Today an expressway, for many years the national road G-320, but for much longer a caravan road that took little consideration of local terrain: the route from Kunming to Dali has changed many times. With it places grew ... and fell. Lianxiangguan, in the border area of modern day Lufeng and Anning counties, is one such place. Once an overnight stop for the caravans, protected by gates from robbers, became a sleepy village when in the 1950s the road was upgraded and faster traffic did not need to stop any more.
Lianxiangguan, meaning Burned Elephant Gate for the reddish colour of the soil, became a ghost town. A kilometer of the main road, traffic continues by horse-cart taking locals from the bus stop on the high way back into this small trading town. On the other side, through the gate that once led to Kunming, only a small path emerges, winding its way through the fields and up to the mountain.
There are no services for tourists in this small town, not even a restaurant. The bus between Anning and Lufeng stops nearby on the old G-320 from where it is a leisurely walk or a short ride in one of the old horse carts.