by Dominik Bogensperger

Within my travels in China, the plank walk has been one of the most exciting experiences I had. And probably also the most stupid one…
After visiting Xi´an, one of the former capital cities of China and known for a lot of cultural heritage, including the very famous terracotta army, I decided to visit the Hua Shan mountains that are close by. It´s located in Shaanxi province, about 120 kilometres east of the city and has a height of about 2.150m.
By train and bus, you can reach the beautiful national park within 1,5 h from the train station in Xi´an. M hostel was happy to help me organize the trip and the place is well known, so locals can help out just in case…
After reaching the national park, I took a cable car to one of the many peaks and started hiking from peak to peak. They are connected by many stairs and quite easy to explore within a day or two.
Due to the limited time, I could only go there for a day trip. I started with the first cable car to the north peak and went down with the last cable car at the south peak.
Close to the south peak there is a temple that can only be reached by a small but very dangerous climb known as the plank walk. You can rent a “safety” harness at the beginning of the “walk” for 30 CNY from a local. It’s mandatory and you cannot bring your backpack. Why? –I´ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

 

 

At the end of the plank walk is a small platform with a cave and a little temple that most of the people won´t visit anyway. Depending on the amount of people that will go in both ways at the same time, one way will take you about 10-20 minutes and you can rest at the platform as long as you want.

My recommendations:

·       If you have enough time, I recommend staying there for a night and watching the sunrise. There are hostels at the top of the mountains that offer a fair price and you´ll have more time to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

·       Keep calm and don’t think about safety.

·       Google the plank walk after you have been there.

·       Don’t do it if you feel uncomfortable or if there are too many people or bad weather!

·       Bring enough water and food.

·       Bring a rain jacket and also warm clothing. The weather conditions can change fast. 

·       Stay in Xi´an for at least 3 days and don’t forget the terracotta army;)

The whole trip to the national park cost me about 70 Euro, including the transfer, food, the quite expensive entrance fee of the national park and the cable cars.