Zigong (自贡) is a city in East Sichuan. It used to make its fortune from salt production, but now is better known as a destination that caters primarily to Chinese tourists who come to see its large dinosaur museum, and of course, its salt museum.
Bus to Zigong are available from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. There are 8 buses per day, including 6 standard-class buses and 2 business class coaches. The fare for the standard-class buses is ¥87 and the fare for the business-class buses is ¥120. The journey time is approximately 3 hours.
- 1 Zigong Railway Station (自贡站, Zigong Station), 1 Huochezhan Road, Da'an District (大安区火车站路1号) (Served by local bus routes 2, 7, 17, 32, 34, 37 and 304).
From Chengdu, there are eight high-speed trains to Zigong per day, most of which depart from Chengdu East Railway Station. The fare ranges from ¥80 to ¥96 and the journey takes just over an hour.
- 2 Zigong General Bus Station (自贡汽车客运总站), Dangui Street, Ziliujing District (自流井区丹桂大街) (close to the Huidong Public Bus Terminal (汇东公交客运站), which is served by bus routes 1, 10, 16, 28, 61, 301, 306, 308, 309, 803 and 808), ☏ . Zigong's main bus station.
Buses to Zigong are available from several bus stations in Chengdu, including Beimen Bus Station, Chadianzi Bus Station, Chengdu General Bus Station, Chengdu East Railway Station Bus Station, Huayang Bus Station, Longquan Bus Station, Qingbaijiang Bus Station and Xinnanmen Bus Station. Some of these bus stations, including Chadianzi Bus Station and Xinnanmen Bus Station have direct buses to the Zigong Dinosaur Museum and the Zigoing Salt Museum. Bus fares range from ¥60 to ¥142 depending on the type of bus. The journey time is roughly 3 hours.
Buses from Chongqing depart from Chongqing Long-Distance Bus Station, every 30 minutes daily starting at 07:00 and ending at 17:30, travel time is 2-3 hours. ¥76.
Taxis and buses are available. Buses are the cheapest way to get around and they are a fun way to explore this city. Many routes drive along the riverside.
However, maybe the best way to get around is to go mostly by foot, since you can only really see the beauty of this small city when you enjoy it from the closest point of view with the locals.
- 1 Zigong Dinosaur Museum (自贡恐龙博物馆), 268 Shenhaijing Road Section 4, Da'an District (大安区燊海井路4段268号) (a few hundred metres from the East Bus Station; several local bus routes terminate here, including routes 7, 15, 35, 306 and 308), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 08:30-17:30. Located on top of the Dashanpu Formation, China's most famous dinosaur fossil site, where hundreds of dinosaur fossils have been found since the 1970s. The museum was the first museum in China to be devoted exclusively to dinosaurs. The museum is quite large, covering a surface area of 25,000 m² and display area of 3600 m². Besides the usual displays, one can also view an excavation pit where fossils have been unearthed. ¥40.
- 2 Zigong Salt History Museum (自贡盐业历史博物馆), 107 Jiefang Road, Ziliujing District (自流井区解放路107号) (take bus no. 2, 3, 11, 33, 34, 37 or 40 and get off at Shawan (沙湾)), ☏ . 08:30-17:30. The museum is housed inside what used to be a guild hall for salt merchants.The exquisite decor is representative of the wood and rock carving styles of the Qing dynasty. ¥20.
- 3 Shenhai Well (燊海井), 289 Da'an Street, Da'an District (大安区大安街289号) (there is a bus stop right outside the well, which is served by bus nos. 3, 5, 7, 31 and 35. But if coming from the Zigoing General Bus Station, it may be easier to catch bus no. 10 to Dagao Road (大高路) and walk from there), ☏ . 08:30-17:30 (summer), 08:30-17:00 (winter). The Shenhai Well is a one-kilometre-deep salt well that was constructed in 1835. It is the only traditional salt well in China that is still being used to this day. ¥27.
- 4 [dead link] China Lantern Museum (中国彩灯博物馆), 6 Gongyuan Road, Zhonghua Road, Ziliujing District (自流井区中华路公园路6号) (either take bus no. 8 or 802 and get off at Gongyuankou (公园口) or catch bus no. 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 31, 35, 37, 39, 301, 302, 305, 307 or 801 and get off at the Lantern Park (彩灯公园); or, you can walk here from the Zigong Salt Museum, which is just 600 metres to the south), ☏ , email@example.com. 08:30-17:30. ¥40.
- 1 Zigong International Dinosaur Lantern Festival (自贡国际恐龙灯会, 自贡灯会 Zigong Lantern Festival), Lantern Park, 6 Gongyuan Road, Ziliujing District (自流井区公园路6号彩灯公园) (either take bus no. 8 or 802 and get off at Gongyuankou (公园口) or catch bus no. 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 31, 35, 37, 39, 301, 302, 305, 307 or 801 and get off at the Lantern Park (彩灯公园); or, you can walk here from the Zigong Salt Museum, which is 600 m to the south), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Traditionally, the Lantern Festival is held on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month. In Zigong the lanterns are on display for around two months, usually between January and March. During this period, the lights are switched on at 18:30 and turned off at 22:30. Zigong is one of the best places in China to experience the Lantern Festival, for it is here where the festival originated. Fees vary from year to year and there are different prices for different days of the week. In 2019, the fee was ¥60 for entry between Monday and Thursday, ¥90 for entry between Friday and Sunday, and ¥130 for entry during the first 15 days of the first lunar month.
- If you do decide to visit, make sure you try all the different types of foods and drinks and definitely don't be afraid to learn some phrases of the local dialect (自贡话).
Zigong food is one of a kind even in Sichuan, due to its rich culture and history. Some dishes found in Zigong are common to the Sichuan area with local variations, and some are unique local recipes.
Various types of Dumpling or Wonton (served with hot oil and pepper paste) called chāo shǒu Sichuan Hot pot, called Chuan Chuan Xiang Twice Cooked Pork Pepper Beef Mapo doufu Diced Rabbit in Hot Pepper Oil Frog Hotpot Fried Eel with Hot Peppers Turtle Soup Duck in a Hot Pepper Oil Tea Infused Duck Sichuan DanDan Mian - spicyChinese noodles Various Types of Tea Babe Toufu (best in Fushun county and countryside) Unique dishes include:
Fried rice-field frog with fresh pepper (very spicy pepper) (This dish is illegal) Rice-field frog chicken soup (only a few family knows how to make this soup) Try the night food market along the roads (Tongxing Lu), and remember best food are cooked at local's home.
If you go you must try all of the street food and small on the side breakfast places at like 5am to truly get the full experience. P.S. the food stalls at night are so much better than in the day.
- 1 Huidong Hotel (汇东大酒店, Huidong Grand Hotel), 111 Dangui Street, Ziliujing District (自流井区丹桂大街111号) (near the intersection of Dangui Street and Huidong Road; the nearest bus stop is the Taifeng Building (泰丰大厦) bus stop, which is served by bus routes 6, 8, 9, 17, 18, 32, 36, 301, 302, 308 and 401), ☏ , email@example.com. An international standard 4-star hotel. Offers spacious rooms with nice decor. The restaurant serves a Western buffet breakfast. Room rates start from ¥348.