If you take a train out of the dense, polluted mass of a city that is Chongqing, you can get to the little town of Wulong, a famous UNESCO world heritage site known for its scenic and dramatic landscape that – fun fact – was featured ever so briefly in a Transformers film.
Our trip started off well and we caught our 8 o’clock train with no problems. Two hours later, we are stood outside Wulong station trying to work out how to get to the Wulong Karst scenic site. We spotted three fellow foreigners and teamed up with them to pay for a private car to drive us up into the mountains for an hour, at the cost of 100 RMB (£10).
The driver takes us to the visitor centre where we pay for a ticket.Although there are other scenic sites you can pay to visit, we only buy a ticket for the three bridges scenic area. Tickets bought, we head to downstairs to the free bus service that transports visitors to the different scenic sites.
Once we arrive, we head to a glass lift which takes us down to the entrance of a huge cave. This lift, which should have been an interesting experience, was marred somewhat by the extremely grubby state of the windows which were hard to see through. But no matter, because as soon as we leave the lift we can see the breath-taking cave.
If you don’t fancy walking down through the cave, you can pay for one of these men to carry you down, if you dare.
Once we reach the bottom of the cave we are treated to an absolutely perfect waterfall.
In our brief and modest amount of travel, I do believe that all the best waterfalls we have seen have been in China. We continue to follow the path (it’s impossible to get lost) and enter our second cave. We soon realise that the three bridges do not refer to bridges you will cross, but instead refer to the caves, which at the top create “bridges” between the two karsts.
By this point it was raining a lot but as you can see, it didn’t dampen the scenery at all! We reach our third and final cave and are greeted with (you guessed it!) more waterfalls!
When we exited the cave and turned to look back at it, we are greeted with the image of a monkey.
Our journey continues past yet more waterfalls and along pretty woodland paths.
The trail ends and buses wait to transport visitors away, and here’s where we made our mistake. I wonder if our previous year travelling in China had made us less cautious and little too big headed. Either way, we decided to board a bus without knowing where it was going. The bus actually ended up taking us to another scenic site, where there were no other buses to be found – no buses heading back to the visitor centre or to Wulong town.
Thankfully, by fate, an English speaking tour guide happened to walk past and saw us looking flustered. She told us how to catch the local bus back to Wulong. We waited for 40 minutes in the rain for the local bus (which was in actual fact a mini van) and sat in the last two available seats. Jonny sat at the front whilst I was sandwiched at the back next to an elderly couple. As soon as the mini bus set off the lady I was next to threw up all over the floor – clearly the windy mountain roads were not her cup of tea! But, half an hour later, and feeling slightly nauseous, we arrived back in Wulong town.
- Getting there by train: A two hour train ride costs approximately 25 yuan for a single
- From the train station to the Wulong Karst: Either catch a taxi to Wulong bus station, where you can catch a bus to the Wulong Karst site. The more expensive, but more convenient option, is to haggle with the numerous private drivers outside the station. We ended up paying 100 yuan (split between 5 people) for our ride up.
- Entrance fee: We payed 130 yuan for our ticket, but this only got us into the Three Bridges.
- Food: Before you enter the scenic site there are numerous food stalls selling food. There are also food stalls at the end of the trail. However, there are no stalls along the actual trail, so take enough water and snacks with you.
To see more of beautiful Wulong, watch our vlog: