As we had Friday off from class as well as Thursday thanks to Qing Ming, we decided to have a day out and see somewhere nearby (because you don't really want to travel that far during any public holidays in China). So after a busy day of Googling the local area, Darryl came up with a plan.
We caught the bus and headed towards Zhaobao Mount in Zhenhai, a town just northeast of Ningbo centre, at the mouth of the Yong river.
Zhaobao Mount is considered to be one of the best scenic spots in Ningbo, with walking trails on and around the hill and numerous sites to explore. These include the 57.6 metre tall, seven-story (about 264 steps) Aozhu Pagoda, the 2000 foot long, 10 foot thick Weiyuan City Wall built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644AD), and the even older Zhenhai Seawall originally built in 897AD during the Tang Dynasty (618–907AD). The Tianhou Temple is dedicated to the Heavenly Empress and the Guanyin Pavilion is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy.
At the foot of the hill is the Zhenhai Coastal Defense Museum. Exhibits include the war against Japanese pirates during the Ming Dynasty, the Battle of Zhenhai in 1885, and the modern Chinese navy.
Zhenhai has a severe air pollution problem, which unfortunately is not unusual for China, but it isn't helped by the 200 chemical plants located in the town. The longer we are in China, the more the face masks make sense, especially at the moment (there is a lot of crap flying around).
Friday probably wasn't the best day to go weather wise, as it was raining a bit, and the mist/smog was quite thick. When we were at the top of the pagoda we could barely see anything, and definitely couldn't see the massive bridge.
Tickets cost ￥60 but it can be a full day out if you take your time. There is a lot of walking involved (what with it being a hill/mount) and plenty of extra steps to enjoy courtesy of the pagoda, so be prepared. There are not really any shops around so if you don't enjoy pot noodles and preserved vegetables make sure to eat before entering the Mount, or at least bring some snacks.
Zhaobao Mount is worth a visit, and it is something that not a lot of tourists actually do (that aren't from China). I think that if it had been more of a spring/summer day it would have been nicer to wonder around the gardens – a bit like a visit to a castle at home in the summer.