Foreign tourists may know a lot about Fenghuang ancient town as it has an exceptionally well-preserved ancient scenery with washed-out walls and colorful lanterns across the way. However, never forget to pay a visit to its neighbor – the naturally picturesque Guizhou province. Guizhou may gain a little population and attention in comparison to Fenghuang, but it is totally worthy for an adventure. Let’s find out more about Guizhou and acknowledge why this province is a must-go spot in your China journey.
Guizhou is in the southwest of China. Guizhou’s strength is not economy; the living condition is quite poor in comparison to other provinces in China. In fact, it has such a diverse natural resources, culture, and biodiversity, which make Guizhou an interesting place to visit for adventurous visitors. There are nearly 50 minority groups working and living in Guizhou, building up the most colorful cultures in China.
|Area||176,167 square kilometers|
|Cities||Guiyang, Anshun, Bijie, Zunyi, Kaili, Tongren, Quiandongnan, Quiannan, Quianxinan, Liupanshui|
|Neighbors||Sichuan, Hunnan, Guangxi, Yunnan|
|Time zone||GTM +8|
|Ethnic groups||Han, Dong, Miao, Shui, Hui, Bouyi, Yi, Gejia, Yao, Gelo, Zhuang, Bai, Manchu|
This province had been isolated until 1980s. This could be an explanation for why it is not developed in economy. Instead, it is well-preserved unspoiled region with breathtaking mountainous terrain. Most of the scenery in Guizhou is made of mountains, valleys, crags, ravines, and cliffs. The minority culture here is also very colorful and abundant. The land is perfect for adventurous tourists, some hiking, and trekking.
When should you visit Guizhou?
The climate in Guizhou is tender and mild, but to choose the perfect time to visit is difficult. Guizhou has a subtropical humid with monsoon climate. Annual temperature is very pleasing – about 15-20 °C. The perfect time to be in Guizhou is in the spring and the autumn. It is not only because the weather is pleasant with some cool breeze and little rain, but also because there are various ethical festivals held at that time.
You should not visit Guizhou in the winter, as the scenery is boring and greyish. I have talked to a local friend and he said that in the winter, there will be a lot of freezing rain and ice jams, so it is quite dangerous to travel around in such a harsh weather.
How To Go From Beijing
The distance between Bejing and Guizhou is approximately 2000 kilometers. There are only two most convenient ways to reach Guizhou from Beijing: either by train or by plane. However, from my perspective, train is the better vehicle for your journey.
There are many flights every week for you to choose from, and there is no difficulty booking the flight ticket online. Only 3 airlines provide the flight for you from Beijing to Guizhou, which are Air China, China Southern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines. It takes you 3 hours for a flight. If you wish to visit other counties in Guizhou, you may go by plane to one in two airports, then go by train to other counties.
You can go by train to every county in Guizhou. If your destination is Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou, you go by high-speed train, the duration would be the same with going by plane. If you want to save money, you can choose to go by normal train, which takes more than 8 hours to reach the destination. You will depart at Beijing West Railway Station and arrive to either Guiyang Railway Station or Guiyang North Railway Station. And depending on your destination that the duration may be longer or shorter.
There are 2 airports in Guizhou: the Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport (placed in Guiyang – the capital city of Guizhou) and Huangguoshu Airport (placed in Anshun with limited number of flights every year). Normally, tourists will have to arrive the Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport first, then take a taxi or catch a bus to reach the destination.
In Guizhou, it is quite complicated to hire a personal vehicle to travel around by yourself if you are a foreigner. You need a Chinese license for hiring. As a result, your journey will base on public transportation a lot. Even though Guizhou is one of the poorest regions in China, the transportation infrastructure is surprisingly good.
According to my knowledge, this is the only province that has expressway to every other county. Also, you can easily travel to different counties by train – there are 2 types of trains: normal trains and high-speed train. You can book the ticket online. It is interesting that when you go by train, you can admire the mountainous scenery, splendid cliffs, natural biodiversity on the way.
Trains are also the famous transportation in Guizhou. 5 railways are providing across the province, including Zhuzhou – Guiding, Nanning – Kunming, Guiyang – Kunming, Chongqing – Guiyang, and Guiyang – Liuzhou.
Places to visit
Guizhou is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in China, even with the Chinese. There are handful of visitors. Even in the Golden Week, there are not many people visit this province (the Golden Week is national holiday in China, occur in October or between February and March). However, once you have been to this province, you will never regret.
If you don’t want to see many foreign tourists in your destination, Guizhou is all you need. Guizhou is famous for mountains, rivers, valleys, waterfalls, and bridges. Guizhou owns 45 out of 100 highest bridges in the world. Besides, when visiting Guizhou, you shouldn’t forget to visit the ethnic villages, especially Miao villages.
Kaili seems to be the most favorite choice of tourists when traveling to Guizhou to experience the minority lifestyles. Here, you can visit some villages such as Matang, Langde, Zhouxi, etc. There is no need to be awkward asking local inhabitants to join and experience their customs and daily activities.
You can eat local dishes, wear their distinctive traditional costume, join the gossip, buy (or even make) the ethnic handcrafts. In some villages, there are festivals and traditional shows to welcome tourists. To travel from village to village, you can go by mini-bus.
Some special tourist destinations that you shouldn’t miss in Guizhou are:
– Qingyan Ancient Town (Guiyang)
– Quinglong Cave Ancient Architecture Group (Zhenyuang)
– Tianlong Ancient Castle (Pingba)
– Miao Border Great Wall of Zhenyuan (Zhenyuang)
– Qiangling Park (Guiyang)
– Mount Fanjing (Tongren)
– Wuyang River (Zhenyuan)
– Tianhe Lake (Guiyang)
– Huangguoshu Waterfalls (Zhenning)
– Huaxi Park (Guiyang)
– Dragon Palace (Anshun)
– Zhaoxing DongZhai (Liping)
– Jiabang Terraces
Some good tips for a better trip
– Since Guizhou is not a developed province, the facility here may be not as good as you thought. You may find comfortable and cozy hotels, hostels, and guesthouses, but don’t expect anything fancy or luxurious.
– The road is very twisty as Guizhou has a mountain terrain, so be careful.
– The difference between day and night temperature is great, so bring some proper clothes to protect yourself from the unstable climate.
– Never forget to wear comfortable clothes. You will have a lot of hiking and walking.
– Raincoat and mosquito repellent should be prepared as the weather here is wet and rainy.
If you prefer enjoying bustling and hectic city life, Guizhou may not your ideal destination. But if you want to enjoy natural pristine sceneries, as well as understand the minority customs and traditions, Guizhou is definitely a number-one choice that you could have for you Chine journey. Never forget to pay this Chinese province a visit in the near future.