A blooming cultural experience away from the crowds

Updated 2017-10-11 13:31:53 Shanghai Daily

The National Day vacation may be over but that won't bring an end to travel-hungry culture vultures looking for more enlightenment. And, with the curtain of autumn well and truly open, tourists looking to take in the beautiful sights, sounds and smells of nature, Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province, is expecting another cavalcade of visitors to view its blooming flowers, colorful leaves and vibrant hues.

More than 17 million tourists descended on Hangzhou during the National Day holiday. Broken Bridge, one of the most popular scenic spots in the area, was so packed with travelers that a nearby telecommunication base failed, which caused all sorts of problems for cellphone users.

But, if you're looking for something a lot less frantic and stressful from your forthcoming travels, Shanghai Daily is recommending tourists refrain from visiting the more well-known attractions and take in some low-profile villages with cultural features, instead.

Not long ago, the Ministry of Agriculture announced the 2017 China Beautiful and Leisure Villages Recommendation List to the public, and six hamlets in Zhejiang Province were included.

Guzhu Village 顾渚村

The eastern side of village faces Tailu Lake, and other sides are surrounded by hills. It is dubbed the "natural oxygen bar" because of its lush vegetation and high oxygen air level.

In addition to picturesque scenery, the village is home to famous Zisun (紫笋) tea, which was highly praised by Lu Yu, respected as the "sage of tea" in Chinese history. Local officials used them as tributes to royal court in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), which made the variety famous across the country. Today, it is still a noted specialty in Changxing County.

Enriched tea culture has been retained throughout the dynasties. A tea ceremony performance team consists of native residents. Nowadays, it is a must-see program for visitors.

Fennan Village 汾南村

The village has a long tradition of protecting the environment, proven by a stone tablet erected more than 100 years ago. It clearly stipulates that residents are banned from littering the rivers and felling in the forests.

Villagers have stuck to this rule for over a century, and the environment has never been sacrificed for economic development. Meanwhile, the villagers have preserved historical architectures and kept the original appearance of the village.

Antiquated bridges and houses have been renovated and they have become features of the hamlet. In recent years, local authorities gave a facelift to the place and upgraded infrastructures. Natives cashed in on the leisure tourism trend and opened family-run guesthouses, providing homey accommodation and local food to tourists.

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