Our story & values

Laojia 老家 (pron: Lauw DJaa) provides travelers with a window into traditional Chinese communities; We spend substantial time in each location in order to continuously deepen our local knowledge and friendships, which we then can share with explorers interested in immersive cultural experiences.

We have found that providing such a platform where guests and locals can interact in authentic ways can create beautiful outcomes. Not only does the interests shown by visitors in China’s ancient culture serve to enhance cultural preservation; we have noticed that these genuine interactions also lead to a heightened awareness of oneself and of one's environment. This is the type of travel we believe in and wish to encourage.
 

Past

Laojia was founded in 2014 by two China explorers,  KangYi (Maarten) and AnRui (Eric). In 2013, after having lived in Shanghai for several years they moved to a rural village in Guangxi province after having stumbled upon an ancient house and welcoming community along the famous Li river. This was where they believed they could find the immersive cultural experience they were looking for.

The restoration of the Qing dynasty house became a labor of love which would not have been possible was it not for the
support of the local community and outside friends and family. Maarten and Eric’s immersion into the community provided their friends and family with a unique window into life on the Chinese countryside and with a platform for cultural exchange. More guests kept on visiting and after seeing the positive effects of these interactions, the idea for the Laojia project was born.


 

A Guilin resident and friend by the name Yongfa, got interested in Laojia and together with  extensive travel around Guangxi province with Maarten, , they made friendships in the Yao community deep in the mountains north of Guilin.

The
aim remained the same: create an opportunity for guests and villagers to interact in authentic, noncommercial and natural ways, in order to foster understanding, empathy and most of all great memories for both sides. 

The interest shown by travelers sustained our motivation in restoring and preserving Chinese relics and in 2016 Laojia joined forces with Beijing resident Qiaohua and expanded the Qing Dynasty house.



In the meantime Maarten and Yongfa continued traveling throughout China, where they kept on learning about new places and making new friends after which they set up two new locations, one in
Hunan- (2017) and short after in Fujian province (2018).

Present

In 2019, after having owned and renovated ancient houses themselves, Laojia changed its main model into one which mostly encourages and supports villagers in preserving their own ancient buildings and becoming ambassadors of their local culture and creators of inspiring travel experiences.

Many stories, countless hours of tea sessions, and several small scale renovations have passed since the beginning of the project.

Since than, Laojia has hosted over
3000 guests from all over the world; has 4 locations across rural China, and apart from hosting travelers also facilitates rural educational programs and social initiatives

Future (Vision)

The endless opportunities to learn from new places motivates Laojia to deepen and expand its roots with villages while setting up these platforms for cultural immersion.
 

Our small scale approach allows us to provide intimate experiences to our guests and villagers where both see each other as friends instead of tourists & strangers.

 

One of our wishes it that by promoting this type of tourism, namely one which revolves around personal interactions, curiosity, friendship & respect, we can play a role in helping tourism live up to its potential of creating spiritually enriching  experiences for both visitors and villagers. 


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 A deep thanks to the photographic talents of our guests and sharing these for our website. 

© 2019 by Laojia老家. All Rights Reserved.