Huangshan, Day 3: Jade Valley
After a relaxing day in the village of Huangshan, Crystal and I were ready to continue our touristy activities at 翡翠谷， The Jade (or Emerald) Valley. Getting there was not easy — we had an outdated map and an unhelpful man at the front desk of our hostel who refused to give good directions in English or respond to my Chinese at all (I know I’m not THAT bad). We ended up walking about and wandering to a long distance bus station (I think) and almost walking into a woman who offered to take us into 汤口 (tāngkǒu) for 20元, a town where I had read we could catch a bus to the Jade Valley. This was fine, we shared a cab with another couple from Jiangsu province and ended up in the right place. The lady found us another cabbie to overcharge us and take us up to the entrance of the park, but whatever, we got there around 10 am. 75元 to enter (35 for me and my student ID!), and enter we did!
I loved this park. It’s small, but beautiful. In terms of stair-climbing it’s not comparable in any way to Huangshan (many many many fewer stairs) and you don’t get the majestic mountain views, but it’s got a really nice atmosphere and it was very uncrowded. You essentially follow the river up the valley until you reach the 爱子 rock, a place with the character for love etched into the stone. Legend has it that a famous Song dynasty poet wrote it himself… surrrre. Anyway it was gorgeous and very relaxing.
We finished up by 1 or 2 pm. This is definitely not a full-day excursion; if we were to do it again we might have visited a nearby village or other sight-seeing location. As it was, we managed to find a cabbie to take us for half the price back to town. He found us a bus going to 屯溪 (Túnxī) and flagged it down for us. The bus was 16元 per person. I definitely suggest buses over cabs any time you can swing it - less of a chance you’ll get swindled.
When we got back to town (Friday), it was CRAWLING with the weekend tourist crowd staring at us and snapping pictures. We hid inside a cafe and ate sandwiches before heading back to the hotel for drinks and sleep. All said, quite a good day.