Wandering Secrets

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he came to see.”

Solo travelers: a tour round the mountains of Xi’An

This post was long due. Something for the brave people that come to China by themselves without speaking the language. Something for the solo travelers that are looking to see more than the Terracotta army and the pagoda around Xi’an. I say solo, because when we are two we are invincible, fearless, intrepid. Laughing when neither of us gets what the Chinese are saying, having someone to share things when the world outside is ready to eat you alive.

Anyway, dear solo travelers, here is a list of nice places to see around Xi’an (please don’t just go to the Terracotta army!) ranked by the level of Chinese you would need:

Cui hua shan, 翠华山 xiaoyu valley

This is my favourite place to run away from the city on a short time. The walk is beautiful and it’s one of the few paths that follows a river. All along the way you can find farmers’ houses where you can eat and sleep. Spending a night is very cheap (max. 30yuan per person) but be aware that you are in the countryside: bugs, Turkish toilets and dirty sheets. However, it’s a great experience and many people from Xi’an just spend the afternoon there, eating and playing games. So if you see a sign: 农家乐 don’t hesitate to ask for the price of a room and spend a nice time there!

Apart from that, the walk to Cui hua shan is beautiful, with many stops along the way. From the bottom, it’s approximately a 10hr walk so be ready!

cuihua

 

 

grenouilles

How to get there: from Xi’an, take the bus 4-19 and go to the last stop, the mountain is just there, you can’t miss it. Go up and up and when you get to the small waterfall look on your left (cross the river)t find the paper that shows the path.

howthepathgoes

How the path goes sometimes

 

 

view

 

Da Fo si 大佛寺

More info on that here

dafosi

 

Shangluo 商洛

This was our first stop during the holidays. The city itself has no particular interest but the surroundings are very nice. Our fist goal was to get to Er Long Shan lake 二 笼 山

erlongshan

 

erlog

 

The short way is only 2km from the city but the landscape was horrible and the city doesn’t really end. We took the long (long) way to go, which was 15km but so much better. 15km in the mountains (but still on the road, no hiking paths here) going up and down, a good exercise and some nice views. To find that road, turn right when you see the first bridge (coming from…) and straight on for 15km! Once you go under the railway take the path on your left and follow the water. Don’t be scared to go further because there are some beautiful views.

longroad

view from the “long road”

 

 

 

lastpath

path under the railway straight to the lake

 

 

 

shortroad

what you see when you take the “short road”

 

 

Another nice thing to do here is to walk through the walkway that was once before the guards patrol. The walk goes from hill to hill, always at the top. A lot of steps up and down but a nice walk to do nonetheless.

guardpath

from here you can see all the path through the top of the hills

 

 

guardpost

 

 

 

gate

 

Jin si xia 金丝峡

Jin si xia is an artificial park that was made at the top of a mountain. Mountains in China are impossible to hike unless there is a road built in it. They are very rocky and steep (my theory is that only goats can make it through). So actually this park is your way to have a view from the top of a mountain into the chain. The entrance is 90 yuan (they have student discount) and the park is around 13km long but as it is the mountains, it actually takes the whole day. We recommend that once you’re in the park you take the steps that climb for at least 6km up to the top, the view is really worth it and there is a pretty temple on the way. On your way back, be careful not to look down and don’t take children with you. Apart from a guardrail, there is nothing between you and the valley down there…

To go to Jing si xia: from Shangluo you can take a bus to Shang nan and another bus to Jing si xia. That last bust will leave you at the bottom of the mountains, 18km away from the park. We walked our way up there but if it’s not your thing, the locals will take you for some yuan (you can negotiate the price, they’ll ask between 30 and 40 yuan ) You don’t really need to talk, they know where you want to go.

jingsixiavillage

 

 

jingsixialake

 

 

safesteps

 

 

temple

The temple on the way up

 

 

top

 

 

steepsteps

Hey, that’s China people!

 

 

stepschina

 

 

boats

 

entrance

 

Any questions? suggestions? Have you visited any of these sites? Leave us a comment below!

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2 Comments

  1. Maryse.lg@hotmail.com September 19, 2013

    “My theory is that only goats can make though it” What theory is that Camille? Seriously?! LOL 😉
    C’est magnifique tous ces paysages que tu mets! Je suis jalouse! Des bisous 😀

    • admin September 20, 2013 — Post Author

      I am serious, have you seen how steep the mountains are?! Eh, à se crever à la tache en Chine, autant qu’il y ait des lots de consolation 🙂

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