Wonders of Wuyuan
Immersing oneself in the floral scenery
Published: Mar 10, 2015 06:28 PM Updated: Mar 11, 2015 12:03 AM
In China, mid-March is the ideal time to enjoy the site of rape flowers. Chinese travelers have a strange obsession with these gold-colored blooms, which create a spectacular scene when growing in large fields in the countryside.

Wuyuan of Jiangxi Province is one of the most popular places in China to see large expanses of rape flowers. About 500 kilometers west of Shanghai, Wuyuan is like a green pearl set in the boundary between Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces. Dubbed "the most picturesque village in China," Wuyuan is a mixture of natural scenery, cultural heritage and delicious food.

There are three main tour routes in Wuyuan. The east route features gorgeous scenery, and is most popular in spring. The route starts at Moon Bay, with a crescent-shaped island in a lake, and ends at Qingyuan village. The route is also dotted with a number of ancient villages such as Likeng, Xiaoqi and Jiangling, where you can see authentic Anhui architecture and enjoy local food and drink. You can also find accommodation easily in those villages.

The Global Times has selected three spots along the east route worth visiting on your flower tour.



Jiangling is considered the best spot in East Wuyuan to see rape flower fields. It used to be one of the numerous villages in Wuyuan unknown to outsiders. A photo named Human World and Paradise shot by the famous Hong Kong photographer Tchan Fou-li brought nationwide attention to the village. In the picture, acres of rape flowers stretch at the foot of misty mountains like a sea of gold.

Rape flowers in Jiangling differ from those in other parts of Wuyuan in that they grow in terraced fields. Thus, seen from above, they offer a breathtaking view of layered gold, stretching miles and miles from the top to the foot of the hills.

The best time to see Jiangling rape flowers is dawn or dusk, when the mountains and the villages are shrouded in mist, and offer a spectacular backdrop to the blooming flowers. You can hire a car, and tell the driver to drive all the way to a hilltop. There, you will have a bird's-eye view of terraced flower fields, dotted with primitive thatched cottages, farmers and cattle. That's where and when you can get a perfect snapshot of a Chinese pastoral scene.

If you go there in late March or early April, when the rape flowers are in full bloom, it's highly probable you will meet many amateur photographers and travelers. A few years ago, local officials built several sightseeing stands on different hilltops. Those stands are the most convenient spots at which to set your tripod. However, they can be annoyingly crowded at weekends. So, either visit Jiangling on weekdays, or avoid the sightseeing stands and search for unique views on your own.



Around 12 kilometers from Wuyuan county, Likeng is an ancient village famous for its natural scenery and beautiful cottages. Most residents in the village are surnamed Li, hence the village's name.

It is full of old architecture, dozens of bridges made of brick, stone and wood, twisting stone roads, flowing rivers, restaurants and wine shops. It bustles with life in the morning and descends into silence in late afternoon.

It is very popular with tourists, and some say they disturb the tranquility of the village. But they also bring life and energy. Many of the tourists are students from art schools. On a sunny morning you can see them seated along riverbanks making sketches.

It's also one of the most popular spots around Wuyuan to watch rape flowers, which grow in large fields near the village. Tourists can walk into the fields and get close to the flowers.

If you visit Likeng, don't miss the delicious local cuisine such as simmered red carp, steamed local chicken and mushroom stone chicken. Among them, simmered red carp is the most popular. According to ancient Chinese medicine books, red carp can be used to cure many illnesses. Most restaurants in Likeng offer this dish to customers.

It's also worth taking some time to visit the local wine shops. Some of them, such as Zhaji Wine Shop, offer a variety of flavors you can taste. Among them, sticky rice wine is a Likeng specialty. The wine has a mild sweet taste like sugar water. Every winter, the whole village is bathed in the fresh and sweet scent of the beverage. If you happen to be there, it's hard not to get drunk on a cold night!


Photos: Xie Jun/GT

Another village immersed in rape flowers in the spring time is Wangkou, an ancient village with water on three sides. Here you can find the picturesque scenery of rape flower fields against rippling water. In a spring afternoon, it's a luxurious experience to see rape flowers and the pink peach blossoms from the bridge near the entrance to the village.

Unlike Likeng, Wangkou is a quiet, undisturbed village with many ancient houses. Guanluzheng Street, which is said to be a thousand years old, runs through the village. Along the street you can find shops and small restaurants. Usually you can go directly to the kitchen and select what you want to eat from ingredients spread out on a counter.

Located near one end of the street is the Ancestral Hall of the Yu Family, a cultural relic unit covering an area of about 1,000 square meters. Built during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the hall is made of local camphor wood and is famous for its grand architecture, well-designed layout and superb craftsmanship. It is said that the Yu family gave rise to 19 keju (historic national entrance examinations) champions. Although an empty house now, you can still get a feeling of the stature it once had from the remaining articles such as its stone lions.