On Friday evening, after one week in Beijing, we boarded an overnight soft sleeper train to Xi’an, an 8-hour journey shared with two other bunk mates.
Luckily, our journey could only go uphill from there. 😀
Accommodation in Xi’an
The Terracotta Army
You may wonder, why did Qin need such a big army to protect him?
Anyway, after being hidden for more than 2,000 years, this terracotta army was finally discovered by a local farmer in Xi’an.The dig site itself divided into three pits, with Pit 1 being the most impressive.Thousands of terracotta warriors stand proudly with their horses, lined up and prepared for battle.This active dig site also showcases the painstaking process of putting together thousands of shattered pieces, restoring these warriors back to their original form.Now, Pit 2 is noteworthy for its discovery of chariots and weaponry, including bronze battle axes and crossbows.Last but not least, Pit 3 has a small collection of well-preserved soldiers, standing boldly on a cobblestone walkway, surrounded by a sturdy barricade.
Mt. Huashan and The Cliff Side Plank Path
After mom left for the airport on Monday, I was back to solo travel, and ready for a slightly riskier endeavor. 😀
By the way, I don’t use the phrase, “hiked upward” lightly. 😛
This is where the extremes kick in, and your glutes begin to burn. 😛Thousands and thousands of seemingly endless stairs- both a physical and mental battle.Miraculously, at my mental low point, when I was sweating, but also freezing, because it had begun to snow, this man walked past blasting Scorpions, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” on his boom box. 😀
Bless this man, because his energizing music lifted my spirits, and this song became my battle cry to get me to the top! 😀After two hours of walking I reached Central Peak, known as Jade Lady Peak.There I saw a few people having lunch, and feeding some adorable mountain cats. 😀From there I journeyed to East Peak, known as Immortal’s Palm Peak.The fun began at South Peak, the highest point of the mountain and the location of the infamous cliff side plank path.It’s known as the world’s most dangerous path, since it initially took around 100 lives each year. Recently, they have added the addition of harnesses, so it’s more feasible to cross, although still requires much mental toughness.The journey begins with a sheer drop off the mountainside, where you climb down a steel ladder to a small wooden plank.
At times, there was nothing but tiny indented rock holes to place your feet.This venture is not for those with a fear of heights, as absolutely nothing separates you from a falling off the cliff, held up by no more than a wooden board and two harnesses. What makes this path more challenging is that it’s a dead-end, and actually involves two-way traffic!
That’s right! As you walk along the plank, people walk around you on the outside. Absolutely ridiculous! 😕As a safety precaution, each harness has two clips, and you make sure to unclip one at a time, so that you are never left unsecure.At the edge of the plank path, there’s a brooding Chinese man with a camera, sitting on the rock face, taking the perfect capture of your walk along the world’s most dangerous path.Terrifying? Yes.
Worth it? Absolutely! 😀From there, I journeyed to West Peak, the location of the stunning Taoist temple, Cuiyun Palace. At that point, the snow was falling and I could hear birds whistling in the trees. I felt so accomplished after conquering this mountain, that when I stood at the foot of the temple, surrounded by the peace and tranquility of snowfall and chirping birds, I experienced an ethereal moment of sheer bliss. 😀Cost: Expensive, at around 50 USD, including shuttle, round-trip cable cars and entrance fee. That being said, the mountain is very well-maintained, and visitors are even fingerprinted upon entering, for monitoring and safety reasons. After a long day, I returned to my hostel in Xi’an, Seven Sages Youth Hostel, for a well-deserved nights rest. 🙂http://www.hostelxian.cn/en/
There you have it, the extreme sites of Xi’an. From an immense excavated army of terracotta soldiers, to the rising peaks of Mt. Huashan, my experience in Xi’an was surely incredible and extremely unforgettable. 😉
From there I flew to Chengdu to interact with local wildlife, including an up close and personal encounter with Giant Pandas. Stayed tuned to hear all about it. 🙂