It was April of 2012 when I went on tour of Jiangxi to climb the mountains of San Qing Shan, China. The misty summits, waterfalls, and forests on this country are what attract most tourists and hikers like me. On this tour I had my best friend and travel buddy Vince who also works as a basketball coach for an American University to go with me for a seven day tour of the famous mountain and its nearby attractions. The beautiful landscapes, warm climate and the polite people were most of the impressions I gathered from that week long stay in the Jiangxi Region.
We reached Wuyuan City in Jiangxi province by bus from Shanghai and from the city we took a train to get to the town of Shangrao. It was a clear day when we trailed the paths to the Mount San Qing Shan National Park. The mountain adorned with granite pillars boasts of three major peaks namely, Yujing, Yushu and Yuhua. Each part of the mountain has a legendary story to share any interested traveler. To easily reach the top we took the ten minute cable ride and admire the scenes at the Yujing Peak, found to be the highest point of this mountain. The sights from the cable trams had a nice view of the mist shrouded peaks and the cloudy horizon surrounding the mountain. The ride stops at a concrete path that leads to the summit. Covered by thick pine trees we had a fun time naming the various floras and fauna we found along the trail. Due to its odd shape some of the towering peaks bear a similarity with animals some of which I can figure out was a python snake, an offering monkey and a hanging toad. The mountain is also viewed as a holy place by the Taoist culture as seen by the presence of the open air museum called the Yuling Taoist Temple Scenic Spot.
To have a better appreciation of this mountain we decided to spend an overnight stay at one of the camp sites located along the trail. We shared jokes and travel tips with our local host and drank Chinese tea as we watched the moonlight. Along the narrow paths we spend enough time to see ancient Chinese relics and learn about cultural history at the Sanqinggong Scenic Spot. Upon reaching the center of the mountain we admire the beauty of the rock statue called the Oriental Goddess at the Nanqing Garden Scenic Spot. When we descent the next day, we checked out the Xihuatai Scenic Spot. It was a joy to admire the untouched greens and flowers from this area. The winding stair paths made our downward trek more comfortable and easy. The newly built concrete road planks gave an assurance of safety as we view the imposing peaks. Amused by its breathtaking views from the top this mountain is worthy of its united Nations World Heritage Site recognition. I find it ideal for photo enthusiasts as the scenery is so lush and chic, overall the mountain is good. Worth checking out!
The next day we took time to mingle with the locals and observe their culture by visiting the Likeng Village. Located at the foot of the mountain and just across the river, most of the houses were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasty. We met one of the descendants of the Li Family who proudly maintains the original Hui architecture style structures, bridges, gray tiles and white walls within this attraction. The alleys and streams are magnificently linked thru black plank roads with a scenic view of the Yangtze River Delta. People inside here live a simple life and a sustainable tourism economy as tourists flock and shop on the local craft shops and dine at the little restaurants within this village. Along the stream I found women washing fruits and vegetables while on another side are women doing their laundry. In spring, yellow fields of rape plants brighten the natural landscape of this tourist attraction. We tasted the best Chow Mein, a very popular main course in China on one of their crowded noodle houses.
Standing next to a small village the Rainbow Bridge of Shangrao is an attraction that can not be missed while in the Jiangxi region. It is a beautiful covered bridge which was built during the Song Dynasty. It is considered a masterpiece of the Wuyuan bridges; it is about 140 meters long and 3 meters wide and composed of an 11 gallery pavilion. The surrounding scenery is also beautiful; we often stop and just quietly enjoy its rustic charm. My best friend and I had fun crossing the swift river beneath the bridge. We took turns taking photographs of the covered bridge behind us. After lunch we checked out the still waters at Yuanyang Lake of Shangrao. This green lake is home to the wild mandarin ducks in springtime. We had a good view of the Castle Peak as we breathe the fresh air around the beautiful lake. With sights of an inspiring landscape surrounded by mountains planted with colorful flowers, it was a great way to be in one with nature and just enjoy the intimacy.
Just across the lake we toured an idyllic community called the Xiaoqi Village. My first impression was the people around there were very warm and hospitable. Such qualities are typical characteristics of a simple farm village. The village survives thru local merchandising, tourist souvenir shops and crop farming on its arid region with harsh winters. On this lovely village I saw irrigation fields that give their crops chances of survival during extreme weather conditions. From here we head to the southern part of the river to visit next village called the Sixiyan Village, a rural setting community that is a bit worn out but still attractive. This farming village has fields of apricot and rape flowers on its adjacent landscape. It is very clean and well maintained and the fragrant breeze from the fields distinguishes it from other urban oriented or too commercialized villages. Along the road we passed by an iconic statue of the Confucian follower and Hui prefecture founder at the Zhu Xi Memorial of Shangrao.
On our last day in Jiangxi we tried the thrills of a rafting adventure at the Congxi DriftinG Tour. It was one of the worthwhile attractions we have experienced on this province. The kayak ride was the best way to enjoy the natural wonders of the region. As we sat on the rubber boats we can see on the clear water the fishes swimming freely around. The picturesque mountain, rich mangrove trees, clean waters, migrant birds, and the red dragonfly completes the perfect nature setting we got to admire as we paddle our way around the waters. The beauty of it all was just indescribable but was fully captured in detail by our camera along with our sunny smiles. It was like stepping out of our comfort zone and just plainly soak ourselves and be captured by the charm of the place. Exciting, safe and fun, it is an outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by young and old alike, a great bonding moment for families.
Aside from knowing a country that places utmost importance to its rich culture, I have also learned a lot about why it is always good to connect with the infinite beauty of nature. We went back to Atlanta that night full of stories to tell our friends back home about the wonderful cultural and historical experience we have personally witnessed as we climbed the rustic mountains of San Qing Shan and the mystical charm of Jiangxi.