Huanglong – A place so special it was alien

The first thing I did when I got to Jiuzhaigou valley was align myself to this lovely couple from Israel and follow them around like a third-wheel stalker.

Over dinner, after finishing our rather large mains, Liron looks at her boyfriend Tom and says ‘Im still hungry’. Tom immediately starts sifting through the menu ‘ What else should we order?’

I knew then that these were my people.

The next morning on the dot of 8am we make the 3 hour trip to Huanglong through the light rain, to the entry of the 3800 metre high scenic walk, along a well-built and positioned wooden path, to witness these amazing natural wonders – Connected lakes of all sizes high up in the mountains, with limestone borders that hold such a concentrated calcium content that the water is always clear from algae leaving only the most wonderous shades of blue.

I was walking slightly ahead of Liron and Tom, and within seconds of our beginning I hear the loud and heavy thud of someone falling. I turn around to find Tom lying on his side like a seal in shock, and an embarrassed Liron simply stating ‘He tried to do singing in the rain dancing..’

I love these two.

In 2 hours we endure thousands of steps and a high altitude, with each scenic stop competing in beauty with the next, until we finally reach the peak like step defeating champions, and are rewarded with the most magical display of colourful lakes so beautiful that it looked man-made! Or Alien! Either way it was out of this world!!

Needless to say, the view turned me into a loved up snap happy tourist for 5 hours.

Anyone who visits China, must not miss out on the World heritage listed connected pools of Huanglong.

Tips on how to catch public transport in China – The perilous bus ride to get to Heaven

I heard through the grapevine that in China, at a place called Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong there is the most beautiful scenery on Earth, and having worn in my traveling feet in the last 30 days, I did something I would have never done a month ago – I spontaneously decided to make the 12 hour trip to Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong by public China bus, by myself, without having booked any accommodation on the other end or knowing what I would do. This may seem like a small feat for some, but this was a massive deal for me, especially because it was China, and China aint no walk in the park. Most travellers I have encountered leave China to the last leg of their journey so they can warm up to it..

Must do’s when catching public transport in China.

1) ALWAYS find out what the numbers on your ticket mean – For example, the bus ticket has 3 sets of numbers; the date of departure, terminal number, and seat number. The date was obvious, and I had a 50% chance of getting the bus terminal number right, luckily, if you do happen to be in the unlucky 50%, the friendly ticket collector will inform you of your incorrect decision by publicly, and loudly, refusing you entry onto the wrong bus.

2) Make sure your iPod is fully charged – Public transport is noisy, with the people in the bus chatting away and the sound of traffic and horns beeping every 5 seconds, which is every time an accident is avoided.

3) If you need to pee – If it’s not an official toilet stop, make sure that the bus driver is aware that you have gotten off the bus, so he doesn’t start driving off without you but with all of your belongings, leaving you no choice but to run after the bus while still zipping up your jeans yelling with your arms waving about for him to stop.

4) Help people help you – Make sure early on that everybody knows that you can’t speak chinese and that you have no idea when to get off, and that you are their responsibility.

And finally,

5) Sleep though the scary parts – if you can.

Even though the bus route went high up through the mountains on sometimes unfinished windy narrow roads, past guard rails which had obviously been broken through a number of accidents, with rocks and stones falling from the mountains hitting or narrowly missing the bus, on roads that have been weakened and are crumbling from the rain, all of which was like a horror movie while ‘Stir it up’ by Bob Marly was playing on my iPod as background music in what felt like the scene in which Tiara dies.. Considering all of this, it was the most thrilling, scenic, FUN bus ride ever!