Many thanks for your interest in this very special journey to sacred Mount Wudang and the peculiar prognostication tool Liojen Oracle!
1. Roughly, the flight from the USA to Beijing is 21 hours, at the latest I should leave here midday October 12. Most of the emails I received say flying to Beijing is best, but the more recent ones state only to fly to Beijing. Is this your suggestion for Americans?
The easiest way for you to travel will be to join the people who prefer to travel in a group from Wuhan.
2. As I have mentioned I am traveling by myself, but prefer the safest, most convenient, most scenic travels. I am confused about the time between the Wuhan Airport and the last bus pick up to Wudang. It is suggested that I arrive at Wuhan International Airport between October 12 - early October 14 morning. The recent emails say "to facillate" a collective trip to Mount Wudang at 5:10 pm on October 15, is this from Wudang Shan Train Station at 5:10 pm October 15, by bus to Wudang Mountain?
If you do not want to have hotel costs, your must plan to arrive IN Wuhan AIRPORT by 10.00 am at the latest on October 14. This will give enough time to reach Wuchang Railway Station hotel, where all students who wish to travel as a group will meet up at around 8 am on October 15, in order to catch the train together on the morning of October 15st. The train leaves for Wudang Shan from Wuchang railway Station at 10 am on October 15st.
Someone will meet you at the airport if you arrive on October 14th or, if you wish. Otherwise, you can take the airport bus, number 2, or airport bus number 7. In both cases, you travel to the terminus, which keeps things more straightforward! From the terminus, you take a taxi to the hotel
3. I prefer not to stay in Motel 168 Wuchang Hotel because of the expense. Will this make me very tired? Is it better to stay? I have visited http://www.taoiststudy.com/node/263/ and only feel it is necessary to stay the night if you highly recommend it. I know staying at Motel 168 Wuchang Hotel October 12-15, accommodation fees will cost me CNY 148 per night. A big concern is how to book my airflight so that I may or may not have to stay a night in Wuhan, but also make sure I can make the bus to Wudang Mountain at 3:10 pm October 15? (Considering my flight is 21 hours from USA).
It may be worth considering whether to spend one night at the hotel, simply to reduce pressure on yourself. That way, you know there is plenty of time for you to be met at the airport on October 14th, as well as time to catch up on sleep after the flight, and have a restful morning on October 14th before the train journey.
4. Do you book the sleeping train ticket for me to and from Wuchang Train Station to Wudang Shan Train Station?
5. There is free pick up service from Wuhan Airport - Motel 168 Wuchang Hotel - Wuchang Train Station, between these 3 points in case there are no same day train tickets?
I do not know off hand if you are responsible for the cost of the airport bus/taxi. That can easily be checked in due course. I do know that the airport bus is around US$ 5 one way. The taxi from the bus teminus to the hotel is about USD 20.
6. Some directional boards are in English, and I look for the Ticket Office to line up and buy a ticket for train Wudang Shan, sleeping or first class, preferably leaving that day. What is the difference in price between sleeping and first class?
People seldom have the chance to book the first class train. They are few and can be booked out very soon.
7. Where is the best place to buy a China calling card for this instance?
You can buy a phone card (5 Chinese Yuan, as i recall, whcih is about 75 US cents) on arrival at the airport. You will see the booths where they can be purchased. THere are plenty of public phones at the airport. It is also possible to buy a SIM card if you have a mobile phone, but may not be worth the expense, since you are unlikely to use it often , I guess). You can buy a SIM card here in Wudang area because it is cheap.
8. After getting a ticket and checking my luggage at the entrance to the Waiting Room for the train, when do I receive my luggage again? Does it cost me to check my baggage?
Don't worry about your luggage. You don't actually hand it over at the train station. It is put through a security machine like the ones we are all used to in airports, and exactly as at the airport, you pick it up as it pops out of the machine. So you are never separated from it.
9. I take an auto elevator/escalator to the second floor and look for the electronic Board. The Board will tell me which waiting hall will depart. Then I go to that waiting hall, there will be a small electronic board showing K279, and line up there to check in. 40 minutes after check in begins, the train departs downstairs at the station platform. There will be train attendants at carriage doors, I show them my ticket with cabinet and berth. I can show them the Chinese phrase on the website attachment stating, "I want to get off from Wudang Shan Train Station. Please inform me when time comes due. Many thanks!" There is a Chinese phrase also to show to others as a tourist, in the cabinet. At Wudang Shan Train Station there will be someone from the school with a paper bearing my name, a driver by bus to hotel in Wudang Mountains where I will stay for the course?
If you decide to make the journey by yourself on the train, a local bus meets the train at the station, and takes you to the gateway at the foot of the mountain. Everyone is used to people travelling to the mountain, so will help you. From the bus, you follow everyone else into the reception area at the foot of the mountain (you truly cannot get lost. It is small and manageable). You need to buy a Scenery Zone Admission pass for the mountain. This is issued by the 'authorities', and entitles you to stay on the mountain and to travel all over the mountain on free mountian buses. The cost of the pass is included in the course fee, so if you are with the group will be purchased for you. If you travel alone, you will be reimbursed. The pass has nothing to do with course contents. It is, as I said, a government issued permit to allow you to stay on the mountain.
10. What is the name of this last bus? Is the hotel where I will stay for the course in Crows Ridge Village (Nanyan)? Is this where the last bus for attendees to Wudang Mountain stops? Is this hotel within walking distance from the course?
From the reception area at the mountain gate, once you have your mountain pass, you show it to the driver, and get on the bus going to Nanyan, which is the village at the top of the mountain where the course will be held. The hotel is called Tianxin Hotel, and can easily get that for you in due course. The training hall is in the same hotle. It is not the one shown on the website. That hotel has just been sold, and is being renovated!! However, we will now be in the only other hotel in nanyan that has a big enough training room attached. So, everything is in the one building.
11. In the Village are there food shops or small restaurants? I have not seen many videos of nearby Wudang Mountain.
Nanyan is a very small village...just one street! There are restaurants all up the street, but meals are provided (included in the cost) at the hotel where you will be staying. There are also small stalls with fruit and dried fruits biscuits honey tea, etc. IT is also possible to eat in one of the nearby temples...about 30 minutes walk away...
12. What do the scenery zone admission tickets entail, the afternoon hours each day and which of the special events?
13. After lunchtime on October, at what time is the bus back to Wudang town/Wudang Shan scheduled to leave? Should I plan that I might have to stay another night in Motel 168 when going back to Wuhan because of ticket availability? Is the farewell dinner for attendees in Wudang town, in Wudang Shan?
The return train from Wudang will arrive in Wuchang around 10:pm in the evening on October 26. So, the earliest you can book your return flight is evening on October 27. Anytime after 8.00am should be OK, maybe after 9.00am to be on the safe side. Otherwise, you can stay overnight in the hotel, and book your flight for October 28.
14. What is not included in the tuition is: my airflight, Visa, travel insurance, flight bag check, Motel 168 Hotel, extra food/shopping/extra sightseeing in Mount Wudang.
For detail please visit http://www.taoiststudy.com/node/80/
15. What about the Limousine Bus from the Wuhan Airport, the taxi to Wuchang Train Station, any travel service or planned special events from September 4 - 18 with the attendees?
We offer extensive teaching, including thoery and practice. There are too much to learn and we do not think people can digest them very quickly. We plan to add one class at the time after supper. So, everyday we teach 7 - 8 hours. In the afternoon the guides will show people around to entertain them, we plan to listen to Taoist ritual in Zi Xiao Palace and take Taoist food, listen to Taoist music, visit Taoist hermits, visit herbal doctors. In a word, there is enough events to entertain people in afternoon.
16. What do you think the weather there will be? Approximately 65 - 70 degrees, 40% rain? Is it usually wet and hot, or cool? Pants and t-shirts mostly or sweaters? What should I be prepared for?
Re weather, since we are in the mountains, much as in the States, it is difficult to predict weather. THere will almost certainly be rain at some time or other. In September it is not cold (Unless the cloud comes down), nor is it hot Most likely in the 60s. But this year apparently weather has been unusually hot in the early part of the year,so it seems to be unpredictable as in so many places these days. I suggest you bring one warm sweater and /or heavier jacket, a rain jacket (although you can buy a very cheap plastic one easily on the mountain, a few T shirts...in other words, a bit of everything!! Loose pants for comfortable sitting in meditation, of course. You won't need a lot. Life is simple in the mountains. And you can always opt to wear your Taoist clothes. You might also want to bring a sun hat...someties it CAN be hot!!!
17. Who are the English speaking teachers and guides?
Master Hu speak English, other teachers include Master Zhang
Guides: Muriel Kirton (from Scotland), Sonia (speak English, work part time).
18. What is the special air add-on? Which tour fares for departures are subject to change?
Re add ons and fare chnges...they were just alerting people to things like fuel surcharges etc that international airlines sometimes add on. But if so, it will be added on to the original cost, so i think you can safely ignore that bit of advice/information :)
19. Is the sleeper train ticket included in the course tuition? It says it is on the website, or did I misunderstand?
The double trip of sleeping train tickets between Wuhan and Wudang is included in the costs and you not need to pay.
20. So at 10 am October 15, there is a group leaving Motel 168 to Wuchang Train Station to go to Wudang Train Station and then bus to Crows Ridge? They will stay there for the course to begin October 16?
Yes, you are right. The workshops will begin from the evening of October 15 because there is too much to learn and we fear there is no enough time for the learning. The train arrive at Wudang on 3:00 pm in the afternoon.
21. The course ends October 26. I can also book with you a bus from Crows Ridge hotel to Wudang Train Staion on October 26?
22. Can I book this before I begin the course? Do I book this through you or Motel 168 Hotel? Is there going to be a group arrangement to travel back to Wuhan Airport also and can I book that through you or the Motel Hotel?
It is a group arrangement to travel back to Wuhan and from Motel 168 Hotel we will see people off and we will help them to take the metro to reach Wuhan airport
23. Do I need to speak Chinese to be able to book services through Motel 168 Hotel?
Please book the hotel room here: Motel 168 Wuhan Wuchang Railway Station Hotel)
24. What is the bus service called that you offer from Wuhan Airport to Motel 168 Hotel and Wuchang Train Station, is it the same pick up service?
You know, we have to bring several people together and bring them to Motel 168 hotel by metro or airport shuttle bus. No need to call a special bus for such. The Wuhan has quick bus system. Please do not woryy about that! Our working staff will help to arrange.
25. Do you suggest other shoes besides walking and for rain? Do I need to bring bath towels for myself for my stay at Crows Ridge Hotel?
No, the hotel provides all necessity. No need to carry any extra burden.