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Guides / Itineraries

Chinawood – Hengdian World Studios

By Zhiyu Wang

December 7

China’s biggest film studio not only makes movies, but your wildest film fantasies come true.

China’s biggest film studio not only makes movies, but your wildest film fantasies come true.

Hengdian World Studios is the largest film studio in the world, covering 30 square kilometers with 13 areas that include historical Qin, Song, Ming and Qing (four Chinese dynasties) sets.

Once upon a time in the South of China, a little village became the set for a movie. That movie was Xie Jin’s 1996 blockbuster The Opium War, and it catapulted the village into cinema fame. Large-scale construction began in Hengdian in the mid-1990s. The first structures included replicas of the Qin Imperial Palace, the Beijing Summer Palace and a set that brings to life the famous Along the River During the Qingming Festival painting.

Song architecture imitation according to Along the River During the Qingming Festival [Image Credit: VCG]
Song architecture imitation according to Along the River During the Qingming Festival [Image Credit: VCG]
One of the largest buildings at Hengdian is the Imperial Palace Building, which is frequently used for historical films, including world-famous ones like Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Zhang Yimou’s Hero and Chen Kaige’s The Promise.

Imitation of Qin architectural style [Image Credit: VCG]
Imitation of Qin architectural style [Image Credit: VCG]
Replica of the Beijing Summer Palace [Image Credit: VCG]
Replica of the Beijing Summer Palace [Image Credit: VCG]
Hengdian World Studios also boasts a theme park called Dream Valley (梦幻谷), where you can see shows and watch movies. Its most famous shows are Dream of Tai Chi (梦幻太极) and Heavy Rain and Floods (暴雨山洪).

A scene in Dream of Tai Chi [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Shi Guangde]
A scene in Dream of Tai Chi [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Shi Guangde]
Performances include over 200 performers in dazzling colorful costumes.

When to see the shows:

Dream of Tai Chi: 8:00 p.m. from Feb.8th to May.10th, from Jun.18th to Dem.31st, 8:30 p.m. May 11th –Jun 17th

Heavy Rain and Floods: 7:00 p.m. from Jan.1st to May.10th, from Sep.1st to Dem.31st

7:30 p.m. from May.11th to Jun. 17th

9:00 p.m. from Jun.18th to Aug.31st

The Beijing Summer Palace, the Imperial Palace Building, Guangzhou and Hong Kong street replicas also have historical reenactments such as the  Qing Dynasty grand enthronization ceremony and the welcome ceremony of the Prince Qin.

There are some renowned restaurants in Wansheng Street (As movie crews at Hengdian are from different regions of the country, restaurants serving all kinds of Chinese cuisines have opened there. Don’t be shocked if you meet superstars while you are enjoying your lunch in a restaurant — some of them are even owned by famous stars themselves. Zheng Shuang, a popular actress, owns a fried chicken shop in the street.

Best time to visit: March-May, September-November

Entry: 480 yuan/person

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. for Dream Valley

8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. for the rest of studio

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