Rizhao, in the Shandong province of China, is home to an interesting tourist attraction. It’s a bamboo garden that has, well, a ton of bamboo. But besides the obvious, this bamboo wonderland is also a place to test your coordination and balance within a series of acrobatic courses. It’s beautiful. It’s creepy. It’s actually pretty entertaining.
Chinese symbols mark the bamboo near the entrance of the garden. I’m assuming these are the names of adventurers who wondered into the unknown before us.
Farther into the bamboo garden, it becomes eerie and shaded. The bamboo is so tall that it blocks out the sun’s light. By this point, it’s obvious that this isn’t a garden. It’s a forest.
An old well is dug near a pair of secluded bamboo houses in the middle of the forest. Talk about creepy. The people living here must really like their privacy.
I’m pretty sure these spiders were hired under contract to live here full-time just to make the forest seem even creepier. But seriously, this forest is home to some of the biggest spiders I’ve ever seen.
Further into the forest, you’ll find statues of The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. During the third century CE, these learned men decided to ditch their positions as scholars and politicians to live a simple life of seclusion in the bamboo forest.
These sages engaged in Daoist-inspired music, poetry and discussions, often while inebriated. Today these men are a famous symbol of retreat from public life in both Chinese and Japanese culture.
Further into the forest is a place called “bird’s paradise.” It houses an impressive collection of peacocks, including a rare white peacock.
And then it appeared out of nowhere. A bamboo-inspired course to test one’s balance and strength. Aside from the ropes and chains, the course was constructed entirely out of bamboo.
This is the stuff I live for: being put to the test after coming upon an impromptu balance course in the middle of a bamboo forest. I only wish there were more people around to witness my ninja prowess! If they kept track of this sort of stuff, I would surely be the bamboo course record-holder.
The bamboo garden, or “bamboo land” as I like to call it, was an interesting adventure. At first I was skeptical, but after exploring the entire forest in all of its creepiness, I was pleased with the bizarre combination of bamboo, birds and balance tests. For 40 yuan ($6.50), it was a fun, cheap way to spend an afternoon.