Travel Itinerary For The Next China Trip

Because I’m free, I’ve made a 2-week or maybe more schedule aka itinerary for the next year trip to China, from Wuhan I’ll see the cherry blossoms, then go to visit Wudang Mountains, Shennongjia, the Three Gorges Dam; then I’ll be in Chongqing to see karst in Wulong; I’ll stop by in Xi’an of Shaanxi province to visit the ancient city, the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor; I’ll arrive in Son Tay to see the ancient citadel of Pingyao, the Loess Plateau near Hunyuan, Yungang Grottoes, Mount Wutai; last but not least, I’ll pay a visit to Henan to see Yinxu in Anyang, Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang citadel, Shaolin Temple, the Yellow Emperor Palace in Zhengzhou, and Kaifeng city. At the end of the schedule, I will return home from Wuhan. In short, this is called Hubei – Chongqing – Shaanxi – Shanxi – Henan journey.

Haiz, but the search for return ticket to Wuhan turned out nothing available. Maybe while I’m waiting for normal travel to resume, the schedule will be up to 30 days?

10 Days With The Most Steps In 2019

According to Pedometer app, I walked the most steps in my Chinese trips:
1. July 5: 31,497 steps ~ 15.12 km* (in Chengdu)
2. July 6: 29,337 steps ~ 14.08 km (in Chengdu)
3. July 3: 28,849 steps ~ 13.85 km (in Mt. Siguniang)
4. June 24: 23,878 steps ~ 11.46 km (in Dujiangyan and Chengdu)
5. June 26: 23,233 steps ~ 11.15 km (in Songpan and Mounigou)
6. June 30: 20,196 steps ~ 9.7 km (in Langmusi)
7. June 27: 20,136 steps ~ 9.67 km (in Huanglong)
8. May 18: 19,550 steps ~ 9.38 km (in Wulingyuan And Fenghuang Old Town)
9. Nov 5: 17,348 steps ~ 8.33 km (in Shanghai)
10. Jun 23: 16,136 steps ~ 7.75 km (in Saigon, Hanoi, and Chengdu)

* My stride length is 48 cm (80% of the number in the app 60cm).

Anhui – Zhejiang – Shanghai 2019, Day 6: Yanguan Ancient Town, Xidi Ancient Village And Flying Home

Before leaving Haining, Jiaxing, we dropped by a place called Yanguan Old Town. It was raining a bit while I walked through some old houses, the Qiantang River Dam, Jin Young’s college, the former residence of Wang Guowei. Most doors were closed, and there were only a few tourists here. It was a pity. I wished to see more inside of the town.

Then we really left Zhejiang to come back to Anhui province. On the way, the tour guide introduced to us a dry fruit called wuyanguo (5-eye fruit) which later I found out was called Nepali hog plum. I tasted really good.

We had a late lunch at 2PM somewhere in Anhui, then we went to see another UNESCO world heritage site called Xidi Ancient Village at 4PM. This place must have been the best place of this trip.

After seeing a nice welcome dance, I was strolling around the village. There were art students with their sketchbooks, easels and tools which made this village so romantic.

I saw them drying sausages and ducks on the walls. I then went to the hill nearby and looked down the village. It was peaceful here.

On the way out, I found a student card someone dropped. I couldn’t find the guy so I gave it to someone instead.

This was the first time I looked carefully at the Huizhou architecture: white wall, black tile, arch over the gate, and horse-head wall.

Because we had to be present at the airport early in the evening, we had an early dinner at 6:30PM. I also tried for the first time the popular boba milk tea ice cream.

At 7:30PM, I said goodbye to Anhui at Huangshan Tunxi Airport and waited for the flight to take me home to Ho Chi Minh City.

Anhui – Zhejiang – Shanghai 2019, Day 1: Saigon To Huangshan Tunxi Airport

Only 9 days before had I decided to go on another trip to China with my twin sis, this time to 3 provinces/cities of Anhui, Zhejiang, Shanghai. My main visits would be Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Yanguan Ancient Town.

This was another trip that required no individual visa (like my previous trip to Hunan and Hubei). The 4-hour non-stop flight stopped at the Huangshan Tunxi International Airport at 9PM. Some local officials with banners saying that this was the first flight from Ho Chi Minh City. They also gave us some Chinese and Vietnamese flags. I learned that this trip was sponsored by China. That was why this tour of 6 days was so cheap. With the same amount of money, I might have bought the plane tickets only.

I was asked in English by two customs officers how many times I’ve been to China. This time I didn’t have to scan my finger prints any more. It was my easiest Chinese customs check ever. I loved Huangshan!

Because of taking photos for some local newspapers or promotion(?), it took us all an hour to get out of the airport. Around 30 mins later, I could lie down on my bed and call it a night.

Outside of my window I saw a pine tree with the top turning to the the color of fall. I hoped to see more autumn leaves on this Jiangnan trip.

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 15: Chengdu To Hanoi

At 8 in the morning, I went downstair to have breakfast at the hostel restaurant. But I opted for a dish of price instead of the buffet. I decided to stay inside for the whole morning because I’d get tired of waiting at the airport later.

I checked out of the hostel at noon, and got to the airport by metro. Because I was 1-hour early, I tool a stroll around the airport and took some pictures. It seemed to change a lot compared to the picture in my memory of 10 years ago.

Having such 3 companions, I didn’t have any nostalgic feeling leaving Chengdu. I guessed Langmusi was the best place of this trip, but there was no special place I’d like to return. Maybe after seeing the pictures on my iMac when I return home, my mood should be better.

Overall, I have traveled 1,756km on this Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture trip, sitting around 29 hours 22 minutes in a car or a bus. And according to Pedometer, I have walked 262,269 steps during these two weeks, rounding to 125km on feet fortnightly.

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 14: Chengdu Shopping Spree And Wenshu Temple

Luckily for me, I could sleep well until 7AM because the other 2 girls checked in before midnight yesterday. Because it was raining, I waited for a while then decided to go out shopping.

It took me an hour to get to Decathlon. It was my first time at such a big sport store in any country. I wanted to buy many things, but then decided to buy a 10-lit rucksack that can fold up into a small ball. I need extra storage for my stuff.

I also saw IKEA nearby so I dropped by to see why it was famous. Many people came here for food (?!) I also went into a mall and checked out Zara, H&M, Uniqlo stores, etc.

In the afternoon, I visited the Wenshu Temple. I used to visit one of the street here 10 years ago but I wasn’t so sure. This area even seemed to be bigger than the Wuhou Temple area where I stayed.
After getting back to the hostel, I took a late afternoon stroll to the so-called Tibetan Quarter which was near. But there was nothing impressive.

I decided on trying the giant grilled squid after drooling a few times at Jinli. And it was indeed very tasty.

What made my time in Chengdu an immense satisfaction was I hardly saw my companions. I was a little worried the first night I returned to Chengdu, but then finding their whereabouts was not in my head these 2 days.

Another one of the girls in the dorm room thought I was Hongkonger because of my English, except from the girl I met on the first night here.

Just figured out I was a lil bit too naive about the metro system. I didn’t need to buy separate tickets for connecting trains. It wasted time (queuing at ticket booths), and maybe money (the longer distance I went, the cheaper it was).

The Pedometer app said that I walked 30,471 (later 29,337) steps today.

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 13: Chengdu Panda Base, Jinli Ancient Street, And Yulin Street

Though there was a girl checking in the room yesterday afternoon after me, today I was waken up at midnight by 2 others. They also switched on the air con which made me hard to sleep again.

I tried the buffet breakfast. It cost me 15 yuans and was worth it. The Dien Bien girl then joined me for the panda tour opposite the hostel. Then I found out the code the hostel staff sent me was different from what other people in the bus had. I got accepted no matter what.

The Chengdu Panda Base was very crowded today, unlike 10 years ago. It was very sunny, unlike 10 years ago when it had been raining nonstop. I had a better view this time, because I could come back any time with any bus. But the heat stopped me from staying here past noon.

As Jinli Ancient Street didn’t seem as hot or crowded, I made a stroll around here. I was more attracted to the local street food than handicrafts and teahouses. I should pick something for dinner later here.

Taking a shower and change clothes, I went out to find the famous Yulin Street in the song Chengdu by Zhao Lei. Turned out I could walk there (meaning it wasn’t far to take metro). The street didn’t have anything prominent as I thought, but I found the old Little Bar and some good wall paintings.

When I was back to Jinli Street, I decide to eat pineapple sticky rice (the black one).

Too much walking today made me want to sleep early; however, someone told me there would be a live music session happening downstairs at 8:30PM. So I decided to stay and another Chinese girl started talking to me.

Thanks to the hostel, I enjoyed some of my fav Chinese songs like Chengdu, Baby До свидания, Hua.

According to Pedometer, I walked 31,497 steps today. I didn’t know that I walked more than I did in all the hikes in Sichuan this year.

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 12: Mt. Siguniang To Chengdu

I realized that I was unlucky yesterday because it wasn’t raining any more. We went to the grocery store to find out the bus would only be here around 10AM. So I decided to have another beef noodles. I was surprised that other companions didn’t have lunch.

I sat on the las row of the buses together with 2 Chinese girls. One of them puked somewhere and that event kinda woke me up. Luckily I could move to a better seat at a Gengda stop.

I reached Chengdu around 4PM. Then it took me an hour on the metro and foot to reach the Dreams Travel International Youth Hostel (near Wuhouci aka Temple of Marquis). This time, I booked a bed in a 4-bed dorm, while others were kinda late so that they could only booked the 6 or 8-bed dorm only. At least, my ear wouldn’t be hurt by money complaints.

The Jinli Ancient Street next to Wuhouci was so crowded in this early evening. I guessed I would be back here tomorrow after revisiting the Chengdu Panda Base.

To my surprise, they treated me dinner at a hotspot restaurant near the hostel after I booked my panda tour with the help of a hostel staff. They didn’t speak as well as the people in the previous hostel in Chengdu, but they seemed to be more friendly.

Back to the hotspot, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see the 9 separate compartments; however, I thought it was Sichuan hotpot, maybe a lil bit different with the Chongqing one.

The oil helped make the spicy taste go away, I thought. If I go back to Chengdu again, I’ll try another hotpot place.

When I was back at the hostel, a guy from Xinjiang working as a freelancer here started talking to me. His English choices of words made me frown several times before I lost my patience and said goodbye for today.

Only in Chengdu could I feel the heat of the summer.

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 11: Changping Valley

Before I went on this trip, I thought Mt. Siguniang must be a place for climbers. I only liked hiking for a day of about 30,000 steps which was tiring enough. Stargazing on the top of the mountain at night under the cold wind was no fun to me. Though this place was in my initial plan, I didn’t really wanna go. Turned out this world heritage had several valleys and was worth giving a try.

The highest place of my journey: somewhere near 3,700m beside a waterfall.

I met a forest keeper on the hike (first I thought he was a traveler), and after chatting for a while, he told me my Chinese was good. I also felt at ease with my ability to converse for more than just 1 or 2 sentences asking for direction.

The most picturesque view must have been some pine trees with no leaf under water.

After the boardwalk, there was a muddy trek because of the continuous rain from yesterday. I decided to wait for others at the roadside stop, enjoyed my 10-yuan hot milk tea to keep me warm, and looked at other hikers chatting. I also helped a couple bargaining for their horse ride.

On the way out, I entered the monastery near the gate which I couldn’t get in in the morning because it was too soon.

I thought I’d go to 2 valleys today, but Changpinggou (Changping Valley) turned out to be so long a hike.

When I was back to the hostel in the afternoon, I was also trying to ask for the bus to Chengdu with the bosslady, and she said there were 3 buses tomorrow. I’d like to take the noon one.

Later, I bought more milk teas in a grocery store. 1 cup cost only 4 yuans.

My Pedometer app first indexed 30,535 steps for today, but then later I saw only 288,849 steps. Huh?

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 10: Barkam To Mt. Siguniang

Barkam to Aba/Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture was like Kangding to Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, meaning it was the seat of the prefecture. There was a river flowing alongside the town, too. But I felt that Barkam seemed to be much less crowded than Kangding and had no sign of international travelers.

Today was a great public transport experience. Because the driver said 8:30AM the bus to Xiaojin would depart, this morning, I came to the station early to buy a new ticket. Turned out I was too early, again. The bus would depart around noon, again.

When I went back to the hostel, they invited me to have breakfast. So kind. And it was a square meal with green bean and rice porridge, two Chinese steamed buns (mantou), a boiled egg, peanuts, and pickled cucumber.

It was a bumpy bus ride to Xiaojin via winding roads and passes. Sometimes, I thought the bus couldn’t get through some big stone piles. But thanks to the onsite wheel loader and rotary mixer, plus the help of the bus staff, there was a connecting bus waiting for us somewhere on the way to Mt. Siguniang.

The 10-hour on the bus ride yesterday was not as tiring as 6 hours today; however, I enjoyed the crowded bus, and moreover, kindness of Chinese people.

They stopped near Changping Valley under the rain, so I picked that hostel. Its decoration looked warm and comfortable. Actually there were cheaper twin rooms but I chose a more expensive dorm room because I intended to enjoy 1 bed on my own. Again, I ignored the complaint of prices from my companions.

The Changping Inn hostel’s owner didn’t speak English, but I found her bookcase interesting.