This 9-day itinerary will take you to the southwestern region of China, where you will discover the natural wonders, the historical sites, and the ethnic cultures of Guiyang, Kaili, Congjiang, Zhaoxing, Longji, Guilin, and Yangshuo.
You will marvel at the Huangguoshu Waterfall, the largest waterfall in Asia and the third largest one in the world; explore the ancient Qingyan Old Town, a well-preserved historical and cultural town; visit the colorful and authentic ethnic minority villages of Miao, Dong, Gejia, Zhuang, and Yao people; hike along the breathtaking Longji Rice Terraces; cruise along the Li River, the world’s largest and most beautiful karst scenic area; and enjoy the picturesque karst landscape and countryside scenery of Yangshuo.
Diverse optional in-depth culture experience also await, such as making batik, flower paper, and embroidery in the ethnic villages.
2. Experience the rich and diverse ethnic culture of Guizhou, and visit the colorful and authentic villages of Miao, Dong, Gejia, Zhuang, and Yao people. Enjoy their folk performances, handicrafts, and optional activities, such as making batik, flower paper, and embroidery.
3. Hike along the breathtaking Longji Rice Terraces, also known as the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, and enjoy the stunning views of the rice terraces and the mountains. Visit the Huangluo Yao Village, famous for its women’s long hair.
4. Cruise along the Li River, the world’s largest and most beautiful karst scenic area, and marvel at the clear water, the green hills, the ancient villages, and the fishermen with their cormorants.
5. Immerse yourself in the picturesque karst landscape and countryside scenery of Yangshuo.
- Day 1: Arrival in Guiyang
Welcome to Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou Province and a prominent tourist destination in southwestern China. Upon your arrival at Guiyang airport or train station, your local guide and driver will warmly welcome you and accompany you to your hotel for check-in.
The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore the city at your own pace. Consider visiting Guiyang's renowned attractions like Jiaxiu Tower, Qianling Park, Hongfu Temple, or sampling local snacks at Hequn Road.
- Day 2: Guiyang - Huangguoshu - Qingyan Old Town (B, L)Huangguoshu Waterfall, Doupotang, Tianxingqiao
Following breakfast, embark on a scenic 2-hour drive to Anshun. Here, you'll visit the breathtaking Huangguoshu Waterfall, the largest in Asia and the third-largest globally. Marvel at the impressive sight of water cascading 77.8 meters down and spanning 101 meters in width, accompanied by a thunderous roar and misty spray. Explore the Water Curtain Cave behind the waterfall for a unique perspective.
After lunch, venture to two more picturesque spots near Huangguoshu Waterfall: Doupotang Scenic Area and Tianxingqiao Scenic Area. Doupotang features a wide and shallow waterfall in contrast to Huangguoshu's narrow and deep structure. Tianxingqiao is a natural wonderland boasting karst formations, stone forests, caves, and streams. Revel in the beauty and diversity of these landscapes.
After the visit, head to your hotel near Qingyan Ancient Town for check-in.
Accommodation: Near Qingyan Old Town
- Day 3: Qingyan Old Town - Kaili (B, L)Qingyan Ancient Town, Matang Gejia Village, Gejia Cultural Museum
After breakfast, follow your guide to visit Qingyan Ancient Town, a renowned historical and cultural town in Guizhou. Built in 1378 as a military fortress during the Ming Dynasty, Qingyan Old Town preserves its architectural charm and houses numerous cultural relics, including temples, pavilions, archways, and stone carvings. Stroll through the ancient streets, admire the exquisite buildings, and immerse yourself in the local customs and traditions.
After Qingyan Ancient Town, depart for Kaili, the capital city of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. Along the way, make a stop at Matang Gejia Village, a hidden gem showcasing the vibrant culture of the Gejia ethnic minority group. The Gejia people are renowned for their colorful clothing, intricate embroidery, and unique history. Visit the Gejia Cultural Museum to learn about their origin, beliefs, festivals, and traditions. Witness the mesmerizing batik art, a wax-resist dyeing technique creating stunning patterns and designs. Optionally, participate in a hands-on batik-making activity with a local master (additional payment required).
After the visit, continue your journey to Kaili, where you will spend the night.
Kaili serves as the gateway to exploring the rich and diverse ethnic culture of Guizhou, home to over 30 minority groups, including Miao, Dong, Shui, and Yao. Anticipate discovering more of their fascinating customs and lifestyles in the upcoming days.
- Day 4: Kaili - Congjiang by Driving (B, L)Langde Upper Miao Village, Shiqiao Village, Gaoyao Rice Terraces
After a delightful breakfast, your day begins with a visit to Langde Upper Miao Village, an enclave that preserves the ancient culture and customs of the Miao ethnic minority. Experience a warm welcome ceremony featuring wine and music, and immerse yourself in the singing and dancing performance at the Lusheng Ground, where the Miao people play their reed-pipe instruments and celebrate festivals.
Optional activities in Langde Upper Miao Village: For those interested in the rural life of the Miao people, there's an opportunity to join activities like fishing in the field, picking fresh vegetables on the farm, and learning embroidery. Explore their unique dress code, architecture, and beliefs.
In the afternoon, continue your scenic drive to Congjiang, a county in the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. En route, make a stop at Shiqiao Village, where the Miao people have practiced paper-making from tree bark for over a millennium. Witness the traditional paper-making process, involving soaking, steaming, pounding, and drying the bark, used for various purposes such as writing, painting, lantern making, and wrapping.
Optional activity in Shiqiao Village: If interested, participate in a workshop to learn the art of making Flower Paper, a special paper dyed with natural colors and adorned with flower petals, leaves, and grass—an exquisite and eco-friendly souvenir.
Next, pause at a Viewing Platform to take in the panoramic splendor of Gaoyao Rice Terraces, among the most spectacular terraced fields in China. Carved along the mountain slopes, the rice terraces create a stunning contrast of green and brown, showcasing the harmony between nature and human effort.
After this exploration, your guide will assist with the hotel check-in upon arrival in Congjiang.
Accommodation: in Congjiang
- Day 5: Congjiang - Zhaoxing (B, L)Basha Miao Village, Huanggang Dong Village, Zhaoxing Dong Village
Commence the day with a visit to Basha Miao Village, a remote and primitive village housing the last gunmen tribe in China. Observe the Basha people in their traditional costumes, wooden houses, and ancient rituals. Witness men carrying hunting rifles and knives, and women adorned with elaborate silver ornaments and embroidery. Enjoy a local folk performance showcasing their unique skills and culture.
Proceed to Huanggang Dong Village, one of the most authentic and well-preserved Dong villages in China. Marvel at the Dong people's wooden architecture, drum towers, wind and rain bridges, traditional stilt houses, waterwheels, and fish ponds. Gain insights into Dong lifestyle, customs, and beliefs, including their reverence for trees and ancestors.
Continue the journey to Zhaoxing Dong Village, the largest and most renowned Dong village in China. Explore the village's five drum towers, each representing a different clan, and enjoy a panoramic view from the viewing platform. Visit the Zhaoxing Dong Culture Museum to delve into the Dong people's history, culture, and art. In the afternoon, witness the Grand Song of the Dong People, a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage featuring the Dong people's unique polyphonic singing style.
Accommodation: in Zhaoxing
- Day 6: Zhaoxing - Longji Rice Terraces (B, L)Longji Rice Terraces, Huangluo Yao Village, Pingan Zhuang Village
Embark on a morning drive from Zhaoxing to Longji Rice Terraces, among China's most scenic and impressive terraced fields. Covering over 66 square kilometers and ranging from 300 to 1100 meters in altitude, the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces were crafted over centuries by the Zhuang and Yao ethnic minorities, who continue to cultivate and harvest rice by hand.
During the journey, visit Huangluo Yao Village, known for its picturesque setting and the unique tradition of Yao women keeping their hair long, cutting it only once in a lifetime. Witness how they wash, comb, and braid their hair, and enjoy their singing and dancing performances.
Continue the drive to Pingan Zhuang Village, where you'll check in at a hotel near the rice terraces. Pingan, one of the oldest and most popular villages in the Longji area, offers a splendid view of the terraces.
After a brief rest, explore the breathtaking rice terrace views, hiking on cobbled paths among the terraces to experience the best landscapes. Climb up to Seven Stars with Moon and Nine Dragons and Five Tigers, two famous viewing spots providing stunning vistas of the terraces and mountains. Observe local Zhuang people at work in the fields, adorned in colorful costumes and carrying bamboo baskets.
Return to your hotel after the hike.
Accommodation: Pingan Village
- Day 7: Longji Rice Terrace - Guilin (B, L)sunrise over the Longji Rice Terraces, hike from Ping’an to Zhongliu and Dazhai
Begin your morning with a breathtaking sunrise over the enchanting Longji Rice Terraces. The ideal location for this spectacle is West Hill Music (西山韶乐), the highest point in the Jinkeng Rice Terraces. A roughly one-and-a-half-hour hike northeast from Ping’an Village will lead you to this vantage point. After witnessing the sunrise, return to the hotel for a hearty breakfast.
After breakfast, embark on an immersive hiking experience from Ping’an to Zhongliu and Dazhai, considered one of the most popular and challenging trails in Longji, suitable for strong and experienced hikers. The approximately 5-6 hour trek takes you through scenic spots like Seven Stars around the Moon (七星伴月), Nine Dragons and Five Tigers (九龙五虎), Thousand-Layer Terraces (千层天梯), and Golden Buddha Peak (金佛顶). Along the way, encounter local ethnic minority villages inhabited by Zhuang and Yao people, offering insights into their rich culture and customs.
Following the hike, drive to Guilin, where the rest of the day is at your leisure. Explore the city at your own pace or relax in your hotel.
Accommodation: in Guilin
- Day 8: Guilin - Li River Cruise - Yangshuo (B, L)Li River Cruise, Yangshuo Town, West Street
After breakfast, head to Mopanshan Pier for a Li River Cruise to Yangshuo Town. The Li River is renowned for its status as the world’s largest and most beautiful karst scenic area, and the cruise offers an ideal way to appreciate its stunning landscapes. Enjoy clear waters, verdant hills, ancient villages, and fishermen with their cormorants during the 4-4.5 hour cruise, which includes lunch.
Upon disembarking in Yangshuo Town, check into your hotel. Immerse yourself in the charming town surrounded by karst peaks and bordered by the Li River. After a brief rest, engage in activities (optional, extra payment needed) such as cycling, hiking, bamboo rafting, rock climbing, kayaking, or cooking classes amid the picturesque karst landscape. Visit natural attractions like the Yulong River, Moon Hill, Big Banyan Tree, and Silver Cave.
In the evening, take a leisurely walk along the ancient West Street, the oldest street in Yangshuo with a history of over 1,400 years. Explore shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, and cultural activities. Taste local and international cuisine, purchase souvenirs, watch street performances, or learn some Chinese words from locals.
Optional evening idea: Experience the spectacular Impression Liu Sanjie, a unique outdoor night show directed by filmmaker Zhang Yimou. Staged on the Li River, it features hundreds of performers, colorful lights, folk songs, and ethnic dances—a truly unforgettable experience.
Accommodation: in Yangshuo
- Day 9: Yangshuo - Guilin Departure (B, L)Yulong River
After breakfast, relish the countryside scenery and karst landscape along the Yulong River, also known as the “Little Li River.” Enjoy bamboo rafting, cycling, hiking, or photography as you observe pastoral scenery, water buffaloes, farmers, and ancient bridges along the river. Choose your preferred method of exploration, including biking, hiking, bamboo rafting, or scooter rides, and communicate your preference when booking the tour.
After a peaceful time by the Yulong River, drive to Guilin airport or train station for your flight or train to the next destination.