Monday, June 1, 2015

Yuntai Mountain, Truly a World Heritage (Henan and Xi'an Tour Day 2)

Yuntai Mountain (云台山) in Henan Province received UNESCO World Geologic Park in 2004. It is the only scenic area in Henan that receives 5 titles- China 5A Grade Tourist Attraction, National Geologic Park, National Water Conservation Scenic Area, National Forest Park, and National Macaque Natural Reserve Area.

With a coverage of 190 square km, Yuntai Mountain Scenic Area has 11 attractions. Widely spreaded green vegetation, layers of peaks, and ever flowing rivers flowing through the valleys make Yuntai one of the best nature scenic area in China. Among 11 attractions, we visited two popular sites there- Red Stone Gorge (红石峡) and Zhuyu Feng (茱萸峰) or Cornel Peak.

From Kaifeng, we started our journey at 8:30 am, and reached the entrance of Yuntai Mountain Scenic Area around 11:00 am. It was a sunny day with the temperature 25 degree celcius. The entrance fee was CNY120 (March - November), CNY60 (December - February). For the transportation inside the scenic area, extra CNY60 was required. The transportation is necessary as the attractions in Yuntai are scattered far from each others. Paying for the transportation means we can lay back and enjoy the scenery while leave the driving to the expert drivers.The ticket is checked at the entrance of each attraction, so we need to keep the ticket safe all the time. The entrance ticket valids for two days with one entry limited for each attraction.

China is under extensive development. High rises are built next to the agricultural lands. This photo was taken on our way to Yuntai Mountain.

Signage showing Yuntai at Xiuwu County. We are on the right track.

 Entrance to Yuntai Scenic Area. The temperature was comfortable, but the humidity was high.

First stop in Yuntai Scenic Area- Jiaozuo Yuntai Tianjie International Hotel (云台天阶国际饭店) for our lunch.The restaurant was clean (upper right), and a walk at the balcony promised nice view over the park (upper left). The fried bun with pork belly (lower left) and yam with maple syrup were among ten dishes served.

Red Stone Gorge (红石峡) or Red Stone Valley is 2 kms in length, and with an average of 68 m deep. The entrance to the gorge is marked with a carved stone (upper left). Streams, springs, waterfalls, and pools are all available in the valley, which make it a wonderful place for a leisure walk. The stones in this valley contain high concentration of iron that make them red in colour. Some part of this gorge is believed to be submerged undersea 1.2 billion years ago. The information carved on the stone (upper right) are in both English and Chinese. Stairs are inevitable hurdle and do expect a lot of climbing, up and down the gorge (lower left). It was a tiring journey, but the rewards worth far beyond our expectation. There was a cave about a man's height in the whole journey through the gorge. 

Pool, waterfall, and stream in the gorge accompany by green trees. This photo was taken at the stone bridge nearby the entrance.

Visitors marched through the small walking path in between 100 meter gorge. It was a great experience for us.

Humans look like small ants in between large boulders in the gorge.

We were lucky to get less visitors during our visit with more space to relax while enjoying the great nature beauty of the valley.

Calm and beautiful pool with emerald green water.

Refreshing waterfall.

End of the visitor area- we were not allowed to go beyond this point. Slow and steady, we completed the journey through the gorge in 2 hours.

A dam was built at at the end of the gorge (upper left), forming a scenic lake- Zifang Lake (upper right). Many stalls and hawkers were available at the dam area (lower left). We continued our journey through Diecai Dong (叠彩洞) to the highest peak in Yuntai Mountain. Diecai Dong is a series of 23 tunnels built along 4.3 kms or road at Yuntai Scenic Area.

Great view from the window of our bus along Diecai Dong.

Another beautiful scenery of Yuntai.

Zhuyu Feng (朱萸峰) is the highest peak in the scenic area. A shopping area was built at the parking area (upper right). The food were sold with fair price, but the beverages were sold with almost double the price compared to the city area. Another few thousand step of stairs await between the car park and the peak (lower right). We only managed to complete 20% of the journey up. Well, strong feet are required to accomplish the journey, which estimates to be around 1 hour 30 minutes for a round trip. How many people were visiting this area? We could roughly estimate the number by counting the transit buses parked there.

Zhuyu Feng from afar. We started our journey back to visitor center around 4:45 pm.

We reached Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan after 2 hours drive from Yuntai Mountain. Again, we couldn't escape from 10 course meal, which we took at Fuqi Tian Restaurant (福齐天美食园). Then, we had our rest at Hilton Zhengzhou (as shown in the photos above). The hotel was excellent in service and amenities and had been rated as the best hotel in Zhengzhou by Tripadvisor. The shopping area were available nearby the hotel as well. However, we didn't stroll around that night due to exhaustion.

Yuntai Mountain is truly a world heritage. We have experience in many places which the photos normally look better than the real site. But for Yuntai Mountain, seeing it with our own eyes is far more stunning than looking at it through photos. We continued our day 3 trip by visiting Henan Museum and Huang River scenic area at Zhengzhou City.


  1. Are there still smokers everywhere? They troubled us very much in our previous visit in 2010. China is beautiful, if there are less smokers there.

    1. Smokers are still here and there, but not as many as we had expected (or what we heard from others). We can't be more agree with you that a place can be much more nicer without hazardous smokes.