Thursday, May 30, 2019

Travel Guide: Chengde

I included Chengde in my itinerary because I wanted to visit a place I haven't been to before each time I go to China. It had a couple of UNESCO Heritage Sites and historic attractions so I decided to go.


Travel Guide

I was looking for Beijing Dongzhan (or East Railway Station) on the map, I also asked the receptionist at the hostel where it was. People didn't know much about it and the pictures I saw were unclear. So I decided to ask at the metro station for details, thankfully someone knew where it was. I arrived at the station and was told it was near, I walked for almost half an hour and got lost for a while before arriving.

The station looked nothing like the other more developed stations I've been to in Beijing. It looked like a warehouse, passengers can't even enter until their scheduled train is ready to leave. I hurried to the station only to hear the announcement that the train will be departing at a later time.

After more than an hour of waiting we were finally allowed to board.

Mountain Resort


The Mountain Resort began construction during the Qing Dyansty and took 90 years to complete. It covers an area spanning 564 square meters. The royal families of that epoch used the resort as a go-to holiday destination during summer. The resort has a simple layout and design but exudes a majestic elegance fit for royalty. It has four areas namely the Palace, Lake, Plain and Mountain Areas.






It was a pleasant day out and one I needed after a couple of days in bustling Beijing. There were a lot of people but there are places where you can get away from them to enjoy nature and just chill.




I took my sweet time exploring the resort area. There are nice flowers, plants and beautiful views throughout.




There are different trails that lead to viewpoints around the resort. Make sure to go to the Mountain Area because it provides beautiful views of the surroundings, the rock formation and some of the temples nearby.

Entrance Fee: CNY145

Additional Fees:

  • CNY50 to get around the lake
  • CNY40 for the electric automobiles


Getting to the Mountain Resort: you can take bus #s 1, 5, 6, 11, 15, 16, 17, 28, 29, 30 or 228 to get there directly. You can also take a taxi for CNY20.

Eight Outer Temples

The Eight Outer Temples are also part of UNESCO's Heritage List. 12 temples were built during the Qing Dynasty from 1713 and finished in 1780. Tourists can enter six namely Puyou Temple, Putuo Zongchengzhi Temple, Pule Temple,  Puning Temple, Anyuan Temple and Xumi Fushouzhi Temple.


The Putuo Zongchengzhi Temple (picture above) is the biggest of the Eight Outer Temples. It resembles the Potala Palace found in Tibet. It was built in the 1760s. I took the photo from one of the trails in the Mountain Resort.



The only temple I entered was Puning. Built in 1755, it is also called the "Big Buddha Temple" because of the huge wooden Buddha statue that is around 22m high you'll find inside.


It was already late in the afternoon when I went, this meant fewer tourists. The temple complex was serene and was an ideal place to take a leisurely walk in.




I only went to Puning Temple out of the Eight Outer Temples on the UNESCO Heritage List, the entrance fee costs CNY80.

Other fees include:

  • CNY80 for the Budala Xanadu Area
  • CNY50 for the Qingchuifeng Area

Getting to one of the temples: take bus #5 outside the Mountain Resort to reach the closest stop, then you'll have to walk for around 1.5 km.

Expenses

I spent 2 nights in Chengde and here are my expenses:

*Everything's in Yuan

33 - Transportation
110 - Food and drinks
110 - 2 nights First Met Hostel
145 - Entrance fee for Mountain Resort
80 - Puning Temple entrance
41 - Beijing to Chengde train ticket
40.5 - Chengde to Beijing train ticket        
559.5 - Total

How to Get to Chengde

The most convenient way to reach Chengde is by train, there are regular trains from Beijing to this destination. You can check schedules and buy tickets online here www.trip.com.

Getting Around

There are public buses that go to different parts of the city and taxis are relatively cheap for short distances.



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