China has many well-preserved ancient villages and ancient towns. The ancient towns and villages are places where traditions are well preserved in terms of architectures, lifestyles, folk songs and crafts, all of these have attracted more and more tourists from home and abroad to enhance their understanding of a real China. The following is a brief listing of the most widely known ancient towns and villages in China, which you can experience the local peaceful lifestyle, the ancient architecture, and the graceful landscapes.
Danba Tibetan Village
Danba lies on the eastern border of the Ganzi Tibet Autonomous Region, about 345km west of Chengdu in Sichuan Province. With a total area of 5649 square kilometers and rated as the “most beautiful ethnic villages in China" by the Chinese National Geographic in 2005, the Danba Tibetan Village is surrounded by steep green hills dotted with picturesque Tibetan and Qiang Villages in a valley along the Dadu River. One of the beautiful attractions are dozens of ancient stone Qiang watchtowers which rising heavenward around Danba Tibetan Village, and the best place to see the stone Qiang watchtower is at Suopo, about 5km east of town. It is really a picturesque place to enjoy your tour here.
Hongcun Village is located under the foot of the well-known Huangshan Mountain, Anhui Province. It has been named "a village in the Chinese painting" for its morning mists, gray tiles, white walls, stone bridges, water lily ponds, and hills. It is listed as one of China's top 10 charming villages and listed as the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2000.
Wu Town (Wuzhen) has a history of over 1,000 years, is 17 kilometers in the north of the Tongxiang City and just 50 minutes' drive from Hangzhou. Wuzhen is one of the six ancient water towns in south China. The houses are built along the river and a large number of well-preserved buildings on both side of the street are in the Ming-Qing style.
Huangyao Ancient Town
Huangyao Ancient Town is located in the northeast of Zhaoping County of Hezhou City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south of China, about 200km away from Guilin City. "Huang" and "Yao" are the main surnames of the people who live here, hence the name of "Hangyao". The town originated in Song Dynasty and flourished during Ming and Qing Dynasties, it has a history of over 900 years. Covering an area of 1 square kilometers and featuring exquisite pavilions and temples, unique folk houses and stone roads and tremendous ancient trees, Huangyao Ancient Town is surrounded by mountains, is a typical karst landform.
Wuyuan Ancient Town
Wuyuan Ancient Town is located in the northeast of Jiangxi Province; it is north to Anhui Province and east to Zhejiang Province. The town originated in 740 during the Tang Dynasty, with a total area of 2947 square kilometers, it has magnificent landscape dotted with strange caves, deep secluded rocks and numerous historic sites. Emerged from the emerald green mountains, clear rivers, green trees and the crisscrossing paths between the fields, the Wuyuan Ancient Town is very picturesque.
Lijiang Ancient Town
Lijiang Ancient Town is located in the city of Lijiang City of Yunnan Province. It is a charming town which is well-known for its snow-capped mountain vistas, ancient architecture and streetscapes, canals and waterways, and the distinct culture of Naxi people. The ancient town has a history of over 800 years and was once had a confluence for trade along the Old Tea Horse Road. It was listed as the world cultural heritage in 1997.
Zhouzhuang, one of the most famous water townships in China, located in Kunshan City, about 30 kilometers away from southeast of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. The town has a history of over 900 years and most of houses in the town were constructed in Ming (1368-1644) or Qing Dynasties (1644-1911). This village features crisscrossing water lanes, ancient bridges and buildings built along the rivers; it is a typical structure in south China and was called "Venice of the East" by people.
Dali Ancient City
Dali Ancient City, located in the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, in the southwestern of Yunnan Province. It was set up in 1383 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), has a history of more than 600 years. Dali is the economic and cultural center of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture; there are numerous shops, inns, tea houses and restaurants on both sides of the street, looks very prosperous. It is really a beautiful and relaxing place in China.
Fenghuang Ancient Town is about 145km south to Zhangjiajie City and 50km south to Jishou City in Hunan Province, China. Built in 1704, the town has a history of more than 300 years and most of the buildings are built along the river and remains of Ming-Qing styles. It is a well-preserved ancient town that harbors unique ethnic languages, customs, arts of Miaos and Tujias. It is really a beautiful and relaxing place in China.
Xitang Ancient Town
Xitang Ancient Town is located in Jiashan County, Zhejiang Province, China. Its history dates back to as early as the Spring and Autumn Period (770-221 B.C.), when it was located at a strategic importance on the boundary between Wu and Yue States. Xitang is a water town crisscrossed by nine rivers, and the buildings are built along the banks of the canals, which serve as the main transportation thoroughfares in the area. It is a picturesque place to experience a feeling of simplicity and leisure.