After a good sleep we got up for another early rise to catch the bus to the Tibetan Monastery village Langmusi. Being quite experienced China travelers we had already picked up tickets the day before (after our visit in the Nature Reserve). The bus station is located around 1k from the entrance to the nature reserve and on the same side of the road, it's not super easy to see from the main road but look down the right as you're walking and you'll find it next to the Sunshine Hotel, looking like photo below. I don't know why It's called "Jiuzhaigou mouth traveling passenger transportation center", someone translated the Chinese character a bit too direct (as the square character Kou “口” literally means mouth of a human or animal. But it also means entrance/opening).
The tickets were RMB 115/ticket and the bus left at 7am. We were prepared for a 9 hours journey as per the ticket girls' information.. So our snack bag was awesome (apples, dates, local plums, local walnuts, dark chocolate, a bag of dumplings & lots of water).
The scenery was quite similar as we drove, big open green hills with mountains in the back. Once in a while we drove by colorful Tibetan villages that got me really excited about our destination. Oh and then I probably took around 5 naps, the thought of 9 hours bus ride made me super sleepy.. But to our big surprise after less than 5 hours ride Langmusi was announced to be next stop!
As we had seen with previous stops, the bus literally stopped by the side of the main road and passengers got of in a rush before the bus took off again. So here we were at the side of an empty road with no sign of Langmusi town and no idea where to go...
Luckily, as if summoned by the sound of the once-a-day big bus passing by, a few moments later a couple of cars with local drivers pulled up out of a side road and offered lifts into town for a few kuai. Stoked! Where there might be tourists, there is always some business.
The minivan bumped down the muddy road into Langmusi, feeling like some old western slash mountain village slash Chinese tourist town. A couple of drives up and down the road, we arrived at our destination, the Black Tent Cafe which is run by our contact Liyi.
She also runs the Langmusi Tibetan Horse Trekking - Leon pre-booked a 3 days horse trekking tour including home-stay with a group of Tibetan nomads prior to our arrival so Liyi also arranged our hotel accommodation in Langmusi the nights before our trekking begins. Let's see if we both will be going, I'm not super pleased about the thought of trekking & tenting in 0 degrees celcius or the thought of not showering or changing clothes in 3 days... But as Leon reminds me, I'm a big promoter of getting out of our comfort zones once in a while and this is certainly also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live side by side with nomads who may not be living like this for long anymore as modern life reaches even these edges of the world.
After a chat with Liyi, eating Western lunch and enjoying a YUMMY coffee at The Black Tent Cafe we went for a long walk out of the little village to explore the beautiful surroundings. A couple of friendly locals (with beads for sale), green fields & hills, magnificent mountains & cliffs and beautiful fresh crisp weather.
Needless to say: I'm so excited about spending some days exploring this local community and culture. Horse trekking and very authentic nomad living? Mmm let's see about that =)