Fujian Tour Part 5 – Chengqi Building: King Of Tulou

Arrival at the Chengqi Building was just before noon and this area is known as the Gaotou Village in Yongding County. The sun was beating down hard. Panny and I had already decided to stay here for ages to annoy our rude driver. He was very rude to me here when we got off and I gave him a piece of my mind. I was rude back to him and refused to pay him a penny so far as he had done NOTHING for us except drive us to places. Panny originally told me not to have a go at him as it is not Chinese style but I had to. The guy was a wanker!

This was his car – the guy that drove us around. We paid for a full day tour of Fujian and this guy tried to fob us off and end the tour at noon. Actually we hadn’t paid for it, yet. Avoid this wanker if you can. His name apparently was Sau Jan/Tsau Juan. He was ugly, dark skinned and had dodgy teeth. Wish I had a video of his face when I bowled at him and walked away with Panny to see this wonderful building here – the Chengqi Building. A World Heritage Spot.

It’s very touristy and was the busiest part of the day tour. We got our tickets off Sau Jan for the entrance. 

The Chengqi Building is located in Gaobei Hamlet in Gaotou Village. It’s an impressive work of art. It was started during the Chongzhen Period (1627 – 1644) in the Ming Dynasty but it wasn’t finished until 1709 – three generations later! It sits in a glorious setting next to a main road and with a backdrop of mountains and trees.

Panny in front of the Chengqi Building.

I couldn’t read the writing of course but it probably says The Chengqi Building. This building is regarded as the “King of Tulou”, basically the most important Earthen Tulou Building of the lot on the tour.

Enjoying the heat – Panny and I take turns to relax at the Chengqi Building.

A few great photos here – all taken outside of course. We got some other tourists to take these for us – rather than ask our rude driver Sau Jan.

Of all the places I have travelled before, Fujian is the only place I have seen buildings that look like this.

Opposite the entrance was also a series of small stalls and markets.

The main road in Gaobei Hamlet.

The more modern part of the Gaobei Hamlet is right next to the entrance to the Chengqi Building.

A couple more from the street before we went inside.

Panny Yu at Chengqi Building.

The registration plate of the wanker’s car. Sau Jan.

A rare sign with English writing at “King of Fujian Tulou” as this one is known.

The view up to the mountains in behind the Chengqi Building.

Ticket. Looks just like the picture.

Entrance ticket. All included in the day tour.

Northern Ireland flag meets Chengqi Building.

The stone marking the fact that this is a World Heritage Site.

Decipher that if you can!

And so after admiring the building from the outside, it was time to go in and see it!

Symmetry is an important aspect of these buildings. This was the biggest one we were in on the day tour. They are called Earthen Buildings or Tulou Buildings. The Chengqi Building is nicknamed the King of Tulou.

Inside the Chengqi Building.

We took it floor at a time, starting with the bottom. Panny also noticed that you were only allowed on the bottom floor and that entrance to the upper levels was not allowed, so we decided to pretend we didn’t know that when it came to advancing higher.

The next building along is remarkably close. It’s like a wee village, with the people all living together as a group, hence why the word Hamlet is used when summarising the area around the Chengqi Building.

View from the top of the Chengqi Building onto the newer parts of the Gaobei Hamlet.

Panny Yu sneaks onto the top floor despite signs saying you weren’t allowed. It wasn’t as if we were disturbing anyway.

The amazing view from the top looking into the centre of the King’s Tulou. While you might have thought a community like this has a wide open space for getting together, socialising or playing sports, you were wrong. In the centre of the building are smaller buildings, with all sorts of uses. Some are religious, some for education, some for meeting. But then again as the place is used as a tourist spot these days, the activities within will have changed from back in the 17th and 18th Century.

Also a sneaky photo on the top floor of the Chengqi. It has four storeys in its outer ring. The perimeter of the outer wall is 229 metres. The main building has 3 rings. The outer ring has 72 rooms on each floor. An olden day hotel, but of course used as a dwelling place for local clans.

Nice wee photo of the Northern Ireland flag. I like this one. Great wooden buildings on the inside. The outside of the building is made up and built using all sorts of random materials including rice…

View to the inside. There is an inner circle as you can see and then a smaller “circle” within that.

The second ring is actually two storeys high and has 40 rooms on each floor.

And the view from the top out to the other side of the village. Seems a bit odd seeing cars parked there, as of course the modern era has changed this place. The cars would only be for tourists and rich locals. The people that live here have all the food and supplies they need with little need to move anywhere in their entire lives. Needless to say there are no cash machines or commercial shops in places like this. However I did buy a bottle of Coca Cola in the village.

Someone’s flat inside the Chengqi Building.

We spent quite a bit of time at the top as you weren’t allowed. I loved the view and the uniqueness of this building. This was the highlight of the day tour for me.

Panny on the top floor.

We did a few of the lower floors for photos juston the way back down.

Your flat in Chengqi Building.

China has a big problem with tobacco in that too many people smoke and it is very unhealthy as the filters are much worse. I bought a packet for the souvenir reason since they are so cheap. It’s very lucky that neither Panny and I smoke. Think of the money people must spend on tobacco.

A main reason for buying a packet here was the fact that it contains a picture of the Chengqi Building on it. Unique and special. My brother Marko had given up smoking but I got him a packet for the flat as it’s a travel souvenir.

With my cigarettes. They were about 50 pence a packet (in fact maybe even less).

When you travel in China you usually get free tea. It’s common courtesy for people to offer guests a free cup of tea. I could sit and drink it all day. When I bought the cigarettes I got free tea.

The lady who lives and works there – it’s her shop.

Panny and I enjoying our free cup of tea.

With the shop owner and the tea.

The tea is poured from one of these glass cylinders.

A few arty style shots of the cigarettes, tea and ornaments.

These people are all self sufficient. In this photo, the woman strangles and kills a chicken for her dinner. The blood drips down into a lower drains and is washed away. I’m not sure about the hygiene level of places like this! Though we did have a chicken meal in the Gaotou Village, but we ate up the hill.

A deep well. Once used for water. Possible sewage and waste these days.

Painting also takes place inside and these can be bought as souvenirs.

Not sure what the writing means.

This group of people were part of a guided tour. We weren’t.

This looked like a religious or educational part of the building, it was on the bottom floor.

Sweet snacks. Some type of sugary Chinese delicacy.

Local paper.

The inner ring of buildings including pretty red decorations. Typical Chinese style.

More shops selling all sorts of things.

Everyone poses against this sign. No idea who that lady in yellow is though!

Two more English signs – both places we went to.

Bottom floor again.

A few more pictures. Very different, special and impressive. Panny Yu was also enjoying her first time in this province despite the fact that she has travelled extensively in China. It’s too big a country to ever possibly see all of it.

A few more photos from the top – Panny’s camera.

A few photos away from the tourists, taken from the out of bounds higher floors.

Walking round the bottom part of Chengqi Building again.

In a tea shop on the bottom floor.

Panny on the bottom floor.

A few photos by the typical tourist entrance.

World Heritage site entrance.

And in the streets of the Gaobei Hamlet itself, part of the larger Gaotou Village.

Panny’s tourist snaps.

A few fantastic photos there to finish a great trip to the Chengqi Building. After seeing the building, we went for a climb/walk up to the top of the hills in behind for a view over Gaobei Hamlet.

What – Chengqi Building, King of Tulou Buildings in Fujian

Where – Chengqi Building, King of Tulou Buildings in Fujian, Gaobei Hamlet, Gaotou Village, Jiaotang, Fujian Province, China

Nationalities Met – Chinese

Strange Currencies – Chinese Yuan (RMB)

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