HuangLongXi Ancient Town (黄龙溪镇) is one of the Top Ten ancient towns in China. Located ~50 km south of Chengdu (Sichuan Province). With a history stretching over 1700 years, its well-preserved buildings and cobbled street makes it a popular scenic destination for visitors and filmmakers alike. A number of the current buildings are historical civilian residences dating from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Being a strategic river port south of Chengdu (capital of the Shu Kingdom during the Three Kingdom era), the town was of military importance to the kingdom. It was said that the prime minister of Shu, Zhuge Liang, once garrisoned in this town.
One interesting sight is the small artificial stream running thru part of the ancient town. It adds beauty and serenity to the town, and is one of its main attractions. Sadly, despite numerous signage warning the public against entering the stream, many visitors treat it as a waddle/play pool and engage in aggressive water play in large groups.
Being developed as a tourist attraction in recent years, the town is filled with touristy retail shops (dealing in snacks, souvenirs, arts and crafts etc.), food establishments, Chinese teahouses, cafes and fish spas.
Interestingly, there’s even a small theme park with rides and kiddy games. It’s baffling how anyone would think that the theme park could fit into the ancient town backdrop.
As with most tourist attractions in China, the place can get pretty crowded (especially in daytime) during peak seasons.
Suggestion for visitors
Given that the town is not particularly large (you could easily walk from one end to the other in ~20-30 minutes), most time-tied tourist visit it as part of a day trip; spending just 2-3 hours exploring the town during daytime.
However, the town is unquestionably at its most charming state during the early evenings, when the day crowds had left and the town starts to reveal its timeless beauty with lantern-lit buildings and deserted alleys. The flip side is that this would entail spending a night in the town, as the last public transport leaves for Chengdu city at ~5pm-5.30pm.
For those planning to stay for a night, there are a number of accommodation options within the town. Ranging from hotels to simple home-stays. Do remember to make early reservation though.
From XinNanMen Bus Terminal (新南门长途汽车站) in Chengdu, there are daily direct bus services to HuangLongXi Bus Terminal departing on a regular basis. Cost is RMB15-16 each way, and the journey is ~60-90 minutes. Note: The last daily service back to Chengdu leaves HuangLongXi Bus Terminal around 5pm-5:30pm.
From HuangLongXi Bus Terminal, one could easily walk to the ancient town in 10 minutes; just head south on the main road outside the terminal. Alternatively, the easier method is to transfer to a local shuttle bus (yellow bus) at the terminal for a 2 minutes ride (RMB1) to the ancient town.
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