Explore the Silk Road in China

silk road tour 550

The legendary Silk Road is living proof that the path to adventure is almost always a long one, but is wrought with exciting surprises.

The term ‘The Silk Road’ was coined during the 19th century by a German geographer named Ferdinand von Richthofen. It refers to the commercial routes that connected mainland China with Central Asia in ancient times.  However, the Silk Road was not solely used for commercial trade, but was also a point of cultural exchange between various ethnic groups in China, Central Asia, west Asia, and Europe. Thus the road is littered with ancient treasures, stunning works of art, and unique styles of architecture.

This tour begins at the very source of the Silk Road, starting in Xi’an and ending in Ürümqi. From towering mountains to the sandy expanse of the Gobi Desert, we’ll cover all kinds of exotic terrain.

 

During this journey, we will:

  • Visit the ancient city of Xi’an, which was once the capital of 3 great ancient empires;xi'an
  • Visit the exotic city of Ürümqi, where the culture of the Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority dominates;Ürümqi
  • Take a trip to marvel at the legendary Terracotta Army, and several old Buddhist temples;Terracotta Army01
  • Challenge one of the tallest mountains in China, Mount Hua;mount hua
  • Enjoy stunning views of the desert, the incredible landscape of the Gobi, and the marvellous Yardang and Danxia landforms;danxia and yardang
  • Discover long abandoned cities built almost entirely out of clay that are over 900 years old;Jiaohe relics
  • Admire the magnificent Maijishan Grottoes and Mogao Caves up close;china grottoes
  • Admire the magnificent hanging temples without having to battle with the tourist crowds.horse's hoof temple
  • Discover an old Han-style mansion, of which there are very few in western China.Tianshui Hu family
  • Sample the traditional cuisine of the Han, Hui and Uyghur ethnic groups;hui cuisine
  • Learn more about the fascinating history of the Silk Road;silk road Dunhuang
  • Experience horse riding and camel riding in the desert.camel in desert

 

             The Route of our Tour:

silk road tour

 

More information of the tour:

Highlights of the Tour

Itinerary

Cost

 

Dates: 24th of Oct to the 11th of Nov 2017

Final Deadline for Subscription:  15th of Aug 2017

Although these dates are for the group tours, we can also customise any of our
tours according to the dates you prefer. The dates shown are simply a
suggestion to give you an idea of the tour’s length and to reflect how much
notice we need before booking you on your tour of choice. Tour dates can easily
be adjusted depending on your personal preferences and needs.

Please Note: You can choose to stick to this tour entirely, or you can just incorporate it into your wider plans to travel across China. We can provide you with information and help you with any other travel plans you may have if you need us to. We also provide a hotel booking service and a flight or train booking service for all of our members’ traveling in China outside of the 10 designated days of the tour. We will also provide a consultancy service for you, which will help you to plan your journey across China and give you useful tips on traveling in China.

We hope that you will have a wonderful time traveling with us!

For more information, please contact us at: info@asiaculturaltravel.co.uk.

Explore the Ancient Chinese Villages in the Huizhou Region

huizhou village05

When you think about China, what do you think of as its national symbol of beauty? Of course you can’t only be thinking of the Great Wall. Indeed, the Great Wall is a remarkable Chinese landmark. However, there are also a multitude of architectural styles and buildings that express a uniquely Chinese beauty. The ancient villages in the Yangtze Plain serve as good examples. And among these villages, the group of villages in the Huizhou area is the most distinctly fascinating.

hongcun specialty

Huizhou as a region has an interesting history. There were not only many successful merchants that came out of Huizhou, but also many famous politicians and scholars. Of course it was the rich merchants who made the biggest contribution to the improvement and success of Hui architecture. And in the background of this fascinating history, women in Hui culture had their own story. They were regarded as making the chastest wives.

woodcut

Elaborate brick-sculptures, woodcuts and stone carvings are the three essential artistic components of Hui architecture. Stone carvings of flowers, birds and beasts are usually on the doorframe; woodcuts decorate the windows and brick carvings can appear in any place, even someplace unexpected. The wall of a Hui style residence is called a horse-head wall. It is so-named because the top shape of the wall looks like a horse’s head. When visiting a Hui village, you will see that the white horse-head walls match the black roofs (consisting of tiles) very well. It looks very romantic, especially on a rainy day.

In ancient times, Chinese people used “the four treasures of the study” for writing and painting. These “four treasures” were the writing brush, the ink stick, paper and the ink stone. Huizhou was famous for manufacturing the best “four treasures”. Nowadays, people don’t use ink and a writing brush in their daily life anymore. But craftspeople in Huizhou insist on maintaining the ancient apparatus and they continue making these good quality products to this day.

Furthermore, Huizhou is the hometown of several popular kinds of tea, the most famous ones being Huangshan Maofeng, Keemun and Taiping Houhui.

Hui cuisine

With regards to the food in this region, it is difficult to tell whether you will like it or not. Hui cuisine is a very special kind of Chinese cuisine. But don’t worry, you can also find more familiar Chinese food in this region. If you like Hui cuisine, you may end up being crazy about it; but you may feel disappointed when you leave, as it is not easy to find real Hui cuisine outside of this region.

Huizhou is a beautiful and mysterious area with an interesting history. So, if you want to witness a special but also a somewhat typical kind of Chinese beauty, if you want to experience the feeling of being in a Chinese Kung-fu film (all villages look like the backdrop of a Kung-fu epic ), or if you are interested in Hui Art, please follow us and embark on a journey of discovery.

huizhou village 04

During this tour, we will

  • experience life in an ancient Chinese village, to feel the thrill of being on the set of a Kung-Fu movie;
  • discover the stunning artistry of Hui architecture, particularly the woodcutting, brick cutting and stone cutting styles of art;
  • listen to and study the unique history of the Huizhou region, with particular reference to the Huizhou merchants;
  • sample the delectable Hui cuisine;
  • enjoy the famous types of tea in the Mt. Huangshan area.

We offer:

  • Tours in 5 (+1 optional choice) villages and 2 old towns in the Huizhou region;
  • An English speaking guide with a vast knowledge of Hui Art and History;
  • Small group sizes (no more than 10 people);
  • Featured accommodation in ancient houses built in the traditional Chinese style;
  • Enough time to enjoy your tour alone;
  • A pdf file with important information about Huizhou.

 

02

the Location of Huizhou in China

huizhou location

An Introduction to the stops on our journey:

Chengkan

chengkan

The layout of the village is in the special Chinese “Bagua” style (the Eight Trigrams). The Yin part is represented by the fields whilst the Yang part is represented by the residential buildings. A river divides these two parts.

In ancient times Longxi was the name of this village. At the end of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Luo brothers moved there with their big family and changed the village’s name to Chengkan. The Luo brothers believed in Feng Shui theory (an old philosophical and somewhat superstitious system which follows the belief that you can create a better life for your family by managing the surrounding environment). They found that Longxi’s location was particularly auspicious and it promised their family potential prosperity, according to Feng Shui theory. During the establishment of the entire village they continued to follow this theory. So this village is considered one of the best, if not the best, examples of Feng Shui theory in practice.

There used to be ninety-nine lanes that once made the village seem like a maze. Of these ninety-nine lanes, there are still ninety lanes left today. Most of the buildings in the village were established in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), among them there are fourteen mansions which all exemplify the Hui style of architecture beautifully.

chengkan bagua

Tunxi Old Town

Tunxi old street

Tunxi is the central district of Huangshan City. Tunxi Old Street is the most famous tourist attraction in Tunxi. It is 832 meters long and features buildings that follow the Song (960-1279), Ming and Qing (1644-1911) style of architecture. The Cheng family was the biggest family that lived in Tunxi. Nowadays you can still see the three big mansions that once belonged to them.

There were also many famous people that came from Tunxi, such as the philosophers Cheng Hao and Zhuxi, and other famous scholars who focused on different academic disciplines.

Shexian

Shexian, the capital of the ancient Hui State that existed during the Tang dynasty, sits at the southern foot of Mt. Huangshan and on the upper portion of the Xin’an River.

huizhou

Shexian was founded during the Qin Dynasty. Many cultural relics still exist there. More than 100 buildings in Shexian date back to the Ming Dynasty, and thousands of them date back to the Qing Dynasty. Of these buildings, the Three Wonders of Ancient Huizhou Architecture are the most acclaimed by experts and they include: the ancient residential houses, the ancestral temples1 and the stone archways built in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The most famous of these archways are Xuguo’s Stone Archway and Tangyue’s Memorial Archway.

Since Hui culture originated from Shexian, it is also the birthplace of Xin’an Painting, Xin’an medicine, Hui-style Architecture, and the Hui-style of carving bamboo, wood, brick and stone. There are still many Hui ink stick and Shexian ink slab workshops. What’s more, you can also still buy Chengxintang Paper, which was considered the best quality paper during the Qing Dynasty.

Tangyue Memorial Archways

tangyue

This is the most popular attraction in Shexian and many people still come to Shexian just to see this group of archways. Tangyue Memorial Archways are located in Tangyue village, 9 kilometers from the Shexian old town in the west. There are seven archways there, which were built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties by the Bao clan.

Among them, the three most famous ones are: the archway to honor the filial son, the archway to honor filial affection and the archway to honor the chaste wife Bao Wenling.

Xidi

西递

Xidi Village was built during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). In those times, people lived together based on clanship and consanguinity. Xidi was occupied by the Hu clan. There are more than 300 buildings in Xidi, which were mainly built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, among which 124 residential houses and three ancestral temples have been preserved in their original state. The layout of Xidi is well designed. It looks like a sailing boat. Most of the houses are composed of three rooms and a square yard.

As a famous village in Huizhou, Xidi thus housed many rich Hui merchants. These merchants wished to build their luxury houses in order to show off their wealth. But the strict hierarchy of society had restrictions which directly affected construction. So the merchants could only choose the best materials and utilize the most sophisticated workmanship for their place of residence. The memorial archway—built in 1578 by Hu Wenguang, who was a high official during the Ming Dynasty—is a good example of the Hui-style of stone carving. The best example of Hui-style brick sculpture is in the house of another Ming official, in a place called the West Garden.

It was listed as culture heritage by UNESCO in 2000.

Hongcun

hongcun

The village was built during the Northern Song Dynasty for the Wang clan. There are more than 140 well-preserved ancient houses in Hongchun that were built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Among them there is a place called Chengzhi Hall, which was built by a salt merchant during the Qing Dynasty and is now regarded as the “countryside palace museum”.

The most fascinating thing about this village is its “buffalo shape” design. An artificial water system was designed following the shape of a buffalo in order to supply water to every building for people’s routine life and also for their fields.

 It was listed as culture heritage by UNESCO in 2000.

Nanping

nanping

Due to the fact that there are so many big and beautiful ancient villages in the Huangshan region and because Chinese people have limited holiday time, Nanping is not a very popular tourist destination in the Huangshan region. But those tourists who skip going there don’t know what they’re missing.

This typical Hui village consists of more than 300 buildings and 72 lanes. In ancient times, the 8 Ancestral Temples in Nanping represented the power and influence of eight local families. The village has served as a backdrop for many famous movies, such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Judou”, which both featured the Chinese actress Gongli.

If you want to enjoy a truly beautiful and peaceful Hui village rather than simply a tourist attraction, Nanping is your best choice.

Ancestral temples: This was a kind of temple used by a family or a clan to worship their ancestors.

 

 

Accommodation: 4 nights in the featured old style hotels, which are all equipped with modern amenities, and 2 nights in 3-star hotels. You will have a single room in 2 of the featured old style hotels, and then you will be moved to shared rooms in the other 4 hotels.

Food: Two dinners consisting of authentic Hui cuisine. We will help make dinner arrangements for you on other days of the tour, but these meals are not included in the tour price.

Transportation: public transportation (train and coach) and taxis when necessary.

Hotel in Hui style

Duration: 7 Days and 6 Nights

Date:1st of Dec to the 7th of Dec, 2017

Cost: £780 per person (including: 6 nights of accommodation; entrance fees to all of the villages; 1 dinner; tea every day; the cost of all transportation during the designated tour times; English guide services; a pdf file with important information about Huizhou; information for your tour of Mt. Huangshan if needed; further help for your following travel in China).

£890 per person for 6 nights of single room accommodation.

Please Note: the price is based on at least 4 participants; the maximum number of participants is 10.

Itinerary:

Day 1 Meeting in Tunxi (Huangshan City)

If you need us to help you to buy the domestic train or air tickets, please let us know in advance and give us all of the details for your journey. People who plan on coming from Beijing have the opportunity to take the train with our tour guide if they would like to.

Accommodation: featured hotel in old, ancient-style house, shared room (2 people per room).

Dinner:  Not included. We will explore the local food market together and sample some tasty dishes.

Day 2 Chengkan

We will visit Chengkan, which is the first Hui village on our tour. It is a very typical example of a Hui village and it will give you a sense of what to expect from a Huizhou village.

Accommodation: featured hotel in old, ancient-style house in Chengkan village, shared room (2 people per room).

Welcome dinner: Hui cuisine.

Day 3 Huizhou Old Town (Shexian)

In ancient times Shexian was the central town in Huizhou. We will have a tour of the old town, then we will go to visit the Tangyue Memorial Archways and be treated to some historical stories about them, which reveal details about the strict moral rules surrounding filial piety and chastity in ancient times. We will then walk along the Xin’an River and visit the ink craft shops.

Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Shexian, shared room (2 people per room).

Dinner:  Not included. We can either have local food together or you can choose to explore the local restaurants on your own.

Day 4 Xidi

In the morning we will catch the train back to Tunxi and from there go to Yixian (where Xidi, Nanping and Hongcun are located) by coach.

We will then go to visit Xidi, the most famous village in the Huizhou region. However, we have chosen a better place than Xidi for our accommodation – Nanping, where it is much quieter. Nanping is in its original condition so it will undoubtedly give us the sensation of living on the set of an epic movie.

Accommodation: featured hotel in old, ancient-style house, in Nanping village, single rooms for everyone.

Dinner:  Not included. We can either have local food together or you can choose to explore the local restaurants on your own.

Day 5 Nanping and Hongcun

Although by this time we will have enjoyed the evening and the night in Nanping village, we will also spend some time the next morning taking in its beauty.

After that, in the afternoon we will head for Hongcun. It is a very short journey from Nanping to Hongcun so we can spend almost the entire afternoon visiting its various sites of interest.

Accommodation: featured hotel in old, ancient style house in Hongcun village, single rooms for everyone.

Dinner:  Not included. We can either have local food together or you can choose to explore the local restaurants on your own.

Day 6 Hongcun or Lucun

lucun

This is an option for everyone: you can either stay in Hongcun and enjoy the peaceful, picturesque countryside or go hiking in the neighboring village of Lucun, which is an authentic Hui village that doesn’t attract too many tourists.

Please Note: the entrance fee for Lucun is not included in the tour price and is around 50 RMB; the most famous attraction in Lucun is a wholly woodcut building and the entrance fee is 30 RMB.

Tips for staying in Hongcun: take time to venture out of the village in order to have a look at the tea fields on the mountains.

On the afternoon of the sixth day we will return to Tunxi.

Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Tunxi, shared room (2 people per room).

Dinner: Chinese cuisine in both Hui style and other styles.

Day 7 Tunxi

Participants are either free to start their return journey or continue their travels in China

We recommend Mukeng Bamboo Forest and the Mount Huangshan.

Note: if you want to visit Mukeng Bamboo Forest, or Mount Huang and need our help, please do not hesitate to tell us in advance.

 

Please Note: You can choose to stick to this tour entirely, or you can just incorporate it as part of your wider plans to travel across China. We can provide you with information and help you with any other travel plans you may have if you need us to. We also provide a hotel booking service and a flight or train booking service for all of our members’ traveling in China outside of this 7 designated days of the tour. We will also provide a consultancy service for you, which will help you to plan your journey across China and give you useful tips on traveling in China.

hizhou village03We hope that you will have a wonderful time traveling with us!

For more information, please contact us at: info@asiaculturaltravel.co.uk.

Explore the distinctive Tulou(Earthen Structure)

hongkeng tuloucover02

An amazing opportunity to experience the distinctive South Min culture in China

Fujian Province, which is sometimes shortened to “Min”, is located in southeast China and it takes up a large part of the southeast coast. Nearly 90% of Fujian’s land is mountainous, making it very suitable for growing tea and subtropical fruits.

South Min region refers, as its name implies, to an area in the south of Fujian province. It is the homeland of the Hoklo and Hakka people1. Both of these ethnic minorities speak their own dialects. We usually prefer to call them languages, rather than dialects, as they are so different from Mandarin that they are barely intelligible to the average Han Chinese person. Aside from their unique dialects, many of them also live in an unusual type of dwelling – a Tulou (meaning “Earthen Structure” in Chinese).

Tulou in Fujian

These peculiar structures are hidden up in the mountainous regions of Fujian, and entering one is like entering a different world, a peaceful and magical world.

Xiamen is the central city of South Min, and historically it was known as Amoy. It is an island city just about 1 kilometre away from Jinmen Island, which belongs to Taiwan. Xiamen was one of the first economic zones that were specially opened up to foreign investment in 1981. Nowadays, it is the most economically successful city in Fujian.

This fantastic journey will show you both the traditional and the modern sides of China.

xiamen

During this tour, we will

  1. explore Tulou life in Southern Fujian;
  2. enjoy the extremely beautiful scenery in the mountainous areas of Southern Fujian;
  3. taste a variety of local teas as part of a traditional Fujian tea ceremony.
  4. visit a colonial-style island (optional);
  5. visit modern Xiamen City (optional);
  6. learn about the history of the Hakka and Hoklo people;
  7. try various kinds of local food and subtropical fruits.

We offer a 5-day tour exploring Tulou in the mountainous regions of Southern Fujian, plus an optional 2-day tour of Xiamen city as a potential add-on.

Taxia village

The highlights of this tour:

I. Marvel the Unique Local Architecture

  1. Qilou

骑楼-漳州

Qilou, or Tong lau, appeared during the late 19th century, and are commonly found in the south of China in places such as Guangdong, Fujian, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

This style of building originated from Guangzhou, which was the most important commercial port for foreign trade during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is easy to see that the Qilou’s architectural style has been influenced by western architecture. The earliest Qilou were built by wealthy men to be stores in the business districts.

You will find various types of Qilou in Xiamen’s old business sector. It is a common sight in Southeast Asia. Most of the Qilou in Zhangzhou city were built in the traditional Chinese style, and did not adopt too many western features. This is because Zhangzhou is not as big a port as Xiamen so it was not subjected to as much western influence.

 

  1. Tulou (Earthen Structure)

Fujian Tulou04

A Tulou is a large enclosed construction that is usually circular or rectangular in shape and is used to house multiple families. There are more than 3,700 Tulou in the mountainous regions of South Min, which were all built by Hakka or Hoklo people. These large clay buildings are usually two- to five-storeys high and were built in such a way for defensive purposes. One Tulou is usually for one clan and the people of said clan would often conduct all of their social interactions inside of this “castle”. (Read more about Fujian Tulou)

Twelve Tulou have been selected by us to visit on this tour. All of them are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. We will also be given the opportunity to visit other Tulou in the nearby villages either together or separately.

 

  1. Traditional Chinese (Han-style) buildings

传统建筑-云水谣

Hoklo and Hakka people were both originally Han people. They still maintain some aspects of traditional Han culture, including Han architecture. So in the Hakka villages you will not only find Tulou but also traditional Han-style buildings.

 

 

  1. Colonial-style buildings in Gulangyu Island

Gulangyu Island

Gulangyu is a small island that is just a few minutes’ drive away from the main island of Xiamen. It is the most famous tourist attraction in the Xiamen area because of its peaceful atmosphere and seemingly colonial style. From 1850 through to 1900, after the Opium War, many western traders settled on Gulangyu and built western style houses there. You may feel as though this small island is more like a western city rather than an Asian island.

 

  1. Modern skyscrapers in Xiamen City

厦门night

As one of the most economically successful cities in China, Xiamen has many new and modern buildings. It serves as a typical example of the rapid development happening in certain Asian cities, but it is much more beautiful than many of these other Asian cities.

 

 

II. See the Amazing Land Views

Fujian is one of the most prominent tea growing provinces in China. There are tea fields on almost every mountain in Fujian. What’s more, since Fujian is a mountainous region, terraces must be carved into the hills and mountains in order to grow rice there.

Fujian Terrace

 

III. Try the Subtropical Fruits

You will find many fruits in Fujian that you will have only previously seen in books. Feel free to try them, so long as you have a strong stomach.

fruits

 

IV. Try the Local Food

The food in South Min is very similar to the food in Taiwan. The Hoklo people are also notoriously good at cooking seafood.

On top of that, if you love Chinese tea, Fujian is the province for you, since a wide array of top quality Chinese teas are grown there.

厦门小吃

V. Taste the Various Local Teas

Hakka and Hoklo people are famous for producing high-quality teas. In the Tulou area, they make tea not only from tea leaves, but also from fruits and wild flowers. These types of tea have a light fragrance but a strong and sumptuous flavour that will linger in your mouth. Each type of tea has different medicinal properties according to its ingredients.

Tulou Tea

 

VI. Stay in Tulou Hotel

No one can gain a real insight into any culture by just visiting local attractions and villages. In order to give you an up-close and personal look at Hoklo and Hakka culture that you will never forget, we have chosen a real Tulou as our accommodation for the tour. Let’s explore real life in a Tulou together.

tulou hotel

 

The Location of Fujian in China:

fujian

Accommodation: We will stay in Tulou hotel in the mountainous regions of Fujian for 2 nights of the tour, and a 3-Star hotel in Zhangzhou for 1 night, a 4-Star hotel in Xiamen for 1 night of the tour (plus an extra 2 nights in a 4-star hotel should you decide to expand your tour of Xiamen).

Note: : There are no en-suite bathrooms in the Tulou hotels because of their design. All rooms will have a shared toilet and bathroom.

Food: We will provide 3 meals per day, consisting of local Chinese food, when staying in the mountainous region of Fujian. Breakfast and dinner will be provided in Xiamen city. Our guide will be on hand to help you order lunch in Xiamen.

Transportation: mini coach

Duration: 5 days and 5 nights (plus an extra, optional 2 day tour in Xiamen as specified above)

Dates of the tour:

10th of Dec to the 14th of Dec, 2017 (or the 16th of Dec, 2017 should you choose to add the extra 2 day tour of Xiamen to your trip)

Cost pp:

£680 (including: 5 nights of accommodation; all entrance fees to the attractions; all meals during the 3 days spent in the mountainous region of Fujian and 2 breakfast and 2 dinner in Xiamen; all transportation costs during designated tour times; the services of an English speaking guide; a pdf file with information about Tulou; help with any further travel in China following the tour).

£880 (all of the above plus: an extra 2 day tour in Xiamen, including the services of an English speaking guide and transportation costs during designated tour times; two extra night of accommodation in Xiamen; one extra dinner in Xiamen)

Single supp:£280

Please Note: the cost is based on the subscription of no less than 4 participants; the maximum number of participants being 10.

Itinerary:

Day 1 Meeting up in Xiamen

We will meet you at the hotel in Xiamen. If you are planning on flying into Xiamen, the hotel is within the airport area and can be easily found. If you are planning on coming to Xiamen by train, you can either make your own way to the hotel or we will happily pick you up from the railway station and take you to the hotel. You need to book this service in advance.

Accommodation: 4-star hotel near Xiamen airport

Day 2 Tianluokeng Group of Tulou

In the morning we will head out towards the most famous group of Tulou – Tianluokeng, or “Four Dishes and one Soup” Tulou.

Tianluokeng consists of three circular Tulou and one square-shaped Tulou, which, from above, resembles the common layout for a family dinner. Its unique appearance earned it the name “four dishes and one soup”.

First we will enjoy the panoramic view from up the mountain, and then we will travel down the mountain to visit the village. Although Tianloukeng village is the most famous Tulou village, most of its visitors tend to just view it from a distance, up on the mountain, and do not enter the village itself. Unlike them, we will get to experience a real Tulou village by going there directly. Read more about Tianluokeng Village.

tianluokeng

We will sample the local tea in a Fujian-style tea ceremony. Before you get the wrong idea, this isn’t a luxury experience! You’ll get to enjoy drinking tea in the same traditional way that the locals do, looking out at the lofty mountains while listening to the folk tales of the Hakka people.

Accommodation: Tulou Hotel in Tianluokeng

Day 3 Yuchang Lou, Taxia Village and Hongkeng village

On the way to Hongkeng village, we will come across another very famous Tulou, Yuchang Lou, which is particularly amazing because all of its pillars are made out of plum wood. It is also the tallest Tulou in existence. Yuchang Lou is in a small, tranquil and traditional village without tourists.

Fujian Tulou, Yuchang lou

Then we will go to explore the village of Taxia, which is famous for the seamless way in which the Tulou blend in with their natural surroundings. Read more about Taxia Village.

Accommodation: Tulou Hotel in Taxia Village

Day 4 Yunshuiyao Village, Zhangzhou

We will spend the whole morning in Yunshuiyao village soaking in the peace and beauty of the mountainous countryside.

Yunshuiyao is village with hundreds of years of history behind it, particularly with reference to the Jian clan. It is reminiscent of the legendary “Shangri-la” in appearance and atmosphere. Most of the buildings in the village are clay houses which were built during the Qing Dynasty, including a big Ancestral Hall2 for the Jian family. There are several banyan trees on the riverside that are hundreds of years old. One of them is the biggest banyan tree in Fujian Province and this banyan tree has some branches that are more than 30 meters long. Read more about Yunshuiyao Village.

云水谣

We will visit two Tulou, which are near to Yunshuiyao village.

Huaiyuan Lou is considered a perfect example of the round-style of Tulou, while Heguilou is the best example of the rectangular-style of Tulou (more details about these two types of Tulou can be found in the article entitled “Fujian Tulou”). Another distinguishing feature of Hegui Lou is that the whole compound has been built on marshland. Isn’t that amazing?

In the late afternoon, we will head for Zhangzhou.

Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Zhangzhou

Day 5 Xiamen

We will visit the Ming-Qing Streets in Zhangzhou (streets which were built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties).

We will return to Xiamen in the late afternoon.

Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Xiamen

Add-ons:

beachDay 6 Xiamen City – Qilou, Zengcuo An and the Seaside

Siming district is the business centre of Xiamen Island and there you will find many typical South Min-style buildings, known as Qilou.

Zengcuo An is a small village on the seaside. All of the villagers used to be fishermen. Nowadays it serves as a typical example of a coastal village in Xiamen. All of the houses have been changed so that their architectural style incorporates more western features. However, you will still find some of their original, local features are intact. You will also find all of the traditional South Min style dishes and local subtropical fruits in Zengcuo An. They are all worth trying so don’t forget to sample some local delicacies whilst you’re there.

At the seaside, there is a long plank road that runs alongside the beach, which you can take a walk along if you like. Or you may prefer to just sunbathe on the soft, white sand.

Read more about Xiamen.

Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Xiamen

Gulangyu IslandDay 7 Gulangyu Island 

We will go to Gulangyu Island by ferry. After we have visited the buildings of major interest on the island, you will be given the opportunity to explore the island and enjoy some of the local attractions by yourself. Read more about Gulang Island.

Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Xiamen

 

 

Notes:

  1. Hoklo people and Hakka People:

From the West Jin Dynasty (307-12 BCE), there were several great immigrations from central China to Fujian, among them the one took place in the late Tang Dynasty (7th-8th century) was on a particular large scale. Those who settled down in southeast of Fujian Province became the Hoklo people. During the Song Dynasty, because of the conquest by the Jin ethnic group in northern China, many people fled from central China again, bringing with them the culture and language, and finally settled down in Fujian, Guangdong and Jiangxi. These people formed the Hakka group.

  1. Ancestral Hall:

It is a kind of temple for a family or a clan to worship their ancestors.

 

饮茶

Please Note: You can choose to stick to this tour entirely, or you can just incorporate it as part of your wider plans to travel across China. We can provide you with information and help you with any other travel plans you may have if you need us to. We also provide a hotel booking service and a flight or train booking service for all of our members’ traveling in China outside of the 5 designated days of the tour. We will also provide a consultancy service for you, which will help you to plan your journey across China and give you useful tips on traveling in China.

We hope that you will have a wonderful time traveling with us! 

For more information, please contact us at: info@asiaculturaltravel.co.uk.

Explore Chinese Culture through the Ages

forbidden city Beijing

From Dynasties to the Digital Age: Experience China’s Changing Culture on a Tour of its most Celebrated Landmarks 

15 Days from £2,200 pp

 

It is impossible to see all of the stunning attractions that China has to offer in one trip, but a well-designed tour will afford you the opportunity to discover many of its most celebrated landmarks and follow the fascinating historical timeline that has led to China as we know it today.

The culture of the Han ethnic majority originated from Central China and currently plays a dominate role in Chinese communities throughout the world. Yet it is towards the north that we will turn our attention, to the home of Beijing and Xi’an, which are considered the two most important capital cities in Chinese history. Some of the most successful dynasties made these cities their base, and they subsequently flourished as hubs of Chinese culture. Ancient history carries forward to the modern-day, as Beijing remains China’s capital and centre of culture.

Similarly Nanjing was not only one of China’s ancient capitals, but also served as the capital of the Republic of China, as evidenced by the Presidential Palace. However capital cities aren’t the only thing on the agenda, as we’ll also visit two areas that were integral to the development and success of China’s culture and economy; Shanxi and Huizhou. After all, you can’t have a capital without capital! Bringing our tour right up to the modern day, we’ll also be visiting Shanghai, a city in China synonymous with technology, fashion, and keeping ahead of the curve. So join us on our tour, where we’ll discover how Chinese culture adapted from imperial times right through to the modern day. And we’ll tackle a couple of the country’s most scenic mountains while we’re at it!

During our tour, we will:

  1. Explore the old part of Beijing, the old part of Xi’an, the city of Nanjing, and Shanghai. This adventure will take us from imperial palaces to the contemporary presidential palace, from ancient Xi’an to modern Shanghai. We’ll even make a stop at Pingyao Old Town, which features stunning architecture that was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and has been beautifully preserved;pingyao old town
  2. Visit a few of the Shanxi Grand Compounds, which were built by wealthy merchants during Shanxi’s prosperous periods;wang's family compound
  3. Compare the mansions built by Shanxi merchants with those built by Huizhou merchants;shanxi anhui architecture
  4. Uncover the myth behind the Bagua village of Chengkan;chengkan village
  5. Marvel at the Forbidden City and the legendary Terracotta Army;forbidden palace panoramic
  6. Challenge two of the tallest and most beautiful mountains in China: Mount Hua and Mount Huang;mount hua &mount huang
  7. Hike along a portion of the magnificent Great Wall;Mutianyu GreatWall
  8. Enjoy stunning views of the Loess Plateau and the mountainous landscape that surrounds Mount Huang;shanxi & huizhou
  9. Experience the modern-day China in Shanghaishanghai01
  10. Sample traditional Beijing-style, Shaanxi-style, Anhui-style, and Jiangsu-style cuisine;
  11. chinese foodLearn about the history of China, particularly with reference to the histories of Shanxi and Huizhou;Hui Ancestral Hall
  12. Experience what it’s like to live in traditional Chinese dwellings, such as Shanxi Courtyard Houses and Hui-style mansions.pingyao hotel

The Route for Our Trip:

cultural tour ages

More information about the tour:

Highlights of the Tour

Itinerary

Cost

Dates: 1st of April to the 15th of April 2018

Final Deadline for Subscription: 20th of Feb 2018

Although these dates are for the group tours, we can also customise any of our tours according to the dates you prefer. The dates shown are simply a suggestion to give you an idea of the tour’s length and to reflect how much notice we need before booking you on your tour of choice. Tour dates can easily be adjusted depending on your personal preferences and needs.

Please Note: You can choose to stick to this tour entirely, or you can just incorporate it as part of your wider plans to travel across China. We can provide you with information and help you with any other travel plans you may have if you need us to. We also provide a hotel booking service and a flight or train booking service for all of our members’ traveling in China outside of the 15 designated days of the tour. We will also provide a consultancy service for you, which will help you to plan your journey across China and give you useful tips on traveling in China.

We hope that you will have a wonderful time traveling with us! 

For more information, please contact us at: info@asiaculturaltravel.co.uk.

 

Explore the culture of Ethnic minorities in Southeast Guizhou

drum tower yintan

Our epic adventure tour is designed to help you discover and connect with fascinating cultures that are vastly different from your own. The accommodation available to you in this region may be basic but the unique architecture and stunning scenery is so awe-inspiring, so unforgettably beautiful, that it will more than make up for any inconvenience you face there.

The majority of the tour will be focused on visiting villages inhabited by two of China’s ethnic minorities: the Dong people; and the Miao people. Both are renowned throughout the country as talented singers and performers.

The Dong ethnic group

dong ethnic minority 01

The Dong ethnic group are renowned for their musical ability and their skill as carpenters. From the Kam Grand Choirs to the looming Drum Towers, Dong villages are a place of harmony and wonder. The Dong people boast a population of nearly 3 million in China and the vast majority of them are concentrated in eastern Guizhou, western Hunan and northern Guangxi.

The Dong people’s talent and penchant for music evolved from their habit of singing folk songs while they were working or farming. Many of these songs are based on enchanting folk tales that were based around topics related to daily life, mainly about the pursuit of true love. The beauty of their music is matched only by the intricacy of their architecture, manifested in their characteristic Drum Towers and Wind-Rain Bridges.

Nowadays most Dong people still follow a traditional way of life in their hometowns. To this day you can still see their magnificent architecture, their traditional style of dress, and their vibrant local festivals But unfortunately more and more young people from the Dong community are being drawn to cities in the hopes of achieving a better, more modern quality of life The art of batik, embroidery, silverwork, and even singing is gradually being lost. Nowadays, in some Dong villages, you can still enjoy some authentic “performances” that are not staged for tourists. But who knows how long this opportunity will last? Read more about the Dong Ethnic Group.

The Miao ethnic group

Miao intro

The history of the Miao people is shrouded in mystery, but modern research suggests that they may have been among the earliest settlers in China. Researchers have found that many Chinese words related to rice farming were borrowed from the Miao language, which indicates that the Miao were some of the first rice cultivators in the country and may have done so over 5,000 years ago!. This, along with DNA evidences, connects the Miao to the ancient Daxi people, whose history dates back approximately 5,300 to 6,000 years. The Daxi have long been credited as the first cultivators of rice in the Far East, and it appears that the Miao may have been among them.

The Miao prefer to live in mountainous areas and have developed a special type of dwelling to this end. This dwelling, known as a diaojiaolou. The front of the house is supported by pillars, whilst the rear is suspended on wooden stilts to keep it level with the mountainside. This makes it look as though the building is hanging off of the mountain!.

The Miao are adept at carpentry and wickerwork, but are best known for their mastery of silversmithing, embroidery, and batik. The Miao women hand weave and dye cloth, then sew and embroider it by hand to make all of their clothes. The patterns incorporate themes based partly on the natural world and partly on the artists’ imagination, which is why dragons and phoenixes often feature in Miao craftwork and why certain animals and plants look different to how they appear in real life. Their creativity is legendary and their traditional dress, resplendent with colour, is the highlight of any traditional Miao festival. Read more about the Miao Ethnic Group.

During the tour, we will:

1. Discover the culture and lifestyle of the Dong and Miao ethnic minorities.

D&M culture

 

2. Study the traditional architecture of Dong and Miao villages;

basha miao village

 

3. Witness first-hand the delicate traditional dress and adornments of the Dong and Miao people;

Dong minority dressing

 

4. Listen to the beautiful songs and watch the graceful performances that are associated with the traditional culture and customs of the Dong and Miao minorities;

D&M performance

 

5. Enjoy the stunning mountainous landscape of Guizhou province;

guizhou moutains

 

6. Sample the delicious local cuisine.

Guizhou&Guangxi food

 

What information will we provide you with in advance?

  • Useful information about the Dong and Miao ethnic minorities, including their culture and customs, their way of life, their architecture, their traditional dress and adornments, the geography of their hometowns and their current situation;
  • Specific information about each village on your trip.

guizhou china

 

 

More information of the tour:

Highlights of the Tour

Itinerary

Cost

 

Dates of the tour: 7th of Sep – 18th of Sep 2018

Final Deadline for Subscription:  15th of July 2018

 

 

Basha familyPlease Note: You can choose to stick to this tour entirely, or you can just incorporate it as part of your wider plans to travel across China. We can provide you with information and help you with any other travel plans you may have if you need us to. We also provide a hotel booking service and a flight or train booking service for all of our members’ traveling in China outside of the 5 designated days of the tour. We will also provide a consultancy service for you, which will help you to plan your journey across China and give you useful tips on traveling in China.

We hope that you will have a wonderful time traveling with us! 

For more information, please contact us at: info@asiaculturaltravel.co.uk.