Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ningbo adventure 2 - The "Great Wall of China" by the sea in Huangxian 黄贤海上长城

Who says you have to go to Beijing to witness the majesty of the Great Wall of China?  Anything and everything is possible in China.  Even to recreate the greatest history of China, by the sea, in Ningbo, which has absolutely no connection whatsoever to Great Wall.  Yes, they re-created 3km of the Great Wall by the sea in Ningbo, and also the Tian Tan right at the end of the "Great Wall".   And I was curious enough to visit it!  I had to. 4A national ratings site!  FYI, there is an actual great wall by the sea in Beijing - Huanghua Great wall 黄花城水上长城 - which I went back in 2010 (read about my experience at beijing-travelogue) that is real, authentic great wall - water being the dam.

The story goes that there was a general who used that place as his attack station - as Huangxian is along the sea, he had to protect the city from sea invasion.  So he built lots of watch towers.  To "immortalize" his efforts, and to preserve some of Huangxian's history, the village built a "great wall" to link some of the watch towers.  It was a 20M RMB investment.

"Great Wall" by the sea

It's easy to get there - take a direct bus from Ningbo South Bus station to Fenghua (奉化) it runs about every 15mins or so and costs RMB10.  It's a minibus.  Then at Fenghua, look for public transport (RMB2 each ride) - bus 208 (RMB4) takes you direct to the site but it runs at interval and takes longer which means not so convenient.  Or you can bus 201 (RMB2) to the end and change to bus 210 (RMB2) to near the end.  You'll see the tourist site, where you can ask the driver to let you off.  All in all, it takes about 2H from Ningbo.  Advantage of taking the transfer buses is that these buses run frequently (every 5-10mins) so you don't have to wait or rush for the time.

Time schedule for bus 208 to and from Fenghua station

A fake stone mountain at the entrance of the forest park

View from the top of the hill at the forest park
Once there, the ticket for the tourist site + "Great Wall" is RMB70 which allows you entry first to the forest park (which is really nothing much and not worth it) and the "Great Wall" which is outside of the forest park.  Apparently, you can pay RMB35 just for the "Great Wall".  Personally I think even RMB35 is too much to charge for 3KM of a fake Great Wall.  Anyway, to get to the "Great Wall", you have to walk about 10-15mins uphill to the start. 

The temple at the end of the wall

So apparently they have a rollar coaster at the top of the great wall! Would be quite cool though

Up Up and Up
At one end of the "Great Wall" is the Tian Tan where there's a temple and yea I went in and gave my blessings and got a divine stick which apparently is a really really good fortune - I'll have great fortune, no big illnesses, get the man of my dreams, encounter a benefactor who will help me a lot and make great things happen to me blah blah blah.  Anyway you have to give a donation.  I did drop RMB50.  If you don't want, avoid at all cost stepping into the temple. 
Walking along the "Great Wall", though it is not real, but the scenery is for sure real!  Sure does have a fantastic view of the sea and mountains.  And the "Great Wall" snakes the mountain ranges which makes really good photo opp!  Only bad thing - they are building houses beside the "Great Wall" which spoils the whole scenery.  But I guess that's the purpose of the "Great Wall" - to give people illusion that they are living in some fantasy :) 

Building residential right next to the "Great Wall"

Tackling the "great wall" with my umbrella

I spent about 2H on the whole stretch, taking pictures, stopping, admiring the view etc etc, all the while with pouring rain and an umbrella in hand. 
The journey back is pretty much the same.  Except at Fenghua station, you basically just buy a ticket and join the queue for the bus - no fixed timing.
Was it worth it?  Hmm, if you have nothing better to do, and have a car, you can visit it!  The scenery is really good though it's not a great wall experience.  So you are still NOT a man even if you visited this great wall (不到长城非好汉).  Entrance is too expensive.  Skip the forest park - it's a scam!!!!! But yea it's an experience.  Would have been better if the weather was better, but you never know.  It was supposed to be heavy rain but it was not that heavy. 

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