Here... Star lake in Zhaoqing...
This ordinary place is full of unusual people and things...
Yes, you can have a romantic walk among flowers by the lake side. The wind will kiss your face...softly...
Maybe can have a dinner with your friends in the boat too...
Seven Star Crags is the most attractive of Zhaoqing's attractions and the caves are among Seven Star Crags best highlights.
There are eight caves at Seven Star Crags and each one is different. The two best ones are the underground river cave which you tour by boat and the calligraphy cave.
So many famous and not so famous poets came to Zhaoqing over hundreds of years that the 20th century calligraphers had a hard time finding any space left in this cave for their poem inspired carvings.
This park is basically surrounded by the city. It is also quite large. You can boats around the lake to it or hike around. My friend and I walked around for about three hours and saw maybe a third of it.
The craigs or peaks them selves are nice, but don't compair with Yangshou in height or beauty. There are a few temples in the park and also a few caves to view. The Chinese have decorated the caves with bizzare rainbow colored lights.
You can hike up most of the craigs and get a view of other craigs, lakes, the city and in the distance mountains.
This was beautiful. This is a virgin subtropical rainforest. The air was fresh and park was large. My friend and I were often the only one's around. There are temples and waterfalls which were nice so we had an aim of where to walk. Mostly it was just great to walk in real rainforest.
Dinghu Mountain is the forest national park which is 20 Km away from the downtown Zhaoqing. According to their signboard, it is the nearest forest reserve from a city in the world. It is often known as "Natural Oxygen Bar" and "City Forest". This green forest not only has natural forest with 2000 kinds of wild plants and 800 kinds of animals, but also with the beautiful Dinghu or Ding Lake, waterfalls, rocky creeks and a peaceful temple. It is not difficult to explore the national park yourself by walking on the trails and riding with the electric buggy.
I would suggest you to take the electric buggy to Baoding Park (宝鼎公园), where you can learn and experience the bronze ware culture of the ancient society in China. You can see the Ding Lake from the Park. Either taking the electric buggy or simply walk to the lake to visit Butterfly Valley (蝴蝶谷). You need to pay RMB 30 to visit the Valley including a boat trip cruising the lake and a forest trail that accompany by a local tour guide. At the end of the trail, you will reach Qingyun Temple (庆云寺), one of the four famous temples in Guangdong, where you can rest and find peace in this quiet temple surrounded by forest. From the temple, you can continue walking a forest trail along a rocky creek until you see the Flying Waterpool (飞水潭). If you want to spend a little more time at the Flying Waterpool is totally understood as it has a beautiful view of the entire place especially the waterfall and the green pool. Once you have enough to the waterfall, you need to walk uphill to reach the main road to catch an electric buggy back to the main entrance.
Ticket: Dinghu National Park ( RMB 60 per person)*
Butterfly Valley (RMB 30 per person)
Electric Buddy (RMB 20 per person)
* Joint Ticket is available if you are planning to visit Seven Stars Crags together:
(RMB 110 per person)
In Chinese: 鼎湖山， ding hu shan
The Baoding Park was built on 23th December 2000 to showcase the bronze ware culture of the ancient society in China especially some famous Dings' displays. It has an area of 13000 square meters, a park with public facilities and the Dings' displays. I believe this park was built in added value Dinghu Mountain as a tourist attraction. Otherwise there are no other alternative attraction than the forest and the lake in Dinghu Mountain.
Check out the Dings' displays.
It is really nothing much to do here than enjoying the display of Dings in this Park. And you can buy a lucky ball to throw into a Nine Dragon Ding Vessel to pray for luck and good health. Or you can circle around a golden path will bring a big good luck, in Chinese saying 行大运，xing da yun.
What I enjoy the most, the viewing deck to to see the beautiful Dinghu or Ding Lake.
In Chinese: 宝鼎园， bao ding yuan.
Butterfly Valley is a typical sub-tropical rainforest valley. Verdant tree is the idea place for butterfly to habitat and breed. That is where you can see many colorful butterflies flying around and for very high chance that you could see death butterflies laying in this forest. Anyway, the Butterfly Valley is not all about to see the butterflies but to experience the beauty of the Ding Lake, the streams, the falls and the verdant trees.
You need to pay extra RMB 30 to have the whole experience of Butterfly Valley with a tour guide.
I was cruising on a rowing boat on the Ding Lake with dark green water. The color of the lake is dark green because the water is soaked under the rocky mineral land. The boat arrived at the island in the center lake named Huxin Island. The island has a wonderful butterfly showroom, a gallery of arts made of butterfly swing, an antique tea house, self-made butterfly art and the Wishing tree.
The boat ride was a memorable one to me as I was the only passenger at that time. The views of the lake and mountains are beautiful with fresh air.
NEXT: The forest...
In Chinese: 蝴蝶谷， hu die gu.
After the boat ride and passing the Huxin Island, I was walking on a forest trail with a tour guide. Other than myself and a young lady tour guide, there was another family group with 2 adults and 2 children with their tour guide that I saw during the entire walk. It was really quiet and peace in this forest without much of the interruption from the tourists. It is a very natural rainforest with hills, streams, and falls. It was an easy walk, only encounters some areas without proper walkway but the guide would warn me for the difficult steps. The part I enjoyed the most was when I walked in a hillside looking out to the Dinghu Mountain. The views were nice with winter mist.
NEXT: The Streams...
Coming downhill, I could hear the water stream down the hill. The creek paths with natural rocks of different sizes with clear water. It was winter, the water flow was rather slow but was still beautiful and enjoyed the views of streams. Some of the rocks were changed in color due to the stream bringing different mineral to cause the change of color over time.
It must be fun to play the water in this natural forest with friends.
NEXT: The waterfalls...
Based on a map, there are five waterfalls along the trail. I only noticed Cran Dragon Fall (青龙瀑), which is the largest fall in butterfly valley. Other waterfalls include Sky Fall (天瀑), Ren Zi Fall (人字瀑), White Elephant Fall (白象瀑), and Green Jade Fall (碧瀑). There are not big waterfalls, but just nice enough to make some water sounds of the quiet forest. It is part of the forest ecosystem.
Don't miss the forest trail at Bufferfly Valley!
The forest walk came to the end and it was a short walk to the Qingyun Temple.
Qingyun Temple is one of the four famous temples in Lingnan (referring lands in the South China including Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangxi and Northern Vietnam) , located in the Dinghu Mountain. This Temple was built during the late Ming Dynasty (1633) and completed in 1636. It is a historical Buddhist Temple that has many historical relics like the famous Bells and Drums. The Temple is built in the most sacred land on the mountain, where is a place to find peace and learn the teaching of Buddhism blessed by meditation, silence and discipline oneself.
The Empress Dowager Cixi granted the tablet of " Qingyun Logevity Temple", Tripitaka" and "The Story of the Buddha" in Guangxu 19 year to Qingyun Temple in recognition of promoting Buddhism.
In 1983, Qingyun Temple was opened to the public for visitation.
Qingyun Temple was built in strict symmetry on vertical and horizontal lines buildings. The slope of the mountain was cut into seven steps to build the following buidlings:
Fang Pool, Guihua Garden, the 17th Mountain Gate, Weituo Temple, Main Hall, Sutra Collection Pavilion, Dagoba Hall, Ancestor's Hall, Law Hall, Meditation Hall, Zhike Hall, Abbot's Hall, Indian Buddhist Book Hall, Gulang Spring, Lignum Santali Albi Woods. There are more than 100 sites here.
It was a rainy day during my visit.So, I was walking around the Temple compound, I could see not only halls for religious purpose but hallway or corridors are nicely built with the mix of ancient architectural design.
From the Southeast part of the Temple, there is a forest trail that can lead you to Flying Waterpool. Don't miss... Another opportunity to see the forest and waterfalls.
In Chinese: 庆云寺， qing yun si
After Qingyun Temple, the forest trail started from the Southeast Entrance of the Temple. I was walking downhill with proper stairs and passed by the small religious pavilion. Along the forest trail, I was walking along a creek with rocks. The stream is not impressively strong but remaining rocks create a beautiful scenic views of the forest. Before reaching Flying Waterpool, there were few water pools in between waterfalls, I was enjoying the misty forest and walking on a stone pathway to my next mystery waterfall.
NEXT: Flyling Waterpool..
The Flying Waterpool is also known as Oxygen Bar due to its fresh air that rich of anions, achieve 105600 per cu. cm. The water has 30 meters high that creates a beautiful scenic view with the surrounding forest. It was winter during my visit, otherwise swimming in the pool might be refreshing especially with dark green mineral water surrounded by forest.
After seeing the Flying Waterpool, I continued walking uphill to get back to the main road where I could catch an electric buggy back to the main entrance. Before I took the buggy to the main entrance, I saw the Ding Lake with a bridge. It has beautiful view as well.
In Chinese: 飞水潭， fei shui tan
This is another part of Dingu with bridge. It is a beautiful area where the bridge is built to allow pedestrians cross the lake. I enjoy the water mostly due to the dark green color lake. The beautiful color of the lake is an ideal place to get a good shot of the bridge reflection.
Star Lake Bay Park is located south of the lake scenic area, northeast of the Zhaoqing Long-Distance Bus Station. It is a local park, where you can see the most beautiful view of Qinglian lake with the seven star crags. I saw an old man start boat paddling from this park, and the scene with the lake and the crags was just beautiful like in a Chinese painting. The winter cloud made it more interesting to take photos and just simply enjoyed the beauty of the entire lake.
In Chinese: 星湖湾公园， xing hu wan gong yuan.