By Zhou Mengya in Features

Sitting in between Qixing Mountain (七星山) and Dianchi Lake, Wolong Ancient Fishing Village (卧龙古渔村) has attracted travelers from far and wide for centuries. As a result, it remains a compelling place in which to get to grips with traditional Dian (Yunnan) culture.

Throughout the Qing and Republican eras, visitors from different parts of the lake would have arrived in this bustling commercial center by boat to trade their wares. Even today it's rather easy to imagine how the romantic evening scene might have appeared back then: stars shining in the night sky over the water as lantern-adorned pulled into the dock for the evening and visitors set up camp on the lake shore, cooking their evening meals over open fires.


In August 2020 a series of initiatives to protect the fishing and farming culture around Dianchi Lake and oversee its unique ecological environment was launched. As a part of this, no fewer than 17 historic buildings have already been restored to their former glory, giving this six-hundred-year-old village a new lease of life, both culturally and economically.


Exploring the village's courtyards, a number of different historic styles are notable here, including Yikeyin (一颗印) (said to resemble the neat square shape of an ink stamp), Sanheyuan (三合院) (a three-walled compound) and Zoumalou (走马楼) (a corridor-lined building unique to southern China). In fact, there are as many as 270 historic residences here, earning Wolong something of a reputation as a 'living museum' of architecture.


Historic dwellings aside, there is plenty of rural charm to be found in the surroundings here. A vast sea of canola flowers provides a stunning backdrop in spring, whilst a large patch of sunflowers planted by villagers blooms in August, gradually changing colour as the autumn temperatures arrive and highlighting Wolong's intimate connection to its bucolic environs.


There is also much to keep visitors to the village entertained and inspired. You could relax at Hemerocallis Book House and Café, browse an exhibition at Dianfeng Art Museum or immerse yourself in local culture at the Wolong Village Museum or Dianshi Arts and Crafts Museum, just to name a few of the venues on offer. Make sure you keep an eye out for occasional shows from well-known artists or local students that are held in the village.

A vast sea of canola flowers

With charismatic architecture, a charming waterfront and plenty of intriguing history and culture in which to immerse yourself, what more do we need to do to persuade you that Wolong Ancient Fishing Village is very much worth a visit? Even better, it's easy to make the journey here from central Kunming by hopping on Metro Line 4 to Xiangfeng Street Station (祥丰街站), then walking the final 2.5 kilometers to the village. Alternatively, it should take less than an hour to reach Wolong by car from downtown.


Wolong Ancient Fishing Village is open daily from 10am – 8pm, with the last entry time being 7pm.