Tulou Explorer

Fujian is famous for the “tulou” architecture of the Hakka ethnic minority. Literally “earth buildings” these houses are circular fortified structures, and have been honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of interest to photographers are the interesting perspectives provided by their concentric ring design, both within the houses themselves and by the clusters of buildings nestling in the lush countryside.


Explore

  • Roundhouses, standalone and in clusters;
  • Hakka people going about their daily lives;
  • Special Moon Festival activities.
$2,500.00

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Details

Fujian is famous for the “tulou” architecture of the Hakka ethnic minority. Literally “earth buildings” these houses are circular fortified structures, and have been honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of interest to photographers are the interesting perspectives provided by their concentric ring design, both within the houses themselves and by the clusters of buildings nestling in the lush countryside.

We have selected three of the best areas for excursions and have allowed plenty of time to capture their magnificence in the best light.Yongding County lies in the far west of the province, very nearly on the border of Guangdong, the southernmost province in China. Nanjing County (not to be confused with the old capital city further north) lies closer to Xiamen. We spend 2 nights in each so as to be able to capture a range of images. We also make an excursion to Hua'an, a less well known site further north.

The photo tour ends with a night on Gulangyu Island (aka Piano Island) rather than downtown Xiamen for added interest. In contrast to the traditional tulou, the architecture found on Gulangyu is entirely colonial. An international concession was established here after 1842, and the French, British, and Japanese, among others, built hospitals, schools, and consulates, which provides a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The island is car-free, a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of modern China.

Additional Information

Duration 6 nights
Travel dates October 1 - 7, 2017
Travel style Explorer Series, photo tour
Small group Maximum 8 photographers
Destination China
Please note This photo tour is preceded by Xiapu Explorer. Anyone wishing to combine the two can connect easily with a fast train from Fuzhou to Xiamen. We are happy to arrange this, and to offer a loyalty discount for the second trip.
Map overview Tulou Explorer map
Day-to-day itinerary
  • Day 1: Arrival day You will be met at Xiamen International airport (code: XMN) and transferred to our 5 star hotel. Later there will be a chance to meet the other photographers at dinner (D)
  • Days 2-3: Yongding County We drive from Xiamen up to Yongding and will then have four photographic excursions (early morning and late afternoon) before moving on. (BLD)
  • Here we will discover the unique tulou houses of the Hakka minority. Built between the 12th and 20th centuries, these fortified buildings are self-contained mini-cities, with some being able to accommodate up to 80 families. Naturally, they are of great historical and cultural interest, but from a photographic perspective they are a fascinating subject because of the integration of the buildings with the natural environment.
  • Days 4-5: Nanjing County For these days we focus on the Nanjing tulou and continue collecting a full portfolio from both inside and outside these impressive structures. Since many are still in use, the opportunities are many and varied. The first night in Nanjing is the Mid-Autumn (Moon) Festival. There will be a chance to take full-moon shots over the tulou as well as other ad hoc ones of the local celebrations. (BLD)
  • In this region you can see the distinctive Snail Pit Village – a cluster of tulou houses with a square house in the middle, surrounded by four circular buildings. Combining aesthetic elements with practical necessity, the tulou houses are truly architectural marvels, and the fact that they are still standing today is a testament to the skills of the craftsmen who built them.
  • We transfer to Zhangzhou for night 5 so as to make an early start the next morning. Here we spoil you with another 5 star hotel.
  • Day 6: Hua'an and Gulangyu We make one last excursion, to Hua'an, a lesser-known cluster of tulou, before driving back to Xiamen. We don't stop downtown but take a ferry over to the delightful Gulangyu Island for a stylish ending. In the evening there will be a special farewell dinner. (BLD)
  • Day 7: Departure day You will be transferred to Xiamen airport in time for your flight. Check-out is normally 12:00. Please enquire about a later check-out if you have an evening flight. (B)
Rooming basis The price displayed is for a shared room in 4 and 5 star hotels throughout. Single-occupancy rooms are available upon request. A single supplement of $435 will apply.
Includes
  • comfortable hotel rooms
  • private vehicles for excursions
  • full board (good local food)
  • informative but discrete local guides
Excludes
  • international airfares
  • visa costs
  • personal travel insurance
  • other items of a personal nature