Chengyang and the Wind and Rain Bridge: The Ultimate Visitors’ Guide

By Mark Wiens 26 Comments
Wind and Rain Bridge
Chengyang Village, China

Chengyang is a little cluster of villages inhabited by the Chinese Dong minority people.

The town is located in the northern part of Guangxi Province, just 30 minutes by bus from the larger city of Sanjiang and about 4 hours from the bustling modern city of Guilin, China.

Chengyang is famous because the entire village is built from wood, giving everything an antique look and feel.

The “Wind and Rain Bridge (程阳桥)” and the traditional drum towers (more information below) are part of Chengyang’s most prized attractions.

I visited Chengyang after spending some time in Yangshuo, China.

Sanjiang China
Visiting Chengyang, China

Geography of Chengyang

Chengyang really consists of eight different villages that occupy a small basin in the rolling hills of the area.

Like in much of southern China, rice is of utmost importance for life, and the village revolves around its production.

The main touristy center of Chengyang is located just across the Linxi River from the main access road to get there.

In order to get to the village, you have to cross over the Wind and Rain Bridge by foot. Apart from a few motorcycles, Chengyang is spared of the noisy buses and motorized traffic.

How to Get to Chengyang, China
View of the Wind and Rain Bridge

How to Get to Chengyang Village

The largest and most connected city in the area is Guilin, accessible by international flights as well as trains and buses from all parts of China.

I took a local bus from Guilin to Sanjiang (4 hours at around 30 – 40 CNY) and then another local bus from Sanjiang to the gate of Chengyang (30 minutes at 6 CNY).

The local bus will drop you off at the entrance gate where you’ll need to pay a one time fee before walking into the village.

Chengyang Entrance Fee

Buses from Sanjiang drop you right in front of the ticket office, located about 100 meters down the road from the main bridge.

The cost is a one time fee of 60 CNY for adults and includes a free traditional “oil tea” (doesn’t that sound good?).

Dong People, China
Local Chengyang Village, China

Where to Stay in Chengyang

There are now a number of budget options for accommodation in Chengyang.

I stayed at the Dong Village Hotel, actually located just outside the main area of the village and it had a great view of the Wind and Rain Bridge. Double or triple rooms go for about $15 – $20 per night and they cook delicious Chinese food!

Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge

Wind and Rain Bridge (程阳桥)

The most important asset of Chengyang is the Wind and Rain Bridge (程阳桥).

The scenic covered bridge was completed in 1916 and spans a total of nearly 65 meters in length.

The structure is more than just a useful bridge, it includes a series of shaded pagodas, corridors, verandas, relaxing benches and nowadays a souvenir market.

Things to do in Chengyang
Things to do in Chengyang

Things to do in Chengyang

Walk from Village to Village

Chengyang is a great place to walk around from village to village. There are eight villages to be exact, and while the first few villages have become quite touristy, the further villages are almost completely still local and barely even touched by most of the tourists – life goes on as it did hundreds of years ago.

Drum Towers

With each village is a drum tower – a pagoda looking structure housing an official drum that previously functioned as a time signal and as a community gathering place.

Nowadays you can visit each and every drum tower throughout Chengyang, a few have been restored while a few are in rough condition.

Dong People Cultural ShowDong Cultural Show

Being inhabited by the Dong ethnic minority, one of the ways Chengyang caters to tourists is by providing daily cultural dance shows.

Hike to the Viewpoint

The surrounding rolling hills offer a great place for a little exercise and a chance to view Chengyang from above. The hike to the top of the hill takes about 15 minutes and you’ll enjoy a wonderful bird’s eye view of Chengyang village and of the Wind and Rain Bridge.

Drink Chinese Tea

Chinese tea is grown around Chengyang, and it doesn’t get much better than relaxing in a quiet place while sipping on Chinese tea. You can also enjoy a quick Chinese tea drinking ceremony in Ma’an village.

RelaxRelaxing in Chengyang

Without motor vehicles, Chengyang is quiet and relaxed, and the farming culture dictates a life of working extremely hard at some times of the year and relaxing for the rest of the year.

The local Chengyang bridges are the best place to enjoy an afternoon of relaxation!

Food in Chengyang, China
Delicious Stir Fried Noodles in Chenyang, China

What to Eat

There aren’t too many restaurant options, but Chengyang is seeing growth as a Chinese tourist destination, so that maybe changing rapidly.

In the main village of Chengyang there are a few homes that have started cooking local Chinese food. At the very entrance of the village, a lady serves excellent Guilin rice noodles and stir fried noodles (I got the delicious home cooked fried noodles).

If you continue to walk down the alley, you’ll get to another restaurant that serves local Chengyang delicacies like boiled fish and tofu and the delicious Chengyang Chinese ceviche.

Have you ever been to Chengyang or seen the Wind and Rain Bridge?

26 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Gaetan

    10 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    I came across your article while doing research for my next destination and I am definitely going to Sanjiang next week. Thanks for sharing!

  • Bama

    12 years ago

    Mark, did you also go to Xinping? If you did, in your opinion which one offers better experience: Yangshuo or Xinping?

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      I was only there for a few hours, passing through after a hike… so not really sure. Yangshuo is bigger with more options, but Xingping is probably quieter and extremely beautiful. Hope you have an incredible time!

  • Christy @ Technosyncratic

    12 years ago

    Wow, the village is made entirely of wood? Have the had any issues with fires in the past?

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      Just about all made from wood… not sure if they’ve had issues with fires but I’d assume so. There were lots of signs up to be careful of fire hazards and to not smoke. A fire would be devastating to this village…

  • EJ Juen Jr

    12 years ago

    Wow! It’s nice to see a village in ancient style like this still exists. The whole surrounding looks neat and refreshing. I’ll add this in my list when going to China, hopefully soon. Thanks for sharing this great article with awesome pictures. 🙂

  • Gorilla Safaris in Uganda

    12 years ago

    This is a beautiful village. Was going to say little village but it does not look that little to me..

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      Yah, compared to Africa… it’s not that little of a village but compared to China it’s a very little village!

  • Noel

    12 years ago

    I was never really interested in visiting China until recently. With 2 of my friends there and posting about their travels and now reading your post about this interesting place, I should seriously plan a trip there soon. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      Yah, China is such a vast and diverse country – hope you get a chance to visit soon Noel!

  • jen laceda

    12 years ago

    Ok, so aside from African countries, China [the Motherland] is another place I wish to visit before I die! This village looks absolutely amah-zing! Like it’s from another time!

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      Thanks Jen! China really is the Motherland – I had such a great time there and I could feel my connection when I was there (I’m 1/2 Chinese American). When I was eating local Chinese food I was so happy! This was a great village, hopefully it will remain quiet and calm for many years to come.

  • Lane

    12 years ago

    Stunning. I *wish* we could fit this into our visit.

  • Dean

    12 years ago

    That bridge is amazing! I’ve never even heard of Chengyang before. It looks like such an interesting place to visit.

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      Definitely very interesting and really beautiful little town!

  • Samual James

    12 years ago

    WOW! that is awesome place. In this much fast moving life that is full of technology around, you want to sit in such a place where no noise of any machinery at all. Very beautiful photography as well. keep it up great work.
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  • sully86

    12 years ago

    mark: I’ve got to hijack/kidnap you so that you won’t post up pictures of the food and beautiful

  • Colleen

    12 years ago

    Mark, your articles on China, especially this one and your previous entry on Yangshuo, have boosted my desire to visit China from, “must see” in a check list kind of way, to “absolutely burning to see this amazing, timeless and lush green beauty.”

    My favorite part of travel is the feeling of timelessness that certain locations convey. It’s easy to see that this is what life was like a long time ago. It’s like time-travel.

    Thank you for what is my favorite travel website, by far. I have my breakfast with Migrationology most mornings. On the rare day you don’t post I sometimes reread one of my many favorites of your previous posts.

    Aloha oe and mahalo nui loa. = )

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      You’ve put a smile on my face Colleen – thank you so much for this kind comment and for your continued support! I fully agree that the feeling of timelessness is such a great thing about travel. The world changes so fast, but luckily there are still places that look like they’ve remained the same for hundreds (even thousands) of years. Hope you and your family have a chance to visit China!