Archive for the ‘Sichuan Travel’ Category

The Old Teahouse in Pengzhen Town, Chengdu

Monday, February 8th, 2016
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Teahouse culture dominates the psyche of the locals in Chengdu or the whole Sichuan Province. Drinking tea has been incorporated into the local routine life for ages. Teahouses are scattered around the city and you can easily find them in a park, a busy street, or a run-down alley.

No matter which teahouse you enter, you will see the unique Sichuan-style teahouse facilities – bamboo chairs, square tables, stove, tea set and teapot.  With urbanization and fast pace of daily life, old teahouses with the original flavor have become fewer and fewer  though there are legions of teahouses in Chengdu.

Only in remote and backward towns, you can still find the vey few ancient teahouses and most of the them only exist in our memory. The Ancient Teahouse in Pengzhen Town, about 30km west of Chengdu city center, is one of such primeval teahouses with the original Sichuan teahouse flavor. Its existence is a trace of “Tea Culture” left from history, adding much to the condiments of the modern life and to the rare bonding people to people relation.

The Ancient Pengzhen Town Teahouse is located on the old street in Pengzhen Town, about 30 km in the west of Chengdu. The old house is a bungalow, nameless, no sign, with an area of 200-300 square meters, facing the streets on its two sides. The front and back doors are all made of wooden boards.

The main wooden hall beams hanging overhead inside the teahouse slants a bit down and the walls are discolored by damps and crumbling with age, which all tells us the old teahouse still lives in the remote history. When you enter the old teahouse, you will see the old tea tables, old bamboo chairs, old tea customers, old teapots, giving people a feeling of being in the another world.

Here there is no hustle and bustle of the cities, no shadows of reckless people,  but rather a simple and leisure mode of live, attracting numerous visitors each year to experience the simple and unsophisticated life style.  Plan your Chengdu tour? A side trip to the ancient teahouse in Pengzhen Town is highly recommended.

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Teahouse

Pengzhen  Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

 

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

Pengzhen Old Teahouse

All photos from internet, any questions, just drop a line.

Bipenggou is a fairyland in Autumn

Friday, December 4th, 2015
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Bipenggou (毕棚沟) is a high altitude valley between 2000m and 5000m, 4 km wide and 45 km long. It has become an ecotourism resort, or officially known as Bipenggou Scenic Resort. It is located in Piaotou Township, Li County, on the northern face of Siguniang Mountain, about 198km to the northwest of Chengdu.

In Bipenggou Scenic Area, you will see  virgin forests, plateau lakes, snow-capped mountains, all year round glaciers, alpine meadows, limpid streams and waterfalls. It is a piece of pure land with zero air pollution index. You may come here any time of the year : snow skiing in winter; greenery in spring; flowering in summer and golden colors in autumn.

Autumn is my favorite time to visit Bipenggou Scenic Area, a time to see the valley blanketed with autumn golden hues, a natural palette, like a fairyland on earth. If you are in Chengdu, you are highly advised to make a day trip to Bipenggou from Mid-September through the end of October.

There are three daily buses going from Chadianzi Bus Station in Chengdu to Li County ( 7:10am; 8:10am; 9:00am ) and bus fare 58-62 yuan. In Li County, then you try to share a local bus going to Bipenggou ( about 20 yuan per person ).  If you would like to stay overnight in Bipenggou, you may stay at Bipenggou Hotel (Tel: 0837 – 6828666 ) , not far from the entrance to Bipenggou Scenic Area. But you still need to walk about 10 minutes to get to the Tourist Center for a shuttle bus going up to the valley.

Buying your entrance ticket ( 80 yuan ) and shuttle ticket ( 60 yuan) at the Tourist Service Center. Opening hours: 07:00 am – 5:00 pm. Line up at the tourist service center for taking a shuttle bus up to Shanghaizi 上海子 ( 28km from the tourist center) in the middle of the valley. Sightseeing around Shanghaizi, then you may take an electric car up to Moon Bay (月亮湾), 4 km from Shanghaizi, almost the end of the valley open to the public.

Alternatively you can hike up from Shanghaizi to Moon Bay (4km). After sightseeing around Moon Bay, you either take an electric car back to Shanghaizi or walk down the valley to Shanghaizi ( 4km ). From Shanghaizi, you take the shuttle bus back to the tourist service center to end your trip to Bipenggou.

Bipengou is freezing in the early morning, put on enough warm clothes, and be prepared for the temperature change in the morning and evening. The most visited area from Shanghaizi to Moon Bay is located at the sea-level of about 3000m. So get ready for your trip and prevent altitude sickness.

On October 21, 2015, we visit Bipenggou Scenic Area. Below are some of the pictures taken during this fantastic trip.

 

Bipenggou Scenic Area 1

Bipenggou Scenic Area 1

 

Bipenggou Scenic Area 2

Bipenggou Scenic Area 2

 

Bipenggou Scenic Area 3

Bipenggou Scenic Area 3

 

Bipenggou Scenic Area 4

Bipenggou Scenic Area 4

 

Bipenggou Scenic Area 5

Bipenggou Scenic Area 5

 

Bipenggou Scenic Area 6

Bipenggou Scenic Area 6

 

Bipenggou Scenic Area 8

Bipenggou Scenic Area 7

 

Bipenggou Scenic Area 8

Bipenggou Scenic Area 8

 

Bipenggou Scenic Area 9

Bipenggou Scenic Area 9

Any questions, just drop a line.

Add-onChengdu Tour

Jiarong Tibetan Ancient Watchtowers

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015
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Jiarong Tibetans are one of branches of the ethnic Tibetans, and now living mainly in Danba area. There are two origins for the word “Jiarong”(嘉绒). One means “Jia Mo Cha Wa Rong” (嘉莫察瓦绒), or simplified as “Jiarong”, an old administrative region referring to the area surrounding the sacred mountain known as Moerduo Sacred Mountain (墨尔多神山), where Jiarong Tibetans now largely live ; the other means “the Queen of the Valley” referring to the lost Danba Eastern Kingdom of Women (丹巴东女国) that once existed in Danba area.

On the afternoon of October 19, 2015, with much curiosity we drive along the east bank of Dadu River from the downtown of Danba and get to Suopo Township (梭坡乡), about 5km southeast of the downtown Danba. Suopo Township is composed of several villages perched on the mountain slopes facing west by the east side of Dadu River Valley.

The legend goes that Suopo Township was part of the Eastern Kingdom of Women that once existed during Sui and Tang dynasties (518- 907 AD ). In the Eastern Kingdom, ruled by a queen, men had a secondary rule. The queen lived in a high stone square tower. The kingdom was governed by all women, and men only did the farming or went to war. The Eastern Kingdom of Women was later conquered by Tubo Empire.

Getting to the foot of the village in Suopo, we pay 10 yuan to park our Highlander at the parking lot at the foot of the village. A Jiarong Tibetan girl comes up to collect the 10 yuan. We understand she is in charge of the parking lot. Having heard a lot about the beauty of the women in Danba, the descendants of the Eastern Kingdom of Women, I fancy taking a picture of a local Jiarong girl.

With her permit, I take a photo of the parking lot caretaker. She keeps her long hairs with tired braids covered in her fascinator from her back to the top of her head. Her fascinator is varicolored with beads and pendents.

A Jiarong Tibetan girl

A Jiarong Tibetan girl

A Jiarong Tibetan man at the parking lot actively introduces himself as an owner of one of the most magnificent ancient watchtower in the village, eagerly guiding us to walk up the village for a glimpse of the towers. He says he works as a security guide in a bank in the downtown Danba. On the weekends or in spare time, he helps his wife introduce tourists to his home for paid visits.

We agree on the 50 yuan entrance fee for his home watchtower, and we follow him walking up along stone steps to his home. On the way, he says that there are totally about 562 stone watchtowers in Danba, scattered around 15 townships including Suopo Township. There are 175 ancient watchtowers in Suopo Township, scattered around 13 villages. Most of the watchtowers belong to private families.

He continues to say the original building of the towers was used to suppress demons, later they became fortresses to protect families from aggressive enemies. It also served as warning beacons to help protect local villages from potential attackers. People placed valuable things, jewelry, money inside the watchtowers. He deliberately mentions that Suopo was once part of the Danba Eastern Kingdom of Women. The watchtowers were also the symbols of worshipping a male sex organ during the rule of Eastern Kingdom of Women.

Getting to his home perched high on the mountain slope, he points to the potted flowers in front of his main room in the compound, saying Jiarong Tibetans love flowers, Gasang flowers.

A Jiarong Tibetan man

Jiarong Tibetans love flowers, Gasang flowers

The kitchen room is on the first floor.

kitchen

The kitchen room is on the first floor.

We use an exterior ladder to climb up on to the second floor, the living place for his family.

living place for his family

The second floor, the living place for his family

On the rooftop of the second floor, he introduces his watchtower attached to his blockhouse and encourages us to climb up the tower. A ladder takes you to a window in the tower meters high above the rooftop. Inside the tower, there are wooden ladders carved with steps easy for  visitors to climb up. The inside levels of the tower are accessible through the several wooden ladders.

Suopo Watchtower

A window on the tower meters high above the rooftop

Mr. Chen takes the risk of climbing up step by step along the wooden ladders leading to the top.

Climb the watchtower in Suopo

Mr. Chen takes the risk of climbing up step by step along the wooden ladders

Standing on the rooftop of the second floor, he points to the neighbouring blockhouses attached with four watchtowers.

four watchtowers

Neighbouring blockhouses attached with four watchtowers

The rooftop on the third floor is for storing grain. Taking a picture of the watchtowers nearby from the third floor rooftop.

Suopo Watchtowers

The rooftop on the third floor is for staring grain

More ancient watchtowers in Suopo Town.  The ancient watchtowers here remind me of the Kaiping Diaolou (watchtowers) im Kaiping County, 130km southwest of Guangzhou.

Suopo Ancient watchtowers

More ancient watchtowers in Suopo Town

Any questions on Suopo Watchtowers,  just drop a line.

Add-on:

Jiarong Tibetan Blockhouses

Chengdu tour