I’ve always been attracted by the charm of ancient towns. Not just because of their long historical and cultural atmosphere, but also the casual and peaceful lives in those ancient towns. Even just hanging out in the streets, strolling in local shops, leaning on those ancient houses with white walls and gray tiles, talking to local people, or reading a book and dreaming beside a river, recalling its history and experience the casual local life, this is why I traveled from the northern Pingyao Ancient Town to Wuzhen and Xitang, then to Fenghuang Ancient Town, and then these great ancient towns in Yunnan.
Heijing Ancient Towns is reputed as one of the four ancient towns in Yunnan. It is located in Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Lufeng County of Yunnan Province. This ancient town is situated in the Longchuan Valley, nestled to mountains and the river. With a history of more than a hundred years, Heijing Ancient Town used to be the hometown to tribute salt in ancient times by the high quality of local produce salt. Many people in Heijing became rich by doing salt business in the ancient.
Today, Heijing has been existed as a remote ancient town after its ancient prosperity faded away with time and history. The town still keeps integral traditional structure with antique flavored alleys featured with Tang and Song Dynasties, folk houses styled in Ming and Qing Dynasties. You will see many ancient stone memorial arches, stone inscriptions, towers, theatre stages, temples, salt wells, and the magnificent Wang Family Compound in the town, all these are live samples for us to learn the history and culture of the town.
Wu Family Compound is a popular highlight in Heijing ancient town. This is a typical Qing styled architectures constructed in Qing Dynasty by the local Wu Family who have the largest salt business in Heijing. This private compound was built to be enclosed to the mountain in the shape of the Chinese character” Wang” which is formed by a vertical and three crosses. Wu Family Compound has four courtyards, 99 rooms and 108 doors with a ten thousand square meters occupation of private garden views. This enormous sized folk house is a rare ancient architecture group in Yunnan.
The Black Cattle salt well is a historical site in Heijing which was the center of producing salt in ancient times.
If you come to the Dalong Shrine, you will see a large plaque hanging there which was awarded by Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty and has been considered a symbol of the town’s prime history.
Qingan Dam is another historical site in Heijing. This grand sized dam was constructed to protect the town from flood.
Or you should go to the Feilai Temple in the mountain behind Heijing. The temple resembles a ready-to-fly big bird that overlooks the Heijing Town.
Heijing has its special views at night. At this time, every house has lightened red lanterns in the doors. When the alleys and houses are red under the lanterns, when looking into the ancient houses from the windows with delicate carvings, what do you find? The melodious sound of the Longchuan river, a blur of the ancient prosperous Heijing Town, or this uniquely tranquil Heijing in your eyes?
Travel tips for Heijing Ancient Town
: Heijing Town, Lufeng County, Chuxiong City, Yunnan Province
: CNY30 + CNY2 (for insurance)
Recommended time for visit
: half day/ a day; all year round
: Boiled chicken with salt; Muslim restaurants can be found
: Ancient Gate of the town, Wu Family Compound, Dalong Shrine, Zhutian Temple, Black Cattle Salt Well, Ancient Salt Workshop, Feilai Temple, Wangjiang Pavilion, Xiangshan Temple, Sanyuan Palace, etc.
By railway: Train 6162 from Kunming to Panzhihua passes by Heijin. The train departs Kunming Nanyao Railway Station at 7:43AM and arrives at Heijing at 1:22PM. It only costs CNY12.
By road: Heijing Ancient Town is about 111 kilometers and it is accessible by driving. The route Lufeng County – Jiuzhuang Township – Guangtong Town – Touan Township – Heijing Town is recommended for self-driving and it takes four hours. Also there are buses to Heijing from Chuxiong City and Lufeng County.
1. Wu Family Compound: CYN120/180/220 for standard single room, double room, and suite respectively; a bed only costs CNY40. Tel: 0878-4890358
2. Wang Family Compound: CYN40 for single room with bathroom; Tel: 0878-4890506
: Yiren Ancient Town in Chuxiong City