With its lush green fields stretching against a backdrop of green mountains, Bishan is one of the ancient villages near the Yellow Mountains which, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, were renowned for their merchants, superior craftsmen, and innovative architecture. Though Bishan is not as famous as some other surrounding villages, it is the perfect place to escape the rush and enjoy picturesque scenery while delving into the history of the past.
Bishan Village History
The beautiful ancient village of Bishan (碧山村) lies in Biyang Town, Yixian County, Huangshan Prefecture, Anhui Province (安徽省黄山市黟县碧阳镇). With a history of over 1,400 years, it was once a thriving village, home to the famous Wang family. Though it lost glory over the ages and most of its grand buildings have fallen to ruins, the village itself has survived the ravages of time sitting quietly on the edge of the Yixian basin for centuries.
The picturesque village occupies a total area of 58.5 square kilometers. It has more than 100 ancient dwellings and ancestral halls from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Remains of some famous relics of the past can also be found here like the ruins of the private garden "Peiyu Garden" from the Song Dynasty, the "Gengmeng Garden" from the Ming Dynasty, and the "Cloud Gate Tower" from the Qing Dynasty.
In recent years, some curators and artists have settled down in this village in an attempt to revitalize it. They have showcased a number of exhibitions and their artistic and social activities have breathed new life into the village giving it a touch of modern flavor while painstakingly preserving the values of the past.
Things to do in Bishan
Far from the hustle and bustle of city life, Bishan village is the perfect place to enjoy the tranquility of nature. The simple natural environment invites a relaxed pace of life and gives you the rare opportunity to come close to nature and fully enjoy its sights and sounds.
1. Enjoy Nature in its Unspoilt Beauty
Feel the freshness of the air on an early morning walk, give an ear to the twitter of birds, watch the ducks as they wade in the water and the cattle as they graze in the fields, listen to the trickle of water and enjoy the stars at night. Sometimes a retreat into nature to enjoy these forgotten 'free' bounties of nature can afford more happiness and relaxation than expensive trips to ultramodern attractions.
2. Bike along the roads in the countryside
Enjoy the rustic scenery of Bishan while cycling along the well-paved roads. See the clouds floating on the mountains, feast your eyes on the rapeseed fields or paddies stretching in front of you and admire the ancient architecture of the white houses with dark-tiled upturned eaves. The open doorways will reveal the locals absorbed in heated games of Mahjong, and an occasional chicken might obstruct your path while you bike on the narrow lanes.
3. Visit the Most Beautiful Chinese Countryside Bookstore
In the heart of this rural village can be found a most beautiful, warm and snug bookstore where you can relax and read while having a cup of coffee. The building was originally an ancient ancestral hall, now converted into a boutique bookstore, a branch of the Nanjing bookstore Librairie Avant-Garde. The store has drawn considerable attention as it is the first bookstore built in rural China in modern times.
A large variety of books can be seen displayed on wooden bookshelves. You can find books and picture albums on the Huizhou Culture and Yellow Mountain, and can also buy souvenirs and freehand sketched travel maps. On the second floor is a nicely decorated cafe where you can relax while having a view of the spectacular scenery through the window.
4. Admire the exhibits at the Bishan Marketing Cooperatives
Built on the old site of Bishan Marketing Cooperatives, this place is like a museum showcasing various handicrafts and collections. It also holds ceramic courses, Huangmei Opera and live performances. The view of the scenery from the second floor is stunning.
5. Enjoy a Stay at a Boutique Hotel in this Rural Setting
Pig's Inn is a boutique hotel that has been made by transforming an old oil press. It is warmly decorated with modern amenities yet is still retains the interesting architectural elements of the past. The view from the rooftop is spectacular. Some people spend many days here to get inspiration for their artistic works.
The Best Time to Travel to Bishan
Bishan can be visited all year round. Temperatures can go as high as 27°C in July, and down to 4°C in winter. If you pack suitable clothing, it can be visited all year round.
Different seasons afford different views of the fascinating fields. In spring, the fields are grown with rapeseed. From March to early April the flowers are in full bloom and the sea of yellow flowers gives an enchanting view. In summer, you can enjoy the lush green rice paddies when the rice is grown in June, and a visit in late August or September will present a stretch of gold as the rice gets ready for harvest.
How to Get to Bishan
Bishan is about 60 km from Huangshan city, slightly more than an hour's drive. The highway is good and one can conveniently drive there. Huangshan is a popular destination which can be reached by flight, high-speed train and long-distance bus from several cities. See Huangshan Transportation.
If you want to travel by public transport, you will have to go to Yixian county first, and then take a bus to Bishan. As Bishan is a bit off the beaten track as a tourist destination, buses between Yixian and Bishan are not too frequent.
Entry into the village is free.
Touring Huangshan and Bishan with China Highlights
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