Travel in Guizhou 2007
For the ‘golden week’ holiday from the 1st of October till the 7th of October 2007 we wanted to go to a place with fewer tourists, with many interesting things to see and still feasible in one week. After considering Guangxi (too busy probably in Guilin), Xinjiang (too big for one week), Tibet (too busy, too big) we finally decided to go to Guizhou, a province in the south west of China which borders Hunan, Sichuan and Guangxi. Guizhou is one of the poorest provinces of China and consists mainly of mountains. Guizhou is home to many minorities such as the Miao and the Dong, but Guizhou also has beautiful natural sceneries. We didn’t want to miss any of it, and planned the following route:
Guiyang – Zhijing Cave – Hangguoshuo waterfall – Kaili – Nanhua Miao village, Xijiang Miao village – Zhaoxing – Kaili – Guiyang
We had booked flight ZH9895 on ctrip.com to fly from Shenzhen to Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou. Our airplane left in the morning at 09:00 and we arrived after only one hour and 35 minutes at the small Guiyang airport. On our left we could immediately see some mountains which look quite similar to the famous mountains in Guilin. At the airport we informed about the new connection from Guiyang to Liping. This service had just started but was a bit too expensive for us. A one-way ticket from Guiyang to Liping costs around 540 yuan including tax.
We first took the bus to the city (10y pp) and then a taxi to visit some family members of Xiaoxiong in Guiyang. They also arranged a hotel for us and that midday we visited Qianlin park. I didn’t expect much from a park, but this park is actually quite interesting. We first walked to the temple on top of a mountain in the park which is reasonably interesting. Inside the temple several Guiyang locals were chanting Buddhist prayers, which to me sounded very much like ‘hamigua’ (watermelon in Chinese)! On the way there, we already saw several monkeys. If you carry any food, then better keep your bag closed! While we were walking down from the temple towards a lake one monkey chased Xiaoxiong and she was so afraid that she dropped the plastic bag and I had to chase the monkey away or our food would have been gone! At the small lake you can rent small boats and it’s very relaxing to sit on the lake for an hour (30y/h for bikeboat and 15y/h for boat with peddles). The park itsels costed 5y pp. If you have some spare time in Guiyang, it’s nice to spend a midday there.
30 September – Zhijin Cave
We got up early and took a bus at 08:20 from Guiyang to Zhijin. We got off at an small crossroad and rented a small motorcar to the cave for 15 yuan. Near the entrance of the cave quite a luxurious entrance and exit building are built and there is even a hotel and some small shops. Tickets for the cave are 120y pp and include a mandatory (Chinese speaking) tour guide. The tour in the cave was quite interesting and the cave is very big with many different chambers. In total we spent about two hours inside (13:30 till 15:30) and we definitely didn’t walk slowly in the cave! Afterwards we took a bus to Zhijin county and arrived at 17:00. I’m not sure if there is anything else worthwhile to see in Zhijin, but we had a schedule to keep up with and needed to quickly go to HuangGuoShuo waterfall. We were quite lucky to immediately catch the last bus out of the town at 18:00 heading to Anshun. The road between Zhijin and Anshun was very dark and with lots of turns. Interesting trip and a little bit dangerous.
1 October – HuangGuoShuo waterfall
We slept a bit longer and took the 08:45 bus from Anshun to HuangGuoShuo waterfall where we arrived around 10:00. We had considered first going to Dragon Palace Cave, but we were not sure if there are busses between the cave and the waterfall. The entrance to the area surrounding the waterfall is very expensive, or in Chinese : “tai gui le!”. In high season it’s 180 yuan per person, excluding a 30 yuan ticket for the bus to take you to three scenic spots. The first spot was some small bird garden with a minor waterfall. Normally I would recommend skipping it, but since it is included in the ticket anyway, better spend a couple of minutes there. After that the bus to Tianxing bridge. Over there you can walk quite far and halfway you will see some houses and you can get on the bus again but then you will miss the more interesting second half. After this we took the bus to the waterfall scenic spot and this made up partially for the very high entrance fee. The waterfall is very beautiful and you can walk around it and even under it through a cave. We took some small umbrellas but since the weather was very good, we might as well have just gotten a bit wet from the waterfall. We ate at a small restaurant near the big parking space for around 50 yuan and took the bus back to Anshun for 10y pp from 16:00 to 17:10. We decided we didn’t have enough time to visit the Dragon Palace Cave and we bought a train ticket to Kaili. We originally planned to go to Zhenyuan, but we changed our plan and now went directly to Kaili. We had to wait from 17:00 till 19:54 in the smelly trainstation of Anshun. They only had seats for sale, but luckily Xiaoxiong knew that we had to find the Chief Attendent in the train so we could try to buy some hardsleep tickets. Since the train from Kunming to Beijing would arrive around 01:15 in Kaili it was nice to sleep for a while and not stand for 6 hours.
2 October – Nanhua and Xijiang Miao villages
Got up at 09:00 and ate some rice noodle near our hotel for 5y pp. We took a taxi for 5y to Erlong bus station. The bus was too busy though and we took a taxi to NanHua Miao village for 50 yuan. We arrived around 30 minutes and stored our bags in a small hotel and bought tickets for the village for 30y pp. The village is very very small and the main charm is that you can wear some traditional clothes (5y pp) and watch a Miao performance in a nice open air setting (included in ticket). Near the river there was also bull fighting prior to the Miao performance. The dresses from the Miao women are very beautiful and they use lots of silver to decorate themselves. I recommend visiting this performance, not too busy and beautiful first encounter with the Miao. Afterwards we took the bus to Leishan at 16:00 and next the bus to Xijiang for 8y pp. We arrived in Xijiang around 20:00 and it was very busy in this famous 1000-family Miao village. It was very difficult to find a room, but luckily the owner of Mulou hostel was a real businessman and also very friendly and offered the room of his son. Definitely need a flashlight here since it is very dark at night and the small road between houses to the guesthouse is very dark. We ate dinner in Mulou for 50y pp and also drank some ricewine and listened to some traditional songs.
3 October – Xijiang to Congjiang
Woke up with the sound of chickens around 08:00 and then ate noodle and rice cake in rice wine for 5y pp in Mulou. We looked around for a while in the village. Unfortunately we missed the performance the night before in Xijiang and it seems that besides the performance there is not much to do or see in Xijiang so we quickly went to the busstop at the beginning of the village. It was already very busy though, but again we were quite lucky that several other Chinese backpackers also wanted to go to Rongjiang so we rented two busses to take us there for 60y pp. We arrived at Rongjiang after about 6 hours and then we hired the bus even further to Congjiang for an additional 20y pp where we arrived at 20:00. Again it was quite difficult to find a hotel. We slept in Ren He hotel where the manager cleaned a room that was otherwise used for the staff. We ate in the newly opened restaurant in Ren He hotel for about 58 yuan. We tried to make a reservation for a hostel in Zhaoxing, but this was impossible. Next day would be Lusheng festival and the rooms were served on a first-come-first-serve basis. We quickly went to sleep after a long day in the bus.
4 October – Zhaoxing
Since we couldn’t make a reservation for a hostel and we wanted to make sure we had a good hostel this time, we got up very early at 06:00 and took a taxi for 2y to the bus station at 06:40. We took the bus from Congjiang to Zhaoxing (16y pp) and arrived around 09:30 in a pleasantly crowded small village. The bus could not even enter the village, because many people from surrounding villages had come to Zhaoxing to celebrate the Lusheng festival. Lusheng is a bamboo flute with 6 pipes and besides making melodies with it, one of the main attractions seems to be to play it as loud as possible. We quickly passed the rehersals for the evening performance in the center and we found a nice room in the famous Lulu’s homestay hostel. This hostel is built in traditional style and has 12 rooms (we guess).
5 October - Zhaoxing & Diping
Get up at 08:30 and then we ate breakfast at Amei restaurant : 2yuan for the ricenoodle + 1 noodle for fried egg. After eating we took the bus to Diping village. The minibus said from Liping to Diping and passes through the village. We walked to the front of the village and we were lucky to get a seat. After we got on, the bus stopped a couple of times so it was quite full. Busticket was 10Y per person. We arrived at about 11 in Diping and walked to the famous Dong bridge, but it had been rebuild recently because the original bridge had been destroyed during floods. We were extremely lucky to visit during the flute festival (Lusheng festival) so there were many festivities in the village. Everybody was wearing traditional clothes and almost no tourists! One of the best experiences ever. You can also buy some Dong clothes and silverware there, but perhaps only during the festival. We bought some water and oranges before we went back. The bus from Liping to Sanjiang passes through the village and we took it back to Zhaoxing. In the evening we ate opposite to Amei restaurant : a Dong family restaurant. Three dishes and rice for in total 26Y. Carrot, potatoe and something else, quite good. Better to eat mostly vegetables instead of meat, because the meat is not so clean. After dinner we went to the highschool on top of the mountain and sat on the bridge afterwards.
6 October - From Zhaoxing back to Kaili
We went from Zhaoxing back to Congjiang. When we arrived, we just missed the bus in the morning, so we had to wait a long time for the bus around 14 or 15 o'clock to Kaili. We arrived around 19 in Kaili and went back to our hotel. We went to the famous restaurant Kuai huo lin (named after a place in a famous Chinese novel) to eat sour fish soup. A bit like hotpot, but very very sour. The taste was ok, but way too sour and quite expensive restaurant as well.
7 October - From Kaili to Guiyang
We took the bus in the morning back to Guiyang. We visited the cousin of Xiaoxiong and in the midday we ate a lot of Guizhou snacks, a bit like dimsum. After we said goodbye to the rest of the family, we went back to the airport. We took bus 327 when we arrived in Shenzhen back to our house in Nanshan district.
Guizhou was one of the best holidays I have ever had, if not the best! The region is extremely interesting: beautiful landscapes and many minorities with such beautiful clothes and silver jewelry. I'm lucky that my girlfriend is Chinese, because it is very difficult to travel here by yourself. Especially when you want to visit the smaller villages and take public busses. We were lucky to have little rain and to have planned our trip quite well in advance. I highly recommend Guizhou to everyone who is interested in the minorities of China. Go while you still have a chance and try to go during one of the holidays for the minorities.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 14 April 2008 )|