Travel Report: Xu Ao Di Village – Taishun County, China.
November 2017. My visit to Taishun County was a major highlight of my travels across southern China. I saw an array of ancient bridges, an abandoned temple, a stunning reservoir and an equally awesome three-tiered waterfall set in a remote forest-mountain park. Driving back to my Sixi Town hotel on that last evening and I thought my explorations were over. But then Amy caught sight of a sign and suddenly we were turning into a side road and heading up to a hilltop community. “This is Xu Ao Di Village” she announced, “people here only observe the old ways”.
November 2017. 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.
November 2017. Xu Ao Di 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 accessing it via the mossy, crumbly old steps. At the top I could barely squeeze myself inside.
November 2017. As Amy and I walked around Xu Ao Di Village, I asked her if the locals minded us poking around. “Not at all” she replied, “this is a national heritage village, they expect it”.
November 2017. About half a dozen families live in Xu Ao Di Village and they all work full time on maintaining the place, including the kids who typically leave school at 16 to focus on farming duties. Some of the farmhouses are amazing structures, quite large and featuring the village’s signature grey slate tiles.
November 2017. Delving deeper into Xu Ao Di Village, we were also able to walk freely around a few of the inner courtyards, now mostly derelict and used for little more than storage. In olden times these courtyards were home to agricultural workshops and you can still see the rotting remains of forgotten tools and outdated farming contraptions once used for plowing, water lifting and rice choosing.
November 2017. 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 and although we’d only managed a rushed tour, I was grateful that Amy had spotted the sign and that we’d taken the time to see 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.
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