The Silver Pagodas are a set of five large pagodas that sit on a temple site that dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD). The pagodas were built in the 1400’s, and below each of the pagodas are the interred remains of an important monk.
The silver bells of the pagodas used to ring in the breeze, and are the source of the name of this peaceful spot. The foundations of the temples remain, but the structures of the temples are long gone, burned during war.
Several villages can be found in the hills around the pagodas, and old folkways make it possible to do a loop walk around Silver Mountain, peaking at a mountaintop observation platform and finishing with a stroll by the pagodas.
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Not included: surprise shopping trips.
Hiking around the Silver Pagodas
Our favourite version of the hike is a 10km loop around Silver Mountain.
We start off with a walk through a small village, stopping for a quick look at a 300-year-old performance stage. After walking through the village we'll follow a slowly ascending path through the countryside, passing an isolated shrine, fields, and concrete water reservoirs as we circle Silver Mountain.
The path takes us into a small village on the other side of the ridge, and we'll follow dirt streets through its outskirts, walking past donkeys and old stone houses on the way to the chestnut orchards behind the village.
Around the hill behind the village we'll find what's called the "Valley of Mercy", and this is where the path starts to get a lot steeper, heading past more quarries and following a hillside trail up to the top of Holly Mountain. The valley is not too merciful to the legs. It's quite a good climb!
Towards the top we'll find the Silver Pagoda park trail, and climb its steps to the viewing platform at the top. We can look down on the pagodas from there, and will have an unobstructed 360° view of the surrounding mountain peaks and countryside.
From the top we'll follow stairs of the park trail down to the pagodas.
To finish the hike we'll walk a side trail through the hills to get back to the village where we began.
Shorter versions of this hike are also possible.