Into the Unknown
Despite being a popular destination with domestic travelers, Guizhou remains largely unknown to travelers outside China.Set in a spectacular karst limestone landscape of dramatic gorges and canyons with terraced hillsides and enchanting vistas, the landlocked Guizhou province has remained relatively isolated from the rest of China due to its mountainous terrain. A sub-tropical climate and an average elevation of 1,000 metres make this a pleasant destination to visit all year round.
To get an idea of what this province offers as a travel destination, keep in mind that Guizhou boasts eight national nature reserves, 21 national forest parks, six national Geoparks and 40 national intangible cultural heritages, and is one of the country’s only provinces in which the South China karst UNESCO World Heritage site can be found.
A visit to this beautiful province offers things sometimes difficult to find in other parts of China: genuinely old villages, unspoilt mountains and a chance to understand a number of China’s recognised minority cultures, including the Miao and the Dong people. Here is our guide to the best things to see and do in Guizhou, China’s most unsung province.
With about 1,100 meters above sea level and an average temperature of 23 degrees Celsius in summer, Guizhou is home to some world natural heritage sites, including the Libo Karst, Shibing Karst, China Danxia and Mount Fanjingshan. Mount Fanjingshan, a natural habitat for more than 7,000 species of wild flora and fauna, is the best-preserved ecological area along the same altitude.
Culutures of Minority Ethnics
Guizhou is second only to Yunnan Province in terms of its ethnic diversity and is home to 48 of the Chinese ethnic minority groups, including Miao, Yao, Dong, Bouyei, Tujia, and Gelao people. The Miao village of Basha is home to the only community in China that is still allowed to own guns. The Bouyei villages are renowned for their stone houses, which are intricately arranged and use no other materials or cement to hold them together. The Dong villages boast the stunning Wind-Rain Bridges and Drum Towers that have become synonymous with their culture.
Land of Modern Wonders
Over the past few years, Guizhou – traditionally one of China’s poorest provinces – has begun to see an uptick in numbers. This began when the province was picked as technological destination-of-choice – companies like Apple, Huawei and Tencent began moving in to take advantage of the Guizhou’s cool year-round climate for big data storage. Guizhou is home to is the world's largest single-dish radio telescope. Most Impressively, 6 out of Top 10 Tallest Bridges in the world are found in Guizhou.
Unique Food Scene
Broths, dipping sauces, noodles and stir fries are liberally seasoned with chili peppers that are grown on the province's terraced fields -- from the milder green bells to the tiny, red firecrackers that pack a mouth-stinging punch.
The dominant taste is "suan la" (sour spicy) rather than the "ma la" (numbing spicy) found in neighboring Sichuan, another Chinese region famed for its fiery cuisine.