Traveling Around China

Getting Lost at Leigong Mountain and Being Saved by a Local


We woke up at Leishan Town before noon on Thursday. We have arrived there on a bus from Xijiang the day before and didn’t want to spend too much time in a town with nothing to do. I have found out online that there is a Leigong Mountain are nearby and even though it was raining a bit, we decided to go.

We went to buy bus tickets first and were planning to eat breakfast while waiting for the bus. But the bus was leaving in 15 minutes! We hurriedly bought some snacks for the journey and though there must be some place to eat near the Leigong Mountain.

Bus ride took less than one hour and had some amazing scenery. Unfortunately the bus and cigarette smoking locals made the trip a bit smelly. And don’t think about reading a book while on the bus, those mountain roads are a sure way to feel sick in the stomach!

Then we arrived to a crossroad in the middle of nowhere with only a small hut by the road. Bus driver told us to get off the bus as it was our stop. There we were with our backpacks on a rainy mountain with nothing to eat. We bought our tickets and started walking towards the top. After one hour or so we had to admit, that climbing a mountain with empty stomach isn’t a good idea.

We get back to where we started and asked the men in the hut for directions to any place with food. They told as a one kilometer short cut to a restaurant. We started climbing down those wet and super slippery rock stairs. We even found the restaurant, but as it’s not a tourist season over there, they didn’t make any food!

It started to feel a bit terrifying. The Leigong Mountain are is huge, it could be 10 kilometres to a nearest village! We had no choice then to keep on walking the road. Besides us, there were no tourist on the area, at least we saw no one.

While walking on a small countryside road we saw a minivan coming behind us and like a miracle it stopped! For a 30RMB he offered us to get on the vehicle and he would drive us to a restaurant. It took at least 20 minutes car drive the get there, we would have never made it by foot!

We were the only customers, but they still made us really delicious hot pot, spicy beef and vegetables. After hiking with an empty stomach for five hours it felt like the best meal I’ve ever had!

With our stomaches full we started to search for a place to sleep. Restaurant owner told us to walk 20 minutes to a certain direction to find a hostel. It didn’t look like that short of a trip on the map, but as two separate piece of advice told the same, we decided to hit the road again.

We walked at least half an hour and again got a drive from a local for 15 minutes until we reached the village that was supposed to have a hostel. Well, it actually did have one, but the owner was away playing mahjong and wouldn’t be back until 12pm or so. At this point it was 6pm already and getting dark.

There was no bus out of there, no car to take as and it certainly was way too far to walk. It was still raining and we were sitting on a bench under a roof pondering over what the hell we should do.

And then came our saving angle! Or saving warrior you could say too. He was driving on his scooter to get back to Leishan where he lived and agreed to take us too! So three on a scooter we started getting down the mountain with rain still pouring over us.

He was a local and thus belonged to the Miao minority living in the area. He didn’t only save us from the mountain, but also took us to his home! His wife, parents and two kids welcomed us warmly. Gave us warm water to wash our feet, towels to wipe our faces and let us sit near the fire to warm up. Then we have a real family dinner Miao style, with an exception to not having as much chili as they like themselves. Their dog kept us company too until it was getting over 9pm and we decided to head back to the hotel we had stayed the night before too.

We exchanged numbers with our saviour, a guy just a year older than us. Later on he send messages and made sure we had found the hotel and later that we were safely back to Guangzhou. We let him know that if he ever comes to Guangzhou he would surely have a room and a meal waiting for him!

Our little adventure was a success in the end. We saw amazing scenery, found a silent place in China and had a dinner in a local home. What else could we have asked for?

Next post in the series of Guizhou travels is about Langde Miao Village, stay tuned! Remember to check the earlier post about Xijiang too!


  • Mariola

    Your story sounds interesting!:) I wish I could go to China and see all these places :) cheers from Poland


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Maybe you someday will :) It’s quite amazing that I used to dream about these places and watch documentaries on TV, now I can visit them my self! I got a very strong feeling of happiness when resting on a bench in Langde (post coming up next). At that point I realized dreams really are worth fighting for.


  • Someone

    Hehe, great advantage of dating a local – he can take you to all the hidden nooks and crannies of his country that you wouldn’t get to see as a tourist, or at least not in as much depth. I hope I can one day find a girl like you I can show around. :)


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I’m sure a nice guy like you will find a girl to travel around with :)


  • Alysa

    How cool! I should explore more…anyways, random question – do you like Chinese breakfasts? For me as an American, it’s hard to adjust to the idea of eating congee and vegetables for breakfast!


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I do like different kind of baozi, but it also gets a bit boring if you eat it everyday. I dn’t like congee or noodles for breakfast. At Finland I would eat bread, cereals and porridge. I do miss that kind of breakfasts a bit. Here besides baozi I usually eat fruit and youghurt.


  • chinaelevatorstories

    The area looks great, reminds me of the dragon’s backbone rice terraces in Guangxi which are really beautiful too. And your story reminds me of some encounters with people from the countryside. One time me and a friend were walking through rice paddies and it was lunch time. It was really hot and a young guy walked towards us and invited us to his parent’s home where they also treated us to oh-so-delicious lunch. Later he took us back to the next village with his father’s motorbike. Another time I was traveling on my own and also got lost, when I asked about the way at one farm house and they told me that this was the wrong direction and where I wanted to go was really far away, they also decided to take me there by car. In both cases they didn’t even want my money. People from the countryside can be so welcoming!


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Oh yes, I was in Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces back in February 2010. Unfortuantely it was raining then too so no photos from there either.

    It’s totally amazing how welcoming locals can be to total strangers.


  • Logan Lo

    I think that this is one of those events that, when it’s happening, is just terrible but one you look back on it, it’s something that you think of fondly. I remember all the things that *didn’t* go right when I was traveling around the world and those make me laugh even now.

    Exciting stuff!


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I totally agree with you Logan! Sometimes those things are the best memories from your trips.


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