Having visited Beijing and Shanghai (which we have thoroughly enjoyed) we decided to see a bit of rural China as well. There are many beautiful places, not enough time…in the end we made our way to Wuyuan, a region with numerous little villages, a traditional way of life….it looks like the time has stopped here.
We based ourselves in the village of Quinghua. It has rather dilapidated houses (even though they are probably not that old) and generally does not look very pretty. That is until you find the old part. The old road is very narrow and has lots of houses built nearly on top of each other. We had a peek or two inside some of them. Well, the furnishings are very basic, the floors are bare, chairs look like they remember a lot. People live their lives outside – sitting on rickety chairs in front of their houses, talking to friends, playing cards, children running up and down…and at meal times, holding their bowls and chopsticks and continuing their conversations. The highlight of the place is The Rainbow bridge (meaning luck) which is very pretty. It raises above a slow lazy river where you can take a bamboo boat trip (equally slow). There is an old water wheel, which used to be a part of the mill, now only as an attraction for the tourists.
After a 10 minute bumpy mini-bus ride and a 2 minute taxi drive, we find ourselves in the village of Yancun. With its white houses and narrow roads it looks like the old Quinghua. Many of the houses are old Qing residences that people still live in. 15 minutes up the stream we find another little village – Sixi. This one is the most picturesque of the lot with a prow shaped covered wooden bridge and many Qing residences that are open to the public. It was rather sad to see people using original furniture dating couple of hundreds years back.(How much longer is it going to last?) It was like watching people living in a museum. Locals were quite friendly but not much perturbed by our presence. They went about their daily business washing clothes and dishes in the river (the water was not exactly clean), chatting to their friends outside the houses etc. It was magic 🙂
The last one of the villages called Little Likeng was probably the most picturesque with old white houses lining the streams that have a 300 year old bridge in the spot where they meet. The village was rather busy during the day (packed with chinese tourists rather than foreigners) but hasn’t lost any of its tranquility. We stayed in a little hotel overlooking one of the streams, and when we walked by the stream in the evening, the path was lit by a few red chinese lamps hanging from the shutters of the houses.