One of the most beautiful old towns in southern Yunnan, Jianshui is located 210 km south of Kunming and roughly halfway between Kunming and Yuanyang. If Jianshui at first glance looks like any other Chinese city that is visited during a trip to China, it does not hide less treasures. In our opinion, Jianshui remains a must stop when you visit Yunnan, and is particularly suitable for a stop on the long road to Yuanyang.
What to visit in Jianshui ?
Jianshui is famous in large part for its Confucius temple, China’s second largest master after its Qufu, his hometown in Qingdao Province. A stroll through the ancient neighborhoods of Jianshui will immerse you in the heart of a Chinese village that is both modern yet still preserved and provincial. After visiting the morning market, it is good to stroll through these narrow streets leading to the Chaoyang Arch. Bird lovers meet there in the morning. In this district of Jianshui, you will discover amazing old wells, a tofu factory, noodles, and all sorts of handicrafts. Another must-see site in Jianshui is the residence of the Zhu family, a beautiful traditional house where we advise you to spend the night. Jianshui is also home to a potters’ district, with Jianshui land being known throughout China. We can advise you the visit of famous potters artists. Regarding the best period of visits to Jianshui, you will find detailed information here: Jianshui Weather.
From Jianshui to Tuanshan
Outside the city is the beautiful and unmissable village of Tuanshan, always a favorite for our travelers in Yunnan. You will be able to lunch here in a beautiful old residence, and also discover that of the clan of the Zhang family. Access to Tuanshan can be done by bicycle from Jianshui, but now also by train following the reconstruction of an old portion of the old see built by the French at the beginning of the 20th century, from Kunming to Hanoi.
There is a train in the early morning and the second at the beginning of the afternoon. The one-way trip is longer (1h50) because of the two stops made to visit the Double Dragon Bridge and also an old station whose architecture is a successful fusion of French and Chinese influence.
Allow about 25-30 minutes to stop on both sites.
The price of return ticket is 120 RMB per person for a hard seat and 150 RMB per person for a more comfortable chair (different cars). A beautiful experience for a leap back to another time!
Booking tickets is essential, as the train is often full several days in advance.
Access to Jianshui
Jianshui is a 3.5-hour drive from Kunming. It is possible to make a small loop in 2 days from Kunming to Jianshui, otherwise to combine its visit with the visit of Yuanyang, further south of Yunnan. The train now connects Jianshui to Kunming, an economical option to reach Jianshui (a 3:30 commute, as if by road, around 45RMB per person one way). The roadside option will allow you to make a stop on the way including the old town of Tonghai, also to the Mongolian village of Xingmeng, and other numerous rural villages along the way.