Located in the nearby Western Hills, Fenghuangling, or Phoenix Hill Nature Park, offers an escape from the city without the long trek. Three routes cover the ridge and offer their own unique hike. The Middle Route is short – a round trip takes about an hour – and offers a mixture of lookout points, cultural structures and rock and cave formations. The North Route is longer and has even more pagodas, towers and caves. If you want more nature than culture, choose the South Route; it winds out towards the reservoir.
You’re coming here to hike, or, as you’ll witness at some of the temples, to pray. The presence of the monks keeps things subdued, too. That said, on the road up to the paths you will find plenty of vendors selling food and colourful toys.
On the main road up to the ticket office, just past the bus stop, is a pick-your-own fruit orchard. Depending on the time of year (fruit picking is available from May to October) you’ll find apricots, peaches, plums, pears and apples on the trees.