Kunming China Part 3 – Xi Shan (Western Hills)

I’ve been looking forward to hiking around Western Hills Forest reserve located on Biji Mountain. With many temples, pavilions and the Dragon Gate Grotto Complex being the highlight at over 2300m above sea level it’s quite easy to spend a few days around here exploring. Beginning in 1781, a poor Daoist monk named Wu Laiqing, a famous mason named famous mason Yang Rulan and his son Yang Jitai using simple tools started hollowing from the rock the spectacular complex of grottoes, pavilions, stone ladders, steps, and twisting tunnels which took 72 years (1781-1853) to complete during the Qing dynasty.

The entry and start of the climb (well actually the climb starts before this) up. We did everything by foot but if you prefer you can take the the lazy way as well.


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A great view out to Dian Lake

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Once near the top we decided to have a rest, sit down and have a nice cup of tea. The tea was a locally specialty and I was told made from special water, always keen to try new things so I ordered some. I watch the lady get some water for a huge urn and then make my tea while I sat down. The itself had a distinctive taste but I quite enjoyed it. However when I came to pay for it I was shocked to discover it was 20€…. wow…




After the hefty fee I wanted to know what was so special about the water so I walked over to the huge urn containing he water and looked in. OK, now I can place that ‘distinctive‘ taste!!!!


Someone having some fun at my expense (literally) after what I had to pay for the tea…made from fish water… Grimace


Dragons Gate

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Dian Lake

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We spent sometime exploring around the very green waters because of the blue-green algae of Dian Lake the 8th largest lake in China as well also taking a cable car ride down from the top of the mountain.