Majestic mountains surrounding Dabu offer panoramic views, especially during sunsets. Most visitors are overseas Chinese wishing to connect with their roots.
Dabu County has jurisdiction over 14 towns. The following are just some of the towns that may be of interest to visitors:
- Huliao (湖寮镇) - the administrative capital and largest town
- Baihou (百侯镇) - the county's best preserved historical town, with around 120 buildings dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties
- Dadong (大东镇) - a scenic mountain town
- Chayang (茶阳镇) - the former county seat, location of the famous Father and Son Double Jinshi Memorial Arches
- Gaobei (高陂镇) - the second most populous town; famous for its ceramics industry
- Sanhe (三河镇) - site of the Battle of Sanheba (1927), a significant military engagement during the first year of the Chinese Civil War
- 1 Dabu Bus Station (大埔车站), 33 Wanxiang Road, Huliao Town (湖寮镇畹香路33号). Dabu County's main central bus station. Buses from downtown Meizhou depart from the Jiangnan Bus Station (梅州江南客运站). The fare is ¥30 and the journey time is one hour and fifteen minutes. There are also direct buses to Dabu from several other major cities such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Apart from the county seat, there are also a few other towns in Dabu that can be reached directly from Meizhou, including Chayang, Gaobei and Sanhe.
- 2 Dabu Railway Station (大埔站), County Highway 961, Sanhe Town (三河镇961县道), ☏ . Trains to Dabu are not very frequent, running only twice a day every second day. The first train originates in Guangzhou and the second one originates in Shenzhen. Both trains stop in Meizhou (and a few other cities) on the way and terminate at Dabu. The journey time from either Guangzhou or Shenzhen is about 7 hours while the journey time from Meizhou to Dabu is about 1 hour. Travellers should be aware that the railway station is in the town of Sanhe, which is about 18 km northwest of the county seat.
From Dabu Bus Station, you can catch a public bus to just about anywhere in the county. Cheap, no air conditioning but a great way to see the countryside at a relaxed pace. A trip to Dadong to see the terraced fields of flowering vegetable farms is only ¥10. It's a bit of a hassle with Yinna Mountain. Because you may have to spend hours aimlessly waiting for the afternoon bus to come fetch you (¥12).
Basically this is one place that won't see any influx of tourists except maybe the overseas Chinese returning to the land of their ancestors, Dabu Hakkas. Nonetheless, what makes Dabu the Shangri La of Hakkaland is the stunning mountains that surround Dabu county. You get the "feel" as your car weaves in and out of mountain roads coming and exiting Dabu. At Dadong, when in bloom, the terraces are stunningly beautiful (around March/April). The temple on top of Yinna Mountain (阴那山) is beautiful. Walking around town is fun in itself. At street corners, under the cool of the shadows of trees, groups of people play Russian Poker, it is endemic. If you are making your way to Yongding for the Tulous then you can skip Dabu's very own tulou, otherwise it's just a 3 minute trip from the city centre. Chayang comes out attractively on leaflet, but the real thing could be a letdown. Simply because whatever economic activity along the trader's road don't exist anymore more probable than not because of dwindling visitors.
- 1 Dabu County Museum (大埔县博物馆), Intersection of Xi Huan Lu and the Y189, Huliao Town (湖寮镇西环路与Y189交汇口). Small museum devoted to the history and culture of the region. Free.
- 2 Tai'an Building (泰安楼), 1-143 Daxing Road, Huliao Town (湖寮镇大兴路143-1号). The Tai'an Building is a tulou building that was built in 1764. It is probably the most accessible tulou building in Dabu County, being the only one located in the county seat. The square shape of the building makes it very unique because most tulou buildings are round. ¥18.
- 3 Sanhe Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (三河中山纪念堂), Zhongshan Park, Sanhe Town (三河镇中山公园内). 09:00-17:00. Dedicated to Sun Yat-Sen, leader of the Xinhai Revolution and the founding father of China's first republic. This is officially the oldest Sun Yat-Sen memorial in China, having been completed in 1929, about 4 years after Sun's death.
- 4 Sanheba Battle Memorial (三河坝战役纪念馆), Bayi Road, Sanhe Town (三河镇八一路). 08:00-17:00. Commemorates the Battle of Sanheba, a battle during the Chinese Civil War that took place here in September 1927. The battle is considered to be of great significance by some Chinese historians because although the Red Army troops led by Zhu De were outnumbered and forced to retreat, most of them survived and were able to make it to the safety of the Jinggang Mountains where they helped to establish the Communist Party's first revolutionary base in rural China. Free.
- 5 Father and Son Double Jinshi Memorial Arches (父子进士牌坊), Xueqian Street, Chayang Town (茶阳镇学前街) (about 500 meters south of Chayang Bus Station). Built by the Ming government in 1610 in honour of Rao Xiang and his son Rao Yuling, two scholar-officials from Chayang who both attained the Jinshi, the highest degree in China's imperial examination system. Free.
- 6 Ancestral Home of Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀祖居), Tangxi Village (党溪村) (about 15 km north of Gaobei; it should be possible to get a bus to drop you off at the village, otherwise take a taxi or motorized pedicab from Gaobei). The ancestral home of the first prime minister of Singapore. Lee himself never lived here, however. It was built by his great-grand father Lee Bok Boon in 1884. Lee Bok Boon had immigrated to Singapore in 1863, but returned to Dabu in 1882, leaving his wife and children (including Lee Kuan Yew's grandfather) behind in Singapore. Lee Bok Boon died only a few months after the house was built and the property was inherited by his brother's family. The residence is now a tourist attraction and hosts an exhibition about Lee Kuan Yew's life. Free.
- 7 Fuda Ceramics Industrial Tourism Zone (富大陶瓷工业旅游区), Gaobei Ceramics Production Base, Gaobei Town (高陂镇高陂陶瓷生产基地) (about 3 km southeast of Gaobei Bus Station), ☏ . 08:30-12:00, 13:00-17:30. Owned and operated by the Fuda Ceramics Company. Visitors can enter the ceramics factory and view the entire production line. There are also display areas where you can see not only products produced by Fuda Ceramics, but also works by famous artists and some ancient ceramics. ¥30.
- 8 Hua'e Building (花萼楼), Lianfeng Village (联丰村) (about 13 km south of Dadong; there are two buses a day from Dabu Bus Station - it's best to take the morning bus at 9:50 because the afternoon bus doesn't leave till 16:30 and you would have to find some other means of getting back; the return buses are at 06:30 and 13:30). Open all day. A classic circular-shaped tulou dating from 1608. The building is in excellent condition for its age and looks as good as any of the tulou you will find in Fujian Province. A few families still live here, so certain rooms are off limits. ¥10.
- 9 Pingshan Terraced Fields Tourism Zone (坪山梯田旅游区), Country Highway 150, Pingshan Village, Dadong Town (大东镇坪山村150乡道) (about 2 km northwest of the Dadong Town Government building; free parking is available; after reaching the parking lot, you can take an electric golf cart to the village), ☏ . 08:00-17:30. Probably the most popular scenic area in Dabu County. Colors vary according to season. The best months for visiting are reportedly in March-April when the flowers are blooming and in September-October when the rice crops reach maturity. ¥30 (entry ticket), ¥20 (golf cart ticket).
- 1 Ruishan Ecotourism Resort (广东瑞山生态旅游度假村), County Road 951 (951县道) (about 12 km west of the town of Zhourui (洲瑞) and about 10 km southeast of the town of Yinjiang (银江镇); you will likely need to get a car or motorized pedicab to take you here), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-17:00. An ecotourism resort in a mountainous area of the county. The resort's hotel reportedly does not accept foreign guests, but it should be okay to walk around the park and bathe in the hot springs. ¥50 (entry fee only), ¥75 (entry fee plus fare for sightseeing vehicle).
Food is cheap and consists primarily of Dabu fare. Make sure you tell the chef or cook "Go easy on the salt". Dabu food is always on the salty side.
Beers are easily available and cheap. Except maybe at the restaurants and at hotels' premises, more probable than not, you pick up your beers from the supermarket and drink in your room. There don't seem to be any bars. pubs or a public place to down your booze.
- 90 Degree Coffee Shop (90度炭烧咖啡小站), 32 Fuqian Road, Huliao Town (湖寮镇府前路32号 ), ☏ . One of the very few places in Dabu County where coffee is available.
Plenty of options. Decent rooms at decent hotels are around ¥200. There are also medium cost rooms at ¥80 to ¥100. Avoid going to the really cheap cheap lodgings. They are not for foreigners.
- 1 Guoyuan Hotel (大埔国源酒店), 123 Dabu Avenue, Huliao Town (湖寮镇大埔大道123号) (about 2 km east of Dabu Bus Station), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A 3-star hotel. Rooms are available from about ¥190.
- 2 Vienna Hotel Dabu (维也纳酒店大埔店), Qixiang Complex Building, Huyuan Road, Huliao Town (湖寮镇虎源路褀祥综合大厦内) (about 3 km south of Dabu Bus Station), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A popular 3-star hotel in Dabu's county seat. The hotel is part of the Vienna Hotel Group, which is a major hotel chain in China. Rooms are available from about ¥240 a night.
To Yongding, where the Fujian Tulou are. By bus Y35. And from the same bus station at Yongding another local bus to Hukeng, the heart of tulou territory. You land up at the rear entrance of the government showcased Zhencheng Building (entrance fee ¥70).