The area just west of Lingyin Temple has been under development for as long as we can remember. Finally, about six months ago, it opened to the public. What we've got now is essentially another collection of temples, but it's much less crowded than the neighbor next door, and while we love Lingyin, we don't love the hoards of tourists led by megaphone toting, flag waving guides. On our trip to Yongfu, we didn't manage to find a way around the 35 kuai entrance fee into the area, but we've heard that there is a hidden one. How else would the beggars and incense carts make it in? Good luck trying to find it. To get to the monastery, push your way through the crowds on the main path, all the way to the end.
While it's just opened to the public, this monastery is over 1,600 years old, but the freshly painted buildings don't really bear that out. Alright, let's admit it. This is yet another way to draw tourist yuan. While it may still be a functioning monastery, there were only a handful of them doing a few tasks. Maybe we weren't there at the right time, although we doubt anyone catches their pre-dawn prayers. It might be possible to see other morning activities, like chanting and sermons, but we can't guarantee anything. Basically we're saying don't go there for the monk sightings. Go for the tranquil walk through the soon-to-be-green-again landscape. There’s a nice teahouse halfway through where you can rest and take in the scenery. On a good day, there's supposed to be a great view of the lake from Ziyan Wisdom Courtyard. Sadly, we weren't there on one of the very few that exist. Still, though, it's a nice view, looking down on the rooftops of lower buildings of the monastery.
Tickets: Lingyin Entrance Fee 35RMB; Monastery 10RMB
Busses: 7, 807, Y1, Y2