Chengde Postcard



It took five hours to travel the 225 kilometres north, from Beijing to Chengde, in a sleeper train, during the day. The alternative was to stand, but it still took the same amount of time, feeling like an eternity.

Shortly after arriving in Chengde, I was more than a little bit suspicious when I was approached by an attractive Chinese lady offering me a hotel room for $US15. As the guidebook said there was no backpacker accommodation in town, a hotel room for $US15 seemed strange, but I still followed her, despite my better instincts.

A short while later I was standing in a hotel reception, accepting their offer of a mid-class hotel room for US$15, still waiting for the catch.

But it never transpired.

I figured it must be because the season was getting closer to winter and my location was getting closer and closer to the Artic, not far off from freezing cold.

A deer

Ironically, or perhaps not, Chengde was one of the previous Chinese dynasty’s summer resorts.

Enclosed by a 10 kilometre-long wall the emperors cavorted and hunted in an enormous park-like garden, to this day still filled with lakes, deer and temples.

But now in the cold, everyone was either falling asleep or falling apart.

Except me.

I was still full of life; like a deer been stalked.


Park in Chengde
Park in Chengde
People in park in Chengde
Overloaded vehicle

Chapter 4