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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Backpacking in China - Page 2

Written by Nandhini Ganesan
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The following day we headed to Xian – the home to the Terracotta Warriors , the Bell and Drum Towers and the Ming City walls. We stayed at the Hantang house in Xian, where we met up with fellow backpackers. It was here that I met Mona, a crazy free spirited Brit with whom we spontaneously decided to travel to Louyang to visit the Shaolin temple and the Longmen Grottoes.

 

After a crazy all-nighter that consisted of non feasible plans to start a hostel in Middle Earth aka New Zealand, we almost missed our train to Louyang the next day! We soon realized that our plan was not rock solid as we got off at the wrong stop. After a few minutes of being a deer in front of the headlights, we stumbled across someone who spoke English. He informed us that the city center was 13 kms away and looking around, we realized that our only option was a 3 hour walk. After checking into a somewhat decent hotel, we walked another 13kms from the town to see a very disappointing temple. To make up for this, we went to a place where monks practiced Shaolin martial arts. We managed to catch a show they performed in the afternoon that left us mind blown.

 

Post this, fortunately, we missed the last bus back to Dengfeng thus leading us to a monastery in Song Shan where a Buddhist retreat was about to commence. It involved a week long stay with no communication with the outside world nor talking/making eye contact with the others; in short it was INSANE and so we decided to go for it. Going into the details of this experience will be left for later, but I could safely confess that though it was one of the craziest experiences of my life, I simply learnt nothing from it except for the fact that after a week of being quiet, I have a better sense of hearing!

 

My trip continued from here to Guilin where I caught up with the rest of my friends at the Ming Palace hostel. The river cruise and the views of the Yangshuo Mountains in Guilin just took my breath away. We also did a 20km hike to the mountain village of Xitaouchen which I would recommend to all backpackers.

 Backpacking China2

The final leg of Mainland China was the commercial capital Shanghai.  I realized Shanghai is just a beautiful place to visit during Christmas as there were sales everywhere! We shopped, got massages, visited Remin Square and the Old City, all in our 3 day stop at Shanghai.

 

A month in China finished even before we realized and it was time to fly back to Germany. In retrospect, I had a wonderful trip due to the extremely helpful people and the large food portions they served. Even with an entire month, I barely touched the eastern side which definitely left me with a sense of incompleteness. I met a lot of fellow travelers who shares the same passion of wanderlust, some of whom I am still in touch with.  My Christmas in China left me longing for more and I came back refreshed to plan my next journey.

 

Backpacking China3 

 

© Nandhini Ganesan

 

(Page 2 of 2)
Last modified on Friday, 01 May 2015

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