Qianshan National Park
UnderstandAnshan, the 708.3-meter-high Qianshan is densely wooded, and abounds in flora and fauna. The name is actually and abbreviation of 'Thousand lotus flower mountains'. The peaks were said to resemble the petals of the lotus flower which had been dropped to earth by a goddess. The park area of 44 square kilometres, is filled with both Buddhist and Taoist temples, monasteries and nunneries. It is one of few locations where both religions are found sharing the same site. Among Qianshan's scenic spots is a new discovery - a nature-wrought statue of the Buddha which stands 70 meters high. It is claimed to be the largest naturally occurring image of Matria Buddha in the world. Several temples have been built on the peaks of the overlooking hills. The park has since become the venue for the Qianshan Great Buddha Festival in June of every year.
The area has a long history of religious worship dating back 1200 years to the Tang dynasty of China. The Emperor Taizong, Li Shimin, of the Tang Dynasty visited the site and added to the temples here. It was enhanced during both Ming and Qing dynasties. Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong visited and the poetry that they wrote while here can be seen. The revolutions of the twentieth century saw the site abandoned and some buildings damaged. The park has since be restored and expanded with new temples of the Matria Buddha.
Nearly 1000 lotus shaped peaks made of granite. You can hike between the different temples and monasteries of Tang, Ming, and Qing style and other attractions.
Flora and fauna
The area is predominantly pine forest on the mountain tops and deciduous in the valleys.
In summer, hot, typically 32 degree centigrade. Winters are very cold, often as low as -20 centigrade. Heavy snow is not uncommon in winter.
The nearest city is Anshan, some 18 kilometers away. Liaoning's provincial capital, Shenyang, lies about 90km to the north. Shenyang airport is the closest to the park. Coaches and trains run between Anshan and Shenyang very frequently. The train will take 50 minutes and the coach about twice that. Alternatively, Dalian city, south of Anshan also has a public airport. Coaches to and from Dalian run about four times daily.
There is a frequent bus service to Qianshan from the bus station in the centre of Anshan near to the train station. Take bus Number 8. The fare is 2 Yuan each way (January 2014 - 1 RMB). Buses are crowded at times, and rather slow. To find the bus stop: when you exit the train station head left, cross the first crossroad, go to the other side of the street and continue for about 100 meters. There will be two bus stops for bus number 8 (January 2014). The journey lasts about 50 minutes.
Return buses wait near the main gate of the park. A taxi will take you from Anshan city centre to the main gate for around 35 to 40 Yuan. You can rely on the meter of the Taxi; it starts out at 6.00 Yuan and starts ticking over from 2km onwards. Taxis are commonly waiting at the park gate for your return journey.
Entrance to the main park is 80 yuan per person from April 1 to October 31 and 60 yuan from November 1 to March 31. Electric bus is 10 yuan per person per journey. Cable cars cost 20 yuan per person at the Great Buddha Scenic Spot and Heaven above Heaven Scenic Spot. The cable car is 30 yuan at the Five-Buddha Summit. In addition, some temples and monistries may charge a small entrance fee upwards of 5 yuan each, however, many are free to enter. The Aviary at the back of the park charges an additional entrance fee. The Qianshan Immortal Summit—China’s Forest Park, costs 30 yuan per person entrance.
Motor cars are not allowed within the park. Tourists must either walk or hire one of the electric shuttle buses which are available for 10 per person per ride. Walking is preferred and is the only method by which to mountain summits may be reached. The main roadway in the valleys is well paved and wide. The mountain tops are gained via well defined, stone laid, paths and stairs. These mountain paths are very steep. For those who are less fit, three cable car routes can convey you up the hill sides. However, none of the cable cars will take you the whole way, leaving you some climbing to do by yourself.
Hawkers by the roadside sell the usual tourist trinkets in common with other tourist sites in China.
Within the park, there is little food available other than snacks sold by hawkers by the path side. Just outside the park gates, may traditional Chinese country style restaurants flourish. These will prepare traditional dishes at very reasonable prices though the are not always as clean as one might want. Higher class restaurants are also available nearby.
For nightlife, it is best to head back into Anshan City. Nightclubs such as the Coco Club and SOS club can be found there as well as many cheaper bars.
There are several inexpensive hotels outside of the main gates to the park.
Alternatively you can stay in one of the many large hotels within Anshan City, near to the park.
Mountain paths can be very steep, near vertical in places with handholds and ladders for assistance. Many of them are not for those who have a fear of heights. Young children should be carefully supervised on the mountain paths. Safety barriers run along the most treacherous sections and are sturdy.