Putuoshan is famous as a Buddhism resort in China. A self-driving weekend trip to Putuoshan from around cities such as Shanghai & Hangzhou is popular among families and couples. Frankly speaking, Putuoshan is not a hot destination with English-speaking visitors because it is a place full of Chinese people. Here I list some tips for travelers who are interested in a Putuoshan tour.
For Putuoshan tour tips, there are four transportation methods from Shanghai to Putuoshan: by transferring service/shuttle bus, by ferry, by speed boat, self-driving.
► By Transferring Service (4.5 Hrs Driving One Way)
Transferring Service: Hotel in Shanghai City → Zhujiajian Pier
Booking tour from Shanghai to Putuoshan and the transferring service is included
► Ferry (11 Hrs One Way)
• Pier: Shanghai Wusong Pier/Shanghai Nanpu Bridge Pier → Zhujiajian Pier (or reverse)
Shanghai to Putuoshan 20:00 departure Shanghai, 07:30 a.m. arrival Putuoshan
Putuoshan to Shanghai: 17:00 departure Putuoshang, 6:00 a.m. arrival Shanghai
• Duration: around 11 hours
• Comment: not recommended, the clean condition on the ferry is not reliable, the weather will effect the ferry schedule
► Speed Boat (4 Hrs One Way)
Firstly, coach from Shanghai Puxi Nanpu Bridge Tourists Center to Luchao Pier (1.5 hrs)
Secondly, taking speed boat to Putuoshan (2.5 hrs)
• Departure time:
Shanghai Departure - 8:00 a.m. or 8:30 a.m.
Putuoshan Departure: 12:30 p.m. or 1:00 p.m.
• Comment: not recommended, not safety and easily be canceled by the weather condition
► Self-Driving (4.5 Hrs One Way)
Suggested route: Shanghai City → Shanghai-Xingzhuang Highway → Shanghai-Hangzhou Highway → Hangzhou Bay Bridge → Shenhai Highway → Ningbo Jiangbei Highway Exit → Zhuangpu Road → Zhuanghe Road → Zhoushan Cross-sea Bridge → Drive to Putuo/Zhujiajian Direction → Arrival Zhujiajian Pier → Taking ship to Putuoshan
What to see Putuoshan Island? Purple Bamboo Forest, Valokitesvara Statue, Pu Ji Temple, Fa Yu Temple are the best places to visit in Putuoshan Tour Tips.
► Purple Bamboo Forest
Purple Bamboo Forest located on the foot of Putuoshan. There, the rock is in a purple color. And the lines inside the rocks like bamboo leaves, thus called purple bamboo rock. In Five Dynasties period, a monk called Hui E transferred a Buddha statue from Mt. Wutai. When passed Putuoshan part, the bad weather made this transferring work stagnate. Hui E thought that Bodhisattva did not want to leave. Therefore, he hug the shores and left the Buddha statue there, which is called “Not-willing-leave Guanyin Temple” and is worshiped by the Zhang’s people. It is the beginning for worshiping Buddha in Putuo Mountain. In front of the Not-willing-leave Guanyin Temple, there are Chaoyin Cave, as well as Guangming Pool by side of Purple Bamboo Forest and Jialuoshan Island across it.
► Valokitesvara Statue
Valokitesvara Statuein Putuo Mountain is 33 meters high, of which the base is 13 meter high, the statue 18 meters and the lotus2 meters. It has a weight of more than 70 tons. The statue was made by Henan Luoyang Copper Processing Plant and the materials is used of imitation gold copper with precision casting. It is composed of 96 pieces of copper walls and was dissolved into 6500 grams gold. The Chinese name of the stature was written by the President of the buddhist association of China at the beginning. Now, Valokitesvara Statue has become one of new landmarks in Putuo Mountain.
► Pu Ji Temple
Pu Ji Temple was built during the reign of Qianlong Emperor and is divided into two parts. The whole building is built in a wide and flat site on the mountain. There are two large sakura trees inside. When the spring comes, the sakura blooms in red, together with white pear flowes. They both make the whole temple vibrant and beautiful. What’s the most special thing is that the roof was built by pieces of copper tile.
► Fa Yu Temple
Fa Yu Temple on Putuo Montain is also known as Hou Temple. It is only 28 kilometers away from Puji Temple. It is one of 3 tops temples in Putuo Montain area. It now covers an area of 33408 square meters, with 294 houses and halls. The buildings here were built down the hillside and have six layers. There are different buildings here, including Hall of Heavenly Kings, Buddhist Monastery, Hall of Avalokitesvara Buddhisatva, Daxiong Hall and so on. Hall of Avalokitesvara Buddhisatva is also called Nine Dragon Hall, for there are nine carving dragons, delicate and vivid. What's interesting is that the Jiulong Caisson in the hall and the some of glazed tiles were removed from the palace in Nanjing in Ming Dynasty, which is one the three treasures in Putuo Mountain. The whole building looks magnificent and high. Visitors can catch a view of the golden beach not far away and listen to the wave sound.
Regarding to what to eat, Buddhist cuisine and sea food are highly recommended cuisine in Putuo Mountain area.
► Buddhist Cuisine
Buddhist cuisine, which is all vegetarian food, can be offered in Pu Ji Temple, Fa Yu Temple, Hui Ji Temple and Purple Bamboo Forest, with quite reasonable price. They have set serving time and different temples have different serving time. One should check the serving schedule before you decides to have Buddhist meals there, or you will miss it. Generally, breakfast time is from 5:30 to 6:00, lunch is from 10:00 to 11:00, and dinner is from 16:30 to 17:00. Putuoshan's vegetarian food is rich in variety and nutritious. It has always been popular with tourists from home and abroad. If you are interested, you can eat a vegetarian meal in the temple.
► Sea Food
Although Putuo Mountain is not the best place to have sea food, it is in an island, so sea food is a nice choice here. Normally, every hotel in this place owns its restaurant and serves great sea food with authentic flavor. Shen Jia Men Seafood Restaurant, Xiang Sheng Hotel Restaurant, Ting Chao Ge, as well as Long Wan Village Seafood Street and Hai Fang New Village Sea Food Street are great places to enjoy your meals.
► Tips for having sea food
There are a lot of places to stay in Putuo Mountain area, from hostels to 5 star hotels. You can choose to stay in hostels, local farmhouses, star hotels or even in the temples. Here, some star hotels are recommended to your in Putuoshan tour tips.
► Xiangsheng Grand Hotel & Resort Mountain Putuo
Address: Xingxi Yuan, Mount Putuo Putuo District Zhoushan 316107 China
It is a five-star hotel with rich atmosphere of Buddhism and beautiful mountain landscape. It is built on the top of a mountain. The hotel is equipped with high quality furnishing one would expect from five-star hotel, restaurants serving delicious food and a large recreational pool. The onsite staff act professionally and corteoes. It is a great choice for accommodation in Putuoshan.
► Landison Putuoshan Resort Zhoushan China
Address: No.115 Fayu Road, Putuoshan Scenic Spot, Zhoushan, China
It is a 5-star hotel in this area. All of the hotel's 100 guestrooms are equipped with standard in-room amenities to ensure the maximum comfort for its guests. The guestrooms are equipped with hair dryer, shower, in room safe. To suit guests' convenience, this Zhoushan accommodation offers coffee shop, concierge, laundry service/dry cleaning, elevator. To unwind, guests can enjoy the leisure facilities provided on the hotel's property, including outdoor pool.
► Putuoshan Hotel
Address: No.93 Meicen Road, Mount Putuo, Zhoushan 316107, China
Putuoshan Hotel is located in the central area of Putuo Mountain area (on the foot of Xishan Mountain) with perfect location and convenient transportation. It is around 10 minutes stroll to the Puji Temple (One of the "major temples" in Putuoshan). It is the first 4-star hotel qualified for the reception of oreign guests in Zuoshan.