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Top Ancient Towns and Villages to Visit around Chengdu

As the hometown of giant panda, Chengdu has the world's largest giant panda breeding research base. When we are talking about Chengdu, what come to our mind first are adorable giant pandas, also many historic sites like Wuhou Temple, Thatched Cottage of Du Fu, Jinli Old Street……or Sichuan Hot Pot and snacks.

However, what are rarely known by the tourists are many ancient towns and villages hidden around Chengdu with distinct styles and forms. They are cultural gems scattered across the Sichuan Basin, twinkling brightly. It is quite convenient to visit those ancient towns or villages from Chengdu center by a one day or two days tour.

Here we would like to introduce some classical ancient towns around Chengdu to help visitors reveal the secret veil of Sichuan ancient towns.

Huang Long Xi Ancient Town - One of Top Ten Water Town of China

Sited in Shuangliu County, 42 kilometers away from Chengdu downtown, Huang Long Xi Ancient Town has a history of more than 1700 years. There are many well-preserved ancient buildings from Ming and Qing Dynasties in town. The old temples and the six 1000-year-old banyan trees have witnessed the development of the ancient town. The town has three well-preserved ancient temples: Zhenjiang Temple, Chaoyin Temple and Gulong Temple, with many winding streets besides lined with many small restaurants. You can enjoy a simple and serene tour experience with redstone-paved streets, wooden pavilion houses with grey-green roof tile, as well as beautifully engraved railing and window frames.

What makes this town unique is its teahouses which are set along the streets, river banks or even under stands of bamboo. The small bamboo tables, bamboo chairs and colorful sunshine umbrella in teahouses have become an attractive sight. A cup of tea only costs RMB 3 and then you can enjoy a tea break there for a whole day.

• Travel Guide: It is convenient to Huang Long Xi Ancient Town from Chengdu. There are many buses leaving for the town from Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station every one hour from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Usually you can visit the town in one day from Chengdu. If you have enough time and want to spend one night in town, it is also okay. The homestay here only costs RMB 15 to 40 per person per night. 

Huang Long Xi Ancient Town
Huang Long Xi Ancient Town

Huai Yuan Ancient Town - Famous for Bamboo Weaving Products

Huai Yuan Ancient Town is located in Chongzhou City near Chengdu. Its history can be traced back to over 1600 years ago. It is a quite small town covering only one square kilometer. Buildings in town were mostly built in the period of Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China, with maintaining the pattern of the four-door and four-street style. More than 30 ancient streets  are well-preserved in town. Among them, Small North Street, South Street, Xia Xin Street, Zheng Xi Street, and Lin Jiang Street are the classical ones. Though streets are small, it is full of silk shops, teahouses, bamboo weaving stores, oil shops and pharmacy sitting in over 20 streets.

The most famous products in Huai Yuan are rattan plaited articles, bamboo woven and palm fibre woven products most made by old people in the town.

• Travel Guide: Huai Yuan Ancient Town can be easily reached from Chengdu. Tourists can take buses from Chadianzi Bus Station in Chengdu to get there directly. Or can take buses from Chengdu Jinsha Bus Station, Shiyangchang Bus Station, or the square of Chengdu North Railway Station to get to Chongzhou first, then transfer to Huai Yuan Town. It can be visit in one day. Do not miss the delicious food - Ye’er cake when visiting.

Yue Lai Ancient Town - Closed to Xiling Snow Mountain

Yue Lai Ancient Town is located in Heming Township, Dayi County, Chengdu. It is the gateway to Xiling Snow Mountain and Huashuiwan Spring. Yue Lai is a typical western Sichuan town. Here, everything is quiet and peaceful. People enjoys leisure life. They usually play Sichuan cards or drink tea in lazy afternoons.

Yue Lai Ancient Town is quite small with only four blocks. The majority of ancient buildings in town are concentrated on Yue Lai Main Street and He Ba Street, which are in basically in the late Qing Dynasty or the the Republic of China era residential architectural style. The buildings are the integration of Chinese and Western architectural style, which make it different and special from the other ancient towns.

• Travel Guide: Visitors can take buses from Jisha Bus Station to Dayi County first, then transfer to Yue Lai Town there. Steamed dish, Mutton soup and spicy mutton, mushroom are dishes that are well worth sampling in this place.

Pingle Ancient Town - A Strategic Town along Southern Silk Road of China

Sited 19 kilometers southwest of Qionglai City, Pingle Ancient Town was born than 2000 years ago. It is about 93 kilometers away from Chengdu. Almost the same with other ancient towns, ancient houses and old bridges are the highlights in town. Leshan Bridge is one of must see attractions, which was built in 1863 and known as the first Bridge of Qiongnan. It’s peach-shaped, which is rare in western Sichuan area. This town is also noted for papermaking workshops. Built along the mountains, there are 74 relic sites of papermaking workshops.

• Travel Guide: One can take bus from Jinsha Bus Station, Xin Nanmen Bus Station, Shiyangchang Bus Station and the square of North Railway Station in Chengdu first. They depart every 20 minutes. Then transfer to Pingle.

Pingle Ancient Town

Shangli Ancient Town - A Old Stop along Southern Silk Road of China

Shangli Ancient Town is located in Yucheng District, 27 kilometers north of Yan’an City. It is the juncture of four regions: to its east are Mingshan County and Qionglai City while to its west are Lushan County and Yucheng District, which make it a post stop along the Southern Silk Road (also known as Ancient Tea and Horse Road) and a key courier station when entering Ya’an. It is known as a good place to get wealthy money because it was located the intersection of 2 rivers. The once key town on the Ancient Tea and Horse Road is now a historical and cultural famous town around Chengdu of Sichuan.

When you walk into Shangli, you immediately know how heavy the traffic must have been at the ancient post station. The ancient bridges and exquisite buildings are a distinct feature of this old town. All sorts of old bridges are distributed throughout the tiny town with distinct styles. Where the most beautiful one was called “Erxian Bridge” and built in the Qing Dynasty. It is a distinctive stone arch bridge with southern-china features. The arched bridge passes much higher above the river. This design is made to ensure that road traffic of the town would not be impeded by floods.

Do not forget to pay a short visit to White Horse Fountain, which is only 8 kilometers north of the ancient town. It sprays water from a stone dragon several times every day at a temperature of 15℃.

• Travel Guide: To get there, one can take bus from Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station or Shiyangchang Bus Station to Ya’an first, then transfer to Shangli Town there.

Shangli Ancient Town

Yuan Tong Ancient Town - Enjoyable Stilted Architecture

Yuan Tong Ancient Town is located in Chongzhou City, near to Chengdu. This is an old and quiet town that has witnessed the rise and decline during past 1600 years. Businessman from Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and other provinces did business in this place and built guild halls. Boarding a 6-layer building in town, you can see row upon row of old house with grey-green roofs lining the waterfront of Wenjing River. Some of them are stilted architecture with long history.

Speaking of Yuan Tong Ancient Town, the Former Residence of Huang’s, Yongli Bridge and the juncture of Wenjing River, Weijiang River and Bohe River are three highlights of the town.

• Travel Guide: To get there, one can take bus from Jinsha Bus Station in Chengdu to Chongzhou first, which takes about 40 minutes. Then transfer to Yuanlong Town, which takes about 15 minutes.

Yuan Tong Ancient Town
Yuan Tong Ancient Town

Luo Dai Ancient Town - The First Town of Hakka in West of China

Luo Dai Ancient Town is located in 10 kilometers north of Longquan County, Chengdu. It was established during the Three Kingdoms Period. Hakka people make up 90% of the residents; therefore, it is called the First Hakka Town in Western China. Most residents are descendents of Cantonese people. They maintain some of well-preserved hakka culture, like their food, dress and other cultural activities.

The highlights of the town are its Hakka Assembly Halls with the most famous being Guangdong Hakka Assembly Hall, Jiangxi Hakka Assembly Hall, Huguang Hakka Assembly Hall and Chuanbei Hakka Assembly Hall. Other scenic spots like the church, Yanxia Cave and Yudai Lake are also attractive.

• Travel Guide: Luo Dai Ancient Town is only 20 kilometers away from Chengdu downtown with very convenient transport. One can take Public Bus No 81, 58 etc to get to Wugui Bus Station first, where has many buses leaving for Longquan County. After arriving at Longquan County, transfer to bus to get to Luo Dai Town. By the way, in Luo Dai, you can try many delicious Hakka food, such as, Hakka stuffed tofu, salt roasted chicken, etc.

Luo Dai Ancient Town
Luo Dai Ancient Town

Xi Lai Ancient Town - Famous for Thousand-year-old Banyan Trees

Xi Lai Ancient Town is sited in Pujiang County, Chengdu City, Sichuan. The highlights of the town include not only a number of old architecture in typical western Sichuan style built in Ming and Qing Dynasties, but also 12 banyan trees with more than one thousand years’ history.

Except for the old banyan trees, there is another must see site in town - Wenfeng Tower, which was built during the Qing Dynasty. This tower stands on a street corner and is surrounded by rare opera sculpture with the seal scripts. During festivals, the opera stage is still very busy and attracts the locals to visit.

• Travel Guide: The town is easily reached from Chengdu. visitors can take bus from Shiyang Bus Station in Chengdu to Pujiang first, which departs every 15 or 20 minutes from 7:00 am to 6:40 pm every day. Then transfer to Xi Lai Town from Pujiang Bus station.

Jie Zi Chang Ancient Town - Back Garden of Qingcheng Mount

Jie Zi Chang Ancient Town is located at the foot of Fengqi Mountain, right closed to Qingcheng Mountain, being a attractive place combining natural scenery with cultural sights. And it is only around 85 kilometers away from Chengdu only.

In this old town, there are many historic relic and natural sites for visitors to explore, including Guangyan Buddha Hall, Yulong Bridge, Fengqishan Mount Scenic Area, the 1000-year-old ginkgo trees, Original Forests, Shanggu Temple and an ancient tower from the Qing Dynasty. Most the exsiting old buildings were built in Qing Dynasty. The overall beauty of the town can be seen on Yulong Bridge.

Jie Zi Chang Ancient Town
Jie Zi Chang Ancient Town

The above are the top popular ancient towns and villages around Chengdu, Sichuan. Each of them can be visited from Chengdu in one day. If you are interested in ancient culture of western Sichuan, you can pay a short visit to those villages.

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