China Culture

Tangmo Ancient Village

After spending a quiet morning in XiXi South Town (西溪南村) we cycled an hour cross country to another sleepy village barely touched by the ravages of time. Tangmo Ancient Village (唐模古城) is built along a river crisscrossed by stone bridges, lined either side by old residential houses and ancestral halls.

There is a fee for visitors to enter the village and surprisingly they let us in with our bicycles which we wheeled through the streets. Once inside, we were quickly immersed in the quiet streets lined by beautiful whitewashed Hui-style buildings.

Inside a courtyard
One of 13 stone bridges
Children chewing on sugar cane

Under a covered section of the stone path that runs beside the river, a group of elderly residents wearing thick coats sat in the afternoon sun for a chat. Nobody was in a hurry.

As well as being a mirror for the beautiful architecture, the river also serves a practical purpose for locals to wash their clothes in it. It’s hard to believe that only a few generations ago this was the norm for everyone.

Salted dried ducks for sale
Gaoyang Bridge
Tea house within Gaoyang Bridge

Looking back at Gaoyang Bridge, the double arches are said to represent the eyes of a dragon, with the water flowing out its tears. Gingko trees hang over the river.

A water wheel beside an old mill

At the northern end of the village is a beautiful pagoda beside a 400 year old camphor tree which was once in a popular movie. Couples tie red ribbons to the tree to pray for the endurance of their love.

After an immensely enjoyable walk through the village with nary a tour group sighted, we rode back to Huizhou, this time along a more enjoyable cycle path separated from the traffic. The 35km ride had been tough but well worthwhile.

Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Tokyo. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

4 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Beautiful to see this part of China untouched by tourism. It’s seems like the real China is still out there, outside major cities.

    It’s a bit like here in Germany, while the cities are a bit meh (because of the great war), the little towns and villages are just beautiful, still keeping that medieval look.

    I wish I can visit China someday, I did a 8h30 layover in Beijing and it was awesome to visit the city for a few hours.

    By the way, some months ago I sent you an e-mail, did you receive it?

    Anyway, keep up the good work! 🙂

    1. Thanks Tiago – I have to say I was pretty impressed with Munich when I visited last Christmas. I understand most of the historical buildings were reconstructed after the war but it seems to have been done sympathetically and even the more modern parts of the city seemed to blend in well.

      I just dropped you a reply to your email – sorry for the delay!

  2. Beautiful places, beautiful photos. I was browsing for about half an hour this morning David, through your recent travels. It’s another world for me – so calm, and somehow pure. Now, I’ll try to get back to my routine day, but my mind will be wandering Asia.

    Thank you,
    Georgi

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