Photo: Anja Disseldorp
Rural, mountainous Guizhou is one of China’s best kept secrets – a lush, underrated paradise of breathtaking, natural landscapes and pristinely preserved ethnic cultures.
The affable Miao people, a close-knit community of a richly colourful culture, form one of the largest ethnic minorities in southwest China, inhabiting rows of stilted wooden houses in the rural countryside. From personal experience, Miao homestays divulge a treasured slice of authentic village life. At mealtimes, share life around a large metal wok of soup stew full of fresh produce harvested from the terraced fields.
Fanjingshan, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a sacred Buddhist mountain, the highest peak in China’s Wuling mountain range. This isolated sliver of nature, unsullied by man, boasts rare biodiversity including the Chinese giant salamanders and Guizhou’s golden monkeys. Hike through steep paths dotted with Buddhist temples to the incredible summit, or enjoy a smooth, breathtakingly scenic cable car ride through the clouds.
Photo: Jialiang Gao
Zhaoxing Dong Village
Nestled in the hollows of the hills with a little stream running through, Zhaoxing Dong Village, hallmarked by its five wooden drum towers, looks straight out of a painting. This perfectly cloistered world, away from modern civilisation, offers some of life’s simplest of pleasures: from idyllic daily pastimes of chatting over rice wine and playing cards to singing the cheerful traditional Dong folk songs with the villagers.
Behold one of the most beautiful caves in China, its labyrinthine interiors showcasing twisting narrow passages and forked tunnels. Knobbly karst formations embellish the cave walls, protruding with bizarrely- shaped stalactites and stalagmites that sometimes seem to take human form in the most imaginative of minds. The cave’s highlight is the 17-metre high stalactite, Silver Rain Tree, a sparkling crystalline structure guarding the depths of Zhijin.
Getting there: Flights with one stopover at major Chinese cities are offered by a range of Chinese airlines including but not limited to XiamenAir, China Southern Airlines and AirChina.
Travel Visa: Singaporeans do not require a Chinese visa for a stay of up to 15 days.
Currency: 100 Singapore Dollars = 506 Chinese Renminbi
Language: As English is generally scarcely spoken, especially in the countryside, it is advisable to have some conversational Chinese phrases on hand to get around more easily.
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