Our favourite landmark in Jinan so far!
05.08.2015 - 05.08.2015 36 °C
Yesterday we made the journey to Thousand Buddha Mountain, which proved to be one of our favourite landmarks yet. Located within the city, there seems to be some confusion as to whether the mountain is actually a hill. All I can say is that after climbing it in plus thirty degree heat, I'm more than happy to let it be a mountain.
As we arrived, we were straight away greeted with stone steps that lead up to the main climb up the mountain side. They're home to fantastic statues of Buddhist monks, each different from the last. The personality of each monk has been captured perfectly and there are some downright strange looking ones as you begin the climb.
The mountain is home to a series of caves, but we chose to make our way to the top of the mountain first. There is a cable car which takes you part way up the mountain but we decided to go on foot, not wanting to miss anything interesting on the way up. What had started as a fairly warm day changed instantly to crushingly hot one as soon as we started the climb though. As a result, what would have no doubt been a fairly relaxed climb turned into a real challenge. The steps are steep and winding as they climb the mountain and the forest which surrounds them only add to the humidity. We noticed that there are quite a few different paths off of the main one, with some fairly confusion signposts, but we decided to stick to the main path rather than risk getting lost. No doubt there are a few interesting sites to be seen and we'll discover them on our next visit.
After a long, hot climb we finally made it halfway up the mountain and our determination was rewarded. As you'll see from the pictures, there are some fantastic temples and a great view of the city which makes the climb completely worthwhile. It's here that the cable car ends, meaning that if you want to make it to the top you'll have to make what is quite a difficult climb.
After checking out the temples and enjoying the view, we began the climb again. The rest of the journey to the top is even steeper than what had come before and if you have any health problems it would be wise to think long and hard about going above where the cable car drops you off. The steps become quite treacherous the closer to the top you get to the top. Somehow it had become even hotter and we practically crawled into the shade of a small tree once we had finally made it. Naturally, there was an old lady selling drinks and ice creams from a shop so I went and paid her a visit. I'm not entirely sure what she made of the sweat-soaked westerner mumbling about green tea and ice cream, but we managed to come to an understanding!
The view from the top certainly made up for the arduous climb, with Jinan laid out before you in one direction and some more mountains in the other. As you'll see from the pictures, it makes for quite a sight! Luckily, the climb down was far easier as we made our way to Wanfu Cave, home to what gives the mountain it's name.
For an extra £1.50, you get access to the cave and after passing the ticket gate we weren't sure what to expect. We'd heard that the mountain was famous for it's stone statues of Buddha but the internet seems to be a bit sparse on what exactly they look like. Needless to say, the cave was beyond anything we had expected and we can both firmly say that it is one of Jinan's prime attractions and one of the most interesting places we've visited full stop. The cave is filled with amazing stone statues of countless shapes and sizes, with the walls lined with reliefs of Buddha. It seems to go on forever, with each chamber and room filled with something new and to top it all off, the final chamber is home to an impressive gold statue.
After leaving the cave, we had one more thing to see on the mountainside, the twenty-five meter tall Maitreya Buddha statue. It took a while to find the statue and we were all ready to give up as it was beginning to rain. Luckily, a man flying a kite pointed us in the right way and we finally found it. It makes for an impressive site, but with the rain coming in we didn't linger long.
All in all Thousand Buddha Mountain is one of the highlights of our time in Jinan so far and we both can't recommend it enough. if you're in the city, make a point of visiting!
Our next post will be about Black Tiger Spring and Furong Street (home to some interesting looking street food) so be sure to check back soon, or subscribe! Also, check out our Instagram pages for more pictures- See the links on the right!