A Glimpse of Xin'an River
Xin'an River is a 373-kilometer-long River connecting ancient Huizhou (present Huangshan City) with Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang Province. As a key waterway in ancient times, it once enjoyed great significance for local economy. It shipped out agricultural products and brought back salt and manufactured goods.
The essence of Xin'an River is located in Shendu Town (深渡镇) of Huangshan City and reaches to about 50 kilometers (31 miles) long. Because of the spectacular painting-like landscape along the river, people always call it 100-li Landscape Gallery. In Chinese unit of measurement, one kilometer is equal to 2 li. Going along with this river, you will admire the good views of green forest, white-walled and gray-titled villages, fishing men, bamboo rafts, etc.
What to See Xin'an River Landscape Gallery
Nature Scenery – Natural beauty is the highlight of Xian River Landscape Gallery. The eco-environment along the banks of Xin'an River Landscape Gallery is really rich. It features a stereoscopic eco-structure – forests on mountain top, tea plants on mountain side, fruit plants on mountain side, fruit trees on mountain foot and fishes in the water. In the spring, the ripe flowers are in full blossom and you can enjoy a golden sea of flowers.
Huizhou Villages – There are many villages along Xin'an River. Combined with the impressive nature, they form a Chinese ink landscape painting. You may also see the villagers doing farming work or fishing near the river.
Huizhou Culture – The riverside villages also record the thick Huizhou culture. Visiting Miantan Villages allows you to appreciate the traditional way of fishing and the great Miantan Opera. When you visit the Dowry Hall in Zhangtan Village, you can learn many about local wedding.
Old Huizhou Villages along Xin'an River
Xin'an River Cruise - Best Way to Explore Xin'an River
As the best way to explore Xin'an River, cruise offers an enjoyable relaxing and sightseeing trip. The boats can be divided in three types roughly, including two-floored painted pleasure boat, two-floored (or three-floored) cruise and yacht. The type of boat which you will take is unfixed and usually depends on the number of people generally. There are two routes which you can choose. One is cruising in the scenic area and coming back to Shendu after sightseeing. The other is the long-distance cruise from Shendu to Qiandao Lake from which you can drive (or take a bus) to Hanghzhou City. All the cruises depart from Shendu Port.
Cruise Experience in Xin'an River Scenic Area
Departing Time: 9:00a.m & 13:00p.m
Fee: 68 RMB & Extra 30 RMB for Upgrading Seats
Distance: about 80km (about 50 miles)
Duration: about 3.5 hours
Taking a cruise in Xin'an River Landscape Gallery, you can perfectly admire the alluring riverside scenery and Huizhou-style villages as well as experience the Huizhou culture by visiting some historic sites. There are two scheduled cruise to tour Xin'an River Landscape Gallery, one departing at 9:00, the other departing at 13:00. If travelers arrive in other time, it's available to charter one cruise (1,000RMB for a yacht & 3,000~6,800RMB for a painted pleasure boat). In the peak season, there will be additional cruise available when there were enough visitors. It is recommended to upgrade your seats to the upper floor which offers a better panoramic view.
During your cruise journey in Xin'an River Scenic Area, you will stop four times for shore excursions usually. The highlights include, Jiuxing Fishing Performance and Zhangtan Dowry Hall.
● Jiuxing Fishing Performance (九姓捕鱼)
Visiting Time: about 20 minutes
Taking a cruise on Xin'an River, you can't miss the Jiuxing fishing (Jiuxing literally means nine family names). It is a water performance to show the local traditional methods of fishing. There is an old story of this village. In the second year of Emperor Huizong in Northern Song Dynasty (1121), the imperial court defeated the rebel army in Shexian and arrested the families of some soldiers. There are nine families totally remanded by an officer called Han Shizhong (韩世忠). When they took a cruise to Miantan (绵潭), the heavy wind and rain came, so they had to berth there for rest. At night, Han Shizhong dreamt that a Taoist boy told him to be benevolent. Han Shizhong thought it's the god's instruction and released the nine families. After that, the nine families lived there and never leave. They made a living by fishing and formed their own folk customs.
The performance is hosted by an elder male villager. There are four other villagers drumming to improve morale. With the drumming, the finishing boats seem dancing on the water. You can see the fishermen casting the nets far away and waiting for the best time to receive them back. Some fishermen will harpoon the fishes skillfully. Besides, it's quite interesting to watch the cormorant plunging into the water and catching fishes. In the end of the performance comes Yu Chuan Ta Lang which is translated as Fishing Boat Treading the Waves. You must be attracted by that the fisherman in quite a small fish could move so fast.
The Host and the Drummers
Jiuxing Fishing Performance
● Miantan Opera Show (绵潭戏曲)
Visiting Time: about 15 minutes
What makes Miantan so well-known is its cultural taste – Miantan Opera. There has long been a propaganda team of literature & art playing opera in Miantan Village. With a history of over 300 years, Miantan Opera absorbs the essence of Huangmei Opera (黄梅戏) and Yue Opera (粤剧). It features in rising and falling rhyme, sonorous gong and drum, and fascinating artistic conception.
After watching the fishing performance, you take a cruise to the opposite shore where you will enjoy Miantan Opera Show. The port for embarking and disembarking is called General Port because it was built to welcome a general home. Boarding on General Port and entering the General's old house, you can see an antiquated opera stage. The pleasant Miantan Opera will be shown there. The opera are performed by local villagers, not highly skilled artists. Although the custumes are not gorgeous props, but it perfectly shows the local customs. Sometimes, there might be Kungfu show and Chinese calligraphy show as well.
Miantan Opera Performed in Old Stage
● Zhangtan Dowry Hall (红妆馆)
Visiting Time: about 25 minutes
Another stop for Xin'an River Crusie is Zhangtan (樟潭) where you can explore the Huizhou wedding culture by visiting Dowry Hall. Dowry Hall is exhibited with large amounts of the dowry of the daughters from the wealthy and influential families in Huizhou. They range from marriage bed and wardrobe to needlework. According ancient Huizhou's tradition, the bridegroom's family would send a marrying troop to escort her to the wedding. The troop are always guided by red lanterns and backed by dowries. The bridegroom just sit on red sedan chair and the road will be crowded with people. The amounts and value of the dowry incisively and vividly display the luxury of jubilation of the good day. Till today, Huizhou dowry is still unforgettable scenery in people's minds.
Even a glimpse of the exhibition in Dowry Hall, you can be immersed in a feeling of "red" happiness. From the appearance of the beds, you can read the wealth of the owner. Some beds and sedan chair are delicately carved with various auspicious patterns which may symbolize happiness, well-being, longevity or the early birth of a baby. The biggest treasure cherished in Dowry Hall is the over-600-year-old sedan chair which can only be lifted by at least 16 people. It is said that the sedan chair was made by the local officer as the gift to the local girl whom Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang want to marry because she once saved Zhu Yuangzhang's life.
Apart from the Dowry Hall, an old camphor tree with a history of more than 1,000 years in Zhangtan Village also worth your visit. The perimeter of the tree trunk reaches 9.2 meters and at least 6 people are able to hold it.
Wedding Articles in Ancient Huizhou
The Large Sedan Chair Cherished in Dowry Hall
● Jiulong Valley Ice & Snow World (九龙谷冰雪世界)
Visiting Time: 5 ~ 10 minutes
The cruise will also take a stop to visit small manmade indoor Ice & Snow World. There ice scripture decorated with colorful lights. You can see several different icy sculptures in shape of building, boat, a few figures in cartoon, etc. Some sculptures are decorated with colorful lights which make them a little romantic.
The temperature might reach to -15℃, so you need to rent a thick cotton-padded clothes to keep warm when you visit. Since the exhibition is in very small scale and not attractive for those who have seen fantastic ice sculptures in other cities like Harbin, it is rare to see in Huangshan City. If you are not interested, you can rest in the cruise.
Coat Rental Fee: 10RMB/person
Sulptures in Ice and Snow World
● Jiusha Crops-drying (九砂晒秋)
Visiting Time: 25 minutes
Crops-drying is a tradition in ancient Huizhou. In every autumn, the villagers will dry their agricultural productions in the sun as well as show their great harvest. Jiusha Village is famous for its crops-drying. It always takes place after Chinese Middle Festival (in early October usually) and lasts for one month. Red pepper, yellow corn, green beans, white and yellow chrysanthemum as well as rice, pumpkin and sesame will be put in the drying grounds and hanging on the windows or the roofs. The multicolored products rivaling the featured Huizhou-style building provides a good chance to photograph.
Tip: Only in the peak seasons (early October ~ to early November usually), the cruise will take a stop for a shore excursion to Jiusha Village.
Crops-sunning in Jiusha Village
Cruise from Huangshan to Qiandao Lake
Cruise Distance – 66 km (41 miles); Cruise Duration: approximately 4 hours
Ancient Huizhou is famed for giving birth to Huizhou merchants. Hundreds of years ago, the merchants take a ship to leave Huizhou for Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province to do business. By the end of the year, they will take a ship back to their hometown to have a reunion with their family. Today, it is also possible to follow the footsteps of the ancients to enjoy a cruise from Huangshan to Qiandao Lake which is a beautiful scenic area in Zhejiang. Just as its name (literately translated as a lake of one thousand islands) suggests, it is a beautiful place with lots of small islands in the background making the scenery very impressive.
More than a transportation means, the cruise provides a sightseeing journey. You will spend about 4 hours on appreciating the riverside scenery and peaceful pleasured time. In the section of Huangshan, you will enjoy the Huizhou-style house as well. When you enter the section of Zhejiang, you will have two islands for short excursions.
Cruise is moving into Qiandao Lake Scenic Area
|Shendu Town - Qiandao Lake
|about 4 hours
|about 4 hours
|Qiandao Lake - Shendu Town
|about 4 hours
|about 4 hours
Travel Ideas: It is recommended to drive to the Paradise City – Hangzhou after you end your Shendu-Qiandao Lake transfer. Qiandao Lake Port is about 160km (99 miles) to Hangzhou city. The driving between them takes about 2.5 hours.
Hiking along Xin'an River Landscape Gallery
In addition comfortable and leisurely cruise, there is a different way to explore the beauty of Xin'an River - hiking. For those who are interested in stretching legs, hiking is top recommended. The most classic hiking route at Xin'an River Landscape Gallery starts from Nanyuankou Village (南源口村) in Shexian County to Xiongcun Village. Upon arrival in Hanyuankou Village, you need to take a ferry the village across the river and then begins a 3 hours' hiking. Passing through some small villages, you are able to experience local farmers' life and appreciate the residential houses with Huizhou architectural style. Lots of plants will be lined with your hiking tracks, like tea bushes, mulberry trees and some fruit trees. One of the most interesting things is paying a visit to local villagers' houses to see the silkworms and bean curd workshop to see the process of making tofu if the time is right.
Nanyuankou Village - Start Point for Hiking
Location and Transportation
Xin'an River Landscape is located in Shendu Town, She County, Huangshan City. Shendu Port, where the cruises depart from, sits near the converging junction of Changyuan River and Xin'an River:
- 26km (about 40 minutes' driving) to Shexian County – Huizhou Ancient City;
- 35km (about 55 minutes' driving) to Tangyue Memorial Archways;
- 50km (about 1 hour and 20 minutes' driving) to Chengkan Village;
- 50km (about 55 minutes' driving) to Huangshan City;
- 110km (about 2 hours' driving) to Yellow Mountain.
How to Get to Huangshan City
Huangshan is a popular destination which can be reached by flight, high speed train and long-distance bus from several cities. Top recommended gateway cities to start a Huangshan tour are Shanghai, Huangshan and Beijing. Shanghai and Beijing operate both flights and high speed trains to Huangshan. High speed trains from Shanghai also stop in Hangzhou. Read more>
Travel with China Discovery
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can take a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Tunxi Ancient Street with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.
Smith Family from New Zea Land Traveled Huangshan with China Discovery
Best Time to Travel Xin'an River
Xin'an River enjoys four distinct seasons, warm spring (March ~ May), hot summer (June ~ August), cool autumn (September ~ November) and cold winter (December ~ February). The average temperature of Xin'an River Landscape Gallery is about 15~16℃.
If you are keen on the small Huizhou villages and the rural life of the local villages, it is available to travel Xin'an River all the year around. However, you will have different experience in different seasons. Spring is the best time to see a large sea of rape flowers (full blossom in March ~ April ). In autumn, the crops-sunning (in late September ~ October usually) begins and it becomes the favorite of photographer. During mid-May ~ late June, you could take part in picking loquat in Zhangtan Village.
Xin'an River Spring Scenery (in late March)
Travel in Shexian County
In addition to Xin'an River Landscape Gallery, there are many other places worthy of you visit in Shexian. Shexian is the old state capital of ancient Huizhou with a history of over 1,000 years. It can't be missed if you want to explore in-depth Huizhou culture. In the center of Shexian County sits Huizhou Ancient City interweaved with the old foot bridges, long-standing towers, ancient streets, primitive dams and antique archways. Travelling to Shexian County, it is worthwhile to visit Tangyue Memorial Arches as well, which is just only 26km away from the downtown of Shexian County. Tangyue Memorial Archways attracted lots of travelers not only for the architectural art but also for the moving stories behind them. Close to Tangyue Memorial Arches, Bao's Family is a good place to appreciate the exquisite Bonsai Trees. Moreover, you could visit Chengkan Village and Tangmo Village to explore Huizhou-style houses deeper.
Huizhou Ancient Village
The admission for Xinan Landscape Gallery is 80RMB per person. The ticket cruise to explore Xin'an River Landscape Gallery is 68RMB per person. If you want to upgrade your seat for better panoramic scenery, extra fee is needed. Hiking from Nanyuankou Village does not need to enter the Xin'an River Landscape Gallery Scenic Area, so it needs no admission, except for a ferry fee.
2. Narrow Plank for Embarking and Disembarking
The plank used for embarking and disembarking is quite narrow. Watch your steps to keep a good balance while you are embarking and disembarking.
3. Tour Guide
Every cruise is equipped with a guide to introduce the scenery along the river and each attraction, but they speak Chinese only. If you want to learn more about nature, history and culture during your journey, you are suggested to travel with an English-speaking travel guide. Contact us to customize a Xin'an River tour.
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