The sacred Mount Fanjing and its impossibly-perched Buddhist temple(s).

Next on our touristic itinerary was Mount Fanjing, aka, Fanjingshan, which requires a whole day to fully check out – from early morning till evening. Mount Fanjing is a somewhat quirky place – but one that’s sacred in China by different religions: a huge upstanding double-headed rocky outcrop – on the peak of which stand two Buddhist temples and a small footbridge between them:

A breathtaking spectacle – even in so-so weather:

Actually it’s more mysterious and imposing in so-so weather!

But in sunny weather it’s also oh-my goodness-gracious! ->

As you’ll probably have guessed, those pics aren’t mine. They’re from here. Btw – lots of information about the Mount there.

A few more great photos – from here ->

A site like this is so well-suited to sending up a drone to take aerial videos; however, you need special permission to use one, and woe betide anyone breaking the rules. Alas, we didn’t have time to apply for permission, so all our pics were taken from the ground.

But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s rewind back to the beginning…

There are no populated areas near Mount Fanjing, and no remote hotels either, so there’s no chance of staying in lodgings nearby to be able to be up and at it early in the morning.

As per, the infrastructure is set up to comfortably cope with zillions of visiting Chinese tourists. Also as per (for our trip) – only a fraction of those zillions were present when we were there:

Important (for any of you, dear readers, who may come here one day)! You need to book a time slot for a visit in advance online.

In we went – through the grand gateway in the above pic…

Once inside, we headed to the bus stop. Into a minibus we piled for a 20-minute ride up a narrow and winding road:

As usual, getting to the site was no trivial matter: minibus > cable car > walkies; as shown on the maps:

I mentioned above that zillions of Chinese weren’t observed. That all changed at the base station of the cable car! But – how so, if all tickets need to be purchased online in advance and for specific times?…

Btw – massage chairs are a real hit in China. You see them everywhere. But they weren’t quite “hits” today here: not one was being used! ->

The cable car is very proud of its reliability and safety. Reassuring! ->

We were half-an-hour in the line, then it was into a cabin ->

And we’re off! ->

And there’s the Mount we were heading to ->

Next, as mentioned – walkies. When we heard that there are a full 6600 steps our hearts sank; however, all those are are from the very bottom – where we’d just come up from on the cable car…

Our hearts fell once again! ->

Again it turned out not so bad as it first seemed: we were told it isn’t the season for reptiles.

Like everywhere, rickshaw services are offered – and refused by all our super-active posse ->

So far – so good. Then things went downhill for us (ironic given that we were going uphill!) – the weather turned for the worse…

We were up at some 2300 meters above sea-level and it started to get a bit chilly too. Be sure to wrap up accordingly if coming here.

We come to our first rock formations of note and merit: these ones are called “mushroom stones”:

Caves, steps here and there to the peaks – but the weather wasn’t suitable for that: there’d be nothing to see through the milky fog ( ->

We strolled about for a while hoping that the weather might improve a bit, but no – it wasn’t to be…

But we just had to get up to the main feature – the main peak with the two temples and the bridge on top ->

Ooh – but it looked like others had similar plans! ->

Btw, the line of folks up here wasn’t down to their excessive numbers – it’s due to the path up here being really narrow. Visitors are let up in measured doses – so it doesn’t get too tight ->

Woah – steep in places! ->

I wonder how the… body-positive crowd would get on up here…

Almost there…

The peak is called the Red Clouds Jinding Peak, btw ->

…And on top – Fanjingshan Temple, which is actually two temples: the Temple of the Buddha and Maitreya Temple – one on each of the two “fingers” of rock with a narrow gorge between them, joined by the bridge ->

The rock up top is covered in moist moss, meaning it’s hardly ever hot and dry up here:

  • Meters above sea-level: 2336;
  • Meters of visibility: 0!

The footbridge turned out to be super-thin:

Waiting for a photo-op of the sacred stone without tourists in the way was difficult, but I persevered… and managed it (the single tourist at least wasn’t blocking the view of the stone itself) ->

The inevitable ribbons at sacred sites:

And that was about it. No point staying up here with nothing to see whatsoever. Time to head on back down (.

Down we pop, look back up – and there’s the bridge! ->

There are separate steps for those descending. These are more straightforward, but still… interesting! ->

Still nothing to see further than a few dozen meters ->

Steep! ->

Sometimes – near vertical! ->

A very interesting place. Must get back here – in good weather!

A brief break in the clouds… quick – camera! ->

Magical. And a little spooky.

We make it down to the cable car:

Autumnal shades of south-central China:

A short line for the bus, in we get, and off we go. And no yelling at the driver! ->

More prohibitions: no smoking and no use of cellphones while on the road! ->

The lower hieroglyph: “Slow”:


Tight in places ->

Auto-selfie! ->

And the Buddha – as ever: always smiling ->

Creative! ->

And that was that – the sacred Mount Fanjing: ~done. See you next time!…

All the photos from our China-2023 trip are here.

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