Today we will be visiting the city of Yangzhou (扬州), which is 1 hr 45 mins away from Wuxi by bus. We left the hotel at 8.55am and arrive at the train station around 9.05am. The bus station is just next to the train station. Based on their daily schedule, the next bus for Yangzhou departs at 9.30am. That left us with around 15 minutes of waiting time before departure. This is the first time I am taking the long distance bus. The cost is 60RMB for this one way trip, definitely more expensive than the train (to Zhen Jiang) and bus (to Yang Zhou) combination. But the hassle free trip is really worth the cost. The bus station is pack with lots of people as seen in the photo below.
After we arrived at Yangzhou bus station, we bought the final return ticket for the day which departs at 5.55pm. We hop on a cab and we are enroute to our first stop - Da Ming Si (大明寺).
Da Ming Si (大明寺)
The entrance ticket to Da Ming Si is 45RMB each. Here is the main entrance that greeted us after we alighted from the cab.
As with all Chinese temples, once we are past the entrance hall which has the 4 heavenly gods, Maitreya Bodhisattva and Pu Tuo Bodhisattva, we will be at the main temple grounds and the main hall, the Da Xiong Bao Dian (大雄宝殿).
Here is something which I find unique to Yangzhou, in which each of the animals in the Chinese zodiac is assigned a Buddha/Bodhisattva protector. Which one is yours?
To the west of the monastery compound is the West Garden. There is large lake in the centre of the garden with yellow tree leaves at its edges indicating the start of autumn.
Here is another view from the opposite side of the lake. We can observe the 5th Spring (as recorded by the Tea Sutra) to the left, a pavilion in the middle and a large rock bonsai to the right.
Here is a scene of the pagoda zooming in from behind which casts a clear reflection onto the lake below.
The main pavilion where the 5th Spring is drawn.
Behind the main hall is the Jian Zhen Memorial Hall (鉴真纪念堂). The memorial hall was constructed 20 years ago and is mirrored after a Japanese Temple. Jiang Zhen is highly regarded by the Japanese for his determination in bringing the Buddhist precepts to Japan around 1,200 years ago. He attempted 6 times to travel to Japan and succeeded during the last attempt. Thereafter he spent the final 10 years of stay introducing the precepts, teachings and Chinese culture to Japan.
Here is a 9-storey pagoda to the East wing of the temple compound. At the entrance to pagoda are 5 Jade Buddhas donated by Myanmar. The standing Buddha as seen in the photo below was contributed by the Mayor of Yangon in 2005 while at the first floor of the pagoda house 4 seated Buddha representations.
At the top of the pagoda, visitors can catch a paranomic view of the surrounding environs. The Shou Xi Hu (瘦西湖) to the Martyr memorial ground (below) can be easily seen.
One of the most important thing to do in Yangzhou is to try out Yangzhou local crusine. Here we are at the most busy restaurant in Yangzhou food street.
One of the famous local dish is the Lion's Head (狮子头) which is basically large meat balls. It can be seen at the bottom right hand side of the photo below. It cost 8RMB each. The dish to the top is one a Taihu specialty. The one to the left is crab meat mix with jelly (maybe).
Here is the original authentic Yangzhou Fried Rice. It taste really good and is different from the Yangzhou Fried Rice bought elsewhere.
Shou Xi Hu (瘦西湖)
Here is a map of Shou Xi Hu. We will be coming in from the North entrance which is at (1). Thereafter proceed downwards, past the 5 Pavilions Bridge (五亭桥) at (2), and proceed to the White Pagoda (3). We will turn westwards towards (4) where the 24 Bridges are (二十四桥). And finally looping back to (5) which is the Small Golden Hill (小金山) and (6) which gives a picturesque view of the entire lake.
Past the entrance we have the 5 Pavilion bridge.
Here is a photoshot of the white pagoda whose design is based on a typical Tibetan pagoda.
Next to the White pagoda is a nunnery. It is the first time I have seen a nunnery in China. What I have noticed is that all the nuns in the temple don't have to shave their heads; though they wear the grey robes.
When we are around the 24 bridges, we caught sight of a musician playing a classical chinese instrument; giving the whole area a peaceful feel to it.
Here is a photo shot of the 5 Pavilion bridge at sundown.
The pavilion at the top of small Golden Hill. It is only a one minute climb up the gentle slope to reach this area.
Just next to small golden hill is a great spot where photographers can catch a few sights in one photo. Here we can see the White pagoda and the 5 Pavilion bridge. It is also said that this is also the place where the Qing Emperor Qian Long caught a fish at first try.
Here are the Yangzhou's flowers.
Outside the Shou Xi Hu is a large toy market with lots of mega dolls.