Walking Up Wudang Shan

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The Travelers
Florence Henon, her husband Patrice Pare, their two sons Jean-Lou (7) and Lucien (4) and daughter Marine (2).

The Plan
The family traveled with China Culture Center (CCC) to the sacred Taoistmountain of Wudang Shan. They flew Air China from Beijing to Xiangfan in Hubei province. There, they stayed one night at the five-star Vienna Hotel. Rooms were nice and clean, but breakfast at the hotel was nothingspecial. The second night was spent inside the Wudang scenic area at the Nine Dragon hotel, apparently the best hotel in town.

The Cost
The 3-day trip cost RMB 4,500 per adult and RMB 2,300 per child, which included plane tickets, entrance fees and three meals a day.

The Best Part
The landscape was grand and lusciously green, with beautiful mountains,fresh air and nature all around. One of their outdoor adventures included hiking up hundreds of stairs to the Golden Monastery. While Florence and Patrice worried about the boys managing the hike, all five of them made it to the top with a sense of pride and accomplishment.The superb view from the top made the walk worth it.

The Worst Part
While they were told that there was a cable car up to the very top, it was under repair and they had to walk five hours to the Palace of Supreme Harmony. In the end, it was well worth the trek.

Most Unexpected Event
Unlike national parks in Europe and the US, visitors are never alone in Chinese national parks. In Wuhan, the family was joined by large groups of tourists of people walking the steps. They spotted plenty of elderly people taking on the climb. Traveling with children paved the way for many sweet exchanges with the locals.

Family Friendly Features
A five-hour hike with children is not recommended, but the mountain air was good for them and the children could run around freely. The local guide was very nice and let the boys "lead" the group on several occasions. A highlight for the boys was practicing taichi before watchinga taichi demonstration on Sunday at dawn.

Travel Tips
If you are not an outdoor person and dislike Chinese hotels, then this trip is not for you. If you decide to go, take a solid pair of hiking shoes and your own breakfast. And don’t forget to pack a camera to capture the spectacular views.

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