This is a nice location to enjoy the scenery outside of Xi'an without hanging off mountain sides. We went with two kids via public transport - an adventure in itself! I wish we'd known to take a lift up to the lake and then explore around because we were too tired to walk further up the hills after slogging it up from the bottom (a very pretty hike nonetheless). For the more adventurous there's a zip line which seemed popular with the uni students. The hike up to where the photos of the hanging bridge are, appear to start from the right hand side of the lake as you get up to it.
There are some snack shops at the bottom as well as at the lake, but the restaurants just before the lake are the best bet for a real meal. We looked at what other people were eating and pointed at promising looking items. The meal was very nice!
To get there:
You need to take one bus out of town and change onto another one to get to Cuihua itself. We had someone write down the change stop so we could show it to people to ask them to tell us where to get off as its a non-descript bus station at the side of a busy street. At the end of the second bus, there are touts who will take you to the park entrance in a mini-van. It's worth it as the distance is a few kilometres. The total trip from Xi'an is around 2hrs. Then its possible to take another car / van from the park entrance up to the lake, but we didn't know so didn't take it. The hike is nice but steep. I'd probably take a vehicle up to the lake next time....
Its a very local place. The people at our hotel looked at us very strangely when we said we wanted to go. Apparently it gets very busy on weekends so I'd recommend a weekday as its not too crowded.
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