Longquan Peach Blossom Festival // This is Chengdu, China
If there’s an art to attending a Chinese festival, I’m the dumb kid who eats the paint.
Give me some time and I’ll be linking to a How To Successfully Attend a Festival in China article right here.
But for now, I’ll admit that my attendance at the Longquan Peach Blossom Festival was a short-lived one. The mass of people that shuffled along the uneven paths, the noise that blared from horrendous sound systems, and the foolish purchases that were being made all around me — it’s not my style.
But perhaps it’s yours?
If you’re interested in attending the yearly festival, I’d love to tell you everything I know. I must warn you however, you might not like what you find.
The Longquan Peach Blossom Festival usually starts mid-March, depending on the weather, and lasts about 15-20 days. The opening ceremony will usually take place on the immediate weekend once the flowers sprout on the trees. That’s probably the worst time to attend though.
The best time to attend would be during the week while people are at work. The stands will still be setup, but the crowds will be much smaller.
Don’t do what I did and attend it on the most beautiful Sunday Chengdu has ever seen.
If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to get to the mountain is to take Metro line 2 all the way to the end of the line to Longquanyi. It’ll take about 40 minutes.
When you get off the metro, you’ll be in a small square. You can walk to the path that heads up the hill in about 20 minutes. I should note: there really isn’t an entrance to the festival. There are multiple paths that go into the hills, you could take any of them. Vendors setup wherever there is space. It’s kind of a free-for-all.
Originally, we had planned to take a local bus into the valley. We didn’t really know where we wanted to stop, but I figured it would be obvious. The crowd that waited for the bus was huge. We waited a short while and watched as the bus we wanted drove right by, already packed to the brim, faces pressed against the glass. I imagine we would have waited for hours, so I’m glad we bailed on that idea.
There are several trails that cut up the hillside, but the most used ones include concrete and stairs. It’s definitely nice to get off of this packed path, but you’ll probably have to walk at least some of the way on it.
The paths are lined with many vendors selling food and trinkets. Since it’s a Spring festival, souvenirs include animals like rabbits, and chicks. I’ve been told by more than one Chinese person that rabbits don’t need water — I couldn’t help but think about this as I watched young girls carry frightened rabbits off.
We did see some cool souvenirs -- homemade instruments (looked like some sort of gourd combined with a pipe), some wire art, and I ended up buying a CD from a local musician who was playing acoustic guitar on the hillside. Normally, I wouldn’t condone a jam session on a hillside hike, but the music was much better to listen to than the constant Chinese chatter.
We didn’t end up eating at the festival, but some of the food looked good. There was grilled squid, french fries covered in some sort of Sichuan peppercorn sauce, lots of batter-covered fried food, fresh fruit, and more.
For me, the highlight of the day was sitting on the hillside and sipping tea. The pop-up tea gardens offer comfy seats with great views. Many of them have mahjong tables -- some of which are automatic (which is really fun to watch). People will sit for hours, sipping tea and playing mahjong in the fresh open air.
With all the pedestrian traffic, it took us about an hour to walk to the top of the hill. The view across the valley was a bit disappointing. The pristine lake was nice, but I thought there would be more pink peach blossoms -- I think we came a bit late in the season and many of the trees had shed their flowers already, which explains why some of the trees we did see actually had fake flowers glued on to them.
We could have walked further, heading down the hill into the valley, but that would have meant climbing back out, so we decided to head back through the masses and consider ourselves lucky that we survived our first Chinese festival.
When: Mid March to the beginning of April (depending on when the flowers blossom).
Where: Longquanyi district (龙泉驿区) in the Peach Blossom Scenic Area (桃花故里景区).
Take Metro line 2 to Longquanyi and walk southeast down the main street to the hillside.