Louguantai National Forest Park is the ideal place to visit if you want to get out of the big city and into rural China’s fascinating nature. The park wasn’t only popular with ancient emperors and poets, but today is maybe still best known for being the perfect spot to practice Taoism. Here, the founder of Taoism, Laozi, wrote the fundamental text to the harmonic Yin and Yang philosophy called the Tao Te Ching. He was also supposed to have taught his ideas in these forests for a while and you can still see pavilions, temples, stone tablets with poems and the historic remains of Laozi Hall, the Star Observation Tower and Jing Tai, the pulpit from where Laozi preached.
It is easy to see how ancient philosophers on a spiritual journey found reference to nature here in this area, which is important in Taoism. The Name Lou Guan Tai literally means “the luckiest place in the world," and here you can see the largest bamboo plantation in Northern China, as well as gardens with over 300 species of rare plants and beautiful mountain scenery. Apart from the bamboo forest, pine, oak, walnut and juniper trees, you'll also see cypresses covering the scenic hills between the mountain streams and pools. The park also houses the Louguantai Wild Animal Breeding and Protection Center, a wildlife sanctuary for endangered animals, such as giant pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, white-lipped deer, black bears, leopards and the takin, a goat-antelope found in the eastern Himalayas.
Louguantai National Forest Park, located along the North Zhongnan Mountain Range in Zhouzhi Country, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To get there, take the bus from Xian’s Fengquinglu Bus Station; the journey takes between 60 and 90 minutes.