The tour explores two southwest Chinese provinces with distinct minority ethnic groups. Guizhou of Southwest China has long been remote, stagnant and backward. Its relative isolation has made the region one of the best kept secrets in China. Its stunning landscape and its colorful ethnic minority cultures have made Guizhou a paradise for anthropologists, photographers and adventurous travelers.
Then we explore another province - Hunan. The trip offers two distinct sides of West Hunan Province--the beautiful landscape in the nature reservation of Zhangjiajie, the clear waters of Mengdong River and mountains and valleyes of Dehang; and the traditional township of Fenghuang (Phoenix Town), and remote Huoluping Village hidden on the mountains where it is not discovered by tourists and the Miao ethnic minority's life and culture are still unchanged.
Guizhou of Southwest China has long been remote, stagnant and backward, however, unspoiled by tourism development as seen in surrounding provinces such as Guangxi, Yunnan and Sichuan. Its relative isolation has made the region one of the best kept secrets in China; its stunning landscape, characterized by limestone karst hills, jagged peaks and terraced rice fields, as well as its colorful ethnic minority cultures that have made Guizhou a paradise for anthropologists, photographers and adventurous travelers.
This trip offers two distinct sides of West Hunan Province--the beautiful landscape in the nature reservation of Zhangjiajie, the clear waters of Mengdong River and mountains and valleyes of Dehang; and the traditional township of Fenghuang (Phoenix Town), and remote Huoluping Village hidden on the mountains where it is not discovered by tourists and the Miao ethnic minority's life and culture are still unchanged.
Zhangjiajie (Wulingyuan Scenic Area)
Listed as UNESCO's World Heritage Site in 1992, this scenic area is made up of three adjoining subtropical parklands, with quartzite sandstone peaks and pillars to rival Guilin's scenery. There are plentiful rare plants and insects, swarms of butterflies, a large cave with calcite deposits, and stunning views through bamboo, pine, and oak forest.
"A spectacular area stretching over more than 26,000 hectares in China's Hunan Province, the site is distinguished by more than 3,000 narrow sandstone pillars and peaks, many over 200 metres high. Between the peaks lie ravines and gorges with streams, pools and waterfalls, some 40 caves, as well as two large natural bridges. In addition to the striking beauty of its landscape, the region is also noted for the fact that it shelters a number of endangered plant and animal species." (Description from UNESCO's World Heritage List)
Phoenix Town (Fenghuang Cheng)
It is a township of mystery, elegance and primitive simplicity. The bridges over the water and unique houses built on stilts display a harmony that is so often portrayed in traditional Chinese paintings. Tuojiang River runs through the town. Typical high gabled wooden houses are built on stilts along its banks at close quarters. (View photos). The majority of the residents are Tujia & Miao ethnic groups. Their lifestyle remains reasonably traditional. The old town is very pretty at night when all architecture by the river light up.
Further driving from the gradually touristy Phoenix Town, up and up the mountains with layers of rice terraces, there lies a miao village that CCC first discovered and brought its first group of visitors there. Hidden behind the high mountains and valley, Huoluping is completely authentic. The Miao people's life is still unchanged. The local farmers' market is fascinating.
Day 1 Fly in Guiyang / Kaili
- Beijing departure: Beijing -- Guiyang by air about 09:00--12:00
Shanghai departure: Shanghai Hongqiao -- Guiyang by air about 09:05--11:30.
Other locales: If you depart from other locales, please let us know and we arrange this tour for you to fly to Guiyang.
- Arrive in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province
- Drive 2.5 hours to a Zhouxi Miao Ethnic village nested on the rice terrace, where the local villagers are weaving on their looms or hand-weave threads into colorful fabric.
- Then head to another village for paper-making workshop in a huge cave. The workers are making rice paper for traditional scroll painting or special paper for trade marks.
- Drive to Kaili, capital of Southeast Guizhou Ethnic Regions.
- Stay overnight in Kaili.
Day 2: Kaili / Explore an unique and authentic Miao Village / Another Miao Village Stay Overnight
- Drive one hour to a very unique ethnic village, where people wear armour-like clothes. They are regarded by historians as the 57 ethnic group of China (Officially China has 56 ethnic people), but not officially listed.
- Drive to a Long-skirt Miao village and stay overnight in a village man's wooden building to gain a real experience of the local life and village scenery within the rice terrace .
- CCC Travel arranges clean bedding in the local wooden houses - two beds in a room; western sitting style toilets and showers are available in the wooden building.
(B, L, D)
Day 3: Miao Village / hike across the rice terrace hill / Guiyang
- Take about 3.5 hours moderate hike along the paddy path (some section of the trail is steep) and come across villages, wood and planting fields.
- Have lunch and drive 3.5 hours to Guiyang and stay overnight in Guiyang.
Day 4 Guiyang / Tongren / Fenghuang (Phoenix Town)
- Fly to Tongren (50 minutes flight) and drive to Fenghuang (1 hour's drive).
- After lunch, you have free time to stroll around the charming ancient township with Tuojinag River running through. Writer Shen Congwen and other celebrities' former residences are located in the old alleys in the town.
- In the evening, we walk around the town again along the river and appreciate beautiful night scene.
You will see silver wares and ormanents makers and vendors, and people buying colourful candle lit paper crafts and set them free on the water.
- Stay overnight in Fenghuang.
Day 5: Phoenix Town / Huoluping Village
- We will ride wooden boats along the Tuojiang river in the morning to view the whole Phoenix Town.
- Then we depart Phoenix Town, driving up the high mountains with valley and layers of rice terraces to find an obscure Miao People's village named Huoluping.
The remoteness and inaccessibility keep the village life intact (CCC brings first ever visitors to this village).
- We visit local families and share the meal with locals in their home.
- In the late afternoon, drive to back to Zhangjiajie, and stay overnight in a 5-star hotel.
Day 6: Zhangjiajie
- Head to Zhangjiajie Natural Forest Park and Wulingyuan Scenic Area. The famous sencery spots include Tianzi Mountain, Yuanjiajie, etc. where you see different perspectives of mountains.
- Stay overnight.
Day 7: Zhangjiajie / Fly out
- We enter into the Zhangjiajie and Wulingyuan Scenic area again.
- Take light hike along lesser known path (less tourists) to tour Huangshizhai scenery area.
- Then we descend the peaks by lift and hike in the valley, completing the other two sceneic spots named "Ten Li Natural Gallery" and "Golden Whip Stream".
Optional: If you can also take this half day to hike up 3800 steps to Yellow Dragon Cave, a 20-hectare wide cavern with a vertical height of over 100 meters. This cave is home to an impressive collection of stalactites and stalagmites, illuminated in a variety of colored lights.
- Transfer to the airport in the afternoon and fly out.
Zhangjiajie - Beijing (arrival around 7-8pm)
Zhangjiajie - Shanghai Pudong (arrival around 9-10pm)
- Beijing departure: Beijing -- Guiyang by air about 09:00--12:00
- 4-Day Southeast Guizhou (Ethnic Culture, Hiking & Village Homestay)
- Hunan's Zhangjiajie Forest Park and Phoenix Town (Feng Huang)
- Sisters' Meal Festival at Guizhou
- Highlights of West & Southeast Guizhou & Ethnic Culture
- Hunan's Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
- Southwest China's Ethnic Groups and Landscape in Guizhou & Hunan
- Western Guizhou: Karst Landscape, Old Han & Long Horn Miao Village
- In-depth Southeast Guizhou to Dragon Backbone Terrace