For 3RMB, or roughly .43 cents US, you can tour this wonderful Temple. It's on the smaller side, but the grounds are nicely maintained and it's very peaceful. The Temple was built around 964AD and is claimed to be the oldest surviving wooden structure in China. Carbon dating has shown the Temple to possibly be as old as the 4th or 5th Century AD. It will only take an hour to walk around, but it's worth the trip.
In the center of the city is Yu Hill. It covers 11.9 hectares. It is here that legend says the Taoism began. There are caves and temples on the hill, and over 100 stone inscriptions. When we got there, the amphitheatre was full and there was a performance of Peking Opera being staged.
This is an extraordinary active Buddhist Temple grounds. After being in the bustle of modern China, this is a step back into a truly peaceful, serene setting. The grounds are quite extensive, comparable to the size of a University. There are many buildings to duck in, beautiful craftmanship in every detail. You are allowed to take pictures in most areas, they do prefer you to refrain from taking photos in the prayer Temple. The Buddha statues are quite glorious, and there are many, all gold leafed, and from seeing the many sheets of gold leafing around, they must reapply it quite often. A gentle reminder, the symbol so many of us know as the Swastika is actually the Chinese symbol for Eternality, or all, and you will see this symbol on the chest of the Buddha statues here, though it will most always be left facing as opposed to the swastika which is right facing.
The pagoda is closed to the public, but you can walk up to it for any pictures you'd like to take. Across from it is the 6-story building that is not to be missed, the Hall of 500 Arhats. You are allowed to go all the way up to the top, and most floors have outdoor walkways around the perimeter allowing for wonderful photos of the grounds and surrounding Fuzhou. Down below this building, towards the exit, there is a small turtle pond with very large fish in it. Just beyond that is a small lake with a superb Banyan tree to sit under and enjoy is long reaching shading branches.
There are three gift shops, one outside the main gate and two inside the grounds. There's a vegetarian restaraunt inside as well. It cost only 20RMB to enter, or $2.91 US.
The panda zoo in Fuzhou, known as Panda World, is a great place to see the animal that represents China to the rest of the world. They perform numerous times daily, as to the bears. There are also the smaller red pandas there, too. We enjoyed the panda zoo and the guide we had spoke every good English and was extremely informative.
West Lake Park is the prettiest place that we visited in Fuzhou. There is a small price for admission. There are gorgeous gardens and flower displays everywhere, some amusement park rides, a lake with boat rentals, and more stuff that we didn't even get to. The "Wonders of the World"part of the park sounds very intriguing. A great place to mix with and take in the local atmosphere.
Pingshan Park has monkeys in it. But unlike the US where they would be in cages, they are loose in the park. We didn't know this until two of them dropped from the trees, grabbed my son's arms, and played tug-of-war with him. It was definately a unique experience! One of them later jumped on his head, too. The park itself is very pretty, with a lake in the center, lots of paths to explore, and a nice playground for the kids (be careful, this seems to be the monkey hangout). We saw a bride and groom having their wedding pictures done - so pretty. There is a nominal charge for admission.
Don't miss the White Pagoda on Yu Hill. It is 1000 years old, seven layer high, octagonal in shape, and measures 45 meters. The view of Fuzhou from the top is spectacular.
This West Lake is very much similar to other 'West Lakes' that dot the Chinese countryside such as in Hangzhou.