The amount of random places I have stayed surprises even myself. This particular overnight dwelling ranks as one of the oddest but undoubtedly one of the most spectacular. We stayed in an ancient Earthen Tulou Building in the Fujian Province of China, the building itself dates back to 1743. This could well be the oldest place I have ever stayed in. As you can see from the photos on here, it is no ordinary hotel or hostel.
If its exterior offers a faded look at Fujian’s historic past, its interior shys itself away from that, dipping itself into modern China. Our double room even had a TV and an ensuite with HOT water in it.
The official name of the building as it is today is The Hotel of Qingde. My book calls it The Qingde Building. Some websites call it Ching Tak House Inn. What do I call it? The Fujian Earthen Style Building that we stayed in.
On the balcony on the top floor of the Qingde Building. Not many to have stayed here would have worn a Northern Ireland shirt.
The sun shines into the Qingde Building. This was in an area called Qingde Lou part of the larger village known as Taxia Village (also pronounced or known as Ta Pa Tsune). In turn Taxia Village is part of Shuyang Town. To makes things more complicated than they should be Shuyang Town is in Nanjing County in the Fujian Province of China.
Flying my Northern Ireland flag on the balcony on the third floor – the top one of the Qingde Building.
Enjoying the inner courtyard on the ground floor of this exquisite wee hostel. An entire clan once lived within this compound. In the bygone days of vintage Fujian China these clans would have been self sufficient.
Panny Yu in the inner courtyard. It is protected by the sun, but not the rain.
I’m not sure if this is the only building of this type which you can stay overnight in. There were other tourists staying there, though we didn’t really meet or talk to them. They were all from either China, Taiwan or Hong Kong. I was the only non-Asian staying in Taxia Village that night.
The front of the building is slightly worse for ware, renovation having taken place at some point in the building’s presumably decorated history. I got the flag out again at the entrance to the hostel, but as their website shows I certainly wasn’t the only one with a random flag photo…
A group of Chinese on a tour congregate outside the Qingde Building. There is adequate space inside to fit large groups. Panny and I had a double room on the third floor – room 39. There were also larger family rooms available.
It was a quiet weekend when Panny and I were there, we mostly had the freedom of the hostel to ourselves. The lady on the reception invited us to sit down and have a cup of tea with her early evening. I’m never one to turn Chinese hospitality down.
Posing with the lady on reception and another local lady with our evening tea.
The view out the front of the Qingde Building gazes up into layered rice fields (probably former) in the mountains.
I tried a few different beers on this trip to Fujian. Most of them first time for me to try. This one had an elaborate blue label and was called Snow Beer. It was a light, refreshing lager. Nothing special. But sometimes the surroundings make it taste better than it actually is. These beers can all be bought in the hostel at 7 Yuan each. The worst part is they don’t keep them cold. China doesn’t do common sense or logic in everyday situations unfortunately.
We sat and relaxed with tea in the early part of the evening.
Tea in China is endless and always has a nice taste. Yet to drink a bad cup. However when I sit at home my favourite tea is Earl Grey tea with one sugar and milk. These types of Chinese teas that I have tried rarely come with milk.
The lady on reception and her son.
Panny Yu and the view out the front door of the Qingde Building.
I took a few shots from the door of the Qingde Building. When you have such amazing buildings around, the landscape behind is often neglected. Endless forests on hills glance down on Taxia Village.
Taxia Village has loads of Earthen Buildings, you can see a few of them in those photos. Large clans and families still live within. It’s nice to see communities where the word “mortgage” simply doesn’t exist. These families built the buildings together in the 1700s, and have lived in them ever since.
Snapshots of life in Taxia Village from the young to the old. One day this child will be residing in these buildings ready to pass them down to his offspring, of which there still remains a 1 child per family rule.
Four of the beers I tried. Polar Ice, Hi Cool Coffee Stout, Snow Beer and Sedrin Beer. All mildly average, the pick of which was probably the Sedrin Beer. Though none of these would make my all time top 100 beers, probably.
Our room was also top notch. We had a double bed, a window, an ensuite, a TV and a chair. For the time we spent in the room however, all we really need was a shower, a toilet and a bed.
Strange Currencies again. I first encountered Chinese Yuan in 2007. Chairman Mao Zedong still appears on every single banknote in the People’s Republic of China.
Business card for the hostel, now know as The Hotel of Qingde.
This trip was good souvenir wise and I bought a fair few things there, including this excellent painting for my Dad.
In morning time the courtyard had tables lined up for breakfast. Panny and I hadn’t bothered paying the extra for it, and were heading on our way early the next day anyway.
The owner of the hostel organised us a car to take us from The Hotel Of Qingde to the edge of Shuyang Town where we could catch a bus onwards to the city of Xiamen. Panny in that car early morning.
This photo was our view looking back at the town of Shuyang that morning when we left.
Our morning view from the hotel window in The Qingde Building.
Free toothpaste and toothbrush in the Qingde Building.
Our excellent ensuite bathroom, which included a hot shower! Amazing!
Our room was small and poky, this photo is of the wooden door entrance, taken from the ensuite door. It was exactly the type of room we needed.
Window view in the morning.
And these last few photos are ironically the first few I took on arrival at the Qingde Building at 6am that first morning. The sun was just rising over smoggy China.
The Fujian sky from the Qingde Building early morning.
Darkness in our room at the Qingde Building.
More Chinese Yuan. The hostel was just 40 Yuan each for the night. That’s about 4 pounds.
Balcony corridor with the door to our room 39 directly in front.
Panny out the front.
Me out the front.
The village of Taxia from the front of the Qingde Building.
The exterior of the Qingde Building. Despite its drab, grey outlook with narrow square windows, these buildings have stood the test of time and are listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It was an excellent experience staying there and one I’d urge any traveller to do. Fujian Province, or indeed the town of Taxia were never of my list of places to go in life, but they certainly exceeded my expectations. Thanks to the staff in the Qingde Building for such an enjoyable stay in Taxia.
Where We Stayed – The Hotel of Qingde, Qingde Building, Taxia Village, Shuyang Town, Nanjing County, Fujian Province, CHINA
Room – 39 (3rd floor)
Who Went – Jonny Blair and Panny Yu
Website – http://www.qingdelou.com/index.asp
Price of a room – 80 Yuan per night for our double room
Nationalities Met – Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kongese
Strange Currencies – Chinese Yuan (RMB)
Key Song –
MANIC STREET PREACHERS – SEND AWAY THE TIGERS:
My Videos –
OUR ROOM IN QINGDE HOSTEL:
INSIDE QINGDE HOSTEL:
TEA AT QINGDE HOSTEL:
MORNING OUTSIDE QINGDE HOSTEL:
EVENING OUTSIDE QINGDE HOSTEL: