Guizhou - land of minorities and festivals
Guiyang. Transfer to city by coach, and option of
leaving heavy luggage at Guiyang railway station. Head into central
city for a look at the provincial capital, dubbed 'Hong Kong of
south-west China' because of its modern infrastructure and high-end
shopping. After lunch, we'll visit People's Park with its performers,
singers, story-tellers and fortune-tellers, and pause to view the old
statue of Chairman Mao surrounded now by fancy hotels. We'll visit the
provincial musuem to learn more about the area's ethnic minorities,
and then head to the railway station for a scenic 2.5 hour journey to
Kaili, giving us a chance to view the landscape of farms, villages,
rice terraces and karst, as well as interact with the locals who use
the train. Once we arrive in Kaili we'll transfer to the hotel, then
go out for dinner. Well trry Suan Tang Yu ( hot and spicy fish) and
“silk babies”. There's the option of heading to a foot massage centre
(optional extra), or visiting an embroidery/batik outlet that features
crafts from all over the region. Stay in central city hotel in Kaili.
. Kaili - Matang. After a Chinese buffet
breakfast in the hotel, we'll continue our introduction to the diverse
minorities of Guizhou. Kaili is the hub for the area's minorities.
First, we'll head out to a workshop studio where we can see how the
different fabrics and materials are processes, and watch one of the
leading embroiders make colourful creations. After spending time at
Yang Jiajong's small museum and workshop, we'll go for lunch, and then
venture out to the hidden village of Matang, home to the Geijia people
(a minority not yet recognized by the government as unique), where we
can visit craft studios (silver, embroidery, batik) and hike up to
Dragon hill. We'll wander around the village, visit the lusheng
(flute) festival arena, and be able to observe the Geijia people
harvest rice. In the late afternoon we'll return to Kaili to sample
the local sour lemon chicken hotpot, washed down with purple rice
wine. Stay in central city hotel in Kaili.
Sunday 14th November. Kaili - market day. Today, after breakfast at
the hotel, we'll visit the Sunday Market in Kaili, a special
attraction each week because of the number of ethnic minorities who
come to town to sell their wares. We'll visit the Kaili Minority
Museum, showcasing the area's minorities, their costumes, customs and
handicrafts, including that of the Miao and Dong minorities. Then
we'll head to the handicraft market on the outskirts of town, a great
opportunity for taking photographs and admiring the handiwork.
After lunch, we'll visit a bustling local market to see the variety of
produce, and then explore part of old Kaili, with its traditional
crafts area featuring basket weavers and silver-makers. Then we'll
head for a short walk in the hills around Kaili for a view of the
surrounding area. For dinner, we'll head to the famous BBQ area to try
some of the foods we saw in the market. There's the option of
attending a cultural show in the evening (optional extra), or heading
back to the foot massage spa (optional extra).
Zhenyuan-Xijiang. We'll take the train at 8.22
to the ancient strategic town of Zhenyuan, surrounded by mountains and
rivers. There, we will visit Dragon Cave, to view pavilions, temples
and shrines combining Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist beliefs. Then,
after lunch, we'll return to Kaili (1 hour+) and head up to the
largest Miao village of Xijiang, set on a hillside. Watch performance
of local villages singing and dancing. Take part in a ‘block the road’
pre-dinner drink and a long table banquet. After admiring the lights
of the old town hillside, we'll retire to a Miao family guesthouse.
Xijiang-Kaili-Guiyang. After breakfast we'll
head uphill to view rice terraces and visit wooden stilt homes of
villages to see traditional crafts such as weaving and spinning. We'll
return to Kaili after lunch, and take the train at 3.50pm to Guiyang.
Then transfer by coach to the airport.