Living in Chengdu is pretty handy. The weather is rarely too hot or too cold (even though I’ll spend 90% of winter moaning about how cold I am). Not only that, but there are plenty of little gems to visit close by. They’re far enough out of the city to feel as though you’re going on a mini-trip, yet they’re still close enough to the city to make it convenient to travel there and back in a day or a weekend.
A few weeks ago (before the big move of apartments was underway), I took a trip to Huanglongxi Ancient Town (黄龙溪古镇) with my friends Lewis and Matt… and Qiuqiu the dog! Getting there from Chengdu is easy enough by bus (take a bus from Chengdu’s Xinnanmen 新南门 bus station), but we were fortunate enough to have a designated driver for the day – Matt! Needless to say, the journey there was very comfortable. Even if I did feel obliged to share half of my breakfast yogurt with Qiuqiu.
Speaking from experience, a lot of “ancient” towns in China are pretty similar – they’re new areas of town which have been renovated to look “old”. I these ancient towns often have a Starbucks in them! That being said, they make a nice change from being in the city.
Huanglongxi has a little river flowing all the way through it, which gives it a different feel to any other old town that I’ve been to before. Not only that, there’s a lake (or bigger part of the river? Forgive my lack of proper geographical terms) which you can ride on! We wanted to ride the boat as Matt had said how fun it was. I’ve been on boats before. They’re alright. But this was quite a different experience!
Boats and buildings in Huanglongxi Ancient Town. 在黄龙溪古城的船和楼。 A photo posted by Emma Hankinson (@lunarbella) on
Each boat should take 6 passengers. Us, being a party of three, found it difficult to fill our boat – even after the salesmen shouted at other guests that they could ride with three other foreigners if they filled this boat! After waiting a while we just paid the difference and took the boat ourselves. The driver looked bored out of his mind, but we were all holding on for dear life screaming our heads off! He made the boat go nearly vertical on its side. We were nearly swimming!
Aside from the epic boat ride, the food at Huanglongxi was pretty delicious. We were conned slightly when choosing a restaurant which put a bit of a dampener on it, but the food was delicious nonetheless. Although, I did see the fish get beaten to death in front of me… At least it was fresh, I guess.
It’s also the perfect place to buy gifts and heaps of other things you, and no one else, actually needs. But a lot of the touristy spots in China are!
If anyone is considering going to an “ancient” town around Sichuan then Huanglongxi is definitely worth a visit. Just remember that most of China’s ancient towns aren’t actually that ancient.