Vintage Villages - 17th July 2008 @ 11:17 am «   »

Location: China, Jiangxi Province : Vintage Villages

We spent the night at a hotel, Xingqiu Hotel, opposite the Nanchang train station (again, one we found in the Lonely Planet). It was nothing fancy and besides the cockcroaches running around, quite acceptable.

We bought train tickets for Changsha (our next destination) yesterday for 17:00 this afternoon, but realised that this will not give us enough time to do everything. So, we decided to go to the train station very early (07:00) to change the tickets (not an easy thing to do..). As usual in China, all the remaining trains for the same day were already full, so we headed for the bus station (about 2km away). There we found out that there was a 08:00 bus to Changsha the next morning and we bought the tickest straight away. The next thing was to try and cancel our train tickets, so we went back to the station and managed to sell them to a tout outside for about 80% of the value – a better rate than through the actual ticket office.

The main reason for coming to Nanchang was to visit 3 ancient villages not far from there. It was a bit of a mission to get there – we first had to take a bus to a little town, Anyi, 1.5 hours away. In Anyi we were lucky to find the local bus station in an alley opposite the main station, from where we took a minibus (which only leaves when it is completely full) to Shibi. We got dropped off in the middle of nowhere in Shibi and took a three-wheeled motorbike to the first village, Luotiancun.

The stone alleys and ancient houses with dark stone walls plastered with red sand and grass gave this little village a lot of caracter. Luotiancun has a beautiful backdrop of fields and hills that gives it a very special charm. We wandered the tight maze of lanes with handworked pumps, chickens roaming about and smiling faces popping out of doorways around every corner. Everyone was very friendly and one old lady even came out running with an icecream for each of us when we walked passed her house.

From Luotiancun it is only a 500m walk through fields of rapeseed plants, passing waterbuffalo cooling off in streams, to the next village, Shuinan. As in the first village, Shuinan has a very special feel with its old barns, uneaven stone paths, authentic houses with their owners sleeping in the doorways and chillies drying in the sun everywhere. Again, the inhabitants were lovely and here we each got given a piece of watermelon from 2 little, old women.

A further 500m walk was the larger Jingtai – a village with a 1400-year-old history. We spent 2 hours walking through these 3 villages and Jan managed to take about 250 photos!

Just to mention again how great the locals were, 3 of them offered us a free ride back to the town of Anyi where we caught the bus back to Nanchang. None of them could speak a word of English, but they were very friendly and helpful.

It was a great day-out and back in Nanchang we had dinner at a Chinese canteen-type restaurant. These dinners are always interesting (no English menu or English speaking staff), but we managed to have a great meal and everything we ordered were very tasty.

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.

3 Responses to “Vintage Villages”  
Lauren Says:

I like the photo of the old man asleep in his undies!

jan Says:

Thanks Laurie – yeah, those towns were absolutely great for getting glimpses of real rural life in China. Definately one of our highlights so far!

Brutus Says:

very cool, seems like on of the best places you have visited for pictures so far. so much charachter.