Located in Guangdong province, Zhaoqing, a small scenic city featuring a wetland park and mountain nature reserve, makes for a great escape from the hectic and sprawling cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Craving for fresh air, and a reminder of nature, on the bus we went.
Actually, we took the train to Guangzhou where we stayed the night, explored the local cafe scene, and the next day caught the bus from Tianhe Bus Station and headed to Zhaoqing. First stop was Mount Dinghu.
Dinghu is located 20 minutes or so from Zhaoqing and the bus goes through the city on route to Zhaoqing, so off we hop. The bus stops at a public bus stop where we caught a local bus to the mountain nature reserve. After walking a little ways, grab a ticket at the gate we’re then onboard another bus which heads up the mountain to the ‘Nine Dragon Tripod’ aka giant three-legged bronze bowl that weighs 16 tonnes and stands about 6 meters high and 5 meters wide.
There’s a beautiful lake below, so down we go and take a boat across the lake where we are met by a guide who leads a steers us into a walkthrough butterfly cage and then along a walking track that winds it’s way up and down and around the mountain through beautiful forest, waterfalls, streams and gleefully I sucked in the amazingly fresh air. Next time I’m bringing jars. At the end of the hour or so hike we ended up back at the big bronze pot. After there it’s off to the Qingyun Temple and after that back down the mountain in the bus and then on the public bus to Zhaoqing.
The main attraction at Zhaoqing is the ‘Star Lake’ and the ‘Seven Star Crags’ which consists of a quite large wetland area and picturesque crags. A bit of shame that the day we are here the air is thick with economic output making it difficult to see anything that’s more than 50 meters away… Regardless, this is beautiful, and big, park that you could easily spend the day exploring and even be happy to re-visit.
The park contains a temple, a reserve for wildlife including cranes and other birds, bridges, walk paths, caves and more.
After a big day exploring it’s back to the hotel for rest and to find some dinner. For the first night we stayed at a mid-range hotel, the Ming Tien Inn, near the center of Zhaoqing and directly across from the Star Lake mall where there’s plenty of eatery options, Wal-Mart supermarket and a pizza shop ran by a nice American lady with a what looked like a wood-fired oven.