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Wednesday, 21 January 2015


12th Dec 2014: MENGLA – MENGLUN – JIANGCHENG (235km)

This morning, I had to ride the same way via G213 back to Menglun. Upon reaching the first tunnel for today, I saw long lines of vehicles outside the tunnel. I rode slowly and a guard stopped me. I had no idea what's going on. I was stuck there for 20mins. When the guard let the vehicles in, I saw a bomb squad inside the tunnel. Urghhh...that was I rode as fast as I can. 

Again it was foggy today, and I had to slow down even though the road was good. At one time, the fog entered a dark tunnel. I cant see a thing!!! That was really scary, and to make it more thrilling, the tunnel was long. I only felt relieved when I saw lights at the end of the tunnel. Phewwww.....Later, I saw a sunflower field, so I stopped for pics.

Upon reaching Menglun, I turned right to S218. Theres no sign board mentioning it was S218, nor theres any sign board showing Jiangcheng, my destination for today. It was quite difficult for me to find my way. When I asked locals, not only they couldnt speak English, but some just ignored me bcos they didnt know the direction to my destination. I supposed they never exit their village in all their lives. Pity them. After getting lost few times, I finally found the correct way.

The ride to Jiangcheng was a tiring one. The narrow winding road was similar to Mae Hong Son - Pai, but here, the road was smaller in width and always wet, so I cant ride fast. The road was also deserted, with jungles on both sides. Thank god theres no wild animal crossing my path when I rode there.

Winding road always makes me sleepy.....I dunno why.....

I only saw one signboard all along 235km ride today, so most of the time (as always happened during my ride here since my GPS was hopeless), I had to check on the sun to ensure that I'm on the correct route. However, sometimes its hard to rely on the sun when riding on the winding mountain road bcos at one time, the sun was on yr left side, and at other times, it was behind you. The funny thing, once in a while when I saw the mile stone which had the route number written on it, the number was not the same as written on my GPS or in the paper map, and this continued for miles and miles away. I really had to trust my instinct when this thing happened. Same thing also when theres a junction, and theres no sign board or people for me to ask for direction, I had to strongly rely on my instinct. Sometimes my instinct is wrong, but normally, its always correct. I’m lucky to have a sharp instinct. Always, when something bad is about to happen, or I didnt feel good about a place, I will get the ‘signal’ beforehand. I guess this is a gift from god to me.

The one and only sign board to Jiangcheng

I was already tired when I turned right to S214. My paper map said that the distance to my destination is 30km, but actually it was 55km. Additional of 25km on a winding road when one is already very tired is not pleasant at all. Haihhhh...Fortunately, even though its still winding, the road is a bit wider, so I can speed faster. 

Finally, after riding for almost 7 hours, I reached Jiangcheng. I got a room on the first try. After resting, I checked the town a lil bit and went to the market to buy groceries.

Xinhui Hotel, RMB70 (RM35)

13th Dec 2014: JIANGCHENG – LUCHUN – YUANYANG (230km)

Today’s ride is the most challenging. After checking out, I made my way via S214, heading to Luchun. 

The wild sunflowers along the road always cheer my mood

Very soon, I had to ride on off road. In the beginning, it was a dirt road which was okey. But later, I had to ride on gravels. Theres one time, a water pipe burst and cause flood along the way. The road gets very muddy. It was challenging but in the same time, fun. Its not always that I can get this kind of experience. 

While riding, I witnessed the locals life. I felt sorry to see their poor condition. Dirty shoeless toddlers playing by the road side. Women gathering outside their homes, some cooking, and some grilling fish or searching for head lice. Men, some working in the farm and some wasting time playing chess and smoking, letting the women do all the hard work. How unfair!! I didnt see school at all in the mountains that I had passed since I started my ride :(

Theres one time while I was riding on an off road, I heard someone shouted at me. I couldnt see the person, but I stopped abruptly. Few seconds later, a tree fall off right in front of me. OMG!!! That was really close. Then only I saw the man behind some bushes. 

Later, I passed a military check point. This time, the officer wanted to see my passport. He then took my passport away. While waiting, I tried to have a friendly conversation with the other officers. Theres a lady officer who could speak a minimal English so we chatted for a while. I had to wait for quite some time before I got back my passport.

Public toilet at a village in the mountain

I continued riding, this time on dusty off road. Everytime a vehicle passed or overtook me, I will be blanketed with a thick cloud of dust. It was a very tiring ride. I took a short lunch break after riding continously for 5 hours without stopping. Today is the third day in a row that I ate my packed lunch while standing by the road side.

The first 130kms of my ride today took almost 6hrs. I had to ride on off road and damaged paved on and off. After Luchun, the road improved. 

Theres another 100kms to Yuanyang, and this stretch took me 2.30hrs. Why so long? Even though the road is in a much better condition, it didnt make my ride any easier as I had to ride in very thick fog, the thickest which I had ever encountered since I started overlanding. Visibility was only 10m, and worst when I had to ride in tunnels. Believe me, it was really scary. Totally white out. Imagine I had to ride for 50km without seeing a single thing!!! I felt like a blind person riding a bike. I almost hit some cows which lazed in the middle of the road. Stupid cows, or may be stupid herders!!! Cant find a better place to laze during this foggy condition?

The fog lessened after I had descended the mountain. How relieved, but not for long as after that, my ride was disrupted by a landslide which caused a massive traffic jam on both sides of the road. Thank god there's no fatal when the rocks rolled down. I had to wait for 30 minutes before the bulldozer cleared the rubble.

It was getting chillier as the wind was soooo strong. This followed by rain which made me shivered like hell. Theres one time that I almost fell from the bike when the tires slid as the road was slippery. I was tired, but it seemed as if I will never going to reach my destination. This was the time when I finally asked myself, "what the hell lah am I doing here riding all alone...?"

After 9 hours on the road, I reached Nansha, the new town of Yuanyang. Since I’m going to stay here for 2 nights, I decided to give myself a treat. Especially after my challenging ride today and after the last day break that I had was 8 days ago, at Lijiang. Only god knows how tired I am. I checked in at a nice place. Big spacious room with a big double bed, but only costing me RMB100.

Jonggie Hotel


I had a good night sleep and continued sleeping for few more hours after subuh prayer. How refreshing. After that, I went to the most famous attraction here – Yuanyang Terrace Rice Fields. To get here, I had to turn back 25km as the old city, Xinjie was located before Nansha (the place where I stopped for the night yesterday). So todays story will all be about the terrace rice fields which has a history of 1200 years.

The Yuanyang Terrace Rice Fields are situated in the southern Ailao Mountains, dug out by the Hani people. Different from other rice terraces in China, the Yuanyang Rice Terraces do not have so many layers, but they are outstanding for their grandiose area, having slighter slopes. Besides the majority of Hani people, there are some other ethnic groups living in the terrace area, including Yi, Dai, Yao, Zhuang , and Miao. It is said these different minorities reside in different layers according to altitude.

This Hani lady and her daughter were asking me to gv them some money.
They were pretty aggressive

The road to the terraces passed through mountainous areas. As I ascended the road, my heart sank as thick fog started to blind my view. It got very foggy when I reached Xinjie, worst than yesterday!!! What to see and how to enjoy the view in this condition? I prayed inside my heart, hoping that the fog will clear a bit. After all, I had come a long way. 

I circled the whole area from Xinjie – Bada – Duoyishu – Laohuzhui and back to Xinjie. The whole distance was 83km, which was quite stressful due to the thick fog. Somehow, I managed to see some views. Well, may be not so great as if the weather is clear, but still, alhamdulillah.....Jadi lah dari tak ada langsung.....

1 comment:

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