Thursday, January 07, 2016

Green Lotus Peak (碧蓮峰) - A Tourist Attraction with AAA Rating @ Yangshuo [China]

Touted as Yangshuo's number one peak, Green Lotus peak was described as such given the hill's shape from far; something we could not quite imagine when we were standing right in front of its entrance! 

We would have noticed the peak earlier though as it's within a ten-minute walk from our hotel and is even connected to the famous West Street!

I wasn't actually looking forward to the "climb" - stories from my mom and younger sister told of a climb during their Guilin trip that took more than half an hour and the objective was to see a statue of a person whom no one in the group seemed to know. 

That actually happened to me once at He Long park in Zhangjiajie; i was only thankfully that the beautiful scenery made up for boredom arising from a lack of knowledge for that eminent man. 

Dad was happy nevertheless and to me, that matters more. 

A super duper old school broom made of twigs! This would have been perfect for Halloween for those masquerading as witches! For my oriental mindset, i strongly thought this was phased out since the death of dynastic rule in China. 

Roof tiles - from this angle, it appeared that the tiles were just laid on top of one another and that begets the question from an ignorant person like me if they were "secure" enough for strong wind, heavy rain etc. 

The sights of the rolling hills and water next to the stairs - some people might find such sights tiresome after a while but for my dad, he wishes he lives among them for the rest of his life. Oh well, he has to have some imagination then; replacing HDB flats as hills and mountains. 

Key attraction of Green Lotus Peak was this enormous one-word inscription by the side of the cliff. 

Those familiar with Chinese writing would associate the 5.732-meter high, 2.91 meter-wide character as 帶, which can be translated as 'bring', 'take' or even the 'band' in hairband. In Chinese calligraphy however, it is never that simple. 

Given the way and style it was written, the word can be divided into sixteen different characters that are read almost like a poem!  一代山河,举世无双,少年努力,万古流芳; my shallow, uncultured mind was honestly dumbfounded. 

Mermerising at the natural scenery was much easier. 

In the past, people would just soak in the atmosphere and then do stuff like painting, tea-appreciation, scenery gazing, playing the guzheng etc in the pavilion; now, it's just a sheltered area to chit chat and play games on iphone. 

Our pretty local guide for the peak who is from the Zhuang minority tribe! Young and enthusiastic, she was adept in answering our questions and wasn't like those who literally memorised the entire script to bore us. 

Word carvings on the cliff - the two lines on the left were frequently heard during our trip; 桂林山水甲天下, 阳朔山水甲桂林. In essence, Guilin scenery is the best in the world yet the one in Yangshuo is even better than Guilin! 

You may ask "are you sure?". In the minds of many Chinese, especially those from the generation of my parents and grandparents, Guilin is the famed one! Since i have travelled to both places, i can confidently conclude that Yangshuo scenery is way more breathtaking and it has to do with developments; Guilin is a city whereas Yangshuo is a town. 

Aside from the 帶 carving, there were other attractions within the compound although they were not supposed to result in an adrenaline rush unless you are into history or cultural stuff. The pavilion on the right is the riverside pavilion with the second floor known as the view windows. Read more here

Jian Zhen Memorial Hall - in memory of a monk who played a crucial role in sino-japanese cultural exchange back in the Tang dynasty. 

As with He Long, i had no idea who Jian Zhen was. It was interesting to note that he attempted to visit Japan five times and succeeded on the sixth time; by then, he was already blind. 

The Chinese boat that made the treacherous journey across the sea for our determined Jian Zhen. Gosh, if i am blind, i think i would just wallow in self pity. 

Another shot of the View Windows.

There was a route leading up to the peak but we heard that it was closed till further notice. Dad and i were disappointed as we have always enjoyed the sights at hilltops. 

From this level, you would be forgiven for thinking the structure is just a one-floor house from the Tang dynasty era. Known as Jianshan tower, it was formerly a temple that ceased operation in 1916. 

The upper floor (in this photo) now houses some large tables for painters to display their skills. 

With such a great view in front of them, it should be relatively easy to get into the "mood'. According to the guide, they would come at about 11am and we were early by an hour!

An ecstatic dad - at their age, happiness takes on a different perspective and it's heartening to see him enjoying himself immensely in this trip; so much so that he still talks excitedly about it! 

While many craftsmen would attempt to add in more colours to beautify the roof columns, this took the cake by forcing us to focus on the ferocious dragon!

This floor was on traditional paper making and printing on paper.

Guess you don't need further lessons on this; point is, printing was laborious in the past! Thank god for the rise in machinery! 

Process as appended above for your viewing pleasure. As you can see, the lady in traditional garb use another printing technique which would resu
in a printed background and words that stand out because they were not inked! 

Going down another floor - please be assured that the climb could hardly be described as difficult or hurried and was in fact rather slow paced. 

Can't really remember why i took this photo; think it was something about the branches taking root and event support the main branch that stretched all the way out. 

Jianshan Tower at the back!

Oh, i recall why the road up the peak was closed! There is a danger of falling stones and for safety reason, no one is allowed to climb to the hilltop. Taking tons of pictures can be so helpful sometimes. 

Another entrance for Green Lotus Peak. 

The area seemed familiar even though i could not quite pin point the location. Mystery was solved later that afternoon and i shall be sharing more in less than a week's time. 

I just need to photoshop in a rising morning sun and this photo would be perfect with the crow statue signaling the start of the day! 

A thatched shelter that looked quite out of place.

Next up was the rock / stone sculpture gallery. As with the numerous peaks and karst formations, imagination is required; can you see a mother cradling a baby?

A tortoise or in my opinion, a hacked off dragon head?

This is straightforward; a monk! It was labelled as Jigong monk though.

Too many rocks and it's already using a lot of my brain juice early in the morning. Let's quicken our pace and get out of the place! 

Yes, we went down another level and this shall route back to the entrance we came in from. Again, Jianshan Tower in the background. 

Our tour mates continued to marvel at the scenery that can't be seen in Singapore. p.s. please be prepared for a lot more similar pictures in future postings related to Yangshuo and Guilin

Nope, this isn't to bombard you with more photos of Jianshan tower; i merely wanted to highlight the height of the peak. Even if i want to climb, it is likely going to take a while. 

Chanced upon an old banyan tree! 

Its actual age is unknown but there's a high chance it would soon topple over into the Li River if no drastic measure is taken soon! Having said that, the tour did explain that banyan tree roots go very deep into the ground. 

Walking back! 

Passing by the impressive 帶 carving again! 



Yes, this is a ticketed attraction. Price list as shown above and our tickets are included in our tour package. 

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