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Songlan Mountain Seaside Resort

Last updated by drwi at 2015/11/4

Mount Songlan Seaside Resort, or Songlan Beach, as it is sometimes called in English, though it actually consists of several beaches as will be seen below, belongs to a small, enclosed (i.e., ringed by mountain ridges) cove located on a piece of peninsula-like land separated from the peninsula immediately to the north - Chuanshan Bandao (Chuanshan "Peninsula"), in which lies the city of Ningbo - by the elongated, southwest-northeast oriented Xiangshan Bay. This whole area lies southward across Hangzhou Bay from Shanghai. The closest larger city to Songlan Beach - though not the main traffic link from the "mainland" to the beach area, for that is the city of Ningbo - is the city of Ninghai, about 50 kilometers, as the crow flies, southwest of Songlan Beach. The closest village - within walking distance, in fact - is Dancheng.

Songlan Beach is a newly "discovered" and newly developed seaside resort, but a very promising seaside resort, notwithstanding its slightly northerly location (it faces not the South China Sea, but the East China Sea), which means that it is essentially a traditional summertime beach resort. That said, Songlan Beach enjoys not only wind protection from its local topography, i.e., its cove status, but also from the more regional topography, since Songlan Beach is protected to the north by Chuanshan Peninsula, which juts out into the sea well beyond the longitudinal line that demarcates Songlan Beach, as well as by the presence of the Zhoushan Islands which wrap around the tip of Chuanshan Peninsula, thus extending further eastward (further out to sea) the wind protection provided by Chuanshan Peninsula itself. Since it is always northerly winds that are coolest, and since the "southern flank" of Songlan Beach is open to the warm winds and sea currents of the South China Sea, Songlan Beach enjoys a better than average local beach climate for its latitude.

But Songlan is more than just a beach, its backdrop consists of a ring of beautiful mountains, some with sheer cliffs that look out on the sea, which can be explored by any visitor bored with beach life, and there is a multitude of small islands just off the coast that can be explored as well, most of which are uninhabited but which have large wildlife populations, including a variety of birds, native deer and some with wild boar. Songlan Bay is also home to several exciting reefs (think: scuba diving) and coastal caves which can best be explored at low tide.

Since Mount Songlan Seaside Resort is still a work in progress, the facilities currently in place are somewhat limited (which, to some ears, is probably the best possible news!). These include Songlan Provincial Sailboat Training Base and Songlan Wildlife Park. The beaches include East Sand Beach, Sand Beach of the Twelve Earthly Branches (remember: we are in the realm of Taoism here, whose mother country, China, is also referred to as Middle Earth), South Sand Beach and Taiji Sand Beach.

Mount Songlan City is itself expanding to accommodate the influx of visitors that are expected in the years to come, with new shopping plazas and specialty shops currently on the drawing boards. A family-friendly water-sports activity center is also "in the works" at Songlan Beach, and the local highway infrastructure has already been expanded so as to link Songlan Beach with neighboring attractions such as the Ruins of Youxian Fort, Baisha Bay Beach and Zhao Wuniang Temple, an Amitabha Buddhist temple related to the legend of Zhao Wuniang*.

As Songlan Beach's popularity increases, the transportation infrastructure will naturally expand to meet the demand. For now, those looking for a less-touristy Chinese seaside resort with clean, sandy beaches, with warm, deep-blue summertime bathing water and with limitless blue skies - and don't forget the mountains, the islands, the reefs and the caves - Ningbo's Songlan Beach is still a "diamond in the rough".


* Zhao Wuniang was a local girl who married a bright, promising young man, Cai Bojie, who went to the capital and did so well on the Imperial examinations (1st place) that the prime minister demanded that Cai work for the state, and had the young man married off to his daughter. Left alone to take care not only of herself, but also her stepparents - who eventually died of the hardships they faced - Zhao finally lost everything, selling even her beautiful, long hair to pay for the burial of Cai Bojie's parents. Destitute and alone, she went to the capital to find her husband, and when the daughter of the PM heard Zhao's tragic story, she insisted that the three of them - Cai Bojie and his two wives - move back to Cai's natal village of Caijiazhuang, where they presumably lived happily ever after. This bittersweet story forms part of an opera entitled The Lute.

Note that Amitabha ("Buddha of Infinite Light") is the principal Buddha of the Pure Land sect of Mahayana Buddhism.


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How to Get There?

You can take a special bus at South Ningbo Long Distance Bus Station that will take you to the city of Xiangshan, which lies just southwest of Songlan Beach, then transfer to the Xiangshan-Dancheng bus that will take you within walking distance of the beach.

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Minimum recommended time to allot for a visit: Two days.


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