Going to Getu is taking a journey to the other side of the world, into the heart of China, to the end of the road and time. Here are more details and tips on how to get there and well prepare your RocTrip and your luggage.
It is absolutely mandatory to get a tourist visa before you leave. Contact the Chinese embassy in your country to know exactly what documents are required. For example, the details of your airline ticket must appear in the visa application, which means you have to buy your ticket before you apply for your visa. In addition, each participant must also include an "invitation" in the visa application. For RocTrip participants, this invitation will be in the form of a hotel reservation that will be emailed to you after you have registered for the RocTrip. This must be printed IN COLOR and added to your visa application documents.
The best thing to do is exchange cash or use your credit card to withdraw cash at the airport or in a bank in Guiyang, the regional capital of Guizhou province. The last chance to withdraw money before entering the Getu valley is in Ziyun, the last town before Getu.
1 Chinese yuan = 0.10 euros
1 Chinese yuan = 0.15 US dollars
A sk for small bills when changing money. Be careful of black market exchanges due to the widespread presence of counterfeit money. Also pay close attention to the money you are given. We were unintentionally given bills from Vietnam, the value of which is one-tenth that of yuan!
To familiarize yourself with yuan
The trip to Getu:
From Home to Guiyang
It will take about two days starting with an international flight into Beijing or Shanghai (baggage claim, customs, formalities of arriving in a foreign country, etc) followed by a domestic flight to Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province.
If possible, try to avoid flights with lots of connections and short layovers. In the event that your bags are lost their recovery will be even more of a problem once you have arrived at Getu. If you do happen to lose your bags we recommend you remain in Guiyang until they arrive. Our advice is to put your climbing shoes, harness and toothbrush in your carry on bag.
A taxi from the airport to the hotel in Guiyang will cost about 40 yuans.
It is also possible to travel to Guiyang by train from most major Chinese cities. The train from Hong Kong takes two days.
Make your hotel reservation two to three weeks in advance. We recommend hotels on Zhonghua North Road and around Yunnan Square. You can reserve a hotel room at Expedia for 20-50 euros ($28-72USD) for two people.
About two million people live in Guiyang and there is plenty of nightlife available. You can feel the young people's excitement about their freedom and their eagerness to party, always with a mobile phone in hand.
Recommendation: don't go out alone in the bad parts of town, keep your wits about you, and always be on the lookout for pickpockets in the markets and on the bus.
From Guiyang to Ziyun:
You can take a taxi directly to Getu (plan on four to five hours and about 1000 yuan for a four-person vehicle). Or you can take the bus from the bus station located south of town near the train station. You may be able to catch a direct bus from Guiyang-Ziyun via Anshun, or you may have to take two buses: Guiyang-Anshun, then Anshun-Ziyun. Going by bus will take about five hours.
Download the Guiyang-Anshun-Ziyun bus regular schedule [pdf-295 Ko]
From Ziyun to Getu
Once you get to Ziyun take a minibus to Getu, which will take another 45 minutes.
Getu is a small village at the end of the road where you'll find a national park with its landmark arch through which the sun's rays pass. Once you reach Ziyun you'll find people who know about Getu.
As soon as you leave Guiyang, and all along the highway to Anshun, the landscape is filled with countless hills and small peaks. From Anshun on, you are really in the countryside. The narrow, winding road bypasses loads of sharp peaks and we start to get a closer look at local life. It almost like going back in time. The villagers are busy in their fields, cultivating their tiny plots by hand (rape in the spring, rice in summer, corn in autumn) and their carts pulled by water buffalo. Chinese drivers are really similar to those found in Morocco and Mexico where they continually blast their horns, pass on the shoulder, make questionable rights-of-way decisions, creatively handle obstacles and make frequent unplanned stops. The need for a driver is readily apparent as it would be suicide to get behind the wheel yourself. Bicycles have recently disappeared and have been replaced unceremoniously by motorcycles and scooters upon which entire families ride.
Ziyun is the last town on the route, it's the capital of the autonomous district of the Miao-Buyi minority. As you drive the last few kilometers of the route, large orange and grey limestone walls begin to appear.
After a few more kilometers you finally reach the park entrance, Getu, and the end of the road.
To reach the main spot, the immense arch of Chuanshang, just continue on foot for 15 minutes after the road enters the park until you reach the river. Cross the river on the tiny ferry and climb the massive 1477-step staircase. All the sectors can be reached on foot and are a 40-minute walk max.
Local proverb: "In Guizhou there are not three days without rain, three kilometers without a mountain, nor three cents in the pocket of a local." Keep in mind that autumn is the driest season and at the end of October there is a magical light as the rays of the morning sun pass through the arch.
Sleeping and eating in Getu:
A campground will be available for the entire event
Numerous lodges and guest houses in local homes
Be sure to bring a sleeping bag and camping mat for sleeping, even if you're staying at a lodge.
There are local eateries where the best menus include some meat, a special soup, and a side of chicken feet to chew on!
Stores sell bottled water, canned drinks, very sweet commercially-packaged cakes, chips, etc.
To supplement the local fare, bring your own food like chocolate, energy bars, and two or three simple meals from home (instant oatmeal, dried soup, freeze-dried meals) to change things up and possibly recover from "tourista'. Don't drink the water anywhere in China without purifying it first or boiling it for 10 minutes. Bring Micropur tablets.
In Ziyun you'll find markets, country stores, two hotels on the main street, locally-produced green teas, everything you need for farming and building, furniture stores, sofas, and motor bikes! You can also find good pastry shops in the streets around the train station.
Useful travel guides:
Lonely Planet China's Southwest,
Map: Ziyun can be located on CHINA SOUTH, Nelles Map 1:1,500,000 www.nelles-verlag.de.
Getu GPS coordinates: N25°41'10.95" E106°15'50.18"
Slide show travelling to Getu: