Dominic and Laura Johnson-Hill and their family: Rosie (2), Winnie (4) and Prudence (9).
Fly from Beijing to Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, then drive three hours to reach their destination: the bucolic village of Qingyuan.
They stayed with a family in the guesthouse of a 400-year-old residence. “We basically moved in with them,” says Dominic. The family spent five days in the village enjoying three square meals a day for a grand total of RMB 1,200.
The food was seasonal and spicy. The Johnson-Hill family ate fresh fish caught the same day.
The Best Part:
Dominic raves that the village was absolutely beautiful. “We arrived at night. There was a beautiful river where fish come up and nibble the vegetables that you’re washing in the river and there are water buffalo having a rinse. It was idyllic,” he says.
Dominic was originally concerned that the family might grow bored without a TV and a computer, but they stayed occupied by touring the stunning houses in the village and going on picnics. The children would walk barefoot on the stone paths that follow the river as well as jump into the river’s clean water.
Visit the 600-year-old Tang Dynasty Bridge, an hour’s drive away, and travel to other villages.
Fly into Jingdezhen, the home of Chinese pottery, and spend an afternoon there. Hire a driver to take you to Qingyuan – the road is brand-new. Along the way, you’ll encounter the village of Likang, which attracts tourists because it is surrounded by fields of rapini (May is the best season to spot the bright yellow fields) but Dominic prefers Qingyuan because it is relatively untouched by tourism. He also advises visitors to carry a flashlight – it gets dark at 6pm and the town doesn’t have many lights. To ease trekking, Dominic and Laura carried Rosie in a baby backpack. They also recommend reading up on the history of this area of China to truly appreciate the culture and architecture. Bring foreign candy to give to the kids in the village – it makes them the happiest people on earth, says Dominic.
RMB 1,200 including accommodation and meals. Airfare was RMB 1,000 per adult return ticket.