Six days to immerse in the romantic Southeast Guizhou Hinterlands.
Get (mock) married in a Chinese ethnic wedding ceremony at Basha rifleman’s village. Learn the handicraft art of Chinese paper making at Stonebridge Village. Hike the stepped terrace countryside hills behind Zhaoxing Stockade.
Finally, experience the ambience of a Chinese village that celebrates Valentines like nowhere else in the world!
Guiyang meet-up. Guiyang sightseeing.
Day One is meet-up day.
Make your own way to the south-central city of Guiyang. Check in at the designated hotel.
Arrive early and you will have time to see some city landmarks. Arrive extra early and you will have time to explore Mount Qiling Park. Stay safe. Explore!
City landmarks: The Jiaxiu Lou pavilion is an iconic local landmark – a pocket of calming, elegant old-time scenery that is nestled inside of but feels oddly separate from the city. The Qiling Mountain Park is all shades of green. Lively vegetation climbs off the paths and up the mountain walls. Wild rhesus monkeys sit watching from the stone eaves of Hong Fu temple.
Breakfast. Arrive in Shiqiao ‘Stonebridge’ Village. Shiqiao ancient method paper making workshop. Kala Village visit. Hotel check in.
Morning, day two: Finish a hotel breakfast, board the coach, then depart Southeast into country Guizhou. Our first destination is Shiqiao, a village in the Miaoling mountain hinterland of Danzhai County.
Arrive in Shiqiao ‘Stonebridge’ Village. Lunch. Shiqiao ancient method paper making workshop.
Arrive and eat.
In Shiqiao, the rare traditional method paper making art is still practiced, the knowledge of its processes passed from parent to son and daughter, for generation upon generation, since the mid-Tang Dynasty (AD618 - 907). Now, you can inherit the knowledge too! After lunch, head to an average village home workshop to experience the intangible heritage artform of ancient method paper making.
Kala Village visit. Hotel check-in in Danzhai county town.
Next, head to Kala Village, a nearby village famous for its strong ethnic vibes and cultural charm. In fact, the strange tribal reed instruments you are going to hear tomorrow in Basha were developed here. Hand-woven bamboo bird cages are also a local artform to learn from.
Leave the village behind. Town down at our hotel in the county town of Danzhai.
Get checked in and relax.
Breakfast. Basha ‘Rifleman’ Tribe Village. Village cultural immersion (mock Miao marriage ceremony, wooden bull fight, sickle blade haircut, reed instrument performance). Check-in at Zhaoxing Dong Stockade.
Breakfast. Ride out.
Eat breakfast, then set out for gunslinger rifle tribe village of Basha on Day 02.
Basha ‘Rifleman’ Tribe Village. Village cultural immersion (mock Miao marriage ceremony, wooden bull fight, sickle blade haircut, reed instrument performance).
Arrive and spend a morning getting to know the Miao minority.
Men here shoulder old-style long rifles. Hunting knives, pouch of iron pellets and long tobacco pipes hang on their hips. They cut their hair with harvest sickles – and they can do yours too!
Get a knife-blade haircut. Hear music you have never heard from instruments you have never seen – plus they jig while they play. Get loose, move with their groove! Get married in a mock Miao marriage ceremony (a male participant will be selected from among the people present). Watch what they call the “wooden bull fight” – you’ve played tug of war? Well this is “push of war”.
Check-in at Zhaoxing Dong Stockade.
Later in the day, peel away from the action at Basha. Of China’s ancient towns and villages there’s 6 that are prettier than the rest – the Zhaoxing Dong minority Stockade is one. This is our next destination.
Stay the night.
Rice hamburger breakfast. Tang Xing Old Road hinterlands trail hike. Lunch. Xijiang Qianhu Miao Stockade. Miao minority nation cultural performance. Guesthouse B&B check-in. Miao Homestead Feast. Famous village nightscape lights.
Rice hamburger breakfast. Tang Xing Old Road hinterlands trail hike. Lunch.
Day three - the sun rises on the Zhaoxing Dong Stockade.
Breakfast is traditional Dong recipe Rice Hamburgers. Eat, then head out to explore the hills.
The ancient stockade village stretches long and thin, puzzled together on, in and along mountains over a sprawling landscape of rice paddy terraces. The Tang Xing Old Road trail is the best way to see it all and fall in love with the land. This is our hiking route.
Enjoy lunch, then depart for Xijiang Qianhu Miao Stockade.
Xijiang Qianhu Miao Stockade. Miao minority nation cultural performance. Famous village nightscape lights.
Arrive. Here the local custom is to greet guests with alcohol – 12 cups* in total, see if you can surrender yourself to the experience and blend into the festive, honest atmosphere. Experience minority song and dance in the village performance.
*Note: the alcohol varies in strength, up to around 22%. The first cup is generally the biggest, with others contain as little as a mouthful. If you feel comfortable giving in to the experience feel free to enjoy the tradition. If you would prefer to limit your consumption, ask your guide about the politest and most culturally appropriate way to refuse.
In the evening, step up onto the observation deck above the city. See the wooden-house amphitheater of the mountain-nested village light up with fiery glow of its ‘thousand homes’.
Guesthouse B&B check-in. Miao Homestead Feast.
Check in at a Miao guesthouse, then head out for dinner.
Dinner is a Miao Homestead Feast. Try the local ‘Biang Dang’ rice wine, enjoy an evening of Miao ethnic hospitality.
Breakfast. Danzhai morning village walk. Zimei ethnic ‘Valentines’ festival day. Zhenyuan Old Town Check-in.
Breakfast. Danzhai morning village walk.
Morning in the Miao stockade, Day 06. Festival airs are rising!
Get up, breathe the fresh, early morning air, watch the smoke rise from chimneys of the thousand wooden homes of the village – this is Danzhai at its most beautiful, so maybe take a walk through the sunny village alleys and peek around as the household prepare for the festivities.
Zimei ethnic ‘Valentines’ festival day.
After breakfast head down to the open village square by the banks of the Tai River. It’s time to experience the authentic ancient oriental Valentines festival, a Miao tribe tradition they call Zimei Festival. In their alley house, sisters prepare Zimei rice, adorn themselves with a full head and body of silver jeweled accessories, then walk together arm-in-arm to gather by the river, across from the boys. Song, activity, flirting and romance ensues.
Zhenyuan Old Town Check-in. Zhenyuan night scenery.
Slip away from the festival. Board the coach hit the road again. We’re bound for Zhenyuan Old Town.
Arrive early in the evening. Check in, get settled.
Experience the other-worldly night atmosphere of the Zhenyuan Old Town. Step out into the evening air, under a starry sky, with the shadows of mountains crouching around the village. The illumination here creates a dream-like atmosphere.
Zhenyuan Old Town morning walk. Breakfast. Shiping ‘Stonescreen’ mountain hike. Return to Guiyang.
Zhenyuan Old Town morning walk.
Day 06 – our last day together.
Lazybugs can sleep in, earlybirds bust out and search for ethnic snacks. There’s a street called ‘Waimen Xiedao’ where you can find some of the best local delicacies in the region. Walk on the riverbanks, to the classic Chinese arch bridge of Zhushengqiao.
Breakfast. Shiping ‘Stonescreen’ mountain hike.
After breakfast we take the group out on a trail that only the locals know about. Hike Shiping ‘Stonescreen’ mountain, look down on Zhenyuan and get a full panorama of the stockade and surrounds. There’s a secret Easter egg hidden in the shape of the town when viewed form up high – see what you can see!
Return to Guiyang.
Return to Guiyang in the afternoon.
This concludes the tour.
We recommend that people book plain and rail tickets for return flights departing after 16:00.
Until we meet again, it was nice to have adventured with you.