HUANGLONGXI, 40km south of Chengdu, is a riverside village with a half-dozen Qing-dynasty streets, all narrow, flagstoned and sided in rickety wooden shops. Tourism aside – visitor numbers are frankly overwhelming at weekends or during holidays – it’s a pretty place to wander around for an hour and then have lunch or a cup of tea at one of the many riverside restaurants; it’s also popular with old ladies coming to pray for grandchildren to Guanyin, to whom all the village’s temples are dedicated.

From the old village gate, take the left-hand lane, which is almost narrow enough to touch either side as you walk down the middle. You soon reach the 500m-long main street; turn left for two tiny nunneries (one on the left, the other at the end of the street beside a beribboned banyan tree), both containing brightly painted statues of Guanyin, Puxian and Wenshu. At the opposite end of town, larger Gulong Temple (古龙寺, gŭlóng sì; ¥5) is in a wobbly state of repair: one of the halls features a dog-headed guillotine for executing criminals, while another contains an unusually three-dimensional, fifty-armed Guanyin statue.

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