Hidden treasures

Updated: 2015-05-23 06:59

By Wang Kaihao In Longshan County, Hunan Province(China Daily)

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Hidden treasures

A timber bridge with green backdrop in Rebala.[Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]

Countryside excursions

After a rest stop in Liye, we set off on another excursion, zigzagging north to Bamianshan Mountain, part of Wulongshan Mountains, which I first discovered via a popular '80s' TV series, Wipe Out the Bandits in Wulongshan.

Karst topography means this trek is a perfect combination of treat for the eyes and test for the legs. There is a relatively plain area in the valley, that the locals call" grassland in the air," but what attracts me more is a sink hole, otherwise known as "zishengqiao" (a bridge formed by itself).

In the early 1950s, there was a major campaign against local bandits in Xiangxi, and the final battle was in Bamianshan. It is said that 3,000 bandits mysteriously disappeared into the mountains, sneaking into the caves.

After some consideration, I decide not to explore deep into the huge caves because of a lack of preparation. Our local guide says he once went into the cave, and found pots abandoned by the bandits, even after two hours' walking.

No one knows what the caves lead to. The guide jokes the other end of the tunnel is Colorado.

The pristine preservation of what we have seen in Longshan is likely thanks to inconvenient transportation. The county's income per capita is less than half of China's national average, but there is some good news for locals who are hoping to shake off poverty: Acompany plans to build infrastructure turning these semi-secluded places into popular tourist attractions by 2017.

And we all know what will happen then.