What to do as a TEFL teacher in Sichuan province!
After teaching our TEFL teachers how to make dumplings last time we’ve rather pushed the boat for the latest trip on the TDC social program. Last weekend we took several of our wonderful English teachers on an overnight journey to Chengdu’s neighboring city Meishan to visit Wawu Mountain, Liuijiang Ancient Town and the Memorial Temple of the Three Sus. It was a joyous and special occasion where our team and teachers got to socialize and have some fun. It was even the first time some of our teachers had ever seen snow in their life. So today we will take you through our memorable trip, and profile the locations we went to, let’s get started. And we answer ‘What to do as a TEFL teacher in Sichuan’!
Meishan is a prefecture-level city located in Sichuan Province on the southeast of Chengdu. It is halfway between the popular tourist route from Chengdu to Leshan, so maybe worth a stop when you have a chance. It has a population of just over 3 million people and the city covers an area of 7,186 square kilometers. It is only 63 kilometers (39 miles) from Chengdu and you can get there using the Chengdu Expressway at Chengdu East Railway Station where the high-speed train will only take 30 minutes to get there. The 3 main iconic tourist hot spots in the city are as follows.
Located in Hongya County of Meishan, Wawu Mountain National Forest Park is the key scenic spot of the city with the mysterious mountain as its centerpiece. The surrounding park covers 268 square miles of land and is home to more than 200 species of birds and red pandas. It’s not only great for sightseers but it has also become a Taoist Shrine. Along with the sacred Emei Mountain in Leshan, the two mountains have been revered as the two wonders of Sichuan from as early as the Tang (618-907 and Song (960-1279) dynasties.
Rising 2,600 meters above sea level, the summit of the fog-shrouded mountain covers 11 square kilometers and is the world’s second-largest plateau. The mountain’s name in Chinese literally translates as ‘tiled house’, describing its flat summit that resembles the bricks of the tiled roofs from these traditional Chinese houses, you can see this in the picture above. It is also said that when the great philosopher Lao Tzu discovered the unique mountain, he couldn’t see clearly at first because of the mist and fog but as soon as the wind blew the fog away he was blown away by the beauty of the mountain. So the Wa in Wawu sounds like the Chinese word for wow and Wu sounds like the word for fog. This is another explanation of the mountain’s name.
There are regular buses that can take you from Meishan East Railway station to Hongya County where you then transfer bus to Wawu Mountain. You can get to the top of the mountain by cable car or you can climb, along the way passing lush forests and cascading waterfalls. Atop, if it’s not too foggy, there are some nice panoramic views of nearby peaks and valleys. Lucky for us, our team and TEFL teacher Sichuan were greeted by heavy snow and a winter wonderland. It was truly stunning and it is genuinely starting to feel like Christmas.
LIUJIANG ANCIENT TOWN
The next stop on our journey is the beautiful and picturesque Liujiang Ancient Town, lying also in Hongya County. It’s a quiet and relaxing spot away from the hustle and bustle of the city where you can hear the stream of water from two rivers which run through the old town. Whilst not one of the most ancient or one of the most famed old towns in Sichuan, Liujiang still illuminates with 800 years of history, and what it lacks in history it definitely makes up with charm, so much so that it was mentioned in Lonely Planet’s ‘Sichuan’s Most Charming Old Towns’.
Built in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), the old town used to be a place that housed four rich and well-known families, the Zeng, Zhang, Yang, and He clans. Today some of their mansions are still intact and draws visitors. It is the wooden architecture of these old Chinese-style houses with the crackling of the flowing river and luscious green trees and mountains in the background that gives the town its authentic charm. A hike along the embankment or into the countryside is irresistible. And one of the great things about this spot is that it is still relatively unknown and hasn’t yet seen masses of tourists pouring in, so get there before it becomes a massively popular destination. There are regular buses from Meishan East Railway station. If you’re taking a bus all the way from Chengdu, then a 3-hour bus journey departs from Xinnanmen bus station near the city center of Chengdu to Hongya county where you will transfer onto a local bus to the town.
THE MEMORIAL TEMPLE OF THE THREE SUS
Only 10 minutes taxi ride from Meishan East Railway Station, the Memorial Temple of Three Sus (San Su Ci) is the former residence of three great poets of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), Su Xun, Su Shi, and Su Che. It was during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) that the residence was reconstructed into a memorial temple that celebrated their life and works, that was opened to flocks of people and litterateurs who came to worship the three legendary poets even till this day. The temple was designed in a classical garden museum style and consists of 16 historic buildings, the Mujiashan hall, ancient wells, ponds, and also features an abundance of cultural relics and works by the Sus. It’s a must-see for any lover of Chinese history or literature.
So this is was our post about the social program for our TEFL teacher Sichuan and where our Meishan journey ends. We hope you’ve enjoyed it and hope you get some ideas about things you can do here. We also do have some teaching positions available in Meishan city, so if that tickles your fancy, you can always get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now in the words of the great Lao Tzu,
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
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