Qianshan National Park
A famous mountain 18 km to the south east of Anshan, the 708.3-meter-high Qianshan is densely wooded, and abounds in flora and fauna. The name is actually and abbreviation of 'Thousand lotus flower mountains'. The peaks were said to resemble the petals of the lotus flower which had been dropped to earth by a goddess. The park area of 44 square kilometres, is filled with both Buddhist and Taoist temples, monasteries and nunneries. It is one of few locations where both religions are found sharing the same site. Among Qianshan's scenic spots is a new discovery - a nature-wrought statue of the Buddha which stands 70 meters high. It is claimed to be the largest naturally occurring image of Matria Buddha in the world. Several temples have been built on the peaks of the overlooking hills. The park has since become the venue for the Qianshan Great Buddha Festival in June of every year.
The area has a long history of religious worship dating back 1200 years to the Tang dynasty of China. The Emperor Taizong, Li Shimin, of the Tang Dynasty visited the site and added to the temples here. It was enhanced during both Ming and Qing dynasties. Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong visited and the poetry that they wrote while here can be seen. The revolutions of the twentieth century saw the site abandoned and some buildings damaged. The park has since be restored and expanded with new temples of the Matria Buddha.
Nearly 1000 lotus shaped peaks made of granite. You can hike between the different temples and monasteries of Tang, Ming, and Qing style and other attractions.
Flora and fauna
The area is predominantly pine forest on the mountain tops and deciduous in the valleys.
In summer, hot, typically 32 degree centigrade. Winters are very cold, often as low as -20 centigrade. Heavy snow is not uncommon in winter.
The nearest city is Anshan, some 18 kilometers away. Liaoning's provincial capital, Shenyang, lies about 90km to the north. Shenyang airport is the closest to the park. Coaches and trains run between Anshan and Shenyang very frequently. The train will take 50 minutes and the coach about twice that. Alternatively, Dalian city, south of Anshan also has a public airport. Coaches to and from Dalian run about four times daily.
There is a frequent bus service to Qianshan from the bus station in the centre of Anshan near to the train station. Take bus Number 8. The fare is 2 Yuan each way. buses are crowded at times, and rather slow. Return buses wait near the main gate of the park. A taxi will take you from Anshan city centre to the main gate for around 35 to 40 Yuan. You can rely on the meter of the Taxi; it starts out at 6.00 Yuan and starts ticking over from 2km onwards. Taxis are commonly waiting at the park gate for your return journey.
Entrance to the main park is 80 yuan per person from April 1 to October 31 and 60 yuan from November 1 to March 31. Electric bus is 10 yuan per person per journey. Cable cars cost 20 yuan per person at the Great Buddha Scenic Spot and Heaven above Heaven Scenic Spot. The cable car is 30 yuan at the Five-Buddha Summit. In addition, some temples and monistries may charge a small entrance fee upwards of 5 yuan each, however, many are free to enter. The Aviary at the back of the park charges an additional entrance fee. The Qianshan Immortal Summit—China’s Forest Park, costs 30 yuan per person entrance.
Motor cars are not allowed within the park. Tourists must either walk or hire one of the electric shuttle buses which are available for 10 per person per ride. Walking is preferred and is the only method by which to mountain summits may be reached. The main roadway in the valleys is well paved and wide. The mountain tops are gained via well defined, stone laid, paths and stairs. These mountain paths are very steep. For those who are less fit, three cable car routes can convey you up the hill sides. However, none of the cable cars will take you the whole way, leaving you some climbing to do by yourself.
- Maitreya Buddha scenic spot. This is the worlds largest naturally formed image of Buddha. It is fully 70 metres high. On the peak overlooking the Buddha mountain is the Maitreya Buddha temple and pagodas. The site is relatively new, having only been discovered mid 1990's. A stepped path leads up to the summit. Alternatively, a cable car runs part way up the mountain but not all the way.
- Heaven above Heaven. Near to the main gates of the park, this summit can be reached by several routes. Either climb the stairs past Wuliang Taoist Temple or use the cable car. However, the cable car route here is relatively short and there remains a significant climb both before and after the car journey. If you continue along the ridge, you will pass such sites as Seventh Heaven, the Ninth Heaven, the Narrow Path between Rocks, wooden fish, rootless rock, pitiable pine, and the sky-watching frog. The ridge walk will lead you over to and route down to Five Dragon Temple or you can continue on to the Five Buddha Summit.
- Five Buddha Summit. This is the second highest peak in the park. At the top there are five statues of the Buddha. The site is said to date to the Tang Dynasty. Direct access is only by cable car followed by a very steep climb by foot. The ridge way runs to Heaven above Heaven though decent can also be made about half way along via the Longquan Buddhist temple.
- Immortal Summit - China's forest park. To the south of the main park, this area has it's own entrance and separate charges. Here ancient pine trees, many over 100 years old, can be seen as well as Buddhist temples. The peak here, at 708.3 meters above sea level, is the highest in Qianshan park.
- Garden of Birds. Situated towards the back of the park near the cable car to the Five Buddha Summit, the Garden of Birds contains over 100 different types of birds.
- Dragon Spring Temple (Longquan Temple). Legend has it that Taizong, Li Shimin, an Emperor of the Tang Dynasty, drank of the waters here and found them to be sweet. Today two spring waters can be found, one is bitter in taste and the other sweet. The film "The Bell of the Ancient Temple" was made here.
- Qianshan Ski Resort. Situated just outside the main National Park area, this new ski centre has several runs for both novice and accomplished skiers. Ski hire is available on site and the centre is well staffed and has modern equipment. It is only open during winter months.
- Qianshan Hot Spring Resort Area. Several natural hot spring spa baths are situated around the north entrance to the park. Here travellers can relax in the waters and receive other treatments such as massage.
- Qianshan Golf Range. Golf courses are not common in China. In Qianshan district there is a driving range where you can practice your swing.
Hawkers by the roadside sell the usual tourist trinkets in common with other tourist sites in China.
Within the park, there is little food available other than snacks sold by hawkers by the path side. Just outside the park gates, may traditional Chinese country style restaurants flourish. These will prepare traditional dishes at very reasonable prices though they are not always as clean as one might want. Higher class restaurants are also available nearby.
For nightlife, it is best to head back into Anshan City. Nightclubs such as the Coco Club and SOS club can be found there as well as many cheaper bars.
There are several inexpensive hotels outside of the main gates to the park.
- Green Mountain Village Hotel, ☎ +86 412 5400001. Three star country hotel
- The Rose Mountain Villa, ☎ +86 412 5412789. Three star country hotel
- Jicui Hotel, ☎ +86 412 5417888. Three star country hotel
- Xinfeng hotel (鑫丰酒店), Yu Ji Cui Lilac Hill, Qianshan District, Anshan. (鞍山市千山区丁香峪积翠山庄), ☎ +86 412 5412233, fax: +86(0412)7887666. This three star hotel is near to Qianshan National Park and has 158 rooms.
- Anshan Qiushi Hotel (鞍山秋实宾馆), 1st Street, Qianshan District, Anshan. (鞍山市千山区温泉街1号), ☎ +86 412 2410272, fax: +86(0412)2410272. This three star hotel has within it a natural hot water spa where you can relax. It is near to Qianshan National Park and has 42 rooms.
Alternatively you can stay in one of the many large hotels within Anshan City, near to the park.
- Anshan International Hotel (鞍山国际大酒店), 219 Yuanlin Ave, Teidong, Anshan. (鞍山市铁东区园林路219号), ☎ +86 412 5555888, fax: +86(0412)5555988. A five star hotel situated at the edge of Dongshan Park. Contains 306 rooms with 520 beds. ¥680-9,800.
- Wuhuan Hotel (鞍山五环大酒店), 43 Shengli Ave, Teidong, Anshan. (鞍山市铁东区南胜利路43号) (On the corner of Shungli Lu and Xinhua Jie. Within 10 minutes walk of the main shopping centres.), ☎ +86 412 5520888, fax: +86(0412)5549999. This five star hotel has 328 rooms and 515 beds. Renmen Park, behind the hotel, is a hive of activity in the evenings with people dancing, exercising and practising Taichi. Several "doctors" set up benches here where, from ¥15, you can have a massage.
Mountain paths can be very steep, near vertical in places with handholds and ladders for assistance. Many of them are not for those who have a fear of heights. Young children should be carefully supervised on the mountain paths. Safety barriers run along the most treacherous sections and are sturdy.
- Tanggangzi Hot Springs - famous as the place where the last Qing emperor, Puyi, came to bathe with his empress. About 10km south of Anshan city centre. There are other less well known spas near to Qianshan park gates.
- Jade Buddha Temple - On the eastern edge of Anshan city on Qianshan Jie. The worlds largest statue of Buddha made form a single block of jade.
- Shenyang is the major city of Liaoning province and only two hours away by road. In this city are several major tourist sites including some UNESCO world heritage sites.