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How to Plan a Trip to Guizhou: Guizhou Trip Planner Guide

Looking to explore the spectacular karst landscapes, charming waterfalls, and diverse ethnic culture in Guizhou? Our step-by-step guide on how to plan a trip to Guizhou will help you make the most of your time in this mountainous land.

Guizhou is an inland province nestled in the southwestern plateau and mountainous region of China. The karst processes in this region have endowed it with spectacular karst landscapes. Huangguoshu Waterfall, Malinghe River Canyon, Small Seven-Hole Scenic Area, and Wanfenglin are some of the remarkable ones.

Inhabited in the mountainous areas of Guizhou are various minority ethnic groups. Relying on the diverse climate, terrains, and rich natural resources, many of the ethnic groups have lived here for thousands of years and formed their unique culture, lifestyle, attire, and traditional festivals. Some of the top ethnic groups you may encounter here include Miao, Buyi, Dong, Yi, Yao, Qiang, Tujia, etc.

Like any tourist destinations, planning a trip to Guizhou can bring up many logistical questions, such as what to do, when to go, how to get to, where to stay overnight, how long to plan, etc. The purpose of our Guizhou Travel Guide is to answer these frequently asked questions.

Huangguoshu Waterfall Guizhou
Huangguoshu Waterfall

Guizhou Weather & Best Time to Visit

Guizhou enjoys a subtropical humid monsoon climate, seeing distinct seasons, with neither too harsh winters nor too hot summers. The mild climate makes most areas here are suitable for visiting all year round.

Generally, the best time to visit Guizhou falls in March to October when pleasant climates prevail across this region, it becomes agreeable for outdoor and cultural activities in most areas.

Annually, the average temperature in most areas of the province hovers around 14 to 16°C. July is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 22-25°C. January is usually the coldest month, undergoing an average temperature of 4 to 6°C.

Due to the year-round abundant rainfall and the low sunlight exposure in this region, you may experience moist and humid conditions when traveling to Guizhou. In most areas, the average annual precipitation ranges from 1100-1300 mm. May to October is the time seeing 80% of rainfall in a year, making it the great time to visit Huangguoshu Waterfall, when the abundant water flow adds to its majestic grandeur.

Clothing Tips for A Trip to Guizhou

  • Spring (March – May): Long-sleeved T-shirts, sweaters, cotton or woolen layers, a windbreaker, or light down jacket.
  • Summer (June – August): Short-sleeved T-shirts, shorts, or skirts, a lightweight long-sleeve shirt or sun protection layer, a thin sweater, or a light jacket.
  • Autumn (September – November): Long-sleeved T-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, jeans, long skirts, a thicker jacket, and a lightweight down jacket.
  • Winter (December to February): Insulating base layers, sweaters, down jackets or padded coats, hats, gloves, and scarves.

Top Cities/Regions to Visit in Guizhou

  • Guiyang: The capital city of Guizhou, and its gateway city which is most tourists’ first stop in Guizhou. Known for its refreshing climate and delicious cuisine. Qingyan Ancient Town and Jiaxiu Tower are some of its top attractions.
  • Kaili: Home to various ethnic villages, including Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village, Matang Gejia Village, Langde Miao Village, etc.
  • Anshun: Besides its first highlight Huangguoshu Waterfall, Anshun also impresses visitors with its underground Dragon Palace Cave and Tianlong Tunpu Fort.
  • Xingyi: Located in southwestern Guizhou, Xingyi is known for its natural karst wonders: Wanfenglin and Malinghe Canyon. Consider escaping the summer heat here thanks to its serene surroundings and agreeable climate.
  • Tongren: Home to the Natural World Heritage site of Fanjing Mountain.  Moreover, it has no shortage of ethnic culture and historical relics. Local cuisine is also worth a try.
  • Congjiang: Located in the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Congjiang County stands out for its blend of ethnic cultures and pristine natural scenery. Known for Basha Miao Village, Jiabang Rice Terraces, and the nationally protected Drum Tower.
  • Libo: Located in Qiannan Prefecture, it is known for the Big and Small Seven-hole Scenic Areas, featuring emerald-green waters and bizarre peaks and rocks.

Best Guizhou Tours:

Top Natural Attractions in Guizhou

Huangguoshu Waterfall

The largest waterfall in Aisa, and the third largest in the world, Huangguoshu Waterfall is impressive for its majestic scale of 77.8 meters high and 101 meters wide. It boasts an expansive curtain of water and dramatic drop.

There is a Water Curtain Cave hidden behind the waterfall, allowing a rare chance to get up close to the waterfall and appreciate it from the back. This makes the waterfall the only one in the world that can be admired from six different directions: front, back, top, bottom, and both sides.

Small Seven-hole Scenic Area

A representative of Guizhou’s karst landscapes, the Small Seven-hole Scenic Area is a natural marvel of karst mountains, clear rivers, lush forests, magnificent caves, mirror-like lakes, and cascading waterfalls.

The elegant Seven-arch Stone Bridge, constructed from greenish-blue stones, is the top highlight in the scenic area, spanning 40 meters long across the Xiangshui River. Its construction dates back to 1835 in the Qing Dynasty.

Beyond that, the scenic area is blessed with 21 other natural wonders, including Laya Waterfall, Level-68 Waterfall, Rock Forest, Tianzhong Cave, Mandarin Duck Lake, etc.

Fanjing Mountain

Fanjing Mountain is the main peak of the Wuling Mountains, with an elevation of 2572 meters. This famous Buddhist Mountain dates back to the Spring and Autumn period, with Buddhism flourishing here during the Tang Dynasty. That’s why it is endowed with many ancient Buddhist temples.

The mountain also impresses visitors with its spectacular natural landscapes. Hongyun Golden Summit is the most iconic one, which looks like a colossal stone pillar piercing the sky. What makes it more remarkable is the massive crevice in the middle of the peak, splitting the mountain summit in two. Other natural wonders include the Mushroom Stone and the Ten Thousand Scrolls of Scripture.

Besides its cultural and natural highlights, Fanjing Mountain is also a World Natural Heritage Site, preserving ancient and rare species dating back millions of years. It is the only place where the rare Guizhou golden snub-nosed monkeys are inhabited.

Chishui Danxia Landform

Located on the southern edge of the Sichuan Basin, Chishui Danxia in Chishui City is renowned as one of China’s most beautiful Danxia Landforms by National Geographic China. It features various typical Danxia formations, like cliffs, mesas, stone columns, grooves, etc. A visit here will reward you with diverse stunning landscapes of mountains, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, valleys, and rare flora and fauna.

Wanfenglin ( Forest of Ten Thousands Peaks)

 

Another stunning karst landscape in Guizhou, Wanfenglin Scenic Area in Xingyi boasts a cluster of about 20,000 independent peak formations in different shapes. It was hailed as the “Cone-shaped Karst Museum in China” given its various peak shapes and vast area (which accounts for over two-thirds of Xingyi’s land). Based on the shapes of the peak formations, the entire scenic area was divided into different peak forest types, including Arrayed Peaks, Sword Peaks, Dragon Peaks, Arhat Peaks, and Overlapping Hat Peaks.

The East Peak Forest section features the harmonious interplay of peaks and rice fields, while in the West section, visitors can enjoy a labyrinth of peak clusters intertwined with captivating water systems. Currently, the West Peak Forest is the main section open to the public.

Malinghe River Canyon

Stretching about 74.8 kilometers long, the Maling River Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by orogenic movements. It is about 50-150 meters in width and 120-280 meters in depth. As a spectacular example of multi-level karst landform, the canyon boasts over 100 waterfalls cascading in abundance.

Since river water here is rich in calcium carbonate, unique calcified wall hangings and tufa pools were created alongside the waterfalsl. These colorful and varied calcified landscapes is rare to see elsewhere.

Also, thanks to its many beaches, rapid waters, and winding course, the Maling River has a title of “the best rafting in the Southwest”.

Top Cultural Attractions in Guizhou

Many Minority Villages in Guizhou

The ethnic minority population of Guizhou ranks fourth in China. Scattered across the mountainous areas of Guizhou are numerous ethnic villages, each of which maintianed their own traditional lifestyles and intangible cultural heritage. Visiting the ethnic villages in Guizhou will offer you a glimpse into the diverse and authentic ethnic cultures in Guizhou.

  • Matang Gejia Village: The 400-500 residents in the village identify themselves as “Gejia People”, who are still not officially recognized among the 56 ethnic groups in China. They are actually a branch of the Miao ethnic group, known for their exquisite batik skills. Here, visitors will get a chance to learn to make batik and embroidery and be welcomed by their rich cultural performances.
  • Kongbai Miao Village: Home of Chinese Silver Ornament Artistry, Kongbai Miao Village is known for its exceptional skills in exquisite silver ornament making.
  • Shiqiao Miao Village: Famous for its millennia-old traditional paper-making skill, which uses tree bark, fir roots, and clear spring water to hand-make paper. Visitors can visit a paper-making workshop here to learn the whole process and try making paper under the guidance of a local master.
  • Zhaoxing Dong Village: This village is renowned for its unparalleled drum tower numbers (recognized by the Guinness World Records), and other distinctive Dong ethnic structures, including flower bridges and stilted buildings. Their Grand Dong Song, Cicada Song, and Stomp Hall Song are also impressive.

Qingyan Ancient Town

This historic town once served as a military fortress in the Ming Dynasty. It gradually transforms into a prosperous trading town in the following 600 years. Today, Qingyan Ancient Town is a popular cultural and historical site in Guizhou, offering rich stone and wooden architecture in the Ming and Qing Dynasties styles. As a cultural crossroads for several local minority groups, the town will also entertain you with a wealth of ethnic handicrafts, traditional attire, cultural celebrations, and authentic Guizhou cuisine.

Read on: Get more Top Things to Do in Guizhou.

How to Get to and Travel Around Guizhou

How to Get to Guizhou

By Air:

Guizhou has a number of tourist destinations that offer different charms and experiences. It has 11 airports, including Guiyang, Anshun, Tongren, Qiandongnan, Xingyi, Zongyi, etc., making attractions in and around these cities easily accessible from other major cities in China.

Guiyang is the capital city where most tourists start their Guizhou tour. Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Guizhou, serving frequent flights to/from most domestic cities and international flights to/from Singapore, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Koh Samui in Thailand.

Depending on your chosen destinations and preferred attractions, you can also fly to Guizhou from Tongren Fenghuang Airport, Anshun Huangguoshu Airport, Xingyi Wanfenglin Airport, etc.

By High-speed Trains:

You can also consider reaching Guizhou by high-speed train, though it is not as convenient and fast as traveling by air.

The comprehensive high-speed rail network can connect Guizhou with most cities in China, and also make it convenient for traveling around the province.

The main high-speed train stations in Guizhou include Guiyang North Station, Guiyang East Station, Anshun West Station, Zunyi Station, Liupanshui Station, Tongren South Station, Kaili South Station, etc.

How to Travel Around Guizhou

  • By air: From Guiyang, you can fly to some major cities in Guizhou, like Zunyi, Tongren, Anshun, and Southeast Guizhou. But, typically, flights are not the first choice given their higher prices, limited flight numbers, and longer travel time (considering airport security checks, check-in, waiting, etc.)
  • High-speed trains: The fastest and most comfortable option to transfer between cities like Guiyang, Anshun, Kaili, Duyun, Tongren, Libo, and Xingyi.
  • Long-distance buses: To reach remote areas such as Congjiang and Rongjiang that are not yet connected by high-speed trains.
  • Direct shuttle bus or tourist buses: Allow visitors to reach some popular attractions or scenic areas directly from the city bus station or train station.

Important Festivals and Celebrations in Guizhou

For your reference, below are some of the main ethnic festivals and celebrations in Guizhou. You can plan your Guizhou travel accordingly if you want to experience the vibrant and colorful festive atmosphere in Guizhou.

Festival Name

Date (Lunar Calendar) Places to Experience

Festival Highlights

Miao New Year 1st to 15th of the Tenth Month Southeast Guizhou Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, etc. Ancestor worship, long table feast, lusheng dance, bullfighting, horse racing, roaming, etc.
Dong New Year 1st to 5th of the Eleventh Month Dong-inhabited areas in Southeast Guizhou, such as Liping, Congjiang, Rongjiang, etc. Dong New Year, singing in drum towers, Dong opera performances, Dong family hundred-dish banquet, song hall stepping, etc.
Miao Sisters’ Festival 8th of the Fourth Month (some areas on the 15th of the Third Month or 25th of the Fifth Month) Taijiang County, Shidong, Gedong, etc. in Southeast Guizhou Miao youth exchange gifts, sing duets, display embroidery skills, also known as “Oriental Valentine’s Day”
Dong Sama Festival March or September (dates vary by location) Dong-inhabited areas in Southeast Guizhou, such as Rongjiang, Liping, Congjiang, etc. Worship of the Dong goddess Sama, grand song gatherings, lusheng dance, duoye dance, etc.
Miao Jumping Flower Festival 15th to 17th of the First Month Miao-inhabited areas in Southwest and South Guizhou Miao youth lusheng dance, singing duets, bullfighting, horse racing, displaying silver ornaments, etc.
Yao Panwang Festival 1st of the Eleventh Month Yao-inhabited areas in South and Southeast Guizhou Worship of the Yao ancestor Panwang, Panwang grand song performance, Yao long drum dance, deity procession, etc.
Tujia Hand-Waving Dance Festival Around the Winter Solstice Tujia-inhabited areas in Southeast Guizhou, Tongren, Zunyi, etc. Singing and dancing, showcasing Tujia hand-waving dance, Maogusi dance, and other traditional dances

Top Recommended Guizhou Food

Not only is Guizhou magical, Guizhou food is also worth a try. Guizhou cuisine is characterized by sour and spicy flavors, and rich cultural influences of diverse ethnic groups. Many of Guizhou dishes rely on local ingredients, making it difficult to be found outside the province. Below are some Guizhou foods that are recommended to try when travel to Guizhou.

  • Sour Soup Fish: One of the most representative dishes of Guizhou, it boasts a tangy and spicy flavor. Prepared by cooking local fresh grass carp or longsnout catfish and a variety of vegetables with sour soup made from fermented wild tomatoes and pickled chili peppers.
  • Spicy Chicken: Also a spicy flavored dish that is particularly popular in Guiyang. The chicken used in Guiyang Spicy Chicken is local high-quality free-range chicken, fried with Guizhou’s unique “Ciba chili”, ginger, and garlic. This gives the dish a unique spicy flavor.
  • Si Wa Wa: Si Wa Wa is a simple Guiyang snack that looks like a swaddled infant. It has a thin and elastic skin made from flour, and is filled with over 10 types of julienned vegetables, and served with a special sauce.
Guizhou Food Siwawa
Guizhou Food Siwawa

How Many Days to Spend in Guizhou?

We recommend covering the highlighted natural beauties, ethnic cultures, and cultural heritages when planning a trip to Guizhou. The exact duration of your Guizhou trip depends on the travel style you like.

If with limited time, you can experience some of its highlights like ethnic villages, Huangguoshu Waterfall, and Fanjingshan in just a few days. Typically, the ideal timeframe is about 5-10 days to immerse yourself into its highlights at a relatively leisure pace. See below the suggested time and itinerary for different destinations in Guizhou.

Guiyang: 1-2 days

Spend half a day for arrival by flight or train. The rest time is for you to rest and explore its landmarks like Jiaxiu Tower, Qianling Mountain Park, and the nearby Qingyan Ancient Town.

Anshun: 1-2 days

Enjoy your time in the Huangguoshu Waterfall Scenic Area, and head to the Longgong Palace to marvel at the underground caves and Tianlong Tunpu to experience ancient Han Chinese culture.

You can arrange these three attractions in one day. Or, thoroughly explore the grand Huangguoshu Waterfall, Doupotang Waterfall, and Tianxingqiao Scenic Area in one day. And visit the underground Longgong Palce Cave and Tianlong Tunpu Village the other day.

Qiandongnan: 2-4 days

It is where the many ethnic villages and Zhenyuan Ancient Town are located.

We suggest to spend 1 day in Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village, 1 day in Langde Miao Village or other nearby Miao Villages. If you have the flexibility, you can also spend 1 day to visit Zhaoxing Dong Village or other Dong villages, and 1 another day at Zhenyuan Ancient Town.

Fanjing Mountain: 1 day

Explore the rich Buddhist culture, ancient temples, and iconic sites like Mushroom Stone, and Hongyun Golden Summit by either hiking or cable car.

Libo: 1 day

Spend one day in the Small Seven-hole Scenic Area.

Xingyi: 1 day

You can appreciate the karst peak forest in the Wanfenglin Scenic Area, enjoy hiking in the Maling River Canyon, and admire the waterfall clusters.

Recommended Guizhou Tour Packages:

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