Phoenix Hill

On May 2, 2012, in Cultural Experience, Monasteries, Nature Scenery, Temples, by Jack Li

When you come to a big city for the first time it’s great to visit the most well-known places for a first overview of the place. Beijing Tours certainly offer a great and comfortable way to include the must sees in China’s capital on a single day trip. But to see some other spots it’s […]

When you come to a big city for the first time it’s great to visit the most well-known places for a first overview of the place. Beijing Tours certainly offer a great and comfortable way to include the must sees in China’s capital on a single day trip. But to see some other spots it’s also great to go to places that are not too popular with tourists. Very often the atmosphere is totally different and locals seem to be a lot more interested and open if they are not used to crowds of foreign tourists coming every day. So if you travel to Beijing and you’re planning to see more than the main attractions you might consider spending a day away from the center.

Phoenix Hill Park (Fenghuangling) for example is a nature park about 20 kilometers northwest of Beijing and a great place to go hiking in the mountains and enjoy natural scenery. Apart from the green hills and mountains and the great view on clear days there are numerous historic spots and cultural sites of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. To explore this area there are different touring routes passing by caves, temples, pagodas and stone carvings on the way.

 

Located at the foot of Phoenix Range is Longquan Monastery which has a very long history. It was originally built in 951 A.D. but was nearly completely destroyed. Only the Golden Dragon Bridge, a single-arch stone bridge, and two one-thousand-year-old trees are remainders of this time. The buildings have been rebuilt after the original with the help of many volunteer workers. The monastery was officially reopened in 2005 and is since then not only an interesting place for visitors but first of all a center for Buddhist education and temple experience. For this reason there is still construction going on to add more space for classrooms.

On holidays you can participate in tea ceremonies and you even get the chance to try an original Buddhist lunch. It is separated by gender and talking is not allowed during the meals. The food is rather simple and strictly vegetarian. Although the free lunch is thought to be for Buddhists visiting the monastery even tourists who come to the area for a hike won’t be excluded from the meals.

To get a closer insight into Buddhism the monastery organizes different multilingual activities, sometimes lasting several days. These assemblies and sessions offer an opportunity to experience Buddhist life including chanting sutras, meditation training, life in the monastery, worshipping Buddha on a mountain road and others. These gatherings bring people together and lead to a spiritual journey.

If you want to go there by public transportation you can take bus no. 346 from Summer Palace with destination to Phoenix Hill (Fenghuangling) which takes about an hour. If you stay at a Beijing Hotel you can certainly ask the staff at the reception desk for directions. They might even be so nice as to write you a note in Chinese as a little help. But in general Chinese people are very helpful and even if they don’t speak English they will try their best to help you find your way.

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The Mystical Laoxiangfeng

On April 25, 2012, in Adventure Trip, More Places of Interest, Nature Scenery, by Jack Li

This article refers to just one of countless scenic spots which can be viewed at leisure along your China travel experience. Roughly 80 kilometres from Beijing, Laoxiangfeng is a prime location for travellers to take a break from the busy city-life. Encompassing 4,000 hectares, Laoxiangfeng is certainly a playground for the outdoor-types. To get to this […]

This article refers to just one of countless scenic spots which can be viewed at leisure along your China travel experience. Roughly 80 kilometres from Beijing, Laoxiangfeng is a prime location for travellers to take a break from the busy city-life. Encompassing 4,000 hectares, Laoxiangfeng is certainly a playground for the outdoor-types. To get to this beautiful location, you can either consider  China tours or alternatively take bus number 5 to Laoxiangfeng (before taking the 918 bus from Dongzhimenwai-Guanzhuang Daokou). From the mountain gate, walkers will also need to pay an admission fee  (approx.20rmb)  and the mountain park stays open from 8am to 6:30pm.

According to Chinese legend, Laoxiangfeng Shan (‘Shan’ which means mountain) is where the goddess Bixia Yuanjun played an important role in local folklore. The story goes that the two gods, Bixia Yuanjun and Panshan Laozu were vying to ride the holy elephant. A dice was eventually thrown leaving Bixia Yuanjun as the winner. Thereafter, she would care for the elephant around the area which was given the name ‘Laoxiangfeng’ (‘Elder Elephant Peak’). Needless to say, by using your imaginative powers, you will be able to discern the peak into the shape of an elephant! Interestingly, the locality also incorporates the themes of friendship and loyalty. For example, Bixia Yuanjun, one day, protected the elephant by breaking the claw off the tiger which attacked it and that peak would later become ‘Tiger Claw Peak’ (also a good spot to view). Another tale mentions of a couple who wanted to learn from Bixia Yuanjun; yet because the goddess thought they were unready she gave them a test. The couple failed the test and they were tragically turned into stone.

On a practical level, walking up the mountain is made enjoyable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the path is wide and flat for the majority of the distance so it is not especially strenuous on the knees. However, the path does get steeper when heading towards the peak and note that the path also acts as a road, although cars are relatively infrequent. Secondly, there are ample picnic areas and toilet facilities along the route (which in itself indicates the popularity of the area). Nearer the bottom of the route, there are gaping valleys which provide excellent opportunities to take pictures of the surroundings and have lunch under the canopied sitting areas.

As a little extra, the walk is made rather interesting by reading the many descriptions along the way. In particular, some of the indigenous flora takes precedence in the local legends of the mountain. One tale mentions, for example, how the fairy of the chrysanthemums left her garland in the ground with later transformed in the radiant flowers which can be seen today. Without doubt, the vegetation of Laoxiangfeng is special for locals and visitors alike. Locals, for one, can be seen collecting mushrooms on the wooded slopes of the mountain (which in turn can be bought in the store at the bottom of the peak). The nearest place to Laoxiangfeng is Xiaoyuzi Village; but if you are seeking China hotels, Dahuashan Town, in general, may have more choice.

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Lushan- the combination of history and nature

On April 29, 2011, in Featured China Stories, Mountain Areas, Tours, by Jack Li

Having been such a long time in big city always filled with people and traffic, do you feel tired for the noisy city life and dirty air and want to enjoy staying alone and breath fresh air? Having been working hard for such a long time ,do you feel tired for the high-pressure work and […]

Having been such a long time in big city always filled with people and traffic, do you feel tired for the noisy city life and dirty air and want to enjoy staying alone and breath fresh air? Having been working hard for such a long time ,do you feel tired for the high-pressure work and want to relax yourself and be ready for the coming challenge ? It is just really lucky to having such a nice place in China tours.Unlike the Beijing tours and Guangzhou tours ,Lushan tour make people felt indeed fresh .

Lushan locates in the north of Chinese Jiangxi Province, the area is 302 square kilometers, the area of the outer circle protection district is 500 square kilometers. It is close to Yangtze River of a long distance in the north,is close to the Fanyang Lake, the river, lake and mountain are successful combination. The unusual and magnificent landscape views of Lushan have the very high science value and tour appreciation value. Lushan faces the river and the lake, the mountain is high and the valley is deep, having the clear characteristic of mountainous country climate.

There are mankind’s activities in the area of Lushan as early as 6,000 years ago. For long time, the people create Lushan culture here, its content is abundant and affects is profound.

In A.D 817, a great poet named Bai Juyi was confirmed of the natural  beauty and worth of Lushan .He considered that Lushan should rank the first place in the famous mountain list in China. He said that”  Jia Tianxi Kuanglujixiu”.And for these thousand years,this sentence have been the most suitable opinion for Lushan.

A lot of famous cultural people of East Jin, such as Tao Yuanming, Xie Lingyun, Zong Bing etc., arrived at Lushan continuously, carried on the outstanding cultural art creations, making Lushan become the origin place of Chinese landscape poem, the plan source ground of Chinese idyll and the birthplace of Chinese landscape paintings.

From ancient to modern time, there have been three stages that Lushan indicated the historical trend in China .The famous academician , Hushi pointed that three relics in Lushan represented three trends ,Donglin representing Buddhism’s population; Bailu Hole representing the culture in Song Dynasty which had been the trend of the culture for over 700 years; Guling ,representing the western culture invading Chinese culture.

The one who conceive nourished the abundant of history and culture of Lushan, these handed over mutually glorious and reflected, benefited by association together, express fully special magic power of Lushan which is as the famous mountain of the world.

In December 1996, teaches the Inheritance of World Committee of Education, Science and Cultural Organization in United Nations approved Lushan to be listed in The Inheritance of World Record with cultural view of world, gave full evaluation to the world value of Lushan: The history historic relic of Lushan takes its special way to melt in the natural beauties which have the outstanding worth, becomes the cultural view which has the very high esthetics value and are close to the Chinese nation spirit and cultures life mutually!

If you have heard of the academicians mentioned just now and want to have the wonderful feeling just as the poet had while writing the great poem ,you should come and have a visit.Now ,it is time to go and book a China Flight .

Purple Mountain

On November 17, 2010, in Accomodation, Adventure Trip, Cultural Experience, Tours, by Jack Li

Purple Mountain is not the easiest of places to get to however, there is an hourly bus service from Nanjing train station. I would suggest maybe taking an organised tour, one website that I can really recommend which has great travel Idea’s is China Tours. Purple Mountain overlooks the city Zijin Shan, it gets its […]

Purple Mountain is not the easiest of places to get to however, there is an hourly bus service from Nanjing train station. I would suggest maybe taking an organised tour, one website that I can really recommend which has great travel Idea’s is China Tours. Purple Mountain overlooks the city Zijin Shan, it gets its name from the distinctive colour of the rocks that are all over the mountain.

The mountain is a magnificent  area with many small hills covered in lush greenery such as bamboo groves. It also holds many  famous historical monuments i.e. The Mausoleum of Dr Yat-sen  and the Linggu temples.  I would suggest spending a whole day here as it is a massive area to cover with many hills and inclines, its definitely a trip for the more energetic traveller! However on the eastern side there is a cable car right up to the top although you will miss a lot of the interesting history, its still worth it just to see the picturesque views.

Amazing views

One of my favourite parts of the day was seeing the Mausoleum of Dr.Sun Yat-sen although the tiles are not the original yellow the building is still grand  and a sight to see. The building actually was redone in 1929 hence the white wall and blue roof as they represent the Nationalist party.

Another monument that shouldn’t be missed is the Linggu Pagoda which was also built on 1929, it stands a massive 61M and was designed in memory of the soldiers who were killed in the 1911 revolution.  During my time at the mountain I also visited Ming Xiao Ling, this is the tomb of the first Ming emperor Hongwu and his wife. It was completed in 1405 but has had to undergo a massive reconstruction after much of it was destroyed in the Taiping Rebellion.

Linggu Pagoda

Once at the top there is a small observatory tower which houses a display of bronze instruments which date all the way back to the 15th century, these were everyday items like a comb and a cup. Its such a Pleasant day out I would recommend this trip to anyone who is interested in Chinese history.If this account has inspired you to want to travel Beijing but don’t know where to start for some great low cost travel idea’s go to China Tours. Or if you need advice on hotels go to China Hotels.

Mausoleum of Dr.Sun Yat-sen

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