Zhenyuan Ancient Town

Located on eastern part of Guizhou Province, Zhenyuan has long been an ancient town of the Miao people. Time-honored history endows Zhenyuan Ancient Town with many rich and generous cultural relics, making it much like a historic garden. The town covers only an area of 3.1 square kilometers (about 1.2 square miles) but greets you with more than 160 scenic spots including caves, palaces, pavilions, temples and rivers with their unique architecture, exquisite engravings and marvelous natural landscape. Among them are the famous Wuyang River Scenic Area and elegant ancient complex in the the Black Dragon Cave (Qinglong Cave) - beckoning sights not to be missed by any visitor to eastern Guizhou.

Zhenyuan Ancient Town, Guizhou
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Local Residence, Zhenyuan Ancient Town
Ancient Residence in the Town
Located at the edge of Yunnan-Guizhou plateau, Zhenyuan is sheltered by the mountains. Zhenyuan Ancient Town is a land-and-water transportation center since early times. In 202 BC, the town became a county instituted by Han Gaozu, Emperor Liu Bang, and then in 1956 - the capital of southeast Guizhou Autonomous Prefecture. Cut through by the Wuyang River, Zhenyuan Ancient Town is divided into two parts: south 'Wei City' and north 'Fu City', which forms a water town. Hence it is well-reputed as the 'Oriental Venice'.

As an historic cultural city, Zhenyuan is rich in tourist resources. With sub-tropical humid climate, annual temperature in Zhenyuan averages 16.4 degree with four distinct seasons. It is therefore an ideal tourist destination all year round.

The Dragon Boat Festival, held on May 25th of every year, is the most ceremonious celebration in Zhenyuan.
Zhusheng Bridge, Zhenyuan
Zhusheng Bridge
Old Town of Zhenyuan
Old Town of Zhenyuan

Black Dragon Cave (Qinglong Cave)

The Black Dragon Cave is in fact an ancient temple complex located on Zhonghe Mountain to the east of Zhenyuan Ancient Town and covers an area of some 21,000 square meters (approximately 226,050 square feet), and is the centerpiece of the all ancient monuments in Zhenyuan. The the Black Dragon Cave Temple as it is also known includes single and multi-storied pavilions, temples, shrines, palaces and so on. Surviving a couple of wars, the Black Dragon Cave was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and its current shape is the result of several renovations.

With many separate buildings, the Black Dragon Cave encompasses Zhusheng Bridge, Zhongyuan Temple, Ziyang Shuyuan (academy of classical learning), Yuhuang Ge (Jade Emperor Pavilion), Longevity Palace, Xianglu Yan. Among the ancient complexes of Zhenyuan, the Black Dragon Cave though very close to Zhenyuan Ancient Town has retained its natural flavor.

All of the buildings there were constructed in accordance with the natural features of Zhonghe Mountain which is precipitous. The architectural sculptures and adornments there are simple and unsophisticated and yet quietly elegant, and are quite unlike those of other temples which are ornately decorated. The way in which these Confucianist, Taoist and Buddhist temples are arranged together embodies the combination of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism in a way. One renowned architect once remarked that the Black Dragon Cave won the upper hand over the famous Hanging Monastery in Shanxi Province in terms of architectural art.

Black Dragon Cave, Zhenyuan
Black Dragon Cave
Building Complex in Black Dragon Cave
Building Complex of Black Dragon Cave

Against the green backdrop, the Black Dragon Cave seems to cling to the mountainside in an orderly tiered way due to the precipitous cliff, which makes it blend the characteristics of a garden with the style of a temple.

In 1988, the Black Dragon Cave was listed as a key cultural relic under state protection.

Tips: You may as well take pictures outside the gate of the the Black Dragon Cave as you will not see the scenery as dramatically once you are amongst the buildings.

Wuyang River Scenic Area

Flowing through the Miaoling Mountains, the charming and lively Wuyang River runs 95 kilometers (about 59 miles) from Huangping to Zhenyuan, finally into Yuanjiang River in Hunan Province. Its scenic spots in Zhenyuan, Shibing and Huangping, three counties of Kaili, combine beautifully to form the National Wuyang Scenic Area. Famous for its beautiful landscape, historic sites and dense minority ethnic customs, Wuyang River Scenic Area, covering 625 square kilometers (about 241 square miles), is geographically divided into Upper (Shang) Wuyang between Huangping and Shibing and Down (Xia) Wuyang from Shibing to Zhenyuan. Within these two sections, the most sightworthy and impressive scenery could be enjoyed in Zhenyuan Ancient Town.

Whether you walk along or take a cruise on the Wuyang River, it will bring you one surprise after another. Grotesque gorges, perilous peaks and crystal-like waters present a wonderful picture before you, as if you were entering a wonderland.

Wuyang River, Zhenyuan
Wuyang River Scenic Area
Wuyang Three Gorges
Wuyang Three Gorges
Wuyang Three Gorges, a 35-kilometer-waterway, is the most beautiful section of the whole scenic area. It consists of Dragon King Gorge, East (Zhu Ge) Gorge and West Gorge. Secluded caves, gurgling springs, rugged rocks, dangerous passes and spectacular waterfalls interspersed on the mountains of both banks along the three gorges endow the Wuyang River, along with the dangers of Yangtze River Three Gorges and the elegance of Li River in Guilin. Each scenic spot has been given a fanciful name according to their beautiful legends. Shanmu River is one of the ten scenic spots of the National Wuyang Scenic Area. The river is limpid, pure and a little greenish, which is well matched with the flourishing verdant plants growing on the surrounding mountains. Moreover, rafting on the Shanmu River is a most exciting and pleasant experience. After enjoying the rafting on Shanmu River, a visit to Mount Yuntai (Cloudy Terrace) should be on the itinerary. Featured with the typical Karst physiognomy, Mount Yuntai, wreathed in cloud and mist all year round, is a popular tourist attraction. Primitive forests, fantastic flowers and plants and enigmatic valleys, with rare animals moving lively through, make the mountain a natural treasury. Temples, pavilions and stone inscriptions built during the Ming Dynasty are well-preserved and towering on the Mountain. Since Buddhist followers used to prefer staying here to cultivate their morality, it has become an old-line Buddhist resort of Guizhou Province.

How to Get There

Take a train from Kaili Railway Station or Guiyang Railway Station to Zhenyuan. Train ride between Kaili and Zhenyuan takes about one hour and 20 minutes. Train ride between Guiyang and Zhenyuan takes about four hours. Upon arrival, catch a cab to the town. The taxi fare is around CNY 5.
Adminssion Fee Free for the town
CNY 60 for the Qinglong Cave
CNY 100 for the pleasure-boat on the Wuyang River

 Related Video: A Nightscape of Zhenyuan Ancient Town

- Last updated on Jun. 07, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Zhenyuan Ancient Town
Asked by Dickson Lai from MALAYSIA | Nov. 07, 2019 23:09Reply
Kaili Train Station
Dear all,

Will be visiting Zhenyuan Old Town in Dec2019. Will take a train from Anshun West to Kaili South and from Kaili to Zhenyuan.

Are Kaili and Kaili South the same or different training station? If it a different station, how far away for both station and any transport of buses available to or from these station?

Thanks for your kind advise.
Answers (2)
Answered by Nina from THAILAND | Nov. 10, 2019 23:32

Kaili Railway station and Kaili South Railway station are different. If you arrive Kaili South Railway station, you can take bus 20 to Kaili Railway station directly. It takes around 1 hour with CNY4. Or you can take taxi directly with around CNY30.
Answered by Dickson Lai from MALAYSIA | Nov. 12, 2019 04:40

Thanks Nina for your kind sharing.
Asked by Boon from THAILAND | Apr. 28, 2018 21:09Reply
Is there any bus from Zhenyuan to Kaili?
How long it take and how far too?
Thank you for every reply.
Answers (1)
Answered by Anron from ITALY | May. 01, 2018 20:21

You can take a train from Zhenyuan Train Station to Kaili directly, and it’s about 100km and takes around1h 20mins.
Asked by Mae from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 09, 2018 20:32Reply
What's the fastest route using high speed railway or bus from Zhenyuan to Guangzhou?

I want the shortest time travelling down rather than spending my time on a slow train or bus ride. Also it was mentioned above that there will be a Dragon boat festival on 25th May, does this mean accommodation will be booked out or town will be crowd? As i'll be travelling around that date. Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by David from RUSSIA | Feb. 10, 2018 20:44

Sorry to tell you no direct bus or train works.
You need to take a normal train to Guiyang and it takes about 4h.
Then, take a taxi to Guiyang North within 20mins.
At last, take a bullet train to Guangzhou and it takes about 5.5h.
As for the dragon boat festival, yes, it will be crowded and the hotels may be hard to find, so you are suggested to book one in advance.
Asked by Arpad from CANADA | Sep. 20, 2017 01:24Reply
Bus from Zhenyuan to Zhangjiajie
There is no train tickets available on my dates from Zhenyuan. I was wondering if there is any bus service from Zhenyuan to Zhangjiajie?
Answers (1)
Answered by Amy from ITALY | Sep. 21, 2017 22:13

Sorry to tell you no bus is available.
You are suggested to take a train to Huaihua first, which takes about 2h 40 minutes and CNY82.5 for a hard sleeper, CNY28.5 for a hard seat.
After that, you can take a train to Zhangjiajie, which takes about 3 h 30 minutes and CNY91.5 for a hard sleeper, CNY37.5 for a hard seat.
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