Jianshui is an underrated ancient town nestled between Kunming and Yuanyang. It’s a great half-way stop where you can spend a few nights, exploring the area and the infamous Double Dragon Bridge (best viewed when the sun is rising).
Known as a“Museum of Ancient Buildings and Residential Houses,”Jianshui Ancient Town boasts a history of about 1200 years. When you get here, don’t miss the chance to stroll along the old street, where you can absorb the distinctive cultural heritage typical of this area.
Old buildings such as the Chaoyang Tower and the Zhu Family Garden are beautiful traditional buildings decorated with green tiles, white walls and high eaves.
If you love architecture and photography, the best time to see them is in the morning, with the sunrise, or in the evening, when the lights are on.
You will have plenty of angles to choose from, to capture the best photos. Make sure you don’t miss the Double Dragon Bridge as well. It is a seventeen-arch stone bridge built during the Ming dynasty, where you can appreciate its elegant design, with three Chinese-style pavilions built on top, blending with the surrounding landscape.
It’s unique silhouette is framed by the surrounding waters, making it picture perfect.
(link to the page of Jianshui Ancient Town)
You can photograph all year long, but it’s better if you arrive between March and May or between September and November, as rainy days are less usual during these periods.
A one-a-half-day visit is a good amount of time to capture the best features.
The ancient town takes on a new face from day to night, and there are some beautiful scenic nearby also worth taking photos of. Don’t forget to photograph the sunrise over the Double Dragon Bridge.
- Jianshui Ancient Town
The ancient city wall of Jianshui was built 600 years ago, during the Ming Dynasty. The Chaoyang Tower – literally the tower facing the sun - is the landmark of Jianshui Ancient Town. It was built as the eastern gate during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and it remains preserved to this day.
It features the traditional construction style with big poles, a three-eaves saddle roof and wood carved doors. Under the eaves, you will find horizontal boards hanging, inscribed by a celebrity calligrapher. You can also find the century-old Zhu Family Garden, a magnificent construction with distinctive features.
- Double Dragon Bridge
The Double Dragon Bridge is a seventeen-arch stone bridge built during the Ming Dynasty. You can appreciate its elegant design, with three Chinese-style pavilions built on top, blending well with surrounding landscape.
It is the largest and with the most artistic value amongst the ancient bridges in Yunnan Province. The bridge is 153 metres (167 yards) long and 3 metres (3.28 yards) wide, paved with black marble. It boasts three exquisite and elegant lofts. Among them, the middle one, called the “Grand View Pavilion of South Yunnan”, is the most majestic and splendid.
From the bridge, you can enjoy stunning views, near and far, including endless green fields, majestic blue mountains and clear waters.
- Tuanshan Village
Tuanshan Village is a beautiful and unmissable village nestled within green hills. The 19-century village houses grand family mansions, gardens and temples that bear beautiful engravings.
It is a tranquil place in Jianshui that has been included in the 2006 World Monumental Architectural Heritage Protection List.
The exquisite architecture of Tuanshan has not decayed throughout time and the village has been inhabited for generations. The wood of many old houses is still in good condition after more than a hundred years. It’s a magical place filled with history.
1)By Bus: You can take the bus at the Kunming South Coach Station or the Kunming Long-distance Passenger Transport Station to Jianshui County. Once you arrive take a taxi or bus to get to the ancient town. The journey will take up to 2.5 hours.
2)By High-Speed Train: Head to Kunming or to the Kunming South Train Station and get on the train to Jianshui. The trip lasts 1.5-3 hours.
The hotel and inns in Lin 'an Town have nicely set up rooms decorated in Qing-dynasty style, taking you back in time as you get some well-deserved rest.
Once you visit Jianshui, you cannot miss the chance to taste the famous barbecued tofu and steam-pot chicken, which have won wide acclaim. You can also taste Lion Cake and Cross-Bridge Rice Noodles.