Lakes and Caves.

The Anglophone group are now in the city of Changsha, parked at the Fenglin Hotel enjoying the delights of the Hunan Provincial Museum, McDonald's and KFC (not necessarily in that order).

Bao Feng Lake.On the 4th of September the Wulingyuan Fengjinsqu (nature reserve) provided a very relaxing day.

First we visited the Bao Feng Lake a few kilometres south of Suoxiyu village. The lake is unusual in that you first climb up a long steep path to reach it and because the banks are so steep the only way to explore the lake is by boat (all silent and electric). Dotted round the lake are a number of floating stages where the local minority peoples (the Tujia, Miao and Bai) perform songs and dance. In spite of these performances and the Korean tourists who join in the singing, the lake is recommended.

Five masseuses work on Maureen.The second attraction was the awesome Yellow Dragon Cave, with the largest chamber in Asia. A full tour of the cave involves climbing many hundreds of steps inside the mountain and walking over five kilometres underground in addition to a three kilometre underground boat trip (by electric boat again).

As we left the cave we were "attacked" by masseuses offering relief from aching muscles. The main problem being agreeing a price (about $2USA) and sticking to it as more and more masseuses join in!

The trip from the cave back to Cili should have been relatively short but our guide (now terrified of "Restricted Areas") insisted that we first return to Zhangjiajie thus adding about two hours to the journey.

The night of the 5th of September was spent parked in front of the "Town Hall" and "Medical Centre" of a very small village (with the "mayor's" permission) just off the road on way to Changsha. A fascinating glimpse into Chinese village life.

The group is now spending a lot of time considering how to get back from China to Europe. The original route via India and Pakistan now appears impassable (the India-Pakistan land border is closed).

Alternatives under consideration include shipping the vehicles from India to the UK, the Karakoram Highway and the route the French took to get to China via Kazakstan and Russia. Much depends on China Swan recognizing that the route from India to Pakistan is closed, so far they are not convinced!

Our contract with China Comfort allows us to invoke the "escape routes" if there are "...problems with the [India-]Pakistan border due to crossing permit, [or] the crossing of this country proves to be impossible..."

However China Swan, in a recent e-mail, interpreted this as:-

According to the contract between French Comfort travel and us, only if there is war between Pakistan and India, the way to the Nepal is broken or other force majeure result in the unable to exit, the group tour can apply for change route via Horgos pass to Kazakstan. We also need to provide favorable evidence to apply for these to some related authorities of China. If there were the wars between India and Pakistan or way broken, it is no problem change route. But if apply for change route to authority only can provide one plan.
Stephen Stewart.

Home - This page last changed on 2002-09-07.