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New Beers Deep in the Wulingyuan Mountains

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Can you guess where I am now? Will the following help you?

Rising sublimely from the misty subtropical forest of northwest Hunan Province are two hundred and forty three peaks surrounded by over three thousand karst up thrusts, a concentration not seen elsewhere in the world. The picture is completed by waterfalls, limestone caves (including one of Asia’s largest chambers) and rivers suitable for organized rafting trips. Nearly two dozen rare species of flora and fauna call the region home and botanists delight in the three thousand odd plant species within the park. Even amateur wildlife spotters may get a gander at a clouded leopard or a pangolin.

Known as the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, the region encompasses the localities of Zhangjiajie, Tianzishan and Suoxiyu. Zhangjiajie is the best known and many Chinese refer to this area by that name. Recognised by UNESCO in 1990 as a World Heritage Site, Wulingyuan is home to three minority peoples;

The Tujia, Miao and the Bai Peoples.

Several towns give access to Wulingyuan but the most popular ones are Zhangjiajie City and Zhangjiajie Village. The city is situated near the railway line, while the village is situated nearly six hundred meters above sea level in the wuling foothills, surrounded by sheer cliffs and vertical rock outcrops.

Still don’t know! Sheeze, guess I had better continue then!

I awoke in Funky Fenghuang Old Town yesterday morning (Saturday, 24th July) and decided that I had had enough of a perfect picturesque village where I could obtain anything I wanted within a short distance from my hotel. It was so perfect, especially when Crusty Simon was there that it almost felt like being back home again except without all my friends and a descent live music scene.

Things were just too damn easy

So after packing and checking out I sat for some delicious local dumplings and two tea eggs and then headed to the top of Nanhua Lu Bridge and caught Bus No: 1 to the Minsuyuan Bus Station where I grabbed the half past two bus to Zhangjiajie City which is located in the above Wulingyuan Scenic Area. The journey was supposed to take five or so hours but after overheating both the breaks and the motor we didn’t arrive until well after half past nine in the evening.

Then came the usual Hotel Shuffle. Which being in such an area resulted in the prices I was expecting!

In the end I found a cheap hotel right across from DICO’s which is a Chinese rice and chicken KFC type thing but much better. The staff were really cool and tried to help me figure out the mess that Wulingyuan was in my head but sadly it still didn’t make much sense and reading the Lonely Planet made it even worse as it didn’t match anything the hotel staff were saying.

So to today, Sunday, 25th July.

I decided to simply stay where I was and check out Zhangjiajie City and see if any help came my way. As city’s go it really doesn’t have much to offer at all and sadly even though it is situated on the banks of several rivers they all actually offer some of the most bleak scenery that I’ve ever come across which is simply just concrete embankments without any type of park or greenery. In the center of the city is the Martyrs Park which is worth the short climb if you want some nice views of the city. Jiefeng Lu offers the usual trail of tourist fast foods etc which include coffee shops, KFC and Mc Donald’s where I can now be found sipping my ElcheapO Coffee writing this silly blog that you are all reading instead of shuffling papers doing the work thing.

Where Zhangjiajie City does get my full marks is in the sidewalk eatery department.

After dark many of the little streets that run between Huilong Lu & Jiefeng Lu turn into deliciously smoky snack filled creations where you can satisfy almost any hunger type. Last night I simply moved from stall to stall and must have easily eaten three dinners and by the time I made it back to my hotel room I was almost rolling.

THE YOUTH HOSTEL

While walking aimlessly today I came across a roof top YHA and decided to catch the lift up and see if anyone there spoke English and thankfully of the guys English was just a bit better than my Mandarin so by the time I left I had a much better understanding of what I want to do over the next few days.

ONE WILL BE: a day on Tianmen Mountain which I think is the same as Tianzishan Mountain in the LP. The LP also only has information on the closer Huangshizhai Mountain area where the Zhangjiajie village is located so I figure why do that one.

THE OTHER WILL BE: a two to three day adventure walking around the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. There are small guesthouses and a youth hostel located along the trails and buses also run between main scenic spots so being alone on a mountain won’t be such a big deal.

Today I gathered times between here and there and buses etc so it should be a great adventure. The only drawback is the fact that both adventures come with a large entry fee, but hey you know what they say;

You can’t take it with you!

Ok, day has turned in to night, the neon’s have lit up the city and my coffee is now finished which means only one thing, it is time to head out into the small back alleys in search of China’s best noodles.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Cold Play The album was 'X & Y’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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