Guizhou Uncategorized

7 Things to Do in Zunyi, Guizhou

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!

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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.

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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! 

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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) 

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Sour Fish Soup Hot Pot 酸汤鱼火锅

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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It’s popular for people who visit Zunyi to dress in the Red Army uniform of China.

Visit Guizhou

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.

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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.

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Some of my other favorite trips in China: 

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11 comments

  1. welcome to guizhou Rachel! I tavelled to guizhou in the golden week of china national holiday in 2018.The whole itinerary was 13 days . I took the bullet train from jiangsu province to guiyang and rent a car to start our 13 days long self-driving tour, after that we flyed back home.
    I would say guizhou didn’t disappoint me, and it was definitely a underrated place in china even for Chinese people.
    guizhou has the most spectacular karst Waterfalls and karst Caves in this country, and its karst mountain forests are similar to guilin. even not entering any sell-ticket scenic spot, just driving in the expressway and the spiral roads in mountains is a absolutely great enjoyment, countless great shaped karst mountains ,rivers, valleys , canyons passing by on the road. not to metion guizhou is the region which own the most highest bridges in the world, in the world 100 highest bridges there are 45 of them are located in guizhou,and in the top 10 there are 5. driving on these bridges was absolutely fantastic and exciting experience.
    we drived 2000km and visited 13 main scenic attractions, we generally traveled in the south , didnt head to the north,more precisely saying, the region we chose were the southwest of Guizhou Province(黔西南州)and the south of Guizhou Province(黔南州),we didnt go to the southeast of Guizhou Province(黔东南州),because we prefer nature karst ,rather than minority villages and those villages are mainly located in the southeast of Guizhou Province(黔东南州).
    Here is our summary itinerary
    Day1 dragon palace (龙宫) in Anshun city and dishuitan waterfull (滴水滩瀑布)
    Day2 Huangguoshu waterfull(黄果树瀑布)——Huangguoshu waterfull is definitely worth to visit and it is not a single waterfull, its a waterfull groups including 18 different waterfulls on one river. including the doupotang waterfull(陡坡塘瀑布)and the beautiful yinlianzhui waterfull (银链坠瀑布), it is a giant scenic spot.
    Day3 huajiang canyon (花江大峡谷)
    Day4 wanfenglin karst forest (万峰林) and wanfenghu lake (万峰湖)
    Day5 malinghe valley(马岭河峡谷) and zhaojiadu(兴义赵家渡)
    Day6 daxiaojing(大小井景区)-our primary plan is to visit getuhe(格凸河),but getuhe was under maintenance at that time and it was closed so we had to give up.
    Day7 xiaoqikong (小七孔)
    Day8 daqikong(大七孔) and shuichun river drifting (水春河漂流)
    Day9 maolan Karst (茂兰喀斯特)
    Day10 nanjiang canyon (南江大峡谷)
    Day11 zhijin Cave (织金洞)and zhijin canyon (织金大峡谷) : zhijin Cave is the best of the best among all the caves throughout China.
    two days for train and plane.
    we were so lucky ,the whole September In Guizhou was rainy even rainstorm sometimes, and even the typhoon passed by guizhou for one time. but all this stopped dramaticly right two days before we arrive in guiyang city and the whole weather in the golden week was fine, which cause those waterfulls lookes incredibly THICK , incredibly good looking and spectacular .
    hope you can visit other parts of Guizhou if you have time and chance! and best time for Guizhou is just now ! 🙂

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  2. I haven’t been to Zunyi yet but it is definitely on my travel list !
    I think the Chishui Danxia Scenic Area(赤水丹霞) is quite big
    and it has many different scenic spots in the area.
    the Buddha Light Rock(佛光岩)is one of them
    the other scenic spots like: the four Cave valley(四洞沟)、red stone wild Valley(红石野谷)、Swallow rock(燕子岩)and Chishui big waterfall(赤水大瀑布)——the Iconic landmark of Zunyi are all worth a visit.
    the waterfall in the Buddha Light Rock is high but a little thin,
    the Chishui big waterfall is much wider, and in fact it is the second biggest waterfall in Guizhou (the No 1 is Huangguoshu waterfull) so I think its a must-see.
    PS:Zunyi is usually called “the city of thousands of waterfull”
    and since Zunyi is be adjacent to Chongqing City, I can also visit the beautiful Simianshan Park (四面山)located on the border between Guizhou and Chongqing, which is actually quite near to the Buddha Light Rock park, if I make a self-drive tour there.

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