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on the Yangtze River is the county seat and just one hour from Chongqing by bus or car. Zhongshan Gu Zhen ɽ Tanghe Zhen  and Simian Shan ɽ are just a few of the most well known one day or weekend getaways in the mountains to the south of the city. 
Zhongshan Gu Zhen is one of those delightful places that deliver some of the real China that is so quickly disappearing. Just thirty minutes drive from the county seat of Jiangjin by bus or car the old village offers a fascination look at village life of decades past. It\'s a popular spot these days but you can still enjoy a day trip or a weekend in the clean but basic rooms of small guesthouses overlooking the river that was once the life blood of the valley.  

It\'s hard to imagine this sleepy little village, stretching along the banks of the Sun Xi Ϫ Bamboo Shoot Stream was once a bustling trading port for the region. Despite the restaurants and teahouses catering for hungry day-tripping tourists the nights are quiet.  Locally crafted farm tools, household items, snacks, liquor and antiques are all on the market. 

The remains of an old military stockade Chaotianzui Guzhai կ can be seen on the hill high above the village. Head out in almost any direction from Zhongshan along the road and one of the many walking trails and there is much to be explored. 
Follow the road along the valley of the Feilong He Flying Dragon River into which flows countless smaller streams with numerous waterfalls like Baishuikouˮٲand Xialong Gezi Pubu ٲ
Both short and longer hikes offer a variety of historic sites and beautiful scenery.  At the end of the left fork in the road beyond Lianghe kou Ͽ a hiking trail follows the river through Shili xiagu hualang ʮ Ͽ to the Fei Long Miao  Flying Dragon Temple, rock carvings and Yangzhi mountain village ֹ ɽ ׯ at Shuikou Si Cascades ˮٲȺ
Another more recent site,  Loves stairway to Heaven, reflects the devotion of one man to his wife in a promise he made and managed to fulfill.
Maps of Zhongshan and surroundings are now available from the Fire Department Office in the village.  The places listed above a just a few of what youll find on the map.

Getting there:  Bus from Chongqing to Jiangjin change for Zhongshan

Accommodation: Clean basic rooms, none with showers, range from Y30/Y60 per bed and the best picks are deeper into the village. 
Tanghe   is a small ancient town with a long history that originally consisted of three major families. Its name derives from the moat that once surrounded this small town. Tanghe reached its prime as a major commercial centre between Sichuan and Guizhou during the Qing Dynasty. Horses are still used to transport building materials into the old town which continues to prosper with increased tourism, especially during the Dragon Boat Festival.  

Tanghe is dominated by the Wangye Miao or Qingyuan Temple as it is now known which dates back to the Ming Dynasty.  A single narrow stone paved road leads down through the river gate to the docks and two other gates at either end give entry to the old town.  Underground stormwater runoff drains keep the street both clean and dry. 
Interestingly, many of the towns buildings are built in the style of Anhui Province to the east, decorated with exquisite and elaborately carved timbers on the walls and the roof beams. This is testimony to the origins of people who migrated to Tanghe over the centuries and perhaps the reason it has also featured as a period movie set.
Two kilometers outside town is Shilongmen. This 500 room manor built in 1740 is an imposing historical relic. The labyrinthine building includes nine gates and 18 patios amidst numerous courtyards.
Also of interest outside the town is the Tingzhongci Shrine built in the 19th century by the Sun Clan, Hongyandong Zhaiqun, a group of ancient cliff side villages and a cluster of cave tombs dating back 2000 years. Another ancient native to the region is the Cyathea Spinulosa which lends it name to one of the small villages nearby.
Getting there: Bus from Chongqing to Jiangjin and change to minibus to Tanghe
Accommodation: A guesthouse opposite the old village is quite cheap but has no showers. At the time of our visit an old building the old town was being renovated and remodeled as a guesthouse.  Range Y20/Y40 but could be more these days.

Simian Shan
 (Four Faces Mountain) Forest Reserve is approximately two hours from CQ by bus via the county seat of Jiangjin. The mountains are a cool refreshing retreat of valleys with lush forests, lakes, rivers and waterfalls and can be combined with a visit to Zhongshan.

Getting there: Tours from Chongqing or bus from Jiangjin directly to Park

Accommodation:  Full range of prices and amenities.

Date: 01 Dec 08    Views: 1085    Comments: 0          

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