The plum blossom in Mountain Chao has been described as a "fragrant white ocean" by one artist and it's hard to disagree.
The 10th Mountain Chao Plum Blossom Festival, which opened last week and will run through the end of March, is home to more than 500,000 plum trees. The trees have begun to sprout their buds in the scenic area. And once the weather begins to get warmer, Yuhang District will be covered with a carpet of yellow, pink, red and white floral.
The mountain is one of the three traditional places to appreciate the plum blossoms in Hangzhou, along with Solitary Hill at West Lake and the Hangzhou Botanic Garden. After 10 years of development, the flower festival has already evolved into a new calling card for Yuhang District.
China boasts five millennium-old plum trees. Two of them, which were planted in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and Song Dynasty (960-1279), grow on Mountain Chao.
The scenic area has more than 200 varieties, with different blooming dates, to ensure the blossoms can be appreciated for two months.
The plum blossoms are also a symbol of strength, resilience and perseverance, because they bloom in winter, while other flowers do not survive. The gnarled trunks and oddly shaped branches have long featured in Chinese paintings.
Modern artist Wu Changshuo described Mountain Chao as a "fragrant white ocean." To Wu, the plum trees on the mountain belong to China's most beautiful scenes, a landscape so beloved by the artist that his last will is to be buried here.
The local government is to build a Wu Changshuo Memorial Hall in the scenic area. During the festival, a plum blossom-themed exhibition featuring Wu's calligraphic and painting works will be displayed there.
The mountain may be far from the downtown but the beautiful scenery makes it a pleasant place for hiking on the gentle slopes and wide stone steps.
How to get there:
Take Metro Line 1 to Linping Station and then hail a taxi to Mountain Chao or take Bus No. 786 to Die Ma Qiao.
Admission: 60 yuan ($9.37) for adults, 30 yuan for kids under 1.5 meters (free for kids under 1.2m)
In addition to Mountain Chao, Yuhang District features an abundance of tourism attractions including Hong Garden, Shan Gou Gou Scenic Area, Tangqi Town and Shuangxi River.