Welcome to China’s villages and historic towns. Often touted for its ever changing city skylines, China’s countryside shows a very different side of the country. From beautiful riverside villages to snow covered mountain towns. From mysterious tulou (earthen buildings) to awe-inspiring rice terraces. Traveling rural China can be an eye-opening experience.
I spent more than 18 months in China, spread over the course of a decade and a half. In the last years, I started filming the places that I traveled to, using regular cameras and drones. All footage in this travel video is shot by myself between 2010 and 2019.
For other travel videos in the same Top 10 format, click here:
Top 10 Places in Central Asia and the Caucasus: https://youtu.be/ZC8OkVxbxh4
Copyright of all footage: Hoffer Media
Here’s a brief overview of the content in this video:
We start off this journey in Yuanyang, a spectacular mountain region where you can find some of the world’s most jaw-dropping rice terraces. Staying with local families is a great way to explore the area, filled with breathtaking landscapes and friendly villages.
Xuexiang is located in the North of China, and is mostly known for its extreme Winter weather, with freezing temperatures and layers of snow. It’s a popular tourist attraction and beautiful sight. The ‘tulou’ buildings in Fujian province are the next destination. These structures were used by the local Hakka people as defense against rivaling communities and bandits. While many still function as homes, some are now used as restaurants and hotels for tourists.
Lijiang is one of China’s most beautiful historic towns, with classic architecture and narrow lanes that can be explored for days. Nearby Dali is worth a visit for its incredible Three Pagodas and Buddhist temple. We travel onwards to Xiahe, a tranquil town just outside Tibet proper. Join monks and pilgrims on traditional koras, and soke up Tibetan culture.
Yangshuo, on the banks of the Li River, might be one of China’s most famous villages, surrounded by mesmerizing limestone hills and mountains. It also provides a good insight into farming life in the country (you can rent bicycles and motorcycles for nice day trips). Shaoshan is a somewhat odd place. It’s the birthplace of Mao Zedong, regarded as the founder of the People’s Republic. The village is a popular stop on the ‘Red Tourism’ trail, a government propaganda campaign.
Fenghuang is a stunning ancient village in the same Hunan province, with incredible architecture, including stone bridges and towers, stilt houses, and a city wall. The next spot on my list is Zhujiajao a popular ‘water town’, not far from Shanghai.
We finish this tour in Pingyao, perhaps the best preserved walled town (or small city) in the country. It used to be an important center of trade and finance, and it’s fascinating to walk the quiet neighborhoods and intriguing alleyways.