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Wuyuan, Jiangxi

Both a county and a town within the county, Wuyuan is located in the northeast corner of Jiangxi Province. Wuyuan County consists of several ancient villages including Jiangling, Xiaoqi, Likeng, Wangkou, and the Rainbow Bridge. The Wuyuan high-speed rail station (a stop on the Beijing-Hefei-Fuzhou High-Speed Railway track) makes getting to the area easier, though reaching some of the ancient villages within Wuyuan can take some more planning or the hiring of a car (or, if you’re feeling daring, a moto-taxi!). Wuyuan can also be reached by bus from Huangshan City or Jingdezhen, each of which have their own airport.

Tours through Wuyuan are often divided into three routes: the east, west, and north routes through the county, each of which will visit several of the various lovely ancient villages throughout the area. Wuyuan was built during the Tang Dynasty, more than 1,000 years ago. The Huizhou culture is still alive and well today in Wuyuan through its people, customs and typical Huizhou architecture, including residences, ancestral halls and bridges. Wuyuan is also well known for the vibrant yellow rapeseed flowers that are planted in terraces throughout the area. The golden rape flowers bloom in the spring (usually late March to early May), blanketing the Wuyuan countryside in bright yellow blossoms. For a less busy, but just as stunning, time in Wuyuan, visit in the autumn (August through November) when the picturesque fiery maple leaves are on display, as well as tea-seed oil season. Mornings in Wuyuan often bring a fog that, when viewed from above, give the entire landscape a mystical atmosphere. To see the various ancient towns and villages throughout Wuyuan, you’ll need to pay a nominal fee for entry. You can either pay the admission for each village you visit throughout Wuyuan County or you can buy a blanket pass that grants entry to most of the villages, scenic spots and major attractions through Wuyuan.

The Wuyuan Museum in downtown Wuyuan is a good starting point before heading out to the beautiful countryside. Likeng is a typical river town with well-preserved classic architecture. It too features Hui-style architecture and popular spots for photographers to capture images of the ancient village’s bridges, brooks, narrow alleys, Buddhist temples, active farms, teahouses and ancient residences. Xiaoqi consists of Lower and Upper Xiaoqi. The lower area has many touristy shops and stands, but walking to Upper Xiaoqi, visitors will find a more secluded, peaceful area for exploration. The stone, brick and wood buildings there harken back to ancient times and the multitude of old camphor trees stand as they have for centuries. Jiangling is the place to be to see the rapeseed flowers in spring, famous for the terraced cultivation of these golden flowers. In the north, Dazhang Mountain and Wulong Valley provide a beautiful scenic area with soaring mountains and waterfalls; there you’ll find thick forests and lush vegetation throughout the year, from red maples in the fall to glistening ice in the winter to spring flowers and verdant trees in summer. In Jinshan, visitors can learn everything about tea, from growing to harvesting, drying to drinking, and enjoying the full tea process and culture. Wangkou is home to the Yu Family Ancestral Hall, an architectural treasure that covers almost 11,000 square feet and showcases ancient grand architecture with detailed craftsmanship and abundant cultural relics housed there. With multiple courtyards, gardens and reception rooms, it is often called the “Palace of Art” or “Treasure House.” Finally, the Rainbow Bridge in Qinghua was built almost 900 years ago during the Southern Song Dynasty. It is one of the longest (459 feet) and best preserved covered bridges in the area. The engineering used to build the bridge is an example of the advanced knowledge of the ancient Chinese. Rainbow Bridge is a great photo spot, as well as an opportunity for light adventure – challenge yourself to walk the stone steps of Dengbu Bridge across the river. The stones are close together and dry so it’s quite safe, but you’ll still feel like a hero when you make it across!