China is a fantastic destination for all photographers, professional and hobbyists alike.
China boasts incredible mountains, the Great wall, and stunning rice terraces, to name a few. You can capture some truly amazing photos of landscapes, wildlife, and the people.
China is spatially the third largest country in the world, so you can be sure you will never run out of things to photograph on your China photo tour.
One of the most incredible places to photograph in China is the rural fishing village of Xiapu.
Xiapu, located in the Southeast region of China, is not to be missed on your China photo tour. It boasts vast mudflats with elaborately structured bamboo, traditional fisherman, and seaweed collectors.
Here are the top 8 reasons why you should visit Xiapu on your next China photo tour:
With four and a half out of five stars on Trip Advisor, Xiapu can’t be missed on your China photo tour.
1. The Bamboo Rods
Perhaps the most notable feature of the fishing village of Xiapu is the pattern of bamboo rods set up in the fishing fields.
These rods were put there by the townspeople, not naturally occurring. They serve multiple purposes. They create a grid by which the fisherman can stay organized, they grow oysters and other shellfish, and they are a place to dry seaweed.
But for photographers, these bamboo rods make fascinating subjects. From higher viewpoints, it can be creatively disorienting to figure out if the photograph is of perhaps weeds in a marsh. When a photographer can get lucky enough to capture a human in these photos, the scale of these huge bamboo rods comes to life.
They are patterned in a variety of ways, creating a fantastic landscape for photographers to capture.
2. The Mudflats
The Cambridge Dictionary definition of mudflat is, “a flat area of very wet soil near the sea that is covered at high tide.”
Mudflats attract migrating shore birds, and Xiapu is no exception. The chance to photograph the unique birds hanging out on the fisherman’s boats is reason enough to bring your camera.
The mudflats are also remarkable because during low tide when they are exposed, they are strong enough to walk on, but still very wet.
A local fisherman or seaweed gatherer can often be found walking across the mudflats. This gives photographers a chance to capture images that make it appear people can walk on water.
The seaweed and tide also leave amazing patterns in the mud. The repetition of patterns on this vast landscape creates an excellent natural tessellation well worthy of photography.
3. The Locals
Unlike developed urban cities such as Hong Kong and especially unlike places in the Western world, the locals in the village of Xiapu live simpler, more traditional lives.
Many tourists report positive interactions with these friendly people, and some have been lucky enough to persuade them to have their portraits taken.
Their full of life faces are joy-inducing.
You may want to consider hiring a guide and/or translator to help you truly experience what this town has to offer and connect with the local people.
4. The Traditional Fishing Nets
One of the best things to capture on camera is the huge fishing nets used by the Xiapu fisherman.
Much larger than their bodies, the fisherman use these tools with a mastery that reminds us of the value of quality materials made by hand in this industrial age.
Fisherman with these types of nets can often be seen in groups around sunrise, making a can’t-miss opportunity for interesting photos.
5. The Sunrises
Any sunrise over eastern water is going to be beautiful, but there is something extra magical about a beautiful sunrise in Xiapu.
On a clear day, the pink, yellow, orange, and even purple hues paint a stunning picture across the reflective water and mudflats.
The bamboo rods cast gorgeous shadows, and the wildlife is abundant.
As if that weren’t enough to convince you, the quiet serenity of this sprawling aquaculture landscape is awe striking.
6. The Traditional Simplicity
The modest homes of Xiapu reflect the simple life. So many times in city life, we find ourselves obsessed with upgrading our lives, technologies, homes, relationships and more.
The simple life led by the locals in Xiapu is something to be admired. The winding alleyways and freedom from advertising being thrust at you like it is in city life is something to be experienced.
7. The Boats
You will see many different boats on your trip to Xiapu. They come in many colors, shapes, and sizes.
The long flatboats that are operated sort of like paddle boards are perhaps the most interesting to photograph.
Birds often gather on these boats for respite, and many photographers have gotten lucky enough to witness this peaceful interaction between species.
Many other boats, both while on the water and while docked, provide excellent photography subjects.
With the tides ever changing, you can often witness people walking by boats that you would otherwise think were floating, creating a great juxtaposition for an interesting, storytelling photo.
8. The Colors
As we’ve mentioned, the sunrise colors on a clear day are not to be missed. Sunsets, the variety of boats, the clothing of the locals and the fishermen all provide a vast color palette just waiting to be captured.
Not to mention the gorgeous contrast of the water, plants, wildlife and the shore emphasized by the bamboo rod gridded fields.
Even on an overcast day, a skilled photographer can take remarkable photos of the grey-ed out landscape with vibrant accents of man-made materials like painted boats and fishing nets.
Xiapu is definitely off the beaten path for the majority of tourists, you’re going to need to join a tour with someone like Andy’s Spring or Autumn Xiapu Photography Tour, I got an invite from him last year and we had an awesome time. Everything needs arranging, fishermen with radios, it’s just not cost effective or possible to turn up or go here on a private tour and get pro results.
Your China photo tour will not be complete without witnessing the picturesque mudflats of Xiapu.
Please check out our other posts including “Where to Photograph the Mountains That Inspired Avatar” and “3 Epic China Cityscapes Perfect for Photos” for more china photo tour inspirational tips and tricks.