With summer and the prospect of amazing weather on the horizon, ‘tis the season for family vacations, backpacking trips, and post-graduation adventures. So, if you find yourself venturing out to East Asia, be sure to stop by Jinan, China because it’s definitely a place you don’t want to miss out on. Jinan is an ideal destination for all ages as it boasts beautiful parks, enriching culture, and amazing shopping. Keep reading to see the top five things to do in Jinan below.
1. Thousand Buddha Mountain
If you don’t see anything else on your trip to Jinan except Thousand Buddha Mountain, you will have still experienced an incredible part of Jinan culture. Thousand Buddha Mountain is known as the “number one mountain” in Jinan and was called Mount Lishan in ancient times. While from the outside it may not seem that impressive, it encloses the oldest pieces of Chinese culture – hundreds of statues of Buddha carved into the rocks of the mountain, beginning in the Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD).
On their way up to see the Buddha statues, visitors can also stop at various temples built on the mountainside. While many of the temples were destroyed in the war, many still stand today and provide a spectacular sight to see. Additionally, surrounding Thousand Buddha Mountain is a beautiful park that features a small amusement park, beautiful gardens, souvenir shops, a chair lift, and the Myriad Buddha Cave – a must see attraction!
Thousand Buddha Mountain
Address: Jinan, Shandong Province, China
Access: Bus Routes - K56, K51, 48, 31, 2
Admission: 30 CNY (4.41 USD)
Hours: 6 am - 6 pm
2. Baotu Spring
Often translated as “Jet Spring” also claims another “number one” title, but this time it’s known as the number one spring in the world. Water in the Baotu Spring springs up in three places, allowing for the water to fall back down like three piles of snow. Although children wouldn’t be able to play in the spring like they would snow, the water is thought to be sweet and used to make tea. So to fully experience all that the spring has to offer, grab yourself a cup of Baotu Spring Tea, take in the serenity of the springs, and also enjoy the lovely performances occurring all around.
Baotu Spring Park
Address: Baotu Spring South Road 1; Jinan, Shandong Province, China
Access: Bus Routes - 5, 41, 49, K96, 66, 85, 102, 103, 104
Admission: 40 CNY (5.88 USD)
Hours: April 10 - Oct 9, 7 pm - 7 am; Oct 10 - April 9, 7 am - 6 pm
3. Daming Lake
Jinan is known to have more than one hundred springs, and all these springs converge to form the picturesque Daming Lake. However, Daming Lake has more to offer than just natural views – it also features a variety of cultural and historical buildings. Beiji Temple (also called the North Pole Palace) found on the northeast bank of the lake, is the largest Taoist temple in Jinan and was built during the Yuan Dynasty. It is dedicated to the god of the North and has been renovated several times over the centuries.
The northwest bank of the lake holds the Tie Xuan Temple (Tie Gong Temple) a temple built in the 18th-century featuring traditional architecture. You can find a plethora of pavilions, gardens, and temples right around Daming Lake, so grab your camera and walking shoes to enjoy all that the lake has to offer.
Daming Lake Park
Admission: Free for Park; Chaoran Tower - 40 CNY (5.88 USD); Sightseeing Car - 10 CNY (1.47 USD); Sightseeing Boat - 10 CNY (1.47 USD)
Hours: April 1 - Oct 31, 6:30 am - 6:30 pm; Nov 1 - March 31, 6:30 am - 5:30 pm
4. Spring City Square
This Spring City Square is found in the heart of Jinan and is the heart of Jinan nightlife. All around you’ll see live music and dancing, but what captures the attention of everyone who visits is the incredible blooming fountain show, which is nothing without it’s music and neon lights – some say it’s even better than the one at the Bellagio in Vegas. Additionally, Spring City Square holds many shops and restaurants making it the perfect evening out.
Spring City Square
Access: Bus Route 103 to Quancheng Square
Hours: 24/7 (But the fountain show is best after dark)
5. Mount Taishan (Mount Tai)
Fascinated by the rich culture China has to offer and ready for a hike to the top of a mountain? Visit Mount Tai for another symbolic sight of China. Mount Tai is one of the Five Sacred Mountains in China and is associated with sunrise, birth, and renewal. People have been coming to Mount Tai for over 3,000 years as a place of worship, as it represents a significant place for those practicing Taoism. Mount Tai is blanketed in legends about supreme being Pangu, so lace up those running shoes and get ready for the 7,000 steps to the top!
Access: Various bus and train routes exist to get to the mountain. Additionally, one may take a cable car or sightseeing bus to the top (for a fee)
Admission: Feb 1 - Nov 30, Adults - 125 CNY (18.39 USD), Children - 60 CNY (8.83 USD); Dec 1 - Jan 31, Adults - 100 CNY (14.71 USD), Children - 50 CNY (7.36 USD)
Opening hours: 24/7
6. Lingyan Temple – BONUS
You can find the Lingyan Temple at the south piedmont of Mount Tai. It was one of the primary temples in China during the Tang and Song Dynasties and has housed over 500 Buddhist monks. This temple carries some of the oldest relics of Chinese culture including the Pizhi Pagoda and one hundred and sixty-seven unique stupas, dating back to the Tang Dynasty.
Access: Bus Route - 60 (50 CNY/7.36 USD which includes ticket fare for stopping at the perfect spot for that Instagram worthy picture)
Admission: 45 CNY (6 USD) (this includes ticket fare for Aquaria, the Butterfly Hall, and Local Custom Garden)
Hours: 8 am - 3:30 pm
But there's more...These places are just some of the impressive attractions that Jinan has to offer. So if you find yourself contemplating your next vacation, be sure to consider Jinan and have the chance to immerse yourself in a longstanding city with a historical culture. Jinan is definitely a place for all personalities alike; the adventurer, the shopper, and the history lover will all find something to love.
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