Huanglongxi Ancient Town was one of the top 10 ancient towns in China. I took a bus from Xinnamen Bus station to Huanglongxi Passenger Transport Center. The bus fare costs RMB 14. From the Huanglongxi Passenger Transport Center, I took another public bus direct to Huanglongxi ancient town. The public bus fare costs RMB1. In fact, the ancient town is just about 300 m from the Transport Center; you can actually walk to the ancient town.
The entrance to the ancient town is free. The whole town is actually quite big and you need to walk around to explore. The way the town is structured is just like a dragon. The head of the dragon is located at the front entrance while the tail is located near to the river. You see a number of eateries, shops, cafe, etc along the way of the dragon's body. There is also an opera house near the middle of the walkway and you can sit at the opera theater (non-airconditioned) to listen to Sichuan opera. I like to watch the Sichua opera though I hardly understand the Sichuan dialect but my wife dislike the loud and sharp pitch music so I did not stay long. There is also a museum beside the opera house displaying some Sichuan ceramic, calligraphy, jades. The authority should be praised for effort in promoting cultural activities. These effort at least help to counter the commercialization of the area. At least people come here not just to shop and eat but also understand and appreciate culture. The entrance to the opera house and the museum is free including the toilet. The shops and cottage hostels charged RMB1 for using their toilets.
The place is quite relaxing. If you don't feel like walking around. you can order some drinks and sit by the stream and observed the madness of the hordes of Chinese visitors flooding the place. My wife ordered a cup of coffee from the Starbuck outlet and it costs RMB 25.
I like the eateries at the tail end of the ancient town. There are many local food and are not expensive.The good thing about Sichuan is that the government standardized the food price in most areas. In Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou and any other places, the prices of food do not vary drastically. I can have a bowl of sweet bean curd in Leshan for RMB5, you get the same bowl in Chengdu maybe for RMB6, the difference is not big. You hardly get exploited over food just because you are a tourist. There appears to be some control at the municipal level on food price so as to benefit the masses.
At the tail end jetty there is also the boat ride where you paid about RMB10 to visit the Big Buddha some distance down the Huanglong river. I did not take the boat ride as I am more fascinated by the many shops selling the different souvenirs, goods and food. There are also horse rides near the museum and trishaw rides to take you to the Big Buddha. The place is really commercialized but has its uniqueness that made it interesting.
My wife commented that it was just an ordinary ancient Chinese town, nothing very significant or special. Huanglongxi ancient town was named the `Hollywood' of China but she could not really appreciate the greatness of this compliment.
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