Qingxiu Mountain is sometimes referred to as the “Green Lung” or the “Green Mountain” of Nanning, which is rather ironic considering that it is neither a lung nor a mountain. It is actually a scenic park made up of a series of 18 peaks, the highest of which reaches an altitude of just 289 metres. Although its mountains may not be the highest, or even actual mountains, Qingxiu Mountain is ranked as one of the Eight Treasured Scenic Spots of Nanning thanks to its lush tropical greenery, crystal clear lakes, and stylistically unique architecture. It is located just 5 kilometres (about 3.1 miles) southeast of downtown Nanning and has earned the title of “green lung” because, in an urban area as built-up as Nanning, it provides a welcome breath of fresh air.
The park contains a myriad of natural and manmade attractions that will both impress and baffle you. On the one hand, there are the stunning ancient walkways, ethereal natural springs, and charming tropical gardens. On the other hand, there is a Cycad Garden full of dinosaur statues, forever poised amongst the spiky plants to pounce on their hapless prey. The park is a strange and wonderful mixture of manmade wonder, natural beauty and amusing quirks that make for a perfect day out in Nanning.
At the top of the highest peak, there sits the majestic Longxiang Pagoda. The original pagoda was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) but was tragically destroyed during the Second World War. Far more tragic is the fact that the pagoda was demolished by the Chinese themselves, as they believed Japanese fighter pilots would use it to pinpoint and target Nanning. It wasn’t until 1986 that the pagoda was restored to its former glory and it now stands at an impressive 51 metres in height, making it the largest pagoda in Guangxi. Although ascending it may seem like an unnecessary trial, we strongly recommend that you climb to the top and feast your eyes on the panoramic view of Nanning on offer. This spectacular view stretches out over 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) and makes for a wonderful photograph.
Thanks to an initiative by the local government to help solidify relations between China and South-East Asia, Qingxiu Mountain now also has a Thai Park. This park was designed by several Thai architects and boasts some magnificent structures, including an elaborate Thai-style Buddhist temple. Nestled within the verdant leaves and luminous flowers of the gardens, this temple adds an element of multiculturalism and spiritualism to the park. If you’re interested in religious iconography, Qingxiu Mountain boasts the largest supine jade Buddha in Southeast Asia and the largest sitting bronze statue of the Chinese hero Guan Yu in the country. They are both located in Sanbao Hall, where you’ll also find some sacred images and idols of deities from the Zhuang ethnic minority.
Just east of Sanbao Hall, you’ll find the still, sparkling waters of Lake Yaochi. On the granite cliff to the east of the lake, there are intricate engravings of the Eight Immortals of Chinese legend, and surrounding the lake there is an orchard of delicate peach trees. Amid these cherry pink trees, with the deities towering above you and the glittering lake below, you’ll find it easy to lose yourself and while away an afternoon in contemplative thought. Or perhaps just settle down to a lovely picnic! Tianchi, the other manmade lake, is equally as beautiful and features the opportunity to feed koi carp. These ravenous little fish are sure to amuse and delight you as they jump and splash in the water to reach the tasty treats.
 Guan Yu: Sometimes referred to as Guan Gong and Guan Di for his various titles. He was a military general that played an instrumental role in the collapse of the Eastern Han Dynasty during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280).