Minority peoples, farmers markets, Yangshuo Cooking School, cultural performances, Asia's largest waterfall, old stone town, hiking, dramatic rice terraces, ancient paper and indigo cloth making, drum towers, wind & rain bridges, river raft trip.
Join photographer, Brian Smith, and travel writer, Rick Green, to visit the minority regions of Guizhou and Guangxi in Southwest China. We'll meet Dong, Gejia, Miao, Shui, Yao, and Zhuang people who continue to live a predominantly agrarian lifestyle in the temperate highlands on the borderlands of the Han Chinese heartland. We'll then visit the karst region of Guilin District, the birthplace of Chinese landscape painting and immortalized on China's 20 yuan bill.
Day 1 Guiyang
Travel from Guiyang to Anshun.
Day 2 - 4 Anshun
Visit Huangguoshu Falls, Asia's largest waterfall, Longgong Caves, Tianxingqiao Scenic Area, and a Buyi stone village.
On Day 3, we will see a Four Seal Miao village in the morning and watch a Long Horned Miao performance in the afternoon.
Before leaving for Kaili, we'll visit the Wenmiao Confucius Temple in Anshun. Then, we set off to explore the Tunpu villages of Yunshantun, Benzhai, and Tianlong. In Tianlong, we will be given a performance of traditional Dixi street opera.
Day 5 - 7 Kaili
Based in Kaili, we'll make daily excursions to surrounding Gejia and Miao minority villages, including our guide's ancestral home, where we will learn about their agrarian lifestyles and be treated to traditional performances with dancers and musicians dressed in their finest clothes.
En route to Rongjiang, our next overnight destination, we will stop in Shiqiao to learn how residents make paper using traditional techniques and and in Gaoyao to see the verdant rice terraces that blanket the hills below the village.
Day 8 & 9 Zhaoxing
Outside of Rongjiang, we visit the Dong village of Yintan where we will see the various stages of making indigo cloth by hand. We then drive to Zhaoxing, where we will stay for the next two nights.
On Day 9, we will hike in the surrounding hills, visiting the Dong villages of Jitang, Dengjiang, and Jilun along the way.
Day 10 Sanjiang
Today, we cross into Guangxi province and drive to the eight Dong villages of Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County where we will see the famous wind & rain bridge at Chengyang. We will also visit a tea plantation and try a local specialty, oily tea.
Day 11 Huangluo
From Sanjiang, we drive to the Red Yao village of Huangluo whose women are are the Guinness World Records holders for the longest hair in the world. We will see a Yao musical performance and enjoy a special dinner prepared by a Yao chef from fresh, local ingredients.
Day 12 Tiantouzai
Hike the amazing rice terraces from Ping'an to Tiantouzai, where we stay overnight in order to witness the sunrise over the rice terraces. Excellent photo opportunities along the way. Clouds often shroud the mountains in the morning, lending a dream-like quality to the scene until the sun burns them off.
Day 13 & 14 Guilin
After breakfast, we will hike down from Tiantou to Dazhai, where our bus will take us to the Guilin Tea Science & Research Institute, which used to be the royal tea garden for the Jingjiang princes. After touring the gardens, learning about the tea grown there, and sampling, we drive to Guilin, renowned as the birthplace of Chinese landscape painting due to its unique karst topography.
On Day 14, we'll see some of the city's unique spots and enjoy the change of pace from the countryside.
Day 15 - 17 Yangshuo
Hike and raft through the magical limestone landscape along the Li River to Yangshuo. On Day 16, we'll have a session at the Yangshuo Cooking School in a converted village farmhouse. For the remainder of the trip, you are free to do as you wish, with options for going cycling, exploring caves, hiking, rock climbing, taking a leisurely raft trip, or seeing the Impression Liu Sanjie show produced by Zhang Yimou.
Day 18 Guilin
Transfer to Liangjiang International Airport outside Guilin for your onward travel.
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