Guizhou: An unexpected China experience

Living in a congested city can be boring and overwhelming. Instead of visiting big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, Guizhou Province is a perfect place for natural scenery and unique Chinese ethnic culture. Last summer, my family and I went to Guizhou and we were totally amazed by its charm.

Seven Small Arches (Xiaoqikong) Waterfall, which is located southwest of Libo County, is worthy of its inclusion as a world natural heritage site. (Image courtesy of Ruobing Su.)

Even though Guizhou is not as rich as many other provinces in China economically, tens of millions of tourists all over the world are attracted by its impressive natural scenery. We went to one of the most famous scenic spots, Huangguoshu Waterfall, the second day we got Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou. Located around 45 kilometers (28 miles) southwest from Anshun City, Huangguoshu Waterfall is one of the largest waterfalls in China and East Asia. The rain was pouring on the day when we visited the waterfall, which made the waterfall even more magnificent. It is 77.8 meters (255 feet) high and 101 meters (331 feet) wide and every visitor wore a raincoat because it impossible to not get soaked. It somehow reminds me of Niagara Falls. However, Huangguoshu Waterfall is surrounded by mountains, which makes it unique and impressive to enjoy the spectacular waterfall together with green forests at the same time.

We also visited Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village, which is located about 260 kilometers (162 miles) away from Guiyang.

Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village has the best preserved Miao culture, including Miao architecture, food, dances and music. (Image courtesy of Ruobing Su.)

The Miao people are one of the major ethnic groups in Guizhou, which comprises about 37 percent of the population of Guizhou, together with another ethnic group, the Yao. Being the largest gathering place of Miao in China and even the world, the Miao culture is best preserved in Xijiang Town. You can see Miao traditional wooden-stilted houses (Diaojiaolou) closely connected to each other on the mountains: the upper floors are held up by thick wooden stilts, which give the building an unsteady appearance. However, these houses prevent dampness from the mountain areas through good ventilation. In the evening, the Miao village is busy with great street food and cultural performances every day.

Groups of women dressed in traditional Miao costume welcome tourists to the village. (Image courtesy of Ruobing Su.)

The last stop of our trip was Zhenyuan Ancient Town, a town covering only 3.1 square kilometers but full of scenic spots including caves, pavilions and rivers. Apart from nature, Zhenyuan Town has been greatly immersed with modern culture in recent years. There are thousands of restaurants and bars along Wuyang River, the main river of the town. We went to a small pub for folk music. The pub owner served us personally with a variety of beers, and sang a few songs with her band, accompanied by drums, guitar and other musical instruments.

Authentic Guizhou cuisine featured in beef, tofu and shrimp from Wuyang River in Zhenyuan Ancient Town. (Image courtesy of Ruobing Su.)

Guizhou offers a unique Chinese cultural experience, with marvelous natural landscapes, great food and hospitable locals.

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