Fujian Tulou, the top 10 folk houses in China

Updated: 2012-08-25
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Fujian Tulou


Fujian Tulou is a type of Chinese rural dwellings of the Hakka and Minnan people in Fujian. Because Hakka people like to live together in remote mountainous and forested regions, they built fortified houses to defend themselves against fierce animals and thieves. Built on a stone base, the Tulou's thick walls were packed with dirt and internally fortified with wood. The first Tulou appeared during the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), and the building style developed over the following dynasties until reaching its current form as found during the period of the Republic of China (1912 - 1949). Its design incorporates the traditions of Feng shui, showing a perfect combination of unique traditional architecture with picturesque scenery.

Travel tips: 
Hours: 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. 

Nanjing Tulou: 100 yuan/person;
Yongding Tulou: 90 yuan/person;
Hua'an Tulou Cluster: 90 yuan/person;

How to get there: take the railway from Guangzhou City to Zhangzhou City, Yongding County and then take a bus to Tulou (less than 25 yuan/person).



Kaiping Diaolou (Watchtower Houses in Kaiping)

Kaiping Diaolou are fortified multi-storey towers mainly located in Kaiping City of Guangdong Province. They feature a unique architectural style, which combines an elegant Western style with the earthy countryside in southern China. The number of Diaolou is more than 3,000. Now there are 1,800 units scattered over 15 counties. They were first built in late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and were booming in early 1920s with the development of overseas Chinese. Diaolou served as the filming site of the famous movie "Let the Bullets Fly." Due to abundant numbers and varied architecture styles, it is known as the Museum of Watchtower Houses

Travel tips:
Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Admission: 180 yuan/person

How to get there:
Bus: take a bus from Guangdong Provincial Bus Station to Kaiping;
Take a bus from Zhongshan Balu Bus Station to Kaiping;
Self-driving: driving through Kaiyang Highway and State way 325, the travel time is over one hour.



Wang Family's Grand Courtyard

Located in Jingshen Town, 12 km east of Lingshi County, Shanxi Province, Wang Family's Grand Courtyard, or "Wang Jia Da Yuan", is the largest folk residence among all the well-known grand courtyards. It was built by Wang Family, one of the four grand families of Lingshi County from Kangxi Emperor's Reign (1661 - 1722) to Jiaqing Emperor's Reign (1796 - 1820) of the Qing Dynasty (1636 - 1911), featuring the architecture style of the Qing Dynasty. It consists of five alleys, five fortresses and five ancestral halls. It has 231 small courtyards and 2,078 rooms, covering an area of 80,000 square meters. The layout of the yards shows the strict hierarchical system of ancient China. Rooms and yards with different scales were offered to people in accordance with their social status.

Travel tips:
Hours: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Admission: 66 yuan/person

How to get there: take a flight or train to Taiyuan, then take a bus from Taiyuan Bus Station to Lingshi County.



Courtyard of Family Qiao

Located in Qiaojiabao Village, Qixian County, 54 km north of Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, the Courtyard of Family Qiao was built in the late 1700s by the then influential Qiao family. The entire courtyard house covers an area of 4,175 square meters and consists of 6 main courtyards and 20 smaller ones, with 313 rooms altogether. Looking from the pavilion on the southwest corner is a great way to have a bird's-eye view of the entire complex. Beyond the gate is a wall on which is carved Chinese characters, evoking the theme of longevity. Various kinds of red lanterns hanged in courtyards, and the carving on the roof is very delicate. It has been featured in many famous Chinese movies and TV series, including the well-known film "Raise the Red Lantern." This internationally acclaimed film fully demonstrated the house's character.

Travel tips:
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (autumn and winter); 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (spring and summer)

Admission: 40 yuan

How to get here: Taiyuan Travel Agency has a direct bus to the the Qiao Family Courtyard House, costing 80 yuan.



House of the Chancellor in Huangcheng

Located in Beiliu Town of Jincheng City, Shanxi Province, the House of the Chancellor in Huangcheng is the former home of Chen Tingjing, who was the prominent prime minister of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty and the editor-in-chief of the dictionary Kangxi Zidian. It is divided into inner town and outer town, which has 16 courtyards with 640 rooms altogether, covering an area of 36,000 square meters. The inner town was built in the fifth year of Chongzhen Emperor (1632), which has eight courtyards, featuring Ming Dynasty architecture. The outer town was finished in the 24th year of the Kanxi Emperor (1703).

Travel tips:
8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (winter)
8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (summer)

Admission: 110 yuan

How to get there: The railway lines of Shi-Tai, Jing-Bao, Jing-Yuan,Tai-Jiao and Han-Chang all go through Shanxi Province and connect most large and medium-size cities in the country;
There are airports in Taiyuan, Datong, Wutaishan and Changzhi;
The national highways of 108, 109, 207, 208, 209, 307 and 309 run through the province and go to Gansu, Ningxia, Hebei, Beijing and Inner Mongolia.



Liu's Manor Museum (Former Residence of the Liu Family)

Located in Dayi County of Sichuan Province, the Liu's Manor Museum was the former residence of the big landlord Liu Wencai. It covers an area of 70,000 square meters, and consists of two big architecture groups. The buildings are very luxurious, and include various shapes such as rectangles, squares and terraces. It was converted into a museum in October 1958. It now houses an extensive collection of over 27,000 cultural relics, including a suit of rosewood desks and chairs with marbles in it. In addition, 8 of them are embedded with 27 colorful pearls. The manor exhibits the life of Liu Wencai, which consisted of four parts, and shows the day-to-day life of the affluent landlord. The museum is an ideal place to learn about Neoteric and Modern Chinese history.

Travel tips:
Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Admission: 50 yuan 


How to get there: take a bus from Chengdu Railway Station or Jinsha Bus Station to Anren, the price is 10 yuan.



Hongcun Village

Located in Northeast of Yixian County, Anhui Province, this village is famous for its long history, deep culture and splendid environment. Hongcun Village was built in the Southern Song Dynasty (1131 - 1162), which has over 800 years of history. As the village's layout looks like an ox, this village is also called "Ox-shaped Village." Leigang Mountain is the ox head; the verdant dark green trees its horn; the folk houses the body; the lakes are the stomach and four ancient bridges near the village are the legs. Most people are surnamed Wang. It is known as "the live module of researching the ancient water conservancy history of China."

Travel tips:
1. Jushantang is a very good hostel in Hongcun Village. It is famous for elegant decoration and delicious village cuisine. It cost 80 yuan per person including three meals;

2. It has many tasty snacks, such as Daode cake, that you shouldn't miss.

Hours: all day long

Admission: 104 yuan

How to get there: take a bus from the Yixian county seat; the journey only costs two yuan.



Xidi Village

Located near Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province, Xidi village was built during the Song Dynasty. Now, there are 124 brick-wood buildings with a neat layout, elegant decoration and deep cultural connotation of Ming and Qing styles. All of its features are rare in China. Xidi village is known as "The Most Beautiful Village in the World" and "The Ancient Treasures of the Vernacular Architecture." It has many famous buildings, such as the Governor Huwenguang Archway (also called Xidi Archway), which is famous for its elegant modeling grave and the outstanding stone carving techniques. Some Hui-style and courtyard-style private houses are also very famous.

Travel tips:
1. Eating and shopping are very convenient;

2. There are many cheap and clean hotels near the village;

3. It was listed as the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 2000.

Hours: all day long

Admission: 104 yuan

How to get there: take a bus from Yixian County to Xidi and the bus fare is only two yuan.



Yulin Manor of Jiang Yaozu

Situated in Liujiamao Village, Mizhi County, Yulin City of Shaanxi Province, the manor was built by Jiang Yaozu, the richest man in the village during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty (1861 - 1875). Covering an area of over 40 mu (2.7 hectares), it consists of three parts: lower, central and upper sections. The lower part is surrounded by a 9.5-meter-high stone wall, while connected to the central part by an 8 by 10 meter wall. The upper part is the manor's main living area. A cave connects the back of manor to a mountain, providing an excellent shelter for people to avoid attacks.

Travel tips:
Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Admission: 20 yuan

How to get there: take a bus from Mizhi County



Kang Baiwan's Manor

Located in Kangdian County of Gongyi City, Henan Province, Kang Baiwan's Manor was built during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by the landlord Kang Yingkui. It covers a building area of 64,300 square meters, including 33 courtyards, 53 buildings, over 1300 houses and 73 caves. It consists of dozens of parts such as a residential section, ancestral hall and garden section. The manor features various kinds of delicate carvings, including brick, wood and stone in different vivid shapes. It now has 36 exhibition rooms, boasting a large number of well-preserved antiques, and receives 160,000 tourists per year.

Travel tips:
8 a.m. - 6 p.m. (summer)
8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (winter)

Admission: 75 yuan

How to get there: take a bus from Zhengzhou to Gongyi City and Kang Baiwan Manor.




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Comments Area ( Total Comments: 1 )
peuportier commented on 28 Nov 2012
I visit last year the tulou ... it was really amazing and full of senses and meaning ...