Huanglongxi Old Town has a history of over 1700 years. Huanglong means yellow dragon and xi means river. It was believed that the river and the outline of the town resemble a dragon so it came the name yellow dragon. Huanglongxi Old Town has many constructions built in a traditional style. It is one of the old towns near Chengdu. Huanglongxi Old Town is located 40km south to Chengdu. It is a more authentic old town as many visitors are from local.
To go to Huanglongxi Old Town, one can use the buses. There are scheduled buses every 20 minutes from Chengdu Xinnanmen Tourist Center to Huanglongxi Old Town from 8:00 to 17:30 everyday. Bus ticket costs 14 yuan per person. There are also other scheduled buses from Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Station every 15 minutes from 6:00 to 18:00. It also costs 14 yuan per person. The bust takes about 1 hour to arrive in Huanglongxi Old Town from Chengdu.
Huanglongxi Old Town can be divided as three different parts. The core area is the center of the old town, which includes old streets, old monasteries, old dorks, old residence and old trees. The second part is on the east of the town by the river of Luxi. There are two Buddhist monasteries Dafo Monastery and Guanyin Monastery by the river. Dafo Monastery is an important monastery. It was built in Ming Dynasty. It has stone carvings on the cliff by the river. The third part is by the river of Jin on the north. This part is used as TV settings very often. Around Huanglongxi are basically farmlands and orchards. It is a very good place to see local life. An estimated 2 hours are necessary to have a decent tour here but if one wishes to visit all the major places including the two monasteries by the east, then 3 hours are necessary.
Over 1700 years of history, the old streets in Huanglongxi reserved many of its original layouts. What you can see are 7 streets from Ming and Qing Dynasty. All streets are paved with stones and with a width of 3.44 meters. There is also a Yamen (government used in the old days) in Huanglongxi Old Town. The location of Huanglongxi was in the center of the places around in the old days. Because it has a river running by its side and it has very good Fengshui, a major reason when Chinese people want to build something. Therefore Huanglongxi became the economy and political center of this area. The government building was refurnished to the way it was from Ming Dynasty and now used by many TV companies as perfect settings to make TVs or films.
Within the old town there are three well-preserved Buddhist monasteries Old Huanglong Monastery, Zhengjiang Monatery and Chaoyin Monastery. They all locate on by the old streets in Huanglongxi Old Town. Outside of the old town there are two more well-preserved monasteries as well: Dafo Monastery and Guanyin Monastery. The density of monasteries indicates the popularity of a place. And these monasteries are not touristy and with decent protection today.
There are 76 old buildings from Ming and Qing Dynasties preserved in the old streets. Most of the residences are two stories’ buildings. The residences by the river are very unique when they use the pillars to make more space of the houses.
Usually old town goes with old trees. Old town without any old tree is not a real old town. There are 6 Banyan trees that are over 300 years old in Huanglongxi Old Town. According to local people, one old tallow tree at the east of the old town by the river of Luxi resembles a dragon. And many of the old trees have very interesting stories behind them.
The old tombs were found by many locations around Huanglongxi including tombs from Han Dynasty, stone coffins, potteries and copper items. There are also stone carvings by the river of Luxi near Dafo Monastery.
Many customs passed down by people in Huanglong xi Old Town. Animal releasing festival, Guanyin Gathering, Dragon Boat Festival, Sichuan Opera and the most famous Fire Dragon festival. The Fire Dragon Festival is held on every second day of the first Chinese lunar month, which is during the Chinese New Year and last until the Latten Festival which is the 15th day. The Fire Dragon Festival originated from Southern Song Dynasty when people believed there was dragon at Huanglongxi. The celebration includes burning a paper “fire dragon”, dragon dancing, lion dancing, river lamp releasing, fireworks show, Sichuan opera and many other celebrations.
Another thing can not be missed at Huanglongxi Old Town is the local food. Have a look of the names of local food: Deep Fried Pig Feet, Pearl Bean Curds, Local vege Omelet, Stewed Baby Fish, Spicy Preserved Beans, different kinds of sesame-made snacks and something called Single Noodle. Local travelers like to buy some food and hire a boat to cruise slowly in the river while enjoy their delicacies. Snack shops are all the way from the parking lot to the old town and local restaurants are plenty in the old town. The amazing thing is that all the shops and restaurant are run by local people. And the snacks, food and seasonings are also made local.
Huanglongxi was also one of the important towns on the Tea-horse Road in ancient times. It has a long history of planting tea.
The best time to visit Huanglongxi Old Town is during summer time. In summer, the temperature is very high, up to 35C during daytime. By night the temperature drops to around 25C. Huanglongxi provides excellent water play ground for the children. When you visit in summer time, you’ll see lots of children, or even adults are playing in the river with their water guns. Winter is not cold in Huanglongxi, the temperature is at about 2C to 5C the lowest. Spring and fall are also good season to visit Huanglongxi when the temperature is more pleasant at around 20C to 25C.
recommended length of visiting: 4 hours
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