Tianjin

[Photo Essay] Panshan: AAAA Scenic Spot

Panshan, or the first mountain east of Beijing is a AAAA Scenic Area located in the outskirts of Tianjin. From the many guidebooks one can read reviews about Panshan such as "Mount Panshan is covered with lavish plantations and has a rich historical heritage...It is famous for jade pine trees, strange and astonishing peaks, clear waters, grotesquely shaped rocks and clusters of ancient temples". Since there are not too many mountains in Beijing, it seems like an attractive location to hike and enjoy some clean air. But to me, it was just a confused scenic area with really not too much to offer to be labeled as one of top 15 mountains in China. Note: this photo essay only contains images of what I personally saw and may not reflect experiences of others.

Panshan is located 88 kilometers north-east from central Beijing. On the bus you can see very quickly that 1 hour away from Beijing is quite a different place. A nuclear power plant is seen from the bus.

Old man awaits visitors at the bus stop at the outskirts of Panshan scenic area. Construction continues in this area as you can see in this image. Be ready to be stormed by tens of taxi and tuk-tuk drivers as they are the only way to get to the Panshan scenic area if you are going there on your own. Tuk-tuk driver's will tell you that they won't be able to drive you up to the main entrance since their engines aren't capable of climbing up hill.

Engrish isn't just a problem for Panshan but this was right in the entrance of the park. Not too many foreign visitors were to be seen so there's no need to change the sign but "Footwall of water" always wins. I agree with the direct translation of the Chinese characters.

This was the best part of the park. Although the air was comparable to Beijing, the pine trees along the road were enjoyable and nice to look at until a park shuttle bus driver and black taxi drivers honk past you letting you know that he exists and will be passing you.  Continued renovation since the 1990s make it easier for Chinese families to visit by their own cars. 

View from Panshan looking south. New developments are still being made.

The newly built hotels have a middle eastern feel to it as you can also see a housing community in the back ground. I was confused if Panshan was just nice to look at or the scenery looking from Panshan is nice as I took this image.

More development projects to be completed in Panshan to attract more visitors.

A dam at Panshan. Nothing more nothing less.

These ducks could be heard from miles away.

This was unexpected on my part but I had to come away with a photo. According to the taxi driver, this sculpture has roots from one of the episodes from "Journey to the West". Panshan has over 70 temples within the scenic area (most were sadly destroyed but the Japanese army during WW2) but I just don't think it has the infrastructure ready to be labeled as a AAAA scenic area from my visit. It would be interesting to see how much has changed in a couple of years just like every city in China as it goes through its transformation.


Make sure you take a look at my other Photo Essays by clicking here.

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