Immerse yourself in the diversity, arts and culture of southern China on this MTS-exclusive hiking trip
In southern China, far away from the crowded streets of modern Beijing, the people of Guizhou and Guangxi provinces live close to nature and continue to embrace a traditional, bucolic way of life. Their villages represent a mosaic of diverse ethnicities and cultures amid some of the most exquisite landscapes of the entire country. Traversing along mist-covered mountains, green valleys, bamboo groves, and intricately terraced rice paddies, will quickly immerse you in this magical place. You’ll enjoy hiking and biking while engaging in genuine, personal encounters you the locals—the kind of quality experience you can only get with MTS! Two families welcome you overnight in their homes, including a night in Baisha Miao, where villagers still live according to the customs and dress code of the Ming and Qing Dynasties! You’ll visit Miao and Dong villages in Guizhou—each one specializing in its own crafts. You’ll hike along rice paddies of Guangxi, explore the dramatic domes of Guilin, learn the healing art of tai ji, and still have enough time to take a bamboo raft along the Yulong River.
Hiking, cultural touring
- Hike amidst southern China's most gorgeous scenery of sugarloaf domes, mist-covered mountains, lush green valleys, bamboo groves, and intricately terraced rice paddies on this MTS-exclusive itinerary
- Designed for those who want to see the authentic, traditional China
- Discover the incredibly diverse cultures, customs, and crafts of traditional, rural villages
- Immerse yourself into the culture with two overnight stays with local families
- Bike to Yangshuo, learn tai ji, and take a bamboo raft on the Yulong River
Duration: 14 days Start Location: Guiyang End Location: GuilinDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Fly to Beijing (This entire trip is below 6,000')
Upon arrival in Beijing, the capital city of China, you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 2 : Bejing to Guiyang
Today we fly to Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou Province. Guiyang, which literally means “precious sunlight”, is situated on the east of Yunnan-Guiyang Plateau. Upon arrival, transfer to the Old Han Village, home to the descendants of troops from Nanjing, where the people still dress in traditional Han costume. The villagers specialize in a type of local art, called “Ground Opera”, which literally means “theatre on the ground”. We will have the chance to watch a private opera show played by amateur villagers wearing hand-made masks, and afterwards learn how the opera masks are made. In the evening you will be free to explore the night market.
Day 3 : Guiyang to Kaili
Today we drive to Kaili, the capital of Miao and Dong Minority Autonomous Region. It is the center of Miao minority culture, hosting more than 120 local festivals every year. The Miao people are known for arts and crafts, including jewelry, embroidery, brocade, batik and paper cutting. En route, we first stop at Dazhai Village for a hike through green paddy fields, where nestled an enchanting maze of old wooden houses. We enjoy a home-cooked with local dishes (including vegetables grown nearby) prepared by a village family in the courtyard of their home. We then drive to Kaili, the capital of Miao and Dong Minority Autonomous Region. It is the center of Miao minority culture, hosting more than 120 local festivals every year. The city is a hub for the minority villages nearby.
Day 4 : Kaili and Villages
We visit several ethnic villages today. The first is ManDong village, where 300 Miao families live and known for its Middle-Skirt Miao costume. The second is ShiQiao village, known for the traditional paper making process. Most families there still make their living by making paper. Then we visit the Gejia people, who are a subgroup of the Miao, and share a great many similarities. See their hand-made batik clothes and go for an easy hike through this lush and authentic village. In the afternoon, we transfer to Chong’an Town to see the mill houses along the river, as well as incense making. Return to Kaili in the evening.
Day 5 : Kaili to Leshan
Morning transfer to Kaijue village and start hiking towards Xijiang Long-Skirt Miao Village, built on the slopes of separate hills. Kaijue is the largest Miao village in China. The hike takes about 1.5 hours. After lunch in Xijiang village, we hike another 1.5 hours through layers of rice paddy fields to Baibi village, another Miao community. After visiting this village, we then drive to Leishan, the center of the Miao people, the largest ethnic group in the region. The highlight of our evening is a stay at a local family’s house in Paika village, famous for its Lusheng Pipe Making. These bamboo pipes are mostly played at festivals related to courtship, such as Lusheng Festival. We’ll stay with a family who has made Lusheng pipes for generations. This is an opportunity to make your own Lusheng Pipe and learn how to play!
Day 6 : Leshan to Rongjiang
Today we drive to Datang village, a village that known for the really short skirts (about 10-20 cm) worn by its women. We will hike from Datang to Taojiang. Along the hike, we explore Mount Leigong and its variety of plants and wildlife. This hike takes 5-6 hours, the longest one of the trip. (Today’s hike can also be adjusted to 2-3 hours depending on departure time, guests’ experience, etc.) Then drive to Rongjiang, the center of Dong people for overnight stay.
Day 7 : Rongjiang to Zhao Xing
We will transfer to Congjiang and visit Baisha Miao village, a major Miao village where they still retain the living customs and dressing code of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. We then drive to Tang’an Village, a small village with typical wooden houses surrounded by rice paddies. Locals are Dong people who still maintain a traditional lifestyle. We start hiking towards the largest Dong Village, Zhaoxing. Zhaoxing is known for the historical minority architecture, including wind and rain bridges, five significant drum towers and theaters.There are several picturesque villages near Zhaoxing where Dong people live.
Day 8 : Zhao Xing to Longsheng
We will drive to visit Chengyangqiao Roofed Bridge, also named “Wind & Rain Bridge,” a classic example of Dong style architecture. After lunch at Sanjiang, the border of Guizhou and Guangxi province, drive to Guangxi's Longsheng rice terraces. Longsheng is famous for its rice terraces. It has stunning views of terraced paddy fields that rise up to 3000' and represent an amazing feat of farm engineering on hills dotted with minority villages. The best season is early spring before the rice is planted, and the autumn harvest season--both seasons have beautiful views for photography. Longsheng is also the home of the Yao minority people. The Yao women grow their hair more than 6 feet long.
Day 9 : Longsheng
We will take a hike around the rice terraces, following the trails used by the locals to reach their fields. These terraced slopes connect several Zhuang and Yao minority villages.
Day 10 : Longsheng to Guilin
We will hike along trails that traverse terraced slopes and see locals farming in the fields. We will pass villagers and their local wooden houses as we stroll. Then transfer to Guilin in the afternoon. Guilin means "forest of Sweet Osmanthus." The city is known for the meandering Li River that flows through in the city and its karst topography as a backdrop. Many streets are filled with osmanthus trees, filling the air with a sweet fragrance.
Day 11 : Guilin
First we will visit Reed Flute Cave, described by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as “poetic’. Then we will climb up the Solitary Beauty Peak for a fine view of Guilin city and the surrounding landscape. In the evening stroll around Guilin’s charming “two rivers & four lakes” water system.
Day 12 : Guilin to Yangshuo
This morning we will drive to the pier and board the river cruise on the tranquil Li River. Disembark at Fuli and walk around this small town, which feels like you've stepped back in time. Drive to Yangshuo and bike through the village and picturesque surrounding countryside in the afternoon. Visit a local family’s house for an authentic dinner in the evening.
Day 13 : Yangshuo
We will start the day by practicing Taiji by the Yulong river with a local expert. Then climb up Moon Hill for a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding jagged peaks. In the afternoon, we’ll take a bamboo raft down the Yulong River that passes through several local villages.
Day 14 : Guilin to Beijing
After breakfast, transfer to Guilin airport for flight to Beijing, then connect your flight back home.
DATES: Best time to go: April - November Departures: May 10 - 23, 2014 Aug 23, 2014 - Sep 5, 2014
$4095 (10-15 members)
$690 internal airfare – BeijingGuiyang & Guilin/Beijing - subject to change
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
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