Located in the northeast of Shaoguan city in Guangdong Province, Danxia Mountain is called "Red Stone Park of China", 45 kilometers away from downtown Shaoguan. Because of the brilliant red color, the red stone group covering a total area of 282 square miles is called "Danxia Mountain", meaning "red rays of the sun" in Chinese word. Formed of the red sandy rock, Danxia Mountain area is characterized by the red steep cliffs with precipitous landform of even peak, sheer body and flat valleys. In geography, it is also the name place of "Danxia Landform", which refers to the sort of landform similar to the Danxia Mountain. Since 1988, Danxia Mountain has been successively appointed as National Scenic Spot, National Natural Protection Zone for Geology and Geomorphology in China, Grade AAAA National Tourist Spot, and National Geological Park of China.
The Danxia Mountain Area was originally a huge inland basin between 0.14 billion years and 70 million years ago. Then, there was severe uplifting of the area around the basin, which resulted in the development of the deep red bed on the basin after the accumulation of a mass of detrital matter. In 70 million years ago, the red bed was gradually eroded because of the earth's crust uplifting. In the past 6 million years or so, the basin had intermittently uplifted by one meter per 10 thousand years while being down-cut by flowing water. Finally, a group of red mountains took shape out of the red bed, which is named as Danxia Mountain Area at present.
Among more than 1200 places in the world found to have the Danxia landform, Danxia Mountain is the one with largest area, the most typical characteristics, the richest landform and the most beautiful scenery. Moreover, Shaoguan Danxia Mountain is the most studied in detail and profundity in China, providing information in the areas of stratum, tectonics, landform performance, developing process, force action, natural environment and ecological evolvement. It is also a base for the Danxia landform research, scientific education, and practice teaching worldwide. The scenic area contains more than 680 stone hills, stonewalls, stone pillar and natural bridges of various size. With its red cliffs, tranquil green trees and beautiful Jingjiang River flowing from the south to the north, Danxia Mountain is characterized by magnificence, trill, rareness, beauty, seclusion, wideness and deepness. It is not only praised as the most unique mountain in Guangdong and Guangxi areas and best one of the most famous four mountains in Guangdong, but also valued highly as both a tourist and convalescent center.
There are over 40 sites of cavern temple including the Biechuan Buddhist Temple, where scholars and writers created many legends, stories, poems and petroglyph with great historic and cultural value in all times. Now, four scenic areas have been developed here: Zhanglao Peak scenic area, Xianglong Lake scenic area, Jingjiang River scenic area, Yangyuan Mountain scenic area. In these scenic areas, Yanyuan Stone and Yingyuan Hole, resembling the male and female's productive organs respectively, have proved to be the wonder of the world and attract people yearning towards the mysterious Danxia Mountain.
Zhanglao Peak scenic area
Zhanglao Peak scenic area is divided into three view levels. A lot of typical red cliff sceneries are found at the lower level suchas a carven temple in Jinshiyan Cliff built in the North Song Dynasty, the Mengjue Pass, the Chameleon-scale Rock and 100 Zhangs (lzhang is about 10.9 feet) Gorge etc.. The middle level, also called Biechuan Temple view level, contains the Mandarin Duck Tree and the Biechuan Temple famous as one of the top ten Buddhist Temples in Guangdong and Guangxi areas etc.. Climbing the Red Ladder and Iron Chain leads tourist to the top level, where is a good place to fully enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Danxia Mountain and appreciate the sunrise and sunset, especially in the Sunrise-seeing Pavilion.
Xianglong Lake scenic area
Xianglong Lake scenic area, so named because of the lake's resemblance to a flying dragon, is located to the south of Zhanglao Peak. Around the Lake are 20 odd scenic spots such as the Dargon Horn Mountain, the Dargon Beard Cavity, the Nine Dargon Peak, and the Living Rock Hole of Celestiats etc.. Carving ancient and modern dragon culture can be seen in the stone cliffs. In addition, a Taoist Temple was built on the cliffs in memory of Zhang Tianshi who subdued the white tiger and saved the green dragon in Chinese legend.
Yangyuan Mountain scenic area
On the other side of Zhanglao Peak scenic area is Yangyuan Mountain scenic area named after the Yangyuan Stone. Belonging to the stone column in the Danxia landform, Yangyuan Stone is 28 meters high and 7 meters in diameter, and is famed as the "First Marvelous Stone in the World". Due to the weathering, the Yangyuan Stone separated from the stone-wall before about 300 thousand years and created its unique shape today. Other scenic spots in the Area include the Sky Ladder with 8t Steps, the Breast Peak, the Sleeping Beauty, seven natural bridges, three ancient villages and many stones like animals and human. Tongtai Bridge, with the span of 38 meters and height of 15meters, is the biggest natural stone arch bridge in the Danxia Mountain scenic area.
Jingjiang River scenic area
Now a lot of amusements such as power-driven yacht, boating and swimming have been developed in Jingjiang River scenic area. While boating along the river, one can enjoy the pretty idyllic sceneries and many other beauties for example the Elephants Crossing River, the Golden Turtle in Worship, the Monster Seized in Six Fingers, the Sister Peak, the Tea-Pot Peak and the Goddess of Mercy Sending a Baby.
Thorough Ticket: 60 yuan (US$7.2)
Transportation: Take train to Shangguan first, then turn on the tour bus at the square in the front of Shaoguan railway station. The bus ticket is 10 yuan and it will take about 44 minutes by driving 50 km.