Northern Hot Springs Park
No stay in Chongqing is complete without a visit to the Northern Hot Springs Park as it has so much to offer the visitors and is rightly considered to be a pearl of the Jialing River.
The park lies at the foot of Jinyun Mountain on the north side of the Jialing River. It is about 52 kilometers (32miles) from the city center and although it is not very large, just 10 hectares (25 acres), it is Chongqing's foremost garden park. Here, you can enjoy a beautiful scenic area comprising temples, hills, water, woods, springs, gorges, caves.
There are four main palaces at the center of the park where you can feel something of the religious culture. To the east of the four palaces there is the Guxiang Garden as well as the Stone Inscription Garden, Fish Pond and Water Lily Pool. Guxiang Garden is the original site of the Hot Springs Temple. It is here that the tombs of monks from the Song (960-1279), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties are preserved. The Stone Inscription Garden contains steles dating from these three dynastic periods, while a notable feature is the Ming Dynasty Panlong Tower, the treasure of stone inscriptions. To the north of the palaces the park has caves and five ornamental ponds. All of the buildings and pavilions have been sited so as to compliment their surroundings so that with the green bamboos, clear water and elegant hills the park is very picturesque.
Naturally, the hot springs are the main feature of the park. There are ten springs altogether in the park and the temperature of the water is a constant 35C-37C (95.0F-98.6F). The water contains alkali minerals that are considered as having beneficial medicinal properties. The warm water offers an excellent way to relax from the stresses of day to day existence and it also benefits those who suffer from skin problems, arthritis and many other common ailments. Apart from a standard swimming pool there are 75 indoor bathrooms, a newly built triangular indoor swimming pool and a play pool for children.
In addition, the park has an abundance of natural flora and fauna. The plants that naturally occur here are mainly tropical and semitropical evergreens, horsetail pines and a large area covered by bamboo groves. Bedding plants, mainly flowers, well maintained lawns and fruit trees add to the overall colorful ambiance. The park is also home to many species of small animals and birds such as squirrels, hares, owls, crows, doves, cuckoos, parrots, magpies, thrushes and sparrows that you are sure to encounter when you are strolling here.
With its many historic sites and fair sceneries, Northern Hot Springs Park offers you a welcome and an escape from the pressures of city life.