I arrived Tuesday July 10th and had a short wander around in the very hot conditions. I was led to believe it would be cooler around the mountains.
In the morning after my time trying to secure a Air China flight to Beijing I ventured out in search of how to visit Taibai Shan or Taibai Mountain. I have a great little hotel in the town for around $27 CDN a night with the Wi-Fi router outside my door.The down-side of my accommodation and I think this town is very few foreign visitors come here and there is nobody who can help with English and my Mandarin is pretty much no-existent! I asked at the front desk about how to visit the mountain and was pointed to the bus stop very close to the hotel. When I walk in town many people call out “sir” and then continue in Chinese, I then provide a befuddled look. My Lonely Planet phrase book is not much help either. When I walked to the bus stop there was no one with any English and they nobody wanted to help me when I asked about Taibai Shan the Chinese name. I had read in a China travel site about the bus cost and the other info so I had a point of reference. Another local privateer told me through a child they would take me up for 300 Yuan 5 times the bus rate I knew of. No way! So off I went looking to do something and I began climbing stone steps.
My climb of the steps provided a great cardio workout and and opportunity to meet with other interesting people along the way. After a few hundred steps climbed I came through a gate where I disturbed the gatekeeper from her sleeping mat. There was and 8 Yuan charge for access. The higher I climbed the closer I came to a cable car that crossed the valley. Along the way I met a mother, father and son from Xi’An as I found out with the help of hand signs and little bits of shared English and Mandarin. The cute little guy is on the right and family below. I gave the boy a Canadian Flag pin and his father put it on for him.
I continued on and walked past the cable car cutoff heading for a Temple or walled area I could see from below. As I reached the Temple a woman motioned to sit and have tea. I was also offered a woven fan to help cool myself. As we sat in the shade of the front of the Temple one of the 2 men there went into the temple and changed the music to chants and began his rituals that included ringing a bell by the Buddhas and a prescribed path around the Temple. The Temple are was in need of repair and there was piles of sand and brick all around. The wall and front entrance were also in a major state of disrepair. I wondered how they actually brought the several hundred bricks to the sight? I have 2 pictures from the Temple below, the Temple area and the man reading his verses with a bell hung above not the one he rang.
After I departed I found a slide that was not operation on the steep slope adjacent the Temple. It is the type of summer attraction you sit in and ride like a sled in a half pipe. Maybe these attractions are only open on weekends? At the cable car I found out it was 30 Yuan to cross, so the 8 was only to experience the climb!! They only run the cars when they have passengers. There are 8 gondolas on the cable 2 at each side and 4 more at the mid-point. Here is a view from the Gondola.
On the other side there were other buildings and a small Pagoda that overlooked the other side of the valley. On this side I did not encounter any people. After my wander on top I figured it was all down hill until I when straight and down instead of making a sharp right down. This path lead me to a bolted (I could see through the crack in the doors) back door of a Monastery or something of the sort as I saw a few men in robes walking around over a wall. Now another hundred and a few steps to climb.
At the now left turn it was all down VERY steep steps with no railins or hand holds other than occasional trees or stumps.
Still all in all a interesting way to explore the area around town. As I was walking back down the road a motor scooter flew by and there were ways and “Xi Jien” or goodbye from the family with the little boy:)
Now to find the reasonable way to the top.