4 days after the quick trip to Seoul to catch Super Show 8, I was off again to China. This trip to China was planned about about 1.5 years ago, believe it or not. I was told that the natural scenery on this tour in Sichuan would be more beautiful than Jiuzhaigou. And now that I am back, it’s not a lie.
However, that said, would I want to see the beautiful scenery again? Yes. Would I want to brave the hours in the tour bus crossing 6 mountains (> 4,000 M) and valleys over 3 days? Probably not. The journey is too tough physically despite sitting in the tour bus most of the time. Doesn’t help that I suffer and am afflicted with motion and altitude sickness. The thin air atop the mountain is definitely quite something and the cold atop the mountain is definitely different and more harsh than at lower altitudes.
四姑娘山 Mt Siguniang
Mt Siguniang translates to English as “Four Maiden Mountain”. It consists of 4 peaks, of which the highest peak is at 6,250 m in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture within Sichuan.
As I was on an organised group tour, logistics was entirely taken care of and to be frank, I’m glad I didn’t have to do it. The area was so remote and challenging to get to! It would have been a huge risk to arrive in town and then look for accommodation. Furthermore, ATMs are pretty non-existent in the area and neither are international credit cards accepted. Everything is transacted within Wechat or Alipay which is inaccessible to foreigners (There is TourPass now but that’s another story for another day). So if you run of out cash paying for everything in the mountains, good luck to you.
I’m not usually a fan of organised group tours but if I’m going outside a city in China, then I definitely would prefer to join a group tour. It’s just so much more convenient.
Also, along the way to the park, we were stuck a few times due to road works. It gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs and breathe in the crisp, cool air. It is now mandatory for all vehicles to power off their engines if they have to stop more than 5 minutes (or something, I forgot exactly) in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. I thought it was pretty damn cool of China to do this given the global warming situation.
Within The Park
It was a pretty damn sunny day. I knew that at such high altitude, UV radiation is even stronger so even though I was feeling hot, I kept my jacket and hoodie on to avoid direct sunshine on my skin.
双桥沟 (Two Bridges Valley)
After entry into the park, you have to take a shuttle bus further into the park. The bus starts you off at the furthermost point inside the park and you make your way out. So that said, it’s about an hour or so bus ride in along the winding mountain road.
By the time I arrived at the destination to view the 4 peaks that make up 四姑娘山 (Mt Siguniang), I was nauseous like hell. I actually don’t know if I was nauseous because of motion sickness or altitude sickness, or even both. The mountains were grand and imposing, but unfortunately, all I could think about is whether I was going to puke or not.
隆珠措 (Longzhucuo Lake)
Another stop we made is at 隆珠措 (Longzhucuo Lake). By that time, the sky became cloudy and it was starting to get very cold.
I was lucky enough to capture this shot above during a brief moment of stillness without the wind. The gloomy weather added to the forlornness of the dead trees in the lake. The effect would have been totally different if there was bright sunshine.
As I was looking through my photos, I realised that there is something about mountains that adds a dose of grandeur to any photo of natural scenery.
I would have loved to spend the day walking around the broad walk paths within the park but there was no time. Such is the downside of following an organised group tour but oh well, can’t have everything right?
Regardless, it is a place worth visiting because of the beautiful views. Recommended!