Enchanted by one of "China's Most Charming Villages"

The first Lin'an rural tourism festival "China's Most Charming Villages," was unveiled at the Dragon River Scenic Area, Lin'an District, in Hangzhou on Sunday.

The first Lin’an rural tourism festival, “China’s Most Charming Villages,” was unveiled at the Dragon River Scenic Area, Lin’an District recently.

The event aimed to bring a one-stop traveling experience to tourists, integrate the region’s natural and tourism resources.

The forest cover rate of Lin’an, a mountainous region in the west of Hangzhou, is at 78.3 percent. With two national nature reserves under its protection, Lin’an has been fondly nicknamed the “health-preserving sanctuary of Jiangnan,” the south region of the lower reach of the Yangtze River.

March in Lin’an is the azalea and cherry blossom season, a mixture of pink and purple colors, which complements the region’s striking waters and mountains.

In April tourists can enjoy the peony blossom at the Dragon River Scenic Area and the blooming rape flowers on the terraced hillsides of Zhinan Village.

Besides the area’s flowers, Lin’an also serves up several delicious delicacies. “The Eighteen Zhinan Dishes” and copper pot rice are worth trying.

Shanghai Daily recommends four villages in Lin’an to enjoy the best of the region’s cultural treasures.

A school dedicated to loyalty and filial piety education in Yangxi Village

Yangxi Village 杨溪村

Located in the west of Lin’an, the village is the origin of loyalty and filial piety culture in west Zhejiang Province.

Han Shizhong (1090-1151), a general in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), devoted his whole life to fighting against foreign invaders. He led a recluse life in his later years in Yangxi, and after he died he was buried in a mountain near the village. He is remembered for his loyalty to the people in local culture.

Chen Doulong who lived around 650 years ago was another legendary figure from the village. When he discovered that the woman who raised him was not his mother, he spent six years looking for his biological mother until they were reunited.

The emperor later rewarded Chen for an act of bravery when confronted by a group of bandits rampaging through his village. He stood up to them, reasoned and pleaded for his mother’s life. Chen explained the story of how he had searched for his mother. The bandits were touched by his tale and spared the lives of all his family. His deeds moved the emperor so much that he gave Chen the title of “a model filial son.”

Today, a school still promotes loyalty and filial piety in Yangxi and offers tourists lectures on raising a child, parent-child activities, traditional cultural experience and farming knowledge.

The locals also promote their culture of cooking food using a mud range. Visitors get the opportunity to use a mud range to cook food for themselves and gain experience of farming culture.

Furthermore, there is a chance to witness weathered elders in the village making straw shoes. The skill has been passed down from generation to generation.

So far the Yangxi Village scenic spots have received more than 10,000 tourists, bringing its thousands of years of history and tourism resources back into active use.

How to get there: 
G56 Expressway — No. 102 Provincial Highway

Forest coverage in Baisha Village has reached around 97 percent.

Baisha Village 白沙村

Baisha has abundant natural resources. A brook meanders along both sides of the cliffs while waterfalls thunder down to the echoes of wild monkeys marauding around. The area has been proclaimed as “the Little Jiuzhai Valley” thanks to its ecological traits and primeval beauty.

Baisha Village forest coverage is around 97 percent and has been identified as a “natural oxygen bar” offering clean fresh air.

Baisha is also famous for its cool weather, making the region a paradise for wild animals and plants. The temperature won’t exceed 30 degrees Celsius.

As a national 4A scenic spot and an ecological tourism pilot zone of Zhejiang Province, Baisha attracts a large number of tourists, promotes the village tourism service industry and drives two thirds of the village’s workforce into motion.

How to get there: 
S14 Expressway — Anji Avenue — No. 201 Provincial Highway — No. 205 Provincial Highway

Zhinan Village has gingko and other treasured old trees.

Zhinan Village 指南村

Zhinan Village is an ancient village with thousands of years of history. It has an altitude of 600 meters and is near the Nantiaoxi tributary.

On both sides of the village there are layered terraces totaling 31 hectares. Hundreds of ancient woods tower the sky of Zhinan, among them there are 340 sweet gums, ironwoods, gingko and other treasured old trees.

The trees offer several different blooms as the season changes and attract both professional and amateur photographers to the area to capture their unique moments.

Zhinan is also renowned among outdoor activity enthusiasts as one of the most charming old villages in east China.

In April 2017, a folk dish sharing session called the “Eighteen Zhinan Dishes” was held in the village, along with its traditional lantern fair. So that the dining culture, which used to be a subsidiary part of agritainment, became uplifted as an independent tourism product.

How to get there: G56 Expressway – No. 205 Provincial Highway

Copper pot cooking is shown at Wuxing Village. 

Wuxing Village 五星村

Hidden within the Zhexi Grand Canyon at an altitude of over 600 meters, Wuxing Village was built on a hillside and is surrounded by thick forest and an eerie mist.

“The folk custom of burning a copper pot originated right from this mountainous region,” said Xu Guohui, Party secretary of the village. In the past villagers of Wuxing cooked with copper pots and drank spring water whenever they felt hungry and thirsty during breaks of labor.

In 2016 a culture and creative industry team helped the village develop 10 traditional delicacies to form a unique Wuxing copper pot rice meal. The rice meal was later promoted as a themed country tourism product.

How to get there: 
G56 Expressway — No. 209 Provincial Highway — Taidui Route — Xiaxia Route

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