In recent years, Guizhou is highly recommended by Lonely Planet ranked as the sixth in “Best in Travel 2020 - Top Regions”, and selected as “one of the 52 worthy-visiting destinations in the world” by New York Times. The reason to come to Guizhou Province is “Authentic Chinese hill tribes without mass tourism - yet”. In 1992, Qiandongnan (Southeast Guizhou) together with Tibet have been listed into the two best places in Asia to “Get back to nature for a rest of mind”.
Around 37% of the province’s population consists of more than 17 ethnic minorities. Flitting around the Dong and Miao villages in the southeast of the province is like an anthropological dream sequence. Traveling from Kaili City, the capital of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, you will get deep into the Miao and Dong villages nestled in the mountains and by the rivers along the route in Leishan, Rongjiang, Congjiang and Liping counties. These ethnic villages are primitive that they are never let the fast development of the country break their rhythm. You can have a loot at the hospital locals to make batik, use traditional way to make paper, sliver and watch the last gunslingers to fire the guns at sky to welcome guests... Besides, different styles of Miao and Dong architectures and costumes are very attractive, needless to say the interesting singing and dancing are performed in the deep mountains... No modern technologies can be compared with the most beautiful Grand Songs and impressive Diaojiaolou... Now, it is time to slow down your steps to experience different lifestyle and cultures in Guizhou Province.
The following are top 10 ethnic villages in Guizhou and each one has distinctive features that you can have amazing experience there. Get inspired now!
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Panoramic View of Xijiang Miao Village
Miao Girls' Performance at Xijiang Miao Village
Xijiang Miao Village, composed of five natural villages, is the largest Miao Village in the world, with more than 1, 000 families and 6,000 Miao people living here. Most travelers will arrive in Kaili City first and then make a short transfer to Xijiang Miao Village. This vast Miao village is nestled on the northern side of Leigong Hill, surrounded by mountains covered in rich greenery and split in half by the fiercely beautiful Baishui River.
Paying a visit to Xijiang Miao Village, you can explore the beautiful village and its surrounding scenic area and learn many Miao culture. You should not miss Xijiang Miao Nationality Museum which is made of made up of eleven exhibition halls and houses wonderful displays of cultural artifacts, traditional dress, architectural marvels and works of art. There are different performances and presentations at different locations. Don’t miss Welcome-Guest Ceremony, Singing and Dancing Performance (11:30-12:10, 16:30-17:10 at the Village Square). Besides, it is highly recommended to get to the viewing platform to catch a panoramic view of the whole village and take photographs. If you like, you can even rent Miao traditional dress and have your photographs taken in it. If you choose to spend one night staying in the village, you can come to the viewing platform for the particularly attractive night view that the whole Xijiang Miao Village is twinkling.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Xijiang Miao Village:
Langde Upper Miao Village
Singing and Dancing performance at Langde
Langde Upper Miao Village is the must-see attraction when visiting Kaili City. Compared with Xijiang Miao Village, Langde Upper Village has become famous among International travelers for its less crowds, peaceful natural atmosphere, friendly villagers and rich cultural heritage. Langde Upper Village, though it is a small village with only 500 villagers, has got the reputation of “the Hometown of Chinese Folk Song and Dance Art”, “one of the Hundred Open-air Museum” and “the Hometown of Lusheng”. The architectures (Diaojiaolou) in Langde are wonders - having been built without the use of any nails or rivets. The women here wear long skirt and so they are often referred to “Long Skirt Miao”.
Travelers who come to Langde will be treated with a traditional welcome ceremony. Beautiful young girls and ladies dressed in traditional Miao costumes will “block the way” at the village gate and what welcomes you are twelve tables with “block-the-way” wine. Once the toasts are complete, you will continue to experience the singing and dancing performance. The men will play the Lusheng and ladies will dance. All the villagers will participate in the dance and guests will be invited to join in.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Langde Miao Village:
Biasha Miao Village Performance
Fire Guns at Biasha Miao Village
Biasha Miao Village (or called Basha Miao Village), about 8.5 km from Congjiang County, is a village unlike any other in China. When paying a visit to Qiandongnan, Biasha Miao Village should be not-to-be-missed attraction. The Biasha people are said to be the descendants of Chi You, a mythological warrior in ancient China and have traditions dating back 2, 000 years. Men of Basha dress as ancient warriors with black waistcoats and straight back trousers as well as swords, hunting dogs and firelocks. And women wear black pair shirts and pleated skirts, which are simple but embroidered with bright colors. Though guns are strictly regulated in China, men in Basha are permitted to carry and use guns as to protect their tradition. Therefore, Basha is called as “the last gunslinger village in China”.
As you enter Biasha Village, you can see the local residents living in traditional Miao dwellings known as Diaojiaolou. Basha men line up outside the village and fire their guns at the sky to welcome tourists. They perform Miao dances in the village square and show them how to shave with a sickle. The performances are held at 09:00, 11:00 and 15:00 everyday.
The Biasha people and their customs have remained largely unchanged for thousands of years, and are still as fascinating and mysterious as ever. It truly is the perfect place to experience the diversity of Miao culture in Guizhou Province.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Biasha Miao Village:
Matang Gejia People
Matang Gejia Village Panoramic View
Matang Gejia Village, located in the northwest of Kaili City, has a population about 400 of the ethnic minority group of Gejia (亻革家人 or 革家人). They are officially classified as a part of the Miao, but have separate status in Guizhou Province. So, it was called the 57th ethnic group in China unofficially. According to the legend, Gejia people are the direct descendants of Hou Yi (后裔), a legendary hero who was said to shoot the nine scorching suns in order to save his people.
Taking a short visiting to Matang Village, you can have a look at the Gejia women dressed in distinctive ceremonial costumes - fringe hats, twinkling silver ornaments, clothes with batik patterns and embroidery, armor-like tippets, pleated short skirts and embroidered leg wrappings. Passing by the local families and their wooden houses, you can see the women weaving, stitchworking, batiking, silversmithing. The handicraft style dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BCE). It reflects the Gejia people are longing for a better life and shows their boundless love for nature. If interested, you can learn batik from a local master and create your own batik work.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Matang Gejia Village:
Xinqiao Miao Village
Hundred-year-old Water Granary
Xinqiao Miao Village, located in Leishan County in Qiandongnan, is known as “the First Village with Short Skirt Miao” and the hundred-year-old Water Granary. With a history over 600 years, Xinqiao Village has only 153 families, well preserved with Ming and Qing styled architectures and Tang Dynasty costumes.
The Miao costumes are very different from other Miao villages in Guizhou. The clothes of men has 9 to 13 pairs of buttons and the women in Xinqiao Village wear a kind of pleated skirt about 6 inches (5-8 inches), and colorful ribbons are decorated at the waist. So they are called “short skirt Miao”. A visit to the village, you can see the short skirt Miao in their traditional dress singing and dancing. If you are lucky, you can enjoy the famous Jinji Dance. Another distinctive feature of Xinqiao Village is the Water Granary. There are 47 granaries on water made of wooden with hundreds of history. Why granary was built on water? It was used for protecting against fire and mouse and fish, duck and goose can be raised in the ponds. The design of water granary can be called a wonder in the history of agricultural architecture.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Xinqiao Miao Village:
Zhaoxing Dong Village
Performance at Zhaoxing Dong Village
With a history over 800 years, Zhaoxing Dong Village, located in Liping County bordering with Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is the largest Dong Village in Southeast Guizhou and even in the world. It has been selected as “one of the six most beautiful countryside in China” by Chinese National Geographic and “one of the 33 most attractive destinations in the world” by National Geographic and Fashion Tourism. To see the Dong Villages in Guizhou, Zhaoxing Dong Village is the most recommended one.
There are about 1,100 households in Zhaoxing Dong Village with a population over 6,000. Surrounded by green mountains in four sides, Zhaoxing Dong Village is situated in the fertile valley with two clear streams flowing through. It is famous for the five drum towers, which are the village’s symbols and they were listed into the Guinness World Records in 2001. Paying a visit to Zhaoxing Dong Village, you will not only have the great chance to see the drum towers, but also appreciate the Grand Song of Dong People and learn Dong cultures in different aspects.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Zhaoxing Dong Village:
Beautiful Village View of Huanggang
"Tai Guan Ren" Festival Scene
Huanggang Dong Village, about 45 km in the west of Zhaoxing Dong Village, is an idyllic and peaceful village well kept traditional way of living. Reputed as “Utopia in Guizhou”, Huanggang Dong Village has about 320 households with a population of 1,600. What makes Huanggang special are the five drum towers, Wind and Rain Bridges and one of the birthplace of Grand Song of Dong People. At the entrance of the village, there are two Wind and Rain Bridges decorated with dragon and phoenix patterns. The five drum towers are very exquisite with different designs and beautiful decorations. Many locals will gather at the drum towers to rest, and discuss village affairs.
Huanggang Dong Village is only village to celebrate “Goddess of Thunder Worship Festival” (Han Tian Jie 喊天节). It occurs on the fifteenth day of the sixth lunar month. While, on the third day of the first lunar month, local villagers will parade around the whole village to spend the festival “Tai Guan Ren”. You may experience these interesting festivals if time is right.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Huanggang Dong Village:
Grand Songs Scene at Xiaohuang Village
Drum Tower of Xiaohuang Dong Village
Xiaohuang Dong Village is one of the famous Dong Village of Qiandongnan located about 22 km from Congjiang County. Over 3,000 people live in this village and the village is isolated from the outside world. So, the locals are proficient at farming, hunting and weaving cloth.
Xiaohuang Village is often referred to as the Village of Grand Songs because of the Dong people in this village are particularly accomplished at performing polyphonic folk songs known as “Dage” (Grand Songs). And Xiaohuang Village was bestowed the title “the Village of Chinese Folk Art” for its preservation of the Dong singing tradition. On the important festivals or big holidays, the locals dressed in traditional costumes will perform Grand Song around the drum tower. The Congjiang Grand Song Festival will happen on November 28 every year that travelers can enjoy the grand festival and listen to the choir.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Xiaohuang Dong Village:
Harvest Scene at Zhanli Dong Village
Dong Girl at Zhanli Village
Zhanli Dong Village, about 16 km in north of Congjiang County, serves as gathering point for the Dong ethnic group, accommodating 836 villagers in 186 households. The village is quite cut off from the outside world and has its own unique culture. Ancestors of Zhanli made a rule during the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to achieve balance between the population and the amount of cultivated land. According to the legend, there is a herbalist in the village who uses the mythical herbs to control the population. Before couples try to have a second child, they come to the herbalist. She will take water out of one of two wells - a “boy well” and a “girl well” - and brews a soup with a local herb with it. By drinking the mixture, the couple can allegedly decide the sex of their next baby. This happens real in the village, and most of families in Zhanli have two children, with 98% having one girl and one boy.
The best time to come to Zhanli is during the harvest time around October. The golden rice are hanging neatly on the grain racks along the river. If you want to shoot a panoramic view, you can go to the Wind and Rain Bridge or the slope behind the Village Committee.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Zhanli Dong Village:
Dali Dong Village
Stone-paved path at Dali Dong Village
Dali Village, about 23 km from Rongjiang County, is a primitive Dong Village hidden in the deep mountain. What makes this village antique is the 400 ancient phoebe and among them, over 40 are with a history over 500 years. What’s more, the quadrangle courtyard, the stone-paved path, ancient tombs are the highlights of the village.
Similar to the Zhaoxing Dong Village, Dali has five Wind and Rain Bridges. Once you enter the village, you’ll step on the ancient stone-paved path built in the reign of Qianlong in Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). This path is the only flagstone pathway decorated with stone carvings, with a total number of 480. You should not miss the Yang Family Quadrangle Courtyard with over 200 years that 93 generations are living here. Come to the center of the village to see the drum tower where performances are held at the square. If time permits, you can do a little hiking to the beautiful Sandie Waterfall about 2 kilometers away.
Recommended Guizhou Trips with Dali Village:
|Which Group||Ethnic Villages||Highlights & Experience||Location|
Qingman Miao Village
|Short Skirt Black Miao; appreciate traditional skills of making embroidery at “the Hometown of Miao Embroidery”.||23km from Kaili City|
Jidao Miao Village
|Long Skirt Miao; visit Hundred-year-old Granary, Hundred-year Path, Listen to an old legend about the footprint of oxen and houses.||25km from Kaili City|
Nanhua Miao Village
|Long Shirt Miao; being called the natural museum of farming culture along Bala River.||19km from Kaili City|
Wudong Miao Village
|At an altitude of 1,300 meters, Wudong Village is the idyllic place with extreme harmony between human and nature.||46km from Kaili City|
Getou Miao Village
|Hidden in the Leigong Mountain Forest Park; Enjoy Lusheng Dance; known as “the Hometown of Taiwania flousiana Gaussen”.||67km from Kaili City|
Zengchong Drum Tower
|Built in 1672 in Qing Dynasty, Zengchong Drum Tower is 13 storey with a height of 25 meters. It is the largest and the best-preserved Dong Drum Tower.||Located in Congjiang County, about 170km from Kaili City|
Tang’an Dong Village
|Close to Zhaoxing Dong Village, Tang’an Dong Village is famous for its rice terrace, Drum Tower, Wind and Rain Bridge, Drama Stage, Ladle Well. It is good for hiking.||Located in Liping County, 223km from Kaili City|
Chejiang Sanbao Dong Village
|Also called thousand-household of Dong Village, it is most densely populated village for Dong people. Another feature is the Drum Towers and Samar Shrine (萨玛祠).||Located in Rongjiang County, about 151km from Kaili City|
Bameng Shui Village
|With a history of 500 years, Bameng Shui Village has a household of 160 with a population about 710. The Diaojiaolou architecture, flower bridges, the carvings of old tomb, and traditional festivals are its highlights.||Located in Rongjiang County, about 185km from Kaili City|
Gaodang Buyi Village
|Gaodang Village is the Buyi Village with a history over 600 years. You can see the stone houses, hundred-year-old Tunpu, stone-arch gates, old trees, waterwheel, water mill... in this charming primitive village.||Located in Anshun City, about 127km from Guiyang City|
(Note: If you are interested in adding the above villages into your Guizhou trip, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help you design or adjust your itineraries based on your likes and requirements.)
For travelers who want to have a good exploration about the best ethnic 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.
If you have another two days, you can have full visiting in Southeast Guizhou to see many Miao and Dong ethnic villages. You can travel from Kaili City, extend to Rongjiang County, Congjiang County and Liping County. In this primitive counties, there are some recommended Miao and 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 / Congjiang / Zhaoxing / Congjiang)
>> 6 Days Guizhou In-depth Ethnic Tour with Jiabang Rice Terraces ((Congjiang / Zhaoxing / Rongjiang / Kaili / Zhenyuan / Kaili))
However, Guizhou is a diverse province with abundant tourism resource. The ethnic villages are only a part of your highlights in Guizhou, you are recommended to travel to other hot destinations, like Zhenyuan Ancient Town, Mount Fanjing, Huangguoshu Waterfall, Small Seven Arches in Libo... 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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