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Exploring Hangzhou's Countryside Attractions 2019-07-16
The suburbs of Hangzhou cover about 70 percent of the city’s total area, yet generate less than half of its tourism revenue. At the recent Western Zhejiang Tourism Summit, local authorities say they hope to change this by promoting the city’s more rustic attractions.

“The countryside is a great place for leisure travel,” said Li Hong, director of the Hangzhou Tourism Commission. “Urban Hangzhou is not large enough to accept so many tourists. Also, tourists should focus not only on sightseeing but other experiences.”

Indeed, once you’ve ambled around West Lake and seen its many surrounding sights, there’s still plenty to do and experience outside of downtown Hangzhou. Here are three off-the-beaten-path destinations worthy of a weekend visit.

Zhinan Village and Shenlongchuan Hill in Lin’an

Zhinan Village is built upon green hills and surrounded by clear water. What makes it outstanding this time of year are the fiery maple leaves which inflame its streets, slopes and house roofs.

The best views are at the village’s high point, where the red and golden leaves stretch far into the distance. Of course, with December now upon us, the spectacular fall views won’t be around much longer.

While many local villagers have opened restaurants aimed at tourists, some visitors may be disappointed in its hotels and lodgings. Overnight travelers would be advised to book a hotel at the scenic Shenlongchuan Hill area. This area boasts a waterfall and lots of ancient gingko trees, as well as camping facilities for the more adventurous. It is approximately 40 minutes away from Zhinan by car.

Longmen Ancient Town in Fuyang

Architecture aficionados will also want to explore Longmen Ancient Village.

Many of the buildings in the town were built more than 300 years ago, while the history of the town itself can be traced back to the 3rd century.

More than 90 percent of the local residents are surnamed Sun. They claim to be descendants of the ancient warlord Sun Quan (AD 182-252), King of the Wu State during the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220-280).

There are some 40 heritage buildings in Longmen still standing today. Among them are the Sun’s ancestral halls, homes, pagodas and memorial arches — most of which were built in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Walking into the ancient town, visitors will likely start their tour at Old Street. This cobble-stoned street was built in the 18th century and was once a gathering place for merchants and tradespeople.

The town is criss-crossed by maze-like lanes. If you get lost, just look for the stream that encircles the town and follow it to the exit.

The town’s main attraction is its two-story, white-walled buildings. Many of these structures have stores operating out of their first floor, with the second usually reserved for accommodation.

Almost every wall is mottled with plaster peeling off the stone walls. Some wooden doors have rotted. Just like the cobblestone lanes, the buildings in Longmen are unsophisticated, yet they have a simple dignity that is hard to resist.

Xinye Ancient Village in Jiande

With its remarkably well preserved antique black-and-white buildings, Xinye Village is a must-see for those interested in traditional Chinese folk architecture.

More than 230 white-washed southern China-style buildings — including residences, pagodas, temples and ancestral halls — can still be found in the village. Many of these structures date to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Among them, the seven-story Tuanyun Pagoda is definitely Xinye’s landmark building. It was constructed in 1567.

According to local accounts, villagers in Xinye protected these historic structures during the “cultural revolution” (1966-76) by plastering over their exquisite carvings and architectural details, or by covering them with slogans and quotes from Chairman Mao Zedong.

Today, many of the village’s residents are surnamed Ye, and can trace their ancestry back to the Ye family which settled in the area more than 800 years ago. These members of the Ye clan regularly gather at the village’s ancestral hall to pay their respects to their forebearers.

This once quiet hamlet shot to fame recently after appearing in the popular reality program “Dad, Where Are We Going?” To capitalize on the village’s connection with the show, several locals opened a restaurant named Where Stars Had Dinner.

Source: HiCenter
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