In Shangri-La We moved to N's Guesthouse as 517 only had the expensive rooms left. They did a great yakburger and rooms were good value but we were ready to move on so checked out and made our way to Sha Xi. To get to Sha Xi you have to book a ticket to Jian Chuan, from there it's a 10RMB packed minibus ride to the small town. Although small, Sha Xi had to be one of our favourite stops on this trip. The buildings are beautiful and in the most part authentically old unlike other places we had been. The pace is relaxed and the people honest and friendly. We spent the first day relaxing in the square watching a film crew shooting for a phone advert. Later we spent some time getting purposely lost amongst the back lanes. We stayed at the guest house Horse Pen 46 in the square. Our room was small but quirky, our toilet was positioned at the end of the bed! A St. Bernard and Tibetan Mastiff lounged around the courtyard and received a belly scratch or two (they would have received more if they weren't so smelly!).
|The toilet at the end of the room :o)|
|The sleepy dog|
|Shooting the advert|
|Chilling at the cafe|
|The temple in the square|
|The backstreets of Shaxi|
|The stunning reception area|
|Being treated like royalty|
The second day we wanted to visit Shibao Shan (stone treasure mountain) to see the temples and excellent views. Arranged via the Horse Pen 46 Hostel, it was 200 RMB return for the driver to take us to the mountain and two temples in a small van which we shared with two other tourists, Laura and Matti from Italy. We found these guys after asking around to see who wanted to share the trip costs with us. There was a bit of a situation when the moto driver they had already had preliminary discussions with saw us approaching the car to leave Shaxi and moaned until Matti gave him some money for not going with him. You aways hear about how important it is to 'save face' in China but from what we saw on this trip it must have a different meaning this country!
Another long and windy road eventually took us to the ticket gate, where upon the driver's advice, Kate ducked down in the back to save on a ticket cost (we let Matti have this saving to make up for paying the whining driver off). We asked the driver to take us to the farthest temple, Shizhong Temple (Stone Bell Temple), to begin with. We could immediately see why this was one of the first nature reserves to be officially protected by China. There are countless grottoes, shrines and stone carvings many dating back around 500 years. The forest walks are beautiful and the views are sprinkled with smaller temples and shrines along the mountainside. Note that you do need a ticket to enter but we got past this with the 'I must have left it in the car' routine'.
|Village on the mountain side|
|A statue in one of the grottoes|
|Some interesting geology|
|At Baoshi Temple|
|Monkey family and friends|
Maurie along with his wife and team prepare the food right in front of you, all of it is sourced locally or made in house. They even have a selection of home made cheeses of the highest standard (anyone who values good cheese knows that in most parts of China it is as rare as rocking horse poo). After we discovered the Hungry Buddha we didn't eat anywhere else. The pizzas and cheeses are sublime but everything on the menu is fantastic and reasonably priced considering the time and love that goes into the food. Washed down with excellent wine and great vibes (the small 8 seater square setup encourages conversation so a great place to make friends) you get a real homely feel and will definitely leave with a smile on your face.
|Maurie and his wife|
|Fine trio of desserts|
Are you a student thinking about coming to China or boosting your CV and employment prospects?
Come for an internship with InternChina and you will never regret it.