Ancient towns are often portrayed as ideal destinations for day-trippers seeking Chinese culture and picturesque streets. Many ancient towns in China are historically significant and feature distinctive architecture.
We've chosen some of China's most stunning ancient towns to give you a better idea of what you can do while you're there. The towns have been grouped according to their position in China, which ranges from north to south.
Pingyao Ancient City in Northern China
Pingyao is a well-preserved Ming Dynasty town in Shaanxi Province. The city is now another tourist destination, with old houses, cobblestone streets, and a traditional way of life.
The Mianshan Mountain is one prominent location with stunning scenery. Cultural and religious relics can be found on Mianshan Mountain. It is also the origin of the Qingming festival.
Jingsheng Ancient Town: Jingsheng is a Shanxi Province ancient city. It is about 12 kilometers from the county of Lingshi. Many visitors come to see the temples, country houses, and the Wenbi Pagoda, as well as learn about traditional Chinese culture.
The Mianshan Mountain, a well-known landmark in the province, provides a lovely backdrop to the old town.
Northeast China Arctic Village is a small village in Heilongjiang, China, situated in the far northwest. It always appears to be in another country. It is also known for having the best vantage point for viewing the arctic lights.
China's eastern (central) area
The water towns of the Yangtze Delta area and the villages at the foot of the Yellow Mountains are two forms of ancient towns that have become popular in East China.
Water Towns on the Lower Yangtze
Town of Qibao
Qibao Ancient Town: This town is a representation of Shanghai in the past. There is an old mosque, as well as old workshops and shops. The small town is a great place to learn about Shanghai's past. When visiting, keep an eye out for the authentic flavors.
Zhujiajiao Ancient Town: Zhujiajiao is one of Shanghai's numerous water cities. There are many well-preserved bridges and ancient buildings along the river for you to see.
Tongli Ancient Town is a short drive from Suzhou and provides a glimpse into the past. Tongli, which is crisscrossed by rivers and canals, has 49 stone bridges as well as numerous gardens and temples. Continue reading to learn about the top ten ancient water towns in Shanghai.
Zhouzhuang Ancient Town: Zhouzhuang is a popular tourist destination named the "Venice of the East" by many. This village features crisscrossing canals, ancient bridges, and well-preserved houses constructed over rivers, as well as a rich cultural history.
Luzhi Ancient Town: Luzhi is a town steeped in history. Scholars, politicians, and archaeologists from all over the world have visited this town and left indelible marks. The atmosphere in Luzhi town is defined by serene and peaceful waterways. There are ancient houses, bridges, a temple, a tomb, and memorial halls to be found.
Wuzhen water town: Wuzhen is known as "the home of celebrities" because of its water town. It has produced generations of well-known academics, government leaders, and brilliant politicians, among others. For tourists to tour, the town is divided into six traditional districts.
Shaoxing: Shaoxing is a water town in the Yangtze River Delta's southern reaches. It's 65 kilometers south of Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, via the S2 and G92 highway, and 198 kilometers south of Shanghai via the G15W and G60 highway.
Shaoxing has a variety of stone-built ancient bridges, old houses lining the canals, and small boats rowing on the river. There are also temples and museums in the town.
Ancient Villages in the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan)
Hongcun Village has a complex network of gravel lanes and an intricate watering system that distributes water from the outside pool to each family.
Xidi Ancient Village: Located at the foot of the Yellow Mountain on the south side, the old trading town of Xidi is a treasure of Hui culture. Xidi is now a historic village with historic wooden homes and beautiful carvings as major tourist attractions.
China's Western (Central) Area
Weishan Old Town is located in Weishan, China.
Pingle Ancient Town: Pingle Ancient Town was established over 2,000 years ago to serve as a bustling trade hub along the South Silk Road. Around 56 kilometers northwest of Chengdu, China.
The historical and cultural significance of the town is well-known. Ancient temples, old banyan trees, traditional paper workshops, and the ancient post road can all be found in Pingle.
Ciqikou Ancient Town: Ciqikou Ancient Town is a Ming Dynasty town situated on a hill overlooking the Jialingjiang River. Ciqikou has remained a symbol of old Chongqing, with visitors able to purchase porcelain and handicraft gifts.
Town of Qingmuchuan: The ancient town of Qingmuchuan was known for its strategic significance and trade history. Natives used to travel through the city since it was a major thoroughfare. Natural but scarce plant species, mineral resources, and some of China's endangered animal species can all be found today.
In Shaanxi Province, Qingmuchuan old town is a beautiful and well-preserved ancient town. Qingmuchuan is located in the Tibetan foothills, about 400 kilometers from Xi'an or Chengdu. Tourists can take a stroll down Huilongchang's old lane, which is lined with historic houses.
To get to Qingmuchuan, take the Hanzhong long-distance bus for the final 200 kilometers to Qingmuchuan Town.
Yongding Hakka roundhouses in South China
Yongding: The Fujian Province town of Yongding is renowned for its Tulou architecture (earth building). The Hakka, a Chinese ethnic group, constructed these massive, circular structures. Tulou's architectural art is admired by architects all over the world.
Fenghuang Ancient Town: Fenghuang Ancient Town, also known as "Phoenix Ancient Town," is another name for it. Fenghuang is a city with a long and illustrious history. When the weather is good, you can visit the town between July and September to see ancestral temples, ancient houses, and take a tour of the Tou Jiang River. In Hunan Province, Fenghuang is next to Zhangjiajie.
Furong Ancient Town: Furong, in Yongshun County, Xiangxi Prefecture, Hunan, was known as Wangcun village 2,000 years ago (an ancient flower species). On the cliffs of the river Youshi, the town is situated in a beautiful setting. When you visit the city, you can see the 62-meter-high waterfalls and learn about Chinese culture. Zhangjiajie is also the easiest way to get there.
Lijiang: Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is Lijiang. Local musicians playing centuries-old Naxi instruments in the time-worn streets and old wooden buildings decked with hanging red lanterns show a lifestyle and community that seems lost in time. In western Yunnan Province, it is a popular tourist destination.
Heshun Place: Heshun is an ancient town with quadrangle courts and old buildings that was designed using rare architecture. When you visit the city, you'll notice ancient trees and Heshun's library. It's about 300 kilometers from Dali in Yunnan's remote southwest.