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Guizhou Ethnic Minorities:Miao, Dong, Bouyei, Shui Minorities

Guizhou is the home of many varieties of Miao, Dong, Shui, Bouyei and other ethnic minorities. Travelers could meet many of the ethnic groups in the three autonomous prefectures - Southeast Guizhou Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, South Guizhou Bouyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture and Southwest Guizhou Bouyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture.

Kaili and around, in Southeast Guizhou, becomes the top destination to explore the ethnic daily life, cultures, festivals and more. If you want to have in-depth ethnic minority exploration, you could take Guiyang, Kaili, Rongjiang and Congjiang route.

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Miao Ethnic Minority

Miao Ethnic Minority

Miao Ethnic Minority

Miao Ethnic Minority

Miao Minority Handicraft - Batik

  • Places: Kaili, Leishan, Congjiang.
  • Festivals: Miao New Year Festival; Lusheng Festival, etc.
  • Highlights: Xijiang Miao Village; Upper Langde Village; Miao Sliver; Miao Architecture, etc.

Miao Ethnic Minority is the fifth minority among the 55 minorities in China. Guizhou has 4,299,954 Miao people which accounts for 48% of the total Miao. It is mainly located in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Qiannan Bouyei and Miao Autonomous, Qianxinan Bouyei Miao Autonomous Prefecture etc. For the different locations and different costumes, there are different types of Miao Ethnic Minority. It can be named “Long-Shirt Miao ”, “Short-Skirt Miao”, “Long-horn Miao”, “Red Miao”, “Black Miao”, “White Miao”, “Green Miao”, “Small Flowery Miao” etc.

Miao people are very talented when it comes to weaving, embroidering, batik, paper-cutting and jewelry casting. The Miao silver jewelry casting and embroidery is very famous around China.

Due to their unique migration history, the Miao people form their own unique architectural style in materials and construction. Miao people prefer wooden buildings which are generally in three-floor construction. The first floor is usually a half-side house for stacking sundries or keeping livestock to solve the problem of uneven slope terrain. The second floor is the main house and the third floor is used to stack grain.

Important Festivals of Miao Ethnic Minority

The most important festivals of Miao are Miao New Year FestivalLusheng FestivalSisters’ Meal Festival, Dragon Canoe Festival and Siyueba Festival, etc. During the festivals, visitors a lot of interesting activities with locals, including antiphonal singing, Lusheng dance, dragon boat race, bullfighting, cock fighting, horse racing and other featured activities.

Top Destination in Guizhou to Explore Miao Minority

Kaili, located in Southeast Guizhou, is the best destination to visit the Miao ethnic group. There are many Miao villages like Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village, Short Shirt Miao Village at Datang, Jidao Long Shirt Miao Village, Upper Langde Miao Village, Shiqiao Miao Village, Taijiang Shidong Miao Village, Matang Gejia Village etc. Extend a little far away to Rong7iang County to visit Baibei Miao Village, Kongshen Miao Village or reach Rongjiang County to explore Biasha Miao Village.

>> Check Top 5 Miao Minority Villages in Guizhou

Famous Tourist Attractions to Explore

Xijiang Miao Villages (西江千户苗寨)

The panoramic scenery of the largest Miao Village in China - Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village is stunning. The village is surrounded by orderly terraced fields, presenting an idyllic landscape to visitors. Travelers can see wooden stilted houses, wind and rain bridges and experience colorful Miao’s singing, dancing and grand festivals. The commercial pedestrian street here sells a wide variety of goods of Miao minority. The most attractive one is the Miao silver ornaments with exquisite workmanship and cheap price.

Upper Langde Miao Villages (朗德上寨)

Comparing with Xijiang Miao Village, Upper Langde Miao Village is more authentic, less developed and crowded village to get a better primitive Miao minority experience. Travelers can see “Long Skirt Miao” and traditional wooden stilted houses, experience hospitable welcome ceremony and primitive way of living of Miao people.

Zhenyuan Ancient Town (镇远古镇)

With more than 20 minorities living harmony at Zhenyuan Ancient Town, it is also being praised as the “World Cultural Protection Circle”. There are a large number of historical architectures, traditional folk houses and ancient wharfs waiting for visitors to explore. Highlights in and around Zhenyuan Ancient Town are including Qinglong Cave, Shiping Mountain, Wuyang River, Tiexi Scenic Area, etc. Besides, visitors can extend their journey to Shidong Town (only 36km away from Zhenyuan Ancient Town, only take less than an hour by car) during Dragon Canoe Festival and the sister festival to experience the fun and bustling scenes.

Miao Festival Miao New Year Festival Guizhou Weather Xijiang Qianhu Miao Villages Langde Miao Village Play Lusheng at Langde Miao Village
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Dong Ethnic Minority

Dong Ethnic Minority

Dong Ethnic Minority

Dong Ethnic Minority

Drum Towers in Zhaoxing Dong Village

  • Places: Congjiang, Rongjiang, Zhaoxing.
  • Festivals: Dong New Year Festival; Dong Song Festival, etc.
  • Highlights: Drum Tower; Bridges; Grand Song of Dong, etc.

Dong minority group is one of Guizhou’s largest minority groups. They are mainly located in Liping, Congjiang, Rongjiang, Zhenyuan, Yuping, Jianhe, Jinping in Guizhou.

Generally, Dong villages has the characteristics of leaning against mountains and rivers. Dong Village is generally located in the place surrounded by mountains, layers of terraces, crystal stream and towering trees. The Dong houses, drum towers, bridges are made without nails. Dong Drum Towers and Wind and Rain Bridges usually house their gods and also use for gathering place for community events. While, Dong people live in villages of 20-30 households located near streams and some villages are very large with about 1000 households. Their houses , built in fir wood, are usually two or three stories high. The houses located on steep slopes, riverbanks stand on stilts. People usually live in the upper floors and the first ground floor is used for domestic animals and firewood.

The main food of Dong is rice. In the mountainous areas, glutinous rice is eating with peppers and pickled vegetables.

It was worth mentioning that the Grand Song of the Dong Ethnic Minority Group is famous throughout China also in the world. It is a kind of folk music and also a cultural treasure of Dong. Travelers could appreciate the Grand Song of Dong Minority in Xiaohuang Dong Village in Congjiang County, Guizhou.

Important Festivals of Dong Ethnic Minority

Dong minority has many important festivals like New Year Festival, Worshiping Ox Festival, New Harvest Festival, Pure Brightness Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival etc. During Dong New Year, locals would make new clothes, clean their houses, make glutinous rice cakes, slaughter pigs, cattle for feasts, and cook the cold dish to sacrifice to ancestors on the eve of the New Year. Dong Song Festival is the Valentine’s Day for Dong people. During this day, young men and women dressed up neatly, invited few friends and headed to Gaobei Singing Field together. Unique antiphonal songs, love songs, folk songs perpetually echoed in the valley. Young men and women would make new friends and check with old friend during the festival, alternately singing intoxicating love songs until the next day.

Top Destination in Guizhou to Explore Dong Minority

Congjiang, Rongjiang and Liping, located in the southeast part of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, are three top counties to appreciate the primitive Dong ethnic villages, culture and local traditional life. You may visit the largest Dong Village in Southeast Guizhou - Zhaoxing Dong Village or head to the idyllic Huanggang Dong Village in Liping County. Pay a visit to the hometown of grand song of Dong people at Xiaohua Dong Village in Congjiang County and continue to explore the primative village with mysterious legend in Zhanli Dong Village. If you have a tour plan to Rongjiang County, don’t miss the hidden pearl Dali Dong Village, it will take you back to hundreds years before. Check Top 5 Dong Minority Villages in Guizhou >>

Famous Tourist Attractions to Explore

Zhaoxing Dong Village (肇兴侗寨)

Zhaoxing Dong Village, located in the southeast of Liping County, is one of the largest Dong villages in China and has been praised as "The First Village of Dong Township". Till 2012, it has more than 1,100 households and 6,000 residents. The village is built in a mountain basin. Two streams converge to form a small river passing through the village. Row upon row of stilted buildings are well-arranged in the village. Houses are all built of cedarwood, the hard top is covered with blue roofing tiles, simple but practical. Zhaoxing Dong Village is famous for its drum tower group, which has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records and is honored as the "Hometown of Drum Tower Culture and Art".

Dong Song Grand Song of the Dong Ethnic Minority Group Dong Ethnic Minority Zhaoxing Dong Village

Recommended Dong Ethnic Villages Tour

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Bouyei Ethnic Minority

Bouyei Ethnic Minority

Bouyei Ethnic Minority

Bouyei Ethnic Minority

Bouyei People are Weaving

  • Places: Qiannan Bouyei - Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Anshun, Libo.
  • Festivals: Third Day of the Third Lunar Month; Eighth Day of the Fourth Lunar Month, etc.
  • Highlights: Drum Tower; Bridges; Grand Song of Dong, etc.

Bouyei ethnic minority is the 11th largest minority of the 56 ethnic minorities. About 97% Bouyei people live in Guizhou province, in Bouyei-Miao autonomous counties in Xingyi and Anshun prefectures and Qingnan Bouyei-Miao Autonomous Prefecture in Guizhou Province. Some of other Bouyei people also live in Qingdongnan Miao-Dong Autonomous Prefecture or near Guiyang.

The Bouyei live mostly on plains or in river valleys in rural villages in two-storied houses. People often live on an upper floor and keep livestock on the lower. Bouyei people own a rich folk literature, including fairy tales, fables, folk songs, proverbs and poems. The Bouyei people are very skilled in arts and crafts and they make colorful and beautifully-patterned batik.

Important Festivals of Douyei Ethnic Minority

They celebrate festivals as the Han people, but they have their own festivals to celebrate on the Third Day of the Third Lunar Month, the Eighth day of the fourth lunar month, the sixth day of the sixth lunar month etc.

Buyi Cultural Festival (The sixth day of the sixth lunar month) is an important traditional festival for Bouyei people, also known as the local’s “Little New Year”. When the festival is approaching, each village begins to kill chickens and pigs, make triangular flags with white paper and animals’ blood, then plug the flag in the crop field to prevent locusts coming and eating the crops. According to the custom, men, women and children of the Bouyei ethnic group will wear national costumes and take glutinous rice, meat, water and wine to the hillside outside the village to “hide” (“hide” here means celebrate, many amusement activities are prepared that day).

Famous Tourist Attractions to Explore

Anshun - Huangguoshu Waterfalls(黄果树瀑布)

Huangguoshu Waterfall is located in the upper reaches of the Baishui River in Zhenning Buyi and Miao Autonomous County, 45km southwest of Anshun City. There are overall 18 waterfalls of different styles, robust, bizarre, dangerous and shapely, forming a huge waterfall "family". Huangguoshu Waterfall Scenic Area is mainly composed of three parts - Doupotang Waterfall Scenic Area, Huangguoshu Waterfall, and Tianxingqiao Scenic Area. Besides you can also pay a visit to attractions nearby, such as Longgong Cave, Tianlong Tunpu Ancient Town, etc.

Seven Small Arches Scenic Area in Libo (荔波小七孔景区)

Located 30km south from Libo County, Seven Small Arches Scenic area is surrounded by peculiar mountains and elegant water. Wandering around the vigorous and stylish scenic spot, visitors may wonder whether they are in a splendid landscape painting or in the real life. Seven Small Arches is a national 5A tourist attraction, being praised as the representative for Karst Landscape in South China and one of the most beautiful places in the world. Besides, visitors can continue to visit the “Arch of Triumph of the East” - the Seven Big Arches Scenic Area.

Bouyei Minority Huangguoshu Waterfalls in Anshun Bouyei Minority Libo Seven Small Arches

Recommended Bouyei Ethnic Villages Tour

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Shui Ethnic Minority

Shui Ethnic Minority

Shui Ethnic Minority

Shui Ethnic Minority

Sandu Zhonghe Town

  • Places: Sandu Shui Autonomous County, Rongjiang.
  • Festivals: Dong New Year Festival; Dong Song Festival, etc.
  • Highlights: Drum Tower; Bridges; Grand Song of Dong, etc.

Shui Minority is another minority among 55 ethnic minorities. They mostly live in Sandu Shui Autonomous County, Libo, County, Duyun County, Dushan County in Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, in Rongjiang, Danzhai, Leishan, Congjiang and Liping in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture.

The Shui ethnic minority is known for their folk arts including paper-cutting, stone-carving, silver jewelry making, and batik techniques.

The Shui minority has their own calendar which basically follows the lunar calendar of Han people. Also, they have their own traditional festivals such as the Duan Festival, Mao Festival, Suningxi Festival, Jian Festival, Jingxia Festival.

Top Destinations in Guizhou to Explore Shui Minority

The best place to understand Shui people’s culture is Sandu Shui Autonomous County. Explore Shui minority culture in Bamao Shui Village, Zenlei Shui Village, Bangao Ethnic Culture Village etc. Some travelers get to Bameng Village of Shui Group in Rongjiang County.

Recommended Shui Ethnic Village Tour:

How to Plan a Guizhou Ethnic Minorities Tour

For travelers who want to have a good exploration about Miao minorities can visit Miao villages in Guizhou, the top region to go is the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. The capital of Qiandongnan is Kaili City with a few flights and many high speed trains linking with. If your time is limited within 2 to 4 days, you can just explore in and around Kaili City to see several Miao villages and experience their unique culture and customs. It is highly recommended to visit Langde Upper Miao Village, Xinqiao Miao Village, Matang Gejia Village, and Qingman Miao Village. For travelers who want to join in the crowds and have a good look at the largest Miao Village in this area, you can spend about one day visiting Xijiang Miao Village for both daytime view and night view.

► 4 Days Kaili Miao Minority Villages Tour

If you have another 2 to 3 days, and want to meet Dong ethnic minority, you can travel from Kaili City, extend to Rongjiang County, Congjiang County and Liping County. In this primitive counties, there are some recommended Dong Villages worth your visiting. These include Dali Dong Village, Biasha Miao Village, Huanggang Dong Village, Xiaohuang Dong Village, Zhanli Dong Village, Zhaoxing Dong Village, etc. After ending the tour in Zhaoxing, Liping County which is located in the border of Guizhou and Guangxi, travelers can extend to Guilin, Yangshuo and Longji Rice Terrace for further traveling.

► 5 Days Guizhou Miao & Dong Minority Essence Tour (Kaili / Rongjiang / Zhaoxing / Congjiang)

► 6 Days Guizhou In-depth Ethnic Tour with Jiabang Rice Terraces (Congjiang / Zhaoxing / Rongjiang / Kaili / Zhenyuan)

If you still have time and learn know more about the two remaining minorities - Bouyei and Shui Minority. You may continue your trip to Anshun or Libo. Besides primitive ethnic villages, there are many natural splendors waiting for you to explore, such as Huangguoshu Waterfalls, Small Seven Arches in Libo, Mount Fanjing in Tongren... Spending about 6 to 8 days traveling around Guizhou will be perfect to view all the best attractions! Travel with us now!

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Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >