Fuzhou National Forest Park is one of 10 largest forest parks in China and covers an area of 860 hectares. It’s located in the northern suburbs of the city and nestled in a valley surrounded on three sides by green hills and one side by the clear Bayi Reservoir. Although being around for almost six decades (founded in 1960) as an established research park, many special gardens in there featuring flowers (e.g. plum/peach/cherry blossoms) are actually new and there’re efforts to introduce more entertaining programs in addition to the ones already in use such as barbecue, boat rental and a kids fun fair. The park is home to more than 2,500 species of rare plants. Longtan (Dragon Pond) Stream winds through the park and merges into the beautiful reservoir on the south end. With carbon being broken down and absorbed in the lush gardens and woodlands, the Park provides a theme of forest ecotourism. Cultural attractions such as ancient post trail, stone inscription and temples are also very interesting for the park goers keen on history and local culture.
The King of Banyan is a must-see and it’s on the north side of Bayi Reservoir. Legend has it that the tree was planted by Boyu Zhang, an official of Fuzhou in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 A.D.) who also initiated a mass project to mobilize banyan planting to offer shades to locals in scorching Fuzhou summers. Despite the old age, the King takes a proud standing holding a canopy of over 1,300 square meters. As the centerpiece of a themed area called Arbor Garden, the tree is a big draw for visitors from home and abroad. Besides the King and Arbor Garden, Fuzhou Forest Park also features other 4 excursion areas as they call it – Bamboo Garden, Cultural Area, Longtan Scenic Zone and a Forest Museum. You might have heard of World of Birds, which used to house 5,000 birds in 150 species from different parts of the world, but not any longer. According to local media reports, World of Birds terminated operation due to a combination of financial burden and advocates of animal welfare groups, since June 1st, 2018.
Public Transportation: Buses No. 54, 72, 84, 87, 328, 527 (about 7 km from downtown Fuzhou) and
East Gate is the main entrance.
Opening Time: 6:00 am – 5:30 pm
Recommended Route for first time visitors: Enter from the East Gate and go straight to the Banyan King via taking Route 2 (illustrated in the map). The Forest Museum is a stone’s throw away once you get there. Get on the main road (shaded in brown on the map), head on inside (to the north) and expect to see Zhenxin Temple, a military memorial and Cherry Garden en-route. The road ends at a car park (and a few snack stands selling noodles and fish balls) after about 40 min walk, where the hiking trail (to the Longtan area) starts*. Start hiking up towards the waterfall if you feel like a bit workout, or call it a day and head back with a choice of using the electronic shuttle bus (costs 10 RMB single way).
You could also opt for the hiking trail on your right hand side once you are inside the Park at the main entrance (East Gate) area. Take route 3 illustrated in the image below. Of course Route 1 is the most taken one of a majority of park goers and also leads you to the banyan tree with a little bit detour.
*Find where the main road (shaded in brown) meets the hiking trail (shaded in yellow).