Photo Essay: Ancient Chinese Village Near Yangshuo, China

By Mark Wiens 34 Comments
Rice Field at Ancient Village in Yangshuo
Rice Field at Ancient Village in Yangshuo

Guangxi Province in Southern China is well known for its increbile landscape scenery.

The areas around the cities of Guilin and Yangshuo are exceptionally gorgeous!

Within the scatter of karst limestone mountains, the winding Li and Yulong Rivers, and rice and vegetable gardens, are numerous ancient Chinese farming villages.

Biking one day about 30 minutes from Yangshuo town we stopped at a small ancient village and I was able to take a few memorable photos.

Man in Rice Field
Man in Rice Field

Time on a farm moves at the same pace as everywhere else on earth, but life moves much slower.

This ancient village seemed like it was frozen in time, everything from the historic buildings to the pace of the village inhabitants.

Ancient Village, Yangshuo, China
Ancient Chinese Village near Yangshuo, China

For me, one of the most impressive aspects of ancient Chinese farming villages around this area is their extensive use of stones and bricks as building materials.

This aged foot and oxen path was constructed of odd shaped stones that have sunk into position with years and years of slow paced foot traffic.

Chinese Door Locked
Chinese Door Locked

Wood is mostly used for doors and sometimes support beams.

Chinese Doors
Old Cinese Doors

Traditional doorway entrances around the world present an interesting subject.

Here are two very different door styles that I came across in the same ancient village in China – they brought back memories of the elaborate Zanzibar doors in Stone Town.

The red banner with Chinese characters represents some kind of good luck in the home.

Residents of Ancient Chinese Rice Farming Village
Residents of Ancient Chinese Rice Farming Village

She was a cheery elderly lady in the ancient village; Her 87 year old husband silently sat on the ledge of the home with minimal movement.

Elderly Woman in an Ancient Chinese Village
Elderly Woman in an Ancient Chinese Village

She allowed us to enter the corridor of her home, as she and her husband sat back to back on the doorway oval.

Walking Through the Village
Walking Through the Village
Drying Peanuts
Drying Peanuts

Dried, not roasted, peanuts are a common snack in villages around Yangshuo. A few days before, I had received some dried peanuts in an adjacent village during a random travel experience.

Ancient Chinese Village
Entrance and Exit of the Village

This ancient Chinese village felt solid, a strong fortress built to last.

Outside an Ancient Village in China
Outside an Ancient Village in China

At the end of the day, the sun fades, and apart from the odd Chinese firecracker in the distance, life comes to another standstill in an ancient village in China.



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  • GoTravelFurther

    6 years ago

    Excellent photos from an incredible landscape!

  • Arti

    7 years ago

    So much like the villages of India… calm, idyllic, scenic, old traditions still prevailing…
    Love to travel the small villages, they really make you wonder what you are doing living in a city!!!
    Have a fabulous day Mark:)

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks a lot Arti. Would love to also visit some Indian villages in the future. I’m actually in Sri Lanka right now and enjoying some amazing small towns here too – I’m sure it’s similar to southern India.
      Hope you have a great day too!

  • Aussie on the Road

    7 years ago

    Some gorgeous shots here 🙂

    I’ve only been to China once and I spent that week on tropical Hainan living the resort life. It wasn’t a particularly Chinese experience and I regret that I didn’t get more exposure to the culture when I was there. I made do with cocktails and sunburn though >_>

    This kind of thing really fascinates me. I got to do a little of it in South Korea and I’d love to see more of the ‘common people’ (said without meaning to be at all demeaning) when next I travel. It was a really fascinating part of my Fiji trip earlier this year.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks!
      I also really love the experiences with normal local people in a country, it really does offer a unique glimpse into a culture of a country. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to get some beach and leisure time in as well! China is such a gigantic country and there is so much to do that it could take a lifetime to explore things!

  • jenjenk

    7 years ago

    wow…what a beautiful country. i love how you connect with locals, mark. it’s a true gift.

  • Bama

    7 years ago

    Beautiful pictures! It seems like you always go to places that I want to go, months before me (like this one, I plan to go to Southern China in May 2012). So, I can get a glimpse of the place that I’m visiting. 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks Bama. When you go you’ll know a little about what to expect, and I know that you will really enjoy southern China. You definitely need to spend some time around Yangshuo, it’s really beautiful!

  • The Travel Chica

    7 years ago

    I really like that first photo of the man in the rice field.

  • Annie – FootTracker

    7 years ago

    I like the one “Man in the Rice Field” because that guy just has a look on his face XDD. I also like the one with the water ox in it, the scenery and the animals together are unbeatable.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks Annie. I didn’t know at the time I took the photo how much meaning there would be in that man’s face. I also really like that one!

  • Sherry

    7 years ago

    I just got back from Shanghai not too long ago, but rarely got to see the countryside. I knew I missed out on a lot and your photos only prove it. I especially love that last photo – it shows the China I had always envisioned in my mind.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Cool Sherry! I haven’t been able to see much of the big cities in China yet, but it’s just incredible how diverse the cities must be from the countryside. Hope you’ll have time to visiti the countryside next time you visit China.

  • Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    7 years ago

    My goodness these are fantastic pictures. The first 2 really caught my eye. I love the color and unusual shapes of the hills. Really great!

  • Todd @ Todd’s Wanderings

    7 years ago

    Great pics here Mark. The Chinese countryside with its amazingly sharp mountains is one of my favorite images.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks Todd! I agree, it was my first time to visit China and it was incredible – reminded me of all the dramatic Chinese paintings.

  • Technosyncratic Travel Blog

    7 years ago

    These photos are lovely, Mark! I really like the shot of the locks on the door.

  • Deb

    7 years ago

    Absolutely beautiful Mark! I just found Yangshuo to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Riding a bike through the countryside is definitely a must! You have made me want to go back and stay longer. It is one of those parts of the world where you could lose yourself for a few months and just spend your days climbing, hanging out and enjoying life.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Fully right about that Deb! I just got back to Bangkok after spending a month only in Yangshuo and it was absolutely amazing. The beautiful scenery, the adventure activities and also the friendly people really makes it a place to get lost in for a while!

  • Sophie

    7 years ago

    Beautiful photos of a beautiful landscape. I’ve been thinking of taking my daughters biking in Guilin, so especially enjoyed this post now. Is it fairly flat and manageable for a 10-year-old?

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Sophie,
      That’s a great idea, I did some walking around Guilin and I think it would be a good place to bike ride with a 10 year old. The countryside gets a little hilly in some areas, and one does need to watch out for sporadic trucks that zoom past, but I think it would be alright. Guilin is beautiful as well! Are you in China now?

  • Fida

    7 years ago

    Beautifully captured. Isn’t it amazing what one can encounter on a bicycle?

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks Fida! Yes, if there’s not too much traffic, biking is one of the best ways to see the countryside and see so many cool things!