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Stony beauty in the Hinterland of the Taihang Mountains

With its small population of 300 residents, Guoliang village is well hidden in the hinterland of China's Taihang Mountains. It is a not-to-miss stop within the WanXianshan Scenic Area, which is a national four-A standard tourist sight and geologic park. 

Guoliang village is well hidden in the hinterland of the Taihang mountains. [Photo/]

Perched 1,752 meters above sea level and straddling the border of Shanxi and Henan provinces, the village is made of stones. Apart from its commonly seen stone-paved pathways and stone faced residences, the most compelling stone scenery in the village would be the shrouding stone cliffs.

In 1972, to find a safe way passing in and out of the village, local people chiseled through the stone cliffs and created a five-meter-high and four-meter-wide passage. The 1,250-meter-long passage took the village five years to complete. Nowadays, to feel the cold tunnel breeze and walk the meandering passage is a popular experience for tourists.

Before the passage was opened up, a stone bridge nicknamed by locals as "heavenly bridge" was the only way to connect the village with the outside world. Although the bridge has been abandoned by local villagers, it is a favorite choice for mountain hikers. Despite its hazardous structure and location, it is an ideal place to observe a sunrise.

A vivid contrast to the roughness of the stones, a reservoir built in 1975 adds a touch of softness to the village. The bottom of the canyon is cut by flaming-colored stone cliffs, crystal clear water running through the rocky surface, creating waterfalls along its way.

The best season to visit Guoliang village is autumn when forests are coated in various colors like a splashed palette. The village was featured in renowned Chinese director Xie Jin's film, Bell of Purity Temple in 1991. 

Typical local farm houses constructed of stones in Guoliang village. [Photo/]

Travel tips

How to get there: tourists must go to Huixian county in Xinxiang city of Henan province and then take a shuttle bus to Guoliang village. The bus ticket is ten yuan and it is around a three-hour drive. Entrance ticket for the village costs 65 yuan per person.

Accommodation: hostels and family stay in the village usually costs 20 to 30 yuan per person for one night. The accommodation/facilities are simple.

Dining: forest products including wild almond and jujube are local specialties.

Nearby sights: Guoliang village is close to another tour sight in Wanxianshan Scenic Area-Nanping. Nanping is better known for its water scenery. 

The stone-paved road leads tourists into the village. [Photo/]

The village is perched on steep and flaming-colored stone cliffs. [Photo/] 

An exit of the cliff passage excavated by local villagers. [Photo/]

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