Dao Xian, less than 100 kilometers to its neighboring county of Guilin
in Guangxi Province, is a small little county of Yongzhou City in Hunan
Province. It is not a famous hot spot for tourists, it is not crawling with other travelers, and it isn’t extremely beautiful, but man is it a fun place. I spent a lot of time there, mostly because my friend lived there, but also because it was just such a great place to visit every once and a while.
Dao Xian has a very rich history dating as far back to the first feudal empire of China, Qin Dynasty (221-207B.C.); it had been being an administrative county at that time. It has one of the older gates, like an old school China gate, dating a few hundred years; it also has a small but very old Buddhist temple, which has a supposable 2,000 years of history. In addition, many a historical and cultural relic here is also worth an appreciation. Deserve to be mentioned is an ancient marble stone carving- Five Dragons, which is a relic of the destroyed Confucius Temple in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The vivid writhing five dragons just give out a strong impact. It is pointed by experts that the material quality, composition of the pattern and the carving skills of the carving are all of great historical and artist values.
My friend told me that Daoxian People feel proud mostly because Zhou Dunyi, a great philosopher born in Daoxian in Song Dynasty (970-1279). He is widely familiar with Chinese people because of its famous theory about lotus. He praised the lotus the gentlemen’s flowers in his article, and since then Chinese love lotus more. In Daoxian, there is a Lianxi Temple to commemorate Zhou, as the theory Zhou created is called Lianxi theory.
They have many authentic Hunan styled restaurants here, if you’re looking to try really spicy Chinese food, you can’t miss out on Hunan food, it will light you mouth on fire, which just can prove a popular Chinese saying that people from provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou and Hunan are addicted to hot flavor. It’s worth trying. There’s also a bunch of western style restaurants, many of these restaurants have made their own styled western food. I remember one joint had peanut butter and watermelon sandwiches. Those were delicious.
Like many other counties in China, living in Daoxian isn’t expensive; you can find rooms for 60RMB a night, and they’re not bad. Food isn’t expensive, and you’re not far from the countryside so if you feel like leaving town and just going hiking it’s very convenient. In fact, many towns and villages are interesting and worth a visit. One of which I had visited was just amazing, Dongmen Village. Most villagers there are good at Chinese calligraphy, and you can find many people are practicing there; even an expert can detect many excellent works. It is said all because it is the hometown of a great calligrapher in Qing Dynasty. The nightlife is okay, mostly just a few tiny bars here and there, and a lot of outdoor BBQ, which was delicious! If you get the chance and you feel like visiting a small but fun little joint in China, Dao Xian is worth checking out.
The thing that I remember the most about Dao Xian was the people. They were so nice, and willing to talk to you. A lot of them would always smile at you, or you know do the awkward broken neck stare at you. A little tip if you get sick of people staring at you go ahead and just stare on back, or make some funny faces, or just put on a big goofy smile. As a whole Hunan is a beautiful place, but my favorite place there still and always be Dao Xian.