Travel Report: Xu Ao Di Village, Taishun County.
Xu Ao Di Village Taishun County.
November 2017. My visit to Taishun County stands as a major highlight of my travels across southern China. After all, I saw an array of ancient bridges, an abandoned temple, a stunning reservoir and an awesome three-tiered waterfall set in a remote forest-mountain park.
Driving back to my Sixi Town hotel on that last evening, I thought my explorations were over. But then Amy caught sight of a sign and suddenly we were exiting the highway. Following an ascending road, we soon arrived at a small hilltop community. “This is Xu Ao Di Village” she announced, “people here only observe the old ways”.
Xu Ao Di Village is literally a little pocket of Taishun that time forgot. A place where the locals make their own handicrafts and farm everything they eat.
Xu Ao Di Village, Taishun County.
The village temple is a tiny structure with a simple, single chamber and faded shrine. Built around a mammoth old tree, I had to take care while entering via the mossy, crumbly old steps. In fact, I only just managed to squeeze myself inside.
I remember asking Amy whether the locals minded us poking around. “Not at all” she replied, “this is a national heritage village, they expect it”. Right enough, we got plenty of smiles and waves from people.
About half a dozen families live in Xu Ao Di Village. They all work full time maintaining the place. This also includes the kids, who typically leave school at 16 to focus on farming duties.
Zhejiang Province, China.
Some of the farmhouses are amazing old structures. Quite large and featuring the village’s signature grey slate tiles.
Moreover, we were free to explore the inner courtyards, now mostly derelict and used for little more than storage. In olden times these courtyards were home to agricultural workshops. Hence you can still see the rotting remains of forgotten tools and outdated farming contraptions once used for plowing, water lifting and rice choosing.
I did spot one courtyard resident at Xu Ao Di Village. It was a local cat resting in one of the top floor windows. By now the late afternoon light was fading. While our tour was admittedly a bit rushed, I was nevertheless grateful that I’d managed to see yet another fascinating side of Taishun County.
Check out my other articles from around Taishun County.
For more on the region, have a look at travel reports from around Zhejiang Province.
Like these? Then why not leaf through my many other reports from all across China.
I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.
I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.