 30 min or so).

Longji Titian (Longji Rice Terrace)

There are two main villages with accommodation in the Longji Rice Terrace – Ping’an (平安) (alt. 800-850 m) and Dazhai (大寨) (alt. 810 m), with the smaller village of Tiantouzhai (田头寨) (alt. 1000 m) some 40 minutes walk uphill from Dazhai. We wanted to stay in both places and considered walking from Dazhai to Ping’an but finally decided against it to avoid walking with all luggage. Finally we stayed 2 nights in Tiantouzhai and then went by bus to Ping’an where we stayed another night. Both Tiantouzhai/Dazhai and Ping’an have splendid hiking opportunities across rice terraces. The Tiantouzhai/Dazhai area has longer hikes, with a walk around the main viewpoints and villages in the area taking a full day. A circular hike from Ping’an around main viewpoints can be done in leisurely 3 hours or so.

Both Ping’an and Dazhai are linked by frequent buses with both Longsheng and Guilin. We took a bus from Longsheng to Dazhai (30 Y, 2 hrs). Entry fee to the whole Longji Titian area was 95 Y and was charged in a ticket booth at Heping (和平), right after the intersection from the main Longsheng-Guiling road. The entry ticket covers both Ping’an and Dazhai and is checked at the entrances to both villages. There was no problem with presenting the same ticket in Ping’an after 2 days since having it stamped in Dazhai.

In Tiantouzhai (alt. 1000 m) we stayed in a nice place (100 Y double with bathroom, great view, no AC but not needed) in lower part of the village, next building to a youth hostel. Water supply in the village was erratic.

Getting from Dazhai to Pingan involved a change of buses but was very easy. First we took a Longsheng-bound bus from Dazhai (found right on arrival at the Dazhai parking lot), telling the ticket inspector that we wanted to go to Ping’an. She dropped us at the Erlong bridge, where Ping’an road branches off (fare 10 Y). From Erlong bridge we took the first passing minibus to Ping’an (almost no waiting, 10 Y per person).

There were many buses to Guilin from Dazhai parking lot (no need to book in advance), priced at 50 Y. There were also ads of direct buses to Yangshuo for 70 Y.
In Pingan after checking several places which turned out to be quite pricey (300-900 Y for a room) we stayed in Caiyun Hotel in the upper part of the village, for  130 Y, negotiated down from 150 Y. The place was a bit shabby but friendly, room with ensuite bathroom and nice view.

Food was expensive all over Longji Titian, in average double the price of average simple restaurants elsewhere.

When continuing from Ping’an to Guilin we found no direct Gulin bus at the Ping’an parking lot. No problem at all – took a Longsheng-bound bus from Pingan to Heping (10 Y) and the bus ticket inspector arranged for us a transfer to a passing Guilin bus on the road a bit after Heping. Heping to Guilin cost 27 Y, took ca. 2 hrs.


The bus dropped us at Qintan Bus Station out of centre. Autorickshaw from there to the main train station was 15 Y (according to the map, city buses 2 and 12 also ply this route).
There are plenty of inexpensive hotels around the railway station and the main bus station in Guilin. We stayed in Guilin Hotel, directly opposite the train station (128 Y for a large comfortable room with AC).

Great place for street food – a covered market near Zhengyang Jie, just north of the central square on Zhongshan Zhong (Middle) Rd. Just head into the biggest crowd to find it.

From Guilin we took a bus to Yangshou (30 Y, ca. 2 hrs). It seems that the main bus station has a deal with ladies hanging out at front of the train station – they refused to sell us a ticket while the ladies simply put us on the next bus.


Arrived at the main bus station on the western outskirts. A city bus goes to the centre from there.
Accomodation: Hotel Indonesia (Oversea Chinese Hotel) on the waterfront. A nice room (AC, ensuite) with balcony and great view of the river was a non-negotiable 180 Y. Recommended. We asked at several other places nearby and they were either much worse or much more pricey.

From Yangshuo we did the Yulong river walk, taking the bus back from Baisha. The way was easy to figure out with the help of app.


We moved from Yangshuo to Xingping after 2 days to stay in a less crowded place in the middle of the karst scenery. Travelled by local bus from Yangshuo south bus station, 1 hr, 7 Y.
Accomodation: Xingping This Old Place hostel, booked by  use my referral link to receive a refund of ca. 12 euros], 150 Y for a nice AC double.

Xingping turned out to be a nice place in a spectacular setting, with a couple of atmospheric old streets and a relaxed feel once the tourist groups left in the afternoon. We liked it much more than Yangshuo. One drawback was mediocre food – in our 3 days in the village we did not manage to find a place which we liked. Everywhere the food was rather bland and geared to one-time visitors.

Xingping is a great base for longer or shorter hikes. We did the Laozhai hill hike, just 40 min from Xingping waterfront. Shoes are advised, as the upper part is pretty rocky and there are a few places with sheer drops. Views are spectacular.

Another short walk was from Dahebei village (across the river from Xinpging, by ferry, 2 Y) to a semi-deserted cave temple at the riverside some 1 hr downstream ( app was useful to find the way).

We also wanted to do the long hike from Xingping to Yangdi along the Li river. Unfortunately we were told this hike was now closed, so we went as far as it was possible. The first part from the 20 Yuan View to the ferry crossing in Lengshui can be now done along a new path all the time along the riverside instead of following the road. Easy and pleasant. The ferry crossing in Lengshui cost 10 yuan. The hike was well accessible and pleasant up to Laocuntou, where there are a few basic restaurants and cold beer. Short time after Laocuntou things got complicated. The path along the river quickly became overgrown and on some places broken by small landslides. It is also completely deserted, we met no other hikers on this stretch. We followed it nevertheless up to the place where it joins a road coming from the village of Yaotou, on a plateau overlooking the valley. We were warned against going further to Quanjiazhou and towards Yangdi by staff at our hostel in Xingping. Apparently there is no ferry at Quanjiazhou and local bamboo boat owners are very unscrupulous, to the point of being dangerous, in demanding extortionate amounts for crossing the river. According to them, this part of the hike should be considered closed for tourists.We turned back to Yaotou then – it had great views but going there up on an asphalt road was quite a slog in the mid-day heat. Going from Yaotou back to Laocuntou was another tricky part, as there is no road, only some paths across fields, orchards and forests, and no signposts at all. We had to turn back 2 or 3 times before we finally found a path descending all the way to the bottom of the valley and reaching the Laocuntou road on the other side.

This website can be used to figure out the topography of the hike but bear in mind that it describes the hike when going all the way to Yangdi was still possible and easy, which is not the fact anymore:

Xingping is located very close to Yangshuo high speed train station (gao tie zhan) – just 15 minutes by minibus, 5 Y. The minibuses are coordinated with train departures.
From Xingping/Yangshuo station we took a high speed train back to Guangzhou Nan (South) station (2,5 hrs, 117 Y, booked much in advance via Ctrip).

After a night in Guangzhou we continued to Xiamen – by taking the train from Guangzhou Nan to Shenzhen Bei (75 Y, 40 min, booked a day in advance at the station) and then another high speed train from Shenzhen Bei to Xiamen (4 hrs, 154,5 Y, booked in advance via Ctrip). There are more trains to Xiamen Bei (North) station, linked to downtown Xiamen by BRT 1, a fast bus line on elevated road (a 50 minutes ride).


We stayed in Baijiacun Youth Hostel at Nanhua Lu 20, opp. Zhongshan Park (131 Y for the first night, 100 Y for subsequent nights). Bus 96 from Xiamen train station. Good location (walking distance to Zhongshan Lu) but notoriously unreliable. The ladies staffing the reception spoke absolutely no English and were quite difficult to communicate with even using broken Chinese and a translator app. Our first night was booked via Ctrip and pre-paid using Ctrip “c-money”. They refused to acknowledge it and just demanded a payment in cash without contacting Ctrip. Ctrip ignored our complaint e-mail as well. We were promised a price of 100 Y per night for our second stay a couple of days later, so we stayed there again. To our surprise on check-out they demanded 190 or so yuan per night. We refused to pay this amount, showing them a sheet of paper they themselves had written with the agreed price. Finally they had to accept the initially agreed price of 100 yuan but the whole issue left a bad impression. Not recommended.

Xiamen turned out to be a real haven for inexpensive seafood. The best area were side lanes from Zhongshan Lu, with our favourite spot just behind Nanzhan mall, in a lane accessible from Dazhong street. It was also a great place just to walk around and explore, with a lot of nice architecture in the centre, some lively walkable districts between Nanputuo temple and the centre (it was a good idea to walk this distance) and a great linear park converted from a disused railway line a short walk up from Zhongshan park towards the botanical garden.

The biggest disappointment of our Xiamen visit was trying to get to Gulangyu island. The ordinary ferry from central Xiamen (cost 8 Y) is now for local residents only and tickets can be bought only by showing a local ID. Tourists (foreigners and Chinese alike) are sent to the Dongdu international ferry terminal out of the city center (you need to take a bus or taxi to get there) where there are tourist ferries with tickets for 35 and 50 Y. Those ferries sell out – when we finally reached the terminal the nearest free slot was for departure in 1,5 hr. As it was already quite late, in result we dropped our plans to visit the island. Non-locals are allowed to take the ordinary ferry from the center only after 6.30 p.m. but still paying the ‘special’ tourist fare of 35 Y. There is little information in English, so not sure about that. Anyway, as it gets dark at 7 p.m., it’s too late for more than a short walk on the island.

For getting to Kinmen – ferries now depart from the Wutong ferry terminal, near the airport. It is reached by bus no. 6 from Xiamen train station. The bus stop for no. 6 is on Hubin Dong Lu opp. train station, not on the main bus stops on Xiahe Lu. The ferry ticket to Kinmen was 155 Y, the ride took less than 1 hr and departures are very frequent – no need to book in advance.

After a few days in Kinmen (see the Taiwan section) we returned to Xiamen and went to Macau via Guangzhou. First we took the Xiamen Bei to Shenzhen Bei train (booked a few days in advance, 155 Y) and Shenzhen Bei to Guangzhou Nan (75 Y). On the following day we wanted to take a fast train from Guangzhou Nan to Zhuhai Gongbei (for Macau border) but it turned out that trains from Guangzhou Nan were sold out 5 hrs in advance. We took an unofficial shared taxi from the opposite side of the street on the south-eastern side of the station. Going rate was 100 Y per person + a flexible commission for the touts hunting for customers at the station south-eastern entrances. The ride took less than 2 hrs, highway all the way. Probably taking a bus from central Guangzhou bus station would have been a better idea.

See the HK and Macau section for information on the remaining part of the trip.


Sichuan and Yunnan, August 2012

Route: Chongqing – Chengdu – Panzhihua – Lijiang – (Shangri La) – Benzilan – Feilai Si – Yubeng – Mingyong – Deqin – Lijiang – Shaxi – Jianchuan – Lijiang – Lugu Hu – Xichang – Chengdu – Zigong – Dazu – Chongqing

Time: 29 days

General info

It was our third trip to  mainland China, after a break of 5 years. We found a newly opened Finnair connection to Chongqing, on the doorsteps of Sichuan and Yunnan, starting with a really cheap offer, so we decided to visit some places in those provinces that we skipped on our previous visit. Our main objective were the footsteps of Kawagebo (Kawa Karpo, Meili Xue Shan), mountain range that we wanted to visit since reading about it in 2007.

Getting around – we did that mainly by buses, occasionally taxis, rarely by train. We found it quite challenging at times. Finding out connections and arranging tickets was definitely the least fun aspect of our trip.

Train: as August is high season and internet booking is now available to people with Chinese banking accounts (so short-term visitors are excluded), it was very difficult to get train tickets. For our only overnight train ride we asked our hostel to book the tickets and sent them money from Poland before our departure. Passport is needed for booking train tickets (usually a copy is enough) and passport number is indicated on the ticket. A good website for checking timetables and prices and even availability of tickets is A good starter into train travel in China can be found here:

Bus: usually bus tickets were available for the same day or one day ahead. No passport needed to buy tickets. Minus: almost complete lack of information in English. In most places there are several bus stations, so it can be challenging to figure out which is the right one.

Getting around in cities – city buses were very cheap (1 or 2 Y per ride) but quite difficult to figure out. The routes and stop descriptions were usually only in Chinese. Taxi drivers were usually trying to overcharge, as almost everywhere. In almost each case when we forced them to use the meter and paid attention to the map it turned out that the meter indicated about half of their initial price.

Guidebooks:  we used Lonely Planet China’s Southwest 2007 and Rough Guide Southwest China 2012. Unusually, Lonely Planet was much better, even as regards context and descriptions, but obviously seriously out of date. Rough Guide had many details wrong and was impractical to use at times.

Food and beer: eating in simple restaurants usually cost us between 40 and 70 yuan for two persons, beers included. Meat or fish dishes were usually 20-30 yuan, vegetable dishes 8-15 yuan, beer 4-10 yuan. Strangely, in some places we were first shown weaker beer (about 2,5% alcohol content) as an ‘upmarket’ choice for 10 yuan or so and first later a slightly stronger one (3,3% or 3.6%) as a cheaper basic version. A good rule is to order as many dishes as there are people at the table plus one and share them.  For breakfast we usually had steamed dumplings (where available), starting from 5 yuan per person.

Internet: major changes since our previous visit. There is a requirement of registering Chinese IDs of users in internet cafes, so most of them don’t bother to serve foreigners anymore. We tried 3 or 4 times and did not succeed to use an internet cafe even once. However, most hotels and hostels offer free wi-fi (it’s useful to have at least a smartphone, if not shlepping a notebook around), in some cases there is a computer or two (usually slow and dilapidated) for use at the common area and there is a growing number of hotels, even budget ones, providing internet-enabled computers in their rooms.

We found the Great Chinese Firewall to be much more selective than during our previous visit. Foreign news websites like BBC or CNN were usually accessible, even totally ‘subversive’ stories e.g. on Tibetan protests or the Bo Xilai affair. There’s a blanket ban on Facebook but most hostels openly advertise a way around.

Weather: August is considered rainy season in this part of China, so we can consider ourselves lucky. It was cloudy or partly cloudy most of the time, but it did not rain so much to spoil our experience. Most important, we had three days of perfect sunny weather during the most spectacular part of our trip – hiking to and around Yubeng in Kawagebo/Meili Xue Shan mountains. We had less luck on Lugu Hu where we had 3 days of very cloudy and chilly weather with some rain and finally we got completely soaked by a day-long torrential rain while visiting Buddhist sites in Dazu.

Changing money: possible in major banks, the same Bank of China rate applies everywhere (airport branches may charge additional commission), see
It is much better to exchange USD than EUR – USD cash is changed at ca. 1% less than the mid-market rate, while exchanging EUR costs ca. 3,5% in exchange rate spread. Some banks are open and exchange money un Sundays.

Entrance fees: one of the most irritating aspects of travelling around China. Anything labeled a tourist spot is likely to have an entry fee which borders  on extortion and is simply ridiculous compared to the general level of prices and personal income in China. It can be anything from 30 – 50 Y for lesser sights to well in excess of 100 Y for major ones. In several cases a substantial fee is charged for entering an area (a national park, a temple complex or even a city or village) and then more fees are charged on top of that for specific sights around this area. Some advice: it is worth always asking for discounts showing a student card, teacher ID, fishing license, library card or whatever. In some places there are genuine discounts, in some other cases ticket booth staff would give discounts to avoid losing face and admitting that they cannot recognize the ID in question. In several places, mostly rural, ticket staff are aware that the level of entry fees is completely out of touch with reality, so they are open for negotiation and quite willing to grant discounts for any reason (e.g. group discount for groups of 3…). The rule is that it is most difficult to get discounts for major tourist attractions in most-visited places. More remote or less visited places are usually more flexible.

Costs: we were spending a bit below 500 Y per day per couple, travelling almost exclusively by bus, staying in cheaper hotels or hostels (almost always with en-suite bathrooms) and eating in simple restaurants.

Travel details


There is a brand new ultra-modern metro connection to the airport, serving also the main ChongqingBei (North) train station under way. The metro station is at the big and modern domestic terminal, a short walk or free shuttle bus ride from the much smaller international terminal. Ride to downtown Chongqing was 6 Y and took almost an hour.

The metro (CRT, is also a real saver for moving around the city, as Chongqing is enormously large, quite chaotic and traffic is heavy. In 2013 it will reach Ciqikou, an old town now part of Chongqing.

As we landed in Chongqing in the morning, we planned to move on to Chengdu as soon as possible and save Chongqing for the end of our trip.  At the station we heard the familiar words ‘mei you’ though and it turned out that the first train with available tickets was in 4 or 5 hours. We took the metro downtown for a jet-lagged walk around the centre, visiting Luohan Si (entry 10 Y).

See bottom of the page for some more info on Chongqing, including a hostel recommendation.


Our trip by Chongqing – Chengdu high-speed rail took only 2 hrs (98 Y, 2nd class seat). The catch was that our train terminated at ChengduDong (East) railway station, a new huge airport-like structure far on the outskirts, near the WuGuiQiao bus station. Information on city buses to downtown was only in Chinese and we did the mistake to board the bus heading to the more central North railway station in order to take the metro from there to our hostel. The ring road was partly closed for construction work and the bus ride took us almost 2 hrs in traffic jams, so it would be probably a better idea to avoid buses going by the ring road at least for some time. Metro link to ChengduDong should be opened soon. In the meantime, a useful search engine in English for Chengdu city buses can be found at

We stayed in our long-time favourite Mix Hostel (, a double room with air-con and shared facilities was 98 Y in early August and 108 Y in late August. The location is within walking distance to Wenshu monastery (entry 5 Y) and the surrounding touristy area, as well as Aidao and Jinsha Nunneries (free entry). On Jiefang Rd near Aidao Nunnery there was a branch of ICBC where it was possible to change money on Sunday. For a lunch or dinner it is a better idea to head 15 minutes or so north-eastwards to the market district near Beimen bus station. It felt like a surviving piece of Chengdu we remembered from our previous visit and a welcome respite from all the fancy shops in the centre. There are plenty of simple eateries there serving standard delicious Sichuanese food for very reasonable prices.

As we still felt a bit jet-lagged, we wanted to avoid figuring out public transport in the early morning and took a hostel tour to the Panda Breeding Centre (118 Y, transport and entry ticket included) next morning. It turned out to be not a very good idea – we were supposed to stay with the group (which we did not do) and time for visiting the centre was somewhat limited. A better idea would be probably to take a taxi and force the driver to go by the meter.

Some more Chengdu recommendations are in the end part of this report.

Chengdu to Lijiang

We took an overnight train from Chengdu to Panzhihua (179 Y for hard sleeper). Before our departure from Europe we asked Mix Hostel to book tickets in advance for us, which they happily did charging a very moderate fee of 20 Y per ticket (but we had to send them money via Western Union which added ca. 25% to the cost). It turned out that we did a major error by selecting a through train originating in Beijing. A train starting in Chengdu would be a much wiser choice, as our train was ca. 5hrs late. Not much information (and none in English) was available at the crowded Chengdu North railway station, so we just waited at the station until the train was eventually announced, figuring it out with help of other stranded passengers.

In Panzhihua we took city bus no. 64 from the train station all across the town to the bus station (3 Y, 27 km, took almost 1 hr) and still managed to get tickets for the last bus to Lijiang at 1 p.m. (87 Y, took 9 hrs). There are also several earlier buses.

Lijiang (alt. 2400)

We treated it just as a transit point, so stayed in a cheap hotel near the bus station (no English sign, 80 Y for a standard Chinese double, ensuite). There are several such hotels, all similar, just behind main bus station (the one south of the old town) – on leaving the station turn left, then again left. Some simple restaurants are also there, including an eatery doing brisk business with delicious dumplings (5 Y) starting from early morning.

Lijiang – Benzilan

First we took a bus to Shangri La (Zhongdian, alt. 3300) from Lijiang main bus station (4,5 hrs, plenty of buses during the day, we paid 80 Y but most other buses apparently cost 65 Y). We didn’t stay in Shangri La, as we visited it already 5 years ago. We took a minibus to Benzilan for 50 Y per person, by negotiating with drivers hanging around at front of the bus station. The trip took 2,5 hrs. There was no public bus until next morning and taking it would require paying full fare to Deqin (53 Y), at least that’s what we were told at the station.

Benzilan (alt. ca. 2080, 28.14 N, 99.18 E)

A small Tibetan town (or large village) on Yangzi river, situated relatively low in the valley. There are several simple restaurants and a couple of hotels along the main road. We stayed in the lower part of the town, for 50 Y per double room, with bathroom but quite dirty. Some side lanes still have feeling of a Tibetan village.

On the next day we went to Dondrupling monastery (Dongzhulin Si, alt. 2700, 28.15.50 N, 99.13.50 E), a big monastery on the main road about 20 km beyond Benzilan. Initially we wanted to hitch-hike but there was almost no traffic in the morning so after a while we gave up and paid 100 Y to a driver from Benzilan. The monastery was pretty new, rebuilt on the present site after its predecessor further uphill was completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (later a Tibetan guy from Shangri La told us that there is now a nunnery at the original site, seemingly at 28.16.10 N, 99.11.20 E). The main temple was quite impressive with several storeys and the setting quite spectacular. Entry was 30 Y. There is apparently no accommodation for tourists in the monastery and we didn’t notice any shop either.

From the monastery we caught a passing minibus, crossing a 4300 m pass to Deqin (50 Y per person + further overpriced 50 Y per whole car for continuing to Feilai Si).

Feilai Si (alt. 3450, 28.26.30 N, 98.52.30 E)

We stayed at a friendly family-run guesthouse right on the main road, near the entrance to the viewing platform, with a red Chinese-only sign but ‘wi-fi’ and something like ‘food’ was written in English on smaller signs. We paid 150 Y for a very nice, large double with bathroom and a breathtaking frontal view of Kawagebo right from our window. There was a restaurant at the entrance, with very good food, English language menu and quite reasonable prices. They also agreed to store our luggage free of charge for almost a week we spent hiking in Yubeng and Mingyong.

Feilai Si is being developed in quite ugly way. A monstrous hotel complex is now situated right over the viewing platform and a huge area is fenced off. The viewing place with a picturesque row of chortens often seen on pictures on the internet has been rebuilt as a big viewing platform, separated by a high wall from the main street. There is a ticket booth at the entrance and a sign about a ca. 60 Y entry fee but nobody was there to charge it when we entered it late afternoon. The Feilai Temple itself (from which the place takes its name) is located in a more authentic village area ca. 500 meters towards Deqin – first along the main road and then a short walk down (visible from the road and signposted in English).

Warning: Google Earth images of Feilai Si and surroundings are several years old and the area has developed considerably since then. No hiking maps of the Kawagebo/Meili Xue Shan area are available except a very basic sketch sold in the shops in Feilai Si for 10 Y. Another, slightly better sketch can be found on

The area around Kawagebo was one of most spectacular places we have ever visited. The setting is of 6000 m high mountains overlooking a deep valley, hanging glaciers and waterfalls just overhead and a surprising diversity of landscapes from arid slopes almost like in Ladakh to lush semi-tropical forests. It seems that the monsoon shadow starts somewhere here, so there are very diverse microclimates depending on the exact location and orientation. The place is also authentically Tibetan, with several temples (albeit no major monasteries), shrines, chortens, prayer flags and even some semi-hidden Dalai Lama pictures, in spite of major influx of Chinese tourists. There are several easy to follow and pleasant hikes accessible without camping stuff and major preparations.

Main drawback of the area – there was an incredible amount of thrash on and around more frequented paths. Efforts were apparently made to reduce it some time ago, as there were wooden rubbish bins along some paths around Yubeng. At the time of our visit most of the baskets were already broken and it seemed that nobody bothered with emptying them. The whole area has a serious litter problem and it’s a pity that at least part of the income from steep national park entrance fees is not spent on controlling it.

Feilai Si to Xidang to Wenquan (Hot Springs)

From Feilai Si we walked down to the footbridge on the Mekong and to Xidang. There is a steep but well-visible and quite easy path, starting from the main road right at the end of the viewing platform. The path is well visible on Google Earth. After some time of steep descent through low forest we reached a small semi-deserted village. From the village it is important to take the path in descending traverse of the right (north) slope of the valley. The correct path descends all the time, there are no fragments going up. Other ascending paths do not lead to the Mekong bridge. The views from the path must be fabulous but sadly during our walk, even if the weather was sunny in general, the Kawagebo range was completely hidden in clouds.

After reaching the Mekong bridge (alt. 2020, 28.26.51 N, 98.50.02 E) we visited the small Tibetan temple on the opposite side. The temple itself was closed but the surroundings were very interesting – many chortens, prayer flags of several sorts and small shrines set  spectacularly over the muddy Mekong. Due to low altitude there are also some cactuses there – a rather rare view in a Tibetan setting.

Xidang village (“centre”: alt. 2250, 28.26.19 N, 98.49.47 E) is situated quite high above the Mekong. Altogether it took us 5 hrs to reach there from Feilai Si, including a visit to the temple but helped by getting a lift from a local for most of the way between the bridge and Xidang. We planned initially to stay overnight in Xidang but the only guesthouse in the “centre” of the village (called Karma House was full and the lady in charge was completely unhelpful in suggesting some alternative accommodation. Assisted by a Chinese tourist, we asked around and were answered that there was apparently another guesthouse a short walk up along the main road. There wasn’t or maybe it was perfectly hidden from potential guests. We walked up until we left the village entered the ravine leading to the hot springs. Then we stopped a passing car and after some haggling we paid the driver 20 Y for taking us to the hot springs (Wenquan), starting point to the trail to Yubeng.

Our impression of Wenquan (alt. ca. 2700, 28.25.32 N, 98.48.42 E) was quite negative. Afterwards we felt that a night there was like some kind of purgatory necessary for getting to the paradise of Yubeng (obviously with some degree of exaggeration). Anyway, two places to sleep are available, both definitely on the filthy side. The upper one near the starting point for horses charged 30 Y per bed in a dorm. Some acceptable food was also available. As regards toilet, the advice was to go to the woods. The lower guesthouse seemed a bit better – the dorm (40 Y per bed) was a little cleaner. They offered also a few small houses with hot water directly from the springs for 140 Y per double. It may sound well but the houses were in fact incredibly dirty and dilapidated, with sparks flying around from malfunctioning electricity wires. Toilet and washing in the wood as well (luckily there was hot water from the spring). The manager in charge was completely drunk, one of the girls working there spoke some English but the staff was only interested in selling us entry tickets to the national park (quite pricey at 80 Y per person). It was definitely the least friendly and shabbiest place we stayed during our whole trip – a pity, as in this location with some very limited investment and a degree of basic hospitality it could easily be a paradise-like retreat.

Wenquan (Hot Springs) to Yubeng

Well-trodden path, very easy to find. A lot of horse-caravans on the way, horses can be hired for carrying luggage or for a ride to Yubeng. Parts of the path were muddy. There are wooden huts with simple food and hot and cold drinks every 1-2 hrs. As we went there, concrete poles were being erected for electricity or fixed phone line, so it will be even easier to follow (but more difficult to make pictures of unspoilt landscapes). The path is visible on Google Earth. First we went up to Nazong La (ca. 3770 m, 28.23.40 N, 98.49.08 E). From Nazong La spectacular views started and continued for the whole descent to Upper Yubeng (3200 m, 28.24.00 N, 98.47.30 E). Altogether it took us ca. 6-7 hours to reach Upper Yubeng. On the entrance to Yubeng another fee of 5 Y was charged, but it was afterwards deducted from the accommodation price.

Yubeng and around

We stayed in Upper Yubeng for three nights and made some hikes in the surrondings. The place was truly spectacular, in a green, mostly forested valley with full view of the southern part of Kawagebo range. There are easy day hikes up to the end of the valleys, to the places directly under the hanging glaciers and waterfalls.

There are many guesthouses in Upper Yubeng (many more were built since the Google Earth picture was made)and a bit less, but still several in Lower Yubeng. We stayed at the youth hostel (signposted ‘YHA China’) for 88 Y per nice double room in a wooden building, with spectacular mountain view. Shared bathroom with hot showers. They also had restaurant with quite tasty food, a bit more expensive than on the lowlands (full meal for two with beers was usually ca. 80-100 Y).

Hike to the Kawagebo Base Camp and Ice Lake (Bing Hu) – the walk starts near a big chorten directly behind the village (west of the village centre) and quickly enters the forest. The path was then quite obvious and easy to follow, with wooden rubbish bins (mostly broken) along the way. First it went up the valley directly above Upper Yubeng, then steep ascent to the forested slope to the left (north) led to a side valley with a glacier-fed stream. Soon the forest ended and Kawagebo base camp appeared, now a hut with some food and drink available (approximate location: alt. 3650 m, 28.24.10 N, 98.45.30 E). From the base camp there was another one hour or so to the Ice Lake (alt. 3900 m, 28.24.30 N, 98.44.44 E), fed directly by several spectacular waterfalls falling from hanging glaciers. Altogether the hike took us 8 hrs (there and back), with a long break near the lake and some rests in the base camp and elsewhere along the path.

Hike to Shenpu (Sacred Waterfall) – the hike starts from Lower Yubeng (ca. 3070 m, 28.23.32 N, 98.47.35 E), reached from Upper Yubeng in ca. half an hour by a path crossing a deep ravine. Mid-way along this path there is the only spot in Yubengs where the main summit of Kawagebo can be seen above a pass. Lower Yubeng has a small but interesting temple in the centre and a small nunnery behind the village, near the start of the path towards Shenpu. An elderly nun (probably the only one in the nunnery) was initially a little reluctant but then invited us to have a look inside after we greeted her with a ‘tashi delek’. From the nunnery the path soon entered the forest. It was very obvious, with a lot of prayer flags and offerings left by pilgrims, including pieces of clothing – leaving them is apparently considered to be like shedding past sins. There is a hut with food and drink and simple accomodation in the upper part of the valley. The waterfall (actually two of them, alt. 3650, 28.22.01 N, 98.45.18 E) was impressive, with water literally jet-streamed into the air from the edge some 50 meters overhead and arriving to the bottom as more of a drizzle than a stream. It is considered auspicious to run through the waterfall an odd number of times. Mindful of falling stones, we decided against doing it but a Chinese tourist did 21 runs. The whole hike took ca. 5 hours (both ways) from Lower Yubeng, plus ca. 2 hrs for the walk from Upper Yubeng and back, some leisurely time in Lower Yubeng and a beer in a shop on the paths between Yubengs.

From Yubeng to Mingyong 

From Yubeng we hiked back to Wenquan hot springs via Nazong La in ca. 5 hrs. [A longer and seemingly spectacular alternative would be a hike down to the Mekong valley in Ninong and from there another long hike along the Mekong to Xidang or crossing the bridge on the Mekong and catching some transport (unreliable) on the Deqin – Cizhong – Weixi road on another side. This hike is apparently quite adventurous and not without some danger – there was a big sign warning against it in Lower Yubeng and I vaguely remember a story of a hiker dying on this trail some years ago.]

Initially we planned to walk from Wenquan to Mingyong by taking a path traversing the slope above Xidang and continuing high above the Mekong across two side ridges (partly visible on Google Earth). We skipped it as the weather worsened and it was already 2 p.m. as we arrived to Wenquan. After some unsuccessful wait for somebody willing to share a car to Mingyong we finally hired the car for ourselves for a steep and non-negotiable 130 Y. According to an English-speaking Tibetan guy we met there, charge for a mini-bus ride from Wenquan to Feilai Si would be 190 Y, to Deqin 210 Y.


Mingyong (2300 m, 28.28.18 N, 98.47.16 E) seems to be waiting for a tourist boom that never actually arrived, as most tourists visit it on day trips from Feilai Si. Anyway, there are several decent inexpensive hotels on the only street in the village. We paid 80 Y for a large comfortable double with bathroom in the upper part of the village, close to the entrance to the trail.

On entering the trail we were unpleasantly surprised by a refusal to recognise our national park entry tickets bought in Xidang/Wenquan, which according to staff in the ticket booth did not cover the Mingyong area. We managed to negotiate a discount by waving our teacher cards, so we paid 39 Y instead of the regular price of 78 Y (but were issues regular 78 Y tickets nevertheless). The walk to the glacier and back took ca. 4 hrs. We only went to the glacier viewing point near the Taizi temple (alt. ca. 2950, 28.27.24 N, 98.45.54 E). It was not possible to reach the viewing terrace directly above the glacier, as the wooden plank way leading there has been swept down by an avalanche. It started raining, so we skipped going to the Lianhua temple, some 500 meters above Taizi temple. The path leading to Lianhua temple was easy to miss, signposted only in Chinese not far below Taizi temple.

Mingyong to Deqin

On our return from the hike we found no bus and it was also not so easy to find people to share a mini-bus, as most Chinese tourists had their own pre-arranged transport. Finally we shared a minibus to Feilai Si (150 Y per whole car) with a French couple. After picking up our luggage and having a late lunch/early dinner in Feilai Si we took another mini-bus to Deqin (40 Y per car).

Deqin (alt. 3300, 28.29.20 N, 98.54.40 E)

In Deqin we made the mistake to look for accommodation in a group of 6 foreigners. In result staff in inexpensive places on the main road were quite reluctant to take us, even despite having a Chinese speaker among us. Other places were quite pricey, above 200 Y per double room. Finally I went alone to a hotel on the street leading to Feilai Si, some 50 m from the main crossroads, near a closed and sealed KTV parlour. I managed to convince the lady in charge to give us two very nice double rooms for 120 Y per room (haggled down from 150 Y) and another smaller one for 100 Y.

There is no proper bus station in Deqin, just a ticket office with blue sign on the left (northern) side of the street towards Shangri La, maybe 50 m from the main crossroads. Ticket office opened at 6.45 a.m. A section of the road in front of the office is fenced off in the morning for departing buses.

Initially we wanted to go to Weixi but we were told at the bus station that the road was broken and there were no buses in that direction. It turned out that there was a direct bus to Lijiang (dep. at 7.30, 129 Y, 10 hrs), so we took this one. There were also several buses to Shangri La at 7 a.m., 8.30 and later.

Lijiang again

This time the bus dropped us at the express bus station on Xiangelila Dadao (northern part of the town). We took a taxi to the main bus station (12 Y according to the meter) and stayed in a hotel near there for the night (80 Y per double).

Getting to Shaxi

We took the first morning bus to Jianchuan at 8.20 a.m. (there are also several more during the day) from Lijiang main bus station. Price: 20 Y, duration 2,5 hrs. From Jianchuan to Shaxi we took a minibus from a parking in front of Jianchuan bus station – 45 minutes, 10 Y per person.

Shaxi (alt. 2100, 26.19.10 N, 99.51.00 E)

Shaxi turned out to be a very pleasant place, to some extent a rural version of Lijiang minus the crowds. There are some touristy cafes (so far reasonably priced) and souvenir shops but they do not yet dominate the place. There are many guesthouses in old mansions with courtyards. We stayed in Horse Pen 46 (, for 80 Y per very nice double room with bathroom. It was a very friendly place, in a nice wooden house with courtyard, directly on the main square, with all usual hostel services and staff speaking excellent English. Booking is advised – we got a room on arrival only because somebody has just cancelled.

There was no charge to enter Shaxi and also the visit of the temple on the main square was free of charge when we visited.

Some things to do in Shaxi and around – we arrived just in time for the weekly Friday market, much fun, with many traditionally clothed Bai ladies doing shopping for the whole week and excellent fruits and snacks.  For another day we hired bikes and took a ride around the villages of the Shaxi valley. We also hiked to Shizhong temple with its Buddhist carvings on Shibaoshan mountain (alt. 2450, 26.21.35 N, 99.50.10 E). The hike is 3 hrs one way from Shaxi – first across rice fields to the village of Shadeng and the trailhead (26.20.24 N, 99.50.22 E), then just following signs along stone paths. Horse Pen 46 offers guided hikes there for free on Mondays, and they are happy to explain the way if you want to walk there alone.  Entry fee to Shizhong was nominally 50 Y but very negotiable – we paid 25 Y by showing our teacher cards, our Chinese friends got a group discount to 30 Y per person even though there were only 3 of them.  There are also many smaller temples scattered across the mountain. We did not reach the Baoxiang temple and monkey-watching area which was several kilometers further. It is probably well possible to continue to Baoxiang and then walk to the Jianchuan – Shaxi road and flag down a passing car or to do it in the opposite direction – take a Jianchuan-bound minibus, get off at the Shibaoshan crossroads and walk via Baoxiang and main Shizhong temple to Shaxi.

Jianchuan (alt. 2200, 26.32 N, 99.54 E)

We decided to spend an afternoon and a night there and it was a very good decision. There are no specific sights but the old part of the town (from the bus station head westwards towards the hills) was very pleasant with its old wooden architecture. Behind the old town, right under the hills there is a nice park with some temples, a Communist monument to the PLA and curious-looking pagoda with Tibetan characters (no entry fee). In the evening the main road was lined with barbecue stalls with probably the widest selection we have seen during our trip. We stayed in a hotel just opposite the bus station – 80 Y for a large, comfortable double with bathroom and a small separate room for playing mahjong.

Third time in Lijiang

This time our stopover in Lijiang took a good part of the afternoon, so we had more time to walk across the old and new town. The old town changed for much worse since we visited 5 years ago – it seems now a big theme park with ridiculously priced cafes and restaurants (we laughed out loud when we saw beer and coffee priced in the 30-40 Y range) and kitschy souvenir stalls, with teeming crowds of tourists. There is some normal life in the new town, with many eateries with decent and reasonably priced food.

Lugu Hu (alt. 2690)

Bus from Lijiang main bus station to Lugu Hu – departures at 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., price 74 Y + 3 Y insurance, took 6 hrs (probably will be much faster soon, as the road near Lijiang was being reconstructed). The bus took us to Luoshui (27.41 N, 100.46 E), main village on the Yunnan side of the lake. Shortly before there was a gate where everybody was charged 100 Y entry fee to the lake area. From Luoshui we took a minibus to Lige (60 Y per whole car, negotiable to 50). There is almost no public transport around Lugu Hu, in most cases the only choice is to hire a minibus which is quite pricey but with some luck you can find other people to share the cost.

After checking out several places in Lige (27.44 N, 100.44.50 E), all priced above 250 Y, we spent a night at the Lao Shay hostel (150 Y for a double with bathroom, there are also some doubles for 128 Y but they were full). Lige was rather a disappointment, maybe because of dismal weather. What was described by our guidebook as a charming village turned out to be just a cluster of expensive guesthouses and a bit less expensive restaurants, although situated in a really beautiful setting. Anyway, it seems that it would a better idea to visit it on a day trip rather than choose it as a base.

Luoshui seems to be a better place for a base on the Yunnan side of the lake. There is some real life going on there, there is a choice of accommodation (we did not check prices but we saw a hostel – Hu Si Tea House, and finally there is something like public transport with regular minibuses going to Yongning (27.45 N, 100.39 E), a nearby wide valley with some interesting villages and temples. As Lige is within walking distance to the crossroads of the road around the lake with the road to Yongning, it seems that both Yongning and Lige can be visited on a day-trip from Luoshui by minibus or maybe also on bicycle (the road around the lake is quite hilly but less so for the remaining 10 kms or so to Yongning).

We gave up our plan of a bike ride to Yongning because of rainy weather and, following the advice of other travelers, chose to spend some time on the Sichuan side of the lake. It turned out to be a good idea – there is much more rural life left in the area around Wuzhiluo on the Tubu peninsula, some genuine Mosuo culture can be observed and the peninsula has also better walks than the surroundings of Lige. We hired a minibus to Luoshui and then from Luoshui another one to Lugu Hu Zhen, main town on the Sichuan side of the lake. The ride to Lugu Hu Zhen was 60 Y per person with 4 persons sharing the car. From Lugu Hu Zhen we took another minibus to Wuzhiluo (30 Y per car, probably overcharged) at Chochai, grassy part of the lake. In Wuzhiluo (27.42.20 N, 100.59.30 E) we stayed in Wind’s Guesthouse (, marked as YHA hostel, for 88 Y per simple double with bathroom. Lake view or rather swamp view rooms are also available for 188 Y. English is spoken and they were helpful with booking bus tickets for onward travel to Xichang.

We did a bike trip in the surroundings of Wuzhiluo. Unexpectedly, we found an active Bon temple, of the ancient religion pre-dating Tibetan Buddhism, in Zhawoluo, a little village on the road between Wuzhiluo and Lugu Hu Zhen, at the northern end of the “Walking Marriage Bridge”. The temple looked like a Tibetan Buddhist one, except that the prayer wheels and circumambulations were done anti-clockwise. There were also some atypical images of deities on the frescoes inside (unfortunately most of them were hidden from view by a cover).

Another day we did a very nice walk to the very tip of the peninsula, just opposite Liwubi island already in Yunnan. The starting point was Luowa Pier, end of the road where Chohai (grassy part of the lake) borders with Lianghai, the open water part. There is a wide, well trodden path leading towards a small pass with a stone-concrete chorten (27.42.07 N, 100.48.34 E). From the pass the main path goes to the northern side of the peninsula and another smaller path branches out to the left (westwards) following the peninsula to its tip. The smaller path is well visible except the last 200 or so meters where it disappears and we had to force our way through the bushes. There are some prayer flags at the tip of the peninsula and a splendid view on Liwubi island and its monastery. On our way back we followed the main path northwards from the pass with chorten and went down to the lakeside (beer and simple meals are available in the huts some 100 meters above the lakeside). In order to go back to Luowa Pier and Wuzhiluo it was necessary to head back to the pass with chorten. We tried some shortcuts and it turned out that they would bring us to road on the wrong northern side of the peninsula. Timing: ca. 3 hrs one way from Wuzhiluo to the tip of the peninsula, a full day-hike if including a descent to the lake on the northern side and a well-deserved beer.

A picture of the map of Lugu Hu:

A self-produced map of the peninsula:

Getting out from Lugu Hu

A regular bus from Lugu Hu Zhen to Xichang’s South bus station costs 77 Y but there was no tickets for regular buses because of big demand, so additional buses were scheduled, charging 95 Y. Departure at 8 a.m., the ride took 8 hrs. The guys from Wind’s guesthouse conveniently arranged tickets and transportation to Lugu Hu Zhen on the morning of departure (by minibus, 5 Y per person). Otherwise it could have been quite hard to figure out, as there is no bus station in Lugu Hu Zhen, only ladies hanging around on the central crossroads and selling plastic tokens instead of bus tickets (apparently genuine but not very convincing until you get into the actual bus).

Xichang (27.53 N, 102.15 E)

Xichang lies at the altitude of ca. 1500 m, so the air was still pleasantly fresh.  We stayed in Ke Du Binguan, opposite the glitzy Ziwei Hotel on Changan Dong Lu in the center. For 128 Y we had a very clean double, with bathroom, AC (not needed) and computer with internet access in the room. Moving around Xichang and navigating its bus and trains stations required some bus rides (1 Y), so here are the useful bus numbers in August 2012: no. 12 from South bus station to West bus station and onwards to the train station; no. 14 from the West bus station via the centre and very near the South bus station to Lu Shan and the Qiong Hai lake; no. 6 from the train station to the centre but skipping the West bus station.

We spent a very pleasant day in Xichang viewing the temples and hordes of macaques on Lu Shan, then having a beer and a walk on the lakeside of Qiong Hai (both reachable by bus no. 14).

From Xichang to Chengdu

Getting out from Xichang to Chengdu we expected troubles, as train tickets were booked for a week ahead and our guidebooks warned of horrors of bus rides in excess of 12 hours on winding roads. It turned out that there were buses to Chengdu every 30 minutes or so from the brand new West bus station (Xi Ke Zhan). Some of the buses go to Wuguiqiao bus station in Chengdu (on the western outskirts), some go to Shiyangchang bus station on the southern outskirts. The ride along a brand new spectacular expressway (the longest tunnel was 10 km long) took only 6 hrs.

We had some trouble locating our arrival point in Chengdu, as Shiyangchang bus station is not mentioned in any of the guidebooks. A Google search and very useful Chengdu bus lines search at gave us the answer – buses no. 11 and 28 go from Shiyangchang to the Chengdu North train station, bus no. 28 very conveniently via the city center. It took us an hour to get to Mix Guesthouse (by buses no. 28 and then no. 55).

Chengdu and trip to Luodai

There are buses to Luodai from Xinnanmen all the time until 6.30 p.m., 7 Y, 1 hour. Luodai was a pleasant place for a half-day trip, with some traditional architecture, very relaxed teahouses and good food.

Chengdu to Zigong

By bus from Beimen bus station (within walking distance from Mix Guesthouse), departures every 1 hour from 7 a.m. till 8 p.m., no pre-booking possible. Price 78 Y, duration 3,5 hrs.


In Zigong there are several decent hotels on the main street opposite the bus station. We checked the following: Enjoy Business Hotle (no typo, really spelled this way, 168 Y per double), 7 Days Inn (147 Y per double) and finally stayed in 365 (98 Y for a clean and nice double). The bus station and hotels are linked to the center by city bus no. 33.

Zigong – Dazu: buses at 8.30 a.m. and 2.50 p.m., 52 Y, ca. 3 hrs. No problem with tickets, the bus was half-empty.


There are two bus stations in Dazu. The bus from Zigong dropped us at the “long distance” station near Longzhong Lu, from where there are also buses to Baodingshan. Another “local” bus station, located on the other side of the river, ca 20 minutes walk across the bridge and then right, has frequent buses to Chongqing. The town is not very big but somehow the orientation in it was confusing and buying a city map was definitely a good idea.

We stayed in Dongbin Hotel, on Longzhong Lu, very near the “long distance” bus station. A large, quite clean but somewhat gloomy room with bathroom AC was 120 Y (haggled down from initial 160 Y).

Main reason to visit Dazu are the Buddhist carvings in Baodingshan and Beishan. Luckily we visited Beishan first and achieved some gradation of impressions. Baodingshan is so spectacular that we would have probably failed to appreciate the also interesting Beishan carvings if viewing them after Baodingshan. The combined ticket to both sites was 170 Y (single entry to each site, valid for 3 days), separate tickets were a bit more expensive. Beishan can be reached by taxi (the driver initially wanted 15 Y but it was 6 Y by the meter) or on foot, the walk back into town across a nice park took us a bit more than 30 minutes. For Baodingshan there are buses from the “long distance” bus station near Longzhung Lu, with departures every 30 minutes between 8 a.m. and 12 noon.

Dazu to Chongqing  

Buses from the “local” bus station in Dazu depart all the time until some time in the evening. Fare: 52,5 Y, duration 2 hours.


The bus dropped us at Chenjiaping station in western part of Chongqing and we would have been left at the mercy of predatory taxi drivers but luckily we figured out that schedules at the bus stop were showing connections to the metro lines. We picked up a bus with 3 stops until the next metro station and were saved – suddenly everything was clear.

We stayed at Tina’s Hostel  (, for 110 Y per double with bathroom and AC. The hostel must have been a great place just a couple of years ago. It is located in the very center, within a short walk from Jiaochangkou metro station, in the area of Shi Ba Ti street. From the station walk down Zhongxing Lu and look for graffiti style directions on the walls on the left side of the street. There are some nice simple eateries with delicious food on a side street branching off Zhongxing Lu between the hostel and the metro station. Just don’t start eating la zi ji without having a beer served on your table first…  The hostel itself has many nice places to hangout, 2 bars, and great rooftop views. The catch is that the whole area of old buildings around it has been scheduled for demolition and it looks like a partly deserted ghost town. I have no idea whether the hostel will survive in this area but it looks like they stopped repairing the building some time ago. So far it stays open and is very close to Zhongxing Lu anyway, so there was no need for long walks across dark deserted neighbourhoods in the dark.


Kunming to Chengdu via Tibetan Plateau, August 2007

Route: Kunming – Dali – Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge – Zhongdian – Xiangcheng – Litang – Kangding – Chengdu – Emei Shan – Chengdu

Getting there: by train from and to Guangzhou. Quite problematic. Tickets for the Guangzhou to Kunming train (K 365, 14:07, 341 Y for hard sleeper) were sold out for 7 days ahead. On our way back (Chengdu to Guangzhou, K 194, 22:36, 770 Y for soft sleeper) we booked 6 days in advance and still could get only expensive soft sleeper tickets.

Kunming: stayed at Hump Hostel (, paid 100 Y for a comfortable double with bathroom. It’s better to book ahead, the place seems busy. From the train station take bus number 3 (for 1 Y), leave on 6th stop.

As a side trip we visited Bamboo Temple (Qiongzhu Si): took bus no. 90 for 1 Y from the square at front of Hump (alternatively bus no.  26 from elsewhere in the centre) to the terminus on NW outskirts, continued by minibus for 18 Y (bargained down from 30 Y). Entrance to the temple costed 6 Y.

Kunming – Dali: no need to take train or overnight bus, as travel by day buses is fast and hassle free. There are buses to Xiaguan (often marked as Dali) every 30 min or so through the day, departing from the Kunming main bus station, on the main street (Beijing Lu) a few steps northwards from the train station, on the W side. Took the express bus (gaokuai) for 119 Y, there are also ordinary ones for 74 Y. Trip to Xiaguan (ca. 300 km) was 4 hrs along a modern expressway.

From Xiaguan to Dali: city buses no. 4 and no. 8. From the bus station where we arrived we had to take no. 1 to the railway station first, then no. 8, alternatively no. 2 + no. 4

Dali (for Google Earth freaks like myself: 25 41′ N, 100 09′ E): the best area for budget accommodation is just outside the southern gate of the old city. There’s a hostel – Friends GH (, charging 60 Y for a double with bathroom. Just opposite there are several small Chinese hotels. We stayed in one of them, called He Xi Apartment (but no English sign), paid 45 Y for a clean double with bathroom (24 hrs hot water) –  the best deal we got during our trip.

Sights in Dali:

Three Pagodas (San Ta) are an incredible rip-off. The site described in our Rough Guide 2000 as „not worth the stiff 20 Y entrance fee” was added a huge temple complex built from scratch in the last few years and now charges 121 Y (62 for students). If you don’t want to pay it, the best place for some photos of the pagodas is a small village on the S side, just outside the walled temple complex. Head to the left from the entrance to the complex.

Cangshan Mountains: we only did an easy day trip there, using cable cars for ascent and descent. For a serious attempt at the summit, consider staying in Higherland Inn (, a few minutes upwards from the Zhonghe Temple.  Entrance ticket to the mountain area costs 30 Y (15 Y for ISIC and ITIC holders), with ticket booth just outside the Zhonghe cable car.

As a day trip, we took the above cable car to the Zhonghe Temple (30 Y one way, 60 Y return). From the Zhonghe Temple there’s an almost flat, paved park-like alley, complete with barriers, benches and pavillons, going 10 kms horizontally across very steep slopes with several fragments carved in vertical rocks. On the middle of the road there are a few snack restaurants. There are several side walks from this path, reaching scenic waterfalls, canyons and temple remains. Finally, the path reaches the upper station of the Cangshan Ropeway (50 Y one way, 80 Y return). There’s a path for descending to the Xiaguan-Dali road, but the ropeway goes across another rocky ridge to Gangtong Si – a nice temple a short walk up from the lower station of the ropeway. Down from the lower station there’s another interesting temple (Guanyin Tang) near the crossroads with the main Xiaguan-Dali road. By walking down instead of taking the ropeway, you’d miss both those temples.

There are no maps of Cangshan mountains available on sale but the route was straightforward and well-marked.

Dali-Lijiang: there’s no need to backtrack to Xiaguan for arranging onward transport – any hostel in Dali does it, usually at a day’s notice. We booked minibus seats for 45 Y at the Friends GH, the 9 a.m. minibus picked us up from the GH. Trip to Lijiang took 3,5 hrs along a good road.

Lijiang (26 52 N, 100 13 E, alt. 2400): we made a mistake and took a taxi to the old town, which brought us to the northern part of it, with more expensive accommodation. Finally stayed at Family GH, Wu Yi Lu 47 (on a back street off Wu Yi Lu). There’s a sign „free rooms” put on the street only if it’s not full. Costed 80 Y for a double with bathroom. Other places around wanted 120 Y+. The travellers’ favourite is Mama Naxi GH somewhere in the S part of the old town between Wu Yi Lu and the bus station. We couldn’t find it on our arrival. It would be probably easier if we had just walked into the old town from the southern side, directly from the bus station.

The rip-off 80 Y „preservation fee” charged for entering Lijiang area could easily be skipped if you don’t enter any fee-charging „scenic spot”. As the main allure of Lijiang is general scenery and architecture, not any particular monuments, it could be easily done without missing the atmosphere. For a view of the whole old city we went to the Wenchang Temple (free) on the hill separating the old town from the new part.

For reaching Tiger Leaping Gorge there are two public buses to Qiaotou (27 10 N, 100 03 E, alt. 1800): at 8.00 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. We took the 1.30 one, cost 15 Y, took 2,5 hrs. along a good, but narrow and busy road. There are also several Zhongdian-bound buses passing through Qiaotou but in order to get onto them you’d probably have to buy a ticket for the whole trip to Zhongdian.

There are no maps of the TLG on sale, just simple plans on free leaflets of the guesthouses on the trail, obtainable in several guesthouses in Lijiang. One of those can be downloaded from

In Qiaotou the bus stops at the entrance booth charging 50 Y of TLG entrance fee (for ISIC and ITIC holders 25 Y).  Just opposite there’s Gorged Tiger Cafe – a good place for asking for directions and hiking conditions or leaving luggage. The upper trail starts at the milestone 194 a short walk down the road from the cafe. Hiking the upper trail can be easily started even in afternoon, as the first guesthouses  are just 2 hrs away – we stayed in Naxi Family GH, paid 30 Y for a clean double with shared facilities. Facilities were basic but there’s hot shower, the food was great, owners very friendly and scenery great – a place to be recommended.

On the second day we made the whole upper trail to Tina’s GH where it descends to the lower road and the remaining 2 kms or so along the road to Walnut Grove (with Sean’s GH). We found the hair-raising stories of the trail grossly exaggerated, in fact it’s very easy to follow, well-marked, there’s a guesthouse with a simple shop and restaurant every 2 hrs or so (no need to take a lot of water and snacks). Prices of meals and water are only a bit higher than average. Most of the trail leads through beautiful but easy terrain – villages, fields or forests, only the second part of it beyond Halfway GH is more rugged. Even in most exposed places the path is nowhere narrower as 1,5 – 2 meters, so there’s no danger of falling unless you had one too many at a GH. The only thing which could be dangerous are rocks falling from above on the more rugged part of the trail, but here the odds of being hit are probably smaller as being hit by a car in the main street of your hometown.

Sean’s GH ( charged us 40 Y for a double (not so clean) with shared facilities (clean and modern). As they told us that remaining trail to Daju is not as scenic (only old ferry is operating, new one is out of service) and the last bus to Lijiang from Daju is at 1.30 p.m., we decided to go back to Qiaotou by lower road. Before we did it we descended to the bottom of the Gorge. There are several places to do it – usually by paths made and secured by locals who charge 10 Y or so for the entrance. Perhaps the fullest experience would be to descend from Walnut Grove (descent looked easy) and continue along the river upstream, eventually ascending to Sandy’s or Tina’s GH (ask at Sean’s for details). We’ve seen part of that path carved in vertical rocks directly above the river, looked truly hair-raising but people who did it told us it’s pretty easy. For our descent we’ve chosen the path leading down from Sandy’s GH to most powerful rapids I’ve ever seen in my life (10 Y fee at Sandy’s). It was quite thrilling, much more difficult than the upper trail and certainly not for acrophobes, but well-secured and safe for fit persons. After returning to Sandy’s we took a minibus along the lower road to Qiaotou (60 Y for 2 persons). The lower road is mostly paved but there are spectacular unpaved sections. From Qiaotou we went back to Lijiang by minibus hired together with some Chinese tourists – 150 Y for 6 persons.

Lijiang – Zhongdian : bus at 11.20 a.m. (other departures: 7.40 a.m., 10.40 a.m.) from the main station, tickets bought a day before for 38 Y, took 5 hrs along a good road. After Qiaotou the bus makes a long ascent up to ca. 3200 m a.s.l. to the edge of the Tibetan Plateau.

Zhongdian, a.k.a. Shangrila, Tibetan: Gyalthang (27 48 N, 99 42 E, alt. 3300 m): from the bus station (in N part of the town) took city bus no. 1 to the touristy „old town” on the south. Unusually for China several places we asked for rooms were full, finally stayed at Shangri La Old Town Youth Hostel for 90 Y/double with bathroom, OK. We found the town touristy and generally disappointing. Temples in the old town look a bit artificial, especially with a shameless Communist propaganda monument on the courtyard of one of them, depicting Tibetan lamas giving heroes’ welcome to PLA soldiers. For a glimpse of real Tibetan monastery we went to Songzanlin/Sungtseling Monastery north of town (city bus no. 3, entrance fee 30 Y, no student discounts). The place may unfortunately change into a more touristy one soon, as there was much construction work near the entrance.

Zhongdian-Xiangcheng – bus at 7.30 a.m., 69 Y (bought a day before). City buses don’t run that early, cab to the bus station costed 10 Y.

The bus ride was one of the most adventurous in my life. 150 km (according to map) or 220 km (according to road signs) of mostly unpaved dirt road, across 2 high passes (3800 and 4300 m) took 10,5 hrs in rainy weather (including lunchbreak in one of the few villages underway) and involved pulling the bus out of the mud with ropes and passing through numerous small landslides. The driver’s abilities were sufficient for Camel Trophy. As we learned afterwards, we were lucky to pass at all – most other travellers we met had to change buses carrying their luggage across landslides or to turn back for another trial the next day. Should be much better in dry weather.

Xiangcheng, Tibetan: Chaktreng (28 57 N, 99 48 E, alt. 2900 m). Most travellers treat it as just an overnight stop and head on the next day which is a pity, as there’s an interesting monastery and very nice Tibetan villages with spectacular architecture and defensive towers within easy walking distance from the town. For some info on hikes nearby see (click on „Trips” under „Travel information”). Accommodation: on leaving the bus, we were approached by girls from Bamu Tibetan GH, situated right above the bus station in a traditional Tibetan house (access a bit confusing, as there are no directions). Beds in a splendid Tibetan-style dorm cost 18 Y, doubles 50 Y, but the real drawback are the facilities – there’s a dirty waterless Chinese bus station-style toilet (hole in the ground and no doors) and a shower which was closed with a padlock as we wanted to see it. We went back to the main street to look for something else and found Xiang Bal Seven Lakes Hotel – paid 60 Y for a standard double with bathroom (hot water 24 hrs, quite clean). It’s about 50-100 meters from the bus station on the left side of the main street.

Entry to the Bsampling Monastery on the hill overlooking the N part of the town costs 15 Y (no student discount). It’s new, as the previous one has been razed to the ground during the Cultural Revolution, but quite interesting and situated in a scenic setting.

People around Xiangcheng supposedly still own firearms left over from the guerilla war against the Chinese invasion in the 1950s. In July a dispute about mushroom-collecting grounds between two villages in the district turned into a gunfight with more than 10 persons killed (read the story in HK’s South China Morning Post). However, our experience of the town and neighbouring villages has been very peaceful.

Xiangcheng-Litang: ticket for the 6.00 a.m. bus costed in theory 61 Y, but was impossible to get as the bus went to Kangding (ca. 130 Y for the whole trip) and Kangding-bound passengers had priority. Finally we hired 2 minibuses, costed 900 Y shared by 11 persons. Took 3-4 hrs along a good road, crossing a 4700 m pass and a ca. 4600 m plateau.

Litang, Tibetan: Lithang (29 59 N, 100 15 E, alt. 4000 m): right opposite the bus station (situated at forks on the eastern end of the town) there’s cheap Peace and Happy Hotel with basic facilities. A more comfortable option is Potala Inn – doubles without bathroom (clean shared facilities, 24 hrs hot water) costed 60 Y, nice private double 120 Y. A cheaper alternative is Crane GH on the main street, a short walk towards the center. An acceptable double with bathroom (24 hrs hot water) costed 80 Y. Some travellers told us that shared facilities were dirty, so not recommended for the cheaper rooms without bathroom.

Litang is quite a centre of Tibetan resistance against Chinese oppression. There was a lot of police and military around. Pictures of Dalai Lama (technically illegal) were on display in many places, while those of false Chinese-imposed XI Panchen Lama could be seen almost only in Chinese-owned shops. Locals proudly mentioned Dalai Lama even during small talks with tourists. Apparently quite a lot of Tibetans from there take the extreme risk of crossing the Himalayas to personally seek his blessing in his Dharamsala, India exile residence.

Every August there’s a horse festival drawing huge crowds, which sometimes turns into protests – such incident (with no casualties) happened this year a week or so before our arrival, resulting in some arrests among local Tibetans. As we were there, the situation was back to calm but the reports that followed later were of growing persecution and threats of a major crackdown.

Some useful websites for following the political situation in Tibet (all of them gave a wide coverage to the events in Litang):, link „Aktualności”(in Polish) (including a guide on sensible travel to Tibet)

A useful book for Tibet travel is „Mapping the Tibetan World” by Kotan  Publishers ( It is sometimes available in Hong Kong bookshops (costed 185 HK$).

Monastery in Litang does not charge entry fees. In fact it seems that the authorities are quietly discouraging tourists to visit it, due to the highly independent spirit of local Tibetans. A group of Western tourists we met, who travelled in an organized group, were told by the Chinese that the monastery was highly dangerous and a shooting with several persons killed had happened there a few days before – an obvious bullshit, given that the horse festival incident received a wide coverage on the web (including thorntree posts), while there were no reports at all about any shootings in the monastery. We found the monastery to be a very calm and peaceful place, in a great setting.

Litang was a great place for some easy day-hikes, even if we felt much weaker than usual because of altitude. Grassy hills on the immediate north (ca. 4500-4600) offer great views. More serious hikes may be done in the mountains on the south of the  Litang valley (some exceed 5000 m, but we didn’t reach them) – a small monastery of Taga San Si/Zaga Sher Shan/Drakar Ritro on the road to Xiangcheng may be a starting point (paid 30 Y for a taxi ride there, on the return got a lift). There are no maps of the area, so printing out Google Earth photos is a good idea.

Litang – Kangding: bus at 6.30 a.m., costed 81 Y, tickets bought one day before. Took 9 hrs (including lunchbreak) along a spectacular but very bumpy and uncomfortable road (mostly paved), crossing 4 high passes which according to signs were 4718, 4600+, 4400+, 4300+ m. Google Earth shows them respectively at 4400, 4400, 4300, 4250 m, while Soviet military maps downloaded from show altitudes comparable to those indicated by signs. Between the passes the road descends to small towns of Yajiang (2600 m) and Xinduqiao (3500 m).

Kangding, Tibetan: Dartsedo (30 03 N, 101 57 E, alt. 2500 m): hotels on the street towards the center from the bus station were either very dirty or wanted to charge us far more than 100 Y/dbl. There are supposedly some better places in the centre close to Anjue Si (Ngachu Gompa), but we took a cab (5-6 Y) to Sally’s Knapsack Inn, on the northern outskirts just near Jinggang Si (Dorje Drak Gompa). Paid 80 Y for a double with shared facilties. Advantages: nice rooms, great atmosphere, very nice outside bar, free laundry and internet, owner speaks a good English. Disadvantages: dirty and unfunctional toilets and washing facilities.

Sights: monasteries of Anju Si (Ngachu Gompa), Jingang Si (Dorje Drak Gompa) and Nanwu Si (Lhamo Tsering Gompa) are free of charge. The two latter ones look rather new, supposedly largely reconstructed. Entrance to Paoma Shan costs 50 Y (students 20 Y) – we found it rather uninteresting: one small temple and a new huge tourist complex, partly still being built (will include a new big monastery).

We’ve done a great hike up the path leading left of Nanwu Si, eventually leading onto mountains immediately west over the town, grazed by huge yaks (descent into north of center possible along another path). There were great views of huge glacier-covered mountains immediately beyond Paoma Shan which we thought to be Gongga Shan, but after a look at Soviet military maps we realized that it was another range rising to ca. 6100 m. First peaks of the Gongga Shan range could be seen from Kangding closing the valley directly to the S, but the view is less spectacular because of greater distance.

Kangding-Chengdu: there are buses every one hour between 6 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. Most cost 117 Y. We turned up at the station at 10 a.m. and first available tickets were for 12 (cost 105 Y). Bus was comfortable and air-conditioned but broke down underway. Took 6 hrs (including lunchbreak) + 3,5 hrs of repairing the bus. Arrived at Xinnanmen bus station in the centre of Chengdu.

Chengdu: stayed in Mix Hostel (, 90 Y for an air-con double, shared facilities (very clean and functional). To be recommended, was OK when we stayed there last year and has even more improved since that. Nice rooms, great atmosphere, friendly English-speaking staff. It’s better to book ahead as they are quite busy.

Reached it by bus 55 from the main street at front of Xinnanmen station.

Emei Shan: reached by bus from Xinnanmen station to Emei city (departures every 30 min between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., costed 37 Y, took 2,5 hrs). Arrival to Emei city and getting to trailhead at Baoguo Si looked a bit confusing – first some touts got on the bus and told us to leave, which we ignored (following earlier advice). We left at Emei city station and asked a city bus driver, who invited us to board his bus  no. 1 (1 Y) in direction of Baoguo Si, but then dropped us off and told to take another one. We took a taxi for 10 Y for the remaining distance.

In Baoguo village we had a confirmed e-mail reservation at Teddy Bear Hostel ( but as we arrived they told us they were full and organized us a room at a  hotel a few steps away – for 100 Y for air-conditioned double with bathroom, looked clean but there were cockroaches. We had an impression that Baoguo village is best avoided – no charm at all, less than average accommodation, overpriced shops (everything at around double standard prices) and restaurants, an ugly promenade with crowds of tourists. There are some monasteries a short walk above the village which seem to be much better choice to spend a night, even if you arrive to the village in the afternoon – Fuhu Monastery or Leiyin (Thunderclap) Monastery, the latter already behind the entrance gate to Emei Shan „Scenic Area”.

Next day we visited the Baoguo Monastery (8 Y), Fuhu Monastery (6 Y), passed the entrance gates on the beginning of the path to Emei Shan (tickets for 120 Y, or 60Y for ISIC and ITIC holders, in theory valid for 2 days only but nobody bothered with our 1 day „overstay”) and started the (allegedly) 52 kms hike up Emei Shan. The entire path is paved, with thousands of stone stairs. A true knee-killer, but on the other hand it makes descending in rainy weather much easier. Don’t expect any true mountain-hiking experience – the main attraction are the monasteries (and monkeys:-).

Some practical info: there’s no need to take mountain shoes in summer, sandals are enough. No need to carry much water and provisions either, there are small shop-restaurant stalls every 30 minutes (or less) of walking. Prices are generally high to very high (2-3 times standard), monastery shops are usually a bit cheaper than private stalls. A 0,6 l water bottle costed 3-4 Y at a monastery shop or 5-6 Y at a stall. Meals at stalls were about 50-60 Y/2 persons (with beer). Restaurants in monasteries (simple but good vegetarian food) are usually open in the morning and evening only,. Beer was 8 Y at stalls. Lodgings in monasteries were quite basic but the setting and general atmosphere made sleeping there a splendid experience. Hot showers are available in most (if not all) of them.

A basic map of Emei Shan can be downloaded from, a slightly better one is available for 5 Y at shops and stalls. Weather was swelteringly hot and humid up to about 1200 m,  cooler but still humid in the upper parts and foggy on the summit. It rained heavily during our descent.

1st day: hike up to Hongchun Monastery (1120 m) via Chunyang (940 m) and Qinyin (710 m) monasteries. This part of the trip was quite tiring (a lot of ups and downs) and low altitude meant tropical heat and humidity. Pressing further to Xianfeng Monastery in one day from Baoguo Si is quite realistic, as we started quite late and were generally slow. A somewhat basic double (basic shared facilities, hot shower) at Hongchun Monastery costed 90 Y.

2nd day: Hongchun Monastery (1120 m) – Xianfeng Monastery (1750 m, already much cooler, so perhaps a better choice for a night) – Xi Xiangchi Monastery (2070 m, splendid setting) – Leidong parking lot (2430 m). Unfortunately, we were too late for the cable car (stops at about 6 p.m.) to the Jinding (Golden) Summit and the night caught us near the parking lot – one of the ugliest places we’ve seen in China. We asked for accommodation at the Jieyin Hall monastery, but they insisted we must take the whole triple room for 60 Y a bed (=180 Y), so we went to check the hotels around the parking lot. Most of those wanted 400 Y for rooms which would cost 80 Y or so elsewhere, finally in one of them (the 2nd or 3rd one from above) we got a „discounted” price of 150 Y. As we wanted to go out and find some food we discovered that the staff had the habit of locking up the whole hotel (with guests inside) for the night, but a few loud bangs and a shouting match made them open it and show us the location of the key. Generally a place to avoid!

3rd day: cable car ride to the Golden Summit (40 Y one way) in thick fog, then descent on foot via Taizi Ping (perhaps the only nice place in the summit zone) towards Xi Xiangchi and further along the northern path down towards Wannian Temple. We slept in the last monastery above Wannian – probably Xixin Temple or Zhanglao Ping (the map was a bit confusing as it shows 4 monasteries on the northern path and we saw only 3), a very nice and peaceful place, 80 Y for a double.

4th day – descent to Wannian Temple (entry 10 Y) in heavy rain, cable car down to Wannian parking lot (30 Y), bus to Baoguo village (20 Y if I remember it correctly), bus to Chengdu (Xinnanmen) directly from Baoguo (35 Y, every 30 minutes until 6 p.m.).

Our feeling about Emei Shan was generally ambiguous – we found the lower parts (especially places not accessible by bus or cable car) up to Xi Xiangchi monastery (2070)  really a great experience with nice sights and interesting monasteries. The higher part is very touristy and lacks charm. Summit temples seemed a bit kitschy. Accommodation, food and all the other things to buy were rip-off. To be considered perhaps only for the sunset in good weather, but there are so many wild mountains elsewhere to experience it…. Another place we didn’t like was Baoguo village. A schedule to recommend for somebody interested in temples and scenery but keen to avoid tourism „industry” could be a  2 days-hike along the southern path up to Xi Xiangchi and down via the northern path.


Hong Kong – Kanton – Macau, lipiec-sierpień 2007

czas: w sumie ok. 2 tygodnie na początku i na końcu podróży po Chinach

Hong Kong

przydatne strony: – przewodnik dla budżetowego turysty – transport z lotniska – promy na Macau i wyspy wokół HK – autobusy miejskie i podmiejskie – kolej KCR, jeździ do granicy w Lo Wu i bezpośrednio do Kantonu, Szanghaju i Pekinu – metro (MTR) – HKTB, bardzo dobrze działająca informacja turystyczna – strona o HK po polsku – pomysły na piesze wycieczki – też pomysły na wycieczki

i mnóstwo innych…

wydostanie się z lotniska: najtańszy jest autobus A21 do Kowloon (przystanek kilka kroków od Chungking i Mirador Mansions, wysiąść na Nathan Road w okolicach dużego meczetu po prawej). Cena: 33 HK$ w jedną stronę, 55 w obie (powrót ważny 3 miesiące).

Przed wyjechaniem z lotniska warto wziąć darmową mapę i ulotki ze stoiska HKTB (informacji turystycznej) – razem z opisami na miejscu wystarczą spokojnie zamiast przewodnika. Stoisko HKTB jest też na przejściu granicznym z Chinami w Lo Wu i przystani promowej w Kowloon.

Nocleg: najtańsze hoteliki i hostele są w dwóch olbrzymich budynkach przy Nathan Road: Mirador Mansions i Chungking Mansions – jest ich mnóstwo (na prawie każdym piętrze), od brudnych nor do całkiem sympatycznych, przeważnie pokoje są bardzo ciasne. Spaliśmy w Payless Guesthouse, Chungking Mansions, klatka A, 7 p. – czysty, ale bardzo ciasny pokój z łazienką i klimatyzacją kosztował 140 HK$ po targowaniu. W powrotnej drodze było już ciężko uzyskać tę cenę – udało się tylko dlatego, że spaliśmy za tyle kilka tygodni wcześniej.

Na dole w Chungking Mansions jest kilka kantorów, które dają najlepsze kursy w okolicy. Można też tam kupić juany po lepszym kursie niż w Bank of China we właściwych Chinach, ale uwaga: w grubym pliku banknotów, który od tam dostałem trafiła się jedna fałszywka 100 Y.

Najtańszy internet w Chungking Mansions jest w Travellers Hostel, klatka A, 16 p. – po 10 HK$/gdoz.

Ceny w HK są sporo wyższe niż we właściwych Chinach, porównywalne z polskimi, np.:

obiad w taniej hinduskiej restauracji 40 HK$ na osobę,

drobna przekąska (dim sum) 10-15 HK$

piwo w sklepie 5-10 HK$ , w knajpie 15-25 HK$

Komunikacja miejska jest świetnie zorganizowana (połączenia są bardzo często i do późna w nocy) i dość tania: bilet na metro (MTR) od 3,8 HK$ w zależności od odległości, tramwaj 2 HK$, prom z Kowloon do Central 1,7 albo 2,2 HK$. Warto zaopatrzyć się w kartę płatniczą Octopus ( – przy jej nabyciu płaci się 50 HK$ depozytu i trzeba doładować minimalnie 100 HK$, przy zwrocie przed 3 miesiącami z depozytu jest potrącana opłata 7 HK$. Jest bardzo wygodna w obsłudze, można nią płacić za komunikację miejską (w MTR i kolei KCR daje zniżki) i w wielu sklepach. Doładować można na każdej stacji MTR i KCR. Bez Octopusa za komunikację trzeba z reguły płacić odliczonymi drobnymi.

Hong Kong jest bardzo różnorodnym miejscem – wbrew pozorom to nie tylko wieżowce, w odległości nie więcej niż godziny drogi są tropikalne plaże, spore i ładne góry (ponad 900 m), ciekawe wyspy z częstymi połączeniami promowymi. Jest sporo ciekawych świątyń. Niestety ze względów klimatycznych chodzenie po górach w lecie przerosło nasze możliwości (gorąco i wilgotno:-) i ograniczyliśmy się do mniej ambitnych wycieczek.

Plaże są zagospodarowane i strzeżone, z prysznicami i przebieralniami (dostępne za darmo) i siatką zabezpieczającą przed rekinami.


– Peak Tram (na Victoria Peak nad HK) – w jedną stronę 22 HK$, w obie 33 HK$. Na piechotę nie jest specjalnie daleko, ale temperatura skutecznie nas zniechęciła do spaceru.

– wyspa Cheung Chau – prom z Central 11,3 HK$

– wyspa Lantau – z Central do Mui Wo prom za 22 HK$ (fast) albo 11,3 HK$ (ordinary), z Mui Wo do Ngong Ping (wioska pod Wielkim Buddą i klasztorem Po Lin) autobus za 16 HK$. Wstęp pod figurę Buddy i klasztoru za darmo (płatna jest tylko ekspozycja w pomieszczeniu pod figurą). Klasztor Po Lin jest dobrym punktem wyjścia na ładną górę Lantau Peak (ponad 900 m) znakowanym szlakiem.

Z Ngong Ping pojechaliśmy autobusem do ciekawej wioski Tai O (6 albo 8 HK$), a w powrotnej drodze zrobiliśmy sobie przerwę na plaży w Tong Fuk po południowej stronie wyspy. Autobus z Tai O na plażę 7,5 HK$ (do Mui Wo 10 HK$).

– plażowa wioska Shek O na wschodnim krańcu Hong Kong Island: z Central tramwaj do Shau Kei Wan (ostatnia pętla) za 2 HK$ albo trochę drożej metrem. W Shau Kei Wan można obejrzeć kilka ciekawych świątynek. Od stacji metra do Shek O jeździ autobus nr 9 za 6,5 HK$.

– pozostałości warownych wiosek (walled villages) na Nowych Terytoriach: Kowloon do Tsuen Wan MTR za 5 albo 7 HK$. W Tsuen Wan jest wioska zrekonstruowana jako Sam Tung Uk Museum (wstęp za darmo). Z Tsuen Wan można złapać autobus nr 51 (z drogi nad stacją MTR, wejść schodami, ok. 8 HK$) do Kam Tin, gdzie jest warowna wioska zamieszkała do tej pory (wstęp 3 HK$). Na trasie autobusu jest dobry punkt wyjściowy na najwyższy szczyt Hong Kongu – Tai Mo Shan. Wrócić z Kam Tin do Kowloon można przez Yuen Long (minibus 5 HK$ + KCR 11 HK$ + MTR 5 HK$).

Przedostawanie się do właściwych Chin:

najtańsza jest kolej KCR z Kowloon Tsim Sha Tsui (wejście przy stacji metra obok Chungking Mansions) do Lo Wu na granicy – 34,8 HK$ (z Octopusem). Stacja jest bezpośrednio na przejściu granicznym, a zaraz za nim jest dworzec w Shenzhen z częstymi pociągami do Kantonu (Guangzhou) za 75 Y. Część pociągów jedzie tylko do stacji Guangzhou Dong dalej od centrum. Bilety w automacie. Cała operacja razem z przekraczaniem granicy nie powinna zająć więcej niż 5 godz., a można się wyrobić i szybciej.

Szybszą, ale droższą alternatywą jest bezpośredni pociąg KCR do Kantonu z dworca Hung Hom w Kowloon.

Kanton (Guangzhou)

nocleg: hostel przy dworcu kolejowym okazał się zamknięty, ale przy dworcu kręciło się trochę naganiaczy proponujących hotele. Pójście za jednym z nich okazało się strzałem w dziesiątkę – zaprowadził nas do bardzo komfortowego hotelu Huada College Business Hotel, w którym wielki i czysty pokój z klimatyzacją (standard spokojnie trzygwiazdkowy) kosztował 150 Y, czyli tyle, co miała kosztować dwójka w hostelu na dworcu, a mniej niż dwójka w hostelu na wyspie Shamian. Są też mniejsze pokoje za 130 Y, ale wszystkie były akurat pełne. Adres: Gunhua Lu 5, 10-15 min spaceru od dworca.

Jak trafić: z dworca wzdłuż głównej Huanshi Lu na wschód ok. 100 m do skrzyżowania z Jiefang Bei Lu. Przejść przez Jiefang Bei Lu i wzdłuż niej w lewo czyli na północ (pod wiaduktem kolejowym) jakieś 200 m. Gunhua Lu to pierwsza większa ulica odchodząca z Jiefang Bei Lu na prawo (wschód), przyjemnie zacieniona przez drzewa, bez dużego ruchu, z kilkoma sklepami i cukierniami. Wzdłuż Gunhua Lu jakieś 100 m do poczty po lewej (północnej stronie), kawałek przed dużym „Guangzhou University Exchange Center”. Zaraz za pocztą jest boczna uliczka prowadząca między bloki (szyld z nazwą hotelu po angielsku jest już przy wejściu w uliczkę), wzdłuż której jeszcze ok. 50 m.

Komunikacja miejska w Guangzhou – korzystaliśmy z metra: bilety w zależności od ilości przejechanych stacji od 2 Y, w granicach centrum nie więcej niż 4 Y. Uwaga: żetony są ważne tylko w dniu zakupu, nie należy kupować na zapas (a szkoda, bo kolejki do automatów spore).

Zwiedzanie: wstęp do świątyń w centrum Kantonu jest albo za darmo, albo stosunkowo niedrogi.

Kanton okazał się „wąskim gardłem” komunikacyjnym – okazało się, że bilety do Kunmingu można dostać najprędzej na pociąg za 8 dni (pociąg K 365, 14:07, 341 Y za hard sleeper) i żadne biuro pośrednictwa nie było w stanie tego przyspieszyć. W międzyczasie pojechaliśmy do Macau – na szczęście mieliśmy wizę dwukrotnego wjazdu. Jeśli ktoś spędza wcześniej kilka dni w Hong Kongu, to warto rozważyć wcześniejsze zorganizowanie biletów na pociąg z Kantonu jeszcze stamtąd – podobno jest zajmująca się tym budka na dworcu Hung Hom w Kowloon, ceny wysokie (100 Y prowizji za sleeper, 80 Y za seat), ale mimo wszystko może się opłacać.

W powrotnej drodze z Chengdu do Kantonu też nie obeszło się bez problemów – mimo kupowania biletu na 6 dni naprzód były już miejsca tylko na soft sleeper (pociąg K 194, 22:36, 770 Y).


z Kantonu autobus do Gongbei w SEZ Zhuhai (dworzec przy samym przejściu granicznym Portas do Cerco) – co 15 min. z głównego dworca autobusowego koło kolejowego, klimatyzowany, 65 Y, jedzie ok. 3 h. Autobus powrotny kosztował 70 Y i jechał ponad 4 h (korek). Granicę z Macau przeszliśmy na piechotę. Na przejściu granicznym w punkcie informacji turystycznej można dostać darmową mapę. Zaraz po drugiej stronie autobus nr 3 do centrum, 2,5 MOP (zamiast MOP można też płacić w HK$ i chyba też w juanach, po kursie 1:1).

Do szukania taniego noclegu najlepiej wysiąść w samym centrum, na Avenida Almeida Ribeiro, najtańsze miejsca są w promieniu kilku minut spacerem. Niestety wybór jest pomiędzy brudnymi norami albo hotelami w cenach ok. 200 MOP za dwójkę. W weekendy jest znacznie drożej.

Spaliśmy w końcu w dużym Hotelu Central na samej Avenida Almeida Ribeiro za 180 MOP/dwójka z łazienką i klimatyzacją, w standardzie chińskiego hotelu za 80-100 Y.

Tańsza opcja: Hospedaria San Va na Rua de Felicidade (, 80 MOP/dwójka bez klimatyzacji i ze wspólną łazienką, pokoi z klimatyzacją i z łazienkami nie było. Nie należy wierzyć w ani słowo (ani w zdjęcia) na ich stronie internetowej – w rzeczywistości było tam bardzo brudno, a na forum thorntree ktoś się uskarżał na „pracujące” tam prostytutki. Innym tanim (i podobnie brudnym) miejscem jest Hospedaria Vong Kong na Rua das Lorchas. Blisko jest też hostel Augusters (, 60 HK$ za dorm, 150 HK$ za dwójkę) –  na oko o wiele przyjemniejsze miejsce, ale bardzo małe, jak byliśmy się spytać, to nie mieli miejsca.

Ceny w Macau są niższe niż w Hong Kongu, ale wyższe niż w kontynentalnych Chinach. Atrakcją są portugalskie wina w cenie niewiele wyższej od sklepowej w samej Portugalii – od 30 MOP za butelkę przyzwoitego wina, od 55 MOP za porto. Piwo tańsze niż w HK – 10 MOP w knajpie, ok. 5 MOP w sklepie. Obiad w restauracji 40-50 MOP/2 os. Internet 5 MOP/godz.

Kantory podają kursy walut w HK$, więc chcąc wymienić walutę na pataki (MOP) trzeba o to poprosić. Opłaca się to, bo za 100 HK$ dostaje się ok. 103 MOP, a przy płaceniu wszędzie stosowany jest kurs 1:1.

Zwiedzanie Macau: oprócz „podstawowych” atrakcji warto polecić ciekawą świątynię Kun Iam na północy półwyspu i malowniczą kolonialną wioskę Coloane na samym południu (dawniej na wyspie). We wiosce Hac Sa dalej na tej samej wyspie jest plaża. Po samym Macau można się spokojnie poruszać na piechotę, do Taipa i Coloane jeżdżą miejskie autobusy (poniżej 5 MOP). Wstępy do atrakcji turystycznych są tanie albo darmowe.


Chiny 2006 czyli jak zostaliśmy analfabetami – trochę szczegółów praktycznych

czas: od 19.7 do 24.8

trasa: Pekin – Wutai Shan – Pingyao – Xian – Lanzhou – Linxia – Xiahe – Zoige – Songpan – Chengdu  (i Leshan) – Pekin.

Lecieliśmy Aerofłotem – bilet Warszawa – Pekin – Warszawa z przesiadką w Moskwie kosztował 2170 zł. Standard jest całkiem OK, chociaż na trasie Warszawa – Moskwa latają dość wysłużone Tu 154.

Na początek kilka rzeczy ogólnych:

Język i komunikacja z miejscowymi – najprościej mówiąc przerypane:-) W trakcie podróży nauczyliśmy się w zasadzie tylko „dzieńdobry”, „dziękuję”, „ile” i jako tako liczyć. Po paru dniach da się też odróżniać kilka użytecznych „krzaczków”, ale w zasadzie w niczym to nie zmieniło naszego prawie kompletnego analfabetyzmu. Znajomość angielskiego jest bardzo rzadka, można na nią liczyć tylko w hostelach celujących na backpackersów. Napisy po angielsku też są rzadkie i przypadkowe, nie ma co liczyć np. na rozkłady jazdy. Plusem jest duża życzliwość Chińczyków dla turystów, co sprawia, że przeważnie da się porozumieć kombinacją uśmiechów i gestykulacji i pokazywania słów w rozmówkach. Pokutujące gdzieniegdzie opinie o rzekomo generalnej nieuprzejmości Chińczyków to zdecydowanie bzdury.

Podstawa komunikacji to rozmówki zawierające słowa i zdania napisane chińskim alfabetem, które można pokazać rozmówcy. Można sobie coś takiego ściągnąć ze strony Na miejscu w dobrych księgarniach (np. na Wangfujing w Pekinie) można też za 16 Y kupić Pocket Interpretera. Obie książeczki są trochę niefunkcjonalne, ale od biedy wystarczą. Jeśli ktoś nie bardzo liczy się z kosztami, to niezłą rzeczą musi być też Conversation Guide – Mandarin wyd. Lonely Planet (nie wiem na pewno, bo nie korzystałem).

Próby wymówienia chińskich słów zapisanych w transkrypcji alfabetem łacińskim (pinyin) często nie są rozumiane przez miejscowych (akcent zmienia znaczenie słowa), zresztą pinyin czyta się też specyficznie, inaczej niż po angielsku.


Specjalnie nie oszczędzając wydawaliśmy po ok. 120 euro na osobę na tydzień. Można pewnie spokojnie obciąć tą kwotę o połowę (albo więcej) przy spaniu w salach wieloosobowych, albo pokojach bez łazienki, bardziej selektywnym podejściu do zwiedzania zabytków i żywieniu się tylko w tanich jadłodajniach.

Jeśli kupuje się walutę za złotówki, to korzystniej wziąć dolary (trochę mniejsza marża przy wymienianiu niż przy euro). Wymiana jest dość uciążliwa, tylko w niektórych bankach – najpewniej w Bank of China, przeważnie są kolejki i trzeba wypełnić trochę papierków, dlatego warto wymienić więcej na raz (kurs yuana jest stabilny – niecałe 8 Y za dolara, 10 za euro). W mniejszych miasteczkach czasem nie ma gdzie wymienić waluty.

Przykładowe ceny:

noclegi – sytuacja jest bardzo korzystna, jest mnóstwo małych prywatnych hotelików o dość niezłym jak na Azję standardzie. Za wygodną dwójkę (zawyczaj z łazienką i klimą) poza Pekinem nigdy nie płaciliśmy ponad 100 yuanów. Na sali wieloosobowej albo w dwójce bez łazienki można się w większości miejsc spokojnie przespać za 20-25 Y od osoby albo nawet mniej. Prawie wszędzie da się targować (oprócz większości hosteli z dużym ruchem zachodnich turystów). Drożej jest w Pekinie. Przeważnie jest czysto. Standardem w hotelach jest darmowy wrzątek w termosach. W łazienkach prawie wszędzie jest bez ograniczeń gorąca woda. W większości miejsc oprócz ceny noclegu płaci się dodatkowy depozyt za klucze (do 100 Y), zwracany przy wyjeździe.

przejazdy – niezbyt tanie. Ceny (orientacyjne, ale raczej się zgadzają) i rozkład kolei (zgadzał się dokładnie) na Info o kolejach w Chinach jest też na  Bilety można kupić tylko z miasta, z którego się odjeżdża (nie można np. w Pekinie kupić biletu Xian-Lanzhou). W Pekinie można kupować bilety na obu dworcach (np. na BeijingZhan na pociąg odjeżdżający z BeijingXiZhan) Do kas są zawsze spore kolejki i często nie ma miejsc na dany pociąg (zwłaszcza hard sleeper) – najlepiej kupować kilka dni wcześniej. Przyjść na dworzec trzeba odpowiednio wcześniej, bo przed wyjściem na peron trzeba przejść kilka bramek ze sprawdzaniem biletu i prześwietlanie bagażu przy samym wejściu na dworzec – trochę jak na lotnisku. W każdym wagonie jest automat z darmowym wrzątkiem i Chińczycy wcinają niesamowite ilości chińskich zupek. W każdym pociągu jeździ wózek z napojami, piwem, jedzeniem itp. (trochę drożej niż w sklepach).

Autobusy w cenach porównywalnych z polskimi albo minimalnie taniej. Przy wejściach na dworzec też prześwietlają bagaż – typowy przykład pozornej walki z nieistniejącymi niebezpieczeństwami. Bezsens tego zabiegu dodatkowo uwypukla to, że zaraz po wyjechaniu z dworca kierowca zabiera z ulicy mnóstwo dodatkowych pasażerów, których już nikt nie prześwietla.

Autobusy często wyjeżdżają wściekle rano – o 6 czy 7. Zwłaszcza starsze mają boleśnie mało miejsca na nogi.

jedzenie – bardzo dobre (wbrew legendom nie zawsze ekstremalnie ostre) i tanie. W tanich jadłodajniach (menu tylko po chińsku na ścianie) można zjeść za ok. 5 Y (nawet w Pekinie, ale trzeba wejść w hutongi). W średniej klasy restauracjach (czasem z menu po angielsku, ale rzadko) wydawaliśmy przeważnie od ok. 25 do 40 Y na dwie osoby (z piwem). Dobrym jedzeniem są też smażone (najczęściej przez muzułmanów) szaszłyki z różnych mięs i nie tylko – kosztują od 0,5 do 1,5 Y, 10 szt. spokojnie wystarczy za obiad. W sklepach generalnie sporo taniej niż w Polsce (np. bardzo tani miód). Pieczywo przypominające europejskie można kupić w muzułmańskich knajpach albo u Tybetańczyków, w chińskich sklepach prawie zawsze jest słodkie.

Ceny w sklepach i na bazarach podawane są często w jin (0,5 kg). Jeśli sprzedawca wbija na elektroniczną wagę cenę dwukrotnie wyższą niż napisana, to nie oszukuje, tylko waga działa na kilogramy.

piwo – jego jedynym plusem jest wielkość (ok. 0,6 l). Generalnie jest słabe, jak słowackie czy czeskie „desitki”. Znośne w smaku wydały się nam Yanjing, Tsingtao i Pearl River. W knajpie kosztuje ok. 2 – 6 Y (powyżej tego zaczyna się już raczej zdzierstwo), w sklepie 2-3 Y. W Pekinie wszędzie jest schłodzone, poza Pekinem ten godny pochwały obyczaj jak na razie rozpowszechnia się dość stopniowo:-)

Inne alkohole – wódka jest prawie za darmo, ale nasze dwukrotne próby jej wypicia zakończyły się wylaniem do kanału:-) Wino można kupić od 15-20 Y, czasem da się pić (np. Great Wall), ale nic rewelacyjnego nie spotkaliśmy.

Woda mineralna – w sklepie 0,7 – 1,5 Y za 0,6 l. W turystycznych miejscach drożej.

wstępy do zabytków masakrycznie drogie – standardowo 20-30 Y, za większe atrakcje potrafi być i ok. 100 Y. Oprócz tego chińską specyfiką jest kasowanie opłaty za wstęp na jakiś większy obszar (np. park), a potem jeszcze raz za poszczególne zabytki na jego terenie. Czasem kasują też opłaty za wjazd na cały teren uznany za „scenic spot”, np. pasmo górskie czy park narodowy. Bardzo opłaca się wzięcie legitymacji ISIC albo ITIC. Co prawda nie wszędzie są uznawane (często zależy to od widzimisię kasjerki, przy czym ITIC czasem jest szczęśliwie brany za legitymację studencką), ale już po kilku wstępach mogą się zwrócić.

Internet – standardowo 2-5 Y/godz. Sporo stron jest poblokowanych (np. BBC czy Wikipedia nie wspominając już o czymkolwiek niezależnym na temat Tybetu).

anglojęzyczne gazety – codzienna China Daily 1 Y, tygodnik Beijing Review albo miesięcznik China Today 6 Y (wersja francuska China Today 3,2 Y). Czasem się trafia w nich coś ciekawego, ale są mocno selektywne w doborze tematu, żeby nie powiedzieć propagandowe.

Znaczek na kartkę do Europy 4,8 Y, kartki 10 Y za 10 szt.


koniecznie powinien mieć nazwy miast i ważniejszych miejsc zapisane po chińsku. Wymawiane przez nie-Chińczyków są często niezrozumiałe dla miejscowych. Mieliśmy starego Rough Guide’a z 2000 r. i spisał się nieźle. Przeglądałem też LP i wydał mi się dość cienki. Nie ma chyba sensu szarpać się na najnowsze wydanie, bo noclegi bardzo łatwo znaleźć, a nowe miejsca powstają jak grzyby po deszczu – lepiej poszukać w internecie, a w mniejszych miejscowościach spokojnie można szukać już na miejscu.

Do orientacji przydają się też plany miast z dwujęzycznymi napisami – przeważnie do kupienia na miejscu za 3 do 8 Y. Mapki z przewodnika zazwyczaj nie są wystarczające.


prawie nieuniknione jest przeziębienie, czy jakaś infekcja gardłowo-grypowa (w ciągu 5 tygodni złapałem 2 razy). Chińczycy dużo plują i charkają na ulicy i w powietrzu fruwa sporo bakterii. Przydają się lekarstwa na przeziębienie i ból gardła (kupowanie ich na miejscu w aptece na migi może prowadzić do różnych wyników).

Strony z przydatnymi informacjami:

i wiele innych

Notatki z trasy:

19-23.8 – Pekin. Z lotniska wydostajemy się liniowym autobusem za 16 Y (zaczyna jeździć o 7.30, nr 3 do dworca kolejowego Beijing Zhan, rozkład jazdy i trasy na stronie lotniska Nocujemy w Beijing City Central Youth Hostel ( – 160 Y za czystą dwójkę z klimą, bez łazienki. Hostel to wielki, trochę anonimowy kombinat o kilometrowych korytarzach. Okolica jest niezbyt ciekawa (wieżowce, luksusowe hotele), plusem jest położenie zaraz obok metra i dworca kolejowego (ale odjeżdżają z niego tylko pociągi na północ). W tym samym budynku są dwa sklepy, kawiarnia internetowa (5 Y/h), bardzo drogi bar i trochę mniej droga restauracja.

W sumie korzystniejszym miejscem byłby chyba hostel w dzielnicy z hutongami – np. Drum Tower YH ( albo któryś z kilku w kwartale na południowy zachód od Tiananmen.

Komunikacja w Pekinie – bilety na autobus 1 –2 Y, na metro 3 Y. Wypożyczenie roweru – od 10 Y za dzień, kaucja ok. 200 Y (sporo wypożyczalni jest w hutongach na południowy zachód od Tiananmen).

Wstępy – Zakazane Miasto 60 Y (bez zniżek), Tiantan – 35 Y. Meczet Niujie 10 Y. Teoretycznie nie można wejść na główną salę meczetu, ale nas wpuścili (może dlatego, że Ania grzecznie ubrała hedżab, a ja odpowiedziałem „Alejkum as-salaam”:-).

Skorzystaliśmy z reklamowanej w hostelu wycieczki na Wielki Mur z przejściem murem z Jinshangling do Simatai. Przejście jest bardzo fajne, prowadzi fragmentami muru, które prawie w ogóle nie zostały odnowione (tylko na tyle, żeby dało się przejść), nie ma tłumu turystów (może poza samym Simatai). Całość jest dość męcząca – wyjazd ok. 7 rano, 4 h jazdy w jedną stronę (spore korki) przez Huairou i Miyun. Idzie się ok. 10 km górzystą okolicą – piękne widoki i męczy jak solidna górska wycieczka. Dość drogo – 110 Y za sam transport (w autobusie byli też ludzie z innych hosteli, którzy płacili różne ceny – od 90 do 150 Y, można spróbować potargować). Wstęp na mur płatny osobno za oba odcinki – 30 Y Jinshangling, 40 Y Simatai, dodatkowo 5 Y za przejście mostem w Simatai. Na sam mur mieszkańcy okolicznych wsi wynoszą w torbach-lodówkach wodę, colę i piwo, więc pragnienie nie grozi:-)

23.7 Pekin – Wutai Shan. Jedziemy z dworca BeijingXiZhan (zachodniego, większego od głównego). Dojazd na dworzec autobusem 52 (1 Y) spod hotelu Beijing International (na główej arterii blisko dworca Beijing Zhan i naszego hostelu) – jedzie się prawie godzinę.

Cena biletu na pociąg nr 7095 – 21 Y (hard seat). Jedzie się ładną widokowo trasą przez góry, ale przewozi się nią dużo węgla i po kilku godzinach i parudziesięciu tunelach byliśmy umorusani pyłem jak po szychcie na przodku:-) Wysiedliśmy na stacji Wutai Shan, skąd do samych gór było jeszcze ok. 40 km. Przy stacji czekają autobusy do Taihuai – 15 Y. Jedzie się przez wysoką przełęcz (ok. 2500 m), a potem na zjeździe przed Taihuai jest bramka i płaci się opłatę za wstęp do Wutai Shan – 90 Y (na ISIC i ITIC 45 Y).

23-27.7 Taihuai. Śpimy w hoteliku w górnej części miasta poleconym nam przez kierowcę autobusu (w bocznej uliczce, naprzeciwko dużego parkingu pod wyciągiem krzesełkowym) – za wygodną dwójkę z łazienką płacimy 200 Y za 3 noce (stargowane z 300), jeszcze jedna noc za 60 Y (stargowane z 70). Hoteli w całym miasteczku jest zresztą mnóstwo. Do części świątyń w miasteczku wstęp jest płatny 4 do 6 Y, część za darmo. W sklepach i knajpach drożej niż chiński standard. Można kupić mapę (4 Y) z szczątkową informacją po angielsku.

Niestety ze względu na burzowo-deszczową pogodę nie udało nam się wyjść na żadną z 5świętych gór otaczających Taihuai.

27.7 Taihuai – Taiyuan. Hotelarz obiecuje skombinować nam transport spod hotelu o 6 rano. Stargowaliśmy cenę z 50 na 35 Y. Okazało się potem, że był to rejsowy minibus, który po zebraniu pasażerów w mieście zjeżdżał na dworzec w dolnej części miasta, gdzie bileterka sprzedawała im bilety po 44 Y. Nas ominęła, a kierowca skasował od nas umówioną kwotę – więc w ten sposób bezwiednie przyczyniliśmy się do rozkładu państwa chińskiego:-) Jechaliśmy niecałe 5 h.

W Taiyuan przyjeżdżamy na nowy dworzec na północnych przedmieściach. Autobusy do Pingyao jeżdżą z innego dworca na południu, dokąd jedziemy taksówką za 15 Y.

Taiyuan-Pingyao minibus 25 Y, 2 h

27/29.7 Pingyao. Śpimy w rodzinnym hoteliku na NanDa Jie, koło południowej bramy, przy charakterystycznym placyku z nieczynnym socrealistycznym kinem, zaraz przed Harmony Guesthouse. Dwójka z łazienką i klimą 170 Y za 2 noce. Obok jest Harmony Guesthouse (droższa – 100 do 120 Y za dwójkę), w którym cała sympatyczna rodzina właścicieli mówi po angielsku i są pomocni w paru rzeczach – robią za informację turystyczną, wypożyczają rowery za 10 Y/dzień i organizują bilety do Xian.

Łączony bilet na mury i do 20 muzeów i świątyń w starym mieście kosztuje 120 Y (na ISIC i ITIC 60 Y). Podmiejska świątynia Shuanglin Si 25 Y (12 Y na ISIC, ITIC bez zniżki). Po Wutai Shan świątynia nie robi wrażenia – jest raczej muzeum niż działającą świątynią, a wszystkie rzeźby są niemiłosiernie zabrudzone pyłem węglowym i prawie zupełnie straciły kolory.

Taxi z połudn. bramy na dworzec 10 Y.

29/30.7 Pingyao-Xian. Biletów na hard sleeper na dworcu w Pingyao praktycznie nie da się kupić (przydział miejsc dla Pingyao jest podobno znikomy). Korzystamy z pośrednictwa właścicieli Harmony Guesthouse, którzy przez swoich współpracowników kupują w Taiyuan bilet Taiyuan – Xian (ok. 100 Y) i dostają kopię faksem. Z wydrukiem kopii wchodzimy do pociągu, gdzie prawdziwe bilety czekają na nas u konduktorki. W sumie dość droga impreza – za 1 bilet wraz z prowizją płacimy 140 Y. Jeśli ktoś z góry planuje ile czasu chce spędzić w Pingyao, to lepiej kupić bilet wcześniej po drodze w Taiyuan.

30.7 – 4.8 Xian. Śpimy w Bob’s Guesthouse (, przy ulicy pod murami, kawałek od dworca. 100 Y za bardzo czystą dwójkę z klimą i łazienką (są też tańsze dwójki i dormy). Miejsce godne polecenia – przyjazna atmosfera, darmowy internet i pranie w pralce. Nie warto tylko korzystać z pośrednictwa hostelu przy kupowaniu biletów na pociąg – nie mają żadnych „dojść”, tylko dziewczyny z hostelu stoją z wszystkimi w kolejce do kasy i próbują kupić „z ulicy”. Równie dobrze można iść samemu.

Wstępy: Wielki Meczet 12 Y (da się też wejść bocznym wejściem, nie można wejść na samą główną salę), Drum Tower 20 Y (bez zniżek, chociaż chwilę później znajomy Polak dostał zniżkę na ISIC), łączony bilet na obie wieże chyba 40 Y, pagoda Dayan 25 Y (ISIC, ITIC 15 Y) do parku i 20 Y (10 Y) na samą pagodę, muzeum Xian Beilin (z „Lasem Stel”) 30 Y (bez zniżek).

Do Terakotowej Armii najlepiej jechać minibusem nr 306 (nie zawsze mają numery, ale mają napisy Terracotta Warriors albo Bingma Yong) z dworca sprzed dworca kolejowego. Cena 7 Y – trzeba się o to dopytać przy wsiadaniu, bo łatwo pomylić z droższym turystycznym autobusem. Minibus jedzie ok. 1 godz. Wstęp 90 Y, bez szans na zniżkę. Czy warto? – chyba tak, podobało mi się bardziej niż Zakazane Miasto w Pekinie, chociaż to kwestia gustu.

4.08 Xian-Lanzhou. Podróż zapowiadała się masakrycznie, można było tylko dostać bilety na hard seat nocny z miejscówką albo dzienny na stojąco (pociąg T 69, ok. 7 h jazdy). Zdecydowaliśmy się na dzienny (94 Y) i okazało się całkiem znośnie. Tłok niemiłosierny, ale ludzie bardzo życzliwi dla siebie. Nie wiem, czy to kolektywny duch narodu chińskiego:-), ale ludzie zmieniali się na miejscach siedzących niezależnie od tego czy ktoś akurat miał miejscówkę, a poza tym mieli ze sobą sporo składanych stołeczków do siedzenia, których chętnie użyczali. Spora część z nich jechała w ten sposób prawie 2 dni z Pekinu do Urumqi, ale nikt się nie kłócił, opieprzał przy przepychaniu itp. Akurat w tym zakresie nasi rodacy mogliby się sporo nauczyć…

4-6.8. Lanzhou. Śpimy w Lanshan Binguan, dużym hotelu w sowieckim stylu przy początku ulicy idącej prosto z dworca, po prawej stronie. Płacimy 190 Y (za 2 noce) za wygodną i czystą dwójkę z łazienką (cena wywoławcza 138 Y/noc). Dwójka bez łazienki kosztuje 56 Y. Niedaleko jest dzielnica z muzułmańskimi knajpami – dobry kebab 5 Y. Wstęp do parku po drugiej stronie Huang He 5 Y, część świątyń w parku dodatkowo po 2-3 Y. Rzuca się w oczy spora ilość muzułmanów, dużo meczetów, słychać muezzina.

6.8. Wskutek nieporozumienia chcemy jechać do Linxii z dworca zachodniego (taxi spod dworca kolejowego 13 Y). Na dworcu okazuje się, że musimy jechać na dworzec południowy – autobusem nr 129.

Autobus do Linxii – 29 Y. W Gansu nie ma już wymogu okazania ubezpieczenia przy kupowaniu biletu. Jedzie się świetną autostradą, w Linxii autobus zatrzymuje się na mniejszym dworcu na obrzeżach miasta. Taxi do hotelu (przez prawie całe miasto) 3 Y.

6/7.8 Linxia (ok. 1900 m npm – jeśli wierzyć Google Earth) – Shuiquan Binguan, 70 Y/dwójka z łazienką. Całkiem wygodnie, ale z karaluchami. Dwójka bez łazienki 36 Y, ale wspólne łazienki było czuć na pół korytarza:-)

W Linxii oprócz wielkiej ilości przeważnie nowych meczetów reprezentujących chyba wszystkie style architektoniczne (w niektórych widać chyba saudyjskie petrodolary) można zobaczyć ciekawy kompleks świątyń taoistycznych na stromym stoku nad miastem. Zrobiliśmy sobie fajną wycieczkę – wyszliśmy przez te świątynie na płaskowyż nad miastem, potem w prawo przez pola i 2 wioski (w jednej ładny meczet) doszliśmy do klasztoru buddyjskiego z dużymi figurami, obok których można zejść z powrotem do miasta.

7/8.8 Linxia-Xiahe (Labrang) – autobusy z południowego (głównego) dworca zaraz koło hotelu Shuiquan, jeżdżą co 30 min. Na dworcu działa zorganizowany system zdzierania z cudzoziemców. Kasjerka odmawia sprzedaży biletów, pokazuje kartkę z napisem „Insurance” (co jest bujdą, bo ten wymóg został zniesiony) i odsyła prosto do bileterki w autobusie. Bileterka zażądała od nas 100 Y od dwóch osób, stargowaliśmy do 75 Y. Na przedmieściach dowiedzieliśmy się od pasażerów innych autobusów, że oficjalna cena to 13,5 Y. W innych autobusach kilku Amerykanów zaczęło się kłócić o zwrot pieniędzy (zapłacili po 40 Y od osoby) i udało im się to w końcu wywalczyć, ale dopiero po wezwaniu policji i ponad 3 godz. pyskówki. My odpuściliśmy, szkoda było czasu.

Droga Linxia-Xiahe jest bardzo dobra – nowa i poprowadzona przez góry ze sporym rozmachem. Tunele nie były jeszcze oddane i musieliśmy objeżdżać je dolinami naokoło, ale były już gotowe, więc pewnie teraz już są otwarte.

7-10.8 Xiahe (ok. 2900 m npm). Zatrzymujemy się w Labrang Baoma Hotel blisko klasztoru. Hotel jest nowy, zrobiony ze sporym rozmachem, ale w ładnym tybetańskim stylu. Za luksusową dwójkę z łazienką płacimy 100 Y (stargowane ze 190 Y), są też tańsze pokoje bez łazienki. Woda ciepła wieczorem, rano i przez resztę dnia letnia. Najpewniej już niedługo ceny będą sporo wyższe – miejsce jest warte polecenia i będzie pewnie celować w bardziej kasiastych turystów. W dwóch bardziej znanych hotelach naprzeciwko (Tara i Overseas Tibetan) za dwójkę bez łazienki chcieli 75-80 Y. Oprócz tego jest jeszcze kilka chińskich hoteli w brzydszej dzielnicy zaraz koło dworca – wyglądają na tańsze, ale nie pytaliśmy.

Na rogu głównej ulicy zaraz przy klasztorze można polecić knajpę Nomad Restaurant – dobre jedzenie za dość przyzwoite ceny i niezawodnie zimne piwo.

Klasztor Labrang jest generalnie otwarty i można po nim łazić za darmo, ale większość świątyń (w tym najciekawsze) jest zamknięta. Można je zobaczyć przy okazji zwiedzania z mnichem-przewodnikiem – 40 Y (bez zniżek). Codziennie są dwie grupy po angielsku – o 10.15 i 15 albo 15.30. Wejście na pagodę Gongtang dodatkowo 10 Y.

W okolicach Xiahe można połazić po przyjemnych górkach w otoczeniu którejkolwiek z bocznych dolin. Charakterem przypominają Tatry Zachodnie (ale prawie nigdzie nie są skaliste), są trawiaste i używane jako pastwiska. Niestety miejscowi grodzą swoje pastwiska stawiając druciane płoty np. na graniach, ale nie są one trudne do przejścia. Brak map przydatnych do wycieczek.

Ze wzgórza nad klasztorem widzieliśmy dość obszerne ruiny na charakterystycznej płaskiej górce po południowej stronie zaraz nad chińską częścią miasteczka. Nie zdążyliśmy już tam pójść, ale wyglądały na ciekawe do obadania – może to ruiny klasztoru zburzonego w trakcie rewolucji kulturalnej?

10.08 Xiahe – Langmusi, autobus o 7.40, 40,5 Y (cena biletu w kasie), 4 h, ok. 220 km bardzo dobrą drogą przez Hezuo (wygląda nieciekawie – nowa zabudowa i dość zrujnowany klasztor na przedmieściach) i Luqu,. Po drodze wyjeżdża się na przełęcz ok. 3500 m, końcowa część drogi prowadzi płaskimi pastwiskami na wys. ok. 3400 m. z pasącymi się stadami jaków.

Z dworca w Xiahe odjeżdża też autobus do Xining (o 6.10), poza tym co chwilę do Linxii i ok. 3 dziennie do Lanzhou. W razie spóźnienia się na autobus do Langmusi można jeszcze pojechać do Hezuo i tam łapać coś dalej przez Luqu.

10-13.8 Langmusi (ok. 3300 m npm). Wioska znacznie mniejsza od Xiahe. Bardzo popularna wśród Izraelczyków – raz nawet jak siedzieliśmy w knajpie, to przy wszystkich stolikach oprócz naszego było słychać hebrajski. Widoczki wioski i trochę informacji można znaleźć na

Najpierw uderzamy do dużego i nowego Langmusi Chi Yuan Hotel przy bocznej ulicy w lewo w górę (prowadzącej do Maqu) – za dość luksusową dwójkę z łazienką targujemy cenę do 100 Y. Po chwili przychodzi recepcjonistka i mówi, że możemy zostać tylko jedną noc, więc rezygnujemy w ogóle i idziemy do znacznie skromniejszego hotelu Sana przy głównej ulicy – 50 Y za dwójkę bez łazienki, bardzo czysto (sympatyczny muzułmański właściciel z synami sprzątają w zasadzie na okrągło). Ciepła woda wieczorem albo „na zamówienie”. Oprócz tego sporo innych miejsc noclegowych. Wstęp do klasztoru po stronie Gansu 16 Y (ISIC, ITIC 9 Y), bardziej klimatyczny klasztor po stronie Syczuanu 15 Y (bez zniżek). Oba bilety są ważne 3 dni, co ma ten plus, że warto przespacerować się do klasztorów parę razy – świątynie były otwierane i zamykane dość przypadkowo, prawie za każdym razem można obejrzeć coś innego. Obok klasztoru „syczuańskiego” ładny meczet. Sympatyczny muezzin pozwolił nam wejść na minaret. O porze modlitwy można zobaczyć bardzo rzadki już widok – muezzin sam wchodzi po schodkach na minaret i śpiewa ezzan bez żadnego wzmacniacza jak za króla Ćwieczka (albo raczej kalifa Haruna ar-Raszyda).

Z knajp najbardziej przypadła nam do gustu „Telo’s and friends”, natomiast po słynnej „Lesha’s cafe” widać trochę negatywny skutek opisania jej we wszystkich przewodnikach (chociaż szarlotka rzeczywiście dobra).

Okolica wsi jest idealna na dłuższe i krótsze wycieczki i spacery. Dla ambitniejszych można polecić eksplorowanie skalistych gór wokół wąskiej doliny zaczynającej się zaraz za klasztorem „syczuańskim” (przy przechodzeniu przez klasztor mnisi żądają wykupienia biletu). Najwyższe szczyty wokół tej doliny w bezpośredniej okolicy Langmusi mają ponad 4100 m (wg Google Earth). Za tymi górami jest już obszerny płaskowyż i miejscowość Maqu leżąca już nad górnym biegiem Huang He. My z powodu ogólnego spadku sił przeszliśmy się tylko w górę doliny. Poza tym miłą wycieczką jest wyjście na charakterystyczne czerwone skałki nad wsią (ok. 3600 m) i spacery po łąkach wokół, wśród sporych stad jaków. Gdyby czas nie zaczynał nas już naglić, spokojnie moglibyśmy posiedzieć w Langmusi z 5-6 dni.

13.8 Langmusi – Zoige, 7.00 rano, 70 km, 5 h (!), 20 Y. Autobus odjeżdża z centralnego skrzyżowania we wsi. Bezpośrednich do Songpan nie było.

Jazda była mocno utrudniona przez roboty drogowe – najpierw jechaliśmy nową drogą, ale zaraz potem podjechaliśmy pod przełęcz o wys. ok. 3600 m, pod którą tunel był dopiero kopany i trzeba było na nią wyjechać gruntową drogą. Po zjeździe z przełęczy zaczyna się obszerny płaskowyż (Zoige Grasslands, ok. 3400-3500 m), gdzie niedaleko przed Zoige droga była zamknięta od 7 do 22 (roboty drogowe). Kierowca okazał się niezłym kozakiem, bo ruszył sporym autobusem trawiastą ścieżką przez pastwiska. Tybetańscy górale wykazali się jednak podobnym charakterem jak górale z Gubałówki, bo postawili na tejże ścieżce zagrody i zażądali myta za przejazd. Po długim czekaniu, jeszcze dłuższych negocjacjach i zbiórce po 2 Y od pasażera udało się przejechać (fragmentami musieliśmy odciążyć autobus i iść obok na piechotę).

Pewnie za rok przejazd Langmusi-Zoige będzie trwać najwyżej 1-1,5 h, ale nie będzie już tej przygody:-)

13/14.8 Zoige (ok. 3400 m npm). Miasteczko cieszy się niezasłużenie złą opinią. Specjalnych atrakcji turystycznych nie ma, ale jest niebrzydkie (nowa architektura nawiązująca do stylu tybetańskiego, na przedmieściach ładny klasztor). Jest kilka miłych miejsc na herbatę lub piwo, można przejść się na spacer na wzgórze nad klasztorem i obejrzeć z góry malowniczy płaskowyż.

Nocujemy w hotelu na rogu na pierwszym dużym skrzyżowaniu idąc w lewo po wyjściu z dworca autobusowego (jakieś 100-200 m). Na szyldzie była nazwa firmy zawierająca „Grasslands” i angielski napis „accomodation”. Hotel dość brudny, za ciasnawy (ale czysty) pokój z łazienką (ciepła woda z bojlera 24 h) płacimy 70 Y (stargowane ze 100 Y). Jest też hotel w samym budynku dworca, ale w ogóle nie ma w nim prysznica (ani w pokojach, ani na korytarzu).

14.8 Zoige-Songpan. Autobus o 6.00 rano, 56 Y +1 Y ubezpieczenie (dodawane w Syczuanie do ceny biletu), 5,5 h. Droga przez dużą część w budowie, za rok-dwa pewnie będzie się jechało ze 3 h. Po drodze przełęcz na 3800 m, potem ostry zjazd do doliny rzeki Min.

Bilet do Songpan warto kupić dzień wcześniej, np. zaraz po przyjeździe do Zoige. Znajomi Izraelczycy z powodu braku miejsc utkwili w Zoige na 2 dni.

14/15.8 Songpan (ok. 2800 m npm). Miasteczko głęboko w dolinie rzeki Min, zauważalnie cieplej niż w Zoige. Hoteli bardzo dużo, standardowo mają ciepłą wodę przez 24 h (bojlery). Jeden jest już w samym budynku dworca (dość śmierdzące wspólne łazienki, dwójka 50 Y). Po drugiej stronie ulicy są obok siebie trzy inne o w miarę równych cenach, z których po obejściu wszystkich wybieramy Family Hotel – 40 Y za dwójkę bez łazienki, wspólne łazienki i toalety są OK. Są też bardzo wygodne pokoje z łazienką za 100 Y.

Miasteczko jest dość miłe, ale mocno komercyjne (dużo turystów). W pobliżu są podobno przepiękne góry Min Shan (ponad 5000 m npm), w które może uda nam się wybrać następnym razem…

15.8 Songpan-Chengdu. Są 3 autobusy: o 6.00, 6.30 i 7.00. Za bilet na 7.00 (minimalnie droższy od dwóch pozostałych, za to dużo lepszy i szybszy autobus) płacimy 76 Y + 1 Y ubezp. Jedziemy 6-7 h, przeważającą część w dół doliny rzeki Min. Krajobrazy przepiękne, mimo, że przez sporą część drogi rzeka jest łapana w podziemne tunele napędzające hydroelektrownie. Po drodze widać dwa spore jeziora utworzone na rzece przez osuwiska. Droga cały czas OK (momentami bardzo przepaścista), ale budują już nową – mniej widokową (więcej tuneli), za to będzie sporo szybciej. Po drodze przegląd przez kilka stref klimatycznych i wegetacyjnych – koło Songpan umiarkowanie i dość zielono, niżej fragment suchy i mocno stepowy, a na samym dole pełen tropik – wilgotne gorąco i bujna dżunglopodobna roślinność.

W Chengdu zajeżdżamy na dworzec Chadianzi na płn-zach przedmieściach. Obok zajezdnia miejskich autobusów (1-2 Y w zależności od linii). 75 i 4 podobno jadą do centrum. My musieliśmy źle przeczytać plan przy przystankach, bo 79 wywiózł nas w okolice świątyni Wuhou. Stamtąd pod hostel Mix Hostel wzięliśmy taxi za 14 Y

15-19.8 Chengdu. Śpimy w Mix Hostel (, – 90 Y za czystą dwójkę z klimą, bez łazienki (bardzo funkcjonalne prysznice na korytarzu). Dormy od 15 Y. Nie jest tanio, ale miejsce jest bardzo sympatyczne, dziewczyny z obsługi mówią świetnie po angielsku i są bardzo kompetentne w kwestii różnego rodzaju porad i informacji. Można zorganizować tu sobie przelot do Tybetu. Duży ruch, sporo zagranicznych turystów, w tym po raz pierwszy od początku podróży większa liczba Polaków. Do darmowego internetu ciężko się dopchać, ale dwa kroki od hostelu (nad kanałem) jest kafejka za 2 Y/godz. Na rogu w zakładzie fotograficznym wypalanie CD ze zdjęciami za 10 Y (zweryfikowane, płytka działa:-).

Alternatywnym podobnym (i cenowo, i charakterem) noclegiem jest Sim’s Cozy Guesthouse,

Z Chengdu jedziemy na wycieczkę do Panda Breeding Center: wstęp 30 Y (bez zniżek). Wycieczkę organizują też hostele za 70 Y od osoby. My jedziemy na własną rękę – dojazd z okolic hostelu autobusem 1 i 302 do końca, skąd riksza ma teoretycznie kosztować 10 Y. Wskutek nieporozumienia rikszarka żąda 20 Y, po targowaniu płacimy 12 Y. W lecie wizyta w ośrodku ma sens rano, najpóźniej ok. 9 (pora karmienia pand, kiedy są ożywione, jedzą liście bambusu i bawią się na wybiegach). Później robi się dla nich za ciepło i są zamykane w zamkniętych klimatyzowanych pomieszczeniach.

Po zwiedzeniu ośrodka jedziemy do ZOO – riksza 15 Y. Wstęp do ZOO 12 Y – jest nawet dość ciekawe, mają trochę rzadkich zwierząt. Obok jest spora świątynia (można wejść z terenu ZOO), wstęp 2 Y. Z powrotem jedziemy autobusem miejskim (chyba 302) z przystanku przed ZOO.

Robimy też sobie jednodniową wycieczkę do Leshan. Autobus z dworca Xinanmen w centrum (odjazdy co 20 – 30 min) 42 Y+ 1Y ubezp. ok. 150 km dobrą autostradą robi w 1 h 30 (normalnie ok. 2 h). Z dworca w Leshan, na który przyjechaliśmy (ostatni powrotny autobus do Chengdu podobno o 18.50) miejskim autobusem nr 13 (1 Y) jedziemy do wejścia do parku z figurą Wielkiego Buddy (Dafo). Autobus zatrzymuje się przy trzech różnych wejściach. Dwa pierwsze prowadzą bezpośrednio do parku z Wielkim Buddą (wstęp 70 Y, z ISIC, ITIC 35 Y, niektóre świątynie na terenie parku płatne dodatkowo 5-10 Y). Ostatnie z nich prowadzi przez osobny park, do którego trzeba kupić dodatkowy bilet (35 Y, z ISIC, ITIC 20 Y), za to można jeszcze zobaczyć jeszcze figurę leżącego Buddy długości 170 m i kilka innych wielkich skalnych rzeźb Buddy i wydrążonych jaskiń (współczesnych).

Żeby dokładnie przyjrzeć się Wielkiemu Buddzie trzeba zejść po schodkach wzdłuż figury aż do jej stóp prawie na poziomie rzeki. Do ciasnej ścieżki stoimy w godzinnej kolejce (nie ma kolejki po południu niedługo przed zamknięciem parku). W obu parkach jest zresztą tyle rzeczy do zobaczenia, że przy jednodniowej wycieczce z Chengdu robi się cienko z czasem – jeśli ma się więcej czasu, chyba lepiej nocować w Leshan.

Z powrotem długo nie jedzie żadem autobus i łapiemy taksówkę. Zawozi nas na inny dworzec autobusowy niż ten, na który przyjechaliśmy (sprzed wejścia do parku płacimy 17 Y). Z dworca też jeżdżą autobusy do Chengdu, za tą samą cenę – łapiemy autobus z 18.20. Zawozi nas na dworzec Shiyang Chang na przedmieściach Chengdu. Obok jest zajezdnia autobusów miejskich, jedziemy do centrum autobusem 28.

19-21.8 Chengdu-Pekin (BeijingXiZhan). Pociąg nr 1364, hard sleeper 364 Y, 33 h + 3 h spóźnienia. Bilety kupujemy 4 dni wcześniej (i są na hard sleeper już tylko na ten pociąg), na dworcu w Chengdu w okienku nr 11, oznaczonym „Foreign guests” (kasjerka mówi trochę po angielsku).

Pociąg jest klimatyzowany, czysta pościel, można się dobrze wyspać.

21-24.8 Pekin. Znowu nocujemy w Beijing City Central YH przy dworcu Beijing Zhan. Dostajemy się tam z BeijingXi autobusem 52, w tą stronę jedzie przed sam Beijing Zhan, ale przystanek ma kawałek dalej.

Kolejne wstępy w Pekinie:

park Jingshan 5 Y

park Beihai 10 Y (+ Biała Pagoda następne 10 Y)

świątynia Baita 20 Y (ISIC, ITIC 10 Y)

Yonghe Lamasery 25 Y (świątynia ładna, chociaż mocno „muzealny” klimat i chamski spektakl propagandowy, ze zdjęciem fałszywego Panczen Lamy składającego hołd Jiang Zeminowi…)

24.8 taxi spod hostelu (i dworca BeijingZhan) na lotnisko – wg licznika (nocna taryfa) 102 Y + 10 Y opłata za autostradę


2 thoughts on “Mainland China

  1. Christian

    I never ever read any trip report, that was more helpful than yours. We start to northern Yunnan in about 3 weeks and your report answered many questions. We also want to go from Lijiang to Lugu Lake and Chengdu and looking forward to it. Best wishes from Austria. Christian

  2. meczko Post author

    Thanks for your feedback and viel Spass! I hope that weather gods treat you well (that’s never certain in summer in those parts of China).


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