We waited patiently for a bus along the main road…nothing came. After 30 minutes a guy in a passenger car pulled up and offered to take us to Jiangling, he didn’t understand when I tried to ask how much but we gave up and hopped in. He had a loud conversation on his phone and then passed it to us. A lady was on the other end and spoke English, she said the driver is taking us to Jiangling and it will cost 20 yuan. How sweet of him to make a call for us.
It was a much longer drive than we expected. The road went to one lane in sections and it took over half an hour to get there. We were dropped off at the entrance of the village and happy to see a big sign with a hiking trail to viewpoints of Jiangling’s terraced hills – the main reason we came to visit this area.
From the car park the hills around looked brown and bleak, but as soon as we gained elevation we could see the brown was the neat edges of the terraces and inside each layer were bright green crops with thriving bok choy, spring onion, Chinese cabbage and rape seed. The rape seed attracts hundreds of visitors in spring when the terraces are aglow with yellow flowers but we had the area all to ourselves today.
The views were absolutely stunning. There were green hills on either side and the valley had the lush terraces leading down and around five Huizhou villages. In the distance were mountains fading in the fog.
We arrived at one rustic village and we quickly became the talk of town, everyone stopped and stared and one chap just followed us around. Inside the alleyways were beaten little houses made of bricks and extremely dark inside. One thing we’ve noticed about Chinese is they may look grumpy to start, but throw them a grin and they give you one double as big back.
We made it to the top viewpoint which showed the vast surroundings and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee out of our flask – a travellers best friend in winter. One of the villages below was having a big celebration with loud music, firecrackers and day time fireworks – don’t think they get the concept of fireworks.
We took the empty road down to give our sore legs (we still have pulled muscles from Huangshans steps) a break. We had a little wander around Jiangling which wasn’t the prettiest village. Derelict buildings crumbled on one side while new builds took over the other. What hadn’t been developed was the village toilets – a row of sheds with wooden planks on the floor with a plank or two missing. Beneath was a pit of slosh. The gap leading to the slosh was big enough for an adult to fall through, let alone children, I wonder how many unfortunate folk have slipped in.
We then went to get a bus back so decided to just walk along the road in the hope that one would come along. Nothing. So then we started putting our arm out for the passenger cars going past but no one stopped. Then it began to drizzle. Oh god. We kept walking and saw a sign that said ‘Long Wei’ and just cracked up laughing, oh dear.
It was only 3pm but the roads were dead. We made it to a busy village with roadworks and used our point it book to point to a picture of a bus to some workers. They suggested there were no more and after some umming and ahhing they pointed to the car image and to his friend. So we figured his friend was going to take us to the main road in his car where it would be easier to get a bus. We tried asking how much but didn’t get any answers and were running out of options. So off we went, but once we hit the main road they kept going. They took us all the way back to Likeng, probably 30km. When we tried to offer them money they totally refused and we couldn’t believe it. The Chinese are seriously lovely people and I’m so happy we’ve come here to experience their friendliness after years of slagging them off.