Spring in Lianyungang is saturated with the faint salty note of the sea breeze, while white seagulls skim the waves of a glittering blue sea. At the city’s fine harbor surrounded by the natural beauty of mountains and islands, ships set sail, carrying a thrill of hope into the new year ... Pack light and come to the mountains and the sea of Lianyungang for a unique journey of magic and romance.

Situated near the sea, Yuntai Mountain has been regarded as a sacred mountain in the East China Sea in myths and legends. Facing the sea on three sides, it features a pleasant landscape of soaring ranges and lush green trees. Here you can find Erweijian, which is the only peak in China with a sea view, Faqi Temple which is acclaimed as one of the earliest Buddhist temples in this country, and China’s largest Manchurian catalpa forest. With rare finds of both cultural relics and natural wonders of mountains and sea, Yuntai Mountain is reputed as the best scenic spot in the East China Sea. Take a stroll and enjoy the sea of clouds in this wonderland on earth.

Morning – Pick Tea and Appreciate Flowers

As soon as the morning bell of Faqi Temple rings, the first rays of dawn in spring will shed on the Stone Forest of Yuntai Mountain. The uncanny craftsmanship of nature has presented a rare landscape by molding the stones here into vast and multifarious shapes of immortal peaches, Avalokiteśvara, Buddhist sutras, supernatural tortoise, and the like. Among the strange stones is a forest of towering Manchurian catalpa. Legend has it that Manchurian catalpa is where phoenix lands. It is now the flowering stage of these trees. Large masses of bell-shaped flowers cover the branches, some in the color of lavender while others in pink, lining the walkways like dense clouds. Listening to birds chirping, tea pickers set out to harvest tea with baskets on their backs.

 

As one of the three treasures on Yuntai Mountain, Yunwu tea features curly, delicate leaves, and bright color with a rich aroma after being brewed. There is a well of sweet spring water on Yuntai Mountain that has never dried up for more than 400 years. Brew Yunwu tea with this clear, sweet water, and both its flavor and benefits to health will leave you impressed. In addition, due to the fertility of the land, there are various nutrient-rich plants in the mountain, such as Pueraria lobata, Chinese yam, and lily bulbs. During the harvest season, locals will pick Pueraria lobata and grind them into powder, while Chinese yam could be added into porridges and lily bulbs into soups, which is very nutritious and good for the heart. Spring breeze blows through this mountainous wonderland with a faint fragrance of flowers and a breath of hope. In a growing season of everything, peculiar stones stand side by side with a sea of flowers, while the distant catalpa blooms most recklessly and touches the heart.

Noon – Climb Mountains in Search of the Good Old Days

Walk on the steps towards the depths of the Stone Forest, and let your body breathe the fresh air of nature. Covered in the green bamboos is the tranquil, thousand-year-old Wudao Temple. It is the only remaining ancient temple in the 72 temples in Yuntai Mountain and one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the area. In the yard, two luxuriant ginkgo trees seem to be telling a long story. Not far from Wudao Temple is the notable Buddhist temple Faqi Temple. Ennin, a Japanese Buddhist monk, once visited here and wrote about the local culture of Yuntai Mountain in The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law after returning to Japan. This account serves as a good story of the international exchange in Haizhou (now Lianyungang) during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

The Yuntai Mountain scenic area not only features rich cultural heritage, but also boasts distinctive geography. There is a deep, steep-sided valley about two kilometers long called Wanshou Valley, scattered with peculiar stone landscapes such as Foguang Cliff and Mufo Terrace. Climbing up to the peak of Erweijian known as a wonderland for immortals, you will see majestic mountains stretching to the horizon in rosy clouds that reflect on a vast sea. Walking with the panoramic view of a grand harbor, mountains, and the sea before the eyes, you will be amazed by the splendid scenery that combines nature and culture.

Evening – Walk in the Sound of Ocean

At night, a moist breeze blows gently from the sea. Several seagulls are pacing leisurely on the beach. Walking northward along Daweijian, the highest peak of Yuntai Mountain, you will find a unique building complex with houses in European, Japanese, and Chinese styles hidden among the green. This is the historic Lianyungang Old Street.

Roam the charming old streets and go to the Old Street Culture Centre for a glimpse of the history from yesterday and today. Or visit the Craft and Folk Art Museum to appreciate the craftsmanship of old artisans. Or spend some time in the Longhai Railway History Museum and listen to stories about an old railway station … Stroll around this city of sea, stones, and mountains, you will feel the depth and vicissitudes of the old streets of the Republic of China. If you are tired, you may sit down and watch a fashion show of the last sovereign state or simply listen to a folk song. When night falls, take yourself to Liminxiang Food Street for delicacies of this port city. Sip a beer in the sea breeze and savor authentic seafood and game dishes. Experience true happiness that melts on the tip of your tongue.

For thousands of years among the legendary sea and mountains, this alluring harbor city has made a treasure land full of charm. From the mountains to the sea, and from the sea to the sky, everything is connected in a wonderful and captivating way. Come to Yuntai Mountain at the seaside.

 

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