Jiulongshan Mountain Forest Park

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This is the favorite geopark of the author of this post, but that may only be because it is the only large one she has yet visited out here. After city parks, and even the artificial “forest parks” just outside the city limits, this place has a refreshingly natural feel. It is 26km from the Jixian Railway Station, about a 60 RMB taxi fare, but in my experience, there were no metered taxis, so if you could get there paying 80 (though I’d recommend asking your driver either to wait for you or to come back for 150-160 RMB), you could consider yourself lucky.

There is a fantastic, trustworthy taxi driver who operates out of the area around the Railway Station. He doesn’t speak English, but if you don’t speak Chinese, you can text him where you want to go (though have a friend call him first to arrange things initially – say your foreign friend told you about him). He will really look out for you, and wait for you, or come back and get you, depending on how long you will be there, and will not accept payment until his services are complete, and will not accept more than the going rate, even if you try to force it on him. 15222561555 is his number – you can find him on WeChat, as well. We met him by chance our first day, and he drove us everywhere we went, including bringing us to this very park at 8 in the morning and returning at 4:30 in the afternoon to pick us up. We paid him 150 for this particular day.

As for the park itself, it’s down a winding country road, through a small village or two, and when you arrive at the park gates, you pay for tickets, and then, if you don’t have a car and driver staying with you, you walk in from there. If you do have a driver who will park, you can pay to have them drive in and park in the big parking lot, otherwise, it’s a bit of a walk to the big parking lot, but a beautiful walk at tha. As you walk out of the big parking lot, you’ll walk a ways, and then there will be a house up on a hill to your right. A sign on the road on your left at the bend will point up to it indicating that it is a restaurant. This is probably where you’ll want to head when you’re done hiking if you like real Chinese food. We had fried rice (蛋炒饭 – dàn chǎofàn), fried eggs (炒鸡蛋 – Chǎo jīdàn), and the round bread that has lots of layers when you cut it in half (so we put our eggs in it) (it seems it could either be described as 油饼 – Yóubǐng or 千层饼 – Qiān céng bǐng; I’ll get back to you when I’m sure). They also have fatty pork and winter melon soup and a few other things. The price wasn’t so exorbitant either, considering the location, and we ate outside under the trees. It was lovely.

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Following the road on, a path will branch off to the right if you want a bit more of a forested walk to the main mountain path (just never turn right on it if you can continue straight and you won’t get lost), otherwise you’ll walk past a kind of a dam on your right and an old-fashioned-looking hotel on your left that says they are not able to take foreign guests. Past the hotel, you are on your way. The last stop for the bathroom is right before you come to the cave with the dragon head fountain over it (can’t go in the cave). The real path starts by this cave.

You just follow the stone steps all the way up to the very top (sometimes they are so steep you feel like it was the worst idea ever if you are out of shape, but 5- and 6-year-old kids have no trouble with it). Not long after you walk past the dragon cave though, there is a foot path that goes off into the woods. It’s not intended for people to use, and I never saw any of the Chinese tourists use it, but we walked on it quite far, past the second cave, before we turned around. I’d love to see where it ended up. It wasn’t dangerous. As long as you stay on that path or the stone path you’ll be fine, but keep your eyes open for the giant spiders that have their webs between the trees off the path. I don’t think they’re poisonous, but they’re just so big!

Once you are almost at the summit, stone steps will go down the other side of the mountain, and I also have no idea where those go. There are a lot of bees in October, so bring your epi-pen if you’re allergic, but there are also not as many people as you would expect over National Holiday.

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Tickets: 80/Adult; 40/children 1.2-1.5m; Under 1.2m – FREE

Show a Driver: 九龙山国家森林公园 – Jiǔlóng Shān Guójiā Sēnlín Gōngyuán – Jiulongshan National Forest Park

They should be able to enter that in a GPS device or Baidu Maps and be able to find it.]

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