Cāngyán Shān

Mountain in Shijiazhuang

This is the site of the transcendent, cliff-spanning Hanging Palace, a Sui-dynasty construction perched halfway up a precipitous gorge. If you think you’ve seen it before, you probably have – this was one of the locations for the hit film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Given the dramatic setting, it must have been an impressive temple complex at one time, though these days the best views after the main hall are of the surrounding canyons.

It's a quick, steep jaunt up to the palace, and then another 45 minutes past scattered pagodas and shrines to the new temple at the summit. The standard lunar festivals see a lot of worshippers and are a good time to visit if you don't mind crowds.

Morning buses (¥24, two hours) for Cāngyán Shān leave from Shíjiāzhuāng’s Xīwáng bus station as they fill up (from 6am to 8.40am), returning after several hours on site.

If you miss the morning bus, take a bus to Jǐngxíng (井陉; ¥12, one hour, 6.30am to 7pm), also leaving from the Xīwáng bus station. Tell the Jǐngxíng driver where you are going, and you'll be dropped off at the right place for the Cāngyán Shān bus (¥8, one hour, 7am to 5.10pm).

If you want to combine Cāngyán Shān with a trip to Yújiācūn, a Jǐngxíng taxi can be hired for the day for about ¥200.