We spend the morning at Qianfoya, The Buddha Cave Cliffs, then travel to see Zhaohua Ancient Town in the afternoon. The next morning we get up early for the trip to Xian, Shaanxi Province.
07.04.2012 - 08.04.2012 82 °F
7 April 2012, Buddha Cave Cliffs and Zhaohua Ancient Town
The next morning, we caught a bus to Qianfoya or Buddha cave cliffs outside the city. Things were being built and most of what we saw after the entrance looked to be very new. Very nice, but very new. We figured out from the photos prominently displayed at strategic locations that the area had been hit hard by the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In fact, this area was very close to the epicenter of that disaster. The new buildings were all Qing Dynasty style and the landscaping was very nice. We also found the people in the newly opened shops to be extremely friendly and helpful. There was, however, a lot of construction going on along the river where the caves were located. We ended up spending the entire morning at the caves and it was well worth our visit. We met many very friendly Chinese tourists and even spent an hour or so sharing tea at a river side pavilion. Seems as if one of the nieces had one of the souvenir shops in the entrance area.
Welcome to the best Buddha Caves in all of Sichuan.
The buildings in this place were mostly all destroyed by the May 2008 earthquake and most of the buildings we see are brand new. Pictures of the place before the earthquake are posted in strategic locations to give one a feel for what happened.
The streets and landscaping are well done as one can see from the following pictures.
Even the babies are friendly.
New friends everywhere.
The caves are as good as advertised with some really great looking carvings as well as friendly Chinese tourists.
I never turn down a picture with a Chinese tourist
Visiting tourists posing with the foreign devil
Not shy with foreign devils!
This lady was 80 years old and one of her granddaughters had one of the shops on the premises. She climbed the caves like a pro and was very impressive. When we had finished our tour of the caves, we took pictures with this great grandmother's family and then joined them for a couple of hours of tea drinking and visiting along the river. What a great way to spend a morning!
The great grandmother
While visiting with our new Chinese friends and drinking tea, they suggested we go visit an ancient town about an hour and half from Guangyuan by bus. Zhaohua Ancient Town is a Chinese destination but very few foreigners have visited it so we decided to check it out.
We caught a taxi to the bus station and finally found a bus to take us to Zhaohua, arriving there at around 1430. The town was very commercial but appeared to be authentic. I was the only Westerner in the town so I was very excited to see an ancient town that few Westerners visit. We were not disappointed. As we approached the entrance to the town, we were immediately accosted by dozens of school kids finishing up their visit to the ancient town. I was able to get several really good pictures of these kids having a great time.
Again, the town is very commercial with just about everyone involved with the tourist trade. It appeared that the buildings were authentic and nicely kept up. There were many sites in the town and I took plenty of pictures. The people in the town were friendly as to be expected from Sichuan people. Overall, the town was pleasant but not very exciting compared to the likes of Langzhong and Pingyao.
The bus trip was only 1 1/2 hours.
Well mapped and fully commercialized ancient town
What a treat! As we arrived, a bunch of grade school kids were finishing up with their visit. Photos everywhere one looked.
Nothing better than an old-fashioned toffee pull. The toffee tasted just like toffee, too.
Zhaohua entrance - WELCOME
The ancient but heavily commercialized streets
Love these places that offer the opportunity to dress up in old costumes. The lovely Chinese ladies are especially fun to photograph.
Blowing soap bubbles in China always brings a crowd of kids.
English = A. Inquisitiveness=A. Friendliness=A+
Enjoy the pictures of Zhaohua Ancient Town because I enjoyed taking them.
More lovelies to photograph
My, my, check out these Qing Dynasty ladies.
Kids are kids everywhere in the world
More beauties dressed as royal concubines
A single portrait of well-dressed tourist
And another well-dressed tourist
A four-leaf clover (maye)
Costumes, costumes, costumes. The charge is usually around 5 Yuan to "rent" for pictures.
Canola in bloom
A great afternoon but it is time to find the exit and catch a bus back to GuangYuan.
At around 1800 we got on the return bus back to Guangyuan and bought tickets to Xian for the following day. The tickets were 140 Yuan for the six hour trip. Originally, I had planned to stop in Hanzhong along the way but decided to just go on through to Xian. We were planning to stay three nights in Xian before heading out to Wutai Mountain in Shanxi Province. We have another Sichuan meal across the street and call it a day.
8 April 2012, On To Xian
This morning we all got up early (0630) finished packing and checked out of the hotel. We then walked over to the bus station and got some breakfast from one of the food vendors in back of the station. We also picked up some local fruit for our trip. Our bus left at 1000, arriving at the Xian bus station at around 1700 or so. Touts were everywhere offering us hotels. We wanted to stay in the place we usually stayed but the best price we could get was 50 Yuan which we knew to be way too high. We finally found a van for a reasonable price but it appeared there was some serious miscommunication as he took us to a Xian Hotel that we did not know. It was a four star hotel that cost a fortune per night. We were confused and the driver took us to another hotel which did not take foreigners. The driver finally us to the hotel we were looking for - Xian City Hotel. The experience was not fun but, at least, we found the hotel we had stayed at the seven other times before. It is conveniently located, cheap and he people friendly.
We all were a bit tired so we had our dinner on the second floor. It was terrible so we decided not to eat there again. Sunee and I decided to take a walk and see if we could find some noodles. We found a small food court and had noodles and a Xian hamburger. We also picked up some water and an ice cream to end our evening, returning to our hotel at around 2230.
Early morning breakfast
Fruit is always good for breakfast and munchies on the bus.
Nice scenery on the seven hour or so bus ride.
Canola or rapeseed was in full bloom.
This area is supposed to have some really good walnuts (from California?)
Finally we make it to Xian, but that is for another section.