One day in Wuxi, recently promoted to first-tier Chinese city

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From where we left off - we were in Suzhou and we headed on a train to Wuxi for a day trip the next day. We were certainly trying to cover more ground rather than depth per city. It isn't exactly a very 'traveller' thing to do, but I guess that's what you do when we weren't coming back to the region any time soon. Wuxi is a fast developing city that was recently promoted to a first-tier Chinese city in 2016, and it is marked by the tall skyscrapers lining its cityscape. What struck deep was that it lacks its own personality and there was this dulling hum of non-inspiration across the non-touristy areas in Wuxi. Nevertheless, I am certain Wuxi will be great one day with the amount of investments and tourism efforts poured into it.





At Suzhou station, we deposited our main luggages in a dingy little baggage deposit place that we were half convinced it'll disappear with our luggages by the time we got back. You know, "China". (Spoiler: it didn't). We took an early train and landed ourselves in Wuxi's main station.


We hopped onto a cab for our first stop: Ling Mountain (灵山大佛) where the Big Buddha resides.


Apparently this place is hugely popular with local tourists, and they were flooding everywhere. Not exactly the sexiest of situations, but it was actually quite okay because the whole place is huge. Huge is an understatement. For a young person like me, my legs were burning by the time we finished the whole place. 


First things first - tickets into Ling Mountain! It is not cheap, and I regret not doing enough research before visiting Wuxi (lessons, lessons). In fact, the less well-known the city, the more expensive their attraction tickets will be. It was 260 RMB per adult, which comes up to above 50SGD. I was about to go and explore its city-area instead but well, we are possibly not coming back in our lifetimes anymore so heck it, just go.


Since we are here, might as well explore it hard and well!


There are multiple gates like this, and it is actually quite reminiscent of the Forbidden City, except this is about 10x bigger (like seriously). I was amazed how the elderly could trudge on to see the Big Buddha with so much earnest.


After multiple gates, we finally catch a glimpse of the Buddha omg! 


Fun fact, this 88m Buddha which weighs 725 tonnes can actually withstand a Category 14 typhoon or a 8.0 earthquake. The mountains surrounding the entire area lends an amazing sight for the visitors, especially with a grand Buddha in the middle of it all. For comparison, it is about the height of a 30-storey HDB block.





The "Nine Dragons Bathing" spectacular statue performance occurs 5 times a day: 1000, 1130, 1300, 1445, 1645. This is the biggest bronze statue performance in China, depicting the birth of Siddhāttha Gotama (释迦摩尼). Along with melodious music, the bronze flower statue will slowly split open into multiple petals. It is said that Siddhāttha Gotama is able to talk and walk from birth, and with every step he took, there was a lotus flower blooming from his feet, thus the lotus flower symbol. At this moment, he pointed at the skies where dragons appeared to 'bathe' him with water they sprout, thus the fountains splashing water onto the Siddhāttha Gotama in the middle. The water is holy in nature, and there were so many people trying to drink from it or collect it in bottles after the performance. I guess they believed that it'll bless them a lot to drink it.


Some places were really crowded...


And some corners were very quiet, that would make for an awesome OOTD background. I am not sure if Buddha will be pleased.


Meanwhile, I decide that forcing a deer to kiss me is a good idea.


Is China a superstitious country?



Here begins the crazy ascent to the Buddha. I swear this was more tiring than Great Wall of China.


How it looks like from the top! The people at the bottom looks like tiny ants.


And this is the highest point that we could climb to! You can even go 'up' the Buddha, but the queues were too crazy and so we decided not to do that.

 

Due to a lack of time and even more exorbitant ticket prices, we gave Lake Tai a miss.. it is the second largest freshwater lake in China. Unfortunately, from Wuxi, the only way you can enjoy Lake Tai is through the entrance of the Lake Tai Central Park, which was even more expensive than Ling Mountain's entry price (I forgot exactly how much). It was just way too ridiculous so we didn't go in the end, I guess the best way is to buy tickets on Ctrip which are heavily discounted.


Even the surrounding areas are quite beautiful.


Super tired from waking up so so early! #eyebags


In the end, two hangry souls went to Huishan Cultural Street to find some food.




The whole street was quiet and whenever there was things being sold, it was very touristy and uninteresting to buy.


A "filial piety" museum that says - a hundred kind deeds begin with filial piety. #TeamChineseValues


There was illustrations on the wall to describe the different types of famous filial piety acts in Chinese history.


OK enough of those, I was really hungry and although these xiaolongbaos were quite nice, I was fairly disappointed it wasn't as spectacular as the ones I had in Suzhou. Those were da bomb!




We took a bus to Wuxi station to catch our train back to Suzhou, as we were preparing to head to Hangzhou that night. Cheap bus fares!




 

Last glimpses of Wuxi.. goodbye, I hope you'll be better the next time I visit (if I ever do so again). I would not shy away from saying Wuxi isn't my favourite, but certainly with a lot of potential, and I foresee it rising really, really fast. I am sure it'll be unrecognizable to me in another few years' time.

And the journey continues... We'll see you in Hangzhou :) Till the next post 

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I share interesting episodes in life revolving around food, lifestyle, travel and inspirational ideas. If you would like to stay in touch, follow me on my Instagram on @amie.hu and Facebook page!

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