Yandangshan is a national forest park, national geopark, and UNESCO Global Geopark located in China's Zhejiang Province, Wenzhou City, Yueqing City, located in Yongjia county and parts of Wenling city. It is about 300 km away from Hangzhou and 70 kilometers from Wenzhou.
There are several mountain ranges in this area named Yandang. The main scenic area is a part of North Yandang centred around an ancient caldera, near the small town of Yandang (雁荡镇, Yàndàng Zhèn), and includes the highest peak in the area. "Yandangshan" or "Mount Yandang" usually refers to this area, and this article focuses on this part of the Yandang mountains.
Entry to the park is free, but every section of the park charges its own admission fee. Tickets do not allow re-entry, and in cases where the area offers a night view, that requires a separate ticket. These independent zones are generally small valleys with an array of rocks, temples, cliffs, caves, waterfalls, and other sights, and most take about two hours to visit.
The nearest airport is Wenzhou Longwan International Airport in Wenzhou. With a high-speed railway station near the park entrance, it may also be convenient to fly into airports in major nearby cities such as Hangzhou, Shanghai, or Ningbo, then take the train.
- 1 Yandangshan Station (雁荡山站). This station on the high-speed Yongtaiwen railway line between Ningbo and Wenzhou has regular service to major cities in the region. There is a bus into town during daylight hours from a bus terminal southwest of the station.
Free green minibuses shuttle visitors to and among the major attractions from roughly 08:00 to 17:30. For areas in the north of the park it may be necessary to change buses, and for more-obscure areas it may be necessary to hire a car.
As mentioned, the park is divided into a large number of zones which each charge their own admission fees (typically ¥50) and take around 2-3h to visit.
- 1 Lingfeng Scenic Area (灵峰景区). 08:00-17:30. This large zone is an easy walk from the town, and is centred around a peak split in half by the vertical 2 Guanyin Cave (观音洞). The floor of the cave slopes steeply upward, and is occupied by the 9-storey Guanyin Temple. The top level of the temple has hundreds of reflective golden statues sparkling in the rock walls. Around the corner to the north is Beidou Cave (北斗洞), with another large temple inside it. The Lingfeng area also has a wide variety of other peaks, pagodas, caves, temples, teahouses, and viewpoints. Some trails snake around through caves formed under slabs of collapsed rock (watch for bats), and with most of the viewpoints, caves, and temples partway up the walls of the valley, this section of the park has quite a lot of stairs. The Lingfeng zone is also partially lit after sunset for a night view, on a separate ticket (¥10). ¥50.
- 3 Dalongqiu Scenic Area (大龙湫景区). The main attraction in this zone is the Dalongqiu waterfall, literally "Big Dragon Pond" -- the waterfall is viewed as a dragon coming down to drink from the pool. At 197m high, it's one of China's highest waterfalls, and is most spectacular the first day or so after a rainstorm. The area also has some cliffs and rocks, including peaks claimed to resemble a pair of scissors. ¥50.
- 4 Fangdong/Jingtianhu Scenic Area (方洞景区/景天湖景区). This zone features spectacular rocks and cliffs, a suspension bridge, and a walkway carved into a cliff face high above the valley. At the western end, it can be accessed via a 2 cableway, although this end is also accessible by road. There are trails up to the east end of the cliff section. Across a small valley to the west of this zone is a large peak claimed to resemble Guanyin sitting on a lotus throne. ¥40.
- 5 Lingyan Scenic Area (灵岩景区). This zone contains Small Dragon Waterfall (小龙湫, Xiaolongqiu), which is not quite as large as the Big Dragon Waterfall. A glass walkway attached to the cliff goes behind the falls to access a valley of more spectacular rocks and cliffs. In the valley below the waterfall, there are several small caves, a temple, more rocks, and an afternoon highwire act. ¥50.
- 6 Yanhu Scenic Area (雁湖景区) (This zone is not accessible by the park shuttle bus). This large zone has several spectacular waterfalls, hiking options, the lake after which the park is named, and a small temple in a cave. It's also awkward to reach, and only half-heartedly developed for tourism. Few tourists visit it. Some park maps show the trail network from this zone connecting to Shimen (石门景点) to the east, but this needs to be verified. After a junction in a small town, the left fork accesses spectacular 7 Xida Waterfall (西大瀑, literally west big falls), which is perhaps 100m tall. Immediately to the east of the waterfall, there is a temple built into a cave in the cliff. The right fork from the village accesses another waterfall of similar height, 8 Meiyu Waterfall (梅雨瀑), but this trail continues up the valley and soon reaches another major waterfall, 9 Luodai Waterfall (罗带瀑). It is possible to continue on this trail to 10 Yanhu (雁湖), the lake after which the park is named, about two hours' hike from the zone's entrance. Many park maps show a trail branching off partway to the lake to return to the Shimen scenic spot to the east, but this needs to be verified. 15¥.
- 11 Jingming Valley Scenic Area (净名谷景区). The Jingming valley contains several thin waterfalls, pools, cliffs, and peaks that are thought to resemble things (like a tiger turning its head). Many minor viewing platforms, secondary trails, teahouses, etc. have been closed, likely for safety reasons. It is possible to return to the bottom of the valley via a very long stone slide, which costs roughly as much as admission to the valley itself. This includes a sack for you to sit in so you don't damage your clothing, and gloves so you don't tear the skin off your hands while braking. Spacing between consecutive tourists on the slide may be inadequate, and many sliders go very slowly, so consider avoiding the slide if a tour group may have entered it in the previous 10 minutes or so. Despite its accessible location near the entrance to the main valley through the park, this area does not get as much traffic as its neighbours. Also of note, the area near the parking lot has a small village of restaurants and guesthouses, and a small field of lavender. 30¥.
- 12 Xianshengmen Scenic Area (显胜门风景区) (Accessing this zone requires changing buses in Dajing). 08:00-18:00. High cliffs here form a narrow gateway. 15¥.
- 13 Xianqiao Bridge Scenic Area (仙桥景区). This zone centres on a natural bridge, but also has the usual rocks, caves, and cliffs. 30¥.
- 14 Shimen Scenic Spot (石门景点). The name would suggest that this obscure scenic spot has a stone gate.
Rafting is offered on rivers around the edges of the park, and the park contains much longer hiking trails than the paved pathways in the scenic areas.
Yandang village has a main pedestrian street, helpfully known as 1 Pedestrian Street (步行街), with far more vehicles than the name might suggest. This street and nearby sections of the main street have a few food carts at night, plus a wide variety of restaurants featuring identical menus and prices. These concentrate on seafood.
Yandang village has many hotels and guesthouses in a variety of price ranges, including a hostel. There are other villages in and around the park, and most are packed with guesthouses, although these aren't always authorized to take foreigners.