When visiting Chengdu, Sichuan, a day trip out of the city to Dujiangyan, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must for every traveler. You need to calculate at least a whole day for this trip. Leave early in the morning with a bullet train from Chengdu and don’t expect to return before late afternoon or at night.
“Dujiangyan (Chinese: 都江堰; pinyin: Dūjiāngyàn) is an ancient irrigation system in Dujiangyan City, Sichuan, China. Originally constructed around 256 BC by the State of Qin as an irrigation and flood control project, it is still in use today. The system’s infrastructure is on the Min River (Minjiang), the longest tributary of the Yangtze.” – Dujiangyan, Wikipedia
The irrigation system built 2200 years ago by Li bing (an engineer and politician) was a groundbreaking achievement in its time and it still amazes engineers. It is still in use, irrigating over 5,300 square kilometers (2,000 square miles) of land in the region, and protecting the area from flood.
The main site, the Dujiangyan irrigation system, is truly astonishing, but it is relatively a quick tour opposed to the surrounding scenic area attached to the site (Qingchengshan) which is huge and breathtakingly beautiful.
The Qingchengshan mountain complex is believed to be one of the ancient cradles of Taoism, with several Buddhist temples and sites along the path.
Needless to say, there is a tremendous amount of people visiting usually – similarly to most of the Chinese sites, but because most of the people try to avoid walking a lot, they tend to visit the main site only (the Dujiangyan) and not the surrounding areas (Qingchengshan, which I enjoyed the most), so you can surely find tranquility at certain parts, as you can see in my video above. Of course try to avoid on weekends, and definitely avoid on Chinese holidays.
There is a great travel guide already about how to get to Dujiangyan from Chengdu on Wikitravel.org, so I will just leave a link here in case you would need it:
Travel guide to Dujiangyan
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Quingxi Garden (it is near to the southern entrance of the site). It is probably one of the most beautiful gardens I have seen in China, a real masterpiece!