2 Days in Hongcun, China: Itinerary with Top Things to Do

Hongcun Itinerary with Top Things to Do

Are you going on a trip to China and you have decided to visit Hongcun, Anhui province?

You will not regret it!

Hongcun, the ancient village in Chinese paintings, is a best example of typical Anhui-style architecture. Together with Xidi, Hongcun was listed as World Heritage Site in 2000. The famous Oscar film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon framed several scenes in this 900 years old village.

Hongcun is the China you think of when you think of ancient China. Many of the buildings in Hongcun can date back to the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960 – 1279) and is regarded as the best example of typical Hui-style architecture. Called “the ancient village in Chinese paintings”, Hongcun is so quiet, peaceful and beautiful which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, together with Xidi.

So how to visit Hongcun?

The moment you arrive in Hongcun, you will enjoy the charming landscape stretching before your eyes: morning mists, gray tilts, white walls, stone bridges, water lily ponds and verdant hills in the background.

It is the real Chinese painting unfolding before you. Exploring this ancient village, you are recommended to see the South Lake, Moon Pond, Chengzhi Hall, South Lake Academy, Deyi Hall, Shuren Hall, Chengde Hall, Jingxiu Hall and Bi Garden, etc.

1. South Lake (南湖)

Located in the south of Hongcun, South Lake was built in the Ming Dynasty in 1607. Taking West Lake in Hangzhou as its example, South Lake is in the shape of an arch and the lake embankment is divided into two layers.

Willow weeping, birds singing, duck playing, water lily blooming…It is very relaxing to spend some time in this area. Hence, it is called the “Little West Lake” at the foot of Yellow Mountain.

South Lake Academy enjoys a delicious setting on the tranquil South Lake.

South Lake, hongcun itinerary, Anhui ChinaSouth Lake

2. Crescent-Shaped Moon Pond (月沼)

Located in the heart of Hongcun, the crescent-shaped Moon Pond is the Ox’s stomach. It was built during the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368 – 1644).

The Moon Pond is green all year around, like a bright mirror. During the visit here, travelers can always find senior people sitting leisurely to chat with each other, ladies doing some washing by the lake, and kids playing around… What a happy and peaceful scene!

hongcun-ancient-village - places to visit in ChinaMoon Pond

3. Chengzhi Hall (承志堂)

Chengzhi Hall is the best-preserved old building in Yixian County and earns a reputation as the “Folk Forbidden City”. Built in 1855, it was the residence of Wang Dinggui, a wealthy salt merchant in the Qing dynasty.

The whole building is in wooden structure. Wooden beams and wall panels are decorated with intricate carvings of different themes, such as natural scenery, Chinese mythology or ordinary life scenes from the Qing dynasty. Many of them are gilded in gold.

Chengzhi Hall, hongcun itineraryChengzhi Hall

Hongcun Village Map
Hongcun Village Map

What to Do around Hongcun Village

4. Xidi Ancient Village

Xidi Ancient Village, another ancient village in Yixian County, was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, along with Hongcun Ancient Village.

There are still 00 ancient dwelling left from Ming and Qing Dynasties, among them, there are 124 well-preserved. Hence, it got a very beautiful name “Household in Peach Blossom Garden”.

The main sights in Xidi include Hu Wenguang’s Memorial Archway, Lingyu Attic, East Garden, West Garden, Dafu Grand Hall, Shangde Hall, etc.

Xidi Ancient Village
Xidi Ancient Village

5. Yellow Mountain (Mt. Huangshan)

Yellow Mountain, also called Mt. Huangshan or Huangshan Mountain, was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

It is famous for the five wonders – odd-shaped pines, spectacular rocky peaks, sea of clouds, hot spring and winter snow.

A visit to Yellow Mountain, you can also catch the best chance to watch sunrise, sunglow and sunset. Immerse yourselves in the fascinating scenery by exploring Beginning-to-believe Peak, Black Tiger Pine, Refreshing Terrace, Stone Monkey Watching the Sea, Lion Peak, Purple Cloud Peak, Flying over Rock, Bright Summit, Xihai Grand Canyon , etc.

Yellow MountainYellow Mountain

Recommended Visiting Route

It takes 3 or 4 hours to visit Hongcun Ancient Village. Travelers can follow this route to travel:

Entrance – Two Old Trees – South Lake – South Lake Academy – Jingde Hall – Wang Dade’s Former Residence – Wuben Hall – Moon Pond – Lexu Hall – Jingxiu Hall – Chengzhi Hall – Deyi Hall – Taoyuan Hall – Entrance – Get Departure

Best Time to Visit Hongcun

Generally speaking, Hongcun, as a historical site, is suitable for visiting all year around. Because the main highlights are its ancient architectures, alleys, bridges, etc. But sometimes, the seasonal changes can make your travel different. It is much recommended to visit Hongcun during following two periods of time:

1) March and April – surrounding mountains get vibrant, and there are many flowers blooming in the village. At the same time, it is not as crowded as in summer and autumn.

2) Late October to Early November – the super heat of domestic tourism start to drop, but the autumn scenery around Hongcun and nearby Tachuan is amazing. Besides, the weather is pretty pleasant.

Hongcun Autumn ViewHongcun Autumn View

Accommodation in Hongcun

  • W_Smart Motel Superior Hongcun: Situated in Yi, 35 km from Bright Summit Peak, W_Smart Motel Superior Hongcun features accommodation with a garden, free private parking, a shared lounge and a terrace. Boasting a concierge service, this property also provides guests with a restaurant. The accommodation provides a 24-hour front desk, airport transfers, room service and free WiFi throughout the property.
  • Huangshan Xidi Shang De Tang: Featuring a garden, shared lounge and views of mountain, Huangshan Xidi Shang De Tang is situated in Yi, 44 km from Bright Summit Peak. Boasting a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a restaurant. The owner is super nice! He speaks English and explained the hike to us well, the transfer to Hong Un and he picked us up at Tangkou bus station.

Useful Hongcun Travel Tips

1. Extra Fee Needed

When visit some halls in Hongcun, you need to pay extra fees, Deyi Hall for 2 Yuan, Chengde Hall for 2 Yuan, Bi Garden for 5 Yuan.

2. Photography Tips

The early morning and late afternoon are the best time to do photography. It is less crowded in the early morning. You can take some pictures of the primitive life of the local people, or the South Lake and Moon Pond immersed in the sunglow. If you are interested in the architectures in the village, you can stroll along the narrow alley with your camera. To have panoramic pictures of Hongcun, Leigang Hill is a recommended spot.

3. Tea Drinking in Hongcun

To enjoy some relaxing time in Hongcun, you can spend some minutes drinking tea while appreciating the beautiful scenery. Deyi Hall, Genxin Hall and Qinjian Pavilion are the choices to drink tea.

4. Toilet Location

There are two free public toilets tourists can use. One is located outside the Hongcun Ancient Village, near the Ticket Office of Tourist Center. It provides two separate public toilet rooms for women and men, including both squat toilets and Western sitting style toilets. The other one is inside the village, next to the Chengzhi Hall (承志堂).

And you, do you plan to visit Hongcun on your next trip to China?

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Steve Batides

I am passionate about travel, writing and music. I like writing books, landing in an unknown country, brassens, beer, cats, jazz and shells. I put a point of honor to seek for you the best information to sublimate your travels. A question about a destination, a visit, a good plan? I'll answer in the comments.

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