Published: April 17th 2012April 17th 2012
Last thursday morning I left my hotel in Ping An very early and walked down the hill in the rain to the carpark to catch the bus to Longsheng. The bus was on time but we had to wait about 30 minutes for some passengers that had been at a large wedding in town and were a little late getting up. It was an enjoyable 40 minute trip and the guy I had been sitting next to showed me the bus to get on for Sanjiang. We left right away and it took only an hour and a half to arrive at the Sanjiang bus station. A couple of the things I have noticed in China is the number of bridges they have, and also how much cement is being used for government works as well as for peoples houses. Once at the bus station I tried showing people where I wanted to go (Chengyang), and they answered me in chinese because nobody could speak english, but I could obviously work out that I was not at the right bus station. After asking a few people and getting the same answer I decided to go with a motorcycle taxi (a little
like a tuk tuk) and hopefully he would take me to the right bus station. About 10 minutes and $1.50 later I was on the right bus that would take me to Chengyang.
The trip only took about half an hour and the bus dropped me off just before town at a tourist ticket booth. When I found out that the ticket would cost $10 I was a little unsure if I wanted to enter or not because I specifically came here to see a bridge only. After checking out the brochure for the area and seeing that the villages looked interesting, I paid my money and walked up to and onto the wonderful 100 year old bridge. On the bridge I ran into another Australian guy that was in my dorm in Yangshuo and he had great things to say about the area. I checked into the hotel right near the bridge for $6.50 a night and then had a wander through the charming village nearby. There are a few souvenir shops and wooden hotels but none of the locals are pushy and the atmosphere is very relaxed. They seem to get a couple of busloads of chinese
tourists and a few foreign tourists during the weekdays but not many of them stay the night. On friday and saturday they get more chinese tourists that have come for the weekend. A lot of the locals wear traditional clothing and are happy to just sit about town talking while making some handicrafts to sell at the little shops to the few tourists. When they are not doing this they are busy in the fields picking and planting vegetables or playing board games or cards.
The area consists of about 5 or 6 small villages inhabited by the Dong people. The villages are all very close together and consist pretty much of all wooden multistorey houses and a few wooden hotels mainly near the bridge. There are many of these wooden bridges in the area, called wind and rain bridges, and the one in Chenyang is supposed to be the finest of them all. I spent a total of 3 nights here and just wandered around the villages during the day and also walked up to a viewpoint above town.
On sunday morning I decided to head to the town of Zhaoxing which is north of Chenyang in
Guizhou province. I got up early and was having breakfast when I was joined by a dutch couple, Jong and Cor, who I had met the previous day and they had told me they were off to the same town. Luckily for me they had a car, driver, and guide, and they offered me a lift which I was very grateful for. The first stop we made was at Sanjiang market where myself and Cor took the opportunity to have our bags fixed by a couple of locals with sewing equipment at the market. For $1.50 I had my daypack fixed which saved me from buying a new one. After stocking up with some food we drove about an hour down the road where we stopped at a small village to have a look at a very old wind and rain bridge (about 600 years old) and a stage and courtyard that the government was repairing. We also made a brief stop at Diping to have a look at another bridge and also to a small village called Tang An which has stunning views looking down the valley of terraces to Zhaoxing. After arriving in town I said thanks to
Cor and Jong and found some cheap accommodation for myself.
There are more photos below