Blogs from Yongding, Fujian, China, Asia

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Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding November 5th 2014

Quanzhou railway station was on the outskirts of the city and was extremely large and modern. Railway and intercity bus terminals in China have all been taken from the centre of the cities to the outskirts and housed in smart glossy terminals resembling airports. Some are very large.... It only took an hour and half to reach Longyan, where we had to catch a bus onward to the tulou region. The tulou (which means earth) houses were built by the Hakka people (one of the Chinese ethnic groups) and are made of rammed earth and glutinous rice, reinforced with bamboo and wood chips. The structures were large enough to house clans (a hundred or so families) and were often built in circular form with an open area in the centre. With only one entrance (with a ... read more
Taken on one of the bridges in Taxia village
Trays of persimmons drying in Liuilian
The tulou in which we climbed around the internal verandahs and stairways

Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding August 1st 2014

Hi All, Another Chinese minority crossed of the list. The people who live around Liulian are Hakka Chinese. These people migrated from north western China during the Jin dynasty escaping famine and persecution. The buildings which they constructed here are called tulou, means earth house. They are built from rammed earth and wood and are on a circular or square design. They were built to protect the people from bandits and wild animals. They would house entire clans and some still do. The kitchen and wells are on the ground floor with storage on the 1st floor with living accommodation above that. All of the tulou have an ancestral hall which in some was just a small shrine while in others were elaborate buildings. The inner rings in some tulou were guest rooms and schools. Thy ... read more
My home for the next couple of nights
My home for the next couple of nights
My home for the next couple of nights

Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding August 1st 2014

Hi All, I slept really well but there's something odd staying in the tulou room, the floor slopes from back to front it's quite strange. I had an appointment with my motorcycle friend to take me out at 9 am. It was spitting with rain, another typhoon, but at least it was a lot cooler than the day before. He took me first to the viewing point were I could see tulou all the way down the valley, round ones, square ones and even a U-shaped one. A really incredible view with the rice terracing and tea plantations. The natural beauty is incredible. We then went to visit Huanji Lou. This was the most beautiful of all the ones that we visited. There was nobody selling gifts, tea etc. just the people who lived there, and ... read more
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Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding March 26th 2013

It was spring festival holiday in China. This involves endless firecrackers being let off in the streets throughout the week and over a billion people travelling to their family homes. It was recommended to us to avoid travelling since all public transportation are booked up and relatively more expensive than usual. Perhaps travel on bike would be a good idea. I got further inspired while on one of my longish bike rides in the mountains surrounding Fuzhou, when I came across a guy biking home for the spring festival. He was going to Gutain, just 130km up the road! He had no pannier bags, just a ruksack attached to a rack on the back of his bike. I stopped and had lunch with him, which was quite handy because he ordered some decent vegetarian food. His ... read more
Mining in Longyan
On the way
Surrounding countryside

Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding July 17th 2012

The hills around Luilian are really worth getting up early in the morning for. We set out to see Tulous at 7, the three of us, alice's father in Law, my mother and me, all on one motorbike. It's not that I haven't done triplets on a bike before; in college in Ahmedabad we do it all the time. There it's with other people who are just as crazy as me. But here it was going to be, a middle aged, jovial, heavily tanned Chinese man and my mother. And the funniest part was that I was the only one who was concerned about it. Even though I knew we intended to travel this way for a whole day, in rain or sunshine, village paths, gravel, paved areas, concreted roads, steep slopes, gentle meadows, yet I ... read more
Temple
On the motorbike
Temple 2

Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding July 16th 2012

Landed in Xiamen in the morning today. Just before the plane touches the ground, we could see the serpentine bridge between the island of Xiamen and the main land. And after a painful search for a long distance bus to take us to Longyan we found ourselves, mom and I, sitting in one, crossing over to the main land via the same bridge. We hardly saw much of Xiamen, except maybe the traffic jam because of which we could have missed our bus from the travel distribution centre. (No idea why they prefer referring to us like cattle, distributing travellers?) Anyway, the bus was better than what I expected it to be, you see Longyan was supposed to be a really small town. We crossed some lovely stretches of hills, which slowly turned into layers of ... read more
In the bus to Longyan
misty hills
the HIGHway to Longyan

Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding January 30th 2011

I’ve never before worried about the food I’ve eaten in China. Raw meat, dubious looking street food, insects, grubs and my fair share of rocket fuel (rice wine) have passed through my lips without even the hint of illness. My luck was bound to run out before I left China and it came as no surprise it did in a place I’ve spent more time in over the past few weeks than any other: a train station. Tunxi train station to be exact. With rotten egg burps and a bubbling digestive track, I was hoping I’d last long enough to lose my dignity on the train in the privacy of a locked toilet. Like with a tempestuous, volatile volcano, my stomach could not be contained and I found myself shuffling towards the grimy, smoke-filled restrooms as ... read more
Yuchang Lou - Fujian Province
Yuchang Lou - Fujian Province
Chengqi Lou - Fujian Province

Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding December 2nd 2010

We were looking forward to some more rural experiences with all of the big city travel that we've been doing recently, especially before we get to Hong Kong. Yongding county is mentioned several times in our guidebook and seemed like just the place to get this rural experience. The big draw here is the Tulou roundhouse buildings of the Hakka people which have mostly been abandoned, but are now used for tourism and many are even converted into guesthouses where tourists can get the authentic experience. We hopped on a direct bus from Xiamen to Yongding expectiong to have to back-track to Liulian which is the most convenient place from which to visit the Tulous. Instead the bus stopped apparently in the middle of nowhere and we were ushered off as the ticket lady exclaimed, "Tulou!" ... read more
Puppy
Our tulou room
Spicy stir-fried eggplant

Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding December 28th 2009

So... honestly where do I start, at the beginning I suppose! When last I left you I was sunning myself on Christmas day on a truly magical isle. The “former” God know to all as Lonely Planet says in its 10 things you have to do in China “you haven’t been to China if you didn’t wake by the sound of a cockerel in a Tolou.” These are enclosed villages, were a whole community effectively live in one rather large house, please Google them for the history as I have neither the knowledge nor the skill to tell you properly. What I will tell you that in 1985 the Yanks spotted these with a reconissense satellite (KH22) and thought they were nuclear launchers and sent a spy to check it out (Howard H Beck) I don’t ... read more
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Asia » China » Fujian » Yongding November 13th 2009

Hakka village, Liulian After the mountain climbing in Huang Shan Chris spotted a new destination for us on the map of China. Hakka villages with special tolou houses in South East China. So we took some adventurous train and bus rides to arrive to the middle of nowhere village of Liulian (I bet you wont find it on the map). The village is famous of the constructions by Hakka people, they built huge so-called tolou houses, where they could fit few hundred people. This tradition came from the era of the clans, where clans were living in close communities. In order to protect themselves from the bandits and wild animals the clans built these round or rectangular or oval shaped buildings, which walls were made of bamboo sticks, glutinous rice and some wood chips. The bedrooms ... read more
Tolou house
Our room...
The Lady with her Teapot




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