Thursday, April 16, 2015
Nanshan Guanyin of the South Sea @ Sanya 三亚南山海上观音
The guys woke up before 5 am for their early morning Buddhist studies. The hotel buggy came to pick them up at 5.10 am to the hotel entrance and from there, they walked to Nanshan Temple.
They came back around 7.20 am and we went to the hotel restaurant for a vegetarian breakfast. To our horrors, the whole restaurant was packed with Chinese tourists and there was not much to eat - only fried noodles. The staff were trying their best to replenish the food but every time a new tray of food arrived, it got snapped up.
We had to sit in the driveway eating fried noodles. When they left at 8 am, we were able to get a table and had a leisurely breakfast.
After breakfast, we were walking towards the Guanyin statue and chanced upon this Nanshan Tree House in a tamarind forest in a secluded part of the ecological theme park. We detoured for a closer look.
The tamarind park has more than a thousand tamarind trees which are between 400 - 500 years old. Some of the trees have pictures of babies and charms hang on their trunks. Looks eerie.
The tree house was set at the top of a towering tamarind tree above a sand dune, accessible only by suspension bridge. There was a small path leading to a private beach with a fantastic view of the Guanyin statue.
Studying a map of the park, we would not be able to complete visiting the various attractions if we walk. We decided to take a train ride. We had to go to the main entrance of the park to get the tickets which cost 30 RMB per person.
The train goes around the park taking about 30 mins from start to finish, with many stops along the way. The must-see attractions are the Guanyin statue and the Nanshan temple.
Next to the train ticketing booth was Gold and Jade Guanyin Temple. There is a 3.8-m high gold and jade Guanyin statue (金玉观世音) in the temple. It is made with 100 kg of gold, with 120 carats of South African diamonds embedded on it together with other countless jewels such as pearls, green jade, emeralds and coral.
There is an entrance fee. The guys just offered prayers and we took the train to see the Guanyin statue of the South Sea.
Stunningly beautiful and majestic statue!
The guys offered incense and prayers while I took pictures. I discovered that we have to pay 20 RMB entrance fee to visit the temple, pay for the incense. To go up to the feet of the statue costs 50 RMB or 88 RMB plus a charm. It is annoying that we have to keep paying if we want to see what we came for.
We visited the Nepalese temple before returning to the hotel to pack our luggage and check out. We deposited our luggage with the hotel and had vegetarian lunch before getting the hotel buggy to send us to the main entrance of the park to take a cab to Sanya Railway station.
We were fortunate to get a lady driver who did not attempt to fleece us when we asked her for a quoted fare. I gave her 120 RMB although the meter showed 103 RMB.
Tickets to Wenchang were all sold out for the next two hours. There were people selling scalped tickets (黄牛票). We bought 2nd class train tickets for a much later time and while away the hours drinking tea at a fast food joint. :D
Journey by high speed train from Sanya to Wenchang is about 70 minutes.