Wuyishan

Wuyishan Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 11 › view all entries

Wuyishan was both good and bad. Good because in some ways I found what I was hoping for - an out of the way place in the mountains to break up the trip from Hangzhou to Hong Kong. Bad because I guess I should be careful what I hope for - maybe this place was a little too out of the way.

My train station pick-up was a no show when I rolled in at about midnight so I had to settle for a cab. Normally no problem - I had the name of the hotel written in Chinese and a general idea of what part of town it was in. The problem was that the hotel had failed to tell me that they had recently changed names so I found myself riding around aimlessly trying to communicate with a taxi driver who wanted no part of some crazy American who obviously didn't know where he was going.

By the time we finally found the place, I just wanted to get some sleep. I opened the windows and let the cool mountain breeze blow right in. In a small mountain village away from the horns and buses of the big city, what could possibly interrupt a sleep? Roosters, that's what!! At 5:30am they were cock-a-doodle-doing like they were right there in the bed with me. I laid there for a couple hours watching CCTV9 (the only english speaking channel in China) trying to get some info on the recent military coup in Thailand and hoping to get back to sleep.

Finally giving up, I decided to go look around and see if I could book my overnight train to Hong Kong via Guangzhou for late that evening. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find that a tiny mountain village hotel doesn't offer travel booking so I was off the to train station to get it crossed off my list before I could start enjoying my breif stay.
Well shit, what do you know? The train to Guangzhou is totally booked for the next two days and the only thing available in a 3rd class ticket on a 12 hour train to Xiamen where I could possibly get a connection for another 12 hour train to to Guangzhou. However, the major flaw in the Chinese train system rears it's ugly head again because by now I know that I can only book the Xiamen to Guangzhou train from the Xiamen train station and there is a very strong possibility that I could get there and find it sold out. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of taking that chance because I have to meet my dad in Hong Kong in less than two days. So it's off to the town's tiny airport where I am lucky enough to buy the last seat on the next day's flight to Guangzhou.
Ok, back to the hotel to book another night stay, then into town to hit the ATM, the internet cafe and tie up a few loose ends, then maybe, just maybe I'll have some time to actually relax - which is why came to Wuyishan to begin with. I'm beginning to think I should have stayed another night in Hangzhou.

OK, my errands are run and I'm finally off to try the local attraction - similar to what we would call a float trip in the states only instead of a tube I'm going down river on a bamboo raft fitted with what I can only describe as a rattan chair. Unfortunately, they won't let bring my camera or backpack on the raft so I will have to leave them with my motorcycle driver....wait, my who? yeah well, who wants to ride on a crowded bus when you can hop on the back of a motorcycle for half the price and ten times the adventure! Besides, I needed a little adrenaline boost after the morning's events and that's just what I got. The ride turned out to be the highlight of Wuyishan for me. It was about 20 minutes over the mountain pass, through tiny ancient villages with rice fields laid out in grids throughout the delta and terraced tea farms climbing the surrounding hills. The experience far outweighed the leisurely bamboo raft trip - although the sheer rock cliffs and ancient caves that make Wuyishan famous made for a pleasant afternoon, I couldn't wait to get off the river and back on that bike for the return trip to town.

Back at the hotel, I had dinner at the outdoor restaurant that was made almost completely of bamboo (I wish I would have taken a picture). the food was good and fresh - my fish was still swimming in a tank by the door when I picked it out. But outside of that, the meal was nothing special. I turned in early in anticipation of my early morning wake up call and a full day of travel to Hong Kong. Overall, I give Wuyishan a 6 on a scale of 1-10. If it weren't for the motorcycle ride I would have left frustrated and disappointed.

Note to Travelers: Skip Wuyishan and make sure you hit Yangshuo and Lijiang. Those blogs are coming soon. I'm way behind.

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Wuyishan
photo by: asturjimmy