By: Izabella Cuyuca

Although my ancestry is rooted in China, I’ve never felt more out of touch with my own culture as I do now as an outlander. Unbeknownst to me, the Spring Festival is the most important event for the Chinese people. Much like Easter and Christmas in the West, the festival offers a time for families to travel back to their provinces, pause from work and unwind from the stresses of daily life. In my humble opinion, there’s no better place to be truly immersed in Chinese culture and celebrate this time of year than at the markets in the burgeoning town of Jimo.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the stark contrast between old and new, with urban skyscrapers juxtaposed against the archaic architecture of former China. Immediately, your senses are incited by the wafting scents of delicious food, the saturated sights of the vibrant scarlet red decorations and the booming sounds of merchants and performers alike. If you’ve ever wanted to step into olden day China, then this is the place for you.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Spring Festival without mouth-watering, bona fide Chinese food. If you’re in an adventurous mood, try Hunan cuisine at Maojia Restaurant where chilli peppers run rampant in almost every dish. Contrastingly, homesick travellers can stroll down to KFC for comfort. From one traveller to another, good food is imperative for survival, and the selection of food at the markets at the ancient city is wide and extensive so you won’t go hungry. The meal selection is blissful, with choices ranging from ramen to hotpot and teahouses to bubble tea, you’ll be hard pressed to find food to ease your hunger.

Don’t be afraid to dive head first into the world of the Spring Festival as there’s something for everyone. For cultured artists, check out the Art Gallery of Jimo Ancient City where locals are featured in genuine photographs. History lovers are recommended to head to the Temple of Confucius and Temple of Mammo. Beloved by citizens and tourists, the ancient city of Jimo is sure to be a hit this festival season.

As a foreigner in China, I’ve grappled with the disparity between contemporary and traditional culture. Nevertheless, the ancient city really is what they say: “Home Sweet Home in Jimo” and to tell you the truth, I’ve never felt more home.

Travel Breakdown: How to Get to Jimo

Transport

Metro Line 11 to Sheipo (towards Aoshan Bay). Exiting the station, spot the bus stop less than 100m away and catch the tourist Bus No. 11, which arrives every 10 minutes (¥5, make sure to bring cash). The connecting line runs on 57 shifts a day, running from 7:20 to 21:00, two-way.

Times

9 am – 9 pm

Tourist Hotline

Call 96650 to inquire about the detailed departure information.