Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Day Out On Top Of White Cloud Mountain, Guangzhou China

Little Missy here seems to have built herself a reputation - I've been labelled a Mountain Climber!  Which literally means people expect me to search out a mountain wherever I go, and hike it! It's a tough reputation to uphold, and gets harder and harder each time (like where do you find that many mountains in cities???).  Work took me to Guangzhou this time round, and well, I had to find a mountain to hike!  Internet produced two options - The easy White Cloud Mountain (BaiYun Shan) or the more adventurous TianTang Peak (literally translated to Heaven's Peak).  The adventurous spirit in me was all geared up for Heaven's Peak 2 weeks before the trip, and I was psyched up to really do it, until I arrived in Guangzhou when I realized my hotel is so out of place that I have no idea how to get to Heaven's Peak!  Ok, I would have an idea if I had done more research and asked people who actually know, but seriously, I was staying outside town, so the transport options were limited.  With sad regret, I ditched Heaven's Peak and went for White Cloud.  At least that is a mountain, kinda! 
Still it was a long way to get there by subway from my hotel.  I shall not say, but the hotel staff was NOT very helpful in this matter.  He basically said "It is too far, a taxi would still take you 40minutes without traffic. Hmm, I don't think the subway goes there".  Well, you are wrong!!  A subway does take you somewhere close enough to hop on a bus/taxi to the entrance.
I took a subway all the way to Guangzhou train station, and hopped onto a taxi for a 15min ride to the main entrance (RMB22 for the ride).  Or you could take it all the way to I think BaiYun station or 2 stations after and still need to walk or take a taxi to the entrance.  Anyway, the day was hot, the sun was working overtime, and I was dressed as if I were still in Shanghai cool autumn. 
At the entrance, you have 2 options to get to the top - Cable car (surprise surprise!) for RMB45 return or RMB20 each way + RMB5 entrance fee, or bus 11 - which means walk up.  I know I should have walked up, and I would have, if not for the late night and early morning start, and the fact that I was dressed for winter walking in summer weather!  So I took the 15min cable car ride up to halfway point.  From there, I headed to Moxing Summit, at about 345m above sea level.  At the halfway point, you can also choose cable car or electric bus if you are lazy, or walk.  This time round, I walked.  It took maybe about 45mins one way to the Moxing Summit entrance where you pay RMB5 to enter.  What's with the China attractions, everything has to be paid before you enter! 
Up at the top, you have the quintessential Locks of Love where people put up locks to secure their love for each other, blah blah blah... And you have the view of Guangzhou city from above! Kind of! If not for the "fog" (we say pollution, they say fog.  To-meh-to, To-Mah-to).  Frankly speaking, not impressive.  Well, if I had hiked all the way from the bottom to the top for this view, I think I might kill myself.  I have been spoilt by other hikes, especially Korea mountains and such.  This was the point where I regretted not going to Heaven's Peak.  But what is done cannot be undone. 
I didn't linger long, and made my way down.  I admit, I took the cable car down.  I so wanted to hike down when I took the cable car up, but after being disappointed, and feeling super hot and sticky, I gave up and took the easy way down.  From there, just hopped onto any bus, it takes you somewhere to town where you can hop onto the subway and home sweet home.  Although it sounds like a short trip, it bloody hell took me a good 2-3hrs to complete the circuit!  Unless you took the transport all the way from bottom to the summit, then you can shave a hell lot off.  If not, even walking from halfway up and back to halfway requires some 1-2hrs.

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