Our first full day in Langmusi was spent on the Sichuan side of the border. The temperature was cool, and we were all keen to do some hiking.
On both the Gansu and Sichuan sides of the town, there are Buddhist temples to visit, so that was our first stop. Unlike most of the other temples we’ve seen, the roofs on some of the buildings on the Sichuan side were silver, rather than the typical gold.
The Sichuan side temple was a bit older than the Gansu Temple that we saw the next day, but it was still beatiful all the same. We took a quick look around and then headed on our way up the trail. The trail itself is hard to miss. It begins if you keep going past the temple.
The whole entrance is very pretty. There is a pond there, and you don’t need to walk very long before you see the statue of the Tiger and a prayer flag structure.
One of my favourite things about this hike was that it was an actual hike. So often, in China, hiking is really just climbing a lot of man-made stairs. Here though, you had to make your way up some slippery rocks, and struggle with weeds and mud at times too. I don’t think any of us really minded. It was just so nice to be out in nature!
Because this is an actual hike, you should be sure to bring lots of water, and also sunscreen. Although the air is cool up in the mountains (in Langmusi, you are 3400 meters above sea level), the sun can still burn you quite easily, and you’ll want lots of water for the hike. We only encountered 1 person selling water in the entire 5 hours we spent hiking!
The higher up we went, the more breaks we all needed. At one point, a few of the guys went ahead, and Elizabeth, Andy and I decided to make ourselves comfortable and just enjoy the view.
When the guys returned with news that they had located the source of the creek we’d been following, Elizabeth and I decided to go and check it out as well. The water was coming out of the mountain, and was so beautifully cool and clear. Dave and the guys had run into some Monks up there, and they encouraged them to try drinking the water because it’s good for the soul. Dave was eager to try. I took a sip and hoped for the best!
Ovearall, I would say that the Sichuan side is best if you like to be far away from people, and surrounded by beauty. After we left the area dubbed ‘The Yurt’, where we had stocked up on water, we didn’t see anyone other than those 3 monks again until we were back at the yurt again. It was beautifully quiet and remote, and I know that personally, it’s exactly what I needed after days of travelling, preceeded by a very busy end of term.
Next up, I will be posting my last article about our time in the Amdo Region of The Tibetan Plateau. The Gansu side of Langmusi was also very beautiful, but there was an added cultural element that made our day very interesting! Stay tuned to learn about Sky Burials and to see my photos of the last Tibetan Buddist Temple we saw on our trip!