Putuo Shan (Mount Putuo) Tours – Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, China
Putuo Shan (Mount Putuo)
About this place
Legend or fact, myth or reality? None can truly be sure, but whether you are religious or not, a trip to Putuo Shan (Shan is Chinese for mountain) is a worthwhile experience for visitors of all ages. Putuo Shan is one of China’s four Buddhist Sacred Mountains, and it is a must-visit place for Buddhists in and around Zhejiang Province. Mount Putuo is a small island off the coast, and it’s entirely dedicated to Guanyin Buddha. The trip takes around two hours from Ningbo by bus and vehicular ferry.
In 916 AD a Japanese monk tried to take a statue of the Mercy Buddha Guanyin from mainland back to Japan. The expedition only got as far as Putuo Shan where fierce storms prevented the ship from going any further. Guanyin came to the monk in a dream and told him that if he would leave her here on Putuo Shan, she would let him return home. The monk agreed, the weather cleared up, and Putuo Shan became her eternal home. There are now more than 500 monks and nuns living on the mountain island and serving in the myriad of temples.
The whole island contains numerous temples, beaches, sand carvings and offers pleasant walks for the fit and healthy. For those not inclined to hiking, there are minibuses to transport guests around the island. Entry to the island costs 100RMB, and food, accommodation and souvenirs are all available on the island.
While you could tour the island in a day by arriving early enough, it is probably wiser to allow for 2 days to properly explore and enjoy the entire island. There are several hotels on the island, ranging from four stars to ordinary standard rooms. Regardless, many of the accommodation options can be quite expensive. Many hotels send representatives to the dock as you disembark from the ferry, so be sure to bargain with them in order to acquire a good deal. However, those planning to visit during peak season or on a weekend should make a reservation in advance, as the hotels often fill up. Weekday guests should expect to get a 30-50% discount off the stated price. As a price example, the four star Putuo Shan Hotel has standard room for around $70 US a night.
In April 2006 a helicopter service began operation from nearby Zhoushan. The air route connects Zhoushan Airport on Zhujiajian Island and five other major islands. All of these islands and 1,300-plus others, make up the city of Zhoushan. The service is run by the Harbin-based China Flying Dragon Special Aviation Corporation. It is a novel, albeit a bit expensive (around 500RMB for a flight) way to see the islands in and around Putuo Shan.
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