The subtropical southern region of Guizhou is little known outside of China, yet its thriving minority groups, terraced hills and craggy limestone peaks make it a highly rewarding destination, either in its own right or as an extension to tours in neighbouring Yunnan or further afield.
The province is also the heartland of the Miao tribe and other ethnic groups including the Dong and Bouyei and a visit to Guizhou provides a fascinating insight into their culture and traditions.
Ethnic minority villages
Many of China's 7.5 million Miao - or ‘Hmong' as they call themselves - live in Guizhou, in small communities of wooden houses built on stone foundations. One such community is the village of Xijiang, where performances of traditional dancing and music take place in daily.
Elsewhere, the village of Zhaoxing, with its five traditional drum towers and a series of beautiful ‘flower bridges', is a good place to learn about Dong culture.
Both tribes produce vibrant traditional costumes and patterned embroidery: girls start practising with sashes and dress sleeves at an early age. Typical designs feature good luck motifs of fish, butterflies and buffalos, plus lions and dragons. Papermaking, batik and silverwork are other local crafts. Silver bracelets, spiral earrings and elaborate headpieces are worn at weddings, festivals and other important occasions.
The Huangguoshu Waterfall, one of the largest waterfalls in the country, is among Guizhou's scenic highpoints.
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