Fanjing Mountain

in Zhenyuan

Guizhou's northeastern flanks are home to some of southern China's most densely populated wildlife. The 2572m Fanjing Mountain is a sacred Buddhist site and nature reserve known for rare plant species and the elusive golden monkey (金丝猴, jīnsīhóu). Precariously balanced and oddly shaped rock structures reward climbers (or those who brave the cable car).

Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Fanjing Mountain, but check the weather before you go as it is often fogged out; clear days offer spectacular views. (Bear in mind too that the animals here are very retiring).

You can make a long day trip from Zhenyuan – ask around for a local driver. Alternatively, if you have more time, you can access the mountain via the gateway town of Tongren (铜仁, Tóngrén) in the northeast of Guizhou. From Zhenyuan, there are two daily buses to Tongren (¥60, 11am and 5pm). Other buses from Tongren's bus station run to Huaihua (¥63, three daily), Kaili (¥90, two daily) and Guiyang (¥140, 10.30am). Trains run southeast from Tongren to Huaihua and north to Chongqing and Chengdu.

To reach the mountain, hop on a bus to Jiangkou (江口, Jiāngkǒu) from Tongren's main bus station. From Jiangkou, buses run close to the ticket office. The mountain is climbable but it is a marathon on the legs, so most people take the cable car (one way/return ¥90/160); it takes 20 minutes to ascend the mountain, from where you can climb to the summit (金顶, jīndǐng).