Baiyun Mountain Adventures

Friends, I hope you’ve been enjoying walking through the highlights of our trip to China with us! So far, I’ve shared about some of our favorite places in Chengdu, like the Panda Research Base and Baihuatan Park. Today, we’re going to jump to the next spot on our travel itinerary which takes us to Guangzhou.

We had to travel to this city, the capital of the Guangdong province, because it’s the location of the US Consulate. Scout had to have a Visa interview there so he could enter the United States with us, and the Consulate is also where the official Hague adoption certificate is signed.

While we were there, we had time for some sightseeing, since the Visa takes 48 hours to be processed. This time, hubby chose our activity, exploring Baiyun MountainBáiyún is Mandarin Chinese for “White Clouds,” and refers to the views of the mountain’s peaks shrouded in mist during late Spring or after a rain. From the mountain, which is about 10 miles north of the city, there are spectacular views of Guangzhou…take a look.

The total area of the mountain range is about 10 square miles, and has 30 peaks. Moxing Ridge (Star-Scraping Ridge), known as ‘the first peak under the southern sky’, is the one we climbed. It’s about 382 meters high. To get to the summit, you can walk the entire way, take shuttles all or part of the way, or even ride a cable car. We knew we didn’t have enough time before our driver returned to do the whole thing on foot, and hubby hates heights, so we entered through the South Gate and took a shuttle for the first half of the climb. Then, we got out and walked the rest of the way.

As you can see, the path is wide, cleared, and paved, which is just the way I like it. I’m not much of a wilderness kind of gal. However, the experience sometimes gets less than perfect reviews from hiker types who were hoping for a trek through the woods, blazing a trail while climbing over logs and such. {Erin, I’m looking at you…} The benefit here, in my opinion, is that kids can easily walk the path without assistance…and so can I. Although the path looks easy, let me just say it is long and steep! We hiked a little over two miles uphill to the summit and by the time we got there, all four of us were exhausted.  These pouty faces are for real, people. All three of them. 

We also had to stop at a little stand to buy four bottles of water. Next time, I would make sure to bring some in our backpack.

But here’s the good news! Once you finally GET to the top, it’s flat-out awesome!

First, there’s a pavilion with a giant gong inside and a rod to hit it with. You pull a rope that moves the rod and when it hits, it makes a super-loud tone that the boys just couldn’t get enough of, apparently. They took turns several times, then made mama and baba take turns too before doing it again themselves. Honestly, it felt pretty good being able to “announce” that you’d made it to the top, and let’s face it, hitting things is just plain fun anyway.

Second, there’s this view, which is why you climbed all the way up in the first place. I mean, look at it. Wow. You don’t see a view like that every day.

Finally, the summit was an unexpectedly magical place! I expected a plain mountain top with a pretty view, but we got so much more. The first thing we saw was this huge tree where people had placed hundreds of messages and wishes. The wooden cutouts have images on one side showing couples or parents and children, and on the other side you can write names, dates, and a message. You can purchase one there at the top of the mountain if you’d like to add it to the collection. Scout wanted one but chose to bring it home with him instead of leaving it there.

There are so many of these, in fact, that there are several spots to hang them, like this metal archway. Even though I couldn’t understand most of what was written, I loved walking through and looking, thinking about all the other people who had walked the same path.

One of my favorite things about the top of the mountain, though, was seeing this artisan at work. He had a souvenir stand set up with keychains, wooden mugs, figurines, and more that he would carefully carve Chinese characters into at your request. Scout chose two keychains for his grandfathers and got his name and “loves you” engraved on them. As he worked, he conversed with Scout, and it was the one conversation in Mandarin that I actually understood because I knew most of the words.

The artist commented that Scout is Chinese and his mother is American; his father must be Chinese. Scout replied that his father is American too. The artist asked how that could be, and Scout explained that he was adopted and going to live in America. The artist asked if he’d ever been to America, and Scout replied no. After he finished working, the artist indicated that he wanted to offer me a heart shaped keychain as a gift.

On one side, he carved the characters for, “We are family,” and on the other side he created a picture of a home. We came home with our fair share of souvenirs, but I think this one is my favorite.

After we had seen all there was to see at the top of the mountain, we started the long walk back down. When we got halfway, we took the shuttle back to the South Gate, where we met our driver and headed back to the hotel. Although we were tired, sweaty, and totally exhausted, we had a fun day and would definitely recommend Baiyun Mountain as a place to visit if you’re ever in Guangzhou. We just recommend taking the shuttle the whole way, haha!

Stay tuned for more of our China adventures!!

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