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Jinan is called the City of Springs due to the fact it has dozens of springs in the city. It’s located on the Beijing – Shanghai railway and a nice place for two nights to see the city or as a long day trip from Beijing. Enjoy a stroll with me through the city along the Daming Lake, the best springs and the Thousand Buddha Mountain.
Thousand Buddha Mountain
The Thousand Buddha Mountain is a mountain just on the outskirts of Jinan. It’s famous for the Buddhist temple Xingguochan and the many carved Buddha’s out of the rocks. The first statues were carved at the beginning of the 6th century during the Sui Dynasty. At the top you have a nice view over the city of Jinan; if there is no smog. To go up the mountain I took the cable car and explored the temple and the statues first before I took the slide down the hill. A thrilling experience; do break or you will get into problems at the turns.
When I arrived down I went to see the 20 meter high golden Buddha. Next to it there is the Myriad Buddha Cave. This is a manmade cave and not old, but it’s worth to see as it contains thousands of Buddha statues. Many are replicas of famous Buddha statues across China. One particular was pretty scary actually as you can see in the photo below. To see the whole scenic area count in just over half a day. If you are with kids then you could also visit the amusement park. I went late morning and after the Thousand Buddha Mountain I just had time to see the Daming Lake. The springs I had to postpone to the next morning.
Daming Lake is located just north of the old city center and easily reached if you stay in a hotel at the center. The south and western part is free to access with the north and eastern part requiring you to buy a ticket. Make sure to buy a ticket which also gives access to the springs.
Around the lake you will find a pagoda’s which you can climb for a nice birds eye view of the lake. The most important Taoist temple of Jinan is located on the northern shore. Further there are many pavilions, gardens, bridges and especially many romantic views. If you want you can hire a paddle boat to tour the lake or tkae one of the boats to visit the small islands. There is also an amusement park for kids but this I skipped myself. It will take probably an hour or two to see around the lake. From there it’s a 5 minute walk to the Five Dragon Pool spring.
Five Dragon Pool Spring
The most famous spring in Jinan is probably the Five Dragon Pool. Located just a block south of Daming Lake. It’s a beautiful area in the morning where you can watch the elderly do some exercises on music and see people trying to photograph the fishes jump out of the water. There are 28 ponds with springs in the park of which the Five Dragon Pool is the most famous. It’s said a house of a Tang Dynasty general was built there but submerged thus forming the large pond. Unless you go for a pick nick or just sit long watching the fish it won’t take more as 40 minutes to go through the park. I didn’t have hours of time so unfortunately I could not really just sit and watch the people.
Baotu Spring is the second most famous spring in Jinan. It’s located just across the street of the Five Dragon Pond and the other side just across Spring City Square. Beside the main spring called Baotu Spring there are several others in the park as well. The Baotu Spring consists of three sub-springs which pour water into the main basin. In the park there are lots of small streams, bridges, gardens and pavilions. At the back of the park there is a bamboo forest. History dates back over 3 centuries and the spring is also mentioned in the Spring and Autumn Annals; one of the five classics of Chinese history. It was written by Confucius whose cemetery, mansion and temple I would visit in the next days.
What else can you do in Jinan?
What else can you do in Jinan? There is the Spring City Square just outside of the southern exit of the Baotu Spring Park. Beside that in the city there is not much more to do as to go shopping, dining or just do nothing. For street food I could recommend the Wei Alley and around that area or the Fu Rong Jie. At the entrance of that street from Yuangqian Street there is also a nice restaurant on the corner. Do not ask me for the name; it’s the one with looks expensive inside but isn’t.
Other places of interest are all outside of Jinan of which Taishan Mountain is the most famous day trip. It’s one of the Five Sacred Mountains of China. A day trip to Qufu, birthplace of Confucius is also an option; I did this from Xuzhou. The two night stay in Jinan could easily be extended to a four night stay if you would include these day trips. If you like the above, then plan them in a trip to China, they are worth a visit as is Jinan itself.
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Gallery Jinan: City of Springs
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