What is Tulou?
Tulou is one kind of unique communal homes of the Hakka people that mainly live in the rolling mountainous regions of Fujian and Guangdong in China. Its history can date back to as early as the 11th century, which is more than 1,000 years ago. "Tu" refers to Earth and "lou" refers to building in English. Tulou is literally known as Earthen Building. Earth is the main material to build the body of these houses, hence the name. Tulou is usually in giant size and 3~5 storeys high, surrounded by a rectangular, circular or other shaped mud wall with a shared courtyard in its center. Each of them can house 150 up to 800 people. Their size is so big and shape is so strange that in 1986, during the Cold War period, when the American officials first saw Tulou while they were poring over satellite images, they once believed that these strange and huge constructions were missile silos!
Tulou was certainly not designed for such horrible use. On the contrary, Tulou was built to defense rather than initiate war. It is said that the ancient natives there used to be attacked by animals and bandits. In the purpose of gathering their strengths together to protect themselves, they created such unique castles. No any window was designed outside the mud wall of the first and second storeys, and there normally was only one gate allowing them to go out and in. Besides, there was at least one well inside the building to guarantee their daily life. Therefore, no blind spots could be found in any conflict, and Tulou would safeguard the inhabitants very well.
Nowadays, there is no further need to fend off wild animals and bandits. However, the Hakka locals have no plan to leave their Tulou. They still live there, just like their ancestors did before. The only difference is the constant influx of tourists from all over the world. Thanks to the American officials, their ridiculous but beautiful mistake made world-wide people know these mysterious buildings. And Tulou's amazing shape and size, dramatic defense function, the great spirit of solidarity and the perfect harmony of Tulou and its surrounding have attracted more and more tourists come to visit, especially after 2008, the year that UNESCO listed Fujian Tulou as a member of World Cultural Heritage Sites!
Top Recommended Yongding Tulou Tour:
► 5 Days Cultural Tour to Xiamen & Fujian Tulou
► 2 Days Classic Yongding Tulou & Nanjing Tulou Tour from Xiamen
Why Visit Yongding Tulou, Fujian, China?
There are many Tulou clusters dotted amidst the mountains hidden in Fujian Province and Guangdong Province in China, while the Fujian's Tulou buildings are the most widespread, the most abundant, the most diversified and the best preserved. It is also Fujian Tulou that has been inscribed as a cluster of World Cultural Heritage Sites since 2008.
The Tulou clusters in Fujian are divided into several parts, including Yongding Tulou Cluster, Nanjing Tulou Cluster, Hua'an Tulou Clusters, etc. A great number of visitors love Yongding Tulou most, especially the foreigners, the reasons are as follows:
- 23 out of 46 Earthen Buildings Listed as World Heritage Sites Are Here - In 2008, Fujian Tulou, including 46 Earthen Buildings in total, were inscribed by UNESCO as a cluster of World Cultural Heritage Sites. Amongst the 46 Tulou, 23 (half of them) are in Yongding.
- Chinese Hakka Tulou Museum - Yongding Tulou is hailed as the Chinse Hakka Tulou Museum. There, you will find almost all types of Tulou, including the classic round and square Tulou, and also D-shape Tulou, phoenix-shaped Tulou, eight-square Tulou, etc. Fuxin Building, the oldest Tulou in the world, is also in Yongding.
- The King of Tulou, The Prince of Tulou and The Disney Mulan's Home are Here - tourists visiting Yongding will get close to The King of Tulou - Chengqi Building, the largest round Tulou with as many as 400 rooms built inside and The Prince of Tulou - Zhencheng Building, the most splendid Tulou among all of the Hakka earth buildings. Chengqi Building is also the Disney Mulan's home and the iconic Tulou printed on a Chinese stamp!
- A Popular Filming Spot - In addition to the Disney movie Mulan, Yongding Tulou is also the filming spot for the Chinese Animated Film named Big Fish & Begonia and a noncommercial advertisement created for the Spring Festival Gala!
What to See in Yongding Tulou - 4 Popular Tulou Areas
Yongding Tulou refers to all the Hakka Tulou (earthen buildings) in Yongding District, Longyan City, Fujian, China. There are more than twenty thousand Tulou in total, while the best ones gather in several specific huge scenic areas, including Hongkeng Tulou Cluster, Gaobei Tulou Cluster, Chuxi Tulou Cluster, Nanxi Tulou Cluster, etc.
Hongkeng Tulou Cluster - Famous China Hakka Tulou Folk Culture Village
- ● Ticket Price: CNY 90 / person
- ● Recommended Visiting Time: at least half day
Hongkeng Tulou Cluster (洪坑土楼), also known as the China Hakka Tulou Folk Culture Village, is the main tourist area of Yongding Tulou. Many of the greatest Tulou in this region, including the superstar Zhencheng Building, Fuyu Building, Kuiju Building, Wufeng Building and Rusheng Building, can all be found in Hongkeng.
Zhencheng Building (The Prince of Tulou)
Zhencheng Building (振成楼), the Prince of Tulou, is one of the most popular Fujian Tulou. What makes it stand out is its magical layout and magnificent interior design. The building strictly follows the principles of Eight Diagrams, which is said to have the magical power to avoid bad lucks and balance the harmonious with the surrounding environments. Inside the building is a perfect mix of Chinese and Western aesthetics. While the exquisite garden, graceful inscriptions, and simple yet elegant wooden corridors and rooms reflect the traditional Chinese culture, its cast iron railings and circular granite columns show a flavor of the west.
In 1995, the models of Zhencheng Building and Beijing Temple of Heaven, the two symbols of circular Buildings of South and North China, caused a stir at the World Architecture Model Exhibition, which made more people know this hidden gem.
kuiju Building (奎聚楼) is a square earthen building featuring a unique palatial structure. The building took as long as five years in total to build. And till now, it has a history of more than 160 years. In the past 160 years, 4 people that once lived in the building passed the final test for the imperial examination, more than 20 people went on college, more than 40 people studied aboard... These numbers are the best evidences for the building's excellent educational and cultural flavor. Besides, paintings and calligraphy works are hung in everywhere of the building, which may tell you more stories that happened there.
In addition to the classic round and square Tulou, Fujian also has unique Tulou in five-phoenix style. The roofs of these Tulou are low in front and high in back, forming a unique bird shape, plus five elements of Ancient Chinese Philosophy in the design, hence the name. Though there are around one hundred Five Phoenix Tulou scattered in the Fujian mountains, Fuyu Building (福裕楼) in Yongding is the most typical and best-preserved one. Fuyu Building is built next to a tranquil river. It covers an area of more than 7,000 square meters. Its exterior is integrated, while the interior is divided into three unites. Insides the building, there are living rooms, ancestor halls, pigsties, mill houses, storage rooms and so on, which takes at least 1 hour to have an in-depth exploration. Nowadays Fuyu Building operates a budget hostel named Changdi Inn (常棣客栈) inside, which is popular for backpackers.
Rusheng Building (如升楼) faces Fuyu Building across the stream. Because of its tiny size, which is so far the smallest, tourists also call it "Mini Tulou". Its name "Ru" means "like" and "Sheng" refers to a kind of rice measuring tool made of bamboo. The appearance of the building is just like a Sheng, hence the name. Its name Rusheng also implies the good wish for the future of the owner, because "Sheng" also means "rise" in Chinese. The owner hoped that his coming life would be better and better in the future, just like the rising sun.
All the 7 Tulou Heritages in Hongkeng Tulou Cluster:
|Zhencheng Building (振成楼)||Qingcheng Building (庆成楼)||Fuyu Building (福裕楼)||Fuxing Building (福兴楼)|
|Rusheng Building (如升楼)||Guangyu Building (光裕楼)||Kuiju Building (奎聚楼)|
Gaobei Tulou Cluster (Tulou King Scenic Area) - Where Chengqi Building, The King of Tulou, is Located
- ● Ticket Price: CNY 50 / person
- ● Recommended Visiting Time: half day ~ one day
Gaobei Tulou Cluster is also called Tulou King Scenic Area, because the King of Tulou - Chengqi Building is right here. Other famous earthen buildings in this area include a three-ring Shenyuan Building, two rectangular Shize Building and Wuyun Building, a round Qiaofu Building, etc.
Chengqi Building (The King of Tulou)
Chengqi Building (承启楼) is one of the most significant members of the 46 Fujian Tulou that have been listed as World Cultural Heritage Sites since 2008. It is a massive round Tulou with four concentric rings surrounding an ancestral hall at the center. The exterior ring is the highest, while the inner ones get lower and lower as it gets close to the center. Such a unique structure makes Chengqi Building differ a lot from other Tulou of this region. The size of Chengqi Building is also the largest. It is the largest Tulou with the largest number of rooms, totaling about 400 rooms. All of these characteristics have earned Chengqi Building the reputation as the Tulou King! In 1986, China Post issued a special stamp of "Fujian Residence", and it was Chengqi Building on that stamp. Chengqi Building is also the Disney Mulan's home. Though it goes against the history, it is still a strong proof of the supremacy of Chengqi Building.
Wuyun Building (五云楼) is the square Tulou next to Shize Building, another square Building standing at the east side of the Tulou King. It was built during Yongle Period of Ming Dynasty (1360~1424). At present, it is the oldest Tulou of Family Jiang of this region, with a history of more than 600 years. As time goes by, the front mud wall of Wuyuan Building has gradually tilted 1.5 meters inward. However, the building doesn't fall at all. It has stood steady in such amazing angle for nearly a hundred years, which amazed the specialists and tourists a lot.
Shize Building (世泽楼) refers to the square Tulou standing at the east side of Chengqi Building , the King of Tulou. Due to Jiang family's population explosion during Jiaqing period of Qing Dynasty (1796~1820), they built this building to serve the needs of their future generations. Shize Building is 4 storeys high. Each story of the building has 38 rooms, and there are 152 rooms in total inside the entire building. All the rooms are in wooden structure, without the use of any nails, which is really incredible!
Qiaofu Building (侨福楼) is located at the west side of the Tulou King. Similar to Chengqi Building, Qiaofu Building is a round Tulou. However, its size is much smaller, and it has only one circle, much less than Chengqi Building, which has 4 circles in total. "Qiao" refers to overseas Chinese. "Fu" means "good fortune". Qiaofu Building, as its name implies, was built by the family who once studied abroad. The building is also known as "Doctor Building", because it has nurtured as many as 11 doctors, including a female doctor of medicine.
All the 4 Tulou Heritages in Gaobei Tulou Cluster:
|Chengqi Building (承启楼)||Shize Building (世泽楼)||Wuyun Building (五云楼)||Qiaofu Building (侨福楼)|
Chuxi Tulou Cluster - The Most Primitive Yongding Tulou with 10 Tulou Heritage
- ● Ticket Price: CNY 65 / person
- ● Recommended Visiting Time: at least half day
Chuxi Tulou Cluster (初溪土楼) is built on the grassy hillside hidden in the deep mountainous area of Yongding. At the back of the Tulou cluster are layers of terraced fields and dense forests. Such a harmonious environment enables its visitors to have a glimpse of the most primitive Hakka life.
Half of Fujian Tulou Heritage is in Yongding, while half of Yongding is in Chuxi. It has both the oldest and youngest Tulou Heritage Sites of this region. The whole Chuxi Tulou Cluster Area is composed of five round Tulou and dozens of square Tulou, including as many as 10 Tulou Heritages. All the Tulou there are named with the word "qin", for example, there are Jiqin Building, Yuqing Building, Shengqin Building, Gengqing Building, Fuqing Building, and etc. "Qin" is literally means "joy and auspiciousness" in Chinese, which implies the good wish of the Hakka ancestors for their descendants at Chuxi Tulou Cluster.
With a long history of 580 years, Jiqing Building (集庆楼) is the oldest round Tulou in Yongding. It is also the most unique one with the largest amount of ladders. While normal round Tulou has only 2~4 ladders, Jiqing Building has altogether 72 ladders constructed inside. Every single family has their own ladder to go up and down, which is really convenient.
The nowadays Jiqing Building is no longer inhabited by Hakka people. It is now mainly served as a Hakka Folk Museum, with abundant Hakka cultural relics displayed.
Shanqing Building (善庆楼) next to Jiqing Building has a short history of only 30 years. It is the youngest Tulou in the world. This building constructed in the modern years adds many modern elements into the design. For example, the building is in special white, because its exterior round wall is painted with lime. Its foyer, corridor and courtyard are all well-paved with square granite of the same specifications.
All the 10 Tulou Heritages in Chuxi Tulou Cluster:
|Jiqing Building (集庆楼)||Gengqing Building (庚庆楼)||Yuqing Building (余庆楼)||Shengqing Building (绳庆楼)|
|Shanqing Building (善庆楼)||Xiqing Building (锡庆楼)||Gongqing Building (共庆楼)||Fuqing Building (福庆楼)|
|Huaqing Building (华庆楼)||Panqing Building (籓庆楼)|
Nanxi Tulou Cluster - Tulou Great Wall
- ● Ticket Price: CNY 50 / person
- ● Recommended Visiting Time: at least half day
Nanxi Tulou Cluster refers to the earthen buildings scattered in the terraced fields at the two banks of Nanxi Stream in Yongding. This area has more than 100 Tulou. Comparatively large and vast in design, Nanxi Tulou Cluster consists of the classic round and rectangular Tulou, and also Tulou in special D-shape, trigonal and so on. The Tulou clusters wind their way through the narrow valley for more than 10 kilometers to the horizon, just like a winding great wall. Therefore, it also nicknamed "Tulou Great Wall". The most popular Tulou in Nanxi Tulou Cluster are Zhenfu Building and Yanxiang Building.
Zhenfu Building (The Princess of Tulou)
Zhenfu Building (振福楼) is known as the "Sister Tulou" of Zhencheng Building, the Prince of Tulou. It is also a magnificent round Tulou built in accordance with the magical Eight Diagrams. Zhenfu Building covers an area of 4,000 square meters, with 96 rooms constructed inside. It was built by a tobacco merchant. The small square Tulou at the right side of Zhengfu Building is the former smoke factory and the dormitory for the workers. And the collapsed building at the left side was a western-style school and playhouse.
Yanxiang Building (衍香楼) is also a round Tulou. The most unique feature of this building is that its inner hall is in elegant mansion-style while its outer ring is in typical Tulou look. At the back of the building there are three ancient pine trees. It is said these pine trees once released mysterious smokes at every summer night. Yanxiang Building is home to a scholarly family. Once you are there, you will get a strong atmosphere of poetry.
Huanji Building (环极楼) is a round Tulou featuring an open courtyard siting at the center. Once singing, shouting or stamping your foot at the central point of the courtyard, you will get a loud echo in response. However, there will be nothing happen if you leave the central point. A true interesting experience!
All the 2 Tulou Heritages in Nanxi Tulou Cluster:
|Zhenfu Building (振福楼)||Yanxiang Building (衍香楼)|
3 Recommended Yongding Tulou Visiting Routes
Yongding is a large area and has altogether 23,000 Tulou to visit. There are many visiting routes available, while the three most recommended routes are as follows:
1-Day Yongding Tulou Essence Tour (Most Popular)
Details: Gaobei Tulou Cluster - Hongkeng Tulou Cluster
2-day Yongding Tulou Leisure Tour
Details: Gaobei Tulou Cluster - Hongkeng Tulou Cluster - Nanxi Tulou Cluster or Chuxi Tulou Cluster
2 Days Classic Yongding Tulou & Nanjing Tulou Tour from Xiamen
3-day Yongding Tulou In-depth Tour
Details: Gaobei Tulou Cluster - Hongkeng Tulou Cluster - Nanxi Tulou Cluster - Chuxi Tulou Cluster
Yongding Tulou Transportation - How to Get to/around Yongding Tulou
Yongding Tulou is scattered in the remote mountains in Yongding District, Longyan City, Fujian, China. At present, the most convenient airport to visit Yongding Tulou is Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport. Longyan Railway Station is the most popular bullet train station to Yongding.
Flight to Yongding Tulou
Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (IATA: XMN) offers frequent flight service to/from international destinations like Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Macau, etc. And in China, you can travel to/from Xiamen from over 90 domestic cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Kunming, Lijiang, etc.
From Xiamen, you can catch a direct coach to Yongding Tulou from bus terminals like Xiamen Hu Bin Nan Long Distance Bus Station. The coach ride needs about 2~3.5 hours. However, taking a coach may not be really a good idea for foreigners, because there are language barrier. The local Hakka language is really hard to understand, even for the Chinese. The best way to get to Fujian Tulou from Xiamen is by private car.
Train to Yongding Tulou
The closest train station to Yongding Tulou is Yongding Railway Station. However, you cannot take a high speed train to the station, because it only offers normal train service. And the normal train service is limited. Therefore, seldom tourist chooses it. For the visitors prefer to visit Yongding Tulou by train, they will choose Longyan Railway Station (龙岩站), which is about 80 km and 1.5 hours away from Yongding Tulou by car.
Every day, Longyan Railway Station has about 4 direct buses to Yongding Tulou. Those buses usually make departures in the morning or early afternoon. Considering there is no fixed timetable for the buses, hiring a private car in advance is more convenient.
More detailed information about Yongding Tulou transportation, please visit Xiamen to Yongding Tulou | Nanjing Tulou to Yongding Tuluo >>
Travel around Yongding Tulou
Each scenic area in Yongding is relatively large and takes hours to go around. And it takes 10 minutes to 1 hour to travel in between any two of them by car. For independent travelers, they prefer catch a local motorbike to travel around. However, this is not for everyone, and it isn't always a good choice. Sometimes it may be very difficult to find a motorbike there. Travelling around with the private car service is more recommended, and then you can make transfers between the so many Tulou in convenience.
All of our Tulou tours include such warm private car service. And the tour can be customized according to your plan and budget. If you are interested, please feel free to contact us!
Check more about Fujian Tulou Transportation >>
Best Time to Visit Yongding Tulou
The whole Fujian Tulou region (Yongding Tulou included) has a pleasant weather all year around. There is no intense heat in the summer or extreme cold in winter. The annual temperature of this region is about 18℃ (65℉). Winter of this region may be chilly sometimes. However, it is far from that cold. Snow is rare there, and even if there is unexpected snow, it usually melts soon after hitting the ground. Therefore, it is suitable to be visited all year around.
Check more about Tulou Weather & Best Time to Visit >>
Yongding Tulou Ticket & Price
Different Tulou areas in Yongding have their own tickets. And the Tulou in each area share one ticket. For example, if you are going to visit Zhencheng Building and Fuyu Building in Hongkeng Tulou Cluster, you can book the Hongkeng Tulou Cluster ticket. And if you want to visit Hongkeng and Gaobei together, you are required to book two tickets.
|Hongkeng Tulou Cluster||Zhencheng Building, Fuyu Building, Kuiju Building, Rusheng Building, etc.||90|
|Gaobei Tulou Cluster||Chengqi Building, etc.||50|
|Chuxi Tulou Cluster||Jiqing Building, Shengqing Building, Shanqing Building, Gengqing Building, Gongqing Building||65|
|Nanxi Tulolu Cluster||Zhenfu Building, Yanxiang Building, etc.||50|
- 1) The above ticket prices are only for your reference.
- 2) Keep your ticket well, because you are required to show it at the entrance of each Tulou.
- 3) The ticket is only valid for one day, which means you are required to book another ticket if you want to reenter the Tulou in the other days.
- 4) During the Chinese holidays like the Spring Festival (normally comes in late-January or early-February) and the first week of May (Labor Day) and October (National Day), Yongding Tulou may be a little bit crowded. If you happen to visit there at these periods of time, you are suggested to book your tickets 3 days in advance and wake up earlier for sightseeing.
How to Plan a Yongding Tulou Tour?
Tourists usually visit Yongding Tulou with Xiamen. Firstly spend one or two days in Xiamen, and then take a one-day side trip to Tulou. In such a classic Yongding Tulou Essence Tour, they will explore the Tulou King Scenic Area (Gaobei Tulou Cluster) and China Hakka Tulou Folk Culture Village (Hongkeng Tulou Cluster), the two most standout Tulou areas of this region.
Because Nanjing Tulou (another world-renowned Tulou scenic area with the rest half of Tulou Heritages) is on the driving way from Xiamen to Yongding, most of the Fujian Tulou tourists visit Nanjing and Yongding in one go. Such a Fujian Tulou Essence Tour needs 1~3 days.
3 Days In-depth Fujian Tulou Tour with Hakka Cultural Experience
For the big Tulou fans looking for an in-depth visit of Yongding Tulou, you can also spend 1~2 days more to explore Chuxi Tulou Cluster and Nanxi Tulou Cluster.
If you have plans to get more surprises near Yongding Tulou, we also suggest you to extend your Tulou tour to Wuyi Mountain, Fuzhou Three Lanes and Seven Alleys, Xiapu Mudflat, etc. Have your own preferences? Please feel free to contact us to customize your personal Tulou tour!
5 Days Cultural Tour to Xiamen & Fujian Tulou (Xiamen + Fujian Tulou)
5 Days Xiamen, Nanjing Tulou & Mount Wuyi Discovery Tour (Xiamen + Nanjing Tulou + Mount Wuyi)
Travel Yongding Tulou with China Discovery
Have trouble about planning your Tulou tour in such a remote area? Looking for a hassle-free Tulou tour? Travel with us China Discovery, and let our experienced local guide and driver help you! We will choose the best visiting route and hotel with your say. And our professional guide will accompany you all the way and introduce you the history and stories of the Tulou you like. Our local driver will help you make efficient transfers between the Tulou clusters there. We also take care of every detail of the itinerary. Therefore, you can just focus your energy on what you are interested!
We China Discovery have helped hundreds and thousands of visitors arranging their perfect Tulou trip. And the tour can be tailor-made according to your interests, time, group size, budget and every special need. If you are interested, please feel free to contact us to customize your personal Tulou tour!
- Classic Tulou Tours
- 2 Days Nanjing Tulou Tour
- 3 Days In-depth Tour
- 5 Days Tulou Luxury Tour
Fujian Tulou Tours
- Nanjing Tulou
- Best Fujian Tulou
- Things to Do
- Get There & Around
- Nanjing to Yongding
- Nanjing Tulou Hotel
- Yongding Tulou Hotel
- Tulou Weather
- Tulou Maps
- Xiamen 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit
- Tulou Travel FAQs & Tips
- More Fujian Tulou Travel Guide
Fujian Tulou Travel Guide
More about Fujian Travel Guide
Recommended Fujian Tulou Tours
Top 3 Fujian Tulou tours chosen by most customers to explore Fujian Tulou in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
- 3 Days Classic Xiamen and Fujian Tulou Tour
Xiamen / Nanjing Tulou / Yongding Tulou / Xiamen
- 2 Days Best Nanjing Tulou Tour with Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster
Xiamen / Nanjing / Xiamen
- 2 Days Classic Yongding Tulou & Nanjing Tulou Tour from Xiamen
Xiamen / Nanjing Tulou / Yongding Tulou / Xiamen
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