As you may have guessed the recurring theme in Anhui province is that there’s not too much to see, so today we’ll be calling at five stops along the tour in short order; Chizhou, Chuzhou, Fuyang, Hefei and Huaibei before we arrive in Huangshan the area’s most famous tourist destination in the next post in this series.
Chizhou (Chi-Jo) offers access to Mount Jiuhua and that might be well worth a visit if you’re in Anhui. It looks to be generally an appealing area that’s one peak short of a century. As with much of the rest of Anhui province there’s a prominent and recurring Buddhist theme to the many attractions here – there are nearly 90 temples in the region and that’s plenty of sight seeing for everyone.
You can take a cable car up into the mountains so that’s a nice way to spend some time, and better still you can go and see Monk Wu Xia’s corpse (now a skeleton) here as well. He is reputed to have been a reincarnation of another famous Buddhist figure Rinpoche and the site is considered to be a very holy place. So Chizhou very much gets a thumbs up as it looks fabulous and it’s one of those places that’s so far off the beaten path that it’ll bring some real bragging rights back home too.
Chuzhou (Chu-Jo) also offers a set of striking mountain facilities in the form of the Langya Mountain National Park. The tourist board does a lousy job of selling this place sadly as while it doesn’t seem to offer quite as much as Mount Jiuhua the Langya Temple is genuinely beautiful and amongst the top real attractions in the province.
Poor old Fuyang on the other hand is a bit of a dud particularly if you’re doing this in alphabetical order – that’s because it borders the same lake as Chaohu and has no otherwise distinguishing features to recommend it, it also seems to be slightly further away from the sights than Chaohu. So let’s move on from here.
Hefei, as has already been said is the capital of Anhui province and doesn’t seem to have much to offer. A few tributes to Lord Bao (from the Northern Song Dynasty) and the opportunity to go and visit an Ancient Sanhe Village (that admittedly does look amazingly picturesque). Oh and the opportunity to take in some Chinese Opera. As provincial capitals go, it’s really not very interesting at all.
Huaibei has a couple of places to visit, Xiangshan mountain that appears to be the least lovely mountain in the region, and that’s why I’ve included a picture of a cave that’s found there. The only reason to visit that I can see is that it’s not far from Linhuan Ancient Tea Town (about 45 minutes away by car) which has over 3,000 years of connection to the tea trade here and offers 16 places to consume as much tea as you like on the main street. I think you’d have to really love Chinese tea to make the trip though as almost every major Chinese city offers endless varieties of tea.
I’m genuinely interested in Chizhou and Chuzhou, I think those places offer some real “road less travelled” opportunities for people wanting to explore Chinese culture. I’d also want to visit the Ancient Sanhe Village in Hefei, but only if I was passing through as pretty as it looks I wouldn’t make a special trip for it.
I’m also quite excited about the next installment of this series and I can’t wait to find out why I should visit – Huangshan, Anhui’s “crown jewel”.