Wanling Ancient Town in Rongchang District, Chongqing

Why is Wanling Ancient Town so Special?

After thousands of years of ups and downs, the ancient town still retains its unique features. The mottled ancient city wall and the ancient village gate; The antique water transportation dock; The ancient and elegant Zhao Ancestral Hall and Dafudi with fine workmanship; The precious Han tombs and the thousand Buddha grottoes in the song dynasty; The ancient temple, bridge and tree; Beautiful folk tales and allusions one after another are permeated with the rich cultural connotation of the ancient town.

The History of Wanling Ancient Town

During the Southern Song Dynasty, because of the transportation of water and the production of honey, Wanling became a water terminal and a distribution center for goods and materials. All government money, grain and weapons needed to pass through here.

In the following dynasties, people moved into the ancient town one after another, and the ancient town gradually formed its present scale.

In 2002, it was successively named “Chongqing Famous Town of History and Culture”, “Famous Town of Landscape Tourism with National Characteristics” and “Famous Town of Chinese History and Culture”.

In December 2014, Wanling Ancient Town Scenic Area was officially approved by the National Tourism Administration as a national AAAA(4A) scenic area.

Geographical environment

  • Geographic information

The location of the environment here is very suitable. The ancient town is built on the mountain. Streets and buildings form a three-dimensional spatial structure with “mountain, water and city” reflecting each other, as well as the traditional Chinese view of nature and environment that pursues “harmony between man and nature”.

  • Climatic characteristics

The climate belongs to subtropical southeast humid monsoon climate. The average annual temperature is 17.7℃, the sunshine is 1282 hours, and the climate is pleasant.

Main attraction

Er Ya Academy尔雅书院

Er Ya Academy was built by Yu Maojian, Minister of Criminal Affairs of the Ming Dynasty. In the twenty-seventh year of Jiajing’s reign, Xia Yan, an advisor convicted of impeaching Yan Song, was sentenced to a forfeit. The following year, Yu Maojian resigned and returned to Rongchang’s hometown. He fell in love with Jiashan Xiushui on the Laixi River and settled in Wanling. He built the “Erya Academy” to cultivate and study children.

Tuowan Dock沱湾码头

Tuowan Dock was built in 998 A.D. with a history of more than 1,000 years.  The dock has been damaged several times and repaired several times, but its original appearance has not changed.

Huguang Guild Hall湖广会馆

Huguang Guild Hall is a gathering place for countrymen built by the immigrants from Huguang in Jiaqing in the ninth year. It is divided into five parts: temple, meeting hall, wing room, stage building and courtyard dam.

Ming and Qing Dynasties Ancient Street明清老街

The old street of Ming and Qing dynasties was built during the Jiaqing period of Qing dynasty and was expanded on the basis of the water wharf of Ming dynasty. some buildings of Ming dynasty were preserved. With a total length of 502 meters and 102 stone steps, it winds down from the top of the mountain to the Laixi River, like a long dragon drawing water.

Ancient town culture

Origin of name

The ancient town of Wanling, formerly known as “the ancient town of lukong”, got its name from a folk legend: according to legend, there was a monk named Zeng ao who traveled here in the Ming dynasty and decided to build a temple here because the scenery across the river was pleasant and suitable for self-cultivation. Finding that there were six stone holes on the slope, which seemed to connect with the river, he poured bran shells into the stone holes to give it a try. Soon the bran shells really emerged from the river, so he called it the “six-hole river” and later called it the “road-hole river”. Lu Kong Chang, Lu Kong Xiang and Lu Kong Zhen are also named for this.

Immigrant culture

During the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, Rongchang region experienced nearly 30 years of war and its population decreased sharply.  The Qing court adopted the measure of “immigrating to Sichuan” to mobilize people from Huguang, Guizhou, Jiangxi and other places to settle in Sichuan.  During Kangxi and Ganlong years, some immigrants from other provinces also came to Wanling.  These immigrants from other provinces, in order to facilitate exchanges between fellow countrymen.

Tourist season

  • Mid-March

Enjoy the flowers, harvest the fruits and roast the sheep-while enjoying the flowers, experience the joy of picking with your own hands. Yangchun in March, the fragrance of flowers, Chiang Mai cherry garden flowers are at that time.

  • May Day

The characteristics of the activity are to pass on the hardships of ancient immigrants in a traditional way and to experience this glorious history.

  • Dragon boat festival

Activities featured watching, participating in dragon boat races and eating zongzi (biennial). Wanling Town is located on the Laixi River. It is an important port for water transportation in past dynasties. The local people pay special attention to the annual dragon boat race to ward off evil spirits and pray for good luck. It has gradually formed strong local characteristics. Dragon boat race is also listed as an intangible cultural heritage project at Rongchang district level.

  • Chinese valentine’s day

The event featured blind dates, interaction between couples, and touching love stories told by gold and silver couples.
The Qixi River Lantern Tourism and Cultural Festival in Wanling Ancient Town has become an important folk activity in Wanling Ancient Town. During the activity, tourists placed river lanterns along the river to pray for good weather, good luck and well-being, which expressed people’s hope for a better future and was listed as a municipal intangible cultural heritage

How to get there

  • High-speed rail:

Chongqing North Station/Chengdu East Station → Rongchang North Station → Scenic Area Direct Bus → Wanling Ancient Town

  • Car:

Chongqing to Rongchang: Chongqing Caiyuanba, Chen Jiaping and Chaotianmen bus stations all have buses to Rongchang with a fare of about 45 yuan.
Rongchang to Wanling: Rongchang Level 3 bus station transfers to the minibus to Wanling Ancient Town. It takes about 30 minutes and the fare is about 3 yuan.

  • Self driving:

Chongqing Departure: Enter Chengdu-Chongqing Expressway, and pass through the next expressway of Kowloon-Yongchuan-Rongchang Main City. The whole journey is about 100 kilometers and about 1 hour’s drive. It will take about 10 minutes to drive to Wanling ancient town.

Chengdu Departure: Enter Chengdu-Chongqing Expressway, and pass through Neijiang-Longchang-Rongchang main city next expressway. The whole journey is about 250 kilometers and about 3 hours’ drive. It will take about 10 minutes to drive to Wanling ancient town.

Nearby attractions