At the moment Thursdays are a day where we only need to go into work in the evening and so it’s effectively a third day off (as long as we don’t get called in for cover) so we decided to check out a place called Guandu Old Town. I found out about it from browsing the travel section of GoKunming and despite the article being about three years old the info was still accurate.
We decided on a taxi ride that took about 30 minutes mostly due to heavy traffic and cost roughly 40 Kwai (£4) We arrived just before 2pm and the place was pretty busy with people buying food and wandering around the temples. There were a load of market stalls selling all sorts of local food and some touristy souvenirs like furs, jade and other trinkets.
There’s not a lot of info (in English) online but here’s an excerpt from the article on GoKunming:
The center of Guandu Old Town is the Vajra Pagoda (金刚塔), which is reputed to have been built more than five centuries ago in 1457. Over the years, the pagoda sank into the soft ground, until it was raised 2.6 meters in 2001. Today the perpendicular tunnels within the pagoda are popular places to escape the midday sun.
On the west side of the plaza that surrounds the Vajra Pagoda are two Bai-style pagodas. Just beyond these pagodas is Miaozhan Temple (妙湛寺), a pleasant Buddhist compound that, like the handful of other temples in Guandu, is open to the public.
The Miaozhan Temple was renamed the Guandu Shaolin Temple in 2009 and is a place where you can learn Kung Fu for the hefty sum of $500 a week.
We spent some time walking around the temple and listening to the Buddhist chants, there were turtles in the water as with when we visited Yuantong temple.
Whilst we were walking around the market stalls we came across an old guy who was making animal sculptures out of some kind of resin – I don’t know if it was ornamental or something you could eat as kids were lining up for them but I managed to capture the process on video.
It was nice to see something a little different without having to venture beyond the city limits.