See trip photos, and read hike leader Victoria's trip journal.
This trip was all about hiking in picturesque terraces and forests in the southeast of Guizhou province, and visiting villages inhabited by people of Miao, Dong, and Shui ethnic groups.
Generally, the weather of this trip was nice and warm, with a few raindrops felt on one of the hikes. The temperatures in the area were higher than in Beijing, and the climate was humid—often the fog in the morning would clear up when the sun came out at noon. Even when it rained it didn't feel cold. But the rain and mud made a mess of our hiking boots.
We landed in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province, at around 11:30, after a nearly 3-hour flight from Beijing. Received by our local guide at the Guiyang airport, we started our journey to Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. Along our way, we stopped for lunch at Longli County (龙里) in the Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, where we were able to see the unique character of the architectures of Miao people.
We drove out to Danzhai County (丹寨) for a hike, arriving at around 3 pm. After checking in the hotel, we headed to Gaoyao Village (高要) for an one-hour walking tour through the rice terraces and houses of Miao people, one of the 21 ethnic groups in Danzhai.
We drove to Sandu Shui Autonomous county (三都水族自治县), the only autonomous county of Shui people in China. It is under the administration of the Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture.
It was the day before the Tomb-Sweeping Festival holiday. In the local market in the morning we saw Shui people preparing for their tomb-sweeping ritual to honor their deceased.
In the afternoon, we hiked in two villages—Tengneng (腾能) and Ligao (里稿).
We spent most of the day hiking in the mountains, walking along farm field tracks and visiting three villages—Guiliu (归柳), Zengying (增盈) and Rongfu (荣福)— in the Dong territory of Rongjiang County.
We hiked about 5 hours, including a lunch break at the Wind and Rain bridge, a characteristic piece of architecture with pavilions constructed on the bridge for people to have a rest or meet for a chat.
The bridge is mainly made of wood, with dovetails used to connect all the wood together. Despite the simple materials, the ingenuity and workmanship of the Dong people made the bridge so sturdy that it still stands and is in constant use. Along the wooden railings, there are benches that are used for relaxation.
We started a 1.5-hour journey from Rongjiang county to Liping county to visit a large Dong village with 5,000 residents. With drum towers, Wind and Rain bridges and other features of the Dong ethnic group, this was a nice place to explore. After lunch with local food, the vans took us to the top of the mountain and we started a 2-hour walk in the mountains and on the rice terraces.
The last day of the trip was challenging for some of us, and very relaxing for the rest. We split into two group, some choosing a 2-hour hike in a wild forest, and others talking a walking tour through the village.
We then headed for Guiyang to catch our flight back to Beijing.
See more trip photos below!