Sunday, May 15, 2016

China - Huayin and Mt. Huashan

Travel can be so amazing, and our trip to China was such a memorable time. While I had always wanted to see Beijing, it was only natural to add Shanghai to the itinerary. But when my husband wanted to so the plank walk of Mt. Hua I was skeptical. Because of it, we went to Xi'an, which for me was a fabulous surprise. I really liked that working class, active city. I had no clue what to expect from Huayin, the closest city to Mount Hua, after that. It also turned out to be an awesome day trip.


First, we had to depart Xi'an. After a little confusion at the train station, we realized we had to go upstairs out of the metro to buy longer distance train tickets for Huayin. Luckily I knew we'd need our passports (we often keep them with us at all time anyway) and we were able to communicate with an attendant who spoke some English. Our request was simple and I knew a tiny bit of Chinese so we got on ok. 


The station was huge, modern, and full of restaurants. It is smoggy there though.


The train ride was nice; it had a smooth ride and was very comfortable. I enjoyed passing through agrarian China, and we saw some striking little neighborhoods, probably home of farmers, where people did not seem to have any electricity in their homes.


Upon arrival we caught a local bus to Mount Hua, where you pay an entrance fee.




Mount Hua then shuttles you to the base of the mountain. You then have to pay for the cable car (unless you're there for a very long and challenging hike.) There are snaking barriers to form people into queues that were empty when we were there, to our relief (we were there in March).




We took the West Peak cable car up, then hiked around and took the North Peak cable car down. I really enjoyed that route.



The cable car has some very dramatic moments. There were a couple when we rode over the top of the mountains and the ground fell out from beneath us, taking my breath away.




There were some challenging sections but even at this altitude - 2,154 m (7,067 ft) it isn't bad.



After departing the cable car you can make your way up the restaurant, pictured above, or just get your bearings and hike on.





There are little snack bars along way well, as well as restrooms.





As you can see, the red ribbons and locks are incredibly popular. Who knows how long they stay up.


I loved it here.





There are some tourists, but as I said when we went, not many. It just added to the fun.





This place has a lot of religious significance.




We got the the area where the plank walk happens. It's definitely a tourist attraction and I can see lines forming during busier times of the year. 


They strap people in and send them off the side... 


down a ladder they go.



My husband took this great photo during his plank walk experience. See more of his photos here.

There is a Taoist temple here.

Time to move on.



Our day was full of gorgeous views.




I was glad we started at the North Peak so we were able to just walk down these steps.




There are some.. alternate routes.




Before long it was time to head down the West cable car and head back to the train station.




This is a cute town.


The train station, above, is modern but there isn't much inside.


More smog, but damn these bullet trains are gorgeous.



Xi'an, and more adventure, awaited us.

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