The Real China Town: Backpacking In Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, China

“Well there’s a small boat made of China that’s going nowhere on the mantelpiece” – Neil Finn.

backpacking in jingdezhen

Jingdezhen – the REAL China Town!

When I was young we used to hear about “China” and there was even a phrase that went “he’s like a bull in a China shop”. I’m talking about China. Not the country. But the ceramic, porcelain, material that the word China has also been used to describe, including in the Crowded House song “Weather With You”, penned by the Finn Brothers in 1991. And in keeping with its name, yes, China is made in China (ok not all of it), but on my recent visit to the Jiangxi Province, I ended up in the most real China China Town of them all. A little known city by the name of Jingdezhen. This is China Town.

jingdezhen backpacking

The only tourist backpacking in Jingdezhen. Despite this being the home of CHINA, seemingly no tourist ever visits here…

There is more China made in Jingdezhen than there is in the rest of China alone (you might have to check that fact though, if you can!). Jingdezhen is also so untouristy it’s unbelieveable. I’d actually bet that most reading my blog haven’t heard of Jingdezhen. I myself, also hadn’t heard of it until I started researching Jiangxi Province. And that my friends, is good enough reason for you to head there! I love off the wheaten craic (off the beaten track) stuff and Jingdezhen has it!

jingdezhen china

One of the street in Jingdezhen with nothing but ceramic shops on it. Yet not a tourist in sight.

So China’s porcelain is made in Jingdezhen. The city (which it is – it houses a staggering 1.7 million people!!) is proud of its ceramic roots and ceramic examples and references are evident all over the city. China is everywhere on the streets and I was shocked that 1.7 million people live here. It is known as the “Porcelain Capital” because it has been producing Chinese ceramics for at least 1,000 years, and for much of that period Jingdezhen porcelain was the most important and finest quality in China. The city has a well-documented history that stretches back over 2,000 years.


A ceramic shop in Jindezhen, the home of CHINA. A city of 1.5 million people no less!

Getting to Jingdezhen

The easiest way is by bus from Nanchang. Head to Nanchang bus station and board a bus to Jingdezhen. Be sure to write the names of the places in Chinese when booking tickets! Our bus was 79 RMB each and took around 3 hours. You can also get there by train, which is slower. Apparently Jingdezhen also has an airport, arriving by air would certainly be interesting! Would that China crack on landing? Trust me though – get the bus!

jingdezhen bus

Arrival into Jingdezhen by bus. Well off the beaten track but a great experience!

Things to do in Jingdezhen

1. Admire the Ceramics in “Porcelain Street”

Walk around the shops selling and displaying their proud ceramic products on a street which is literally known as “Porcelain Street”. You can take as many photos as you want but just don’t break anything!

jingdezhen china

Checking out the ceramics in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, China.

2. People’s Square

This wide open square and park is popular with locals for family and get togethers. A good place to relax on a day out. There are a few large ceramic models displaying the pride within the city of its most famous product.

backpacking in jingdezhen

Backpacker alert on a local bus in Jingdezhen!

3. Yaoli Scenic Area

Waterfalls, a forest and Huizhou architecture make Yaoli a popular trip out of the main city of Jindezhen. Old style buildings, countryside and mountains, on the border between the town Chinese Provinces of Jiangxi and Anhui. We backpacked loads of these places.

jiangxi province china backpacking

Backpacking in the Jiangxi Province of China…

china town ceramics in jingdezhen

More ceramics in Jingdezhen! China Town!

4. Jingdezhen Ceramic Museum

We didn’t go in to the museum, it was good enough seeing so many ceramics on the street for me. But if you want a closer insight into the history and present day details on the ceramics then head to the museum. A bus tour will help organise it, here’s a good guide, including the address:

Ceramics Museum

travel in jingdezhen

The only Northern Irishman in Jingdezhen – the real China town. Authentically Porcelain!

5. Countryside at Wuyuan

After getting your fix of Jingdezhen, head to the fantastic countryside in and around Wuyuan. It’s about an hour and a half from Jingdezhen. It’s absolutely stunning and I will write a lot more about it, already covered drinking wine in Xiaoqi,  drinking coffee in Little Likeng and my trip to Jiangling here.

little likeng village

Out in the villages near Wuhan – this is Little Likeng – a break away from Jingdezhen.

Without further ado, that’s all there is to it. Jingdezhen despite being the famous home of China is merely a typical Chinese city which has been successful and makes money. It does ok with tourism from the Chinese, but there aren’t many (any) foreign tourists about really. It’s communist China to the core at heart and will probably not make you want to live there forever. However – that’s not the point. Go there to check it out and move on. I loved it. A special memory. And another travel moment to “tick off”. I have now been to the REAL CHINA TOWN. Epic.

My videos from Jingdezhen:

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7 thoughts on “The Real China Town: Backpacking In Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, China

  • In late Oct. 2016, I am going to Jindezhen to study all aspects of porcelain.
    I am wondering if there is a concern about men wearing short pants to say, a restaurant or music club. I travel light and prefer to carry only short pants. Could you generalize about this in the other places in the lower Yangtze valley? Tnx

  • I must say you have very interesting posts here. Your website can go viral.

    You need initial traffic only. How to get it?
    Search for; Etorofer’s strategies

  • Wow, just stumbled on this site. I was at an Estate
    Sale. And saw a tag saying Jingdezhen DId not
    Know this. Came to your site.
    Off the wall question, My sister and I are starting
    To collect China . How do you Look up symbols?

  • Hi Toni, thanks for the comment, Jingdezhen was an excellent place to see the real China. I didn’t look up any symbols or collect China though. I just backpacked it as a tourist. Safe travels. Jonny

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