Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Short Trip to Emei Shan

Day 13 (3rd November 2012) 

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Since waking up this morning, I had been debating with myself whether I should be going to Emei Shan today or not. The motivation to go was really low. I came to Chengdu to see the World Heritage sites, including Emei Shan and Leshan Giant Buddha. If I did not go, I would regret it for life, being so near already but failing to make it. Going meant taking a risk of great consequence to my dignity.

I was still undecided as I went looking for breakfast. As expected, after breakfast, I was having problem with my stomach. I decided to wait for my stomach to "calm" down before making further decision on my plan.

At about 11:00 a.m. I decided to go to the bus station to get a ticket to Leidongping Bus Station and from there, to Jinding Peak/ Golden Summit. As I walked out, I noticed it was drizzling. Dark rain cloud was still hanging up there and the road was still wet. It was very cold. I decided to wait before going out. It would be foolhardy to get my jacket wet in the rain in this very cold weather.

At 1:00 p.m., the situation seemed to remain the same. It looked like there was not going to be rain. After checking with Bella, I was told that going to Leidongping Bus Station would take two hours up and two hours down. It was already 1:00 p.m. and that made going there impractical as the last bus down was 5:00 p.m. I checked with her where the best sight was and was told that the region around Wannian and Qingyin Pavillion was the best. This would require taking the bus up to Wannian Bus Station, taking the cable car further up to Wannian Temple then, taking a trek of two hours down from Wannian Temple to Qingyin Pavillion and another hour or so to Wuxian Gang Bus Station. I knew I was not fit enough for the mountain walk. So I decided to go to Wuxian Gang Bus Station instead, being the nearest to Baoguo Village.

There was nobody in the queue in the Wuxian Gang ticket counter. The ticketing officer at another counter asked where I was going and I said Wuxian Gang. She waved me over and sold me a ticket for RMB40. The bus was leaving and I followed the rest of the passengers to the bus.

In the bus, there was a guide giving her commentary on Emei Shan. I heard her saying something to the effect that the bus tickets should not be thrown away as they would be needed later on. I was not sure whether I understood her correctly. Less than 10 minutes later, it made a short stop at an unknown (to me) bus station to pick up some passengers before moving again.

When it finally reached the bus station, it was not Wuxian Gang Bus Station. It was Wannian Bus Station. On hindsight, could the bus station that we stopped to pick up some passengers be the Wuxian Gang Bus Station? Having reached there already, I have no choice but to buy the Emei Shan entrance ticket and the cable car ticket to Wannian Temple. I have read that the Emei Shan ticket was good for two days and I could as well use it for the Jinding Peak/ Golden Summit the next morning.

At the Wannian Temple, I have to pay another RMB10 to enter.

After exploring the temple complex, it was time to return. At the Wannian Bus Station, the driver asked me to get on board the bus as I approached. I asked him whether I needed to buy a ticket and another gentleman went into the ticketing office and promptly sold me a ticket for RMB20. However, I noticed other passengers coming after me were showing old tickets to the bus driver and getting on board the bus. I thought that strange and related that back to what the tourist guide was saying in the bus. At the hotel, I checked with Bella and she confirmed that the RMB40 ticket that I had bought was a return ticket and I had wasted RMB20 for another new ticket.

Arriving at Baoguo Village, we were dropped off at the Baoguo car park, not at the bus station. As it was only about 4:00 p.m., I decided to stroll around the area. I noticed people coming from an unknown direction. A few seemed to be going there. I decided to follow suit and found from the signage that the road leads to Baoguo Temple and Fuhu Temple.

I dropped by Baoguo Temple and paid RMB8 to enter. After a few snapshots, I walked over to the opposite side of Baoguo Temple to see the Shengji Bell before returning to the village.

I had wanted to continue to Fuhu Temple but had forgotten where I had seen the signage showing the direction to the temple. I did not bother to find out and strolled back to the hotel for dinner. It was 5:00 p.m. already.

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