Saturday, March 15, 2008

WuYi Shan

WuYi Shan (武夷山) lies in China's Fujian province, and is a popular Chinese tourist destination. It offers scenic views of "mountains and waters", which seems to exemplify the Chinese notion of tourism beauty. And it seems to be exactly the 2 main things to do in the area.

The scenic area provides lots of trekking opportunities as well as many climbs up the various peaks of the WuYiShan mountain range. However, as would be expected in China, many of these paths up the peaks come with entrance fees, and it have become a stairwell climbing exercise. But the views are indeed nice. The number one peak in Wuyi is Tian You Feng (天游峰) or Heavenly Tour Peak and there is a saying that "If you have not climbed Tian You Feng, you have not been to WuYi mountain!"

The more relaxing activity in WuYi Shan would be to take the bamboo raft trip down the river. The river/stream is known as Jiu Qu Xi (九曲溪) or Nine Bend Stream, which not surprisingly, meanders through the mountain range with nine major bends. In fact, at some of the mountain peaks, you can see some of the bends (as in the first picture).

The bamboo rafts are pretty much how it was like in the olden days, but they've added chairs atop the raft for us tourist. As the rafts are basically bamboo poles lashed together, your feet are bound to get wet. So for those unprepared, the locals around the area would be selling you plastic bags for you to keep your feet dry!! So do keep 2 NTUC plastic bags handy when you go there.... ;)

So basically, the boat is steered by 2 boatsmen, who are of course the owners of the rafts (each raft actually has a license plate of sorts). Each trip takes 6 passengers at 100yuan per person (2005). The boatsman each take 150yuan and 300yuan goes to the company that operates this business (government-linked I'm sure). On a low season day, each boatsman can make at least 6 trips... I was there during low season, and the queue was still super long!!

Although I spent 4 days there, the weather was terrible, and it rained everyday! I had to trek in the rain, and 1 of the day, I had to spend the whole day in the hotel room! Nevertheless, I can see why many tourists come here every year. The scenery is really like Chinese paintings. Moreover, if you're a chinese tea lover, WuYi Shan is also home to acres of oolong tea plantations!


Herbert Wong said...

I did not have great weather at WuYi either. Maybe that's how it is. However I did have great fun sneaking into the park without paying (逃票).Something thatI cannot write about in cbp (will get banned by the Great Firewall!!) but maybe I should post in my blog for the benefits of everyone who is keen.

Wanderer said...

Heh, I think you should (in blog but not in cbp). In any case, in many parts of China, esp in mountain/forest areas, it's difficult to enforce fees. And typically, its the locals who'll find out the other means of access (for their own benefit).
I did not pay some of the fees too, like in Da Wang Feng, when I went really early to shoot sunrise, the agents at the ticketing counter are not even there yet....... Oops, hope I don't get banned.... :p