OK, while Anqing was a little disappointing from a Western perspective, it may well find itself becoming relatively attractive to Chinese tourists one day. Sadly there’s even less to see in Bengbu, Bozhou and Chaohu so I’ve wrapped them all up into a single post.
Bengbu is home to only 3.5 million people and they must be very bored indeed, the local tourist information folks can only find two things worth seeing here. Though it’s worth noting that the city is also famous for rosewood furniture if you fancy a bargain. Otherwise you’re left with a choice between the Longzi Lake “Scenic Area” and the White Milk Spring.
Longzi Lake appears to be attractive enough as long as you’re facing away from the city, but it doesn’t appear to be much more than a lake – the countryside around it is quite unspectacular. I can’t imagine anyone going out of their way to visit unless they were stuck in Bengbu through no fault of their own. I suspect White Milk Spring will prove to be even less impressive as the only photo available of it online is of the gate to the entrance…
Bozhou, isn’t the name of a clown, it’s pronounced Bo-jo. Sadly for the 5.5 million folks who live there, there’s even less to do here than in Bengbu. But… one of those things is a long underground tunnel in the old city and it’s supposed to be really cool. Other than that there’s an old opera stage – that no-one can stand on because it’s falling to bits and also the Huazu An which is an old nunnery with strong connections to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
I particularly like the fact that the tourist board highlights the fact that you can catch a train to somewhere else from Bozhou – that’s not exactly a sterling recommendation for visitors is it?
If you’re willing to brave a little heavy metal poisoning you might fancy tucking into white bait, white shrimp and white crab in Chaohu which are considered to be the “three treasures” of the city. Technically there’s only one tourist attraction here and that’s Chao Lake but unlike poor old Bengbu there are loads of interesting sites around the lake and you can find the Shengfei Temple, and the Wenfeng Pagoda (actually this looks pretty cool – and it has over 800 Buddhist statues inside).
There’s also Zhongmiao Temple where you can find actual Buddhists making pilgrimage and prayer even today. There are “forest parks”, caves and hot springs too, you might enjoy the springs if you like bathing with 100,000 others – I’m not sure that it will cure diseases though as the tourist board claims…
I could be tempted to visit Chaohu, it’s the first place in Anhui that even marginally tickles my fancy – but it’s a long way to go for a lake. So I’m hoping somewhere else close by would make it worth a trip.