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.
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).