Guizhou is a beautiful province in Southern China. Bordered by Sichuan to the north, Guangxi to the south, and Hunan to the east, it shares many similar features as other landscapes in the south of China, including karst mountains, rice terraces, and waterfalls. Over 90% of the province is said to be covered by mountains and hills, which is quite incredible!
I recently took my first trip to Guizhou as part of a Travel Experience with Ctrip and the Zunyi Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism. I’ve been wanting to visit Guizhou for so long because of the beautiful scenery and also the many minority groups of people who live in this province, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to go on this Travel Experience.
I spent 4 days in Zunyi Guizhou, a city in the northern part of Guizhou. It is a city most Chinese people are familiar with, as it was the site of the historic Zunyi Conference in 1935 where Mao Zedong became the leader of China. Besides this famous conference, there are many other reasons to visit Zunyi and explore the areas around it.
Here are 7 things you should do in Zunyi!
1. Eat Guizhou Cuisine
Guizhou Cuisine is one of the 8 different cuisines in China. It is somewhat similar to Sichuan cuisine because they are neighboring provinces and both have many spicy dishes, but Guizhou cuisine also features “sour” dishes as well that make it unique. Sour isn’t quite what you might think (don’t imagine sour skittles!)
Here are some dishes you should try in Guizhou:
Mutton Rice Noodles (Yang Rou Fen)
Sour Fish Soup Hot Pot 酸汤鱼火锅
Spicy Sour Dishes
There are an assortment of other dishes to try in Guizhou! We had many colorful spreads at every meal and the chance to taste a bit of everything.
2. Explore the Caves
Guizhou has amazing caves that are still being explored to this day. I had the opportunity to go cave climbing inside one of them with my group and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in China!
I thought we would just be walking through a cave like usual, but instead they harnessed us up, gave us a helmet and gloves, turned our headlamps on, and guided us onto a climbing route. We navigated around ledges and up walls and over gaps by moving our harness along a steel cable. After more than an hour we emerged from the other side of the cave – I’m itching to try this again.
3. Drink Moutai
Moutai is a special kind of Chinese baijiu made locally in the Guizhou province and is a must try if you visit! It has a distinctly sweet flavor. You’ll see it sold everywhere, from the airport to shops around the province. You can visit the Moutai Culture Center to learn more about how it’s made and learn about it’s importance to Chinese culture.
At dinner one night we watched a performance by these Chinese ladies, and in the middle of the song they got off stage, grabbed a bottle of moutai, and started giving it to people to drink.
When Chinese ladies offer you moutai you can’t say no! I was a bit surprised at first but actually enjoyed trying it.
4. Bike Riding
We rode along a beautiful bike path next to the Chishui river for about 9km – it was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip!
5. Chishui Danxia Scenic Area
There are many Danxia landforms around China, which are steep red cliffs. This one in Guizhou is said to be the largest and most spectacular Danxia landform in China. There are more than 350 waterfalls here, and many routes to hike. I went to the Buddha Light Rock, a 30 minute hike up. The waterfall at the top is so beautiful!
6. Iron Flower Fireworks 打铁花
In ancient times the village people couldn’t afford the big fireworks, so they created their own form of it by sparking molten iron. It creates a blossoming effect that looks like fireworks. In Chinese it’s called “Dashuhua” which means “striking tree flower” because of this shape. It’s a special tradition not practiced many places, any I feel so lucky I got to see it here!
Photos can’t even do it justice, but you get the idea.
7. Zunyi Conference Site
Zunyi is a city most famous because of it’s historical significance to China. In 1935 it was the site of the Zunyi Conference, where Mao Zedong gathered with the Red Army to determine the next move. He became the leader of the people here. You can visit the famous building they met in, and walk around the museum to learn more about the meeting and the formation of modern day China.
We went to a performance for this as well called “The Turning Point.” This was a stunning performance combining the historical events with Chinese acrobatics and dance and I really enjoyed it!
It’s popular for people who visit Zunyi to dress in the Red Army uniform of China.
We only stayed in the city of Zunyi itself for one night, and then spent two nights in remote areas outside Zunyi, in very small towns. It’s such a special experience to see these little villages untouched by foreigners. We met so many kind and curious people, and reminded me of my time visiting Chenzhou in Hunan.
The drives in Guizhou also never feel too long – I could stare outside the window all day. You see the most stunning mountains and green rice terraces. It’s similar to Yangshuo, but even more remote and not as touristy.
Go to Guizhou if:
- You want a unique local experience
- You’re avoiding touristy places and crowds
- You’re looking for outdoor adventures
I’ve lived in China four years and it amazes me that there are still so many places and traditions I have not experienced. China is so big and each province, city, and village has their own dialects and foods and customs. The cool thing about traveling in China is that you get to experience so many cultures within one country.
Thanks again to Ctrip and the Zunyi Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism for inviting me to join this experience! I had an amazing time learning about Guizhou culture and met some really fantastic people on my trip, as well. I look forward to returning to Zunyi sometime.
**Photos with the Zunyi and Ctrip logo do not belong to me.
Some of my other favorite trips in China:
- A Guide to Huangshan: The Yellow Mountains of China
- Three Days in Inner Mongolia
- A Guide To Hiking The Avatar Mountains in Zhangjiajie