The hotel owner dropped me off at the station (along with the Dutch couple I met the day before). Right outside the hotel, people were practicising tai chi and playing badminton.
After taking the train to Hengshanxi station, I met a friendly lady on the bus who helped me find the ticket office for mount Hengshan entry.
Hengshan (from the bus):
After buying the ticket I had an intense typing conversation with the lady, who wanted us to go up together but she was taking the bus whilst I wanted to go by foot (always listening to the wise words of LP). She wrote I was being foolish…
The road up to the scenic route:
Panels on socialist values were placed at the entrance:
1km uphill with a heavy backup already tired me out.
Despite being cooler than beijing, I was already leaving a pool of sweat behind me.
The animals on the bridge looked funny but none were as cute as me.
It doesn’t matter where you are in china, you can rest assured that a security camera will be there with you.
The incredible tale of Li Mi and Lan Can.
(Wikipedia says he was a lieutenant general in the National Revolutionary Army so that may have switched to prime minister in translation)
This is violin rock: because it is leaning on the rest of the rocks like a violin.
Which I suppose is unusual for a rock.
Another tale about the great monk Lan Can:
(Essentially a Chinese version of king Arthur and the sword in the rock)
After several hours of walking uphill with a 10+kg backpack, I reached the cable car. At this point I realised that the price for the cable car was the same for cable car + bus journey there so all this walking hadn’t saved me any money.
If you think I look scared it’s because the cable car swung from side to side, which did not help my fear of height.
It was very misty when I left the cable car and I was concerned I would have gone through all this effort for close-ups of white clouds.
At this point I didn’t really know what I was doing and ended up next to Zushi temple.
The temple doesn’t look that nice and there are big green bins on every side of central courtyard, making sure to ruin any photo prospective.
After wandering clueless (which was very noticeable as I was the only foreigner – or at least teddy bear – here), I found Zhurong peak…
..which had been invaded by Chinese people.
A gap through the clouds!
After more walking, trying to find the 2 hotels LP mentioned, I found the sunset (or sunrise?) viewing station.
For the first time since I landed here, I welcomed the sun.
For the more snazzy travellers out there, there is a porter service.
Most of the people sitting in them are the porters.
Back to Zushi temple because I didn’t know what I was doing anymore.
The original plan was to find a place to stay on the mountain and then see the sunrise in the morning. However, the 2 places mentioned by LP did not have a website and the phone numbers didn’t work.
So I head back down to the village/town.
On the way down, I finally saw all the temples that the map mentioned.
To be honest, they all looked a bit the same to me.
Bamboo forest version #2
I made some friends.
One of the nicer looking temples was near Nantianmen, where the cable car is.
I was very happy to see the exit. After 29km of walking up and down a mountain, it was clear that I didn’t bring enough water on this trip. The price of a bottle on the mountain was outrageous (up to 10 yuan a bottle) . So obvs I didn’t eat neither.
Challenge #2 of the day was to find the hotel I booked on trip.com on the way down.
The lady who runs the place (Fancle hotel) was very nice and when I asked if I could buy a drink, she invited me to tea with her family.
She also invited me to join them for dinner.
So I tried chicken feet – bottom left corner. (By tried I mean I nimbled the tiniest piece off each claw). It’s not that bad but its awkward dealing with the bones afterwards.
The lady was very knowledgeable in Chinese tea art and said she had been studying it for 10 years. It’s also a subject taught in school.
I wanted a fresh drink and inadvertently I told them I was going to head out to buy soda after dinner. Instead, someone got sent off and ended up driving his motorcycle to bring me fizzy water. 😅
Everyone was very nice and I learnt that I am the first teddy bear to stay at their hotel.
(They did not speak English either so it was another slightly awkward chat through our phones)