Nestled in the southwestern part of China lies the captivating province of Guizhou. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and diverse ethnic groups, Guizhou offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path travel experience. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking to immerse yourself in the local culture, Guizhou has something for everyone. Here are the top things to do in Guizhou.
1. Visit the Huangguoshu Waterfall
Exploring the Waterfall
One of the most iconic attractions in Guizhou is the Huangguoshu Waterfall, the largest waterfall in China and one of the largest in Asia. This spectacular waterfall is 77.8 meters high and 101 meters wide, creating a breathtaking sight as the water crashes down into the Rhinoceros Pool below. The best time to visit is during the rainy season when the waterfall is at its most impressive.
Besides the waterfall, the Huangguoshu Scenic Area also offers a variety of attractions, including the Doupotang Waterfall, the Tianxingqiao Scenic Area, and the Stone Village, where you can explore karst formations and caves.
2. Marvel at the Dragon Palace Cave
The Formation of the Cave
The Dragon Palace Cave, also known as Longgong Cave, is a stunning underground karst cave system in Anshun City. Formed over millions of years, the cave system extends for more than 60 kilometers and consists of countless chambers, underground rivers, and limestone formations.
Highlights of the Dragon Palace
Visitors can take a boat ride through the caves, passing by illuminated stalactites and stalagmites that create a surreal, otherworldly atmosphere. Don’t miss the Dragon Palace itself, a massive chamber with a clear, deep pool believed to be the residence of the mythical Dragon King.
3. Explore the Miao and Dong Villages
Traditional Culture and Lifestyle
Guizhou is home to many Miao and Dong ethnic minority villages, where you can witness their unique customs, traditional architecture, and intricate handicrafts. These villages offer a fascinating insight into the daily lives of the people and their centuries-old traditions.
Visiting and Participating
When visiting the Miao and Dong villages, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in traditional activities such as attending local festivals, watching folk performances, and learning about their handicrafts, like batik and embroidery. Some of the most famous villages are Xijiang Miao Village and Zhaoxing Dong Village.
4. Experience the Fanjing Mountain
Fanjing Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a sacred Buddhist mountain and a must-visit destination for nature lovers. The mountain offers a challenging yet rewarding hike to its two peaks, the Old Golden Summit and the New Golden Summit. Along the way, you’ll encounter ancient temples and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Unique Flora and Fauna
As you ascend Fanjing Mountain, you’ll be immersed in its rich biodiversity, with a variety of unique plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. Keep an eye out for the rare Guizhou golden monkey and the Fanjingshan fir, two species native to the area.
5. Discover the Libo Zhangjiang Scenic Area
The Libo Zhangjiang Scenic Area, part of the larger South China Karst UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. This area boasts dense forests, clear rivers, stunning waterfalls, and unique karst landscape features, like the Seven Small Arches Bridge.
Activities and Attractions
Visitors to the Libo Zhangjiang Scenic Area can enjoy a variety of activities, such as hiking, boating, and exploring the many caves throughout the area. Don’t miss the picturesque Daqikong and Xiaoqikong Scenic Spots, which offer stunning views of the karst landscape and vibrant turquoise waters.
6. Wander around Qingyan Ancient Town
A Glimpse into the Past
Qingyan Ancient Town, situated in Guiyang City, is a well-preserved ancient town with a history dating back more than 600 years. With its narrow cobblestone streets and traditional architecture, Qingyan offers a glimpse into China’s rich past and a chance to experience the local culture.
Things to Do and See
Some highlights of Qingyan Ancient Town include the ancient city walls, the Ciyun Temple, and the Longevity Palace. Don’t forget to try the local delicacies, such as rose candy and roasted tofu, while strolling through the bustling streets and markets.
7. Observe the Jiaxiu Tower
The Symbol of Guiyang
The Jiaxiu Tower, an iconic landmark in Guiyang City, is a beautiful three-story wooden pavilion that has become a symbol of the city. Built during the Ming Dynasty, the tower sits on a giant rock in the middle of the Nanming River and is connected to the banks by an elegant stone bridge.
History and Significance
The Jiaxiu Tower is not only an architectural marvel but also holds historical and cultural significance. It was initially constructed to encourage scholars to study hard and achieve academic success. Today, it houses a collection of calligraphy, paintings, and historical relics.
8. Visit the Guizhou Provincial Museum
Exhibits and Collections
The Guizhou Provincial Museum, located in Guiyang City, offers an extensive collection of cultural relics, natural specimens, and historical artifacts that showcase the province’s rich history and diverse culture. The museum is divided into several exhibition halls, including the Ethnography Hall, the Natural History Hall, and the Ancient Coins Hall.
Learning about Guizhou
A visit to the Guizhou Provincial Museum provides a comprehensive understanding of the region’s history, culture, and natural environment. Don’t miss the impressive display of Miao and Dong ethnic minority costumes, as well as the fascinating exhibit on the prehistoric fossils discovered in the province.
9. Stroll around the Xiaoqikong Scenic Area
The Xiaoqikong Scenic Area, also known as the Seven Small Arches Scenic Area, is a stunning natural wonder located in the Libo Zhangjiang Scenic Area. This beautiful location features cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, and lush forests, all connected by a series of small stone arch bridges.
Exploring the Area
Visitors to the Xiaoqikong Scenic Area can hike along the many trails, take a boat ride through the turquoise waters, or simply relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Highlights include the Laya Waterfall, the Ancient Bridge, and the Water Forest.
10. Enjoy Guizhou Cuisine
Guizhou is known for its spicy and sour flavors, making its cuisine a unique and delicious experience for food lovers. Some must-try dishes include Sour Fish Soup, Siwawa (Silk Dolls), and Lushui Tofu.
Where to Eat
Visitors can find local cuisine at a variety of restaurants and street vendors throughout Guizhou. In Anshun, the popular Huangguoshu Waterfall Night Market is a great place to try local snacks and street food. For a more formal dining experience, Shangshansi Restaurant in Guiyang is a popular choice, known for its traditional Guizhou dishes and elegant atmosphere. Other recommended restaurants include Hongpao Restaurant in Anshun and Yuchuan Restaurant in Zunyi.