Updated: Nov 30, 2019
Fujian's Hakka Tulou ('Earth Buildings' 土楼 Tǔlóu /too-loh/) are unique, usually round, fort-like buildings, built with a mixture of clay and sandy soil. These rare buildings were designed by the circumspect Hakka minority as large fortresses and apartment buildings in one, and were inscribed by UNESCO as a cluster of World Cultural Heritage Sites in 2008. In the first trailer for Disney's lively action film Mulan (release date: March 27, 2020), Mulan's home is a Fujian tulou.
Walking through the houses gives you a sense of how these people live. It seems like noting much has changed since their past ancestors. Most of them cook in the communal kitchen at the ground floor, take baths and poo at the communal bathrooms!
There are no bathroom in every house and if you are lucky, you might meet the daily night soil collector! And you will not miss her because the stench is simply unmistakable!
We flew into Xiamen and from there we hired a private driver to explore the interior part of Fujian. It take about 2 half hours from Fujian to any one of these mud communal housing. Here are the details of the driver, tel 18030206337 taxi shuttle.
Where to stay in Toulou country
There are many tulou houses that has been converted into guesthouse and hotels. The amenities are rather basic, but they even have a restaurant that cooks dinner. The food is very traditional Hakka fare that might rekindle some nostalgia if you are familiar with the taste!
Bathroom condition is acceptable but not great! But I think to truly appreciate and encounter the life here at the village, putting up here for a night or two is simply marvelous. Waking up to the cook-ku-do-do-do is simply priceless. It simply takes you 50 years back in time.
The guesthouse we stayed was also a kind of Tulou but square!
It has a stepped construction and the main building is at the highest floor, at the back. This kind of building has a beautiful layout and a strong symmetry. Fuyu Building (福裕楼 in Yongding Tulou Area) is the most famous five-phoenix-style earthen building.
Date of visit: China Day Holidays, October 2018