Getty Images/China Span RM

Qīnglóng Dòng


Across the river from the old town, the epic vertical warren of temples, grottoes, corridors and caves of Qīnglóng Dòng rises up against Zhonghe Mountain (中和山, Zhōnghé Shān). Flooded with lights at night, it forms a sublime backdrop to the town. Put aside a good hour for exploration: it’s a labyrinth and there’s a lot to see, including some choice panoramas.

The intriguing complex was commenced in the Ming dynasty, its temples dedicated to the three faiths of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. At the far entrance to Zhongyuan Cave (中元洞, Zhōngyuán Dòng) is a stone table allegedly used by the eccentric founder of taichi, Zhang Sanfeng. The exterior of the splendid Wanshou Palace (万寿宫, Wànshòu Gōng) – once the Jiangxi Guildhall – is still bedecked with slogans, its interior of delightful woodcarvings a prime example of the style of architecture famed in Jiangnan city. The unruffled Jade Emperor presides over everything – including some fine views – from the Jade Emperor Pavilion (玉皇阁, Yùhuáng Gé) at the top. Watch out when walking, as some of the stone steps are very slippery.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Guizhou attractions

1. Zhusheng Bridge

0.13 MILES

The most photographed sight in town, Zhenyuan’s old bridge is a gorgeous and robust span of arches topped with a three-storey pavilion, leading visitors…

2. Confucius Temple

0.17 MILES

Now pretty much a block of flats from the 1960s, little remains of the Confucius Temple except for its main facade and the Lǐ Mén (Gate of Rites).

3. Yan Emperor Palace

0.18 MILES

Small, obscured temple dedicated to the fearsome 'fire god' Yan Di (炎帝), a deity in early Chinese mythology.

4. Shiping Mountain Scenic Area

0.18 MILES

A strenuous 30-minute climb up this mountain above town takes you through quiet forest to the remains of the Miaojiang Great Wall and the Four Officials…

5. Zhenyuan Museum

0.23 MILES

The Zhenyuan Museum displays items relating to the history of the town, including stacks of old photos – but the cannon out front is the real prize.

7. Sifangjing Xiang


Four old and well-preserved alleys lead north away from the river: Sifangjing Xiang, Fuxing Xiang, Renshou Xiang and Chongzikou Xiang. Wander along…

8. Four Officials Temple

0.45 MILES

Small, attractive temple on Shiping Mountain, with delightful forest views near the edge of the Miaojiang Great Wall.