Huangshan Ancient Village: Hongcun Village

Written by ivana Updated Oct. 31, 2023

Hongcun is located in the northeastern part of Yi County, Huangshan City. This ancient town, hidden in the "Peach Blossom Spring," gained worldwide fame due to the Oscar-winning movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." However, it is better known to many people as the "village from Chinese paintings" due to its highly representative Hui-style architecture, towering horse-head walls, clear lake water, and arched bridges, all of which have painted a beautiful image in many people's hearts.

Hongcun Landscape
Hongcun Village

Facts about Hongcun Village

Best Time to Visit Hongcun Village

With a picturesque natural landscape and unique Huizhou-style architecture, Hongcun Village is worth a visit all year round. If you are fond of practicing art or photography, spring (mid-March to May) and fall (October to mid-November) are the best times to visit Hongcun.

Huangshan Spring

Hongcun transforms into a sea of yellow rapeseed flowers in spring. Farmers plant rapeseed on a large scale there, and it’s a rare visual treat to see the flowers bloom. The village is one of the top destinations to visit in China in spring.

In fall, Hongcun turns into a colorful world of red, yellow, and green leaves. Although the amazing scenery draws many visitors, it is still less crowded than Fragrance Hill in Beijing. Still, it is a marvelous place for photography.

How to Get to Hongcun Village

In Yi County, take the bus heading to Hongcun. It costs 2 Yuan per person and takes about 15 minutes to arrive. 

From Tangkou (the Yellow Mountains)

To get to Hongcun Village from the Yellow Mountains, you can take a tourist bus from Xinguoxian Huangshan Scenic Area Bus Station (新国线黄山风景区汽车站, Xīnguóxiàn Huángshān Fēngjǐngqū Qìchēzhàn). The journey takes about 30 minutes and costs CN¥24 (approximately US$3) per person. This tourist bus operates from 07:30 to 16:30.

From Tunxi (Downtown)

To get to Hongcun Village from downtown Huangshan, you can take a tourist bus from Huangshan Bus Station (黄山市汽车客运总站, Huángshān Shì Qìchē Kèyùn Zŏngzhàn). The journey takes about one hour and costs CN¥20 (approximately US$3) per person. The tourist bus operates from 08:00 to 16:00.

From Tunxi Airport

There is no direct bus from Tunxi Airport to Hongcun Village. You can take a taxi to Huangshan Bus Station first, and then take a non-stop bus to Hongcun Village.

If language is a barrier, or if you prefer not to take public transport, feel free to contact us for a worry-free private transfer.

From Huangshan North Railway Station

Turn right and walk for about 0.2 km (0.1 mi) after exiting the train station and buy a bus ticket to Hongcun Village at the Huangshan Tourism Passenger Transport Hub (黄山旅游客运枢纽, Huángshān Lǚyóu Kèyùn Shūniǔ). The tourist bus operates from 09:30 to 18:00, and a ticket costs CN¥30 (around US$4) per person.

History of Hongcun Village

The entire village covers an area of 19.17 hectares (over 300 acres) and was originally established during the Shaoxing period of the Southern Song Dynasty (1131 AD). It was originally named "Hongcun Village(弘村)", but was renamed to "Hongcun Village(宏村)" during the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty. It has a history of over 870 years and was originally a settlement for the Wang (汪) family. There are 138 ancient buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties remaining in the area. 

Attractions of Hongcun Village

Hongcun currently preserves over 140 intact houses from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The main attractions include Yuezhao (Moon Pond), Nanhu (South Lake), Nanhu Academy, Chengzhi Hall, Hongcun Ditch, Ancient Trees, Shuren Hall, Ming Dynasty Ancestral Hall, Lexu Hall, and others. 

Recommended Visit Routes for Hongcun Village 

Highlights of Hongcun Village

In terms of its overall appearance, Hongcun is a unique, ox-shaped ancient village nestled in the ancient Peach Blossom Spring. It backs onto the remaining hills of Huangshan, such as Sheep Fold Ridge and Lei Gang Mountain, etc. The village is situated relatively high, often shrouded in cloud and mist, presenting an intense and colorful scene, sometimes akin to ink-wash painting. The surrounding mountains and the blush walls and green tiles of the village are reflected in the lake, creating an unfolding landscape painting.

Ancient Huizhou-style Buildings

The unique ancient buildings in Hongcun are different from the Suzhou Classical Gardens and Beijing Royal Gardens. The Huizhou houses have white walls and gray tiled roofs, made in the traditional style.

Huizhou-style Roof
Huizhou-style Roof

Among these buildings, Chengzhi Hall (承志堂Chēngzhì Táng) is the most outstanding and best-preserved one. It is known as the Folk Imperial Palace.

Built-in 1855, Chengzhi Hall was the residence of Wang Dinggui, a salt merchant in the late Qing Dynasty. The building is made of brick and wood. The wood carvings are exquisite and artistic. If you are interested in Chinese-style architecture or Chinese culture, don’t miss out on this incredible site!

Unique Ancient Bovine-Shaped Water System Village

Another distinct feature of the village is its biomimicry "ox" layout. The "ox head" is located at the towering and lush Leigang, with two ancient trees standing majestically as the "ox horns". The large "ox body" is made up of a well-arranged cluster of residences from east to west.

To the northwest of the village, a canal was cut along a stream encircling the houses, forming a winding water channel. The clear spring water in the village is pooled into a crescent-shaped pond, also known as Moon Pond, mimicking the "ox intestines" and "ox stomach". The water finally flows into the South Lake to the south of the village, colloquially known as the "ox belly". The "four ox legs" correspond to the four bridges erected one after another on the stream around the village. Over time, the vivid ox totem clearly emerges.

South Lake

Located to the south of Hongcun, South Lake (南湖, Nán Hū) was built in 1607. Old trees and weeping willows, with graceful branches and leaves, surround the lake. The lake reflects the sky and the surrounding mountains and houses on its pristine surface.

South Lake
South Lake

Moon Pond

Built about 600 years ago, Moon Pond (月沼, Yuè Zhǎo) is at the center of the water system in Hongcun. The surface of this half-moon-shaped pond is as smooth as a mirror. There are ancient houses and bluestones around the pond. On the banks of the pond, the elderly sit and chat, women wash clothes, and children play. It is a good place to take beautiful pictures.

South Lake
Moon Pond

The ancients demonstrated their wisdom in this unique, incredibly practical design. Not only did it provide firefighting water for villagers, but it also helped regulate temperature and provided convenience for the residents' production and daily water use. Hongcun, built by both mountains and water, is shielded by green hills at the back. The high and refreshing terrain blocks the wind from the north.

The village is free from the danger of flash floods and offers the pleasure of looking up at the mountain scenery and listening to the sound of springs. This is precisely why it is even more charming than other villages with Hui-style architecture.

Hongcun Water System
Hongcun Water System

Activities & Attractions around Hongcun Village

We can organize some special activities in Hongcun and the nearby areas to enrich your tour. Feel free to contact us for more details. Our experts will tailor-made unique activities based on your interests.

1. Bamboo Weaving

The Yellow Mountains are rich in bamboo, and the villages around have a long history of using bamboo in their households.

Even today, few people have mastery over this traditional craft. However, we managed to find one craftsman specializing in bamboo weaving in Nanping Village. Nanping is just 15 km (9 mi) from Hongcun. The journey takes about 20 minutes by car. The local craftsman will be happy to teach you how to make something beautiful using bamboo.


2. Local Farm Visit

Anhui cuisine is one of China’s eight great cuisines. It is a special experience to visit a local family and learn to make Anhui food from them in Huangshan (Nanping).

Pick the freshest vegetables from organic farms, draw spring water from a well, and prepare a home-cooked meal. Afterward, enjoy a delicious meal in a traditional ancestral house.

Family Visit
Family Visit

3. Huangshan Mountains

The Huangshan Mountains (the Yellow Mountains) are one of China’s most incredible natural wonders and welcome thousands of travelers every year. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Xu Xiake, a famous geographer and writer from the Ming Dynasty, once remarked, “The landscape of the Five Famous Mountains tops those elsewhere, and the landscape of the Yellow Mountains tops that of the Five Famous Mountains.”

4. Xidi Village

The Xidi Village was initially built during the Huangyou era of the Northern Song Dynasty and has a history of nearly 960 years. In 2000, it was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site and is known as the "most beautiful village in the world" and the "treasure trove of ancient residential buildings".

Travel Huangshan with Us

If you are planning a vacation in Huangshan and would like a hassle-free tour, do not hesitate to contact us and share your requirements. Our experienced tour guide, who spends over 200 days in the mountains every year, will customize the route based on your requests, the weather, and the tourist season. We are confident that we will be able to create an incredible journey for you!

Check out our top Huangshan tour packages:

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