Beautiful Ethnic Villages in China You Need to Check Out
Especially concentrated in the south of the country, China is home to a huge variety of ethnic minorities, of which the government officially recognizes 55. These vibrant pockets of culture show a side of China that's highly under-represented especially among foreigners visiting the country. Here are some of the most beautiful that highly warrant making the journey to check out.
Beautiful Ethnic Villages in China You Need to Check Out:table of contents
Jiaju Tibetan Village
Often remarked as one of the most beautiful villages in China, apart from the stunning landscape of the surrounding mountain scenery, the village is also noted for its unique Tibetan architecture. A great way of seeing local Tibetan life and culture without actually entering the highly regulated state of Tibet, the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is full of little pockets of Tibetan communities, but Jiaju is definitely the most stunning of them. The drive there takes about eight hours from the nearest major metropolitan area of Chengdu, however you'll be traveling through some of the most incredible scenery on the way.
Baoshan Stone Town
A four-hour drive from the major tourism hot spot of Lijiang, Baoshan is a historic town that was built on the top of a rocky hill around a thousand years ago by the Naxi people. Although the town is a little difficult to get to, hidden in a rural area in the mountains north of the city, it's well worth taking the extra effort to get there and unlike many other areas in Yunnan, the town is much less touristy and more of a real, rustic ethnic village.
Furong Ancient Town
While nowadays the town is a mix of of different ethnic groups, it's mostly home to the Tujia people, who make up about 80% of the residents and whose culture is clearly shown there. Nestled along the You River, apart from its incredibly beautiful old traditional architecture, the town is known the stunning view of Wangcun waterfall at the center of the town, cascading into the river below.
One of the largest of the ethnic villages in Guizhou, Xijiang is a huge sprawling town of huts and folk-style residences in the mountains south-east of the province. Not only is it a great insight into one of China's largest minorities, the Miao people, throughout the year the town hosts a number of ethnic festivals where Miao people from neighboring villages all head to the town to celebrate. The center of the town by the river has been given a makeover, full of bars and shops aimed at tourists, however if you want a taste of the real culture, head to the backstreets further away from the river.
Zhaoxing Dong Village
Another beautiful ethnic village set in the mountains of Guizhou, Zhaoxing is full of beautiful wooden buildings and bridges built by the Dong minority. While it's one of the largest of the Dong villages in the country, it's not quite as touristy as Xijiang and the surrounding area has a number of beautiful hikes that can be done to appreciate this region's stunning landscape. The town is known in particular for its impressive Dong drum towers which tower over the village, once used to warn its residents of attacks.
Fujian Tulou Roundhouses
These unique Hakka dwellings are dotted around the mountainous area of southeastern Fujian province. The strange circular buildings were made for defensive purposes, only having one entrance through its huge towering walls, often being home to around 800 people. Like a miniature city housed in one building, these round-houses were built to provide living quarters for the whole clan.
High up in the mountains of Guangzhou, this Yao minority village is a far cry from the busy metropolis of Guangzhou and its surrounding cities. One of the most spectacular things about this village is the amazing views over the karst mountains below. Like most minority villages, it'll take a fair bit of effort to get here. If you're traveling there by public transport, you'll need to travel to Liannan first and get a bus there that'll take you up into the mountains to the town.
Taking some time to get out of the mega metropolises of China can be highly rewarding. These ethnic rural towns and villages showcase some of the most interesting culture on the continent, that most people don't usually tend to associate with China. While they might not be the easiest to get to, these places show something you'll never find in the country's sprawling cities and a chance to connect with nature and explore some of China's most beautiful scenery.