Travel back in time in Hou Qiao, China

by adriscoll /
adriscoll's picture
Apr 12, 2012 / 2 comments

Hou Qiao is a village in China no more than 5 blocks long. There are two ways to get there: you can take a bus, or hitch a ride on a tiny motorcycle with a monk. The first thing you see when you get off the bus (assuming you, like me, aren’t that gutsy) is a small white room with a few chairs and a teenage girl reading a magazine at a small desk in the corner. That’s the bus terminal. Though it doesn’t give the town a good first impression, it’s distance from any city is what makes it special. Hou Qiao has been practically been preserved in a time capsule. If you don’t speak Chinese and you’ve been traveling around China by miming, you can revel in the fact that speaking Chinese wouldn’t help you here. The inhabitants speak a local dialect.

Hou Qiao, China

Everything that to us is everyday, to the inhabitants of Hou Qiao, is magic. We ourselves, in fact, are strange and wonderful. Foreigners are a hot commodity - people will do everything they can to help you, to teach you, and to welcome you into their community. They put all this effort into making us comfortable and happy because know that they can learn from us (but also just because we’re strange creatures with white skin, and they’re extremely curious.)

Hou Qiao, China

This place is beautiful, partially because of its lack of technology. One upside is that nobody has an iPhone to distract them from your attempts at conversation. Nature here remains untouched, save for the small dirt roads that weave around town. People and animals live in harmony, except for the loud screech you hear every now and then when a pig is slaughtered.  There are so many festivals that chances are you’ll happen to arrive in the middle of fun festivities, or spectacular ceremonies. I arrived in the middle of the swing festival, where they made thick ropes and hung them from tree branches that were dangerously near a tall cliff. The culture is charming, their clothing is colorful, the people are phenomenal, and the food is fabulous. Boffo. A good one.

Hou Qiao, China

Hou Qiao, China

Anne Driscoll is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program

All photos courtesy and copyright Anne Driscoll

Comments (2)

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    12 years 2 months ago

    anne, i'd like to go to a swing festival. those kids look like they are having fun!

    Jessie Voigts, PhD


  • Austin Weihmiller

    12 years 2 months ago

    Anne! I loved this piece!

    When we traveled through China, we only visitedBeijing, Shanghai, Xian, and Hong Kong. (If you count it) I would absolutely love to see a beaten of the path village like this one.

    The pictures made the piece all the more. The smiling kids were so cute (: It sounds like visiting Hou Qiao is a must next time I'm in China. 

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