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connette Aug 13th, 2007 12:55 PM

Dazu and Yuanyang and Jianshui
I think I found a company to work with that will be quite satisfactory. I was looking for any insight from folks who have been to these 3 places. Even though we are quite close with most of our activities near Chengdu - it is going to be a bit complicated to get to Dazu. My thoughts are that it is worth it. What do you think?

And the second question is - has anyone stayed in these cities and if so, would you have any hotel recommendations? Thanks.

janev Aug 13th, 2007 02:23 PM

We have been to Jianshui (this was about 4 yrs ago) and stayed at Zhu Family Garden Hotel, which was very interesting. We didn't find so much to see in Jianshui - there is the bell tower part of the old walls area, and from here we caught a bus to Swallow Cave (where birds nest is harvested). It was interesting - and things will have moved on since we went no doubt, as China changes quickly now - but of all the places in China I wouldn't go out of my way to get here. From here we went onto Shilin.

thursdaysd Aug 13th, 2007 06:44 PM

My trip report including Jianshui is at I did a six day loop south from Kunming, and loved being away from the main tourist trail. I've also been to Dazu, which I thought was spectacular, along with really enjoying the ride through the countryside. But Dazu
and even more Jianshui are a ways from Chengdu. I think I stayed at the same place as janev in Jianshui, although it's in my notes as Zhujia Huayuan Kezhan. The Confucius Temple and the market were the highlights - especially as a group of men in old-style dress were playing old-style music while I was at the temple.

connette Aug 14th, 2007 09:08 AM

Thanks for the answers so far. I guess it could have explained things better. We will be going to Yuanyang from Kunming, rather than Chengdu. We are primarily planning to visit there for the rice terraces.

After that we are going to Lijiang. Then...we have a 3 week birding tour out of Chengdu. But, I am thinking of maybe flying first from Hong Kong to Chongqing to go Dazu. That is why it is a bit of a hassle. We could go afterwards from Chengdu also - but it will be much hotter by June.

connette Aug 18th, 2007 01:54 PM

Thanks again. Happy to report back that we are booked. Dazu, Yuanyang, Jianshui, and Lijiang. Thanks again for the suggestion of Zhujia Huayuan Kezhan (also known as Zhu Family Garden Hotel). We had a visit to there planned, but did not know we could stay there! I would have most likely been disappointed to find that out after-the-fact.

Marija Aug 18th, 2007 02:17 PM

Dazu is definitely "worth it." It was one of the most interesting destinations on our trip.

thursdaysd Aug 19th, 2007 10:36 AM

connette - I think you'd have been really disappointed not to stay at the Zhu complex - it was gorgeous! To whet your appetite, I've posted my Jianshui photos at - these aren't edited or captioned yet, just the raw footage. I've also posted my pix of Tonghai, a small town between Jianshui and Kunming.

connette Aug 19th, 2007 12:15 PM

Thanks for the great photos. You did indeed whet my appetite. I think we will have some time to stop in Tonghai on our return to Kunming. I have made note ot the park and we will definate have to make a stop there!

thursdaysd Aug 19th, 2007 02:11 PM

Cool! I'm looking forward to the trip report...

janev Aug 20th, 2007 01:20 AM

thursdaysd your photos are beautiful!
I don't know how easy you founf it to get a room at Zhu Family Gardens - but for us it wasn't so easy at first. We arrived there and asked for a room - they said they were full. We hung around some minutes as we didn't know where to then go. So we asked again if they were sure no room might become available & we got one. In the past we have come across this before in China, so sometimes you have to ask more than once. The place certainly wasn't full. Maybe sometimes they don't have enough staff or want to create more work. Again this was a few years ago so maybe its more structured now - but its somethign to be aware of when you aren't with a tour group & everything is pre-booked.
Did you have any problems thursdaysd with getting a room there?

thursdaysd Aug 20th, 2007 05:45 AM

janey - thanks. I was there in Oct 2004, and had no difficulty. I turned up, they showed me a couple of rooms and I picked one. The only problem was communicating with the guy at the entrance, some distance from the hotel itself, since I don't speak Mandarin. I eventually got him to understand that I wanted to stay at the hotel, not just visit the buildings. BTW, when I was there, there was a restaurant in the gardens with good food.

A young couple was also staying there, and a lone German guy and a small French tour group were elsewhere in town, but I saw no other Westerners. I was on my own, traveling by bus as I had run out of railway in Kunming.

I didn't go to the Swallow Cave, but I did like the town. I also went further south, to Gejui, which had an interesting old temple. After the big cities I really enjoyed visiting some smaller places.

Images2 Apr 15th, 2009 05:54 AM


Did you end up going to Dazu and if so, was it worth the trip? I'd love to hear about it as I'm revisiting my thoughts about going.

connette Jul 17th, 2009 10:37 AM

Way late on this post. Yes, we went and it was worth it. Outstanding location in kind of a valley in a forest. We were the only non Chinese tourists there. Ended up in several Chinese tourist photos who asked us to join their photo because of that fact.

The carvings are just amazing and the fact that they are so old (from Song and Tang dynasties) and that they are nearly perfect - still showing MUCH color (and also surviving the cultural revolution!) is wonderful.

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