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Savor the idyllic gems of rural Anhui province on this voyage into ancient China. You’ll visit frozen-in-time villages once home to wealthy merchants and scholars, peer into the mist atop soaring Yellow Mountain, and brave the “bamboo sea” immortalized in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Embark on a journey back in time in the UNESCO World Heritage villages of Anhui province, home to some of the most successful businessmen during the Ming Dynasty. While hard to believe today, these ancient stone villages on the banks of the Yangtze River were once important economic centers that facilitated trade between China and the outside world.
Explore the history and natural beauty of this area, where much of the original Ming and Qing dynastic architecture has been preserved. Nearby, the misty peaks of Huangshan, the Yellow Mountain, have inspired the brushstrokes of artists for generations. Experience times long gone by traveling through China’s living heritage.
Optional: bike through the countryside along the rustic back roads of Yixian, passing sugar and tofu shops • Spend the morning strolling through the quiet lanes of Guanlu village, a petite merchant village built around a cluster of interconnected manors, before travelling to Nanping village • Imagine yourself back in the time of the Ming Dynasty when visiting the ancient wooden residences in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Xidi
Head north to Huangshan (“Yellow Mountain”), which has been immortalized in the elegant brushstrokes of Chinese landscape paintings • Hike through the staggering peaks and deep valleys of Xihai Grand Canyon, a natural masterpiece less frequented by tourists
Make your way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hongcun village, where ancient waterways snake through village residences • Enjoy a late picnic lunch before heading to the secluded village of Mukeng, where scenes from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were shot
Visit the frozen-in-time village of Chengkan, set against a backdrop of cobalt slopes and surrounded by ancient waterways • Make your way to Qiankou Residence, an eclectic collection of Ming-era arched bridges, pavilions, ancestral temples and dwellings
Learn about the preferred tea of emperors at the undulating “Dragon Well” tea plantation • Enjoy a boat ride across Hangzhou’s West Lake, so beautiful that it was recreated for the emperor in Beijing’s Summer Palace • Wander the calming grounds of Yongfu and Lingyin Buddhist Temples • Enjoy the peaceful, melodic chanting of Buddhist monks at a prayer session
Pig Inn Yixian may appear to be a typical village home on the outside, but step inside and you will discover a traditional, Huizhou-style ancient home.
Stylistically Chinese, the Xihai is located atop Huangshan, with multiple hiking trails branching out directly from its doorstep.
I contacted WildChina for a short extension to a business trip. My goal was to experience an intense but relaxing visit to two key cities, while learning as much about the people and culture as possible. I chose WildChina as I knew they are focused on authenticity and going beyond the traditional check list approach. Without a doubt I would recommend them to anyone wanting to experience the real China. I was on a private tour and my guides were exceptional.
Abraham Hu was excellent, and we had great full days and excellent restaurant recommendations from him. We learned much from him and appreciated the depth of his background. We especially liked going to the art districts — something not on the usual tourist agenda. The Chonghua Palace special tour was absolutely wonderful – thank you for knowing about that. Maggie Wu was an excellent guide, and we very much appreciated her expertise in working us through the crowds. We especially loved her guiding us to lunch at an absolutely delicious “farmhouse” restaurant near the Terracotta Warriors site (we had many incredible meals during our trip, but this “simple” lunch stands out as one of the best!)