Many thanks for your interest in this very special journey to sacred Mount Wudang and its peculiar Taoism treasure Wudang Taoist internal alchemy study!
1. Roughly, the flight from the USA to Beijing is 21 hours, at the latest I should leave here midday August 29. 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 Beijing.
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 Beijing Airport and the last bus pick up to Wudang. It is suggested that I arrive at Beijing International Airport between August 28 - early September 1 morning. The recent emails say "to facillate" a collective trip to Mount Wudang at 5:10 pm on September 1, is this from Wudang Shan Train Station at 5:10 pm September 1, by bus to Wudang Mountain?
If you do not want to have hotel costs, your must plan to arrive IN BEIJING AIRPORT by 10.00 am at the latest on September 1. This will give enough time to reach the Jinjiang Inn - West Railway Station hotel, where all students who wish to travel as a group will meet up at around 1.00 or 2.00pm on Sept 1, in order to catch the train together on the evening of Sept 1st. The train leaves for Wudang Shan from Beijing West railway Station at 5.00 pm on Sept 1st.
Someone will meet you at the airport if you arrive on Aug 31st or by 10.00am on Sept 1st, if you wish. Otherwise, you can take the airport bus, number 3, 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 JinJiang 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 JinJiang Hotel between August 28 - 31, accommodation fees will cost me CNY 249 per night. A big concern is how to book my airflight so that I may or may not have to stay a night in Beijing, but also make sure I can make the bus to Wudang Mountain at 5:10 pm September 1? (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 Aug 31st, as well as time to catch up on sleep after the flight, and have a restful morning on Sept 1s before the train journey.
4. Do you book the sleeping train ticket for me to and from Beijing Western Train Station to Wudang Shan Train Station?
5. There is free pick up service from Beijing Airport - JinJiang Hotel, JinJiang Hotel - Beijing Train Station, between these 3 points in case there are no same day train tickets?
I do not know off hand know 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$2.50 one way. The taxi from the bus teminus to the hotel is about the same, or slightly less.
6. Verifying travel details: From the USA I arrive at the Beijing International Airport, I go to the No. 2 Aerodrome Airport Building ground floor, and take the Airport Limousine Bus No. 3 (30 - 40 minutes) to Ba Wang Fen, or Gong Chu Fen? From there I take a nearby taxi to Beijing Western Train Station. The latest train I should take is the 17:01 pm on August 31?
Our working stuff will pick you up from the Beijing airport and bring you to JinJiang Inn Hotel. You do not need to worry about that unless you want to travel alone.
7. Some directional boards are in English, and I look for the Ticket Office to line up and buy a ticket for train K279 to 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.
8. I call the school at (0) - 152 - 4242 - 9365 if I cannot get a ticket same day, the school will then help me get a hotel stay at the JinJiang Hotel?
No, you have to book the hotel room earlier, at least 10 days earlier. The rooms often are booked out very quickly because August and September is tourist hey season.
9. 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)
10. 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 teh 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 r pick it up as it pops out of the machine. So you are never separated from it.
11. 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 K279 (usually No. 7 waiting hall). 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 teh 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. Thje 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.
12. 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. I do not recall the name of the hotel off hand, but 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.
13. 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...
14. What do the scenery zone admission tickets entail, the afternoon hours each day and which of the special events?
15. After lunchtime on September 18, 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 JinJiang Hotel when going back to Beijing Airport because of ticket availability? Is the farewell dinner for attendees in Wudang town, in Wudang Shan?
The return train from Wudang will arrive in Beijing around lunchtime on Sept 19. So, the earliest you can book your return flight is evening on Sept 19. Anytime after 6.00pm should be OK, maybe after 7.00pm to be on the safe side. Otherwise, you can stay overnight in the hotel, and book your flight for Sept 20th.
16. What is not included in the tuition is: my airflight, Visa, travel insurance, flight bag check, JinJiang Hotel, extra food/shopping/extra sightseeing in Mount Wudang.
For detail please visit http://www.taoiststudy.com/node/80/
19. What about the Limousine Bus from the Beijing Airport, the taxi to Beijing Train Station, any travel service or planned special events from September 4 - 18 with the attendees?
We offer extensive teaching, including thoey 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 - 9 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.
20. 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!!!
21. Who are the English speaking teachers and guides?
Master Hu speak English, other teachers include Master Zhang and Master Guan (teaching tai chi and Taoist Yoga and some kungfu, people can choose)
Guides: Muriel Kirton (from Scotland), Miaon (Chinese translator). Judy (speak English, work part time).
22. I currently work fulltime, and am also teaching parttime, and so my time to practice is very tight. I have the information on Damo Qigong Practice Series: How to Practice by Ourselves, and Mind-Fasting Meditation by Chunag Tzu. (I am hopeful to practice now when I have the time.) I will send my measurements for the Taoist Clothing on the web page as soon as possible. Is paying tuition by Bank Transfer or Western Union cheaper?
23. 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 :)
24. 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 Beijing and Wudang is included in the costs and you not need to pay.
25. So at 5:10 pm September 1, there is a group leaving JinJiang Hotel to Beijing Train Station to go to Wudang Train Station and then bus to Crows Ridge? They will stay there for the course to begin September 4?
Yes, you are right. The workshops will begin from the evening of September 2 because there is too much to learn and we fear there is no enough time for the learning. The train arrive at Wudang on 2:00 pm in the afternoon.
26. The course ends September 18. I can also book with you a bus from Crows Ridge hotel to Wudang Train Staion on September 18?
27. Can I book this before I begin the course? Do I book this through you or JinJiang Hotel? Is there going to be a group arrangement to travel back to Beijing Airport also and can I book that through you or the JinJiang Hotel?
It is a group arrangement to travel back to Beijing and from JinJiang Hotel we will see people off and we will help them to take the metro to reach Beijing airport
28. Do I need to speak Chinese to be able to book services through JinJiang Hotel?
You can book through us. Please book the hotel room here: http://www.taoiststudy.com/node/263/ The hotel does not have a English website. You can book the hotel room if you have a Chinese friend. All hotel in this area are very expensive and choose a realtively cheap one with quality service.
29. What is the bus service called that you offer from Beijing Airport to JinJiang Hotel and Beijing Train Station, is it the same pick up service?
You know, we have to bring several people together and bring them to JinJiang hotel by metro or airport shuttle bus. No need to call a special bus for such. The Bejing has quick metra system. Please do not woryy about that! Our working staff will help to arrange. Please only bear the metro cost or bus cost (USD 2.5 - USD 3 one way).
30. Are the Taoist shoes specific for every day practice?
You are recommended to take on it. You can take your clothes if you do not like it.
31. 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.