On Friday, the 26th of December Anita, Waji and I went on our trip to Tulou - the local way. We took a taxi, bus and train to a bus depot. At the bus depot we had our first experience of local pushers trying to get us to pay their marked-up rates. They told us that the bus wouldn't come for over an hour but, of course, we knew this wasn't true. So, we waited for a few minutes and, instead of paying 50 yuen each for private car, we paid 2 yuen for the bus to the next depot in town. At that depot we paid another 15 yuen and finally got a bus to Tulou! So far we had spent about 50 yuen to arrive in just a couple hours and the tour, at over 150, would have still had us waiting at our hostel to be picked up! At this point we paid 15 yuen for the bus to take us from the visitor centre to all of the sites. At the first site we took some shots from above (picture above) then went down into the community to see it all from the inside.
We were told that the departure time was uncertain so we looked around for a while and then realized that our tour had left. After talking to a few people and trying our best to figure out our options we found that we only had one - start walking.
It was probably about half an hour of walking, and being offered a ride by a guy on a little scooter (for a price), before we were picked up by some Hong Kongers who were also on holiday. We caught up to our bus at the second site and this time only had a short look around before going back to the bus to wait.
The second site had much bigger structures, with far less clutter, and even had another structure within the structure. The third site was more of a standard village but had a river running through it which actually made it quite picturesque.
After visiting the third site, we had to arrange some transportation because, according to the driver (who we now know was actually just making a quick buck on the side), the last train would be gone by the time we got back to town. This private car that he arranged took us all the way back to Xiamen for a total of about 100 yuen each (about $15 USD). This put us a bit over the cost of the tour but it was really worth it all things considered. The driver actually put us right at the street market that we wanted to have dinner at so the whole deal was quite convenient.
At the market we bought some tasty goat kebabs and walked around a bit before taking the bus back to our hostel for just 2 yuen.