The “Fake” Great Wall

Of course, leave it to the Chinese to copy something at even the grandest scales. In this case it happens to be the Great Wall. Unfortunately the Great Wall lies hours away, so the Sichuan government decided to perk up tourism in a desolate area called LuoDai. The city can be quickly and cheaply found via a bus ride from Chengdu’s Xinnanmen Bus Station.

ImageLuoDai is like most other Chinese tourist traps attractions in that there is a main street with shops selling pretty much the same stuff at the same inflated costs. But there is one stark difference, unlike other places LuoDai does have its own unique history. Unfortunately history doesn’t quite sell. It seems that the city was once indeed an important town, but much of it was demolished to make way for China’s shopping tastes.

Between the new and sprawling stores on the main street are some actual ancient guild halls. They are actually pretty neat, BUT as mentioned there is no interest. All of the guild halls are closed and when looking into the doorways, one can see they are used for storage or look like they are about to fall down. The street is long but the guild halls can be pretty easily found since they are all in extreme disrepair.

From there 10 kuai will take you to the Great Wall. The steps go straight up the mountain ridge and will take a lot of energy and willpower to make it to the end. At the end one will realize that the Great Wall is actually just a “path” to an old temple at a mountain’s peak. Maybe the path was always there and then they decided to make the path part of the destination.

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In addition to this new “path” there is also a new “temple” in front of the older one. Possibly to indulge in the atheist state, the new temple is more about getting luck. The older temple behind it is quite massive and has a giant buddha inside. A lot of pilgrims were making their way there looking for cures (there was a blind group when we went). Behind the temple can sometimes be quite quiet. You can also see the result of development. The old walls that once surrounded the temple are collapsing into the ravine down below.

From the top you can take a van straight back to Luodai’s bus station (of course with some haggling). It is probably one of China’s more unusual attractions, but is a testament to China’s copycat syndrome, in that, anything is possible.

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