Friday, December 27, 2013

Pilgrimage Hike To Mount Emei - Sichuan, China

It is a known fact that there are 4 sacred Buddhist mountains in China with recorded history dating back to few thousand years ago. It has been my wife's "Bucket List's" wishes to climb all the 4 and even if I refused, she would go alone on her own! So I had to push myself hard to tag along too. So far we have scaled the Mount Hua in Xian, Mount Jiuhua in Anhui Province and Mount Emei in Sichuan. We will cover Mount Wutai and Mount Putuo someday.



1. My friend recommended that we should stay at Happy Hotel at the bottom of Mount Emei which received 'fantastic' rating reviews online for such a small budget hotel. I realised this family run hotel provided very caring and warm service to advise us so much about the mountains besides lending us some shoe braces to wear. The lady boss also packed home made mantou buns & boiled eggs for us. She was just like a mother to me! I liked that!

The temperature was like -2 Degrees Celsius and I was frozen like ice! The room was freezing but we slept well with the electric warm blanket. Other 5 star hotels could be warmer but they didn't receive good ratings like Happy Hotel.




 


2. The next morning we took a 2 hour bus ride from the main road up to Mount Emei. Halfway, we stopped at small shop arcades to use their "Signature Toilets" which do not have doors! This one looked bearable to me. I have seen several which the partitions were just 2 feet and the men all shared a common drain to drop their poohs! At every hour. the worker would use a hose to flush all the feces down the drain!! The men could smoke and just chit chat with each other while squatting down. So fun to shit together in China! Oh My Gawd! Bluek!





3. We reached the bus terminal at the foot of snowy Mount Emei to start hiking up. We had to rent their iron spoke braces to clamp beneath our shoe soles to hike on the ice steps and snow. It costs 20 Remenbi rental with 80 Remenbi deposit.



 


4. Off I went up the steps and it was so bloody cold below the clouds. It was like -10 degrees with white thick snow everywhere! Many idiot people did not rent the protective shoe braces and fell down. Some brainless ladies wore high heels to look pretty & walked up. They also fell flat many times like clowns. Aiyo it was so bloody dangerous! Never die before la.





5. Some rich sohai fellas hired the workers to carry them up and down. Oh man, it was such a long journey and it's no joke!!! The hike was some 2 km to reach the Cable Car's station midway and another 2 km hike at the top station to reach the summit!!! It was thick ice and snow all the way.





6. I love my wife the most in this world and would obediently walk behind to make sure that she was alright. Actually I was also panting so hard like a sick dog behind as I could not breathe the thin air! Muahahahaha





7. We reached some small cottages halfway. As usual I must pretend to take photos so that I could rest my aching legs and bones otherwise the other CB folks would laugh at me. Even the 80 year old grandmas had better stamina than me. No kidding!





8. Finally we reached the Cable Car Station which shortened our hike other wise it would be another 10 km of walk.



  

9. It was all white, snowy, frosty and blurred my photos. 
Hey my camera was brand new and good one leh. So kiasu me.





10. We reached above the clouds! Look at the sun!! It was so bright, hot and still cold. It was such a confusing temperature! Everyone had to wear sunglasses to reduce the white glare of the snow.





 11. Look at the Snowman and I.





12. Look at the lovely view with clear visibility. Most people did not have the chance to see such clear skies above the clouds. I think the heavens look like this! Has anyone been to heavens & back?





 13. The snow covered the roofs of the temples below. It was a pretty sight to behold. The plateaus are there too.




14. Look at my fingers! I was pointing at the Mountains of Tibet! Can you see Tibet?





15. This is the closer view of the Mountains of Tibet. Beautiful isn't it?? Hello??






16. I reached the summit finally! Hooray! Look at the heavenly clouds below!





17. The final steps to reach the Golden Summit's Temple at the top.






18. There are many huge heavenly elephants lining the steps up. The Bodhisattva rides on these elephants.




19. I was overjoyed and happy at last.





 

20. The Golden Summit Temple with the statue of Samantabhadra Bodisattva who rides on the heavenly elephants. 
The 10 heads above signifies the 10 vows she has made.




  

21. We left our hand prints behind.




Thursday, December 26, 2013

Giant Buddha of Leshan

On our way to Mount Emei, we stopped by to visit the Giant Buddha of Leshan in Sichuan. It is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world and was carved out of the rocks of the big hill that faces the river.




 1. This is the entrance where you need to walk up thousands of steep steps until the top of the hill in order to reach the giant Buddha's head, before trekking down its narrow path to reach the front of the statue.




2. My honey was pointing at this special word. What does it say?




 3. It was a chilly Monday and there was still a big crowd of mainland folks from other towns. They all looked so different in facial features and spoke weird & rough Mandarin slangs.



4. We could see the panoramic view of the Leshan city nearby across the river.



5. I was still halfway to the top and had to stop. I wanted to pretend to pose for photograph as I was almost dying and gasping for oxygen!! It was difficult to breathe in the thin winter air.




6.  There are several temples up on the Leshan Hills and this one is the Amitabha Buddha's temple where many monks were doing chanting.




7. When I visited any temple in overseas, I would always pay my respects to seek for their blessings and protection so that my vacation would be a happy & safe one. We can always donate cash into their donation boxes or funds to build / repair temples.





8. At the peak of the hill, one could see the top most part of the stone carved Buddha's statue.




9. There was another smaller temple with the Laughing Buddha's statue inside and flanked by the majestic looking 4 Heavenly Kings' statues.



10. There is a statue of the Chinese monk Haitong who collected funds to build the statue in year 713. He hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels traveling down the river. When funding for the project was threatened, he is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. 



11. My wife posed with the Buddha's statue.






 12. After walking around for an hour, we got ready to start trekking down with the crowd through the very narrow alleys on the hill side.Many parts were so narrow that I had to turn my body side ways to get through. Many silly ladies wore very high and pointed heeled boots to walk. They suffered like crazy!




 13. When I reached below, I gasped at the sight of the steep steps and crowds jamming their way down. It was quite a long climb down.






14. At last, I could see the whole carved statue which looked amazing. It has many special holes on the whole structure which helped the rain water to flow out.
 



15. 2 crazy guys took turns to pose like that. I was amused and decided to snap their photos. We could not step back any further to snap photos as the huge river was there.





 16. Everyone had to use another route through some old caves to climb up to the same hill again. From there, everyone would have to use another path with steps to return to the main road below. I hope that I did not confuse you about the whole hill which had to make one way walking directions to control the huge crowds of the tourists.



 17. When I reached the top, I could smell some fresh buns steaming in the air and that made me greedy as usual. I always like to try everything in a foreign country be it delicious or horrendous. So look at my stuffed pancake! SOS! I had to take out my McD's sauces to kill their taste.




 18. On my way down the other side of the hill, I spotted this unique pagoda temple atop. It was built during ancient times to serve as a landmark to warn passing fishermen and boat vessels that they were approaching the dangerous river currents where many boats had capsized.

I still have several posts to share and I am not sure whether to post them all (?)

Chunxi Road Shopping Haven / Mount Emei / Liu Bei's Tombs / Yongling Mausoleum of Emperor Wan Jiang / Taoism Temple / Manjusri Temple / Luodai Ancient Streets / Narrow Wide Street


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Best Of Chengdu

I am back home now. I spent 7 days in Sichuan, China where I stayed in a fabulous hotel right in the downtown of Chengdu along the financial hubs near to the happenings of famous Chunxi Road which is similar to Shanghai's Nanjing Road.



Rhombus Chengdu Hotel offers very top notch facilities, interior decors and 5 Star services with the most polite & efficient team of hotel personnel right from the sales marketing, front desk, housekeeping and concierge services. I would have kissed them all for enduring my fussy demands!



 


 I slept very comfortably for 5 nights on their king sized bed in their suite room. Everything was remote controlled and they provided 2 huge LED televisions with curtain screens operated by just a  finger touch.



 

My wife spent most of the time lazing on this sofa to finish her university's assignments and the hotel was simply thoughtful to pamper us with fresh pistachio nuts everyday.


 

 The bar and luxurious bathroom were fully stocked with beverages, best aromatic coffees with brewing machine and toiletry creams by Crabtree & Evelyn. I was in heavens and got all my worth's.


 

On my last night, I was checking out and waited for my car at the lobby when I saw a group of hotel personnel with bodyguards lining at the door to form a barricade. A tinted MPV arrived and a celebrity promptly jumped out amidst the screams of his fans outside. I was all the time holding my phone and managed to snap blurry photos of this Taiwan-based idol Wu Chun. He is so young and handsome. No wonder the gals screamed their lungs out!

I realised I made the same choice of hotel with a famous celebrity but he probably slept in a Presidential Suite while I booked my smaller room at promo rates, many months ahead. I shall return to stay there someday. This is not a paid advertisement okay.



 Honestly, I was attracted to this Chengdu's Lan Kwai Fong's entertainment hub which is just a 20 minute walk away from the hotel. I was curious to see this place after partying at Hong Kong's Lan Kwai Fong several times.




It was so cold that night like 3 degrees with a light drizzle. I must say that it looked so different from HKG's but they are much more organized and colourful with lavish Christmas decors in Chengdu.




We both ate Japanese dinner and drank hot lattes at Starbucks after dinner. 




We both held hands and rekindled our love along both sides of the river banks. Lan Kwai Fong overlooks the tranquil river and the colourful water reflections made it so romantic! Muacks!





Friday, December 13, 2013

My Winter Vacation 2013

I have been so busy the last few days rushing all over the places to buy stuffs for my coming Winter trip. Some friends say that we both are a weird couple, who "Never Die Before" and would climb the most dangerous mountains or ski in harshest temperatures. I live here all the time in hot and sweaty weather conditions, so I need some extreme temperatures sometimes to rejuvenate my mind, body and soul. That's me, alright!



Tomorrow we will be flying off to Chengdu for 7 days! We will hike around Mount Emei and stay up there for 2 nights in the brutal winter of average -5 degrees Celcius.



We will visit some powerful ancient temples up there as Mount Emei is well known for being one of the 4 sacred mountains in China. It is very important that we need to be mentally prepared and cart along all the right attires otherwise one might freeze & kaput.



We went skiing in Korea some 2 Winters ago and I suffered like hell as my own thick winter jacket and shoes were not suitable enough to walk on ice in extreme temperatures. Even the Winter jacket was not for minus temperatures and I learnt a good lesson! Here at the ski resort, I had to rent their yellow jacket which was perfectly suitable and I could even sweat while skiing. 




Last Winter, we climbed the most dangerous mountain in China which was Mount Hua in Xian. It was scary like hell. My shoes did not have the proper soles that could prevent me from falling down. I slipped & fell painfully on the smooth rocks and ice floors! Ouch!




Look at how scary the narrow paths and everyone had to hold the rusty chains to trek inch by inch!! One wrong step and you will fall below over 3,000 feet to meet your ancestors. Your shoes need to be suitable to trek and climb in such conditions.


 I went to climb mountains again in China during early Spring 2013 and headed to Mount Jiuhua in Anhui Province, China. I was satisfied that I was well and fully equipped with the right clothing, jacket and shoes.
 
 


I was hunting for the right shoes from shop to shop and found them after a frantic search. It was well over RM350 each before discounts. The soles have the most rough and pointed patterns that would hopefully keep me upright without falls.


I also bought 2 new Winter Jackets that are suitable to be worn in cold winters below Zero Degrees C. I will bring along many sachets of 3 in 1 White Coffee, Chilly Sauces, Sambal Belacan and Cup Noodles! I have visited China many times and their coffee flavour needs help! Malaysians are truly blessed with so many types of nicer beverages and chilly sauces.



Besides bringing along 2 sets of Winter jackets each, we also need to bring along different pairs of gloves, scarves, mufflers, Ultra Warm Long Johns (RM238 each!!) and sport shoes. Yes, we will be going to the gym in the hotel we have booked. It is supposed to be the most beautiful hotel in Chengdu - Rhombus Fantasia Hotel.

I am dreaming about my trips in 2014 and I hope to see some European cities like London, Amsterdam & Luxembourg and go East to Fukuoka in Japan. I always have this habit to dream first and then work damn bloody hard to scrimp my money. Pray for me please, thank you.

I have often been advised by friends to shop online in future instead of running around habitually. I am glad that I have found this website - Zalora where they have such a good variety of top notch quality & fashionable women & men's clothing and attire that comes from many top brands. I have earmarked many pieces from Zalora that are suitable for Chinese New Year and my coming trips in Spring and Autumn where I will definitely look stylish with confidence. Best of all, the prices are affordable and the brands are well known.


My Christmas Wish

It is 16 days to Christmas! Have you made your wishes for Santa Claus to deliver your goodies? Every Christmas, I only have one wish for Wo...