Mount Putuo

Mount Putuo

Mount Putuo (普陀山 Pǔtuóshān) is an island near Ningbo in Zhejiang province that derives its name from a sacred Buddhist mountain at the center of the island.

Understand

Putuoshan is only 297 meters above sea level and is located 5km east of Zhoushan island in Zhejiang province. The mountain is dedicated to Guanyin, often known in English as the Goddess of Mercy or the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

There is an accommodation bureau at the port. The staff are extremely helpful, and provide reliable information on hotels and guest houses on the island. During national holidays, it is advisable to make prior room reservations, but this is not generally necessary at other periods.

Another tourist office is located on the main square near the Puji temple, and this is a good place to pick up free English-language guides and maps.

Get in

Whether you arrive from Ningbo, from Zhoushan or direct from Shanghai, it costs ¥160 (July 2010) to land on Putuoshan as the whole island is a National Park (for ¥5 more you can buy a "Digital CD-ROM entry ticket" for the island which includes a CD with a video about the island).

Due to new bridges it is now possible to travel to Shenjiamen (from which it is only about a 15 minute ferry ride to Putuoshan) entirely by bus from Shanghai and Ningbo. Shanghai has several departures daily from Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center, Shanghai Nanpu Bridge Bus Center and Shanghai South Long Distance Bus Station (138rmb/4-5 hours).

Ningbo has regular buses from both the Ningbo South and Ningbo North bus stations (60rmb, 2-3 hours)

The 15 minute boat ride from Shenjiamen costs ¥14 (slow ferry, 25 minutes) or ¥22 (fast ferry, 10 minutes).

The following bus/ferry combinations are still available but the bus services which now utilise the new bridge connections are faster and more comfortable. The journey from Ningbo to Putuoshan costs ¥70 and consists of an about 1 hour bus ride from the Ningbo Ferry Wharf to the port in Daxie and a 1 hour boat ride from Daxie to Putuoshan. The Ningbo Ferry Wharf is located just north of LaoWaiTan in 288 Zhongma Road (中马路). If you have a hotel booking you may be met at the wharf by a hotel minibus. Look out for placards in the bus park. There is an information/hotel booking desk at the Wharf, otherwise it is a short walk to the Puji Temple central area, where there is another information centre.

There are two boats departing from Shanghai. The cheapest leaves in the evening and takes around 12 hours, and costs around ¥90-340 (one way). For approximately ¥260 (one way), you can buy a ticket which includes a bus trip to Luchao Wharf from the city centre (taking up to two hours, depending on traffic conditions) and a boat onwards to Putuoshan (taking between two and three hours).

From Hangzhou, there are buses from the south bus station (407 qiutaolu 秋涛路407) to the bus station on Zhoushan (shenjiamen 沈家门). Buses depart approximately once per hour, take 3-4 hours, and cost ¥70. The bus journey no longer involves a vehicular ferry from the mainland to Zhoushan because a new bridge has been competed.

Get around

Putuoshan has an efficient minibuses service that links all the island's main attractions, and it costs ¥5-8 per ride. However, as many bus stops are some distance from the temples, be prepared for some long walks. Furthermore, as bus signs are usually in Chinese characters and pinyin only, it's advisable to write down the name of your destination before you set out.

If weather permits, the island is best explored on foot. This allows you to avoid the crowds and also to visit pavilions and temples that are off the beaten track. The return journey can be made by bus.

Of course, riding a mountain-bike would also be a great option, no cars, great scenery...But you can not hire bikes all over the island. Too bad!

See

Do

Buy

Near Puji Temple there is a night market that sells a variety of souvenirs, statues and raw seafood, a number of convenience stores, and a few restaurants offering inexpensive meals.

Eat

Note: There are mostly no English Menus available and the staff does not speak any English, also in the bigger Hotel-Restaurants. If so, you are lucky! Don`t forget your English-Chinese dictionary, especially for food with Chinese Characters. And there is no restaurant on the island serving Western food. If you are lucky you get some toast for breakfast in the hotels.

Drink

Sleep

Note: Depending on your level of desired hospitality, hotel rooms are available on the island in a variety of prices, ranging from ¥300 to ¥1000 per night. On weekends you pay more, up to double the price.

There is one official page for Hotels:

http://www.putuoshan.net/english.html

See also the Five Star Landison Hotel:

http://www.landisonhotels.com/en/putuo/index.php

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, May 19, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.