China has many beautiful ancient villages, but they are scattered in different provinces. It takes time to reach them – by train or even by plane, but what do you do if you only  have a few  days in Beijing? There are six fabulous ancient villages not far away from Beijing. I have visited Cuandixia Ancient Village in winter, and I think that this village might be interesting at any time of a year.
Cuandixia is abou 90 km from Beijing. If you drive there, you pass stunning mountain ranges and beautiful landscapes.The roads are quite good.
When you reach the area, you need to buy an entry ticket – 35 RMB at a ticket office.

What can you see in Cuandixia ancient village?

The village itself is about 400 years old, and dates back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is well-preserved, with houses mostly made from stones from nearby mountains.
You can walk around the village and enter some courtyards to take pictures. Some Chinese movies and documentaries were filmed there. I would recommend  climbing to the small Guandi Temple. It looks quite high, but climbing there is easy, and it offers one of the most stunning views to the village.
In winter there are not many tourists, so many shops and inns are closed. Nevertheless, the serenity of Cuandixia is breathtaking.
We spent several hours there inspecting Chinese rural architecture, smiling to locals and taking photos.
Then we decided to have lunch in a tiny Xiaomei inn on the main street of the village.

Lunch in the inn

The place  was small and full of locals, but half of them were just chatting after lunch, so we were able to get a table. I always prefer busy places when deciding where to eat in an unknown city or village. The inn was most probably a family business. The menu was in Chinese, but the photos helped. We chose braised chicken, vegetables, beef in tomato soup, and local pancakes. Everything was tasty. We each paid 50 RMB. Nobody spoke English, but we had no problems choosing or ordering from the menu.

This village gives a nice flavor of Chinese ancient villages, andyou can easily spend several hours there, have a lunch, buy some local dried fruits and return to Beijing.
In summer some travellers may want to stay overnight. Rooms are available for 20-200 RMB.

My special tip : Avoid entering the public toilet near the parking area at the entrance to the village:)

Getting there :
You can drive or take DiDi. Turn right at the Shuangyu roundabout (双峪环岛) in Mentougou district toward the Longquan Hotel (龙泉宾馆). Then drive along National Highway 109 and follow the signs to the village.
You can take bus 929 from Pingguoyuan Railway station and go to the town of Zhaitang, then take a taxi  to the village.

I can imagine that the village might be crowded during weekends in summer.