Guìzhōu 贵州 is famous for the various minorities present in the territory. It’s a so called “spring city”, because the climate is favorable all the year. Another example is Kunming. For these reasons, and for the karts present in the area, it’s a quite crowned resort city. It ranks 37th in the list of most populous chinese cities, with around 2.5M inhabitants.

• Path

• What to visit

Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province, is located in the southwest of China, on the eastern side of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. I went run here, in a beautiful morning of early October i woke up around 6 am and went to run in Guiyang Ahahu National Wetland Park. Despite the fact it was quite wavy, i managed to have my interval training, a 3×3000 at 5000RP (race pace) with 500 m recovery between the intervals. 3 km were the right distance for my warm up, starting from the hotel nearby, in Taicicun area. I was so fit that i ran 4 reps, with a very good time. Even with few sleep from the last night… The city is quite crowded and in the typical cinese style: high buildings, all grey, as well as the sky. The government expropriated the lands to some families in the central part and rewarded them with a lot of money or a bigger and more modern home.
Tonggu Bridge, in Xiaoqikong Scenic Area
People here think it was the only solution to escape the poverty. In my culture this kind of measure is not well accepted but i’m quite in favour of it. These words come from a taxy driver. It’s possible to find many tasty places around the city. It’s hard for me to climb back to the precise place i choose, even using GPS. The signal is very weak among the building and, even if you get the normal signal, it’s quite impossible to find it on a map provider such as gMaps or 百度地图. That was the kind of running path i did, pay attention to the drop, the return is uphill. The path is into the big city, the problem are not the cars but the pedestrian crossings: the traffic lights remain red for a long time, and you should be requested to run across the street with the red light. Anyway the drivers are very cautious and the speed is never too high. The final destination was the Guiyang Ahahu National Wetland Park 阿哈湖国家湿地公园 Ā hā hú guójiā shīdì gōngyuán, a park near place in the south east part of the city. If you need to wake up in the early morning it is not a problem. Even at 6 am it’s possible to find some open restaurant and eat 粥,鸡蛋 or 饺子 with 10 yuan.
Miao women
Miao women who welcome visitors
3,5 h from Guiyang there is the characteristic village of some Miao people, one of the 55 official minority groups of China (“official” is to be borne in mind…). In 4000 they were about 9 millions, the most concentrated into Guizhou province. The village is called Xijiang (西江千户苗寨 Xījiāng qiān hù miáo zhài) and they are famous for the silver craftworks and the particular garments. From Guiyang i used a tour package in order to get there by bus. Once in the main parking you will find that the place is heavily open to tourism: few stuff are genuine. Many people, many queues, a lot of snacks (e.g. 冰粉bīngfěn, 糍粑cíbā) on the streets and, surprinsingly buildings under constructions. It’s necessary to use this walking path to reach the panoramic point. It’s quite long and the roads are not fully paved with asphalt, the cobbles is predominant. In my opinion 1 night is more than enough to visit this place. The main activities here are the tourism and the agricolture, especially rice in the typical field surrounding the city.
Miao Zhai
Internal part of Xijiang village
In the middle of the day, around 12, and in the late afternoon,17:30,it will be held the show including some dance, a part related to filling up 2 volunteers with some kind of 白酒 báijiǔ and the famous local choir of old people. Actually it’s not the best i ever heard, they’re not professional, but OK, admissible. You can lodge in one of the many hotels of the city, there will be no problem in finding a place. The quality is not so high, but you know… 3000¥ for 2 days travelling… From the panoramic spot it’s possible to see a gorgeous view of the valley and the little houses built over the centuries. The museum also deserves a visit but it closes at 17:30, a little early if you have the afternoon to visit the township. The best time to admire them it’s during the sunset. Nearby it’s possible to eat dinner with good prices and few people queueing. The typical dish here is the 苗鱼miáoyú, a kind of steamed carp in spicy sauce.
6 am breakfast at Guiyang
around 3,5 h south of the Miao village there’s the 小七孔 Xiǎoqīkǒng scenic area. The name refers to the little 7 openings in a bridge in the final part of the area. There’s also the Daqikong, with the bigger bridge ☺ Also this place is overcrowded (as usual, avoid the national holidays for travelling across China) and it shows a complete set of karst (landscape underlain by limestone which has been eroded by dissolution, producing ridges, towers, fissures, sinkholes and other characteristic landforms) landscapes. In my opinion this is more similar to Vietnam or Thailand than China, but i had to change idea. This area, placed at the border with 广西 province is characterized by mysterious dense forests, various living species, splendid overlapping mountains, and clear rivers and lakes. The bridge was built in 1835 as a completion of a congested commercial road between Guizhou and Guangxi. Also here the ticket fare is low and it’s possible to visit the various sections of the scenic area walking and using bus for transferring. The 洗手间 are many and well placed. I had some trouble but in every point you are at most at 10′ from a toilet. What a beautiful comfort! The first part of the visit, just after the huge entrance gate, includes the 水上森林 Shuǐshàng sēnlín area: walking on the sheltered walkway it’s possible to see big waterfalls, some of the them in the middle of the trees and also quite strems, in which you can walk barefoot. A little dam is also present. The flip flops are suggested. The total area is about 10 km long, but walkable are only a quarter i think, the rest is covered by buses. The admission fee is around 130¥ in the high season, plus 40¥ for the bus. It’s possible to have an easy rafting for 30¥. The opening hours are from 07:30 to 17:00. When i’ve been there it was october and the climate was absolutely perfect, with few rain. I think during july-august it’s much hotter and it becames a kind of refuge against the heat wave.

• What to eat

In this are is possible to taste several snaks such as
  • 蕨根糍粑 – Bracken roots sticky rice cake
  • 刺角瓜 – Kiwano
  • 白酒 – spirit usually distilled from sorghum or maize
  • 冰粉 bīngfěn – kind of sweet and cold gelatine
  • 糍粑 cíbā – sweet sticky rice cake

• Hot to get here

Guizhou is the principal hub of the region. You can arrive here by car, ferry, flight, etc… I’ve been served by the 高铁 (gaotie) network airport starting from Guangzhou South Station.

• Notes

Approximate location of 贵州 province
Crowded and hot city, the climate is humid subtropical (Cfa). Guiyang nestles in the southwest of China, on the eastern side of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. It has a pleasant moist subtropical climate with plenty of sunlight and ample rainfall. It does not have intense heat in summer or severe cold in winter. Guiyang weather is fresh and humid without any sandstorm. The agreeable climate makes it a cozy city for living.