The Chengdu community of InternChina visited one of four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, Emei Shan. Moreover, it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Personally, I totally agree with the UNESCO.
Since the national park is pretty huge, we decided to make a two day trip to the area. We started early in the morning in Chengdu and took a bus to Emei Shan City. When we arrived we had early lunch to energize us before the hiking. Straight from the beginning the hiking was quite challenging. But we had had the goal of reaching the mountaintop, so we did not lose our ambition. Firstly, we explored the main valley of the mountain range.
The Nature of Emei Shan natural park is breathtakingly beautiful. This is a place of pure nature! (I felt a bit like walking through Jurassic Park)
After climbing a lot of steps up and down we met the Emei Shan’s famous wild monkeys. Thea’s meeting with the monkeys was a bit more intimate than ours. Therefore, Thea generously donated a bottle of her water to please the monkeys. We were really tired after a long day of hiking and climbing, so we looked for a nice hostel. Some local helped us find a decent place in the middle of the mountains. Since we were obviously really hungry we were happy about the great local food served at the hostel. Everybody enjoyed a satisfying dinner.
We all knew the earlier we get to the mountaintop the better. Hence, we woke up at 4.30. To win some time we took a bus to come closer to the mountaintop. This two hour ride was an adventure for itself. The driver seemed to be quite ambitious and did not hesitate to use every chance to speed up. After making progress, we conveniently had to climb the last stage to the mountaintop – another 2 miles of steps up atan altitude of over two thousand meters. This was a massive challenge for everybody of us because none of us actually never been on a mountaintop like this before. We started questioning ourselves if it was a good decision to do this trip but we were so close to our goal.
And when we reached the mountaintop we immediately recognized that every step was absolutely worth climbing!
We were surrounded by clouds. This was an amazing experience. There is a huge Buddhist statue on the mountaintop which is really impressive as well as beautiful. Considering the fact that this is a mountaintop the area is surprisingly spacious. Next to the statue and temple there are numerous viewpoints. It truly is amazing! Peering down from our high perch made all the other mountains seem so small, similar to how you look to the clouds from a plane. At some point we were able to take a look down into the depth. This makes you feel quite humble. Emei Shan is truly a majestic place.
For some Chinese people we seemed to as much an attraction as the mountain itself. A lot of people asked us to take a picture with them. This procedure nearly lasted 15 minutes. But we did not mind at all and were happy to do it. In total we spend two hours on the mountain. Then we split up. Some of us wanted to have the adventure of using the cable car in this height, some of us climbed the stairs back down.
All in all, this trip had been really great and definitely the best nature trip I’ve done so far. I’m curious what will be my next adventures in China but it will be really hard for any sight to compete with Emei Shan.
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Written by Jack Everett
My first official trip with InternChina was to the Danxiashan Geopark in Guangdong province. Here we planned to explore the Chinese countryside and also see the crudely named “Penis Mountain” and “Pussy Cave”! (This definitely allowed us to unleash our immature side!) The trip got off to a bad start when our bus ride was delayed for 3 hours. However, nothing makes you feel better after sitting on a hot bus than Chinese water rafting! The water rafting was incredible! With 5 meter drops in tiny dinghy’s it proved an incredibly dangerous but exciting activity. It was definitely a good way to start the trip!
Following my first experience of crazy Chinese water rafting, we travelled to Shaoguan where we could relax and spend the night. We treated ourselves to some local Cantonese food, had a few beers and chilled out before our tiresome day of mountain climbing in the morning!
After a short bus ride on the Sunday morning we arrived at Danxiashan Geopark. The dense forests, small lakes and winding rivers provided some beautiful scenery. It was great to explore the Chinese country side despite the intense humidity!
It wasn’t long after we started walking that we were confronted with the infamous “Penis Mountain”. The phallic shaped rock proved to be a strangely popular tourist destination… I found it so strange (and quite disturbing) that families travelled together to see the mountain! Nonetheless, it was a great place to mess around and take some hilarious photos!
After climbing what felt like a never ending amount of steps, we finally made it to one of the mountain peaks. The steep climb and raging heat had completely exhausted us, but the view from the top of the mountain was totally worth it!
The climb down from the mountain was treacherous but it offered some incredible views of the surrounding areas! Waiting for us at the foot of the mountain was “Pussy Cave”. In our tired and delirious state the cave seemed hilarious! We spent a worrying amount of time taking some more ridiculous photos and laughing at the strange tourist site.
Many hours later, we finally completed the physically grueling and shattering journey up the mountain! Although we were completely exhausted we were so proud that we’d made it! The trip had definitely been worth it. InternChina has conquered the mountain.
After what seemed like endless weeks of heavy rain and foggy (but by no means cold) weather, summer has finally hit Zhuhai. The past few days have seen a glorious streak of sunshine and heat, with temperatures ranging between 25°C and 30°C. It still rains from time to time but there’s no mistaking: summer is here and it’s only going to get hotter.
The InternChina staff and all the interns have, of course, taken advantage of the beautiful weather and are not wasting a second indoors. This weekend’s activities, for example, have included hiking, beach volleyball, sunbathing, swimming and biking. Sure, we might complain occasionally about the humidity and how it’s now impossible to stay dry, but all things considered, we are loving the summer and never want it to end.
One thing we hadn’t thought about, however, is the food. In western countries, the ultimate summer dish is the salad, and there are countless recipes for all tastes and pallets: vegetable salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, tuna salad… you name it. But the concept of salad as we know it does not apply here in China, and even though you can definitely find some yummy salads at western-style restaurants, they’re usually quite expensive and therefore not a viable option to eat on a regular basis.
So, what to eat then? As much as we love Chinese food – and we do – sometimes when it’s so hot that you break a sweat the minute you step outside the door, the last thing you want to eat is a scalding-hot noodle soup or a steaming plate of dumplings. If you’re new to China, you might start to despair, thinking “All Chinese food is hot! What am I going to eat now?” But having been here a few months – as most of us have – you begin to discover that no, all Chinese food is not hot and yes, there is quite a variety of delicious cold dishes (liang cai – 凉菜) that will freshen up your taste buds and keep you cool during the hot summer months.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
Cucumber with mashed garlic (suan ni huan gua – 蒜泥黃瓜)
I call this “cucumber salad”, and it’s really a very simple dish: chopped cucumber, garlic, hot chilli oil and Sichuan peppers. It can be quite spicy, but I’ve found they serve it at a few restaurants and the level of spiciness varies, plus you can add some black vinegar or soy sauce to tone it down.
Cold skin noodles (liang pi – 凉皮)
This is a dish that you simply must not miss while in China. These noodles (though the word “skin” is in the name, there is actually no meat) originate from Shaanxi province and, though there are many variations of the dish, most of them are served with hot chilli oil and black vinegar. My favorite version comes also with julienned cucumber, bean sprouts and peanuts on top.
Shredded potatoes (tu dou si – 土豆絲)
Many westerners love potatoes so this is the perfect dish for them. The potatoes are served with peppers and vinegar – tangy and fresh yet quite filling.
Last Saturday we went to Laoshan for some hiking. Laoshan means ‘mountain lao’ and it is located in the east of Qingdao.
Our Group was guided by Mu & Richard, two ‘Qingdaorens’ who love hiking. Although they are professional guides, they have never been in charge of such a big group of foreigners. We met at 7:45h next to Hisense Plaza where the bus collected us. After 40 minutes, we arrived at the bottom of Laoshan.
It took us nearly 3 hours walking, climbing and abseiling to get to our picnic area where we ordered ‘di san xian’ (地三鲜) and ‘ji’ (鸡). In fact, we didn’t know that this ‘ji’ (chicken) was still alive at the time. But it wasn’t our only weird experience with animals that day. Some of us found snakes in big glasses which were filled with alcohol. The owner of this restaurant told us that this special snake-alcohol would make a man stronger and macho, so some of us drunk it – but sadly didn´t feel any difference!
Right next to the little picnic area was a lovely lake where we all went swimming. The water was fresh and crystal clear. After this nice stop, we were ready to go all the way back. The way down as expected, was much easier than the way up. We also had more time to admire the amazing view.
We all enjoyed the trip, had a great time and are looking forward to the next one,which is likely to be to the Huangdao beach.