Wuyishan (oo-e-sharn) is a fabulous protected area for people to visit in China. Mostly Chinese only venture this far inland from the major cities but all foreigners would enjoy this diversion too. The scenery is a combination of many of the main mountainous regions in China.
To get there I would suggest to go by plane as the Train Trip from Fuzhou (nearest major City) is 5 and half hours long. Your backside would be more thankful. However if you do go by train I would suggest to go on a first class ticket. The locals all crowd into the cheaper carriages and to see their local travel and eating habits might be a shock for some. To my knowledge there is only 1 express train that leaves daily from Fuzhou. It leaves at 8:30am. The cost for the common class is a little over 50 RMB (each way). Be at the station at least 30 minutes before departure.
When you arrive at Wuyishan train station take the steps down to the exit and avoid all the Hawker taxi drivers at the entrance expecting you to part with large amounts of cash. Foreigners are an easy target and will follow you chanting their Chinese broken English at you. It's part of the cultural experience so try to enjoy the banter rather than being annoyed with it.
As you are walking forward you will see a little kiosk about 50 metres away. The lady sells a tourist map for little money (you need some low 1 and 5 RMB notes)and she can direct you to the bus that you need. (Chinese spoken only). Now here's the tricky bit. The front face of the kiosk is roughly perpendicular to the direction you want to walk to get a bus. There are about a million buses and for those that will read about Wuyishan's hotel accommodation of my report I suggest you go to the Hotel we stayed at. (Elite Boutique Hotel, reviewed separately). So you will need 2 buses to get there but it's not difficult to get to if you follow these instructions. TIP: Taxi's are a huge rip off here and the buss will cost only 4RMB total between the 2 buses. Taxi's are over 50RMB.
1. You will need bus No.2 firstly. So from the Kiosk it's about 50 metres away. You are looking for a white small passenger bus. The train station is the end of their route so you will see them traverse the small circular road that rotates around the station front. The bus will have red Chinese writing on it but you can spot the No. 2 amongst all the writing. This is a common bus that Wuyishan people use.
2. This bus leaves the station and travels straight down a longish road before turning right. (Cost is 1 RMB per person). KEEP an eye out for this right turn about 5 minutes travelling time and about 2 or 3 stops later from the Train station. You can see the corner easily in front of you out of the buses front window. It is a T intersection. As soon as the bus turns right, get off it at the next stop.
3. After you get off the bus wait for it to leave and cross the road (pedestrian crossing is hardly used) and you will see people gathering under a blue sign that has No. 6 printed on it. This is the bus stop you want and will now travel the opposite direction from when you arrived. In other words it travels left of the T Intersection from the Train Station's main road.
4. This bus No.6 is costs about 3 RMB. You will need to look for some of these landmarks so you know that a. you are on the right bus and b. you know when to get off it. This bus route appears that you will be leaving the town, however the town is really in two sections, the older section (North gate) and the newer part (Southern Gate). The Gates are the entrances to the park. YOU want the Southern Gate so bypass all the Hotels in the Northern area of Wuyishan. This bus trip will be about 20 minutes. Here is a list of landmarks you will need watch out for as you travel down this road (mostly straight).
• North Gate entrance will be about 5 minutes travelling time on the right.
• DEC 2012 the road bridge wasn't completed so you will go down on the right side and up again to travel along the same road not far from the North Gate
• Large Military Air force base and Airport 7 minutes on the left.
• New township with new buildings on both sides appear after about 15 minutes
• In the distance on the mountains there are 2 pinnacle outcrops. (maybe hard to see)
• Large carving shops appear on both sides.
• NOTE: You are looking for a communication tower on the left that looks a little like a small Eiffel Tower with straight legs. It is hidden by building a bit so you will need to look for the top of it. On the right and just before this there is a DICO's fast food restaurant. As soon as you see this communication tower you need to get off the bus at the next stop (nearly opposite it). Also on the bus stop side there is a ABC Bank. The road at the crossroads just after the stop is the road that leads to the mountains across a bridge.
• If you see a BRAND New KFC on the left, you went too far and just get off the bus. Additionally if you see the end of the New Town then you have gone too far. Stay on the bus as it will turn around after the stop at the Southern Gate and you can get off it when you see the tower coming back.
Once you are off the bus the hotel (back entrance) is down the lane about 20 metres) The hotel has the name (Elite) on the wall above and the hotel is coloured purple. The front entrance is past the bank and to the right.
Out the back of the hotel and a bit further towards the mountain are some restaurants. La Mien, noodles is about two streets on towards the mountains from the hotel. Ask for Chow La Mien or Zhu (Ju) La Mien. Beef and noodles or Beef soup and noodles.
For visiting the park here is the information you need.
The bus No.6 that you just arrived on goes to the South Gate. (1 RMB). It is easy to spot as it’s the last bus stop on the route and is a semi circle for the bus to turnaround. He will turn the engine off. After walking down some stairs you will walk across to the ticket office. People will be heading that direction after getting off tour buses.
NOTE: Take cash with you. There are no ATM's here. Per person a 2 day pass will cost you 253RMB per person. A little pricey for the locals. However the park has free buses to get you around. The ticket has many places to go to. (Miss out the tea option). You are here for mountains, not a cup of tea.
The bamboo raft trip CANNOT be accessed from the South Gate Park ticket and entrance. Details are below on how to get to this destination.
The main place to visit in the park is Tianyougong area. Here you can walk up to Heavenly Temple. For those that are fit, it's a must. It will take you about an hour and its one way and narrow. Some steep steps so be careful and I would only recommend this on a non rainy day. The view is breath taking and probably will rival the Grand Canyon, the Blue Mountains and Switzerland.
Another area to go to is The Thread of Sky. It’s a cave walk and not for those that suffer from Closter phobia. Torch is helpful but the steps and passage is marked by small orange lights. I loved this walk and is exciting to the say the least. A must for all adventurers like me. Once past this you can go to the entrance again or better still walk around (30 minutes) tea plantations that lead to a large Buddha carved into the rock of a large mountain. The views here are spectacular. You can walk to the top for those not suffering muscle soreness however this will take you 2hours. After viewing the Budda in the rock you can continue to the other entrance/exit instead of retracing your steps. It’s a nice circle walk and easy for most.
BAMBOO boats on the 9 Bend river is like most reviewers said a great way to see the sites while sitting down. For the ladies wear some plastic over your runners or better still, wear thongs/jandals/flip flops in Summer. The boats have water running over the bamboo but there is an area for you to put your runners/sneakers up on to keep them dry. I had the back seat and was easy for me to keep them dry. The front people have the best view but I found many of the photos can be taken from the rear by twisting around. People in the front had to stand up to get a shot and this can be a little dangerous as bamboo when wet is a little slippery. NOTE: the chairs are wired in to the floor but they DO move.
To get to these boats you can pick up a bus from the Elite Hotel. Instead of the Bus 6 the bus you are seeking doesn't have any numbers on it at all (In English that is). It’s the same type of small white bus. This bus turns right and goes over the bridge and will travel through the mountains to get to the bamboo boats. However there is a huge lack of signage to tell you when to get off the bus. Hand movements to the driver will help or prepare a picture of the bamboo boats will help. He will stop near the entrance but you will need to walk a little downhill and to the right to get to the river. If you see all the little markets selling stuff like hats etc. you have really walked too far but this is an entrance too.
The boats are interesting but as I like to Hike I found a little trapped as they will not stop on the way. So go to the TOILET before you go. The river runs only one direction so that is why you have to start on the far side and end up near the South Gate Entrance. If you have a pre purchased ticket for the park you can get on a free bus back to the South gate and then the No.6 bus back to your hotel.
TRUST ME…. stay close to the South Gate where all the action is. For those arriving late you walk across the bridge towards the mountains for some happy snaps.
For me, it has been a highlight of my experience in living in China. Make the effort and go to this region. Apart from the lack of English, it is geared up for tourists. Read my review of the hotel as I think many people that like a clean room to stay in the Elite Hotel is excellent. The room is clean, very modern and has all the features of a 5 star Hotel Room has to offer.