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location map of Hongcun

Detail: 宏村的位置Location of Hongcun village -- green arrow

宏村Hongcun Village had its beginnings back in the 宋朝Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) when the 汪氏族Wang Family decided to settle in the area in 1113. The village was then called 弘村Hongcun (same pinyin but different characters in Chinese). During the 明朝Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), the Wangs decided to overhaul the design of village; they consulted an expert in geomancy to examine the area and confirm on the placement of various elements.  The result was the classcial placement with the 雷岗山Leigangshan Hill in the rear and its entrance facing south. Water from 西溪Xixi (West Stream), located to the west of the village, is led into the village interiors through an ingenious irrigation network. These man-made canals, which can be 1 meter wide, pass through 57% of all households (about 218 households); and often these water are routed into the interiors of buildings to create water gardens and fish ponds.  On its way the streams formed the moon-shaped 月沼Yuezhao lake (originally a small spring) in the center and the bow-shaped 南湖Nanhu (South Lake), the exit end of the waterways, in the southern end of the village. The waterways, together with the two lakes, provide direct fresh water to about 83% of all households (about 318 households) or about 89% of the population.  During the Qianlong period of the 清朝Qing dynasty (1644-1911), the village went through another major renovation.  It changed its name to 宏村Hongcun and from then on remained very much the same as today. At present, it contains 1 well-preserved Ming building, 102 Qing buildings, and 34 Republic Era buildings.

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NEW -- July 21, 2010

The beautiful city of Suzhou crisscrossed with narrow water canals

Travel Info

Region: 安徽Anhui

宏村图片Hongcun Village Pictures

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  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Rows of houses by the north shore of the stomach-shaped 南湖 Nanhu (South Lake). The background hill is the 雷岗山 Legangshan.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Rows of houses by the north shore of the stomach-shaped 南湖 Nanhu (South Lake). The lake has a surface area of 20,247 meters, a length of 833 meters and a depth of 1.5 - 1.8 meters.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Part of the 雷岗山 Legangshan hill is clearly visible in this photo.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    In the distant is the lovable stone bridge name 画桥 Huaqiao (literally, Picture Bridge).

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖的画桥 Hongcun - South Lake's Picture Bridege

    The small fanciful stone bridge, 画桥 Huaqiao (literally, Picture Bridge), was built in 1986 when tourism was on the rise. It sits halfway, closer to the south, through a causeway that spans the middle of the South lake. In the background id the full view of the 雷岗山 Leigangshan hill.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Photo taken from the south shore of the lake.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    The view from the south side of the large lake is the most popular. It is the distinctive skyline of the village.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Viewing from the east side of the 画桥 Picture Bridge.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    The picturesqueness of the place is unavoidable.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Early morning.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Early morning.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Taken from the causeway looking east.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Early morning. Taken from the causeway looking east.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)
  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Besides the Leigangshan hill to the east are farm fields.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Most of the south side of the lake are lined with trees.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Late evening.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    At the north end of the causeway is this entrance into the village. This way leads to the 月沼 Yuezhao (Crescent lake). The girls in the back are tour guides. If I remember correctly, all the guides in this company are girls, which is great. The pig legs hanging on the walls are a popular food of the villages in the area. Every household makes them. I tasted them while I was in 南屏 Nanping village. There, a woman offered a bowl of noodle with a few chunks of the meat in it. I don't think the woman's cooking did justice to the pig meat.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    On the causeway. The causeway, built in 1956, span across the middle of the South Lake.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    On the north end of the causeway.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    By the north shore are stone benches for the villagers to enjoy the day.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Near the end of the day and after dinner, people will gather here.

  • Picture of 宏村 - 南湖 Hongcun village - Nanhu (South Lake)

    Dogs,cats,carps and birds are popular here.

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image of Pingyao streetimage of the main gate tower to the Chang family's compound and gardern

The compounds and manors of the extreme wealthy in 山西Shanxi's small towns and villages. See the old town of 平遥Pingyao with well-preserved Ming and Qing city wall and street layout.

上海 shanghai skyline苏州园林 suzhou gardernUygur lady and tourist boat in 天池 Tianchi

Selected pictures from my 3-month travel through China during the summer of 2006.

My translations of some Chinese poems.

trucks on the desert road

Pictures I took while on a bus traveling through the sandy deserts of 甘肃Gansu on my way to 嘉峪关Jiayuguan.

image of stone lion

The stone lions, chimeras, toistoises and unicorns that guarded the royal tombs of the 六朝Six Dynasties Era for the past 1600 years.

Travelogues and travel notes.

Travel Information

See more Maps
Long-distance-bus ticket from Hangzhou to Tunxi
Getting There:

Like 西递Xidi, 南屏Nanping, and 关麓Guanlu, the other villages that I visited in the neighboring area, 宏村Hongcun village is located in 安徽Anhui Province, 黄山市Huangshan City, 黟县Yixian County. To get to Hongcun, one usually stops in 屯溪区Tunxi district, the governing seat of the city, and the name of the city before the extremely popular Huangshan mountain took the title. This is the third time (2006) I was here. I travelled here in 2001 to climb 黄山Huangshan Mountain. Then, in 2004 I visited 棠越Tangyue and 唐模Tangmu village in 歙县Shexian county, and 西递Xidi in 黟县Yixian county. In each time I took the long-distance bus to Tunxi from 杭州Hangzhou, the provincial capital of 浙江Zhejiang, and each ride was shorter and better - from 8hrs to 6hrs to 4hrs on better and better road.

You can get to Tunxi by plane but only through domestic flights. The airport is within the Tunxi district. By train and long-distance bus is very easy, Although you still need to get to a major city (usually a provincial capital, like Hangzhou or Wuhan) close to Huangshan city first as it is not a major city.

Hongcun is in Yi county, so one usually get a ride from there to the village. Foreigners, or at least non-chinese, need to get a permit to see these places. The permit can be obtain from Tunxi's PSB. As I have never looked at one, I don't know what is involve. Inevitably, there is a fee, which I had read to be about 60 yuan. Just be sure that the permit has the places listed on the permit.

Transportation:There are buses to both 黟县 Yixian (Y9 and takes about 45mins - 60mins in 2006) and 歙县 Shexian (Y5 and takes about 30mins in 2006) counties from outside 屯溪Tunxi's bus station. Be aware that the counties are in the opposite directions, so confirm with the driver that it is going in your destination. From Yixian, there are public buses (Y2 and takes about 30mins in 2006) to the village to the village. These buses normally waits from across a short stone bridge not far from the bus station. Besides going to 宏村Hongcun, the buses also go to neighboring villages such as 西递Xidi, 南屏Nanping, and 关麓Guanlu. Signboards with the name of the villages are usually placed on the driver's front window; if not, confirm with the driver that it is going to your village. If you are in a hurry and there is no public buses there are always plenty of minivans for hire that will take you there (about Y15). Other alternatives are to hire a van in Tunxi and go straight to the village. This may cost alot more (probably about Y100), but if you have several people this may be much faster and easier.


In Huangshan city (Tunxi District):Huangshan city is one of the most popular tourist city in the country, and as so all sorts of accommodations are readily available. For those who have plenty of money to spent, you wouldn't need me to point you to the hotels. For those in the lower category, there are too many places one can choose to stay. Usually one does not need to go look for them, because as soon as you step down the bus or out the station, the locals would gather around and introduce their good rooms to you. One woman convinced me and I followed to her guesthouse. The place was a few minutes walking distance from the bus station, a two-story building below a slight slope from the street. Like many similar places, it was a home that was converted to a guesthouse when tourism got big here. The ground floor belongs to her brother. It also has rooms for rent as well as a small eating place where there is a TV, so all the children gathered there in the evening. The second floor belongs to another brother, which also rent out rooms. Being the youngest, the third and least appealling(it has the best view of the all the laundry hung from the rooftop through the open ceiling) floor went to my proprietress. She has 5 rooms - two with private toilets and showers, the other 3 shared a public toilet and shower. Depending on the day and time of year, the large rooms can go from Y40 on a common day to over Y100 during the tourist season and on a national holiday. The smaller rooms go from Y20 - Y40. My proprietress and her husband (who works in another hotel) used to live on the same floor but had since moved down to the ground floor. I have never recommended a place, but since I was here twice and found the proprietress to be very friendly and the rooms very clean, I am listing it below:

吴丽珍 - 黄山市屯溪区环城北路4号

She accepts anyone but only speaks Chinese. Her pretty and assertive daughter may know some words of English. But I think hand gestures is enough to get by the day.

In Hongcun village:Family-style guesthouses and hotels are easily available here. The cost was usually Y20 and up. Nanping had about a thousand residents in 400 households. So it is a decent size village with enough activities to keep you busy for a day. During the high seasons, there can a large number of tourists. At the time the village hosted two art schools, so expect plenty of students.

There are plenty of hotels outside and inside the village, as well as many family-style guesthouses. Living in local homes is much cheaper (about Y20 - Y30 near the edges of the village or Y50 and up if right on the 月沼 Yuezhao (Crescent lake) or 南湖Nanhu (South Lake) and much more rewarding than hotels, but accommodations and privacy are limited. I lived on one guesthouse right near where the water enters the village from the 西溪Xixi stream on the west end of the village. The rooms are clean but spare: no TV or phone. The small but nice communal toilet and shower with evening hot water is outside. Mr. Wang will fire up the boiler with burning wood whenever you are back from a day's sweat around the many intricate houses and feel like taking a shower, but no bath though. Below is the address:


Mr.Wang only speaks Chinese, but will be glad to take anyone. He will also cook your breakfast, lunch and dinner, if you like, and proudly show you his water garden and pavillon where you can eat while admiring the goldfishes and carps looking at you.

There are also rooms that are centuries old, so if you are in the mood you may also rent one. While strolling along the Crescent lake on my second day here, the old woman took a break from washing and came over to me to ask if I needed a room. I replied that I already have a room. She smiled and reminded me of the beautiful pool here; to live beside it would be a thing to remember. I nodded and followed her into her large house. We passed over the arched doorway and stepped into what may had been the guestroom, the primary room where guests are hosted, but is now usually served as a eating room. We left this room through a narrow doorway on the left and enter the rectangular courtyard. The courtyard was stone-paved and on it were some small trees and flowers on pots and some furnitures and screens. She openned a door to a room on the side and I stepped in. It was a small dim room. A single barebulb was hanging on the ceiling and she pulled it on. The ancient bed sat in front of me. You see it all the time: in films, in books, in the museums. It shapes like a legged vertical box with one of its four sides open; on the frames were delicate wood carvings. The whole construction was of wood, and it showed their age through traces of human touches that slowly changed the tones of the otherwise even monotonous finish. Two pink curtains hung on each sides, two embroidered pillows lay on top of a neat bed padding. In the morning you wandered through the alleys and marvel over the intense architecture; at night, you would like to return to the quiet pool and reflect, then move on through the maze of rooms and hop onto a bed that fit the reputation of the whole place. This is what you came here for. Soon the old woman asked whether I liked the room. I openned the window door to look outside at the courtyard. If only there were plum trees and magnolias blooming; if only there was a large rock; If only this interior was more alive. I told her I would think about it and come back if I decided to rent it.

Food and Drinks:

Food in the village are the homemade style. All your hosts will cook for you with any fresh produce from the market. Since the village isn't very big, everyone tries to be unique, and many have inherited recipes. There are all sorts of things you can try out, like the egg rolls that a woman makes on the street with a hot plate, various breads, crackers and cakes, and the very thin pancakes that have various favors, like corn, mellow, apple and 20 others that I couldn't remember anymore. But you will meet these as you walk around the area.


The same stuffs you see in Tunxi, plus the intricate wood-carving panels. Don't expect them to be authentic (these are not made during the Ming or Qing dynasties nor probably 50 years ago, although the carvings maybe as good or even better), unless you really know these things. But if you really like them, buy it. They make great show pieces.


There is a 中国农业银行Agricultural Bank of China inside the village. You may exchange major foreign currencies for 人民币Renminbi here. To exchange traveler's checks for RMB, you need to go to a major Bank of China. I don't remember whether there is a Bank of China outside the village where the bus station is. If there is one, they might take the traveler's checks since this is a popular international tourist area; otherwise you need to go back to the Bank of China in Tunxi.

Internet Access:

I remember there is a internet cafe in the village. I am quite sure there is one across the bridge.

Entrance Ticket:

80 yuan (2006).


The village is relatively quiet at night, but across the stone bridge area is very lively. There are many vendors selling food and gift items, and there are music. No one really check your tickets at night but always hold on to it til you are done with the place for good.


Foreigners or non-Chinese, need to get a permit to see these places. The permit can be obtain from Tunxi's PSB. As I have never looked at one, I don't know what is involve. Inevitably, there is a fee, which I had read to be about 60 yuan. Just be sure that the places are listed on the permit.