Names of places in China confuse you and when you’re backpacking in Fujian Province it’s no different, in fact it’s as confusing as it gets! This village, which we like to call Yun Shui Yao has also been named Won Soy Yui and Guan Yan Cun on occasion. In fact I have no idea of the correct English name for the village, but we’ll run with Yun Shui Yao. As part of our epic tour of Fujian Province we headed out to Yun Shui Yao as well as touring the Fujian Tulou, the city of Xiamen, Yongding and Gu Lang Yu.
Arriving in Yun Shui Yao
You’ll have booked a driver for the day you come here – it’s a wilderness town where nobody speaks a word of English. We arrive in the main square on the village. For the purpose of this part of the report, this village will be called Yun Shui Yao. We arrived in the village area which had some street vendors. The largest Earthen Building in the town of Yun Shui Yao itself is here and we headed inside.
There’s a cool river which flows downstream to a mill in the village. You can walk across it and admire the tremendous countryside.
This monument has the names of the three different hamlets on it. We started in Yun Shui Yao, which has the post-fix Ancient Town on it.
We got dropped off in the village by a bridge and were met by a tour guide. However, Panny and I both agreed the tour guide was very rude and terrible at her job. She was almost as bad as the wanker of a driver we had for the day. Panny and I actually had more fun on the bit where we walked round the village without her. So we recommend avoiding tour guides, buy a book on the Fujian Tulou instead.
One of the confusing sign posts that states that we’re actually in Meilin Town and the Yun Shui Yao is to the right, when actually we are also in it when we took this photo!
The wonderful Earthen Building in Yun Shui Yao. These Earthen Buildings were a feature of the entire day tour of Fujian Province – a World Heritage Site as well of course.
In this Earthen Building at Yun Shui Yao we were able to go upstairs and walk all around it. People actually live here. This is their home and they don’t mind tourists. The view from the top of this Earthen Building. They are impressive. Panny and I went in alone without our guide as well as we got annoyed by her.
Now the thing about Yun Shui Yao is that it includes “Won Soy Yiu” (if that is really what it is called) is that it was used as a film set. It is a famous location, but only for the Chinese as a film was made here. The village already existed on the pretty river, and they added a few things to it for the backdrop for the filming. This has made the area rather famous with locals, but it was lost on me and it probably will be too for any foreigners. I loved the scenery though – inspiring as ever.
The attraction of this part of Yun Shui Yao is the film set and for film directors it must be the fact that it’s a quiet village in the middle of the countryside where nobody would bother you and a film could be made quickly and without hassle or other people turning up.
There was a big wheel – like an old mill, this was the centrepiece of the area used for filming. We weren’t actually allowed into that section of the village – maybe they were filming at the time or perhaps just renovating or preparing another set.
After the “Won Soy Yiu” part of Yun Shui Yao, we walked along the river side through an area known as Guan Yang Cun – a signpost in Chinese and English confirms this is the name of the area. This is Guan Yan Cun, or is it Yun Shui Yao or even Won Soy Yiu? Even though my booklet said it was Meilin Village! China, and especially here in Fujian Province is a confusing place to work out. The Mill in this village and the area has now changed its name to Guan Yang Cun. It was time to walk across the stepping stones on the stream to the other side.
I walked across the custom built stepping stones on the river. The sun was beginning to come out, and the place was calm and peaceful. It was mid morning here in this quiet village and it really felt special and different to most other parts of China.
However travel doesn’t always bring good moments and it was at this point Panny and I realised how crap our tour guide was. She gave us very little information on the area and couldn’t even answer my question as to why the village had three different names. Panny came up with a theory that the different names are all for the same place, but more like the building in the street in the estate in the area in the village in the town. Therefore maybe the area was called Yun Shui Yao and it was located in the village of Meilin. In turn the street of Won Soy Yiu is in the area of Guan Yang Cun.
On this post, Panny and I had to make do with taking photos of each other. The guide was completely unhelpful and spent most of her time talking on her fancy phone. A group of tourists then came up just after that. All Chinese tourists of course. We walked over the pretty cobbled stones by the river and were in the village of Guan Yang Cun for sure. The building in front of us would be our next big attraction, the He Gui Lou Building, which will be in the next post from Fujian Province.
Curiosity got the better of me and so I finally researched and found the name of the film after a search online. It translates into English as “The Knot”! And I found the DVD cover for one of the films made here at Yun Shui Yao. There’s some information on it here: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/yun-shui-yao-the-knot/
Also on the walk we saw some ducks on the water and a concert stand by the river. There were also some old style buildings in the village of Guan Yang Cun but nobody lives in these ones. We took a few more photos and then it was time to conclude of tour of this small area by enjoying the Hegui Lou Earthen Building. This village next to the Hegui Lou Building is probably still part of Guan Yang Cun, but don’t be betting on it. It even has a post office!
Nobody in this region speaks English and I didn’t for once post my brother a postcard from here. Perhaps I will try next time I’m in remote parts of China, but I don’t have much faith in it reaching its destination.
This is the Hegui Lou Building. The largest rectangular Tulou/Earthen Building in the whole Fujian Province. Our visit to it also ended our short morning walk through this area, which I will probably conclude by calling it Yun Shui Yao. What a magical little place, if you’re backpacking in China we totally recommend it.
What Is It?– A remote place in the countryside, seemingly three or four small villages all put together to form a town
Where Is It? – Yun Shui Yao/Won Soy Yu/Guan Yang Cun, Pushan Village, Meilin Town, Nanjing County, Fujian Province, CHINA
A song about Yun Shui Yao: