Zhuge Bagua is an ancient village in Zhejiang Province in the eastern part of China. It has a history that dates back to the Qing and Ming Dynasties. The locals call it “Zhugecun.” History has it that the village’s name comes from the last name Zhuge which was widespread in two dynasties. Most of the residents here claim to be descendants of Zhuge Liang, a 3rd-century Chinese military strategist, and noble statesman.
I arrived at Zhuge early evening and I didn’t want to explore it right away because, you know, I might get lost in the dark alleys. I stayed in a hotel that was along the main road in the newer part of the town. However, the receptionist assured me that the ancient village was just behind the hotel and it can be seen from my bedroom windows. Well, it was not 100% true. Yes, the village was just behind (according to the map) me but I didn’t see it from my window. There was no shortcut trail from the back of the hotel to the old village. Fortunately, it was just a 10-15 minutes walk from where I was.
Morning at Zhuge Bagua
The next day, I woke up early. And true enough, the village was just a short walking distance from the hotel. There’s always something in the air when you’re walking in ancient villages anywhere in the world. A morning stroll gave me a sense of traveling back in time.
Although the hotel receptionist handed me a photocopied black and white map of places to see, I didn’t really use it much. I was just following my gut and where my feet would lead me.
One thing that was clear to me was the similar architectural styles of houses. It was conspicuous.
Bathed in white and with wide walls interrupted with small windows, nothing much can be seen from outside.
If you go closer and look up, the structural elements and designs of a typical Chinese architecture are very much evident on its eaves. The detailed wood carvings are delightful to see. And oh, the doors are as interesting as the village itself.
The village, according to history, is based on Eight Trigrams, a mathematical pattern. People believe that a village designed like this was the first of its kind in China.
The heart of the village is the pond where the calm water reflects the historic houses surrounding it.
Unfortunately, the pond is kinda dark and murky. The village people use it for everything.
They use it to wash everything – from dirty laundry to vegetables and other food. And I even saw someone taking a bath there.
That was a sad sight for me. I didn’t see any floating waste but I still couldn’t imagine how polluted the water was.
Beyond the pond, Zhuge Bagua village is surrounded by eight hills. And I would recommend you to explore beyond the heart of the village.
Walking in ancient alleyways was such a great experience for me as I’ve got to meet and pass old residents doing their morning routines quietly.
The best part of visiting this ancient village (pre-pandemic) was that there were no annoying tourists around. It’s one of those ancient villages in China that almost no one talks about.
Directions to Zhuge Village
From Hangzhou, you can take a bus from South Bus Station to Lanxi City. It takes about 3 hours. When you arrive, take a taxi to your hotel.
If you are departing from Jinhua, there’s a bus every hour from the bus station to Lanxi City. It takes an hour and a half. Do not expect an air-conditioned coach. I was on a bus that was full and the seats were torn that the foam came out of it.
Where to stay