Zipping up, down and around scenic areas

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, September 26, 2014
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A trip to Ningbo in Zhejiang Province usually means strolling around the ancient town, tasting seafood by the port, or touring numerous museums. Few people realize the city is also a great destination for outdoor activities on a weekend excursion during the autumn.

Whether it's a relaxed hike through a forest with waterfalls, extensive outdoor exercise, or adventure sports like rafting and zip-line rides, Ningbo offers plenty to do and see.

Danshan Chishui Park

This national park in Yuyao is at the center of the Siming Mountain range approximately 65 kilometers west of Ningbo. The park is famous for its beautiful mountain and valley scenery.

Siming Mountain lies between Ningbo and Shaoxing. The altitude of the mountains vary from 400 to more than 1,000 meters above sea level with Jinzhong Mountain in the southeast corner topping out at 1,018 meters.

The area is generally cooler than the city and numerous fast-flowing rivers and streams snake through the area.

Hiking is a must when visiting Danshan Chishui. A valley hike is good for those not up to the strain of ascending the mountains. It gets the heart pumping faster and leaves plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and the clean air.

The easiest trail starts in Shilin Village and goes down to Chishui Bridge, following the waterfalls and natural ponds to the rafting base. Or one can take a shorter trip from Shilin Village to the main entrance.

The harder route is from Chishui Bridge up to the main cliff, passing by Red Cave and Siming Taoist Temple.

There's also an adventure trek, the Siming Challenge, for those wishing to test their courage and try something more difficult. The challenge involves climbing steep ladders, walking on narrow rope bridges and flying above the river on a zip line.

Completing the trek generally takes about two hours. Bring a group of friends as it's more interesting when completing teamwork tasks. The staff will make sure the safety equipment is being worn properly and a guide will walk you through the challenge.

The last task in the challenge is the zip line. It's slower than other zip line rides, allowing you to take out a camera and snap a few shots while sliding above treetops.

Shilin Village is in the heart of Danshan Chishui. With a history of more than 650 years, the village looks it as most of the buildings have the traditional black-tiled roofs common in the Yangtze River Delta region. The name Shilin literally means "persimmon forest" and it doesn't disappoint as persimmon trees are everywhere. Visitors can pick the sweet fruit in the autumn.

Don't be shy about exploring the village's alleys and courtyards as they provide a glimpse into the lives of locals.

There are plenty of options for room and board, including simple home stays, inns and cozy mountain lodges.

Camping is also an option in Danshan Chishui. The camp site is at the bottom of the reserve, where Chishui Creek meets the Beixi River. There is also a barbecue area next to the camp site.

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