Home to a host of rare species including clouded leopards, giant salamanders and swallowtail butterflies, Wuyi Shan (Wǔyí Shān, 武夷山) has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site both for its amazing biodiversity and for its cultural value. This rugged area, which covers around 1,000 sq km (386 sq mi), is also home to nearly 100 archeological sites where ancient Daoist, Buddhist and Confucian temples and acadamies once thrived.
Located in northwestern Fujian Province near the Jiangxi border, Wuyi Shan forms the largest and most diverse bioregion in southeastern China and is one of the region's most important tourist attractions.
Among its winding river valleys, sandstone towers, cave formations and warm coniferous forests, visitors are presented with opportunities to visit ancient palaces, raft down sensational river canyons and take in astonishing views after hiking through breathtaking terrain.
These mountains are also testament to the traditional ideal of a harmonic union of the natural and manmade which defines Chinese culture at its roots. Their protected status is all the more important in a modern China which has spent much the past century racing towards industrialization. While sensitive conservation zones within the scenic area are not open to the public, those that are accessible are well worth the trek.
Wuyi Shan is also the home of some of China's most vaunted teas and is the location where the legendary Da Hong Bao (Big Red Robe), an oolong tea which has been auctioned off for millions of RMB per kilo and held in special reserves by the state, was first picked. It's also home to Lapsang Souchong, a delectable smoked black tea, and other famed Wuyi tea varieties.
Entry into the main park costs RMB 140 for one day, RMB 150 for two days and RMB 160 for three days, and includes access to several attractions within the general admission area including the Water Curtain Cave and the Nine Twists River (rafting is an extra cost). However, the Wuyi Shan scenic area also features many attractions which require an additional entrance fee, ranging in price from the RMB 26 Ancient Xiamei Folk Buildings, to the RMB 100 Tongmu Brook Drift.