Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is the resting place of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Despite the tomb remaining unexcavated, most visitors are attracted by its Stone Elephant Road, which is particularly picturesque in the fall.

The Ming Xiaoling Palace is simple yet dignified. Unfortunately, the interior of the underground palace is not open to the public. Visitors can only stroll around the periphery of the tomb. The high frequency of photographs taken at the red-walled, yellow-tiled resting palace and Yin-Yang Gate suggests their popularity.

The most distinctive feature of these historical ruins is the Stone Elephant Road, acclaimed by some tourists as “the most beautiful 600 meters in Nanjing”. The giant stone beasts lining both sides of the road have a history of over 600 years.

Along with the ginkgo and red maple trees, they make for a beautiful scene, attracting many photographers. At the end of the Stone Elephant Road lie the Plum Blossom Valley and Cherry Blossom Garden, best visited in late winter and early spring for the flowering seasons.

Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

Autumnal scenes at the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum are captivating. Yellow plane trees stand out brightly against the backdrop, and a stroll on the cobblestone path brings a refreshing experience.

Most visitors to the mausoleum congregate along the Sacred Way, especially during the weekends. It’s recommended to plan your visit on a weekday morning, when you can capture beautiful photographs on a sunny autumn day.

The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is part of the Zhongshan Scenic Area, which includes other attractions like the Meiling Palace and the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. A combination ticket is usually purchased for a comprehensive visit.

Getting there: From the city center (Xinjiekou), it takes about 30 minutes by car to reach the Zhongshan Mausoleum parking lot in the Linggu Scenic Area.

Parking costs 40 yuan each time. From there, it’s either a half-hour walk or a 10 yuan sightseeing car ride to the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi directly to Gate 1 of the mausoleum. If you’re not driving, take Metro Line 2 to the Mulberry Alfalfa Garden station and walk a few hundred meters to Gate 3 of the scenic area.

Admission: Single tickets cost 70 yuan per person. A two-day combination ticket for the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, Linggu Temple, Meiling Palace, and Music Stage costs 100 yuan, offering better value. The sightseeing car inside the park costs 10 yuan per ride and departs on schedule.

Avoid Pitfalls

Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

  1. The underground palace of the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum has not been excavated, so visitors can only tour the exterior of the Enjoyment Hall and the Treasure Top. The main attractions are the Sacred Way, the Plum Valley, and the Cherry Blossom Garden.
  2. The Plum Valley and Cherry Blossom Garden are rather ordinary outside of their respective blossom seasons. In the autumn, other than the Sacred Way, the remaining attractions are not as enjoyable. Spending $70 on the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum alone might not be worthwhile, so it’s recommended to purchase a combo ticket to visit other attractions as well.
  3. There are often people at the subway station and entrance of the scenic area trying to attract customers for explanations, but they can be ignored. There are QR codes inside the park that visitors can scan to listen to explanations.
  4. The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum and the Ming Xiaoling Museum are quite far from each other, so make sure not to confuse the two. The former is mainly known for its outdoor scenery, while the latter primarily displays historical materials related to the mausoleum. Most tourists visit the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum for its scenic views.
  5. The ground of the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is made of rough stones, which could make pushing a wheelchair difficult. It might not be very friendly for people with mobility issues.

Schedule Planning

Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

The highlights of Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum are located outdoors, heavily influenced by weather conditions. It’s recommended to visit on a clear day for a better experience.

The park has the most visitors on weekends; we suggest visiting on weekday mornings to avoid the peak hours. The charming scenery of the Elephant Road in autumn is photogenic. It’s advisable to enter the park from Gate 1; a two-minute walk will take you to Elephant Road.

From there, follow the route: Elephant Road – Plum Blossom Hill – Bo’ai Pavilion – Weng Zhong Road – Xiaoling – Red Mansion Art Garden – Dark Fragrance Pavilion – Four-sided City. The entire tour takes about three hours. After exploring the Four-sided City, you might want to drop by the Meiling Palace.

Detailed Strategy

Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum

  1. You can purchase combined tickets in advance on group-buying apps or buy them at the venue; the prices are similar. Present your ID at the venue to enter the park; there’s no need for a paper ticket.
  2. Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is large, requiring 2-3 hours to explore fully. Most tourists also visit the nearby Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and Meiling Palace, so it’s recommended to wear comfortable sneakers.
  3. You can enter Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum for free before 6:30 am or after 6:30 pm, with no staff on guard.
  4. A five-minute walk from Gate 5 of Ming Xiaoling (towards the Four-sided City) will take you to Meiling Palace.
  5. Inside Ming Xiaoling, you can purchase guided tours at Gate 7. The prices range from 45 to 100 yuan, depending on the route. Automatic audio guides cost 10 yuan each time you use them.
  6. There aren’t many shared power banks or vending machines in the park, so it’s recommended to bring your own drinks and power banks.
  7. There are no restaurants or food stalls inside Ming Xiaoling, and nearby restaurants are few. It’s advisable to bring some snacks with you.

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