Jade Emperor Hill

This is one of the nicest places to visit in Hangzhou – it’s interesting, scenic and doesn’t attract as many tourists as the other sights. Standing 239m high, Jade Emperor Hill first came to prominence in the Wuyue Kingdom (907-978) when Buddhist relics from Ningbo were stored here. At the top of the peak is the former Fuxing Taoist Temple (now a teahouse) which in its run-down state is a very charming place and affords lovely views of West Lake and Hangzhou. A little way up the hill from the entrance is diminutive Ciyun Temple, but closer to the peak is a much more interesting attraction. Purple Source Cave, which can hold about 200 people and holds several Buddhist rock carving is a quiet and atmospheric place. From the platform outside the caves you can see down to Octagonal Field, said to have been tended by the Emperor during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

One option is to climb Jade Emperor Hill from its west side. This allows you relative tranquility on the way up with very few people about (except when you have to cross the road that winds around the mountain with its screeching tourist buses). After reaching the peak, you can go down to the main entrance via Purple Source Cave and Ciyun Temple. This route might also allow you to avoid the entrance fee – there is a ticket office on the way up but its often empty. Either way, it’s only ¥10. To take this route, walk along the street that heads east from the Hangzhou Zoo. Just before it becomes a tunnel, there is a sign to Nanshan Cemetery on the right-hand side. Follow the sign, turn left at your first opportunity and follow your nose up to the summit.

Admission: ¥10. Open: 5:30-17:30.

Directions: The entrance to Jade Emperor Hill is from Yuhuangshan Lu, south of West Lake. Show a taxi driver the Chinese above or take tourist Bus Y3 from Nanshan Lu where it meets Yuhuangshan Lu.

Show the taxi driver: 请带我去玉皇山,谢谢。 (Please take me to Jade Emperor Hill. Thank you.)