Baiyun Shan (White Cloud Mountain)

Guangzhou, China

Baiyun Mountain (literal translation: White Cloud Mountain) is located close to the city of Guangzhou, some kms to the north. This mountain, with its 30 plus summits and a source of tranquility since imperial times, is considered the gem of Guangzhou. It is the home of the minnow specie of the same name that is a popular pet fish for aquarium owners everywhere.

The mountain range is separated in to 6 areas, all named for convenience. These comprise the Santailing Park (with the Yuntai Garden), Moxing Scenic Spot, Fei’e and Heyi Scenic Spot, Mingchun Valley, Mingzhu Building Scenic Spot and Lu Lake Scenic Park. Spring is the best time to visit, after the rains when fluffy white clouds shadow over the peaks and form the iconic scene, from which the range gets its name.
Stopping at Xiaogang station on subway line 2 and then going east for 10 minutes will bring you to the West Gate of Baiyun Mountain. If your destination is the Plum Garden, approach the Meihuayuan station through subway line 3 and then a 15-minute walk northwest to arrive there. A whole lot of buses, regular and sightseeing ones) will make the journey as well, including to the South Gate near Yuntai Garden.

The general area is open all the time, however, certain parks, cable car and sightseeing bus service begins from 09:00 and goes on to 17:00 in the evening. There is a nominal admission fare of RMB5, and different parks have separate tickets of the same price. Except for Yuntan Garden and the aviary at Mingchun Valley that charges RMB10. The cable car fare is RMB25 when going up and RMB20 when coming down while the electric car charges RMB10 and goes to different temples and parks around the mountain range. Kids measuring less then 3.9 ft go all places, free of charge. Avoid going on public holidays and weekends as this can translate into wait times of sometimes 2 hours for the 10 minutes cable car ride.

Most of the paths are paved and there isn’t any rigorous work-out involved to get to the top. But if visitors just want to enjoy the scenery, without the grunt work, they can take the cable car or bus to the top and feel refreshed from the burden of city life while taking in the magnificent panoramic view of the mountain and the city close by (on a smog-free day or right after the rains). Moxing is the tallest peak at about 380 meters height (aka the Star Scarping Ridge) and provides the best sights.

The aviary or Bird Spring Valley Park (Mingchun Valley) is a natural birdcage and a popular attraction of the area. Jinye Pond in Lu Lake Park is a worth visit crystalline water body.

Of course, the visit is incomplete if you don’t take a stroll through Yuntai Garden in Santailing Park. The multitude of flora and trees there will force you to realize why Guangzhou is hailed as the City of Flowers.

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