Photos from the Road: Zhu Family Garden

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February 11, 2012
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February 16, 2012

Photos from the Road: Zhu Family Garden

The Zhu Family Gardens is a huge Qing-era (1644-1911) complex of ancestral building, family homes, courtyards, ponds and gardens. You can amble from courtyard to courtyard through intricately carved and painted wooden doors. Inside the courtyards, flowers and sculpted trees grow.

The Zhu Family earned its fortune through its mill and tavern and traded everything from tin to Gejiu to opium. The family’s influence waned following the political chaos after the 1911 revolution.

The 20,000 square meter complex took 30 years to build.

Entrance to the Zhu Family Garden is from 8am to 8pm and costs 50 CNY ($8.00). Allow a couple hours to wander at your leisure and enjoy photographing the courtyards and gardens.

Jianshui is small city in Yunnan Province located about three hours south of Kunming. It’s known for its traditional architecture. It’s where I witnessed the celebration of the Chinese New Year and old folks playing Chinese Chess under Chaoyang Gate.

looking through to courtyard at Zhu Family Gardens

lantern at Zhu Family Gardens

lantern and tree of Zhu Family Gardens

inside Zhu Family Gardens_2

inside Zhu Family Gardens_1

writing crumbling at Zhu Family Gardens

table inside Zhu Family Gardens

inside Zhu Family Gardens_4

tree at Zhu Family Gardens

feeding fish at Zhu Family Gardens

courtyard inside Zhu Family Gardens

door detail at Zhu Family Garden

detail at Zhu Family Gardens

flowers at Zhu Family Gardens

courtyard of Zhu Family Gardens

door details at Zhu Family Gardens

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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. Michael Bugno says:

    The photos are simply magnificent! What a gorgeous day. The colors are so vibrant. Great read, thanks for sharing.

  2. Ross says:

    I really like the closeup of the calligraphy. Is that and old piece of wood it’s on?

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