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Xiapu's Mudflats and Traditional Countryside Life

A trip to Xiapu in the 21st century hearkens back to the time when most Chinese made their living by farming and fishing. In the mudflats region of Fujian, the scenery is constantly changing, and the people making a living there adjust to the tides that sweep through, bringing in fresh sea water, and work with the environment. It is a rustic memory of the Chinese traditional way of life.


Some photographers love the area for the simple lifestyle and the constantly changing scenery. Sometimes there is sea water, sometimes just mud. Small creatures burrow in the mud and birds flock in to eat what appears, then the birds fly away when the waves rise again. Likewise, people go out to collect seaweed, fish or other edibles, tend their nets and cages, and do their work when the tide is out.

It is a place to see rural Chinese fishing, collecting seaweed, farming, and coming in and going out in their boats and flat bottomed push boats. The people are relatively poor, and even the houses look old as from the times of the Cultural Revolution. The farmers work their gardens on nearby hills with hand tools, and enjoy tea and small cakes at breaks.

Xiapu Mudflats Mudflats, photographers take great photos here

Tourists can enjoy eating at the small inns and little restaurants, hiking among the villages and fields, and just relaxing in a tranquil countryside. They can walk by the mud flats and enjoy the living nature. Talk with the local villagers and get to know rural China. You can learn about the various trades and see people working with their natural environment. The area is scenic and socially interesting.

People have ceramic vessels and bamboo tools. Here and there, there are thatched huts or farm bowers. If you want to get away from busy urban areas and enjoy a relaxing and interesting visit, this is a place you can come. Listen to the waves, see the shimmering lights, and talk with the friendly people. The coastal scenery is beautiful.

At sunrise, the sun reflects off the waters. And small boats going out or coming leave a textured wake. Backs bending and shoulder poles, geometrical patterns. Cherish nature, an amazing palette.

Travel Information

Xiapu SunriseBeautiful scenery before sunrise

Location: Xiapu (霞浦 /sshyaa-poo/) is a county town, about 150 km (100 mi) north of Fuzhou, in Ningde Prefecture.

Xiapu isn't far from the the big cities of Shanghai (7.5 hours), Wenzhou (2.5 hours), Xiamen (5 hours) and Fuzhou (2.5 hours) by automobile. Our agency can provide a driver and/or guide as you wish. It would be a good idea to have along an experienced guide who can translate for you and who knows the kinds of interesting places that you would want to go to. Also, this rural area doesn't have as many of the four-wheeled taxis or city buses like in the cities. So it is another reason to have a private vehicle you can use.

Xiapu also has a train station. D class trains from Shanghai arrive there in five and a half or six hours. D class trains from Wenzhou arrive in about an hour.

Xiapu is off the beaten track for foreign tourists. Most of the tourists there are people from Chinese Mainland or ethnic Chinese who want to see the traditional countryside. The hotels are definitely not the starred kind. They are meant for mainland tourists. You can get hot showers and air conditioning.

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