Visit the famous floating village of sea gypsies in Xiapu, Fujian

Update:05 May 2010
Xiapu (霞浦) County lies in east Fujian’s Ningde City. It has the longest coast line in Fujian and the largest mudflat in China.
Xiapu County, famous for its picturesque mudflat, lures
 many tourists and photographers every year.
Known for its mudflat aquaculture, Xiapu County in Fujian Province attracts a lot of tourists and photographers for its unique coastal scenery.
Click to enlarge
Due to the pleasant seawater temperature and plenty of sunshine, the Xiapu mudflats are rich in kelp, laver, oyster and yellow croakers. Locals living along the beach are mainly engaged in marine culture. The bamboo poles, fish nets and stone columns that are inserted in the mudflats are used to dry kelp, laver, oyster and other marine products. As the sun rises and sets, the tide rises and falls, the bamboo poles, fishing boats and fish nets form various spectacular sceneries.
To both tourists and photographers, the mudflats are Shangri-La on the sea. Anyone that sees the mudflats would be amazed by the spectacular view.
Typical mudflats in Xiapu County include Beiqi (北歧), Dongbi (东壁), Shatangli (沙塘里), Weijiang (围江), Xiaohao (小皓) and Dong’an (东安). The peak season for kelp harvest begins in May every year.
There are about 7,000 fishermen from Yantian (盐田) that have been living on their fishing boats for generations. Such living habit can date back to Tang Dynasty, when fishermen in east Fujian (Fuzhou and Ningde) settled down on their fishing boats to shun chaos caused by wars.
The "Gypsies on the Sea" refers to the fishermen
living on boats with their families on the sea.
These fishermen lived by colleting marine products on the sea. They were named the “Gypsies on the Sea”. Before liberation, they were not allowed to go ashore or marry the people living along the beach. Wedding and funeral ceremonies were held on the boats. In recent years, with the help of the local government, the fishermen began to build their houses along the nearest beach. However, most of them prefer to live on boats, where there are series of home appliances. The fishing village on the sea is usually called “Offshore Venice” by tourists. It’s not only awe-inspiring scenery, but also a life style.
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