Peak Flying From Afar, also known as Vulture’s Peak, was named by the eminent monk Hui Lin in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420). It features some 345 sculptures carved into the faces of the hill or in the caves that run through the hill, dating back as far as 951AD. You can wander through the caves and along the paths around the hill to take in all the sculptures (though it is quite crowded and the paths are narrow). Admission to Peak Flying From Afar (broadly called Lingyin Scenic Area) costs ¥35.
The centrepiece of the scenic area is Lingyin Temple, which will cost you another ¥30 to enter. It’s well worthwhile doing so. The temple was founded by the aforementioned Hui Lin in 326AD and is regarded as one of the ten most important Zen Buddhist Temples in China. Although it has been destroyed many times and was last rebuilt quite recently, it has retained a very special atmosphere. Built at the foot of a mountain, each progressive hall is raised higher than the last. Features include the largest sitting Buddha statue in China (24.8m) and the highest copper hall in the world. The most important thing here, though, is the color, activity and the beauty of the surroundings. Lingyin Temple is well worth a visit, even if you’re sick of seeing temples.
Just near the Lingyin Scenic Area is a cable car up to Northern Peak (¥30 one way, ¥40 return). If you go on a clear day, the peak affords some excellent views of West Lake and the surrounding mountains.
Admission: ¥35 for Peak Flying From Afar; additional ¥30 for Lingyin Temple. Open: 7-17.
Directions: Lingyin Temple is to the west of West Lake. Show a taxi driver the Chinese below or take tourist buses Y1 or Y2 from Nanshan Lu or Beishan Lu.
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去灵隐寺，谢谢。 (Please take me to Lingyin Temple. Thank you.)