Hey there, and once again welcome to this week’s Travel Exposé special edition which sees us well on our way to exploring one of if not ‘the’ best autumn travel secret of China; namely Guan Men Mountain of Benxi, Liaoning Province. So, without further delay let’s get right into the thick of things.
As mentioned in our last issue, (Re: Guan Men Mountain: The Bejewelled Secret 1 of 2) Guan men mountain is listed as a 4A National Forest Park and it is located roughly 70 kilometres away from the third tier town of Benxi. If planning a trip to Guan Men Mountain and especially if you are not a local of Liaoning Province, then it is best to make your first stop Shenyang, which is the provincial capital. From here, you can then take the 15 RNB travel bus from the Shenyang train station which terminates at the Benxi bus station. Continuing onwards you then switch buses to the 7 RNB Guan Men Mountain bus which will take you directly to the gates of the National Park. Depending on traffic the entire trip should take anywhere from 2-3 hours.
Having arrived at the Park your journey can truly begin but only as you may expect, after you pay the entrance fee to the park which is 90 RNB for an all-inclusive ticket. This ticket is also valid for one trip on the inter-park shuttle.
Once you enter the gates of the park proper, it will become abundantly clear why this park is locally referred to as the ‘Guilin of the North.’ Kaleidoscopic vistas of magnificent mountains all bedecked in an altogether unbelievable display of flawless autumnal colour, which in turn is accentuated by the gentle sounds of babbling brooks and gently flowing emerald ponds that boast the clearest waters you may have ever been likely to see. During the late September to Mid-October period, Guan men Mountain Explodes into a symphony of Ruby, Gold, Emerald, Pink and Bronze, as the foliage gives one final triumphant burst of glory before the leaves fall for the quickly approaching winter months.
What makes Guan men mountain truly magnificent is the cultural value of the flora within the park, of which over 85% not only consists of protected species, but is part of the primary forest of the entire Guan Men area.
The park itself is split into many scenic spots, but the four most popular areas are; Yue Tai Zi (Moon Platform), Long Men Xia (Long Men Gorge), Xiao Huang Shan (Miniature Yellow Mountain) and Wu Cai Hu ( Five colour Lake). These four areas all contribute to the expression of the unique charm that is Guan Men Mountain which can be clearly seen through the subtle interactions of ‘Water, Gorge, Mountain and Tree.’ These four natural interactions form the basis of why Guan Men truly is a breathtaking vista, as everything ranging from a ‘Sea of Clouds’ to lush forests to soaring mountains to powerful waterfalls and grand bridges can be found here.
From personal experience, I recommend that you first take the park shuttle to Yue Tai Zi, which is located at one of the highest areas in the park and then walk (mostly down hill) back to the entrance. If you are in a rush this can be done in about 4 hours, but if you have the time to truly enjoy this park then 5-7 hours is a better call. Ideally, spending the night in the park is also an option as motel or B&B accommodation ranges from 130 to 180 yuan.
The bejewelled secret that is Guan Men Mountain changes all who happen upon it. After seeing this authentic, ‘non-fussy’ autumnal serenity, you too might just find yourself wanting to keep it all to yourself. Who knows, that’s quite possibly exactly why Guan Men Mountain is still the well guarded Bejewelled Secret of the North-East (Re:Travel Exposé: Regions of China )