13 Days Chengdu and Chongqing Tour – Day 4 Siguniang to Dujiangyan

Miserable Night in Siguniang

Yun Xi Gu Guesthouse suffered power failure during the evening. This was due to damaged cables in town. The guesthouse was operating on a small generator. This however could not power up electric heater, water heater and the heating lamps in the bathroom.

At least we could leave some lights on in the bathroom when we sneaked into bed with the electric blanket to keep us warm. We were praying and hoping the worse was over when we went to bed to sleep for the night. Unfortunately, our hopes were short-lived. After midnight, there was complete blackout in the room. The lights we left on in the bathroom were gone. The electric blanket went dead.

We didn’t know whether it was due to fuel ran out for the generator or even the generator had failed. But we were too tired to get up to investigate. In fact, we didn’t hear any noise at all. No one seemed to bother. It was too cold outdoor anyway.

But our misery didn’t end there. My wife was nursing a headache probably due to altitude sickness. Whenever she needed to use the bathroom, I had to turn on the flash light on my cell phone to show her the way. This went on till the morning. Needless to say, we hardly slept.

We didn’t know how we got through the night. Daylight came through the window and we crawled our worn out body out of bed. There was no one outside. Apparently, everyone was still in bed and it was already past 8 am. Outdoor looked pretty refreshing and the day looked promising.

Decided to Check Out

Having discussed with my wife about the situation here, we decided to cut short our stay. We planned to stay two nights here and visit another valley this morning but we were too tired for this challenge. It won’t be funny to spend another night here without electricity even though there is so much to offer over here in Siguniang Mountains.

So I went down to look for the staff of the guesthouse. The restaurant was close and not a single soul was around the vicinity. I walked a bit here to check out the surrounding and then the elderly lady helping out here showed up with a pail. I approached her to find out when the staff would be ready so I could speak with them to check out. She used her phone to call the lady owner who was her daughter-in-law for me to speak with her.

I told her over the phone I would like to check out due to the situation here. Hence, about five minutes later, she came over to the restaurant to speak with me. The owner and other staff were living in another lodging that is separated but next to the guesthouse. Actually she had just woken up and didn’t expect guests to get up so early.

She understood our plight and so I settled our accommodation cost and the dinner bill for the previous night with her. She didn’t charge us for the second night although I checked out last minute on the spot. I also requested her to arrange for us private transfer back to Dujiangyan ancient town which she obliged. I then returned to the room to inform my wife and we took the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor site one more time before heading back to Dujiangyan.

Pleasant Morning Outdoor at Yun Xi Gu

It was a really lovely day with the sun bringing life to this place in the morning. The gentle flowing stream outside the guesthouse was refreshing and pretty. Out on the small stream, the running water was cold and clear. The setting here was truly serene. The mountains here were still clothed with trees with colour fading away into winter.

We had company while strolling near the stream with the owner’s friendly dog joining us to enjoy the morning sun at this beautiful site. The guesthouse looked lovely under the sun. Had the power supply in this area been more stable and reliable, no doubt our stay here would be exceedingly memorable. Nevertheless, we had no regrets coming here just for one night where the stunning sites at Twin Bridge Valley more than made up for the inconvenience and discomfort here.

Nice Chat with Guesthouse Owner

With our bags now back in the restaurant waiting for our car to show up, we had a good chat with the lady owner. This guesthouse is operated by this lady owner and her husband. Only this lady can converse in English. The other younger man is her brother-in-law while the elder lady her mother-in-law who was helping out but would return to Xiaojin Town later in the day. The owners have a young boy too. So this is a family run business.

So we had a chance to get to know more about the happenings here and generally in China. The cost of living in China is pretty high for city folks. Many family still doesn’t want to have more children even though the government has relaxed the one child policy for city dwellers. While chatting, we also took the opportunity to eat our breakfast with those bread we bought from Dujiangyan two days ago sharing some with the owner. We also got some hot water from the owner and made our own coffee we brought from Singapore.

After some time, the car that was supposed to pick us up still hadn’t turned up. So the lady owner called and was told the driver would be late. Had we arranged the night before, we would be assigned a driver and would be able to leave early. So this last minute arrangement would have to depend on who would be available that morning to travel to Dujiangyan and Chengdu. They have a group of drivers to call upon for such private transfer. The cost is still CNY120 per person.

Private Transfer to Dujiangyan

Shortly after 10.30 am, a white colour sedan showed up. So we took our bag and went to the car. The lady owner spoke with the driver and they seemed to know each other. Another lady was already at the front seat who had been chatting with the driver as well. What we didn’t like was the driver smoked in the car.

We then left Yun Xi Gu Guesthouse heading to Rilong Town. After passing the town, we stopped by another hotel and a young lady came to join us for the ride. She was working at this hotel and was also travelling to Dujiangyan to meet her friends. So finally, we all were heading to Dujiangyan.

It was the winding road up mountains again where we passed the Siguniang Mountains Lookout area. We didn’t stop to admire the mountains this time. We travelled along passing the very long tunnel up at this high elevation and emerged on another side of the mountains. Soon we reached a stretch of road where we saw a sea of clouds outside below the snowcapped mountains.

Amazing Sea of Clouds at Siguniang

The driver then stopped the car for us to go out to take some pictures. There were other cars stopped along the side of the road as well. Actually, it was a little dangerous to stop here because heavy vehicles travelling on this road did honk and warn drivers who stopped their cars abruptly to enjoy the scenery out here.

It was however a waste not to stop to see the awesome scenery with beautiful clouds floating below under the gorgeous sun with snowcapped mountains poking up above the clouds. It was so scenic here and lovely. Not everyone passing here has such opportunity to witness such fabulous scenery. We were still up on 3000 m elevation. The feelings up here were simply beyond words.

Unfortunately, this is not a designated stop area and would be dangerous to remain here for long with busy road traffic building up. So we returned to the car and left. Everyone was happy and jubilant after this experience. We still tried to video the passing scene from the moving car but the video didn’t turn out to be good.

On the Road towards Dujiangyan

To us, leaving one day earlier was probably the right thing to do to be able to catch this amazing scenery. Besides, we were planning to visit Changping Valley this day but the lady owner told us the scenery there would be pretty much what we saw outside her guesthouse so we didn’t miss much. Hence it was a great decision we made this morning. Actually, there is a walking path outside the guesthouse where we might be able to walk to town to Changping Valley. But this adventure would have to be postponed to another time.

While travelling up and down mountain roads, the young lady sitting next to my wife became unwell. She suffered car sickness with the twists and turns and changing altitude. She tried to endure but eventually, she requested the driver to stop the car by the side of the road. Once the driver managed to find a safe spot to stop the car, she went out and threw out at the side. She took a while to make herself comfortable before returning to the car.

While waiting for her, the driver lit up a cigarette again. So we wound down the windows. We were on the road again and this time the driver seemed to be driving a little less aggressively. We only wind up the windows again when the air in the car was more acceptable. This young lady seemed to be feeling much better now.

Unhappy Driver

We continued the journey and soon about to enter Dujiangyan. The driver asked where we wanted to alight. We told him just outside the main gate where we alighted without issue two days ago. He didn’t seem happy about it but we did hear the guesthouse lady owner told him to send us there. He was suggesting to alight us at a bus stop for us to take public bus to ancient town but we refused.

We finally arrived Dujiangyan. The lady sitting in front gave him some direction to the ancient town. He drove this lady to her destination first in some residential area where she alighted. They probably knew each other having been chatting on the way most of the time. Then we continued with the driver trying to send us in the direction to the ancient which was just nearby.

We saw the ancient town as he drove along but we were on the other side of the road. It happened that the car stopped at a red light so we alighted after paying him CNY240. We found out he charged other local passengers slightly less. His car was new and nice but we didn’t like his smoking in the car and his attitude. He seemed to be concerned with getting a ticket for alighting us near the ancient town.

Back to Dujiangyan Nine Point Hotel

Very happily, we crossed the traffic junction and entered Dujiangyan ancient town. My wife was especially relieved to be back to civilization in this shopping and dining area. It was a short walk back to Chengdu Dujiangyan Nine Point Hotel at Xinfu Road. The same front desk staff remembered us. Checking in was a breeze. We got back room 309, our favourite spot here. We also collected our two pieces of luggage we left with them the previous day when we went to Siguniang Mountains.

So back to our familiar comfy and huge room, we were really pleased. It was already 1.35 pm when we entered the main gate of the ancient town. We were quite famished by now. We didn’t have lunch the day before and last night’s dinner at the guesthouse was done in between power trips with just a simple two dish meal. Breakfast was some bread bought two days ago. So it was time to recharge.

Great Lunch at a Modern Cafe

We went out to look for a nice restaurant to enjoy a nice meal. No more spicy local food for us. While walking along Xinfu Road, we saw a very nice modern cafe. There were set lunches available and the café was very pleasant. So we went in and sat down to order our food. The friendly young people manning the café attended to us and we finally could have a meal in a very modern and comfortable setting for lunch.

Our lunch came. We liked the food presentation. More importantly, we liked the tasty meal that was totally to our taste. The beef noodles were just a little spicy but it was fine. In addition, the rice set was good. The drinks were heavenly.

The music in the café was modern varieties in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. Jay Chou’s song was played and other more popular songs were heard here too. It was so comfortable here. The modern deco here was nice. It was such a relaxing place and we enjoyed our lunch thoroughly.

We told the lady attending to us we would be back for dinner. We also commended the young chef for the good meal. They were of course very happy. This café however, seemed to be quiet during our visit. Perhaps lunch time was almost over.

Exploring Ancient Town

It was time to go for a short stroll to check out the day scene here in the ancient town. When we arrived two days ago, it was already evening. So we did some windows shopping and walked towards the famous Chinese Blue Bridge. The area here was very busy with visitors coming and going. Shops near the bridge were doing good business.

From the front of the bridge, we could see people in mascot costume standing there waiting for business. Two night’s ago, one of them gave my wife a fright when he stood so close silently near my wife who was engrossed in taking picture of the river on the bridge. The bridge is still very nice during the day. Night time was very beautiful with warm lights illuminating every corner of the bridge.

Having walked across the bridge, we were at the entrance to the scenic park. Entrance fee is CNY90. There were booths in the open area selling tickets at a lower price for those making purchase through Wechat. We were not in the right frame of mind to visit the park now as we hardly slept the previous night.

Next to the open area, buses for travel to other destinations in Dujiangyan were available. The lady at the tourist booth inside the ancient town told us we could take bus 101 to the high speed train station where we could then take a shuttle bus to Qingchengshan. The cost for this bus ride would be just CNY2. That would be the attraction we would be visiting the next day.

River Scenery at Ancient Town

We then walked along the side of the river towards the main gate. Restaurants lined this riverbank where many of the staff were taking a break. Lunch time was over and dinner time was yet to come. Some staff were playing mahjong and cards. The restaurants here serve mostly seafood. There were some Muslim stalls too inside the ancient town.

We then walked up the bridge to enjoy the rapid flowing river and snapped some pictures. The river scene was pretty nice. It was cloudy here back in Dujiangyan. It wasn’t cold here and back to 500 m elevation, high altitude sickness vanished. Soon we were back to the main gate. We continued roaming a little while more and soon were back to Chengdu Dujiangyan Nine Point Hotel.

We then returned to our room to settle down. It was time to shower too. After some unpacking, it was time to head to bed for afternoon nap. We needed to catch up with some sleep before heading out to explore and enjoy the ancient town again in the evening.

Relaxing Dinner at Oolong Tea Cafe

By the time we got up, it was already dark outside. The nap was really good. So time to head out for shopping and dining. We returned to the modern Oolong Tea Café for dinner. The lunch experience earlier was really good.

Once we entered the café, we were warmly welcomed by the young staff again. Surprisingly, the café was empty. We were the only diners. We placed our order and then explored the little café. The decoration here really made us feel at home. This place was so modern and cool. Music was just right. The ambiance was just perfect to our taste.

Soon food came. They were delicious. We loved every bit of the food. Chatting with the staff, we got to know a little of this place. This evening meal was such a contrast with the dinner we had the previous eventful day. We were making up we what we missed and it was really good. Besides, the prices of the dishes here were really reasonable.

Shopping in Dujiangyan Ancient Town

After this, it was shopping time in the ancient town. The ambiance inside the ancient town was very charming. The temperature was just right even though it was already winter. We returned to those souvenir shops we visited two nights ago. My wife bought some scarfs and other stuff.

Walking further on another street, we checked out Miniso Store. She bought some stuff as well. Exploring further along, we came across another western bakery. This bakery wasn’t as popular as the other bakery next to the main gate but was sufficient to meet our needs. We bought some cakes and bread. We also bought a small cake for the front desk staff who helped me top up credit for my sim card using her Wechat Apps.

After this, we explored the foodcourt nearby. It wasn’t busy here and we were glad we had lunch and dinner at the café earlier which was so much better. Along Xinfu Road, we check out some shops in the middle selling tea leafs. There are other shops selling panda souvenirs.

My dad had asked me to buy some tea leafs with a special name I heard the first time. After making some enquiry, the shop did sell the tea but it was already packed and I couldn’t see how the tea leafs look like. Some China tour guide ever mentioned the packed tea leafs may be genuine on top but fake below. So I held off from buying tea for the moment.

Beautiful Views from Bridge near Nine Point Hotel

After exploring and shopping for a while, we walked over to the other bridge near Chengdu Dujiangyan Nine Point Hotel. This bridge in the middle was also nicely lit up. The views of the bridge may not be as popular as the Blue Bridge but the views from this bridge were quite spectacular too.

Over here, the river split into two and we could walk down the middle section from the bridge. It was very nice up here looking at the lit up river scene and the restaurants at the riverbank. The nicely lit lanterns on the bridge were pretty too. Some professional photographers were using special equipment to capture the scenery here.

Time to Unwind in Nine Point Hotel

After spending some good time here, we walked back to our hotel just right ahead at the road junction. Over at front desk, we gave the small cake we bought to the friendly and helpful lady staff who assisted me earlier with the sim card. She was a little shy to accept the cake at first but kept it after we insisted. Back in our room, it was coffee time with the cakes we bought earlier. Supper time was good.

Looking out to the empty streets in the ancient town at night, this signaled it was bedtime for us. We won’t have to worry about heating and lighting trouble this night. The king bed was comfy and the room was modern and clean. The were many channels on TV but almost all in Chinese.

So departing from Siguniang Mountains was a great decision. Along the way, the sea of clouds below snowcapped mountains really was the high point of this tour so far. Back to creature comfort in Dujiangyan was wonderful. The lunch and dinner at the modern café was great.

The next day would be time spend to visit Qingchengshan not too far from here. Meanwhile, we needed to catch up with more sleep so we could thoroughly enjoy ourselves visiting more attractions in Dujiangyan. Surely, the sleep through the night would be sweet.

Continue to Day 5

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