There are lots of opportunities to go hiking in China, but what if you won’t be straying far from Shanghai and need a little downtime after the push and pull of the city’s megacrowds? Well, if you can pencil in two free days, hiking the rolling countryside around Wuyuan County is doable. Here’s how.
The night before: Catch a bus to Wuyuan (婺源) from the Shanghai South Bus Station (上海南站) at 6:45pm (Y175). You’ll arrive in the north of town at midnight; look for the Tianma Hotel near the drop-off point, or catch a cab or motorbike (Y5) to the cheaper Yingdu Binguan.
Day 1: Catch the 10:20am minibus from the main bus station (汽车站) to the remote village of Lingjiao (岭脚), about two hours away. From here you can take a relatively easy 8km walk (minimum three hours) over a high ridge. The route follows an ancient post road, which connects Lingjiao with the village of Guankeng (官坑), your destination. You’ll need to ask for directions (show villagers the characters for Guankeng), but once you’re on the right path, you shouldn’t get lost. Spend the night in Guankeng (about Y20 for a homestay; 住农家). Note: If you want to get an earlier start, you can also take a motorcycle taxi to Lingjiao for about Y60.
Day 2: Take the morning bus (or hitch a ride with farmers, whichever comes first) to Little Likeng (李坑), the most picturesque village in the area. It’s often overrun with tour groups, but no matter, it’s still beautiful. If the crowds are too much, you can walk out past the rice paddies and into the surrounding hills. Have lunch at the Guangming Teahouse, and then make your way back to Wuyuan town (bus Y5, motorcycle Y15) in the afternoon. The bus back to Shanghai leaves at 6pm (try to buy your ticket the day you arrive to ensure you get a seat).
Alternatives: If you have less time, you can skip the hike and spend the night in Little Likeng, which is simply serene after the tour groups have left. It’s easy to walk out into the countryside from here, and you’ll have time to get back to Wuyuan for the morning bus to Shanghai (departs 9:50am).
Little Likeng Y60, or five-day pass to 12 villages and scenic spots, Y180 (not recommended)
Tianma Hotel (天马大酒店; www.wytm.cn; Tel: 0793 736-7123; 119 Wengong Beilu; 文公北路119号; rooms Y160-180; Wi-Fi) In Wuyuan
Yingdu Binguan (迎都宾馆; Tel: 0793 734-8620; 13 Wengong Nanlu; 文公南路13号; rooms from Y80) In Wuyuan
Guangming Teahouse (光明茶楼; 0793-737 0999; rooms Y60; Wi-Fi), overlooking the river, two-minutes past the Shenming Pavilion in Little Likeng.