Places like Jianshui in the Yunnan Province of China will stick in my memory for one reason. You’ve never heard of them before you arrive and you’ll never forget them after you leave.
How to get to Jianshui
By now you’ll have noticed that my girlfriend plays a big part in my Chinese adventures and helps organize my more obscure and remote Chinese experiences such as Taxia Village and Danxiashan. If you’re travelling on your own and not Chinese, you can still easily get a bus to Jianshui. Buses leave from Kunming South every half an hour during the day, Yuangyang (Nansha in fact) more regularly and from Jinghong, which offers a 17 hour sleeper bus. You’ll need to have the Chinese written down before you show up and book your bus at the station.
I’d recommend the Linan Inn in Jianshui where you can get a family room for only 268 RMB.
Things to See & Do in Jianshui
For a small town with a very small number of foreign tourists, taking in what Jiangshui has to offer is an absolute joy. Friendly locals, fabulous food and a range of sights all typical of this part of China’s Yunnan Province.
Even just walking through the main streets is easy on the eye – superb architecture, endless shops, street side barbecues (at night), Chinese history and a load of fashion shops. This could well be the trendy town of Yunnan Province. Here’s a top 5 things to do while in Jianshui…
1. Zhu’s Family Garden
The Chinese style outdoor gardens are a work of art onto themselves. The Zhu’s Family Garden is a 20,000 square metre garden and patio complex from the Qing era. You have to pay for a ticket to go inside and you can walk around at your leisure. It’s never that busy. You can relax by the pond, visit the museum or chill out in the shade from the top viewing platform. Elegant and preserved. Entry is 50 RMB (Chinese Yuan).
2. Chaoyang Gate
This splendid gate sits at the end of the main street through Jianshui and is well worth a visit with great views, rooms to relax in, locals to meet and towers down over the city.
3. Confucian Temple
I’d had my fair share of Confucian Temples in Taiwan in 2009 so we didn’t bother going however I’d recommend it. Apparently this is the third largest Confucian Temple in China, so give it a try.
4. Spicy Barbecued Tofu Restaurant
Spicy barbecued tofu is a speciality in parts of Yunnan and Jianshui offers a great chance to try the best barbecued tofu. We went to a local restaurant that was recommended by a local, but you can see this tofu in many of the street stalls on your walk around.
5. Zhilin Si Buddhist Temple
Of course you’ll find a Buddhist Temple here and it’s well worth a stop.
Jianshui Old Town at Night:
Zhu’s Garden in Jianshui:
Chaoyang Gate in Jianshui, China: