In the mountains of southeast Fujian Province massive rammed-earth homes, called Tulou in Mandarin, have housed ethnic Hakka families for centuries. Tulou literally means "earth building" and these structures are very impressive.
Dotting the mountains and valleys around Zhangzhou, China are clusters of Tulou dwellings which can be visited in the course of a day. Chinese and English speaking guides can be hired to explain the history and stories behind each of the Tulou clusters and take you into the most of the dwellings.
The round walls of the Tulou are made of rammed earth and the four-story living spaces inside are constructed of wood. Cooking, worshiping and work activities are conducted on the first floor, and the upper floors are reserved for living quarters.
Near the Tianluokeng Tulou is the 700 year-old Yuchanglou Tulou, which has housed more than 27 generations of residents.
A few of the Tulous have been converted into guesthouses. Wei Qun Lou in Taxia Village offers basic accommodation and homestyle Hakka food under the stars from a table in the center of their Tulou courtyard.
The Fujian Tulou are located two-and-a-half hours by car from Xiamen. It is a wonderful place the experience rural China and the history of the Hakka people.