The Development of a Eastern Jiangsu County: Funing

By Mitchell Blatt | Travel

May 20

Funing is a county in eastern Jiangsu province, over 3 hours by bus from Nanjing, and over 4 hours from Shanghai. The whole county has a population of 1.08 million people and 180,000 in the urban area, which is to say it’s not very big.

But it might be a little bit bigger in the future. 15-30 story towers are sprouting up in groves along the edge of a downtown center.
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The county has also been trying to develop its tourism resources. In 2011, the Jinsha Lake (金沙湖) was built in Funing. Jinsha Lake is a large manmade lake with a sandy beach and an approximately 30 meter tall sand hill for sledding. The sand hill was first built in 2012 as a tall sand sculpture. The World Record Association, a group registered in Hong Kong and run out of Guangzhou, crowned the sculpture, “European Castle Group”, the tallest in the world, at 27.5 meters. That is taller than the tallest sand sculpture in the Guinness Book of World Records, which was also in China (Zhoushan, Zhejiang – 22.4 m). Now there are still tall sand sculptures of various countries at the bottom of the hill, but this hill is dedicated to sand sledding.

Here I am taking it down:
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Among the events happening in Funing this weekend was the cattle song. It’s a song sung by local farmers in the field. In three small fields near Jinsha Lake, farmers performed it for spectators. One farmer controlled the cattle, and another sang the wailing song that was supposed to stimulate the cattle.

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In the outskirts of the city, there are some factories producing wind power components. Everyone knows wind power blades are big. They look big even from afar, but I didn’t imagine how big these blades, which are over 50 m (164 ft) look up close.

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Without a train from Nanjing to Funing, Funing is about a 4 hour drive from Nanjing. When a train gets built, it could take less than 2 hours. There is a train, K8506, that goes from Nantong, just north of Shanghai and across the river, to Funing at 2:15 pm and arrives at 5:51 pm. Funing also has regular trains to and from Qingdao, Xi’an, Taizhou, and Huaian.

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Departure Station Departure Time Arrival Time Price
Nantong (K8506) 2:15 pm 5:51 pm 21 RMB
Lanzhou (K420/K417) 9:46 am 10:09 am (next day) 360 RMB (soft sleeper)
Xi’an (K420/K417) 7:06 pm 10:09 am (next day) 248 RMB (soft sleeper)
Taizhou (K419/K418) 4:00 pm 7:30 pm 33 RMB

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About the Author

Mitchell Blatt is a travel writer, editor, and columnist who has lived and worked in China for six years. He is an author of two guidebooks, Panda Guides Hong Kong and Panda Guides China. He has been published in National Interest.org, The Korea Times, The Shanghai Daily, Roads & Kingdoms, Vagabond Journey, City Weekend, Silkwinds and The World of Chinese, among other outlets. See examples of his published articles.