Zhongshan Scenic Area

The Zhongshan Scenic Area, also known as the Purple Mountain, is home to many must-see attractions in Nanjing such as the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, and the Meiling Palace. Since these sites have been covered individually, this article will mainly focus on the Linggu Scenic Area and Toutuo Ridge within the scenic area.

The Linggu Scenic Area consists of temple architecture, the cemetery of the National Revolutionary Army martyrs, and the Linggu Park, offering a blend of natural beauty and cultural landmarks. The prominent Linggu Tower in the park was built in memory of the martyrs of the National Revolutionary Army.

The tower boasts nine levels, and from the top, you can get an excellent view of Nanjing, especially during the sunset, making for atmospheric photographs. The area is filled with osmanthus trees, allowing visitors to enjoy the fragrance of osmanthus flowers, making for a pleasant visit.

Toutuo Ridge, with an altitude of over 400 meters, is the second peak of the Purple Mountain. With its steep slopes, it offers a delightful challenge for hiking enthusiasts. There are many routes to the top, or you can take a cable car from the Purple Mountain.

Zhongshan Scenic Area

Halfway up, you’ll pass the Purple Mountain Observatory, the first modern astronomical research institution in China. Its quaint architecture has a sense of history, and it houses a variety of astronomical instruments.

If you’re interested, you can stop by for a visit. There’s a park on top of Toutuo Ridge, where you can get a panoramic view of the city of Nanjing, particularly beautiful on clear days.

Apart from these, the scenic area also houses smaller attractions such as the White Horse Park, which mainly displays engraved artifacts, and the Republic of China Postal Museum, showcasing the history of postal development.

These attractions are lesser-known and may not be as exciting as the ones mentioned above. They’re less crowded and are only recommended if you have plenty of time to spare.

Transportation: To reach Zhongshan Scenic Area by car from the city center (Xinjiekou), it takes about 35 minutes. If you are not driving, you can take the subway line 2 to Muxuyuan Station, cross the road at the exit, and then take the scenic area sightseeing bus to Linggu Scenic Area. There are many hiking routes on Toutuo Ridge.

You can take subway line 4 to Xianlin Lake direction and get off at Jiangwangmiao Station (Exit 1). This route is shorter but steeper; if you want to take a cable car up the mountain, you can take bus number 315/20 to Purple Mountain Cable Car Station.

Cost: Entry to Linggu Scenic Area is 35 yuan per person, and the combined ticket for various attractions is 100 yuan per person (including Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, Linggu Scenic Area, Music Stage, and Meiling Palace); a single ride on the Purple Mountain Cable Car is 60 yuan per person, round trip is 100 yuan per person, and entry to the Purple Mountain Observatory is 15 yuan per person.

Tips to Avoid Pitfalls

Zhongshan Scenic Area

  1. There are two ways to reach Toutuo Ridge: by hiking or by cable car. The starting point of the Purple Mountain Cable Car is located on the backside of Zhongshan, a considerable distance from main attractions such as the Zhongshan Mausoleum and Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum. The scenic area’s sightseeing electric cars cannot reach there, so you need to drive or take bus number 315/20.
  2. The Linggu Tower is located in the Linggu Scenic Area and has nine floors. The narrow spiral staircase might cause dizziness. When going up, make sure not to carry heavy objects and wear comfortable sneakers, otherwise, it can get very tiring.
  3. The vegetarian noodle shop at Linggu Temple is quite famous, and many visitors come here to taste. On weekdays, if you arrive early, there is no need to take a number. According to reports, the vegetarian noodles are limited supply, and once sold out, they are gone. On weekends or holidays, when the crowd is large, they sell out quickly, so visitors who want to eat vegetarian noodles need to plan their time to enter the park so as not to miss it.
  4. The Purple Mountain Cable Car stops operating at four thirty in the afternoon. The undercover agent took the Purple Mountain Cable Car around three-thirty that day. Because it was close to the end of operation, the mid-way Purple Mountain Observatory station was no longer stopped at, and it went directly to the Toutuo Ridge station. Therefore, visitors who want to take the cable car need to plan their time, the earlier in the afternoon, the more enjoyable.

Itinerary

Zhongshan Scenic Area

Given the expansive area of the Zhongshan Scenic Area, it’s challenging to cover all attractions, including the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, and Linggu Scenic Area in a single day. You might want to allocate roughly two days for the complete tour.

The Linggu Scenic Area alone takes about 2-3 hours to explore. Hiking up Toutuo Ridge will take more than 3 hours, while taking the cable car shortens the travel time to around 2 hours, making it feasible to finish within a day.

It’s worth noting that the scenic area’s sightseeing bus doesn’t reach Toutuo Ridge or the Purple Mountain cable car station, so driving or public transportation are your alternatives. A recommended plan is to hike up Toutuo Ridge in the morning, descend to the Linggu Scenic Area, have a vegetarian noodle lunch there, and return after touring the area.

The scenic area is open-air and is quite weather-dependent; hence, it is best to choose a sunny day for your visit.

The Linggu Scenic Area boasts a variety of osmanthus trees, making October to November an excellent time to enjoy their blossoms. A visit during this period for an osmanthus viewing is an excellent choice.

Detailed Guide

Zhongshan Scenic Area

  1. A large lawn is situated to the north of the Wuliang Hall in the Linggu Scenic Area, where many tourists camp and picnic. The King of Osmanthus in Jinling is also located here. The best time to view this magnificent tree is in mid-October, making it a spot where many visitors purposely come to check in.
  2. The Linggu Scenic Area does not charge an entrance fee at night. Many tourists specifically visit to watch fireflies from June to July.
  3. Ascending to the top of the Linggu Tower provides a panoramic view of Nanjing, and the scenery is quite impressive. Many visitors purposely come to watch the sunset and dusk.
  4. The Purple Mountain cable car passes through the Purple Mountain Observatory station. You can get off the cable car midway to explore, and then continue your journey to Toutuo Ridge with your ticket.
  5. If you want to experience hiking but don’t want to get too tired, you can buy a one-way ticket for the Purple Mountain cable car. After reaching the peak, you can walk down the mountain for a more immersive and relaxing experience.
  6. You may encounter cats during your hike. Feel free to bring some cat food or other snacks to feed them.
  7. For safety during your hike, it’s suggested to wear comfortable sports shoes. There are a lot of mosquitoes on the mountain, so make sure to take preventative measures.
  8. There’s a convenience store on Toutuo Ridge to replenish your energy, but the prices are relatively high—about twice as much as outside. Therefore, it’s recommended to bring your own snacks and drinking water.

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