Friday, July 5, 2019

Travel Guide: Fujian Tulou

I saw the pictures of the traditional homes, called Tulous, in Fujian and decided to go. The cluster I went to was in Tianluokeng. Some of these structures have been around for centuries and many locals still live in them.


Guide

I took the 10-ish train from Xiamen Station, the ride to Nanjing was uneventful. After arriving, I had to wait until 12nn for the bus that leaves for Tianluokeng. Luckily, someone spoke some English and gave me information. We had to change buses once we got to the main bus station. The driver drove through the city, then small towns, and then up the mountains. It was a scenic ride, but took longer than I expected.

Once at the Tianluokeng center, I had to wait till almost 3pm for another bus that goes around the scenic areas. Three Chinese students were also going to the same place, which was good news for me. We ended up traveling together and seeing the different clusters.



The Fujian Tulou in China has been around for centuries. Also known as Earth Towers of the Hakkas these are included in UNESCO's World Heritage list. Their unique round shape showcases the creativity of the Chinese that built them.



There are square and round tulous in Tianluokeng.





The inside was just as impressive as its outside. The houses were a sight to behold, it was also pretty cool to see that people still lived in them.




The houses were very much alive. People's laundry were out, I saw construction materials, stuff everywhere; the general chaos was part of its charm.









We went to different towns and clusters, some tulous were more than a century old. It was quite an experience to visit these ancient communal houses.

The trip ended after 2 hours or so. Since I won't be able to catch the bus going back to the station, the bus driver called someone to give me a ride for CNY20. When I got to the bus station, I had to take another taxi to reach the railway station. This cost me another CNY20.

How to Go

I only went to Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster, there are others in Fujian you can visit. You won't be able to see all of them in one day from Xiamen. To reach Tianluokeng, board a bullet train from Xiamen or Xiamen North Railway Station to Nanjing (Fujian). The trip takes around 40 minutes to an hour one way depending on the train you board. Once at the station, go to the bus terminal and board a bus bound for Tianluokeng, just say you want to see the Tulous. You can also go to the main bus station first and board bus 6 to Tianluokeng. The fare is CNY14 one way. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi to the scenic area for CNY40 one way.

You can check train schedules here: www.trip.com

*The last return bus from the scenic area to the train station leaves at 2PM. You might have to rent a car for around CNY150 or share a ride with others for CNY20-CNY40 if you want to just go on a day trip.

Fees

Entrance: CNY90 (Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster)
Bus to scenic areas: CNY15



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