Just like the perfect cup of Tieguanyin, a luxury break in Anxi is best enjoyed slowly. Here, the landscape is a deep-green patchwork of terraced tea plantations, winding up into the hills. Enjoy the tranquillity of an authentic tea ceremony, where this humble drink becomes an art form. Or seek inner peace on visits to ancient Buddhist temples. Then round off the relaxation with a stay in an exclusive boutique hotel.
Mist-capped hills and ancient temples in China’s tea heartland.
Things to do
Close to Anxi, in the foothills of Penglai Mountain, you’ll find Qingshui Yan Temple. Overlooking a deep ravine, this palace-style Buddhist temple dates back to the 11th century. For an insight into an ancient philosophy that shaped Chinese culture, visit the Anxi Confucian Temple. Here you can walk through the covered walkways that have stood for centuries and explore serene gardens lined with statues.
Anxi is famed throughout China for its tea – a source of fierce pride among the locals. In the countryside, tea terraces stretch for as far as the eye can see and each town is home to a teahouse or two. When it comes to enjoying a brew in China’s tea capital, there’s one variety you can’t miss: Tieguanyin (Iron Boddhisatva of Compassion). This Oolong leaf is counted among the country’s top 1o and has a light, refreshing taste.
While in Anxi, hop into the neighbouring county to visit Mount Qingyuan. It’s peppered with ancient stone carvings, including nine huge Taoist and Buddhist sculptures. If you feel like travelling slightly further afield, wider Fujian Province boasts some of China’s quirkiest buildings. Travellers flock to Yongding to see the curious Earth Towers – immense round houses with open centres that were home to whole villages.
Take a taste of Anxi home with you. Visit the Tea Trading Hall on Hebin North Road, where countless vendors sell leaves from local producers.
Top tip from SLH