Hunan – Hubei, Day 5: Historical Jingzhou And Walking Street Of Jianghan Road

We departed Changde, Hunan for Jingzhou, Hubei in the morning. In this historical city, we had a chance to go around the wall on an electric car and it was a great ride even though some of us disliked it.

Two members of our group decided that they would do some cosplaying. One dressed as an ancient girl, and one dressed as an ancient general.

The the tour bus took us to Wuhan. After dinner, we walked to see the busiest district called Jianghan. The walking street was filled with branded stores and even a night market. We had some fun here. I also tried the fruit tea of a chain milk tea store called Idrink.

I found that today was May 20 which was kind of a Valentine’s Day in China because 520 in Chinese sounded like ‘I love you.’ Today would have been worse if my friend and I hadn’t made fun of the day. We even took a sweet picture with the Chinese intern guide.

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Hunan – Hubei, Day 4: Fenghuang Old Town And Changde

What I feared the most was the weather as forecast. It rained in the morning again today, and my exploration of Fenghuang Old Town was disrupted somehow. Because I wore the Thai flip flop, I walked slowly and slipped when I got off a boat. I borrowed an umbrella because my jacket wasn’t completely waterproof.

The stoned bridge, the most famous part of the town, was wet so I only stepped on several stones and didn’t get to the middle. However, the boat trip was quite good.

I tried a boba milk tea and thought it was as good as the Vietnamese one.

After lunch, we departed Fenghuang for Changde. After checking in, all of us (except 1) walked to the supermarket called Lian Hua. It was quite big. I bought some gifts for my family and friends. What I loved about China’s summer is the peach season. I’d buy some on the last day to bring back to Vietnam.

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Hunan – Hubei, Day 3: Wulingyuan And Fenghuang Old Town

Some people disliked waking up early, but I thought it was okay on a trip when we had to check out. At least, I didn’t have to fight for breakfast like in Taiwan. However, the food was just so so.

We passed a sidewalk market on the way to the Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After taking a bus, we reached the elevator station. Though it is the world’s highest outdoor elevator, the Bailong Elevator only took 1 min 20 seconds to reach its top floor. There we enjoyed a fantastic view of Tianzi Mountain.

And we then walked to Tian Xia Di Yi Qiao, also known as the Number 1 Bridge Under the Heaven. I tried squeezing in with other people to take a pic and heard some guys said ‘mei’ and ‘piao lang’ which I replied with ‘xie xie’.

Then it rained cats and dogs while we were looking for the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.
The tour guides and leader couldn’t find two of the tour members on the way out. They were lost because they couldn’t see the flag due to umbrellas. Luckily, I could spot them on the way back searching.

After lunch, the bus took us to Fenghuang Old Town. We had dinner, then walked around the town for only 45 mins. That’s why my friend and I decided to come back later.

At 10PM, 6 of us took a cab to Fenghuang. Here we tried stinky tofu and enjoyed the night.
I was looking for boba milk tea, but I didn’t order because the menu was in Chinese and I wasn’t really thirsty. At midnight, we returned to the hotel.

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Hunan – Hubei, Day 2: Tianmen Mountain

We met up with the Chinese guide, Ms. Liu, at Zhangjiajie Airport. Then we headed to Days Hotel nearby and called it a night.

After breakfast, we started for the Tianmen Mountain cable car station. But there was some ticket problem that made us wait for more than an hour before we could get in the station. After lining up for another 30 mins, we took an 8-people cabin. The longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world took about 25 mins to reach the upper station.

The Coiling Dragon Cliff skywalk was far from scary or long. It required no bravery at all.

Then we took the escalator down to Tianmen Cave, then another escalator down to the minibus station. Later the intern guide, He Da Sheng, said that he walked down the 99-step staircase instead. And he reached the station earlier than we did. I guessed that he ran.

We took the minibus to get down. The 11km road with 99 bends made my friend dizzy and she even threw up.

I wished I had had more time here. I didn’t have a chance to see the glass bridge. It should have been more terrifying than the glass pathway.

We had a late lunch in the afternoon, then the tour bus took us to some shopping places like herbs and gemstone stores. Then we came to Xibu Old Street and had an early dinner. Inside the restaurant, I saw an interesting custom by the Miao ethnic people.

Luckily, I could walk a bit around this place before it dawned because my friend was too tired to come back in the evening.

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Hunan – Hubei, Day 1: Flying To Zhangjiajie, Transit In Shenzhen

After 10 years, I flew with China Southern Airlines again to China. 2 flights today would finally bring me to Zhangjiajie.

The travel group leader instructed us so we spent 45 mins at the customs clearance. It wasn’t as crowded as I thought. We didn’t have to collect our checked baggage so it was faster. Shenzhen Bao’an Intl Airport was bigger than what I thought. However, its design didn’t impress me much. 6 hours of waiting here was kinda a waste of time. Saigontourist should have brought us something to eat for dinner because the inland plane only gave us some snack.

At least, our domestic Chinese flight wasn’t delayed. I saw the Wuxi one at the same gate was delayed from 6:50pm until after 9pm. We only had to wait for 4 flights to land before being able to fly from the same runway.

We landed in the Zhangjiajie Hehua Intl Airport after midnight. Luckily, we’d still have some sleep at the hotel before walking in the mountain area tomorrow.

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Prepping For Another Sichuan Trip To Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture

As coming back to Sichuan has been my plan for quite a long time, I decided that I would look for travel partners because my friends and sister didn’t like this kind of traveling.

After looking in vain on Instagram, I decided to find on Facebook groups for other Vietnamese travelers. On 27 Feb, I posted an overview of the area on a China travel group (on Facebook) but there was nobody really interested on the Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. Then I found a worldwide travel group and was surprised at the positive feedback though there were tourists in here.

At first, I thought that guys would be more interested in this journey which would involve a lot of walking and trekking. But then there were so many girls PMing me. Having some travel buddies excited me and made me draft the schedule immediately. I shared it on a new Facebook group with my companions-to-be.

On Mar 15, Vietnam Airlines started their summer holiday sales, and quickly I grabbed a pair of return tickets to Chengdu (via Hanoi). There were at least 2 girls on board so I wouldn’t be alone on this trip. I looked forward to seeing cute giant pandas again. I missed them so much!

In 2009, I carried a backpack about 10kgs (when the clothes were not wet) to Sichuan. When walking a lot, I felt a little exhausted because this one was not dedicated to traveling. I guessed this contained about 35 liters.

Would it be possible if I only carry a 20-liter hiking backpack this summer?

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Nhớ Đan Ba

Thích nhất vẫn là Đan Ba (Danba). Đi tới 1 lần trên đường quay về lại phải ghé lần nữa. Giờ xem hình ngta đi chơi up lên Instagram thấy vẫn cảnh quan như thế, chẳng có gì thay đổi. Vẫn nhớ con đường hiking làng người Tạng khi mây tan mặt trời chiếu rọi lấp lánh ánh vàng. Nhớ cả những que kem đá mua để giải khát suốt dọc con đường trục này nữa.

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Hoa Cách Tang

Châu tự trị dân tộc Tạng Cam Tư rất nổi bật với những lá kinh phiên bay phấp phới trên các đỉnh núi hùng vĩ, hay tiếng những chiếc chuyển kinh đồng xoay và lời cầu nguyện vang lên khắp nơi, nhưng ở đó còn có 1 loài hoa rất đẹp mang ý nghĩa hạnh phúc: hoa cách tang (ge sang hua).

Ở Tây Tạng, người ta thường dùng hoa cách tang để biểu đạt và thể hiện những cảm xúc đẹp đẽ của họ, và có rất nhiều bài hát và câu chuyện ca ngợi hoa cách tang. Hoa cách tang giữ một vị trí cao trong lòng người dân Tây Tạng, và được người dân Tây Tạng coi là loài hoa linh thiêng tượng trưng cho tình yêu và điềm lành. Trong lịch sử lâu đời của Tây Tạng, hoa cách tang tồn tại như một loại tinh thần trong trái tim của người dân Tây Tạng và trở thành biểu tượng cho việc theo đuổi hạnh phúc, điềm lành và những cảm xúc đẹp đẽ của họ. Nó đẹp nhưng không tinh tế, và thường được đồng nghĩa với một người phụ nữ mạnh mẽ. Vì yêu cái nắng cao nguyên và không ngại cái lạnh, sương muối khắc nghiệt nên nó được ví như loài hoa dại ngoan cường nhất trên cao nguyên. Nó cũng là hoa của thành phố Lhasa, thủ phủ của Tây Tạng.

P.s.: Ảnh chụp tại Cam Tư, châu tự trị Cam Tư, Tứ Xuyên, Trung Quốc năm 2009.

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Thảo Nguyên Tháp Công

Thảo nguyên Tháp Công Tagong (Lhagang) đất rộng người thưa. Ở dorm không phải nằm giường tầng không khí thoải mái hơn hẳn. Ở Tagong đa phần là người Tạng sinh sống, chỉ toàn là đồng cỏ và tu viện, ít cửa hàng quán xá. Có người nói tới đã từng tới Lhagang cũng giống như đã từng tới Lhasa, còn mình thì cứ ngỡ là Mông Cổ.

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Gấu Trúc Ở Thành Đô

Tứ Xuyên là nơi có nhiều đại hùng miêu (gấu mèo lớn) nhất trên thế giới. TQ từng có chính sách “ngoại giao gấu trúc” để phá băng quan hệ với phương Tây trong thời kỳ chiến tranh lạnh. Đến thập niên 1980 thì TQ chỉ cho thuê chứ không tặng nữa nên gần như tất cả các con #panda hiện nay đều mang quốc tịch TQ, kể cả những con sinh ở nước ngoài. Đi Thành Đô thì phải đến đây thăm quốc bảo của họ nhé.

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