A weekend with the Hakka people of Fujian

Fujian Tulou house

The Hakka houses of Fujian

They are made of earth, bamboo and wood, can be round or square shaped, the oldest ones are 1,200 years old and they can be 100 meters in diameter. They are found in China’s Fujian province and Americans satellites thought they were nuclear power stations…What are they?

The Tulou houses of Fujian. 

tulou fujian hakka

They were built by the Hakka people and many are still inhabited by hundreds of people from multiple families.
We were very curious to see these communal houses and their proximity to Hong Kong offered us an opportunity to explore them over a weekend. Despite some communication problems (our driver didn’t speak English, nobody spoke English at our tulou accommodation, and unfortunately our guide wasn’t capable of much English either!) we had a great time in the Chinese countryside visiting this new world heritage site. We ventured in to numerous tulous and experienced different atmospheres – some were really touristy, some hadn’t seen a foreigner in years, we had lunch in one, and also slept in a tulou with the locals.

fujian tulou house

One of the biggest Tulou of the area

This was our tulou itinerary: day one started with Tianluokeng, where we admired this tulou and the countryside from a viewing platform before strolling down to the local village for lunch. We then headed towards Yuchanglou tulou (600 years old) and Taxia village, where you can also visit a very nice ancestor temple. The last tulou of the day was ChengqiLou, called the The King of the Tulou, which as the name suggests is one of the biggest and it has been very well maintained.

yuchanglou tulou

Yuchanglou

The following day, we walked from Heguilou (a square tulou built on a swamp) towards Changjiao Ancient Village where many Chinese movies are filmed, and then had a quick look at the tulou of Huaiyuanlou. The tulous can be found all through the area and it was nice to be able to stop during the day at several others not on the tourist route...ask around for places worth stopping at.
All in all, a very nice escape from Hong Kong over a long week end, which you can combine with a night on Gulanguy island in Xiamen, which is a highlight in itself.

 

tulou house fujian

tulou house fujian

Tulou Fujian Maison Hakka-4

Tulou house fujian

Voyagista’s Tips

 

  • Access from Xiamen followed by 2h30 drive. The drive will give you a good idea of what the area offers.

  • We used a driver organized by our Xiamen hotel (Boutique Rendez-vous, which I definitely recommend) for 1,500 yuan for 2 days. Our “English Speaking” guide was also found by the hotel for 300 yuan per day) but there are several travel agencies that can organize a trip (and that probably offer better English speaking guides!). Apple Travel for instance offers trips there but they were more expensive

  • If you want to have the full tulou experience you should sleep in one – Taxia village offers some options. A room costs 80 yuan without breakfast, 100 yuan including breakfast. We stayed on the fourth floor – the room was basic but ok for the price and the experience was great. There are also hotels in Taxia if a night in a tulou doesn’t get you too excited though.

  • Entrance isn’t cheap for the more notable tulou: 90 Yuan for Heguilou-Changjiao-Huaiyuanlou, 100 Yuan for Tianluokeng-Yuchanglou-Taxia and 50 Yuan more for Chengqilou. Most of the other tulous are free but they ask for donations.

  • For a bit of rest and relaxation after your tulou tour head to Xiamen’s Gulangyu Island for a night… article to come.

 

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