Guizhou is a beautiful and relatively unknown province of China. Let’s go and explore it.
Your typical entry point is Guiyang. No reason to stay there or to visit the central square with its unique flame, ode to to something you don’t really understand.
There is a little old modern Chinese charm, for people used to China: a few old “new” buildings, crumbling in the middle of the arrogant new towers and surrounded by a luxuriant vegetation, give Guiyang here and there a lost town allure, but that’s an acquired taste.
Guiyang is a good stop after the flight, before exploring Guizhou. There is a large choice of comfortable hotels at reasonable price, the Pullman is a very good deal (you also have the classics like the Sheraton etc.) and you will have a good western breakfast, probably the last before a few days.
The first pleasant thing when you leave Guiyang is that just 15mn away from the city, you’re in the middle of nature: a lot of small hills, you already feel far away from Beijing and Shanghai. You progress towards the valley, and you see your first village: Xiangzhigou.
There must be tourists sometimes, there are a few signposts but we were the only ones: you can see the typical Buyi house with their white walls and their timbered architecture (“colombage”) with the green scenery around, you feel a bit like in Normandy.
A bit further, we saw on the right another valley, which seems quite nice but for another time.
We went to Nanjiang He gorges. At first it seems awfully touristic: a big reception, a little train between the reception and the park itself. And probably it can be borderline sometimes. But it was the end of the day, there was no one besides us, and the scenery is quite impressive: it’s worth a tour, just choose the right timing.
We finished our day at Shuitouzhai, another Buyi village. A great location, with the Qinglong river running through the village. It’s slightly touristic and we were on the middle of an official visiting the village with his court.
It’s still worth going there, the village is really pleasant and there are not so many people, even better is to spend the night, when everyone is gone. However I would avoid the village during Chinese holidays and maybe during week ends.
If you cross the river, you can walk for a long time, it makes for a very pleasant and easy hiking, going through the paddy fields.
We slept in a guesthouse in Shuitouzhai, the Indigo Lodge: you’re at the border of the village, just in front of the river, it’s really charming, especially when you wake up.
Most of the time it’s a hot region, however in november, the nights are colder and the rooms are not heated: bring hot pajamas… I would recommend the “honeymoon” room, surrounded by glass windows, just on the edge of the river.
We had dinner in the small modern village just before Shuitouzhai. We heard some music and we saw someone dancing to some cheap techno music. It was clearly the attraction of that day. Finally we understood it was a truck selling merchandise but there was a bit of a cheap dance show to entertain the town, then they were selling miracles sweeper and other articles. A bit like the moving seller we we had in our countryside not so long ago. With a dance show twist…