Many of you may know of the tourist-thronging Lijiang in Southwest China's Yunnan Province. But few of you may have heard of Shuanglang Village. With poetic scenery and tranquil guesthouses, the small fishing village has become a favourite escape from urban living for those-in-the-know.
For over a thousand years, the local Bai Minority people here made their living fishing in the lake. But the past 10 years have brough in a change to life. The small tranquil village is now popular with visitors looking to unwind and enjoy a slower tempo.
Old alleys and traditional architecture make for pleasant wanders. And it's easy to take a boat out on the lake or just kick back and do very little.
Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Shuanglang village hugs the scenic Erhai lake. The weather here always seems perfect, making it a great retreat anytime of the year. It is also home to some of the most romantic boutique guesthouses in China. Baxun is the head of the village and the owner of the first guesthouse here.
Baxun, Shuanglang village chief, said,"A guesthouse is not a hotel. It's much more personal. The decoration varies in different guesthouses. Each and every one of them represents the owner's unique style."
There are more than 120 guesthouses now, offering much choice for a comfortable stay. Most face the lake and have decks providing breath-taking views.
A tourist said," I like staying here. It feels like home."
And many really do make this their other home. In fact, many of the guesthouses are opened by the once "outsiders". Xiaoyun and her husband came to Shuanglang in 2009 from Beijing, and fell in love with the quiet village right away. The couple later quit their jobs to set up their own guesthouse here.
Xiaoyun, guesthouse owner, said,"We wanted to find somewhere peaceful to live and we had traveled to many places around the country. The air, clouds, people, we just love everything here."
As with everywhere in China, change is coming to Shuanglang. It is hard not to notice that there were several new guesthouses being built in anticipation of future visitors. The new bar and restaurant area will certainly change the mood of the village. But hopefully it will be a few years before this hidden gem becomes a mini-Lijiang