There’s something about Anqing that depresses the life out of the potential visitor, and it’s not just that they speak a dialect that no-one else in China speaks either.
There are 6.1 million people living in the city and yet despite that there’s not a whole heck of a lot for them to offer to visitors. You know they’re getting desperate when the official website tells you that there are 6 things to see in the vicinity and that includes 3 mountains and a lake.
It has to be said that Huating Lake does, for China, look rather pretty and unspoiled though I suspect that’s photoshop at work and you’ll gently dissolve in its sparkly waters when you discover what the local industries have been sharing with it over the years. That said it’s definitely a high point of an otherwise disappointing place to hang out.
Tianzhu Mountain is an altogether different high point and thankfully is nowhere near as ugly as the rest of the city. The robbing souls want nearly $25 to climb the thing though and like every tourist location here – you can share the journey to the top with a few hundred thousand bored locals on busy days.
Dalong Mountain’s alright too – but to be fair the scenery isn’t much different from Tianzhu so unless you’ve got mountain goat genes you probably won’t be bothered to do both. Xiaogushan mountain on the other hand is a bit of a dump (see photo) – it would be lovely unspoiled Chinese country side, if they hadn’t parked a monstrously ugly hotel on the side of it. What on earth where they thinking of?
The other highlights are the Yingjian Temple which is a modestly impressive Buddhist temple, but there are better examples of such things in China and it’s not worth a trip to Anqing to see this by itself.
Then there’s Duxiu Park, and if you’ve never seen badly built communist park steps before – you should pack your bags and feast your eyes, if of course you’re insane. Otherwise even the tourist board can’t take a photo that makes this place attractive.
If you’re a linguist or one of those obsessives that has to visit every city in a country then Anqing might be worth a go – but as far as traditional China goes there are many prettier places with much more to see than Anqing. The only thing of note about Anqing is that it is one of two cities that gave Anhui province its name.
I can see how agricultural tourism might appeal in this backwater, you could see everything worth seeing in a few hours and be out of town before they decide it’s not worth running a railway service anymore.