If you plan a trip in China, you might won't to miss these 10 small ancient towns.
Heshun Town, Yunnan Province
With beautiful scenery and abundant cultural traditions, this is China's earliest border trade town. A favorite of film directors, photographers, and painters, Heshun is also quite well known overseas. Heshun library is China's best village library. Farmhouses in various styles and Chinese celebrities' old houses are visitor hot spots. Also worth checking out are local craftwork and snacks.
Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province
Wuzhen is a typical picturesque Chinese Jiangnan town which frequently appears in Chinese novels and soap operas. It's near Hangzhou, next to the famous Jinghang Canal, and well-known for its quiet and clear waters, fragrant wines, legendary lanes, and handmade calico.
Taining, Fujian Province
Has the best maintained hometown houses of the leading scholars in the Ming Dynasty. Take a boat ride into the past on the Shangqingxi River or look at the magnificent 'Buddha views' on the crescent shaped Dajinhu Lake. The Taining grottoes are famous as living fossils from the days when humans lived in caves.
Hongcun, Anhui Province
The UNESCO listed village of Hongcun lies next to Mount Huangshan – one of China's five most famous mountains. It's known as "A Village in Chinese Paintings" for its beautiful views and quietness. You may recognize it as the backdrop in the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The unusual layout of the village is in the shape of the Chinese character "牛" (bull) and there are many original residencies dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Zhangbi, Shanxi Province
An ancient multi-functional castle serving social, military and religious purposes, Zhangbi is like a miniature town. It's most famous for its five great god's temples and there are also underground tunnels, and mural paintings from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Sometimes called the "Little Venice of the Orient", Tongli is surrounded by lakes on all four sides. It boasts clear waters, many bridges and gardens from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and is a perfect representation of Confucian culture. The most famous gardens are Tuisiyuan – a garden for meditation.
Nanxun, Zhejiang Province
Nanxun is a combination of western and eastern cultures, embodied in the ancient gardens planted by wealthy Nanxun silk traders – the first Chinese silk exporters, a century ago. Nanxun also retains most of its features as a southern Chinese town. Bridges span rivers connecting different parts of the town with various pailou entrance gates and old gardens telling the stories of a legendary woman, or the glories of an official, or just simply indicating what was there in the past.
Southeast of Xingan County, is Lingqu, the first man-made canal in the world, as old as the Great Wall, and now a popular wedding place for local people. Qinjia Dayuan – an ancient castle which protected the village people in the anti-Japanese war, and the Qin dynasty atmosphere of Xingan are also famous here.
Shiwan Town, Foshan, Guangdong Province
It's said 40 per cent of the world's pottery and porcelain products are made here and about fifteen per cent of China's craftwork masters gather in this small town. Shiwan is the pottery capital of southern China with a history as long as Chinese civilization. Locally made pottery dolls make nice gifts for friends.
Shiwei, Inner Mongolia
Most famous for its exotic flavors, Shiwei is located next to the border of China and Russia. You can experience Russian culture and customs at this Russian minority town and enjoy minority ethic performances such as dancing and music. This town is regarded as the birthplace of Mongolia and retains dozens of ancient relics and most of the old Mongolian traditions.