Jianshui Travel Guide,Yunnan


Located in southeast Yúnnán in the Hónghé Haní and Yí Autonomous Prefectures, 220km southeast of Kunmíng and117km northeast of of Yuányáng.

Once an important center of Yunnan and an obligatory stop on route from Kunming to Vietnam, the Dai kingdom of Xishuangbanna and the edge of the Chinese empire. Jianshui grew on the profits of its lucrative position as a center of trade. The town's extensive architectural legacy bears witness to this former glory, and charms those few visitors it does receive.

Though it has a history dating back to the Hàn dynasty, Jiànshui garnered more recent historical attention when a brief rebellion was staged here during the 1911 Revolution and it became the base for the Southern Army garrison.

The touristy area are consisted of one gate, one street, 3 memorial gates("Paifang" in Chinese), the confucian temple and the Zhu Family's Garden. Besides its traditional mansions, old wells and famous Confucius Temple, Jiànshui is also an optional gateway to Yuányáng, which has arguably the most beautiful terrace fields in the country.

Jianshui is still reaping the rewards of its ancient position as a regional trade center.

Chaoyang Gate Arch,jianshui,Yunnan

Bird Market in front of the Chaoyang Gate,Jianshui,Yunnan

Paifang Along Lin'an Street, Jianshui, Yunnan

The deserted lanes in Jianshui

4-hole Well, Jianshui,Yunnan


Highlights: architecture styles and relics

Getting there & away

Buses running between Kunming(Nanyao Bus Station) and Jianshui at high frequency daily, Y45~Y50, the 220km journey takes about 4hrs.

Between Jianshui and other touristy destinations, daily buses available, west to Shiping, south to Yuanyang(3hrs), east to the Swallow Cave and Gejiu, northward to Tonghai and onward to Kunming.

Getting Around

The town itself is small enough to walk around. But public buses, minibuses, horse-carts and  taxis do run.

Accessing sites outside the city will require either catching a bus or minibus, or hiring a taxi. If you hire a taxi, you should be able to get as far as Tuanshan for around Y20.

If you want the vehicle to wait for you, be prepared to pay a little extra. But taxi meters are not adaptable in Jianshui, price negotiable. You can also take a 3-wheel motorcycle around.


A selection of cleaner, brighter hotels can be found by the bus station, west of the old city gate. (Though most guidebooks mention the Zhu Garden Hotel, it's a bit overpriced for budget, and not so clean.)

Jinniu Kezhan/金牛客栈 near the Chaoyang Gateway Arch is a nice budget hostel to stay,  a clean dbl. room with attached bath costs only Y40, but the price may go up to Y70-100 during Chinese vacations.


Jianshui is quite famous for its muslim population, so be sure to try some of their famed noodles. You might even see some muslim vendors pushing carts around the street laden with huge cakes. Patterned with preserved fruit, these are near solid sugar and a small slice is usually enough to placate even the sweetest of teeth.

Barbecue is very popular in Jianshui. Stalls are centralized in a narrow lane facing the first memorial gate,food are alomst the same in each stall. The best restaurant we found out is an inconspicuous one in the depth of the lane facing the 2nd memorial gate, cheap and tasty. Another well-decorated one in the same lane should be avoided.


  • The Chaoyang Gateway Arch
    Built in 1389Ad, it stands in the center of city as  the symbol of this ancient military town in the southeast border and an emblem of Jianshui,a historic and cultural city. Its significance to Jianshui is the same as that of Tian' Anmen to Beijing.

    The Arch was built as the town's east gate tower (The Yinghui Gate). Through 600 years' vicissitude, the Chaoyang Gateway Arch is the only extant tower. Today, it is a public cultural center of Jianshui County.

  • The private Garden Of the Zhu Family 
    With a total area of 20k sqkm and a floor space of 5k sqkm, The grand complex is a typical local residence with distinctive features.As it was built by Zhu brothers in the late Qing Dynasty,it got the name "the Private Garden of the Zhu Family.

    Admission fee: Y50

  • The Confucius Temple (Wen Miao)
    The biggest temple in Yunnan.Located near the north Gate of Jianshui. Its scale is second only to that of the Qufu Confucius temple in Shandong Province and is now one of the provincial historical relics.

    Admission fee: Y60

  • Zhilin Temple
    Standing in the west of Jianshui, built in 1296. With a longer history than theConfucius Temple, it is considered the earliest Buddhist Temple in south Yunnan.

  • The old wells - incl. single/double/triple/four apertures wells, scattered in various lanes, the big well(Dabanjing) is out of the west gate.
Around Jianshui
  • The Swallow Cave - 30km east of Jianshui, known as one of the biggest and most splendid cave in Asia, consisting of a dry cave ,a water cave and a 30,000sqkm natural forest ,with a total area of 100,000 sqkm. In spring and summer, thousands of swallows fly here from Malaysia,building nests and giving birth to and raising young swallows .Thus it is named "The Swallow Cave"

    Get there - special tour lines run between Jianshui city and swallow cave every day, Y8 for round trip

    Admission fee:Y30; Openning hrs: 9:00~17:00

  • Shuanglong Bridge(Twin Dragons)  - 3km west of Jianshui, the 17-Arch Bridge arches across the confluence of the Lujiang River and the Tachong River. Although the 17 spans were built in different eras, they matched perfectly, with 3-storied pavilion sitting in the middle and 2 at the ends of the bridge.

    It is considered one of the beautifully built ancient bridge of the nation, and has been classified as an important cultural relic under provincial protection.

  • Tuanshan VillageTuanshan Village - centries old,13km west of Jianshui City. Built in Qing Dynasty,  regarded as the Gem of Chinese Civil Houses.

    Visiting Tuanshan Village is like travelling to another China. Small, cobbled lanes and old women with bound feet blend leave you with impressions of timelessness, art and architecture.

    Get there: taxi for Y20 or mini bus
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