The Fujian countryside is one of the best destinations of my three years in China (others include Jiuzhaigou and Xinjiang). I knew I'd be impressed by the unique Hakka architecture of the region, but I still wasn't prepared for what I saw.
Though it was a bit hazy during the morning of our journey, the air was certainly cleaner than almost anywhere I've visited in China. The Hakka tulou (土楼 earth houses) were more prominent in the scenery than I had expected--I thought there were just a few of these. These structures made of rock, mud, and wood were amazing to see from outside and inside. Best of all, the people were friendly and, even in the more touristy areas, not pushy when it came to selling souvenirs.
We avoided most of the crowds at the tulou as we departed early in the morning in a private car through the mountain roads. We weren't so lucky when we got back to Xiamen, where the streets were packed with noisy tourists for the Golden Week.My only regret was that I didn't change my camera settings and ended up with the stupid time stamp (with the wrong date) on all my photos. On some of them, I can crop out the date.