The underrated province of Jiāngxī (江西) offers a bucolic entrée into semirural Chinese life. It's a succulent, green place, connected by waterways of natural and human design, rice paddies teeming with bird life and fields draped in wildflowers. Tea seemingly grows out of every patch of land until dramatic mountain ranges, swirling with mist, rise up at its edges.
Jiāngxī has joined the high-speed rail circuit and now there's a new breed of local, prosperous traveller. They come here for the story-book villages around Wùyuán, the remote mountain parks of great spiritual significance and matching hiking trails in the northeast, and the surprisingly pleasant provincial capital, Nánchāng.
The altogether slower pace of life is the real highlight of a visit to this charming pocket of southeast China.