Struggling up Fanjing Mountain for incredible scenery

For city-dwellers longing for fresh air, Fanjing Mountain with its vast forests is a natural oxygen bar. Xu Wei reports from Tongren, Guizhou province.

For anyone who wants to see the best of China's southwest, Fanjing Mountain (Fanjingshan) is a must-visit. But watch out, the best is not for the faint-hearted.

For city-dwellers longing for fresh air, the mountain, with its vast forests, is a natural oxygen bar.

For adventure seekers, the mountain peak, with its almost vertical and slippery steps, offers a challenge guaranteed to quicken the heartbeat.

Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

As you approach, you see the well-preserved mountain surrounded by dense forests and creeks with their almost crystal clear water.

The mountain also provides a habitat for the gray snub-nosed monkey, or Guizhou snub-nosed monkey, and Abies fanjingshanensis, a species of conifer found only in the mountain area.

As you ascend the mountain by cable car, you find yourself surrounded by thick clouds and dense canopies below you.

As you are halfway up the mountain, the evergreen forests, dotted with stunning wildflowers, offer you a spectacular view of the landscape.

On the horizon, valleys, rocks, cliffs and peaks start to reveal themselves.

Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

The isolated stone peaks, which are barely visible from the foot of the mountain, now appear in a way that seems to defy gravity.

I was told by a guide that I had hit the jackpot as I was welcomed by warm sunshine on the top of the mountain.

If you want to go further up the mountain to the top of the stone peaks, you walk, and this marks the start of the most thrilling part of the trip.

Along the snaking road up the mountain, there are occasional reminders for you to watch out for deadly snakes.

There are six species of venomous snakes in the area, so make sure you avoid the bushes.

The best way to appreciate the beauty of the mountain is by heading to the top-the Hongyunjin peak.

If you take the north path to the top, which is steeper and more dangerous, it offers a spectacular view.

As you climb, you find that the way up has become so steep that you are forced to use both hands and feet to climb.

Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

Tourists who want to ascend to the peak of Fanjing Mountain in Guizhou province need to be strong both physically and mentally, but the spectacular view with two Buddhist temples sitting atop makes the trip worthwhile.

The path then becomes so narrow and steep that it only allows one person to move.

I had to overcome my fear to continue ascending. The final few steps are a bit of an anticlimax.

And then there you are: a whole world of forests, clouds and more peaks on the horizon.

Amazingly, two Buddhist temples sit atop the peak, which also partly explains why the mountain is a holy place for Buddhists.

Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

You cannot help but wonder how anyone managed to build a temple there.

The guide told me the experience is heightened by constantly changing weather, including seasonal and daily variations.

The mountain, already a National Nature Reserve of China, has also been nominated as a World Natural Heritage Site, and local authorities are making efforts to improve the facilities in the area.

The mountain offers different views during different seasons, but you might want to avoid the national holidays as the scenic area will be crowded.

Think twice before you bring your young children atop the peaks.