Cuan Dixia Village is, for most of the time, mispronounced by the Chinese as Chuan Dixia.
With the ancient style and features of this village well preserved, and the buildings divided into two neat rows, Cuandixia Village is known as the "Potala Palace in Beijing."
This quaint little village is more attractive than you can imagine. The quadrangle courtyards built in the Ming and Qing dynasties are perfectly proportioned, and most of the houses are built with stones from the mountains outside town. Lattice windows, kang beds, fire-red hot peppers, golden corn - everything combines to produce a jubilant atmosphere. In the village, you will also have the chance to taste many delicious dishes, such as braised pork with vermicelli, deep-fried fish, braised tofu, wild-vegetable salad, steamed pumpkin and red bean rice.
This idyllic village offers an excellent study in architecture as well as antique carvings in stone and wood built as decorations of the houses. In the neighborhood of this village are two small temples, one to a god and one to a goddess which can be reached by walking along the separation wall and up the hill. The view from the temple makes the climb very worthwhile.
Cuan Dixia Village is the only village in Beijing that has been listed as a National Village Architecture Reserve. Art and architecture students often go to sketch the houses there. Most of the villagers are surnamed Han, the village head will explain why the village escaped demolishment and war, and guide you around the village, introducing the history and architecture.
Day trip: 08:30 - 18:30
It is 3.5 hours drive from downtown Beijing. The journey back to the city usually takes 2.5 hours. It is an easy walk and some climb along steps on the short hills. We will have lunch at the courtyard home of a villager (local farmer's home made food rather than fancy food in a decent restaurant).
Address: Cuanbai scenic spot in Zhaitang Town, Mentougou district, Beijing (北京市门头沟区斋堂镇爨柏景区)
Bus Route: Take Bus No. 929 from Pingguoyuan Railway Station (苹果园地铁口) to Zhaitang Town (斋堂), and then take a taxi to the village. There is a bus every hour and the last bus will leave at 3:00 p.m. going back from Zhaitang Town. You can also charter a bus to go to the village directly for about 100 yuan.
Car Route: Cuandixia Village is over 90 kilometers away from Beijing. Turn right at the Shuangyu roundabout (双峪环岛) in Mentougou district toward the Longquan Hotel (龙泉宾馆), and then drive along National Highway 109, following the signs to reach the village.
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