In China, one is spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting which sites to sojourn. Most people plan for trekking the Great Wall, circuiting the fantastic museums and the resplendent palaces, without knowing that Wudangshan is a worthy addition to the list. Not only does it house great culture but beautiful architecture and natural beauty too. It is recognized by its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When exploring Wudang Mountain’s caves, pinnacles, streams, and palaces, it becomes apparent why the area is the heart of Taoism as well as Kung Fu that releases and marshals Chi energy, allowing one to capably protect themselves.
The Purple Cloud Palace is the hub of Taoism in Wudang, where citizens and foreigners alike can go to study the Taoist philosophies or indulge in Kung Fu or Tai Chi exercises to meditate. The site itself has an area of 6,850 sq. meters and can take one hour to explore, more so because its exquisite pulchritude captures and mesmerizes tourists, leaving them shuffling round in a spellbound reverie. An interesting fact to remember is that this is where the iconic Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was cinematized, as well as the modern Karate Kid amongst other well known titles.
The Nanyan Cliff Palace or South Cliff Palace as it is sometimes referred was constructed in the Yuan Dynasty nearly a thousand years ago and lies on a precipitous cliff as the name suggests. It is another site popular with Taoists and Kung Fu dynamos. The temple itself contains grand, shimmering metal (bronze and gold) sculptures of celestial Taoist beings. Wudang has 8 palaces as well as many temples and shrines to explore, with a backdrop heightening its distinction and majesty to untold limits. It is less touristy than some of the other sites and one may be relieved to find that it lacks the faux-Western cuisine offered by the more popular areas.
For the spryer traveler, a hike up to Tianzhu peak is an option not to be foregone; the stunning vistas are indescribable for any mortal, and there is also a cable car for the less able. Relaxation is also on the cards if one is savvy enough to book an appointment with Wudang’s blind masseur, where clients come away feeling as though gravity no longer affects them. Wulong Gong or the Five Dragon Palace may be in ruins but for those seeking a more ‘off-the-beaten-track’ experience, this is the perfect spot since this is not on the list for most tourists frequenting Wudang. It is situated on a quiet hill and is the perfect spot for those seeking isolation from the bustling crowds.