Besides the panda visiting, what do you most want to do in and around Chengdu? See the traditions & local customs? Enjoy the well preserved architectures? Explore the local lifestyle? Appreciate folk songs and crafts?
I should say it is good to do the historic site ancient towns that they offer you all. The following is a brief listing of the most widely known ancient towns in Chengdu & Sichuan, which you could do some.
TOP 1: Luodai Guzhen (Luodai Ancient Town)
Luodai Ancient Town is situated to the east of Chengdu, and is known for its predominately Hakka population and culture. The residents are descendants of the Hakka people who migrated from the more coastal regions of China such as Guangzhou.
The name of the town literally means “fallen belt”, and is so named because the last Emperor of the Shu Kingdom lost his belt in the town’s well. The town is divided into a new and old district, with the old district preserving the traditional buildings built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the new district being home to the modern buildings constructed over the last 20 years. There are a number of guild halls in town, such as the Guangdong, Jiangxi, Huguang and Chuanbei Guild Halls. There are places where residents caught up with friends, settled disputes and had a meal. Of these, the Guangdong Guild Hall is the best constructed. There is even a restaurant inside which serves authentic Hakka cuisine, such as Jiangfen and others.
Chinese Name: 洛带古镇
Address Chinese: 龙泉驿区洛带镇
Address English: Luodai Town, Longquanyi District, Chengdu
How to Get There: Bus Route 219 goes from Chengdu Wu Guiqiao Bus Terminal to Luodai
TOP 2: Pingle Guzhen (Pingle Ancient Town)
Ping Le Ancient Town has a history of over 2,000 years and built during the Western Han Dynasty (150 BC). The town is 65km from Chengdu.
The historic streets are well preserved, and the town is famous for its range of ancient temples, streets and residential buildings. Ping Le Ancient Town was an important manufacturing center of paper. The earliest workshops were built at the time of the Southern Song Dynasty. It was also an important transit town for the Silk Route.
Chinese Name: 平乐古镇
Address Chinese: 邛崃市平乐镇
Address English: Qionglai Ping Le Town
How to Get There: Best to charter a vehicle. For public transport, take bus to Qionglai City from Jinsha Bus Station, and take the bus to Ping Le Town.
TOP 3: Anren Guzhen (Anren Ancient Town)
Anren Ancient Town was built in the Tang Dynasty. Most of the original buildings have been destroyed or fallen into disrepair, and the buildings that remain standing are built during the Qing Dynasty.
The buildings in the town feature both Western and Chinese design elements. A tram runs though the town’s attractions in a loop. The attractions that visitors should see are the historic Old Street, Red Star Street, Liu’s Manor Museum and the many cultural museums such as the Western Sichuan Folk Customs Museum.
Liu’s Manor Mansion is one of the best attractions in town. The building was completed during the Qing Dynasty and was where a town bureaucrat and his relatives lived. The Mansion now exhibits the living scenes of that time, and features more than 10,000 cultural items in the collections. The Western Sichuan Folk Customs Museum showcases the cultural aspects of people living in the Sichuan. These include displays concerning a traditional Chinese wedding, for example.
Chinese Name: 安仁古镇
Address Chinese: 大邑县安仁镇
Address English: Anren Town, Dayi County, Chengdu
How to Get There: Buses depart regularly from Jinsha Bus Station to Anren Town
TOP 4: Huanglongxi Guzhen (Huanglongxi Ancient Town)
Huanglongxi Ancient Town was built over 2,000 years ago during the period of the Western Han Dynasty.
The town is situated roughly 30km to the south east of Chengdu, and played an important role as gateway to Chengdu throughout history. The town has seven ancient streets that have been carefully preserved. There are three main temples on the central streets, namely the Gulong, Zhenjiang and Chaoyin Temples. These temples are very popular and are especially crowded during festivals such as Chinese New Year. The architectures of the town’s buildings are well preserved and the majority of these were built during the Ming Dynasty.
The wooden pillars and tiles are good examples of period Sichuanese style. Such is the feeling of travelling back in time that many Chinese period dramas are set within the town.
Chinese Name: 黄龙溪古镇
Address Chinese: 双流县黄龙溪镇
Address English: Huanglong Xi Town, Shuangliu County, Chengdu
How to Get There: A shuttle bus departs regularly from Xinnanmen Tourist Centre to Huanglongxi Ancient Town
TOP 5: Shangli Guzhen (Shangli Ancient Town)
Shangli Ancient Town, located in Ya’an City, is the famous cultural ancient town near Chengdu. Once you’re 1,000 meters up, the minibus spits you out in front of a stone bridge that leads you to an arrangement of traditional wooden houses. You can follow the river on stone pathways, pass the old station of the Tea Horse Road, which was in ancient times that last stop of the Southern Silk Road route before traders left the Sichuan basin and entered either the Tibetan or Yunnan Plateau.
Chinese Name: 上里古镇
Address Chinese: 雅安市雨城区上里古镇
Address English: Shangli Town, Yucheng District, Ya’an City
How to Get There: Take the bus from Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station or Shiyangchang Bus Station to Ya’an Tourist Bus Station and from there take a bus to Shangli.
TOP 6: Jiezi Gu zhen (Jiezi Ancient Town)
Jiezi Ancient Town is more than 1,000 years old. It is situated only 20km from Chengdu. The nearly Mount Qingcheng and Dujiangyan Irrigation System are close to this old town. You could add it to your Dujiangyan & Qingchengshan trip.
The main attractions at the town include scenic walks by the river – there is even a simple bamboo foot bridge to gives visitors an ideal of how river were crossed in the past. There are also many historic temples, such as the Guangyan Monastery. This was built in the Tang Dynasty and is over 1,000 years old. The stone pagoda within the town is also well known and was built in the Qing Dynasty.
Chinese Name: 街子古镇
Address Chinese: 崇州市街子镇
Address English: Chong Zhou Shi, jie Zi Town
How to Get There: Take the High speed train from Chengdu to Qingchengshan, and then take the No.1 bus from the Qingchengshan station to Jiezi Guzhen.
TOP 7: Liujiang Guzhen (Liujiang Ancient Town)
Liujiang Ancient Town is around 130km southwest of Chengdu. Located in Hongya County of Sichuan Province, the 800-year-old Liujiang Ancient Town was once dominated by a few wealthy families in the old time. Its well-preserved traditional Chinese garden style residences, together with the nearby mountains and the creeks running through the town compose a beautiful landscape picture.
Chinese Name: 柳江古镇
Address Chinese: 眉山市洪雅县城柳江真
Address English: Liujiang Town, Hongya County, Meishan City
How to Get There: Best to charter a private vehicle.
TOP 8: Xilai Guzhen (Xilai Ancient Town)
Xilai Ancient Town was built over 1,700 years ago. The town contains many well preserved buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the residential homes are built in the typical architectural style of West Sichuan. A number of streets, many of which are several hundred years old, give added character to the town’s ambience. The best known landmark of the town is the ancient tower at the entrance to the town, called Wenfeng Tower and was built during the Qing Dynasty. The statues around the tower are based on the theatre performances of the time.
Chinese Name: 西来古镇
Address Chinese: 蒲江县西来古镇
Address English: Pujiang County Xilai Ancient Town
How to Get There: Best to charter a vehicle. For public transport, take the bus to Pujiang County Town and then transfer to Xilai Ancient Town.
For more information about Sichuan ancient towns, please visit our Sichuan Travel Guide.