A Perfect Start To The Year
After years of various New Year’s Eves, I decided to try something different for the change over between 2013 and 2014 – travelling to Wu Yi Shan (武夷山) for a long weekend. Situated in the northern part of Fujian province, it is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the region and was labeled as a World Heritage site in 1987.
At the ripe old age of 28, I couldn’t follow up on the partying on Christmas with more over NYE. Instead, Jamie – my girlfriend – and I decided to take the five hour trip to Wu Yi Shan. Travel in China is still ridiculously cheap and although the train facilities weren’t great – the toilets overflowed quickly – everything else was fine. I’ve yet to be delayed on a train or arrived late.
Our hotel was placed riverside right next to one of the main entrances of Wu Yi Shan and the views were sensational. Much has been said of the pollution of China but the skies were blue and the air was crisp.
The first night we arrived, we were treated to a show by the famous director (in China) Zhang Yi Mou 张艺谋。More commonly, people might recognize his work when they watched the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Perhaps not on the scale of the Olympics, but the show was filled with colours, lights, hundreds of people and the lighting up of the mountain behind one of the stages which was about a mile away. It was gaudy, outlandish and incredibly in time and precise – everything I have come to expect of a Chinese showpiece. Also I might add, we were seated on a revolving outdoor stand which would spin us 360 degrees for the whole hour and a half.
Heavenly Sky Mountain
New Year’s Eve was spent walking in to the national park itself. As a national park, I expected it to be cordoned off more than it was. To climb any of the peaks or enjoy any of the cooler rock formations, you have to buy a ticket, but it would also be possible to walk through the park and enjoy its beauty completely for free.
We only had one day to enjoy it before sundown and there’s a lot to see. We managed to see and climb the Heavenly Sky mountain – although this was the highest peak at 500 metres, it didn’t really feel like a mountain – and travel through the Slice of Sky Cave. It was epically stunning and the whole area felt like another world. Something far removed from the national parks back home.
The evening was spent with a thousand other people walking around town finding somewhere to eat. We eventually chowed down on some local fish and noodles. It was a perfect end to a fantastic year and I am really happy that we decided to travel here instead of partying the night away in a typical club.
Unfortunately, the next day we had to leave and come back to reality. Back to work on the 2nd of January meant we had to get the train home on New Year’s Day, not before buying some famous Da Hong Pao tea and some other local treats. Happy New Years!