The one thing I love about China is that you really do not need to venture too far to feel like you are featured in some Ming-dynasty period movie. It is no wonder Chinese directors have no trouble finding period settings for their latest movie. In 2 days, I visited 2 of the ancient town nearby, which I summarised below.
Huanglongxi Ancient Town (黄龙溪古镇)
This town is approximately 50km from Chengdu (成都), and bares the title of “Sichuan’s Best Old Town” (天府第一古镇). Frankly I don’t agree! The setting is certainly pretty:
But, I certainly don’t see anything too special about it to justify that title. The setting was used in several drama series & movies, or so I heard. As I don’t follow Chinese movies, I found little interests in these facts. Instead, I found a little bit of amusement at a fish spa in one of the laneways (which is certainly not a historic feature of this ancient town):
Mind you, unlike the fish spa I went to Kuala Lumpur, this one doesn’t involve any washing of your feet before dipping your feet in. It’s pay your cash, and in goes your feet! Having said that, me and my dad’s feet must have been the smelliest of the lot as we attracted more dead-skin biting fish to our feet than everyone else!
Other than that, the streets are lined with shops selling local delicacies, which I hardly call original.
Overall, the experience was just ‘plain’. Fortunately, the next ancient town made up for this rather ‘plain’ experience.
Ping Le Ancient Town (平乐古镇)
This town, approximately 93km away, is apparently a popular destination for the locals as a weekend get-away. I couldn’t agree more. Just have a look at this setting here..
This setting really begged me to pull off a spontaneous Liu Sanjie folk song classic (”刘三姐”), if only I could sing (I am only kidding, by the way). It’s so peaceful, and relaxed, holiday makers spend most of their time here playing mahjong along the banks of the river.
To cross the river, there are 2 options. You either cross via a wide bridge, or there are stone blocks you could walk on. The only problem is, you may run into “traffic” problem, like so:
On land, I chose the more ‘traditional’ form of transport (though a little tacky), hired a twin-cycle:
Gets me around town quicker, and I see plenty of other people doing it! The town does offer some pretty awesome food, although in a very Sichuan way (i.e. it involves a LOT of chili), like this local version of wonton soup (麻辣抄手):
The town even offers a rather romantic night scene with the busier side of the river lit up, which is worth every cent we paid, for our night stay over here (Mind you, it was only 80 yuan/night, or approximately AUD$15/night!!):
Even, the nearby “Golden Chicken Valley” (金鸡谷) had some impressive views of natural landscapes, along with adventure on offer to cross a rope bridge:
All in all, it was worth the escape from the hustle and bustle of Chengdu, and a great little town to just sit back and relax like a true Aussie.
Now why aren’t more Australians coming here?