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Dazu

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Dazu (大足市) is a city in Chongqing Municipality, China. The city is famous for the Dazu Rock Carvings (大足石刻), located in forty locations in Dazu county(大足县). They date from the 7th to the 13th century and are listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Get in

Dazu city is located two hours west of Chongqing City and four hours south-east of Chengdu and can be reached via the bus station in either city. The fare is ¥54 from the Caiyuan Ba (菜园坝) bus station in Chongqing. In Dazu city there are two bus stations with buses to many of the sites.

Get around

Within Dazu city transportation options include taxis, motorcycle taxis, pedal-taxis and three wheeled vehicles called sanlunche (三轮车). Taxis fares start at ¥3 and motorcycles, pedal rickshaw and sanlunche can ferry you around the city for ¥5-10.

There are two bus stations located in Dazu, the main long-distance bus station on Nanhuan Road (南还路)and the bus station at 15 Longzhong Road (龙中路)that services the local area, including the rock carvings.

Numerous travel agencies in Dazu, Chongqing and Chengdu offer tours to the carvings that will take the hassel out of travel, but at a cost.

See

The main rock carvings can easily be visited as a day trip from Dazu. The caves are open from 8:00 a.m.-6 p.m. The cost of a ticket to Treasured Summit Hill is ¥120 and tickets to Beishan are ¥90, but a combined ticket for entrance to both sites can be purchased at either site for ¥170.

  • The most spectacular location is at Baodingshan (宝顶山), or Treasured Summit Hill, located 15 kilometers, or nine miles, east of the Dazu. To reach site catch the Bao Ding Shan bus at the Longzhong Road (龙中路)bus station. Buses depart every 30 minutes between 8 a.m. and 12 noon. The ticket is ¥4 and will take 30-45 minutes, depending on the number of passengers the driver picks up and drops off on the way. The bus will drop you off at the parking lot of the Treasured Summit Hill tourist area. From there it is a 30 minute walk to the carvings or a five minute walk to tour carts that will take you to/fro the caves for ¥3. When you reach the "Longevity Temple" (admission ¥20) follow the path to the left. You'll be be able to see the rock carvings in the valley below.
  • The second most popular site to visit is Beishan (北山). The site is located 2 kilometers, or over a mile, north of the city and can be reached by taxi or a thirty minute walk north from either bus station. The site includes a pagoda and several intact statues.
  • Other popular rock carving sites are Nanshan (南山), Shimenshan (石门山),and Shizhuanshan (石篆山), which are accessible via taxi or motorcycle taxi from Dazu.
  • Located just outside of Dazu town, one minute down the road towards Baoding Shan, is an interesting old estate called Loquat Country Villa (枇杷山庄). Unfortunately as of 2006 the buildings were closed for tourists, but the front gate is open and you enter and wander around. Beware of the growling dogs that patrol the grounds!

Do

Dazu city is an average Chinese city of several hundred thousand people and there isn't much to see or do within the a city besides going there to view the famous rock carvings.

One interesting option would be to bike around the verdant farm lands around the city. No rentals are available so bring your own bike. The route to the most impressive carvings located at Baodingshan (宝顶山) is rather scenic and could offer a potential biking destination. It does however require biking up several long steep stretches and Chinese drivers are notoriously dangerous. Wear bright colors and leave early if you choose this option!

Several internet bars are located in Dazu, including on Longzhong Road near Dazu Binguan and Jinyuan Luguan.

Buy

There are plenty of opportunities to buy trinkets within Dazu city and at many of the cave sites. One local specialty to look for is purple stone jadite, which is carved into a variety of trinkets, from pendants for ¥10 to large statues running into the thousands of yuan.

Eat

There are numerous restaurants located within the city. The buffet breakfasts at Dazu Bingguan are a good deal at ¥15. Dazu is located in China's spice bowl and famous spicy hotpot is widely available for those who wish to test their intestinal fortitude.

A minimarket is located next to the Longzhong Road bus station and every block has a couple of stores selling food.

Drink

Cold beer is plentiful in restaurants throughout Dazu and water and soft drinks are readily available at the rock carving sites. Anything near the site will be price inflated as expected.

Sleep

Numerous hotels are located in Dazu City and around Baodingshan, though not all will accept foreigners.

  • Dazu Bingquan (大足 兵馆)is the most decent option available. Located on the corner of Longzhong Road (龙中路) and Longgang Road (龙岗路) the hotel is a large complex of several buildings and dozens of rooms. The rates listed on the wall start at over ¥300 per, but the actual price after negotiating starts at ¥180, for a clean twin with air conditioning, to well above ¥300. The telephone number is 02343721888 and the fax number is 023-43722967.
  • Another option is the family run Jinyuan Luguan (金原 旅官)located at 55 Longzhong Road (龙中路). A clean single with airconditioning starts at ¥120. Unfortunately the sign outside the hotel is only in Chinese and the staff doesn't speak English.
  • Rooms are also available at the Beishan Bingguan located at the Beishan rock carvings. Rooms start at ¥150.
  • Dongbin Hotel, Longzhong Lu (near the bus station). ¥160 per double room with AC (negotiable to ¥120).


Get out

The bus station on Nanhuan Road (南环路)has several buses a day to Chongqing and Chengdu. Buses to Chengdu leave at 7:50 a.m, 8:50 a.m, 9:50 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tickets are ¥66 and the trip takes 4 and a half hours. Buses to Chongqing (Chenjiaping station) leave on continuous basis throughout the day. Tickets are ¥52,50 and the trip takes more than 2 hours.

There is also another bus station on a side street off Longzhong Lu (near the bridge) which has buses to Zigong and to Baodingshan. Buses to Baodingshan depart every 30 minutes between 8 a.m. and 12 noon.



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