While China is renowned for its famous historic sites that date back thousands of years its ancient towns have been off the radar for most foreign visitors.
The ancient towns offer not just an attraction but deep insight into the culture, architecture, and life in those times. While many of these towns have become busy shop-filled domestic tourist spots there are still many that offer authentic old-world experiences. Many of these villages and towns, even the touristified ones, are home to people whose families extend back hundreds of years and carry on with traditions passed down from generation to generation.
It’s quite surprising, even in Lijiang, one of the most heavily touristed, you’ll find once you get behind that tourism facade that many people are living examples of the ancient cultures and traditions handed down from generation to generation. Mostly, that’s probably due to geography and those ways of life that are time-proven in that area.
What am I saying? Don’t turn away when you see tourist facades, just dig deeper to find the reality.
This list is huge, some 65 “old towns” are listed here and I am sure there are still a few I am yet to discover.
Pingyao Ancient City 平遥
Address: Pingyao County, Central Shanxi Province, China; about 100km of Southwest Taiyuan.
Open Hours: all day, attractions Mar 1 ~ Nov 30 08:00-18:30/Dec 1~ end Feb 08:00-17:30 | Ticket: No Entrance Fee (130RMB for through ticket to scenic spots) | Time: two ~ three days
Pingyao Ancient City was built during Western Zhou Dynasty some 2,700 years ago and was built upon by the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Highlights: Pingyao Ancient City Wall (平遥城墙), Government Office(平遥县衙), Rishengchang Draft Bank (日升昌票号), Mingqing Dynasty Street(明清街), Qingxu Guan, Pingyao Confucius Temple
Nearby Attractions: Qiao’s Family Compound, Wang’s Family Courtyard, Shuanglin Temple, Zhenguo Temple
Huizhou Ancient Town 徽州古城
Address: Huicheng Town, She County, Huangshan City, Southeastern Anhui Province
Open Hours: all day, attractions 08:00 am-17:00 pm | Ticket: 100RMB | Time: three hours
Huizhou Ancient City originated in the Qin Dynasty and was a capital for the Tang Dynasty.
Highlights: Xuguo Stone Archway (许国石坊/大学士坊), Huizhou State Office (徽州府衙), Hui Garden (徽园), Doushan Street (斗山街), Yuliang Ancient Dam (渔梁古坝 ), Taoxingzhi Memorial Hall (陶行知纪念馆), Taibai Tower
Nearby Attractions: Mt. Huangshan (25km), Hongcun Ancient Village (80km), Xidi Ancient Village (65km), Tunxi Ancient Street (30km)
Langzhong Ancient City 阆中古城
Address: No.33, Middle Langshui Rd, Langzhong City, Nanchong City, Northeastern Sichuan
Open Hours: May 1 – October 7 (High Season): 08:00~18:30; October 8 – April 30 (Off Season): 08:00~18:00 | Ticket: 120RMB for through ticket | Time: one day
Langzhou Ancient City is a 2300-year-old city was once an ancient military stronghold and is famed for its geomantic and astro culture.
Highlights: Temple of Marquis Huan (汉桓侯祠 Zhangfei Temple), Former Examine House (川北道贡院), Confucius Temple, Huaguang Tower (华光楼), Museum of Geomancy (风水博物馆), and Jinping Mountain (锦屏山).
Ancient Town of Ciqikou 瓷器口古镇
Address: Ciqikou, Shapingba District, Chongqing, China
Open: All day for free
Ciqikou is an old town built in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Near to Chongqing, it consists of 12 streets where today traders sell various traditional items and snacks. Cultures represented include Ba-yu culture, Sha-ci culture, Hongyan culture, and Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism coexisting at Jiugong temple.
How to Get to Ciqikou Ancient Town
Ancient Town of Ciqikou is 3 km away from Shapingba, taxi fare takes 5 Yuan. Take No.220 public bus for 10 minutes from Shapingba, the fare is 1 Yuan.
Lijiang Old Town 丽江古城
Address: No.57, Xuetang Rd, Dayan Township, Gucheng District, Lijiang, Northwestern Yunnan Province
Open Hours: Full Day | Ticket: 80RMB | Time: 1-2 days
Lijiang Old Town was initially built during late Song Dynasty and early Yuan Dynasty (late 13th century) and covers about 7.279 sq.km. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site.
Highlights: Mufu Mansion, Wangu Tower, Great Stone Bridge, Lijiang Dongba Cultural Museum, Fangguyu’s Former Residence, Square Market, Shuhe Old Town, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Folk Culture of Naxi Nationality
Dali Ancient City 大理古城
Address: Cangpin Street, Fuxing Road, Dali City, Yunnan Province
Open: All day | Time: one day
Dali Ancient Town is representative of the traditional Bai ethnic folk culture and features five main streets built during Ming Dynasty emperor Hongwu’s reign (1368–1398).
Highlights: Wenxian Building, Nanzhao kingdom—Wuhua Building, Huguo Road, Dali Christian Church. The city is also famed for its festivals being The March Festival (March 15th to 21st), Dali Bai Raosanling (April 22 to April 24), The Torch Festival (June 25), Caicun Village Erhai Music Festival.
How to Get to Dali Ancient City
Taking bus No.4, No.8 in Xiaguan about 40 minutes to the Dali Ancient City, the fare is 2 yuan.
Daxu Ancient Town 大圩古镇
Address: Duxu Town, Lingchuan County, Guilin, Guangxi, China
Open: All day | Time: 2 hours
Daxu Ancient Town originated in the Northern Song Dynasty and became a prosperous commercial area during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Highlights: Wanshou Bridge, Flagstone Road, The Mosque, the 13 ancient wharves (Shoulong Temple wharf, Gulou wharf, Mosque wharf, Shegong wharf, Shiji wharf, Big wharf, Duchuan wharf, Lion wharf, Tangfang wharf, Wufu wharf, Qinjuli wharf, Drum Tower wharf and Maimi wharf)
How to Get to Daxu Ancient Town
It is 15 km from Guilin city to Daxu Ancient Town. From Guilin Bus Station take the bus to Crown Cave.
Xidi Village 西递
Address: Xidi Village, Xidi Town, Qianxi Prefecture, Huangshan, Anhui Province.
Open: 7:30 am~6:00 pm
Xidi Village features 300 houses that were constructed in the Ming and Qing dynasties and mostly well preserved displaying the original Anhui style architecture. The city originated in the Song Dynasty. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hongcun Village 宏村
Address: Hongcun Village, northwest corner of Yi County 245500, Huangshan
Open: All day. | Time: half-one day | Ticket: 104 RMB
Hongcun Village dates back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties and featured in the famous movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. It’s also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
Highlights: Yuezhao Lake 月沼湖, Nanhu Lake 南湖, Nanhu Academy 南湖书院, Deyitang Hall 德义堂, Ancestral Hall of the Wang’s 汪氏宗祠, Chengzhi Hall 承志堂, Mu Keng Zhuhai 木坑竹海
How to get to Hongcun
Take a direct bus from Tunxi Huangshan (Chinese bus name: 屯溪-黟县-宏村).
Shexian County 歙县
Address: South of Anhui Province.
Open: All day.
Shexian County originated in the Song Dynasty and features lots of well-preserved courtyards, gardens, pagodas and bridges that were built during Song, Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Highlights: Yanghe Gate, Xuguo Archway, Doushan Street, Tangyue Archways, Tangmo Village, Chengkan Village, and Yuliang Dam.
Kashgar Old Town 喀什老城
Address: Wage Road, Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Open: All day
Kashgar Old Town is a Silk Road city dating back some 2000 years that beautifully captures the Islamic culture of this region.
A few hours away is The Stone City Kashgar, another city on the ancient Silk Road.
Wuzhen Water Town 乌镇水乡
Address: 80 km from Hangzhou and Suzhou, 140 km from Shanghai, east of China
Wuzhen Water Town dates back to 872 A.D. and is one of the country’s most famed water towns.
Highlights: Ancient Bed Museum, Indigo Fabric Workshop, Water Market, boat cruises.
Xitang Water Town 西塘
Address: Xitang Town, Jiashan County, Zhejiang Province
Open: 8:00-16:30 (Nov. to Feb.) 8:00-17:00 (Mar. to Oct.) | Time: One day
Xitang Water Town features nine waterways dividing the small village which is reconnected by numerous ancient bridges which date back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
How to get to Xitang Water Town
Take a direct bus from Shanghai South Long-distance Bus Station or Shanghai Long-Distance Central Bus Station to Xitang Town. Take a bus from Hangzhou Jiabao Bus Center Station to Xitang Town.
Qingyan Ancient Town 青岩古镇
Address: Qingyan Town, Huaxi District, Guiyang, Guizhou Province.
Open: All day | Time: 2 days
Qingyan Ancient Town originated in 1378 and covers some 30 sqm featuring Ming and Qing dynasty style architecture.
How to get there
Take the Guiyang-Huaxi-Qingyan-Qiantao-Gaopo bus and there is also a direct bus that leaves from Huaxi.
Tianlong Village 天龙屯堡
Address: Lvyou Avenue, Tianlong, Pingba, Anzhun, Guizhou Province.
Open: 8:00 am~6:30 pm.
Tianlong Village is an ancient settlement of expeditionary troops of the Ming Dynasty dating back some 600 years.
Luzhi Water Town 甪直镇
Address: Luzhi Water Town, Wuzhong District, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province
Luzhi Water Town dates back some 1400 years with bridges dating back to the Song Dynasty. It is one of the best-preserved cities in China and is also UNESCO listed.
Highlights: Baoshen Temple, The Former Resident of the Shen’s, Ye Shengtao Memorial Hall
How to get to Luzhi Water Town
From Shanghai take Public Bus 18, 52, 518, 521, 525, 526, 563.
Tongli Water Town 同里古镇
Address: Wujiang County, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province
Open: All day
Tongli originated in the Song Dynasty and features a large number of ancient bridges.
Highlights: Jiayin Hall, the Retreat & Reflection Garden, Taiping (peace) Bridge, Jili (luck) Bridge and Changqing (celebration) Bridge, The Pearl Tower.
How to Get to Tongli Water Town
From Shanghai take a bus from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport or Shanghai Bus Station to Tongli.
Zhouzhuang Water Town 周庄水乡
Address: Qing Ping Shanghai Highway, Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province
Open: All day (attractions 8:00 to 16:30)
Zhouzhuang Water Town dates back more than 900 hundred years built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Highlights: The Double Bridge (Shuang Qiao), The Hall of Shen’s Residence, Fu’an Bridge, Quanfu Temple, Chengxu Taoist Temple
Zhenyuan Ancient Town 镇远
Address: Wulingshan District, Guizhou Province.
Open: All day.
Zhenyuan Ancient Town is one of the most famous in China for being rich in cultural and historic attractions.
Highlights: Qinglong Cave, Wuyang River
Gaochang Ancient City 高昌
Address: South of the Flame Mountain, Turpan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Open: 8:00 am~9:00 pm.
Gaochang Ancient City was a trading post on the ancient Silk Road.
Fengdu Ghost City 丰都鬼城
Address: North bank of Yangtze River, Fengdu County, Chongqing
Open: 7:00am – 5:20pm
Fengdu Ghost City dates back to the early Han Dynasty and is steeped in folk-culture and religions of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism with some 48 temples built here.
White Emperor City 白帝城
Address: Fengjie County, Chongqing
Fengjie White Emperor City dates back to the Western Han Dynasty located by the Yangtze River.
Highlights: Mingliang Palace, Wuhou Temple, Guanxing Pavilion, Stele Forest
How to Get to White Emperor City
Take a bus in Chongqing Longtousi Bus Station to Fengjie County, and then taxi or public bus from Fengjie County to White Emperor City.
Zhujiajiao Water Town 朱家角
Address: Meizhou Rd., Zhujiajiao Town, Qingpu District, Shanghai
Open: All day | Time: 4 hours
Zhujiajiao Water Town has architecture dating back some 5,000 years and is the closest water town to Shanghai and one of the best preserved.
Highlights: Bei Dajie (North Street), Shanghai Handicraft Exhibition Hall, Kezhi Yuan (Kezhi Gardens), Yuan Jin Buddhist Temple, Chenghuangmiao, Qing Dynasty Post Office, Tong Tian He Chinese Pharmacy, Bridges inc Fangsheng Bridge, Y-ART gallery, Humanistic Museum, Ah Po’s Tea House & Han Lin Stele Museum, CITY God Temple, boat rides
How to Get to Zhujiajiao Water Town
Take the Hùzhū Gāosù Kuàixiàn (沪朱高速快线) bus from Pu’an Road bus station near People’s Square in Shanghai.
Chuandixia Village 爨底下
Address: about 100 km W. of Beijing
Open: All day
Chuandixia village was first built in the Ming Dynasty and features well preserved 500 Ming and Qing dynasty-style courtyard houses.
Yangmei Ancient Town 扬美古镇
Address: 30 km away from downtown of Jiangnan District, Nanning.
Open: 8:30 am~6:00 pm
Yangmei Ancient Town has a history of more than one thousand years featuring well preserved ancient buildings retained from the Ming and Qing dynasty.
How to go to Yangmei Ancient Town from Nanning
Take a boat from the Minsheng wharf.
Songpan Ancient Town 松潘古城
Address: Jin’an Town, Songpan County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Prefecture, Sichuan Province.
Open: 9:00 am~6:00 pm
Songpan Ancient Town was built during Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.) and it was later rebuilt during Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644).
Highlights: Min Shan Mountain, Guanyin Pavilion, The West Gate, Ancient City Wall, the Ancient Battlefield Relics, Ancient Bridge, Temple Bell, Chuanzhu Temple, The Red Army Long March Memorial Monument Park, The Prairie.
How to Get to Songpan Ancient City
In Chengdu Chadianzi Passenger Bus Station there are direct buses to Songpan County Passenger Bus Station.
Shangli Ancient Town 上里
Address: Yucheng District, Ya’an City, Sichuan Province
Open: All day
Shangli Ancient Town is an ancient Silk Road town.
Highlights: Ancient town, Ancient bridge, Wenfen Pagoda, Jianqiao Pagoda, Yaowang Pagoda, Sheli Pagoda, Baima stream, Peizhu stream, local customs.
How to get to Shangli Ancient Town
From Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station to take the coach to Ya’an for about 45 RMB, and then from Ya’an Tourism Bus Station take a bus to Shangli for about 11 RMB.
Huishan Ancient Town 惠山古镇
Address: Tonghui West Road, Wuxi, Jiangsu Province
Open: 8:00 am~4:30 pm
Huishan Ancient Town is sited at the foot of Huishan Mountain and features numerous ancestral halls.
How to get there
Take bus 4, 15, 39, 43, 75, 76, 81, 83, 126, 139, 158, 611 to Huishan Station(惠山站).
Jinze Ancient Town 金泽镇
Address: Jinze Town, Qingpu District, Shanghai
Open: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Jinze Ancient Town has a history of over 1,300 years dating back to the Song Dynasty and is famed for its bridges and crisscrossing waterways.
Highlights: Puji Bridge, Wangan Bridge, Yingxiang Bridge, Animal Freeing Bridge, Ruyi Bridge, Linlao Bridge, Tianwuge Bridge, Yi Hao Temple
How to get Jinze Ancient Town
Take a bus from Qingpu Bus Station to Jinze Town.
Sanhe Ancient Town 三河古镇
Address: Hefei, Anhui Province
Open: all day, attractions from 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Sanhe Ancient Town dates back to the Tang Dynasty.
Highlights: Dajiemen Arch, Sanxian Bridge (Three-county Bridge), Guocui Building, Da Fu Di (former resident of a senior official in feudal China), Xiangu Building, Quezhu Covered Bridge, Gu Nan Street(Old South Street), Wan Nian Street (Ten-thousand Street), Wan Nian Temple and Chenghuangmiao(town god’s temple).
How to get to Sanhe Ancient Town
Take a bus from Hefei Lvyou Bus Station (合肥旅游汽车站) or Hefei Nanmen Bus Transfer Center (合肥南门换乘中心) to Sanhe Bus Station.
Fenghuang Ancient Town 凤凰古城
Address: Fenghuang Ancient City, Fenghuang County, Xiangxi Tujia-Miao Autonomous, Hunan Province.
Open: all day; attractions from 7:30 am~6:00 pm
Hunan Fenghuang (Phoenix) Ancient Town located along the Tuojiang River, originated in 1704 during the Qing Dynasty and is home to the Miao and Tujia ethnic minority. It’s one of the top ancient towns in China.
Highlights: Diaojiaolou wooden houses that line the river, Southern Great Wall, Huangsiqiao Castle, Xiangxi Border Walls, Chaoyang Palace, Longevity Palace, Heavenly King Temple, Former Resident of Shen Chongwen, Former Resident of Xiong Xiling, Yang Ancestral Memorial, Ancient East Gate, Former Residence of Shen Congwen.
How to Get to Fenghuang Ancient Town
Take a direct coach from Changshan West Bus Station (长沙汽车西站) or Changsha Zhuran Bus Station (长沙株潭汽车站) heading to Fenghuang New Town (凤凰新城北汽车站).
Jingdezhen Fuliang Ancient Town 浮梁古城
Address: Xianya Road, Fuliang Town, Jingdezhen City, Jiangxi Province,
Open: 8:00 am-6:00 pm.
Fuliang Ancient Town originated during the Tang Dynasty
Highlights: Ancient Fuliang County Administrative Office, Red Buddhism Tower, Cultural Gallery With Tile Paving
How to get to Jingdezhen Fuliang Ancient Town
Take bus No.16 in Xiuxian Square(休闲广场) and then get off at Dashikou Station (大石口站).
Fotang Ancient Town 佛堂古镇
Address: Yiwu, Zhejiang Province
Open: All day
Fotang Ancient Town locates dates back to 1760 AD and features hundreds of ancient homes of unique architecture.
Highlights: Mao’s Courtyard, Former Wu’s Residence, Liu Xuan Primary School and You Long Memorial Hall
How to get to Fotang Ancient Town
Take bus 311 or 316 to get to Jiting Housing Estate Station (稽亭小区).
Address: North of Shangrao City, Jiangxi Province
Open: March~November: 8:00 am~6:00 pm December~February: 08:00 am~5:30 pm
Wuyuan is known as the birthplace of Huizhou culture and the area holds some 50 villages that date back to the Tang Dynasty.
Highlights: Likeng Village, Shangxia Xiaoqi, Rainbow Bridge, Dazhang mountain, Yuanyang Lake, Watch Rape Flowers and Taste Spring Tea, Shicheng Village, Huangling Village, Sixiyan Village.
Nearby: Lushan Mountain, Yellow Mountain, Wuyi Mountain, Poyang Lake
Xikou 溪口镇 and Tengtou Town 滕头村
Address: Xikou Town, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province
Open: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Xikou, the ancestral home of Chiang Kai-Shek, and ancient town with architecture dating back to the Qing Dynasty.
Highlights: Xikou Museum, Wuling Gate Tower, Wenchang Pavilion, Fenggao House, Yutai Salt Shop, Xuedou Mountain, Xuedou Temple, Thousand Fishes Park, Miniascape Garden, Fountain Square, Pigeon Square, the Breeding Base, the General Woods, the Ornamental Orange Orchard
Moxi Old Town 磨西古镇
Address: South of Luding Town, Garze, Sichuan Province.
Open: All day
Moxi Old Town a settlement of the Han, Yi, and Tibetan ethnic groups with buildings here dating back to the Qing Dynasty.
Highlights: Luding Bridge, Catholic church, Golden Flower Temple, Hailuogou Glacier Forest Park, Avalokitesvara Ancient Temple
Jianshui County 建水县
Address: At the north bank of the Red River, 214 km away from Kunming, south Yunnan Province
Open: all day
Jianshui County is home to several ethnic groups including Han, Yi, Hui, Hani, Dai, Miao and others. Dating back to the Tang Dynasty featuring ancient gardens, temples, and bridges.
Highlights: Ximen Daban Well, Zhujia Garden, Jianshui Confucius Temple, Seventeen-Arch Bridge, Fairy Bridge, XianYuan Bridge, Natural Bridge, annual Confucius Festival.
Fuli Ancient Town 富里
Address: Fuli Town, Yangshuo County, Guilin, Guangxi
Open: All day
Fuli Ancient Town dates back to the Tang Dynasty and is famed for its folk culture and architecture.
Highlights: Architectural Culture, Art Culture, Folk Culture and Festivals, Daguan Pavilion, Sangu Stone, Tianhou Palace
Shigu Ancient Town 石鼓古镇
Address: Along the Yangtze River, 50 km from northwest Lijiang city, Yunnan province
Open: All day
Shigu Ancient Town is famed for its drum-shaped stone tablet carved with white marble that dates back to the Jiaqing era (1548-1561) of the Ming Dynasty.
Highlights: Yangtze River First Bay, Drum-shaped Stone Tablet, Tiehong Bridge, Red Army Monument of Crossing the River, Jujin Ancient Ferry, Lijiang Horse
How to Get to Shigu Ancient Town
There is a tour bus that leaves from Lijiang Old Town.
Kaiping Watchtowers (Diaolou) and Villages 碉楼
Address: Tangkou County, Jiangmen City, Guangdong Province
Kaiping watchtowers are not really classified as an ancient city only dating back to the 1920’s yet they are a fascinating insight into the story of Overseas Chinese, the local struggles, and the architecture and art.
Kaiping watchtowers witness the political, economic and cultural development of Kaiping city. They not only reflect the history of overseas Chinese people’s hard work and defending the homeland, but also a living museum of modern architecture, a unique art gallery. It can be said, as a town of overseas Chinese, architecture and art, the feature Kaiping has been sharply expressed by these watchtowers. They are also UNESCO World Heritage Listed.
Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom 集安高句丽考古遗址公园
Address: Junction of Jiangjun Road and Jiqiang Highway, Ji’an, Tonghua City, Jilin Province.
Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom (37 BC – AD 668) consists of three cities, and numerous ancient tombs. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Highlights: Wunu Mountain City, Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City, Gwanggaeto Tombstone, No.1 burial Site of General tomb, Koguryeo Fresco Tomb, Eight Diagrams, General Cemetery
Mengzi City 蒙自
Address: Mengzi, southeast of Yunnan province
Mengzi City features rich history dating back the early Han Dynasty and tells a fascinating story of early Sino-French relations.
Highlights: Mengman Ancient Road (Mengman Gu Dao), Bisezhai Area
Shanghai Fengjing Ancient Town 枫泾镇
Address: 39 Xinfeng Rd., Fengjing Town, Jinshan District, Shanghai, China
Open: All day. Attractions 8:00-17:00 (May-Sep.) and 8:00-16:30 (October-next Apr.)
Fengjing Ancient Town dates back some 700 years and features numerous waterways and bridges.
Highlights: Zhihe Bridge, Rainbow Bridge, East District Fire Station, Zhao Jinzhi Golden Keys Collection, The China Peasantry Painting Village
How to Get There
Take Metro Line 1 to Jinjiang Park Station, take Fengmei Line at West Meilong Bus Station, get off at Fengjing.
Wuyuan Likeng Ancient Village 李坑古村
Address: Wuyuan, Shangrao, Jiangxi Province.
Open: 7:00 am~6:00 pm
Likeng Ancient Village dates back to the Song Dynasty featuring traditional Huizhou Style architecture.
Highlights: Arch Bridges, Hui-style Architectures, Ancient Camphor Tree, Ancient Osmanthus Tree
Wuyuan Sixi Ancient Village 思溪延村
Address: Sikou Town, Wuyuan, Jiangxi Province.
Open: 7:00 am~6:00 pm
Sixi Ancient Village was built during the Southern Song Dynasty by Yu family in 1199 and features more than 30 Ming and Qing dynasties residence buildings.
Highlights: Jingxu Hall, Congting Hall, Mingxun Hall, Yuqing Hall
Nanxiang Water Town 南翔镇
Address: 218 Huyi Road, Jiading District, Shanghai
Open: All day
Nanxiang Water Town originated some 1500 years ago and is one of Shanghai’s famous ancient towns.
Highlights: Nanxiang Twin Pagodas, Hezuo Hill, and Guyi Garden
How to Get to Nanxiang Ancient Town
Take Metro Line 11 from Jiangsu Lu to Nanxiang directly (takes around 40 minutes).
The Ancient City of Dunhuang 敦煌影视古城
Address: near Qiliqiao town of Dunhuang city, Jiuquan City, Gansu Province.
Open: All day.
The Ancient City of Dunhuang originated in the time of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty while there are some preserved city walls the city is actually an imitation of a Song Dynasty Town used for movies and TV, yet open to tourists.
Pingle Ancient Town 平乐古镇
Address: near Qionglai, Sichuan Province
Open: All day
Pingle Ancient Town dates back to 150 BC and was a stop on the ancient Silk Road.
Highlights: Golden rooster channel, Jinhua Mountain, Lugou Bamboo, Li Compound, Pingle Lanterns Festival, Pingle Ancient Town Temple Fair
Huangyuan Dan Gar City 丹噶尔古城
Address: Huangyuan County, Xining City, Qinghai Province
Open: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Huangyuan Dan Gar City dates back some 600 years to the Hongwu Period of Ming dynasty and is an old Silk Road trading city.
Hongjiang Ancient Commercial Town 洪江古商城
Address: southwest of Hunan province
Open: 08:00-17:00 | Time: one day
Hongjiang Ancient Commercial Town dates back to 700 BC and boomed in the Ming Dynasty which is what we see the remnants of today.
Highlights: more than 300 Ming and Qing ancient architectural structures
Burqin-Baihaba Village 白哈巴
Address: Northern Xinjiang
Baihaba Village was home to the ethnic Tuwa Mongolian people and is located on the border with Kazakhstan. It is famed for its scenic beauty and rich traditional culture.
Bama Longevity Village 巴马
Address: Northwest Guanxi Province
Bama longevity village is part of the Bama Yao nationality autonomous county and home to a mere 500 or so people.
Highlights: local food and customs
Luodai Ancient Town 洛带
Address: Luodai Town, Longquanyi district of Chengdu, Sichuan Province
Open: All day
Luodai ancient town was built in The Three Kingdoms Shu-Han period and is a township formed by the Hakka minority people. Featuring Hakka, Ming and Qing style architecture.
Highlights: Hakka Tulou Museum, Linnan block, Hakka Food Court area of Boke Small Town, Luodai folk art protection development center, Jiulonghu Scenic Spot, Baosheng Original Ecological Hakka Village, Guangdong Guildhall, Jiangxi Guildhall, Huguang Guildhall and Chuanbei Guildhall, Yudai Lake (Jade Belt Lake), Gold Dragon Temple, Hakka Museum, Fire Dragon Festival, Water Dragon Festival
How to get there
From Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station there are direct buses to Luodai Ancient Town.
Gubei Water Town 古北水镇
Address: Miyun County, Beijing
Open: 9:00 am-6:00 pm | Time: One day
Gubei Water Town is near to the Simatai section of the Great Wall and reflects the historic styles of the late Qing and early Republic eras. It’s also a resort holiday destination.
Highlights: Blocks of the Republic of China, the Old Camp Site, the Water Streets Region, the Wolongbao Folk Culture Region, the Old Village at Tang River Region, Simatai Great Wall, Yongshun Dye House, Zhenyuan Escort Agency, Sima Chinese Distillate Spirits Mall, Ba Qi (Eight Banners) Hall and other places.
How to Get to Gubei Water Town
Take bus No.980 at Dongzhimen Bus Station and get off at Miyun Xidaqiao Station, then transfer to Bus No.38 (密云-司马台) or Bus Route No.51 to Simatai and get off at Simatai Village Station
Shantang Street 山塘街
Address: Shantang Street, Jinchang District, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province
Open: all day; attractions 8:00am-5:00pm | Time: 2 hours
Shantang Street originated during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Highlights: Shantang Old Street, Yu Han House, Tonggui Bridge, Suzhou Museum of Chamber of Commerce, Tiger Hill and Humble Administrator Garden.
How to Get to Shantang Street
Take Subway Line 2 to Shantang Street Station(山塘街站)
Zhuge Bagua Village of Lanxi 兰溪诸葛村
Address: Zhuge Bagua Village, Zhuge Town, Lanxi, Zhejiang Province
Zhuge Bagua Village dates back some 660 years and follows the Bagua (Eight Diagrams) principles of Feng Shui.
Highlights: living heritage, Ming and Qing Dynasty ancestral halls, temples, arches and gardens.
How to Get to there from Hangzhou
There are express coaches leaving for Zhuge Bagua Village of Lanxi from Hangzhou South Bus Station. The coaches depart every 2 hours at the station.
Tuyuk Valley 吐峪沟
Address: Shanshan County, Turpan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Open: Apr 21st-Oct 20th, 8:00-21:00 Oct 21st-Apr 20th, 10:00-18:30
Tuyuk Valley is a sacred place for Buddhism and Islam with a history dating back some 1700 years.
Highlights: Tuyuk Canyon Scenery, Tuyuk Thousand-Buddha Grottoes, Tuyugu Mazar, Tuyu Ancient Village, local customs and food culture.
Tachuan Village 塔川村
Address: Tachuan Village, Hongcun Town, Yi County 245500, Huangshan, Anhui Province
Open: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tachuan Village, popular for its colorful Autumn displays and hundred-year-old folk houses laid out according to Feng Shui.
Highlights: famous for its Autumn views
Nanping Village 南屏村
Address: Nanping Village, Yixian County, Anhui Province
Open: 7:00 am ~ 5:30 pm
Nanping Village features ancient Hui-style construction built in Ming and Qing Dynasties and ancestral halls.
How to get there
Take a bus at Tunxi Bus Station to reach Yixian County first, then transfer to a bus to Xiwu County from Yixian Station and get off outside Nanping Village, which is then a walk of only one kilometer.
Chengkan Village 呈坎村
Address: Chengkan Village, Huizhou District, Huangshan 245900, Anhui Province
Open: all day; Attractions 7:30 am ~ 6:00 pm
Chengkan Village is famous for the well-preserved ancient residential architecture of the Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D. – 1644 A.D.) which includes pavilions, bridges, houses, ancestral temples, and wells.
Highlights: In Spring rape flowers bloom, Baolun Pavilion, The Baolun Hall
How to get to Chengkan Village
From Huangshan downtown (Tunxi), take a bus at Tunxi Bus Station to reach Chengkan.
Tangmo Ancient Village 唐模村
Address: Tangmo Village, Qiankou Town, Huizhou District, Huangshan 245900, Anhui Province
Open: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
Tangmo Ancient Village originated in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and like most places boomed in the Ming and early Qing Dynasties with architecture reflecting those eras.
Highlights: Tanganyuan Garden, Taizi Hall and Taizi Temple, Zhuangyuan Mansion, the former residence of Xu Cunyu, the Memorial Hall of Xu Family, Xihu Lake, Hanlin Twins Archway, Bajiao Pavilion, Wusong Bridge, Memorial Archways, Bao’s Private Garden Huizhou Ancient City, Chengdu Village nearby.
How to get to Tangmo Village
There are direct buses from Huangshan Tourist Transport Center (Tunxi) in Huangshan downtown
Dehang Miao Village 德夯苗寨
Address: Dehang Village, Aizhai Town, Fenghuang County 416011, Hunan Province
Open: 8:00 am – 5:30 pm
Dehang Miao Village is built around mountains and waterfalls and home of the Miao people.
Highlights: Liusha Waterfall, Tianwen Platform, Yuquan Gate, Yuquan Waterfall, Aizhai Suspension Bridge, folk customs.
How to get there
Take a bus near Jishou Railway Station to reach Dehang Village directly.
Hangwu Miao Village 夯吾苗寨
Address: Maoping Village, Guzhang County, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan province.
Open: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Hangwu Miao Village is home to 1200 people and home to the largest Miao Drum.
Zhangbi Ancient Castle 张壁古堡
Address: Zhangbi Village in Longfeng Town, Shanxi Province
Zhangbi Ancient Castle is one of China’s top ancient towns with its origins dating back to 2070 BC and the Xia Dynasty.
Highlights: Archeological Area of Xia and Shang, Ancient Tunnel of Sui, the Ancient Tombs of Jin Dynasty, Guan Yu Temple, the Ancient Stage of Yuan Dynasty, ancient dwellings of Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Ancestral Temple of Liu Zhouwu, Dongbin Temple, Erlang Temple, Emperor Zhenwu Temple, Xinglong Temple.