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Day 2: Dali (Sanfu Inn, 三福客栈) -> Mount JiZu (鸡足山) -> Dali (Erhai)

Rise and shine! Didn't really have a good sleep as the pillows and bed were a little too thin for comfort. However other than that we still like our stay there.

Good Morning! 6.30am @ Dali Erhai (View from Sanfu Inn)
As you can see it is pretty quiet around the place we stay in the morning. It is cold of below 20 degrees in the morning. The stretch of road along erhai and the peacefulness in the morning makes it ideal for running or just a morning stroll however be sure to cover up to prevent catching a flu bug!

Balcony with comfy modern seats to admire the sea view ~
view from our balcony ( Room 3001)
It can be a little awkward if you just woke up and went to the balcony and met your neighbours there. Thankfully we didnt meet any or when we met we were dress properly haha. As you can see from the photo above, if you have neighbours with unlawful intentions they might creep over. So be sure to lock the balcony sliding door before you sleep and when you leave the room!

Sharp eyed readers might notice the presence of human at the top floor (from the photo above), that is also a place where the inn hang their wet laundry. The view from the top is good as it is high and unobstructed. Be sure to head up there if you stay at Sanfu Inn! Stay tune while we head over there in a while.

View of the school from Room 301 side window @ 7.30am
Room 301 is right at the corner of the Inn, and just beside it is a public toilet for visitors who come to 小普陀 - a tourist attraction (the small island near our inn). While beside it is their school. Coincidentally it was their Public holiday (Dragon Boat Festival 端午节) long weekend holiday from 9-11th June, so there was no school. However we still hear hourly chimes coming out from the school.
View of Little Putuo普陀 from our room
We head up to the top floor at around 7.45am.

Top floor
View from Sanfu Inn (top floor)

accomodations to the right of Sanfu Inn
In general, Wa Se zhen (挖色镇) is still under heavy development and if you were to ride along the road, you will notice that most if not all of the buildings are hotels/inns with seaview. It has become quite commercialise. No local residential development were seen.We believe that Shuang Lang (双廊) might be worse and especially given the development of tourism in Yunnan in the next 5 years, it might just get more and more commercialised :(

洱海Erhai at 7.45am
The day before we were told that breakfast will be served from 8.30am as the helper (cook) does not reach so early. However as we had an arrangement with our driver to pick us up at 9am, we were afraid that we might not make it in time. When we went down to the lobby at around 8, surprisingly the receptionist whom we didnt get the name, was really friendly an helpful to tell us that she can serve our breakfast early! Really thankful for her service.

outdoor breakfast area
Air was cooling so it is comfortable just sitting outside too. For the first day (Day 2) we sat inside (a little cramp) while for our second breakfast (Day 3) we sat outside.

Our rooms ( on 2nd and 3rd floor respectively)
As the auntie and her helper still need time to prepare our food, we took a short stroll outside Sanfu Inn.
Little Putuo 小普陀
At close to 8am, road stores were seen setting up. One observation that caught our eye was if in accordance to Singaporeans cleanliness standard, their hygiene standard might still have rooms for improvement. We saw some vendors fetching water from the sea and using it directly for their cooking. It is pretty primative (原始), nothing wrong but you know.. haha

street stores along the road
Apart from the setting up of the street stores, some elderly folks were seen exercising around the 'ocean road'(环海路) which is also the road in front of Sanfu Inn.
A man practising tai chi 
We enquired for vegetarian breakfast with the receptionist on the day of our arrival as it is my family's practice to be vegetarian when visiting places of worship specifically temples. The receptionist feels abit uneasy about our preference as she was at a loss of what other food she can serve us. However one thing worth commending is the willingness to go the extra mile to get plain mantou (bread) for us and corn to substitute for the original meat items. Refer to Day 3 post for the original (meat) breakfast.

Vegetarian breakfast
 Breakfast was ready by 8am and we were surprised at the variety and quantity provided. Each person gets (Left, from clockwise): 1 plain mantou, 1 corn, preserved vegetables, cut apples and congee. A simple yet sumptuous vegetarian breakfast. Initially we weren't used to the taste of the preserved vegetables. However after having it with the congee and mantou, we realised they complement so well and we finish it all. AND the sweet corn was the best we have ever eaten. So naturally sweet yet succulent. Maybe we are on highlands thats why the corns here are nicer too? Corns from Cameron Higlands, Malaysia taste good too haha.

We love the breakfast provided and appreciate the effort put in by the in-charge.

We have hired a driver for the day to Mount Jizu due to start 9am however he was here at around 8.45am. Very punctual, thumbs up!

The night before there was actually some hiccups. The drivers for our Day 1 (Kunming - Dali) and Day 2 (Mount Jizu) were obtained via liason through one driver (唐师傅). As they work in a team and 唐师傅 is the main coordinator and he will dispatch driving jobs to the rest of the members in their team (20-40 people). When we called the night before to confirm our driver for Day 2, we were told that he mixed up the dates and thought that we need a driver on 10th June instead of 9th June. We were so anxious because it's the long weekend public holiday, where do we find a backup driver on the spot. Luckily, they have a spare/backup driver and car for us. However earlier on we ask for a 6 seater passenger van and they only have a jeep (越野车) left. As we do not have any luggage to carry on car for the day, we agree to it though still feeling a bit skeptical about the whole thing. However there's nothing else we can do but to trust him.

Our driver (小叶)'s car
You might wonder that since we only have 4 persons why do  we insist on a bigger car, it is because generally the places of attractions in Yunnan are far from each other and the time spend on the car will be longer than typical time spent in car in a small country like Singapore. Hence for the comfort (to lower the possibilities of any uneasiness/drowsiness) we don't mind paying a bit more for a bigger car.

Overall, seeing the car (seems big enough to fit us comfortably) and given that he is punctual (we were afraid he will suddenly not turn up and we will be at a loss of how to get to Mount Jizu, and in worse case scenario, our plan will be disrupted and mood ruin), we feel so much as ease.

Our driver 小叶 is a very chatty driver (in a good way)! He shared with us alot of things along the way which included the culture of the minorities in Yunnan.

Courtesy of Baidu Map. Route from Sanfu Inn to Mount Jizu
The whole journey took around 45 mins from our inn to Mount Jizu base. If you notice from the map above, Dali Ancient Town (大理古城) is at the opposite side of Erhai. From the place to Mount Jizu, the driver will have to go around the contours of the southern end of the Erhai Lake (下关) and up towards Dali Airport and head up to Mount Ji Zu. This will take about an additional hour. We wanted to make it more convenient for us to head to Mount Jizu that's why we decided to stay at the side of the lake that's nearer to Mount Ji Zu, and the more economical decision would be 挖色镇. 

However if given a chance again, we might stay at the opposite side of the lake (near Dali Ancient Town). This is because

1. It is really quite quiet at Wa Se Town (San Fu Inn) area at night. Unless you are looking for a relaxing/peaceful stay there do so, if not there's really nothing to shop or walk around at night.

2. The next morning we are heading all the way to Dali Ancient Town before going Lijiang. The directions to head to Lijiang is at the northern part of the lake. So by heading downwards to Dali Ancient Town thereafter heading to the northern part to go Lijiang, it isn't really on the way. No doubt we get to almost go around the lake in the car however after awhile you will realise the lake looks about the same from anywhere. (blue skies and water backdrop)

3. Staying at 下关 (Southern end of the lake) may seem to be in the middle for going to Mount Jizu or Dali Ancient Town however when we passed by on Day 3, we see that it is more developed than the rest of the areas around Erhai. It was dominated by big hotel chains / condominiums / shopping malls. We came to Erhai hoping to see nature scenary more than buildings.. so well. 

Out of all the China accomodations we have researched, Dali Erhai is one of the more headache decision to make. Shuang Lang is the priciest among other areas however the sea/sunrise views are good. We couldn't catch sunrise at Sanfu Inn (Wa Se Zhen). There is also a town near Shuang Lang called 喜洲镇. If you are willing to splurge, Shuang Lang might be good. Furthermore, the more popular island (南诏风情岛) is near there. If you want somewhere economical and peaceful, Wa Se Zhen (where Sanfu Inn) might be more suitable. We found some accomodation (Condominium style) at southern end (下关) that is really affordable, spacious on Tujia, which is like Airbnb. However generally they are not as near to the lake, hence your view from the house balcony may be a little far. However it is really a good choice if you looking for economic options and doesn't mind not being the closest to the lake. For example, the apartment that we found at Xiaguan, cost only RMB 498 per night for 4 person and it is a 2 level storey house with kitchen, living room, bedrooms, balcony. It is definitely more attractive than what we stayed at where we paid RMB 860 per night in total.

All in all, there's no best accomodation but rather finding the place that's most suitable for you and your travelling partners. Another thing about accomodation in China is that they are typically influenced by the '1 child' policy in China, hence rooms generally occupy up to maximum of 3 person. It was almost impossible to find a room that can house 4 person except in Lijiang where we finally found 1, which we booked as our accomodation.

Alright, enough said and let's continue with the journey to Mount Jizu ~

Fields along the way
Mount Jizu (鸡足山) is China AAAA National Scenic Area. If you are interested you can look at Wikipedia's compiled list of China 4As National Scenic Area and China 5As scenic areas. It is a ranking done which range frm A to 5As, with 5As being the best and relatively more expensive too hehe.

                                                                                                                        - Baidu Encyclopedia
Basically Mount Jizu is not only known for its scenary and being one of the top places to catch sunrise at the peak (金顶) area, but it has greater religious meaning. To buddhism, it is one of the top 5 sacred mountains in China. In particular, one of Buddha's great disciples, 迦叶, came to Mount Jizu (华守门)and seek nirvana. 华守门 is actually a cave. Stay tune as we visit this sacred place later on.

The peak of Mount Jizu stands at 3240m while the town that it rests on BinChuan (宾川县) is on average below 1500m.

When we were nearing Mount Jizu base (at around 9.30am), we see more and more stalls along the roadside selling joss sticks.
Stalls along roadside
Soon we reach Mount Jizu base and stop by our first stop - 洗心桥 which is notable by the white porcelain vase like artefact. Most tourists might not stop by here. But there's a story behind this.

white vase artefact
洗心桥and its surrounding
By walking through this bridge, it serves to purify your soul such that you will gain the virtues advocated by the buddha.

We took some photos but we only climbed half of the bridge sadly :( 

On a side note, once we step out of the car to take photos, another van pulled over and ask us to join his van instead and he can give us discounted admission ticket. Of course we said no as we have already booked our driver (our driver was still in the car waiting for us haha) and this might be just another scam. According to our driver, he might entice you with discounted tickets but later on... you never know what happen later on ( he might drive you to another place or there might not be any discounted tickets afterall). So be careful! If things sound too good to be true, it might not be true.

We hop back to the car in 5 mins time. Along the way we passed by some temples. Basically there are a lot of temples at Mount Jizu, but the most famous one is the temple at the peak Golden Roof Temple (金顶寺).

other smaller scale temples that we passed by
Around 5 mins ride (9.40am), we reach the ticket stop where we have to purchase admission tickets before the car and people can carry on.

tickets booth
 Once our car stop by, a lady immediately approached our car asking us to purchase joss sticks/candles and admission ticket to Mount Jizu.
Lady approached our car
We were a little skeptical - not too sure if it reliable but on the other hand we weren't sure if there's joss sticks available for purchase at the peak of the mountain. Given the pricing is reasonable we bought some. We also asked our driver if its reliable to buy tickets from her. He nodded and later on he told us because he saw that this lady is a local and she wouldn't dare sell us fake tickets afterall the checkpoint for tickets is just there, anything and we can turn back and interrogate her. The original admission ticket price is RMB 80 per pax but she offered us RMB 70 only.

Mount Jizu admission ticket
Mount Jizu Admission ticket for 1
The above are the tickets we got and they are actual tickets as we saw her going in to the ticketing booth and getting the tickets for us. We reckon that she bought online tickets at a discount then sell us at a margin. In a way its a win win situation for us, she bought at RMB 64(as seen from the ticket) and sell us RMB 70. She profit RMB 6 (SGD 1.25) per ticket while we save RMB 10 (SGD  2) per ticket.
Screenshot from Ctrip. Mount Jizu (鸡足山)discounted tickets pricing
Actually previously back in Singapore we wanted to buy online discounted tickets from Ctrip too however purchase from Ctrip are not actual tickets. We still need to head to Ctrip branch to exchange for real tickets and we are nowhere near any Ctrip branch. As seen from ctrip website, exchange can be done by:
"凭供应商数字凭证码至(8位数字)大理机场服务门店、大理火车站服务门店、双廊古镇服务门店、大 理古城南门游客中心服务门店、大理古城南博爱门服务门店、大理古城苍山门服务门店、大理古城玉洱路东牌坊服务门店、大理古城一塔路服务门店、大理古城博爱 路北口服务门店、大理古城三月街服务门店、大理古城玉洱路服务门店、感通索道服务门店、天龙八部影视城(洗马潭大索道)服务门店、崇圣寺三塔文化旅游区服务门店。换票。"
Basically, for non-chinese speaking friends out there, exchange can be done at Dali Airport, railway station and in Dali Ancient Town. However as we did not go any of the places before visiting Mount Jizu, we were prepared to pay the original price of RMB 80 for admission ticket. The screenshot above shows the various combos offered by Ctrip and its pricing. As you can see a basic admission ticket is RMB 64 only.

For people who visit China for the first time, may find it confusing like how we were. In China, at least for Yunnan, they do not offer combo packages but rather everything is ala-carte. When planning, you have to research intensively and make sure you budget for all possible costs. Why do I say this? For eg, some places such as Mount Jizu, Pudacuo (Shangri-la) and Songzanlinsi Monastery (Shangri-la) they do not allow private vehicles up. They have their own bus to transport you up in the name of environmental protection. For example, for Mount Jizu, a full package will include cable car tickets, coach and admission fee. Some other places such as Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山) in Lijiang might even include Protection fee of RMB 80 on top of all these admission fee and transport! If you want to save on coach, the only other way up will be by foot. But we do not recommend for all attractions unless you are an avid hiker and time is not an issue to you.

Another pointer to take note, if you hired a car like us, it would be recommended to pay them a little more and their admission ticket to get them to drive you in all the way to the furthest possible area (car park near the coach bus boarding area). For example for our hired driver, we paid him RMB 500 + admission ticket to drive all the way to the car park. However if you do not wish to pay for his admission fee, he can charge RMB 400 only and he will drop you off at the ticketing booth earlier on.
Screenshot from Baidu Maps. 3.5km walk from first drop off to second drop off point (about 45mins)
Screenshot from Baidu Maps. 10km drive from first drop off to second drop off point
 Looking at the distances above, make a wise choice! :)

小叶 drove us to a temple near the carpark drop off - 祝圣禅寺. Time check: 10am.
祝圣禅寺 was fully supported by a renowned monk, Master Hsu Yun (虚云老和尚) who painstakingly raised money for construction of this temple. It was constructed before 1900s.

Temple's construction plan
Inside of Temple
It is considerably big. We offered our prayers and left in around 50 mins time. Weather was cooling and we did not feel hot at all. Before we left, we used its toilet and we had our first China public toilet experience. It was a 'memorable' one.

toilet @ 祝圣寺
That is the ladies toilet in picture. Basically it is just a drain that flows through the 'cubicles'. the only separation between you and other fellow people is the short wall. And of course, no doors. Basically when you head into one space and stand up you can see everyone in front of you and any business they do. And of course, with this kind of facilities in place, please dont expect a flushing system. We couldn't find any water either, so if someone before you had a big business, then opps. It will remain there until they clean the toilets.

Thankfully, maybe following the development of various areas in Yunnan, so far we only met 3-4  cases where there's no doors or if there is, the walls are really low which offer no physical protection either. The toilets are of course smelly too. No doubt the toilet hygiene condition is bad, but if you are really urgent, you have to go too. I guess, 路向随俗吧! (When you are in a foreign country, best to adapt to the country's way of doing things)

In just a short 8 mins drive, he drove us to the car park where he will park his car there and wait for us while we continue our trip up to the peak. We discussed and decided to meet him at the car park at around 4pm. Time at that time was 11am. Initially we wanted to take the cable car up and walk down the steps (you will see later on). However due to fear of limited time which we discovered later on, we took cable car both up and down.

Direction to Mount Jizu coach boarding point
It can be quite difficult to find this road that guides you to the coach boarding point. We suggest when you reach the car park, ask the locals which way to head to the coach. We had to ask a few and then found this visible direction. Guess directions can be placed more prominently.

Just a small warning, it is a 10-15mins walk/climb to the coach boarding point.

route along to coach boarding
stay alert on the directions along the way so that you dont head to the wrong way. As another one is for walking up to the peak. They go different directions.

horse riding station
If the climb to the coach boarding point is tiring, you can pay a fee to ride on a horse.

horse as a means of transport
Of course horse walks a different path from humans so... be sure where you are walking and keep a look out for 'black mines' released by the horses ~
signages & the many steps up ~
This is just a snippet. More steps coming up at this stage and thereafter. In our 11 days of journey, we feel that we climbed the most steps at Mount Jizu.

What are they looking at?
There are 1 or 2 stores selling food along the way and guess what are they looking at? Someone spotted monkeys!
Monkeys in action!
There were really really many many monkeys. Almost uncountable and all female monkeys seem to have a baby monkey latched onto them (as seen in third photo clockwise from top). Look out for the monkeys but try not to feed them? If not there's possibilities that they might be spoilt one day and attack humans. We encountered one store that is selling some nuts/bean at RMB 5 (SGD 1) per packet.

Eventually, we reached the ticketing booth for the coach. 

Coach ticketing booth
2 way coach tickets
We purchased 2 way coach tickets at RMB 20 (SGD 4.2) per pax. They only retail coach tickets there. You have too buy the cable car tickets later on at the cable car counter.

Friendly reminder
There was a board to remind tourists to pay attention to their health as the air gets thinner as the elevation increased to 3248m.

coach boarding point
coach (mini van) to cable car boarding area
The coach will only depart after it met its maximum capacity. However dont worry, as there's quite a lot of visitors to Mount Jizu and it gets filled up very fast. We did not have to queue and we can board immediately.

Off we go at around 11.35am.

It was about a 10 mins ride to the cable car station.

After alighting from the coach
After alighting from the coach, there will be like a market in front of you, walk through it and you will see the ticketing booth.

Stores selling food
Cable car Ticketing office
Cable Car ticketing (price chart)
Previously, there were 2 stages of cable cars (上站&下站), however it has since combined and become only 1 line. The 下站(Lower) was nearer to 迦叶殿. The 上站(upper) is also the one nearer to Golden Roof Temple (金顶寺). 2 ways cable car is RMB 75 (SGD 15.6) while one way up cost RMB 45 (SGD 9.4), one way down cost RMB 30 (SGD 6.25). If you have any intentions to choose to climb up or down, we would recommend you to just buy single journey first. Afterall you dont get to enjoy any discount even if you buy both ways.

For chinese speaking friends, you might notice that the price chart states 玉佛寺--金顶. FYI, 玉佛寺 is where the cable car starting point is at.

Cable car ticket (2 ways)
Map of Mount Jizu attractions (walking, riding horse, car, cable car routes)
entrance of cable car Terminal
We did not have to wait long to board the cable car (there was no queue!). Lucky to get 1 cable car all to ourselves ~
cable car and sightseeings along the way
 We did not have to wait long to board the cable car (there was no queue!). Lucky to get 1 cable car all to ourselves ~ From the top photo ( 3rd photo clockwise from top), it was taken in the cable car. We saw people climbing the stairs up. More photos on stairs coming up when we take the cable car down thereafter. Basically one sentence to sum up, we salute those who climbed up the stairs all the way to the peak. Not easy really especially when the elevation is high. You get breathless easily. Prior to going, we saw online that physically fit people take about 3 hours to climb up from the base to the peak, I reckon for my family we might take 5-6 hours given that we have yet to adapt to the climate.

The cable car ride wasn't long (about 7 mins in total). It was a foggy afternoon. There were multiple times where we were in cloudy mist/fog when in the cable car.

cable car terminal (after we alight)
It was 12 noon when we reach the cable car terminal.

Mount Ji Zu Cable car Terminal (Peak)
Brrr. Sudden cold wave swept us. Once we step out of the cable car we felt so cold. We believe the temperature was perhaps below 15 degrees celsius. Brrr.

We thought that once outside of the cable car terminal we will see Golden Roof Temple (金顶寺), but oh man we were wrong. What lies ahead of us was multiple flight of stairs up. There were sedan chairs lining up at the start of the steps, waiting for tourists who couldn't climb, can get a ride up in a sedan.

sedan chairs
direction and stairs
Follow the directions and climb the stairs up to Golden Roof Temple (金顶寺) ~

In about 8 mins time of climbing, stopping, panting, we caught a glimpse of Golden Roof Temple! Be mindful that at this point of time, the elevation is likely to be quite high (exceeding 3000m), so climbing is a little more strenous. as you might feel breathless easily.

glimpse of Golden Roof temple
The end is near! Keep climbing!

Many stores along the way you climb up
There were many stores lining along the way as we inch closer to Golden Roof Temple. They basically sell food (which we tried later on, on our way down) and joss sticks/commemorative items.

Yup, there's a sunrise platform afterall the peak where Golden Roof Temple is at is known for viewing sunrise! If you are a backpacker (without too many barangs since there is no road up there), feel free to stay at the Jin Ding Temple Hotel. I believe the sunrise view you get to see will be rewarding.
Soon, you will reach these blue building (see photo below), with the hotel (inn) on your right, just follow the path and turn left and climb the stairs up and congratulations, you have reached Golden Roof Temple !

Walk straight and turn left
final stairs up to reach Golden Roof Temple
Ta dah ~ Golden Roof Temple!
Closer look at Golden Roof Temple (金顶寺)
The golden structure is known as 金殿 while the pagoda behind is known as 楞严塔. It was known that at Golden Roof Temple, being positioned at a high altitude, you can gaze Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山) and Dali (洱海). It was a really foggy day explaining why we feel so cold even though its summer, as such sadly we couldn't see anything.
Praying ground at Golden Roof Temple
Golden Roof Temple Surroundings
As compared to 祝圣禅寺, we thought that Golden Roof Temple (金顶寺) has lesser things to look at other than it scenary. As basically other than the golden temple and pagoda (which we couldnt go up), there is nothing much. However that being said, we still think it is really a rewarding experience to come here. We offered our prayers and it was around 1.15pm when we decided to leave the temple. 

By then we were a little hungry and decide to look for place to settle our lunch. Near the entrance (where we climb the final flight of stairs to Golden Roof Temple), we spotted their vegetarian restaurant. It is ala carte catering style of around RMB 10 (SGD 2) per pax. However possibly due to the time we were at, there was nothing much left and the food isn't really to our liking (more of their local style which we have yet to get used to it.) So we left and did not try it.

Vegetarian eatery at Golden Roof Temple entrance
We decided to just head back down and have an early dinner later on back near our inn instead. However when we just climbed down and back to where the food stores were, we were attracted by its ginger tea and decided to have some food here before continuing our journey.

food stores/hostels around
As compared to its other customers, somehow my family got some 'special treatment'. The lady at the store keep asking us to sit inside and she will serve the food to us later.
Simple lunch
Either she is really that kind/friendly, or maybe she did so that she can charge us at a more expensive rate? Not too sure.

(Top left photo) First order: 2 ginger tea + yam kueh in sauce + 2 long corn (cut into 4 pieces) = RMB 30 (SGD $6.25)
(Third photo clockwise from top left) Second order: Potato Fries with sauce = RMB $10 (SGD $2)

The prices may seem cheap in Singapore standard, however we believe that over in China, locals can get them at a cheaper price. But oh well, we love the potato fries and yam kueh. The sauce won hands down. Its some spicy sauce. However we feel that perhaps there's quite a lot of MSG in the sauce :/ The ginger tea was good too. The sweet corn on the other hand was a tad disappointing as compared to what we had in the morning.

After finishing, we start to continue our journey down. We were still hesitating whether to take the cable car down or walk down (climbing the stairs) all the way to the carpark area given that we were kind of done with whatever we want to see at Mount Jizu.
Sedan chair ride
manual labours carrying the sedan chairs
Along the way, we saw some workers carrying tourists up in the sedan chair. They stop frequently along the path to gasp for air. We feel them. We feel breathless already by climbing the stairs without any burden yet they still have to shoulder the weight of their customers. Sigh, not easy to earn a living. 血汗钱啊!

Mountain valley view
Along the way back to the cable car Terminal, we saw some directions that states HuaShou Gateway华守门. Being buddhist devotees, we were aware that is the cave where the buddha's disciple enclosed himself from the outside world and seek enlightenment / nirvana. Since we have some time, we thought we can go and have a look afterall we do not know when we will come again. It was generally walk down multiple stairs. As we walk down the many many flights of stairs, we start to get paranoid. Afterall, if we want to head back to the cable car terminal, we had to retrace our steps (climb up the stairs). Climbing down is easy but climbing up at such a high altitude is not gonna be easy :(
Mount Jizu giant rock
some sights that we spotted along the way
nearing Hua Shou Gateway (华守门)!
How do you know if you are nearing? You will see alot of colourful cloths with scripture writings on it.
colourful scripture cloths
Ta dah ~
Colourful scripture cloths along the way leading to Hua Shou Gateway (华守门)
And finally after walking 20 mins, we reached Hua Shou Gateway (华守门)!
Pious devotees
'cave door'

Towards the right of the cave, we spotted some natural rock formation that look like a human expression w(with 2 eyes, nose and a frown/stern expression). Can you spot it in the photo below?

can you spot the face?
other scenaries near Hua Shou Gateway surrounding
For devotees, you can buy joss sticks/candles for offering there too.

Mountain valley surrounding Hua Shou Gateway (华守门)
We stayed for awhile (20 mins or so) before we left. It was close to 3pm then. We only have 1 hour left before our agreed timing to meet our driver. We were afraid of overcharge and also we weren't exactly confident of how long we will take if we climb down all the way. So we decided to climb back up to the cable car terminal. We took about 15-20 mins to climb back to the cable car terminal. It was a tiring climb as we were climbing up (increasing altitude).

Eventually we reached the cable car terminal and board it at 3.20pm.
Mount Jizu's cable car
The route down hill is the same route as the one uphill which we took earlier on.
view downhill
Remember the stairs that we talk about earlier? Here they are ~

snake stairs (* they are elevated!)
more stairs along the way
Generally, pious devotees might choose to take hours and climb the many steps up to reach the peak after all it shows the sincerity in the devotee to pray. In addition, do note that there are some places of attraction / temples in between that is not reachable by cable car but only via walking such as the Hua shou Gateway (华守门).

We were pretty tired already by the time we board the cable car. However do remember, after alighting from the cable car there's still walking + bus to take in order to get back to the car park! (Recall how we came !)
food stores along the way
We saw a lot of stores selling fungi and herbs. Yunnan has a lot of fungi especially during the raining season. However we went at the start of the raining season (normally jun - sep), there isn't a lot of fungi yet.

On a side note, the toilet near the cable car terminal (after we alight) is one of the best (if not the best out of our whole china trip). There is automated glass door, and air con in the toilet and large big sturdy doors! This is such a rare occurrence! or maybe its not aircon but rather the air is cooling. but whatever it is, it is the cleanest toilet we been to during this trip to China.

Probably the best toilet in Yunnan- Mount Jizu 'air-con' toilet
store owner wearing traditional ethnic minority costume
We bought 1 斤 (0.5 kg) of peaches from her for RMB 12 (SGD 2.5). 0.5kg consist of only about 6-7 peaches. But we love the peaches there. Very sweet :) Maybe because it is the season. 

We took the coach and made a slow stroll back down to the car park. Meeting our driver at around 4.15pm. With that we ended our trip to Mount Jizu and he drove us back to Sanfu Inn.

view along the way back
Happy Village (高兴村)
According to Baidu:
“ 高兴村隶属大理市挖色镇,地处挖色镇东边,距挖色镇政府所在地五公里,到镇道路为弹石路,交通方便,距市45公里。东邻宾川,南邻光邑村,西邻大城村大城村,北邻大城村。辖四个村民小组。全村有农户305户,乡村人口1291 人,其中农业人口1291 人,劳动力779人,其中从事第一产业人数637 人。全村国土面积5.76 平方公里,海拔1980 米,年平均气温15℃,年降水量1100毫米,适合种植烤烟、大麦等农作物。有耕地面积 966.2亩,人均耕地0.76 亩,林地6292.5亩。2006年全村经济总收入1124万元,农民人均纯收入2172元。高兴村属于非贫困村,农民收入主要以第一产业为主。”
- Baidu 

The village is sort of in poverty and farming is their primary source of income. Not too sure if the people in the village are really happy but afterall happiness comes from satisfaction within, which money might not provide isn't it?

nearing Sanfu Inn!
We ended our service with the driver 小叶 at around 5.15pm. Overall, we find 小叶 nice to talk to and he is knowledgable about Yunnan though he is personally from Sichuan. If you are interested in his service, you can wechat him @ 13398720697. Of course, in chinese though.

It was our last night at Erhai and we decided to take a walk near Sanfu Inn and also to settle dinner.

Barbecue delights
As it is near lake, there are many barbecue stores around erhai selling shrimps and dried fish.
Little Pu Tuo 小普陀
photo taken on the bridge near Little Pu Tuo
 We saw quite a few tourists on scooters. Scooters is a convenient way of getting around Erhai afterall it is not packed with cars and you can stop anytime you want for photo opportunities, and most importantly it is economical!
other sightings along erhai (near Sanfu Inn)
The sun was scorching and for once we do not feel cooling but hot. We felt a little tired and decided to just buy some bread and head back to our inn to eat. At the same time 'enjoying' our room to the fullest before we check out tomorrow. Hehe.

a small minimart (5 mins walk) from our inn
To be honest, the stuff inside doesn't look appealing and they are mostly covered with a layer of dust. However as we do not have other better options/other mini marts, we chose a few bread looking food.
Generally their concept of  bread is a little different from Singapore. In Singapore you can conveniently get loafs like Sunshine/Gardenia that are sort of freshly made. However over there, their bread are all pre packed and can last for even 6 months. We bought a these bread below:

Images from google and its respective websites
Though they seem to have a longer shelf life than the normal bread we see, but they taste surprisingly okay. But of course if given a choice, we will still take our own Gardenia/Sunshine bread haha. We bought the above at around RMB 6/ pack (SGD 1.25)

Blue sky white clouds at erhai (View from Sanfu Inn) taken at 7.49pm
We ended our day early when the sky has yet to turn dark (before 8pm). So far we had 2 days of good weather (sunny/cloudy but no rain at least). Little did we know, this is the 'last' blue sky we see in Yunnan. What's ahead of us is rain, everyday :(


miniature Marnyi Stone(玛尼堆)
" 玛尼石(Marnyi Stone) 最原始的名字是 “玛智石” 。这是根据三世如来心咒八字真言 “ 嗡 . 玛智牟耶萨列德”,取了前面的“玛智”两个字而来的。 “玛智石” 是从古象雄时代所留传下来的传统习俗。现代藏族同胞许许多多的习俗和生活方式,比如婚丧嫁娶、天文历算、医学文学等等,在某种程度上也仍沿袭着古老雍仲本教的传统。藏族同胞还有许多独特的祈福方式:比如转神山、拜神湖、撒风马旗、悬挂五彩经幡、刻石头经文、放置玛尼堆、供奉朵玛盘、酥油花甚至使用转经筒等等,这些也都是古象雄雍仲本教的遗俗[1]  。
玛尼石(Marnyi Stone) 在西藏各地的山间、路口、湖边、江畔,几乎都可以看到一座座以石块和石板垒成的祭坛--玛尼堆。这些石块和石板上,大都刻有六字真言、慧眼、神像造像、各种吉祥图案,它们也是藏族民间艺术家的杰作。"
Basically these Marnyi Stones ( 玛尼堆) are commonly used by the tibetan (commonly see in Tibet / Yunnan area) for a few functions including to seek blessing for others. So if you see sudden congregation of stones arranged in some particular way, be sure not to disrupt them! Later on we saw bigger versions of these Marnyi Stones in Shangri-la near Shika Mountain in Day 7.


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