Baiyun Shan, Guangzhou
Mingchun Bird Valley is an aviary near the entrance of Baiyun Shan that has birds of all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. There are parrots and parakeets to look at. It is not really anything overly exciting, but I would peer at the birds from the gate. That is probably the best that it gets. The bird show can be skipped!!
ADMISSION: 10 CNY
Since I traveled to China, I noticed how much Buddism is really a large part of the culture. They take their temples very seriously. There is even a temple on Baiyun Shan!! It of course only makes sense. You can enter the temple, offer incense, and say your prayers!!
ADMISSION: 5 CNY
The Guangzhou Steeles is another themed respite within the Baiyun Shan Mountain Park. This part of Baiyun Shan is decorated with large granite slabs with carvings of Chinese sayings. I couldn't understand the writing, however, my uncle said that it contains some history, philosophy, and poetry. It was cool.
ADMISSION: 5 CNY
Once you reach the top of Baiyun Shan, you have the option of strolling around or visiting the many themed parks within the mountain. They really are like small garden havens or temples on the expanse of the mountain.
One such place is the Nine Dragon Springs. It is probably named as such because of the nine dragons that are carved thematically around the area. When you first enter the garden, you see two large poles with nine dragons carved into each!! It is amazing!! Then as you walk farther in, you will find a fountain with nine dragons carved into it and water coming from the mouth of each. It is a typical garden park designed for respite. There is some climbing involved, but it is invigorating rather than taxing!!
ADMISSION: 10 CNY
This is the mountain that is part of the Kun Shan Mountain range located a close 15km to Guangzhou. You can get a really good view of the city from the many pavilions that face the city (if you can see through the whiteness that I conclude was either smog or clouds). The mountain is very much cultivated into elements of traditional Chinese styles. There are pagodas, monasteries, and tea houses that lie all over the mountain. The only drawback is that each different part of the mountain usually requires you to pay a separate admission fee. However, it isn't really all that expensive.
You also have the option of hiking all the way to the mountain top or having a bus take you to the top. You can purchase a one way ticket to the top or a round trip ticket. On particularly hot days, I find that it is much easier to take the bus up and then take the scenic route down the mountain.
You will find that you aren't ever alone on the mountain. It is often frequented by the local Chinese people. You will see groups of all ages enjoying the invorigorating walks and taking tea in the teahouses. There is a particularly busy teahouse at the base of the mountain that makes fresh delicious rice noodles (cheung fun or sa hua fun - phonetically spelled...I am not certain if it is the correct spelling). It is what the this teahouse is well know for...and with good reason because it truly is the best rice noodle that I have EVER had!!! Try their stir-fryed version...it is scrumptous.
ADMISSION: 15 CNY
HOURS: 6:00am to 5:00pm
FEE: Bus up to top of mountain costs 3 CNY.
(Can also purchase round trip ticket for a little more)