Zhaoqing – home of the scenic Qixing Yan

Sorry for the silence. Last week we suffered (and I don’t use this word lightly) from significant Internet issues. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.

I would rather share with you the lovely overnight trip we just took to the city of Zhaoqing, a city 110 km from Guangzhou known for the beautiful scenery at Qixing Yan (or Seven Star Crag). After some consideration we decided to take the high-speed train from the Guangzhou South Railway Station to the Zhaoqing East Railway Station as the travel time was to be 40 minutes whereas the bus ride would be 1.5-2 hours. Plus it cost us only 28 RMB per adult and 14 RMB per child for the 1st class train ticket. After having completed this journey I’m not sure I would recommend it. It took us two buses, two subway lines, one high-speed train and three hours with all the wait, travel and transfer time added up. Next time I think we’ll give the 2-hour bus ride a try.

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First time on the metro! This is how it looks when it’s quiet.

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Rules for the metro

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Guangzhou South Railway Station. A busy place where everyone feels they need to shove their way in first despite having assigned seats.

We knew in advance that the weather may not be the most cooperative for our visit but we had our fingers crossed. A smooth check in to our lovely hotel and a quick lunch and we were off to explore in the hot humid afternoon. Less than fifteen minutes into our walk, we decided hiring one of the many heavily plied motorized 3-wheeled motorbikes (otherwise known as putt-putts) was a good idea given the heat and the distant thunder. This proved to be the best 100 RMB we spent on the whole trip as we were cooled by the breeze as we zipped along and then protected from the deluge as the skies opened up creating rivers on the roads. I will forever carry the memory of us screeching with laughter, trying unsuccessfully to hold the flaps tightly enough that the rain and wind couldn’t get in as our putt-putt zipped through water so deep that it almost got into where our feet were.

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Qixing Yan (Seven Star Crag) on an overcast day

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Another view of Qixing Yan

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First stop on the putt-putt tour – the first ‘star’ where lots of steep stairs lead to a temple

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Random site on the path up the crag. Many deities, one love.

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Offerings have no bounds

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Incense coils

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View from the top of the crag

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Temple at the top of the crag

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One of the crags a.k.a. stars but can’t remember which one now.

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The ‘star’ that is a man’s head from one angle and a woman’s head from another angle. Can you see the man?

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Sign for Qixing Yan taken through the gap between the plastic flaps of the putt-putt. Can you see the heavy rain coming down?

The rain continued the next day but during a short break we were able to visit part of the old city wall.

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Ancient city wall

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On the wall. New city on the left. Old city on the right.

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One of the homes on top of the wall, complete with a potted vegetable/herb garden and hanging laundry. I’ve been on other ancient city walls but I have never seen homes on the walls. This was a first.

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One of my favourite photos from this trip. Home=a garden, a dog and a motorbike.

Unfortunately, our plans to visit the neighbouring national nature reserve of Dinghu Mountain and a couple of other sights in the city had to be postponed until a future trip due to the weather. Despite the weather we still had a great time. Until the next time.

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Zhaoqing East Railway Station. A much smaller and tamer cousin of the Guangzhou South Railway Station. No need to avoid a stampede here.

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