Yading : Disappearing horizon on the rainy day

by: Pu  Mekpipat

“P.S.  Touring alone is quite easy.  China is so beautiful then.  Have a fun”

The above inbox message is to encourage me after I have asked suggestion from one young lady traveler through Facebook.  She “went alone” to visit Yading.. the land in a deep valley of China.

Even some 3 years ago I did visit Yunnan alone, traveling along Dali, Lijiang, and   Zhongdian as a backpacker, this trip is totally different.  I actually feel like singing back to this young lady-traveler that: “Hey, it’s not what we have talked about..”

For this trip which I can only speak wǒ ài nǐ   in Chinese my plan is to visit the famous park of Jiuzhaigou in the fall season at the end of October.  I already booked the flying ticket to the city of Chongqing in Sichuan before hearing that Jiuzhaigou was temporarily closed due to the earthquake at the beginning of August 2017. I then instantly changed my plan amidst the less remaining time while happened to see the picture of a young lady back-packed tourist in the unknown land for me named “Yading”.  It’s beautiful scenery (..not the young lady tourist’s beauty) abruptly altered my touring plan almost at that very second.

I traveled by myself in the land where English is almost unknown. So far, my experiences can be concluded as followings:

  • You must apply for a visa at the Chinese Visa Application Service Center, 5 th floor of Thanaphum building, New Petchburi road, Bangkok.  The form can be downloaded for prior-filling.  The fee for application is 1,500 baht.

  • Yading is a small village in Tao Ching town, by approximately 900 k.m. from the capital of Chengdu in the Southwest.

  • I flied to Chongqing, then traveled by the high-speed train to Chengdu, before once again flying to Tao Ching and traveling by bus for two more trips to Yating.

  • You can take a bus from Chengduto, Yading but it’s for a 2-full day with one overnight staying at Kangning town.

  • Another route includes flying to the city of Kunming, Yunnan Province then takes a but for 2 days through Dali, Lijiang and one night staying at Zhongdian. After that, you have to go across Sichuan at Tao Ching for eventually reaching Yading.

  • Yading is of 4,000 metres above the sea-level (whereas our Doi Inthanon is of 2,565 metres above the sea level).  Many people get sick of Altitude Sickness which causes easily tired, headache and committing.  At the first arrival one must be careful for the physical health adjusting during the first few days.  Otherwise you might get sick before enjoying your trip.

  • The Tao Ching airport of 4,411 metres above the sea level is the highest airport in the world.

  • About 30 km. to Yading, there is a small town called Shangrila where you can find so many hotels, i.e. Holiday Inn.  Many people prefer to stay here.  But it’s not for my suggestion since you have to take almost one hour bus riding to get to Yading.

  • Yading is of plenty of accommodation facilities.  But almost none of them seen in agoda, Booking.com, Traveloga or even Airbnb.  Anyway, by just a walk in you’ll easily find a place-to-sleep at the price of 100-300 yuan/per night, depending on staying conditions and other facilities.

  • If you’d keen to see snow falling, do come in April-May.  But if you’d love to see forestry-color-changing, then do come in October-November (unfortunately, I happened to face snow-storm and rainy-sky at the end of October)

  • The main touring places are the Yading National Park of 3 km. walking around distance to see the Lake of Pearl.  And a one-day-more walking distance of 11 km. to visit the Milk and 5 Colors Lake.  For those two days, I had to climb up mountains for which the highest one is of 4,500 meters above the sea-level.  The air was of less-oxygen by which one almost needed to take a breathing-rest at every 10 meters.

  • The 11 km. walking for touring these 2 lakes should be with properly prepared foods since there’s no any food or drink services available by selling shop.  Some energy boosting snacks i.e. chocolate, date fruit and biscuits would be also good for you.

  • Other popular tourist attracts are Chongku field, Loalong, cows farm, Heijusan Moutain

  • The average temperature at Yading, Tao Ching, Kangning is of cool to cold.  It’s over 10 o C during the day and almost at the freezing point during the night.  So, taking cold fighting equipment with you (mainly heat spreading sheet is provided under your sleeping bed).

  • Generally, Chinese people don’t speak English.  There are no direction signs, food menus or other signs in English.  But they would always speak Chinese to you even being well-aware that you’re really stunned.

  • Not lesser than half of young Chinese men I’ve seen keep smoking so crazily, even on the bus and at the no-smoking signs!

  • People do believe that young women in Sichuan are the most beautiful of all since they’ve less exposed to sunlight.  They’re as white as pearl and of slender figures by regularly walking up-and-down the hillside (surely confirmed^ ^)

  • Foods here are really spicy with “Ma La” Sichuan pepper which is so hot with strong smell.   People do believe it keeps them warm.  And it is so oily!

  • The yak meat is of strong pungent and much..much tougher than beef!

  • Most of all main route between various towns in China are still of 2 lanes of back and forth.  Travelling buses are of speed limit by GPS.  So it takes such a long..long hour to travel i.e. 400 km. from Tao Ching to Kangning is of 9 hr. trip.

  • Yogurt here is much more delicious than that in Thailand, especially those seasoned with crispy fruits ^ ^

  • Don’t ever expect to use electronics money in a small village as Yading.  But one would see the credit card welcome sign in front of many shops in bigger towns i.e. Kangning or Chengdu

  • You shouldn’t ever believe it’s so easy to visit China alone-except you could communicate in Chinese.  However, thinking of that beautiful scenario it’s worthwhile to fulfill your passion.

  • It’s a must to have “traveling insurance” since there might be certain unexpected incidents.  Believe me, such a small additional budget is worthwhile to ensure your safety.

    So far, I don’t mean to threaten you prior to your trip.  But in such a big country of so many tourism attractions traveling alone requires sudden problem solving since many things are different from what we have read about or planned for.  Let’s overlook small facing problems and enjoy our trip.  I’m still smiling with my thought about those facing problems.

I traveled for 8 days and 7 nights with a total expenditure of 18,000 baht more or less (not including air tickets from and back to Thailand).  If you have a friend with you, maybe you’d spend less.