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Matt Berti

Hike Ningbo: Fuquan Shan

A hike through the tea fields of Ningbo's Fuquan Shan, ending at picturesque Hanling Old Street.

Tea plantation at Fuquan Shan

There is a trailhead at the village of Yangshan 羊山 east of Dongqian Lake, accessible via car or public bus. I hailed a Didi from Yinzhou Wanda, which took about 45 minutes to arrive. On weekends you may hit traffic around Youngor Zoo.

Yangshan CCP headquarters

The trail begins as a narrow cobblestone road that is part of the hundreds or perhaps thousands of miles of the huge mountain post network of old Ningbo. Much of this network was built by local governments in the Republic period or early CCP era to facilitate communication among the remote mountain villages of Eastern Zhejiang, though parts have been built by the parks department or local townships in recent years to promote exercise and provide outdoor activities.

Cobblestone path over an old bridge.

From there it is a steep climb up the first peak (appx. 500m elevation), through a dirt sport vehicle park frequented by local rich boys playing with their toys. Here you may encounter groups in Jeeps traversing the 90-degree mountain slopes, dirtbikers joyriding, or people flying drones. You may catch a peek of Ningbo city center if it's a clear day.

Jeep©-sponsored mountain sports park with views of Ningbo city center in the distance

After a tough, steep climb, you'll know you're at the summit when you begin to see rows and rows of well-manicured tea plants. From the visitors center at the top, a recently built an well-maintained public road snakes among the tea queues to the right. From there any number of paths through the seemingly-endless tea plantations can be taken, as long as one heads west. A few helpful trail signs guide hikers toward Hanling.

Wild berries grow along the trail in May

The trail takes another lurch toward another peak as to not let the hiker get too complacent. This climb is through quiet forested areas, though swarms of mosquitos may detract from the serenity of the forest. At the top of the mountain is a Buddhist temple. Down the path is a shrine and pavilion with a golden idol in a little cave.

A golden idol in the temple cave at the final summit.

From here, you may get a spectacular view of Dongqian Lake and/or a sunset if you timed your journey well. Down this path lies the destination, the village of Hanling. This quaint old fishing hamlet on the banks of the lake has in recent years been renovated and rebranded as Hanling Old Street 韩岭老街. Here a tired hiker may reward themselves with snacks, beers, Starbucks coffee, ice cream (try the cafe toward the end of the street on the right), restaurants (Tiegebi 贴阁碧 for tasty local food), or a car or bus back to the city.

Sunset over Hanling