Home > Biographical, China > Long Qing Xia 龙庆峡 Great Dragon Gorge

Long Qing Xia 龙庆峡 Great Dragon Gorge

龙庆峡 (Long Qing Xia in pinyin), Great Dragon Gorge in English, was our destination this past Sunday (6-27-10).  Long Qing Xia is located approximately 60 miles away from Beijing and is, as we learned, accessible via the bus system.  Throughout the week we researched the place and determined that it was a single day destination and then in a combination of my conversations with the front desk lady about taxis there and the existence of a van in Beijing that could take more than 4 of us at a time (this is a bizarre idea, apparently), Taylor, Sarah and Yun’s wrangling with the official site and other online information, and Yun’s Mandarin skillz we figured out how best to get there.

It was a series of three buses. From PKU’s west gate we took bus 118 to xi1 san1 qi2 where we got on bus 919 to yan2 qing4 nan2 cai4 yuan2 where we boarded bus 920 which finally arrived at long2 qing4 xia2 (that detail was for you, future UMPKU iREU students, as well as any other visitors to Beijing).  The buses went smoothly except for having to literally run to catch the 919 bus (if we’d missed it we just would have had to wait a few extra minutes), then nearly getting on the wrong version of the 919 bus.  It was pretty funny.  As our group of westerns ran to the bus everyone started shouting “bu2 yao4 na ge” (you don’t want that one) and “no, not that one!” because they could tell we didn’t totally know what was going on. Yun came to the rescue and figured out that one of the two was the express bus, which we wanted.  So it was fine. We managed to get seats and everything was alright. The buses were even a pleasant temperature.

2 hours and 40 minutes of bussing later we arrived at 龙庆峡 long qing xia. We considered renting some horses and riding those to the entrance of the park which was determined after some talking to be a relatively short walk.  This, combined with their general grubbiness and shadiness dissuaded us from the horses. (About 10 of these guys literally came jogging over to us the minute we stepped off the bus and followed us until it was clear that we were not coming back.)

Long qing xia is some sort of government-designated park area. It is a fairly tasteful tourist destination. It is formed by a dammed river that flows down between very abrupt mountains.  The first thing you do when entering the park is go to the top of the dam, but this is done in style.  The world’s longest series of escalators, housed inside a large dragon-shaped hallway which winds up to the top of the dam is the entrance to the park, and makes for a good introductory photo!

Snapping some photos before riding the dragon into Long Qing Xia

Veronica, Sarah, Lily, and Matt near the entrance to Long Qing Xia

The attractive dam at the entrance to Long Qing Xia. The dragon is on the right.

Upon ascending the dragon you can immediately hike up into the hills or take a boat up the river to a dock farther along.  We took the boat to get a look at some of the scenery and explore around the next dock where more things were located.  The whole area is very picturesque.  Steep slopes covered with trees make up the walls of the waterway and valleys between peaks are absolutely lush with greenery.  The area is a bit hazy and looks sort of like the smokey mountains in that regard.  The pictures will probably describe it better than I can.

A shot from within the gorge

Post-boating we set off walking to the “illusion pavilion.” We determined after about 5 minutes that it was much farther than we thought it was.  It was an invigorating (By invigorating I mean very hot. Despite being quite a bit cooler than Beijing the walking in direct sunlight up a mountain was quite warm, surprisingly enough) walk up a path made primarily of rough stairs formed from rock and cement that ended at a small pavilion with an impressive view of the gorge:

The view from the "Illusion Pavilion"

After our little hike we stopped for popsicles and proceeded on to the zip line and bungee jumping.  Most of us ended up going down the zip line and one did the bungee jumping, but most of us decided that that was pushing our trust in the Chinese facilities and the strength of our spines a bit too far.  The zip line was cool and watching people bungee jump while waiting for our person was funny. You could see them looking anxious and hesitating before finally asking to be pushed or falling off themselves.

Veronica prepares to go down the zipline, or "rapid descent" in Chinese-->English translation.

Following the excitement we wound down our stay in Long Qing Xia with some snacks and boating.  We rented rowboats and went up a small branch of the waterway.  The rowboats were typical wooden boats but the oars provided were clearly homemade.  They were relatively straight, relatively round handles attached with U-bolts to what I suspect was once a piece of wooden siding that was approximately the correct size for an oar blade.  The boats didn’t really have the leg room to be conducive for me to row, and none of us really had lots of rowing experience so we took the oars and paddled with them.  We had a very pleasant and scenic hour in the wonderfully shaded canyon.  I was interested to see the continuum of paddling skill that emerges every time I see a random group of people get in boats.  Basically it breaks down along the lines of more experience and more strength result in more skill. Just interesting… Anyway, here are some more pictures!

Me, Matt, and Lily paddling our boat at Long Qing Xia

The view from the bow while paddling at Long Qing Xia

After boating we began our journey back to the city as the park area closes at 5.  Conveniently enough it also was starting to rain around 5, but since we were leaving anyway we didn’t feel like we’d gotten rained out.  So after a dash to the bus stop (which really wasn’t necessary since it rained very politely) and another long bus ride we got back to Beijing.  The trip was a perfect length for a day trip and I highly recommend it to anyone spending some time in that area.

For dinner once we got back we returned to the place with the pineapple rice since we liked it the first time.  When we were ordering I decided that what the people near us were eating looked good so I went over and asked politely what they were eating. The guy I asked was really excited and said that my pronunciation was really good (Yun translated that bit) and then started asking me things.  At first I was uncertain but then I realized that I was understanding a lot of what he was saying.  He was asking what I was doing in China and where I was from, and things like that.  So, excited by the revelation in my comprehension I definitely said “American” and possibly said “I’m from America” (depending on how well I said it, haha).  I then said “I’m studying at 北大 (PKU)” to which he exclaimed that one of the women he was eating with was an alumnus of 北大. Anyway, I got the name of what he was having, we ordered it and it was delicious though quite spicy.  I had a great dinner with the bonus of feeling slightly like I’ve learned a modicum of Chinese so far to wrap up a great day.

ong Qing xia: we intended to leave at 7:15-7:20. Chanan got down at like 7:19 and we found out the bus route had changed from the plan the previous night and thus his friend wouldn’t have been able to meet us as planned. Luckily his friend was running late and was able to get in a cab and meet us at the west gate (西门) of PKU and get on the bus with us. 2 hours and 40 minutes and 3 busses later we were at long qing xia, the great dragon gorge. It’s a beautiful gorge formed by incredibly abrupt mountains. The waterway is formed by a series of dams and, of course, the mountains. The area has been made tastefully tourist-friendly. There’s a boat that takes you up the gorge a while then drops you at a dock from which you can go hike into the mountains (we climbed up one there were LOTS OF STAIRS), go up to bungee jump and Zip line (most of us Zip lined (which was fun but not as long or awesome as I’d hoped for. Many people had never done it before and it was a good intensity for them, though), Other chanan bungee jumped with no ill effect), we got a snack then went in row boats. We all ended up paddling our row boats with the home-made oars instead of rowing. It was really fun.  The scenery was amazing—nearly sheer cliffs rising hundreds of feet, dappled with small trees clinging to their surfaces. Valleys between the mountains were overflowing with vegetation. We took the buses back (we had to stand on the longer of the trips because seats were full) and I went back to the place with the pineapple rice (the Dia restaurant). At dinner I went over and asked a guy what he was eating because it looked good. He shook my hand and complimented my pronunciation and asked where we were from, and if were American. I explained that we were students at bei da (and by that I mean I said “student” and then “bei da”. He said that the lady at their table was an alumnus of bei da and they offered the name of another delicious looking dish they had.  It was really pretty awesome they were so nice and I was able to understand the vast majority of what they were attempting to communicate, if not actually what they were saying. We discovered the existence of a few more restaurants down that-a-way for the future.
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  1. cj
    October 30, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    Planning a trip to long qing xia & really appreciated reading your entry (esp with the buses!)

    • Kevin
      October 30, 2010 at 10:58 AM

      Glad I could help! If you have any questions shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to help out.

  2. Baixue
    November 1, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Hi Kevin, I agree with cj, the bus information is very helpful! I’m interested on going there and since your post is more helpful than the official website I was wondering wether you still remember some prices: bus tickets, entrance, bungee, boating, zip line…
    Btw, do they provide any kind of map for hiking paths? Do we need mountain boots (I mean, mandatory for hiking there) or all the paths are made of rock and cement?

    Xiexie!!

  3. Kevin
    November 2, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    My memory isn’t perfect on the details but I’m pretty sure the day’s travel–bus fare, everything at Long Qing Xia, and bus fare back was 30-40 dollars USD (~7 yuan/dollar conversion).
    At the front gate you can get an entrance and you can also get your boat ticket there. They will be confused if you don’t get your boat ticket immediately because the first thing you do is go up the dragon hallway and you can set off hiking some or hop on a ferry boat (so you need to buy a boat ticket up there). Essentially you should definitely get a boat ticket since it’s very cool to go up and down the gorge seeing the pretty sights, and it lets you get in to where most of the stuff is.
    I believe the boat+entrance was 120 yuan or so?.
    The Zip line was 50 yuan per person, the bungee jumping was 150 yuan. The Zip line has two sets of pulleys for stability and uses two rigs–one to pull the other back up so it’s not as fast as it otherwise would be(it’s still quick), but that gives you more time to look out over the gorge from the middle. Make of it what you will. The bungee jumping uses a foot shackle attachment and they give you a three minute (I think) period to jump before they either push you off or you forfeit your go. I imagine some agreement was reached with the couple people who the staff nudged off, and it wasn’t wonton pushing, but then who knows.
    Renting the canoe/rowboats was… 30 yuan each? I’m not sure. You need a deposit of a couple of hundred yuan if I recall, in case you sink their boat or something.

    Regarding maps for hiking, or anything: The maps are pretty much horrific, and only on signposts, but there are a number of signs with arrows pointed toward stuff of interest (That’s how we found our way to the “illusion pavillion”!). I think I have a picture of one that I’ll post if I find it. We pretty much knew where we were going, but no specifics about where we were walking to up into the mountainside. I think most of the trails are up and back down. We only went down the one.
    I think trail shoes would be sufficient. We were all in normal running/walk around town all day shoes and didn’t have any issues. The paths are pretty well-tended switchbacks. A number of places have stairs made of rocks, and closer to the bottom a sort of cobblestone. Think fairly docile national park trails, that’s how they are.

    There is also a second ferry that you can take deeper into the gorge for more river-bound gorge sight seeing, and it takes you to another dock which didn’t have enough to lure us down there. More trails certainly, but I forget what else. We opted to just stick at the first place we got dropped off.

    I forget exactly when the last bus for the various routes involved is, but I think you pretty much have to leave Long Qing Xia when it closes if you want to get back to beijing on the busses I recall.

    If you want to take a taxi to long qing xia, the people we talked to said it would be 500 yuan for the car, regardless of passengers. They’d leave fairly early in the morning (when you wanted to), and take you back afterward (they’d hang around to take you back).

    So that’s a more logistical view of what I know about Long Qing Xia.

    • pam
      January 24, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      thanks a lot for your detailed info kevin! i’m going to beijing next month, am planning to include longqingxia in my itinery. Just to check with you – did the whole gang of you went together or you just met at the hotel and decided to go together? Coz I’m travelling alone – it’l be so much better to have people accompany.

  4. October 30, 2012 at 6:01 AM

    I do accept as true with all of the ideas you have introduced on your post. They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for beginners. May you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  5. August 14, 2013 at 4:33 AM

    Welcome you come to China, and recently i went to Long Qing Xia too, and make a guidance for those who want to go, i have explained how to get there and how much money will cost, welcome to my blog.

  1. October 14, 2014 at 3:26 AM

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