Songpan Ancient Town – Ticekt Price, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlihgts

songpan ancient town

Songpan Ancient Town (松潘古城), formerly known as Songzhou, is nestled in the northeastern part of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, China. Its origins trace back to the Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty, making it a historical gem with deep cultural roots. Throughout history, Songpan has played a dual role as a vital military stronghold in the northwest of Sichuan and a significant trading post for the Tibetan, Qiang, Hui, and Han ethnic groups engaged in the famous “Tea Horse Trade.”

Stepping into Songpan Ancient Town is like entering a realm where time stands still. The town’s ancient charm and tranquility allow visitors to leisurely wander among its historic buildings either on foot or by taking a ride on a human-powered tricycle. Here, one can trace the imprints left by centuries on this high-altitude ancient city, immersing themselves in the weight of its history and the stories it holds.

Climbing the ancient city walls provides a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding magnificent landscapes. Songpan Ancient Town offers a unique blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty, inviting travelers to experience the resilience and grace of a town that has witnessed the ebb and flow of time on the Tibetan Plateau. Whether exploring narrow alleyways, admiring ancient architecture, or savoring the panoramic views from the city walls, Songpan Ancient Town promises an enchanting journey into the heart of China’s rich cultural tapestry.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of TourHalf a day
Ticket PriceThe town is free, but you need to pay 45 RMB to ascend the city wall
Opening Hours24 hours a day

Location and Transportation

Nestled within the picturesque valleys of the northern Sichuan province in China, Songpan Ancient Town is a hidden gem that beckons travelers with its timeless charm and awe-inspiring surroundings. Situated approximately 320 kilometers (199 miles) northwest of Chengdu, the provincial capital, Songpan Ancient Town enjoys a strategic location along the ancient Tea Horse Road, a historic trade route connecting China with Tibet and beyond.

Tourists from Chengdu can first take a coach at Chadianzi Bus Station (茶店子车站) and then transfer to a taxi at Songpan County to cover the remaining 2.5 kilometers.

Alternatively, you can take a high-speed train from Chengdu East Railway Station, get off at Zhenjiangguan Station (镇江关站), and transfer to the shuttle bus to Songpan Ancient Town.


Highlights of Songpan Ancient Town

Ancient City Wall

ancient city wall in songpan ancient town

The ancient city wall of Songpan Ancient Town is a marvel of architectural resilience, dividing the town into inner and outer sections with connecting gates. Stretching over 6.2 kilometers, the wall stands 12.5 meters tall, constructed entirely with sturdy blue bricks. Its impressive thickness reaches 12 meters, making it one of the most robust city walls in the country. The town boasts seven gates, with “Jinyang Gate” to the east, “Yanxun Gate” to the south, “Weiyuan Gate” to the west, and “Zhenqiang Gate” to the north. The south gate of the outer city is known as “Buqing Gate,” still retaining its original intact archway. Additionally, there is a small west gate at the foot of the southwest mountain and an “Lingjiang Gate” along the outer city by the riverbank. While the early multi-eaved, hip-roofed city towers on the gates have unfortunately been damaged, the walls, except for four preserved gates, were reconstructed in 2004.


Traditional Houses

traditional houses in songpan ancient town

Traditional houses in Songpan Ancient Town epitomize architectural artistry and cultural heritage. These intricately designed dwellings showcase exquisite wooden carvings, intricate paintings, and graceful sloping roofs, reflecting the region’s distinct craftsmanship. These abodes were not only homes but also spaces where life unfolded, traditions were upheld, and stories echoed through generations. Stepping inside, you’re embraced by a sense of timelessness, where the past converges with the present.


Horse Trekking

horse trekking in songpan ancient town

Horse trekking in Songpan Ancient Town unveils an enchanting adventure through nature’s embrace. Mounted on sturdy steeds, you embark on a journey that winds through rolling meadows, tranquil river valleys, and ascending mountain trails. The rhythmic hoofbeats synchronize with your heartbeat, connecting you to the land’s pulse. Majestic peaks and pristine landscapes unfold around you, as the breeze carries whispers of centuries past. This equestrian exploration offers a unique perspective, blending the thrill of discovery with the serenity of the outdoors. Songpan’s horse trekking is a gateway to experiencing the region’s natural splendor and reliving the legacy of the ancient Silk Road traders who once traversed these very paths.


Vlog about Songpan Ancient Town


Useful Tips from Genuine Reviews

Local Specialty – Yak Meat Hot Pot: The local specialty, yak meat hot pot, is highly recommended.

Proximity to Nearby Attractions: Songpan is approximately 40 kilometers away from Huanglong Scenic Area, reachable in less than an hour by car. It’s around 150 kilometers from Jiuzhaigou, taking about 2.5 hours by car.

Authenticity of the Ancient Town: Compared to other highly commercialized ancient towns, Songpan Ancient Town is praised for retaining a more authentic atmosphere. The town still hosts many indigenous people and artisans who gather there. Visitors can buy authentic items from them.

Abundance of Yak Meat Skewers: Many establishments within the scenic area offer yak meat skewers, freshly cut, at around 10 yuan for 8 skewers. Trying these skewers is recommended.


Attractions near Songpan Ancient Town

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