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Home Travel in Yunnan Mt. Cangshan (Cangshan Mountain)
Mt. Cangshan (Cangshan Mountain)
Travel in Yunnan

Have you ever heard about Mt. Cangshan (cāng shān 苍山) in Dali City (dà lǐ shì 大理市) in Yunnan Province (yún nán shěng 云南省)? Flower enthusiasts or 'green thumbs' may be familiar with this mountain because of the beautiful azalea flowers grown here.

Mt. Cangshan, also called Diancang Mountain (diǎn cāng shān 点苍山), was once named Xiongcang Mountain (xióng cāng shān 雄苍山) and in ancient times was called Lingjiu Mountain (líng jiù shān 灵鹫山). Mt. Cangshan is made of 19 peaks and make up the highest peaks of the Yunling Mountain Range (yún lǐng shān mài 云岭山脉). All are 3,500 meters (11,483 feet) above the sea level and at 4,122-meter (13,524-feet), Malong Peak (mǎ lóng fēng 马龙峰) is the highest. In between every two peaks are streams, and water rushes down the mountain and pours into Erhai Lake (ěr hǎi 洱海). These streams originate from spring water or thawing snow and irrigate the farmlands around.

CangshanCangshan Mountain enjoys great reputation for its snow, clouds, springs and marble.
The unmelted snow on Mt. Cangshan is top of the Four Famous Scenes (wind, flowers, snow and moon) in Dali. The snow is so dazzling and splendent when the sun rises, especially in March. On a moonlight night, the snow reflecting off the mountain makes one feel that they are in a crystal world. The Bai People (bái zú rén 白族人) have many beautiful stories about the snowcapped mountains. One story goes that a plague god intruded the city of Dali and the local people suffered from endless plagues. In order to save them, a brother and sister went to a place named Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva to learn magic. With their magic skills, the twosome beat the plague god and forced him to stay at the top of Cangshan Mountain. There he was frozen stiff. The sister became the god of snow at Xueren Peak (xuě rén fēng 雪人峰) in order to keep the plague god under control. Since then the mountain has been adorned by shiny and amazing snow.

altThe clouds here changes often - sometimes the clouds are thin as silk, sometimes they are as dark as ink. The most magical and beautiful clouds look like Yudai Cloud (yù dài yún 玉带云) (a jade belt) and Wangfu Cloud (wàng fū yún 望夫云) (a woman who expects to see her husband). Yudai Cloud looks like a fairy holding a jade belt and usually appears after rain in the late summer or early autumn. It is said to be the sign of good harvest for the Bai People. The offwhite Wangfu Cloud emerges at the top of Yuju Peak (yù jú fēng 玉局峰) in spring and winter. Legend has it that it is an avatar of a girl of Bai Minority Group (bái zú 白族).

The springs here are also famous. Besides the eighteen streams, there are still many lakes over the altitude of over 3,800 meters (12,467 feet). The lakefronts are densely covered with forests, which include valuable medicine materials, rare species of trees and many kinds of flowers. The flowers add even more beauty to the mountain and help attract tourists.


Mt. Cangshan is a famous manufacture center of a smooth marble, named Cangshan Stone (cān shān shí 苍山石). The Caihua Stone (cǎi huā shí 彩花石) distinguish itself by its unique patterns. Natural scenes of mountains, flowers, birds or people appear once it is polished. What's more, the exquisite craftworks made of marble are sold here and abroad.

Besides the natural scenery, visitors can see cultural relics of the Bai people here. Three Pagodas (sān tǎ 三塔), Inaction Temple (wú wéi sì 无为寺), Three Pools in Qingbi Temple (qīng bì sì sān tán 清碧寺三潭) and Zhonghe Temple (zhōng hé sì 中和寺) are all tourists attractions.

If you don't want to climb the mountain, take the ropeway or rent a horse in the nearby town. Make sure to prepare enough food and water and to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, for it's a rather challenging journey with no restaurants on the mountain.

Admission Fee: CNY 30 (Resource Protection Fare)
                       CNY 60 (through ticket for Zhonghe Temple Telpher)
                       CNY 80 (through ticket for Gantong Temple Telpher)
Recommended Time for a Visit: Two hours
Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.


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